Francis Does Not Please Catholic Traditionalists
The Rorate Caeli blog, written by Traditionalist Catholics, is deeply apprehensive about Cardinal Bergoglio’s elevation to the papacy, in particular because they say he was hostile to the traditional Latin mass in his archdiocese. But that’s not the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt they posted sympathetically from an analysis by an Argentine Catholic journalist:
Of all the unthinkable candidates, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is perhaps the worst. Not because he openly professes doctrines against the faith and morals, but because, judging from his work as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, faith and moral seem to have been irrelevant to him.
A sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass, he has only allowed imitations of it in the hands of declared enemies of the ancient liturgy. He has persecuted every single priest who made an effort to wear a cassock, preach with firmness, or that was simply interested in Summorum Pontificum.
Famous for his inconsistency (at times, for the unintelligibility of his addresses and homilies), accustomed to the use of coarse, demagogical, and ambiguous expressions, it cannot be said that his magisterium is heterodox, but rather non-existent for how confusing it is.
His entourage in the Buenos Aires Curia, with the exception of a few clerics, has not been characterized by the virtue of their actions. Several are under grave suspicion of moral misbehavior.
This, in Rorate Caeli’s own voice, indicates their stance towards the new papacy:
We are Catholic. From the moment of the Pope’s election, when we did not even know his name, we renewed our profession to the Pontiff, in our prayers (sidebar: Tu es Petrus) and in our hearts. But we are not pushovers, and we will not pretend things are good, with the rose-colored glasses of neglect. In fact, just soon after his resignation – that launched the chain of events that led to this day – Benedict XVI reminded us:
The false optimism was the post-Council optimism, when convents closed, seminaries closed and they said “but… nothing, everything is fine!”…. No! Everything is not fine. There are also serious, dangerous omissions and we have to recognize with healthy realism that in this way things are not all right, it is not all right when errors are made.
We reject all false optimism, and this is the spirit we will keep here, and it does not matter if many do not like it. In the web, it is quite easy to avoid things one does not like.
Any trad Catholic readers who disagree? Let us know your thoughts.
UPDATE: My trad Catholic TAC colleague Michael Brendan Dougherty is grim:
There are reasons to believe that Pope Francis is a transitional figure, unlikely to affect major reform at the top of the church. He is not known as a champion of any theological vision, traditional or modern. He is just two years younger than Pope Benedict was upon his election eight years ago. He has deep connections to Italy, but little experience with the workings of the Vatican offices. A contentious reading of Pope Francis’ rise is that Benedict’s enemies have triumphed completely. It is unusual for a one-time rival in a previous election to triumph in a future one. And there is almost no path to Bergoglio’s election without support from curial Italians, combined with a Latin American bloc. Low-level conspiracy theories already flourish in Italy that Benedict’s resignation was the result of a curia determined to undermine his reforms. This election will only intensify that speculation. An older pope who does not know which curial offices and officers need the ax, will be even easier to ignore than Benedict.
Besides his lack of knowledge of the ins and outs of the Vatican, there is almost no evidence of him taking a tough line with anyone in his own diocese. Are we to believe that Buenos Aires has been spared the moral rot and corruption found almost everywhere else in the Catholic clergy? Or, more likely, do we have another Cardinal who looked the other way, and studiously avoided confrontation with the “filth” in the church, no matter the danger to children or to the cause of the church? Presumption and detraction are sins, but Catholics should gird themselves; the sudden spotlight on his reign may reveal scandal and negligence.