In this insulting and ignorant piece in The Atlantic Paul Elie goes through the same sad litany of the mainstream media–setting up a clash not only between Popes Benedict and Francis but now also between John Paul II and John XXIII.
You know the whole schtick: John XXIII and Francis are radical reformers–jolly people people who loved everyone and didn’t fuss about such silly things as divine revelation, rules or rubrics. They were happy go lucky people who everybody loved while Benedict and John Paul were harsh reactionaries who wanted to turn back the clock, cut off discussion, control dissent and be generally nasty old nasties.
The article is full of supposition, contradiction and shallow analysis. Example: at one point Pope Francis is hailed as the reformer, the down sizer and the one who turns away from being a monarchical pope. That was Benedict right? Then the author points out that Francis’ leadership style is actually very autocratic. He doesn’t delegate well and everything has to come across his desk. So is he the people’s pope handing over leadership or not? Then the author sneers at Benedict–implying that he is living in the lap of luxury with plenty of people to serve him while Francis lives in apostolic simplicity in the Casa Santa Marta. Then when he actually describes Benedict’s lifestyle and accommodation we see that it is very simple–austere even. Benedict was the one who was blamed for fancy vestments and ornate taste. Then we’re told that he lives in spartan conditions and says Mass every morning in a modern, stark chapel.
The most outrageous suggestion is that Benedict is sitting in his monastery feeling lonely and sad because Francis is undoing everything Benedict tried to do. This is accentuated by an insulting illustration to the article which makes the Pope Emeritus look like a lonely old codger in a nursing home–sitting on the edge of his bed with nothing to do that day but work on the jigsaw puzzle. Elie suggests that Benedict is upset at Francis’ reform, then in typical contradictory style says Benedict was the one who wanted to reform the curia and Francis is getting the job done. So no conflict there then.
Meantime, in the last week Pope Francis has declared once again that abortion is a horrible crime against humanity and that marriage is between a man and a woman and that this can never change. At this news the mainstream media folks were strangely silent. That’s because, thanks to Paul Elie, we all now know that the progressive agenda is in full swing and it is only a matter of time before Pope Francis announces his intention to ordain women, conduct a gay wedding in St Peter’s and appoint Katherine Jefferts Schori as the new Cardinal Archbishop of New York.