Apr 4, 2013

On Pope Francis [by HRH Jonathan]


 This may be a few weeks late, but it still needs to be said. First of all, habemus papam! Magnum hoc gaudium! Beneficium Dei Pontifecti Francisco! We have a new Pope to lead us. Let us follow his lead and plan in spreading and strengthening the Catholic faith throughout the world, and may he always be blessed.

Second of all, it has come to my attention that there are many, many Catholics, and some others, who are taking a very critical stance of our new Pope. People across the globe, especially those who identify themselves in the Traditionalist camp, are loudly declaring that the Church has gained a terrible leader who will undo all the good done by Benedict XVI. They point to Francis' inclusion of women in the foot-washing ceremony, his failure to revive the Papal Coronation, and his eschewing of regal garb amongst other things as grievous breaks with tradition; which can only indicate a slide away from the traditionalist spirit fostered by his predecessor. Some are either going further, and declaring that his show of humility is all faked, probably out of personal pride. A few are even declaring this to be one of the greatest disasters in recent years. Regardless of the fervor of their criticism, however, the one constant is that they all fear what Francis is going to do next.
Ordinarily, such personal, non-political opinions are no concern of the Royal Family. This opinion, however, has become so widespread among those whose liturgical views match those prevailing within the Kingdom that I believe a statement should be made.

My statement to those concerned about Pope Francis is simple: have a little faith. Do not let your trust in God waver because the leadership of the Church is not doing what you would prefer! Do not lose hope over a few apparent mistakes of the clerical hierarchy! But rather, have faith in God, for he has said that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against us. Trust in the infallibility granted to the Magisterium by the Graces of God; for if you only believe in said infallibility when it matches your preference, then you do not believe in it at all.
Moreover, there is another element, and that is that one should have faith in his leaders. Consider, for a moment, the Pope's position. Consider the hundreds of millions of Catholics across all seven continents that look to him to lead them out of darkness and in the movements of light. Consider the hundreds of bishops that he must deal with politically as well as spiritually. Consider the Orthodox, the Anglicans, the SSPX, and every other heretical group showing a possibility of reunion with the Church. Consider the billions of heathens in need of salvation. Consider the secular media that hates everything he stands for. Consider all these things, meditate upon them for a time, and when you're done, ask yourself, "Could I deal with that?" Do you think that you would make a good Pope? Do you think that you could stand before God at your Judgment and make a satisfactory accounting of what you did for each and every one of those groups? Because if you don't, please minimize your criticism of the man who is doing what you couldn't.

I do not agree with what Pope Francis is doing. It's not what I expected, it's not what I hoped for, and it's certainly not what I would have done in his place; but that probably means that I am wrong. Maybe we need a new wave of evangelization. Maybe we need the public image of the Church revolutionized so that the millions of progressives who would never look twice at the teachings of a supposedly corrupt and stagnant Church actually have a chance of being converted. Maybe we need more charitable action. I don't know. As a matter of fact, I can't know. I don't have the information, or the experience, or the graces, or the responsibility to shoulder, or the world to think about; so I simply cannot judge the Pope's actions except in the roughest and broadest of strokes. And I can almost guarantee that you can't either.

So please, traditionalists and liturgical conservatives of the world, restrain yourselves. Keep vigilance against the spirit of modernism, that dictates that what is popular is what is right, and anyone could make a good leader. Remember that the Church is not a democracy, and that you are simply not qualified to make judgments about her leadership. Don't let your criticism get out of hand. Don't give in to the temptation to pridefully despair. Maintain respect for the dignity of the Papal Office, because every time you fail to do so, the modernism you hate wins another small victory.
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