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The Puzzling Pope Francis

Another day, another post about the Bishop of Rome. I can’t figure the guy out. A Catholic theologian friend writes:

Rod, regarding your post from the other day (“The Vatican’s Left Turn Under Francis”), it’s worth noting, as Rocco pointed out in a tweet, that today Pope Francis appointed a new bishop who has been a chaplain for Courage. In other words, the Advocate’s person of the year just promoted a guy who has been a spiritual adviser to the Catholic ministry helping gays be chaste.

It’s a small piece of data, but file it under “a change in tone does not equal a change in doctrine.” Rocco’s report: http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-up-lands-packer-green-bay-vg.html (scroll down to penultimate paragraph for the Courage observation).

Meanwhile, another Catholic reader writes with news that Pope Francis has just appointed to a high position a personal friend who is priest of the disgraced Legionaries of Christ cult. Sandro Magister reports:

The most significant appointments of the beginning of this pontificate, both in the curia and outside of it, have all stemmed from personal choices of pope Bergoglio, sometimes bypassing the normal processes of consultation or ignoring the norms in effect.

For example, in spite of the fact that the fundamental laws of the governorate of Vatican City allow that the secretary general may be a layman, the pope has not only promoted a churchman to this role, the Argentine Legionary of Christ Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, who is very close to him, but has also consecrated him bishop and entrusted to him the pastoral care of the citizens of the tiny state, taking it away from Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the basilica of Saint Peter and vicar general for Vatican City.

Adds my Catholic friend:

Can you imagine if Pope Benedict had appointed a Legionary to a high position?  The media would have gone apeshit and rightly so.


I, for one, am glad the pontiff of Cosimanian Orthodoxy is so much easier to figure out.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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