I confess that I find myself more than a little dismayed at the outright snark unleashed in the wake of Pope Francis’ latest interview. I have it on good authority that the translation was very badly done, so I’m waiting until a more reliable one is available before commenting on the interview itself. But in the meantime…I’m starting to understand what the phrase “more Catholic than the Pope” means. I always thought that was kind of a silly phrase, since all the Catholics I knew held the Pope in utmost respect, believing as they did in the unbroken chain of apostolic succession. Lately, though, people seem intent on slapping the body of Christ in the head.
I don’t get it. I understand the confusion. I understand how one could feel betrayed (although I think that’s really an issue with us and not with Pope Francis). But I do not understand the superiority, the self-righteousness, the derisive sneering at the Vicar of Christ. It’s really hard for me to feel derisive of a man who secretly saved at least a hundred people from torture and execution during Argentina’s Dirty War, and then never told anyone about it, refusing to speak up in his own defense even when countless accusations of collaboration with war criminals were leveled against him. That’s the kind of man I trust to follow the promptings of the Spirit. And if he is following the promptings of the Spirit with these interviews, I think it’s safe to say that the problem isn’t with Francis.
Remember, y’all, that the war cannot be lost. It’s already won. The Church will stand firm as she always has. And even if Pope Francis errs a bit here and there, it’s highly unlikely we’re about to have Alexander VI or Leo X deja-vu. It’s more likely that the Spirit is moving in mysterious ways to shake us all out of our certainty and complacency.
Less fear, more faith.