Getting to grips with Pope Francis

Driving back from hearing confessions at Farleigh School – great kids by the way – a news item came on referring to “Pope Francis”. It jarred, and my first reaction, for a split-second, was to wonder what the hell they were tlaking about. Pope Francis is going to take some getting used to.

Some are already having a hard time of it. On a traditionalist blog – no link but its initials are RC – commenters are going into hypermode over the new pope. For so many of them it seems the world is effectively coming to an end.

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. …

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 election is incomprehensible: he is not a polyglot, he has no Curial experience, he does not shine for his sanctity, he is loose in doctrine and liturgy, he has not fought against abortion and only very weakly against homosexual “marriage” [approved with practically no opposition from the episcopate], he has no manners to honor the Pontifical Throne. He has never fought for anything else than to remain in positions of power. …

This is from the blog article to which commenters are adding such things as:

You guys can try to spin this all you want, Cardinal Bergoglio is a devout Vatican II modernist. He is as “traditional” and as “conservative” as Christoph Schonborn! Yeah, people change, but Bergoglio will have to be totally implanted with another ideological intellect by the Holy Ghost for him to change. I pray for that miracle, but I won’t hold my breath. Bergoglio is a product of the Vatican II rot which has permeated the Church of Christ for fifty years. Remember, he was elected by two thirds of the current college of Cardinals. Scary! …

I’m terrified, frankly. A flagrantly Modernist Pope again… it might as well have been Card. Schoenborn! …

Well, I said I would suspend my judgment until he acts, but boy it’s harder to do than I thought it would be, especially in this case. This looks like a win for the bureaucrats and progressives. Cardinal Rode, Meisner and Pell looked downright somber. If Sandri becomes Secretary of State, that tells us everything we need to know.

The hysteria is palpable at times. The main article is stunning for its libels, offered without a shred of evidence. In fact as Cardinal Bergoglio Pope Francis was considered to be doctrinally very orthodox, and notoriously intolerant of liberation theology. He speaks several languages (he studied in Germany for goodness’ sake!), his simplicity of life point at the least to a practical attempt at sanctity, and he wrote a strident letter that even the blog itself felt obliged to post given its condemnation of same-sex ‘marriage’. The letter is to the Carmelites of his dicoese, asking their prayers and sacrifices in his campaign against the legislation to legalize this form of ‘marriage’. He spoke of it thus:

Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a “move” of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.

I think his opinion is clear, and it is hardly at odds with the Catholic Faith.

Indeed, no doubt a similar hysteria will soon emerge from the Catholic ‘left’ as they realise that this man committed to social justice might well also be committed just as strongly to the truths of the Faith. Then we can expect to hear that he is too old, unable to cope with Vatican being such an outsider to the Curia, at odds with his fellow Jesuits who see him as rigid, and perhaps some will even try to tarnish him with some sort of association with the Argentine regime in the days of the junta.

But spare a small trace of sympathy, of thy charity, for Paul Collins, who was acting as expert commentator for ABC Australia’s coverage of the announcement of the new pope. Paul Collins is a priest who stormed out of the ministry in protest at the Vatican’s investigation of his seriously flawed (to put it mildly) book, Papal Power. He has been a constant critic of Catholic teaching and Pope Benedict in particular. He now makes a lot of money as a celebrity ex-priest, called in for such roles as “expert” for the ABC coverage. So listen to his “expert” commentary below (thanks to a friend for passing this on to me). It is a “FAIL” on a monumental scale. I can only hope the taxpayer-funded ABC got back the fee it paid him. I seem not to be able to embed the video so please click the link below. How the mighty fall!

Two minutes of failed expert commentary

Viva Papa Francesco!

24 thoughts on “Getting to grips with Pope Francis

  1. Oh wow! What a major fail by ABC! (Although if it were indeed +Genoa I’d have been jumping up cheering, rather than going..errr who?!)

    On the subject of the MSM, the Guardian has already done a hack job trying to link Pope Francis with the Argentine junta. If this is the most they can come up with, I’m not especially concerned.


    1. Yes, Cardinal Bagnasco **ahem, Mr Collins** would have been very interesting indeed.

      Thanks for the tip off about the Guardian. I will go check it out. Sad that the junta prediction is coming true so quickly!



    1. The moral of the story is, I guess, trust few, and check all. There is nothing like Google to give you a start on working out what might be true and what not. For now, like the good Catholics we are, we give the Holy Father the benefit of the doubt… and let us pray for him!

      Do show any howlers you come across, or blog them yourself so we can share them!


  2. Ha Ha Ha. In the future the ABC really needs to hire a qualified normal Catholic to do such important commentary of a global event. Just imagine if such a mistake took place on a major international network that really has an international viewing audience.


  3. Father, for those of us outside Oz, perhaps a word of explanation: who was doing the talking? A Priest, a Religious, a raving Commie, an old an trusted journo?


  4. One of the most uproarious aspect of that link is that they continue to post the video of two minutes of totally incorrect patter on their website! (With the correct information in print….) I suppose people wanted to see the video of the announcement, but that is absurd.

    I am so glad that we were watching NBC with Fr. Barron.

    Reading the excerpts of the hyper-conservatives was a bit of a shock, simply because I’ve had to endure so much of the other extreme on public radio.


    1. Yes, the poor Aussies. Cardinal Pell must be groaning (though that it was Paul Collins might give him a compensatory laugh). Why could not Australia been allowed the commentary someone like Fr Barron (well done NBC!).

      Sorry for your shock. It is why I did not directly link to the page in question. I found it offensive, and possibly sacrilegious. Ignore them. They deserve no hearing!



  5. I was up @ 5am in Adelaide watching the announcement live, thanks to AussiePopeAlarm (twitter; similar to ConclaveChimney).
    I usually am totally devoted to ABC News24 but the commentary was woeful and almost insulting.
    So I listened to Radio Vaticana via YouTube on my iPhone and just watched the vision – Saint Peter’s looked magical – it must have been amazing to be there.
    The Wikipedia profile for Cardinal Bergoglio was updated to Pope Francis as I clicked !
    Twitter was about 5 to 10 minutes ahead of the ABC with correct information from legitimate Vatican Twitter accounts, and others.
    The ABC used to interview Father Frank Brennan SJ all the time; not sure what happened to him.
    I think the cartoon from Annie accurately sums up the ABC Religion & Ethics department.


    1. Brigid, your experience typifies how things have changed. You knew before the mainstream media could tell you (and get it wrong in the process). Itall happened before your eyes in real time. Like you, I opted for the Vatican Radio covereage as soon as I could. Inane commentary ruins the experience of the wonderful visuals. Some lucky people had some excellent commentators (like Fr Barron) but they were LUCKY!

      I think the days of the big media’s over-riding influence are numbered. How can they compete with the instant updates of Wikipedia and Twitter, by people who largely do it out of goodwill not money? You cannot buy goodwill in the end.



  6. I think even the ABC would agree with you about their influence !!!
    To be fair, I note they interviewed Tim Fischer (Former Australian Ambassador to the Holy See) @ 6.46am for a couple of minutes. They interviewed the Auxillary Bishop of Sydney @ 7.42am, but they used an ‘Ecumenical Advisor’ for commentary until then.
    And later in the day they interviewed Father Brennan, amongst other clergy.
    Maybe the journalists got caught out by the short Conclave and could not find anyone’s phone number !


  7. Oh Gosh! Changing clerical culture will be like pushing a ball up Mount Everest with his nose. Pope Francis is yet speaking about love and fraternity and walking in the steps of Christ. All you clerical types can’t resist putting the boot into poor Dr Collins. So he made a mistake! So he left the priesthood? So What? What about forgiveness and compassion? Your petty, vulgar vindictiveness is one of the reasons why ordinary folk like me have given up on the church community. You should be ashamed of yourselves


    1. My answer will be brief. My disapproval of Mr Collins is not due to his mistake or his leaving the priesthood (which he did as a grandstanding gesture, by the way); it is because of his constant denial of Catholic teaching and snide (and yes, vindictive) attacks on the pope. Mr Collins thinks he is right and the pope and Church wrong – that is clericalism my dear, Father is always right.

      And if you wish to defend his constant attacks on the Church and his proud claiming of moral high ground on which he has no right to approach, let alone stand, then you should be ashamed of yourself. If you do not like what I or others write here, please go elsewhere. The rest of us are happy being loyal Catholics.

      And apart from the Orthodox Fr Gregory, all the other people commenting here and lay people. Hardly clericalism! You make the foolish mistake of equating clericalism with love for the tradition of the Church and fidelity to its teachings.


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