Pope Francis the Liberal or Pope Francis the Conservative…

… How about just Pope Francis the Catholic.

I came home last evening to read about our newly appointed pope and share in the joyful celebration with my fellow papists only to find someone invited the designated party pooper… the curmudgeonly never happy trads. I also noticed someone left the back door open because the crazy liberals slipped in too and, in their exuberance, trashed the place.

You’d think I’d be used to the never-happy-always-fighting nature of Catholics. I doubt I’ll ever be used to it, but at least I’m learning to ignore it. Sort of. When it’s this extreme and directed at our Holy Father it becomes hard to ignore. Things are so crazy right now that poor Fr. Z had to call a cease fire on the rabid attacks directed at Pope Francis.

So far what I can gather about our new pontiff is that…

Liberals think he’s going to ordain women and give the thumb’s up to abortion and homosexual marriage. It’s the age of Aquarius, grab your tambourine! Let’s conga line through the Vatican. Alleluia Cha-cha-cha!

Conservatives are in mourning, wailing and gnashing their teeth over the thought of Tango masses in St. Peter’s and women getting their feet washed on Holy Thursday. The Church is doomed! Doomed, I say. Did you see his tacky wooden pectoral cross? I could just die!

Well, aren’t we off to a good start… the traddies are already disappointed and the libbies will be soon enough. Yay! Nobody’s happy. It might be the first time in Church history where everyone is on the same page. A damn miracle, I say.

So what is making people so crazy? The fact that he’s a Jesuit or the fact that he took Francis for his name? I actually had someone comment that since St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment maybe we’ll have a “Green Pope”. Um… that’s not St. Francis.

Look, you don’t get stigmata by recycling plastics, refusing to wear leather, and driving a Prius. The simple fact is, St. Francis lived a life of extreme poverty and devout prayer. He walked to Egypt to convert the muslim Sultan, albeit unsuccessfully, but offered himself up as kindling in a trial-by-fire in order to prove the veracity of the Christian gospel. St. Francis also gave us the Nativity scene creche, is considered the first Italian poet, and he wrote in the local dialect of Umbria instead of Latin decades before Dante.

I think the confusion, on both sides, is being fueled by a few pictures and videos found online showing Bergoglio lighting a Menorah, washing women and drug addict’s feet on Holy Thursday, and in other various stages of charismatic type masses.

Conservatives quake in fear because they see a disregard for liturgical purity, something they hold dear. Something I am not unsympathetic to.

Liberals see his inclusiveness towards other religions and assume that means he believes the same thing they do, which might suggest he’s open to change or their idea of reform.

Here’s all I see… two groups of people, who love the Church dearly and want what they feel is best for Her, but are projecting their own desires into the actions of the new pontiff. The intentions are good, but again, the Holy Spirit is not impressed. Not to be dismissive of anyone’s concerns, but please, he’s been pope less than 24 hours. Allow for the Holy Spirit and the office of pontiff to work on the man before jumping to conclusions first. And remember that promise about Hell not prevailing against the Church? Let’s put a little faith in that too.

Regarding the pictures and videos floating about – I see a humble man washing unwed mother’s feet in a maternity ward, mother’s who chose life. I see a man ministering to sinners and recovering drug addicts and a man who respects other religions who worship the same God. None of these actions contradict the faith or the role of pontiff.

Really there is no need for anxiety and hand wringing or radically hopeful assumptions that his papacy will be the 60′s again. The concern is genuinely appreciated and thank you for caring. But please, I implore you have faith and remove your own desires from the equation. Obedience and prayerful faithfulness is the only response required of us, the laity.

Let me leave you, kind readers, with this image. The first act of his papacy, visiting his Mother…

Isn’t this a beautiful image? Doesn’t it calm your nervous heart? It does mine.

And lastly, let me present to you this prayerful welcome from the FSSP,

We ask all of our supporters to join with us in continually offering daily prayer and sacrifice that his pontificate may occasion the increase of faith, hope and charity throughout the Church, and the world.

May Pope Francis be filled with the courage and fortitude needed to steer the Barque of Peter amid the turbulent seas and rough winds in which we find ourselves, for the Psalmist tells us, “He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust. For He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.” ~ Psalm 90:1-4

We beseech Our Lord Jesus Christ, Head of His Mystical Body, the Catholic Church, to increase the love of the Deposit of Faith and our sacred traditions amongst the episcopacy, clergy, religious and laity, so that through the shepherding hand of Pope Francis, the Divine assistance will remain with us, that we might witness the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and continue to restore all things in Christ.


About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • h mantella

    it’s been my experience that conservatives are the ones who like the charismatic masses and liberals are always complaining about the loss of ritual at mass. maybe that’s just the northeast and something totally different is happening in the midwest and western parts of the country. it’s also been my experience that liberals intellectualize religion whereas conservatives want an emotional experience.

    i think liberals are going to be very pleased with francis. most “liberal” catholics aren’t married to gay marriage and support the rights of poor women to give birth, unlike other liberals or “real” liberals who think gay marriage is a litmus test and think the world would be a better place if fewer poor women gave birth. liberal catholics know that the priesthood was invented for gay men and they are more than welcome to come be our priests–just get rid of the pedophiles. that’s why we aren’t married to the married priests idea either, although we aren’t against it. certainly the byzantine priests in america should be allowed to marry again, but it’s fine if the roman clergy remain the way they are, gay and all.

    hopefully american catholics will become a little more european or latin american catholic because of all this. euopeans and latin americans appreciate that there is a difference between the state and the church. family morality may be governed by the church, but it shouldn’t be dictated by the government, even at the behest of the church. europeans and latin americans are also likely to describe themselves as religious and have great devotions to mary and other saints, but they don’t go to church except when it’s time for the priest to perform another family service. euopeans and latin americans understand that the clergy need us a lot more than we need them.

    i’m very optimistic about pope francis. i hope he will be a champion of the poor on the international stage. i hope he will clean up the curia. i hope he will be a force for good and rebuke bishops who have covered up for criminal priests all over the world. if he can do these things, liberals won’t care what he has to say about gay marriage or abortion, because neither of those issues compare in importance to the horrible scandal that has engulfed the church for the last 40 years as well as the rise of globalization and the unequal distribution of wealth.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      You lost me with this comment. You have the defining characteristics of liberals and conservative backwards. And I think liberals will be sorely sad when “their” pope doesn’t condone an ideology they promote. He may not be as heavy on the liturgy as Benedict but he’s certainly not un-orthodox… and your comment,

      “real liberals know the priesthood was invented for gay men” is utter rubbish.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      I think I need to see a venn diagram of this post to figure it out. Maybe in 5 colors.

  • Michael Schnell

    Thank you for your level-headed and humorous observations. I’m a traditionalist, in the sense that I believe that the Church embodies the accumulated wisdom of two millenia of experience and guidance by the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Church knows infintely more than I know and its duly elected Pope deserves not just my respect, but my reverence. Besides, although I was a little crestfallen when I heard his name announced from the balcony, the more I see and hear of Francis, the more I think, “You know, the Church was right again.”

  • http://twitter.com/DenverGregg DenverGregg

    The only way that “the priesthood was invented for gay men” is to add “(and everybody else) to have the opportunity to confess and be absolved”.

  • Patricia Enk

    Well, the more I learn the more I love him. My Papa now.

  • http://profiles.google.com/christinehebert65 Christine Hebert

    When I heard “Jesuit” I was a little worried. Then I read about our new Papa when he was a cardinal and found in him a servant of the people. I trust in the Holy Spirit to have guided the conclave, and I believe the Lord can use anyone to do His work. In the words of the scripture, ‘I do believe, help my unbelief!”

  • Paula

    Love your posts!

  • http://te-deum.blogspot.com/ Diane K

    Kat – not to interrupt this post, but being that it concerns Swiss Guards, I thought you might like this – LOL http://te-deum.blogspot.com/2013/03/great-video-from-swiss-guard.html