Folks, I called all this years ago. My first book on the radical Catholic reactionaries, entitled, Reflections on Radical Catholic Reactionaries was completed in 2002. It had chapters called, “Post-Vatican II ‘Liberal’ Popes” and “Was Blessed Pope John Paul II a ‘Modernist’?” It’s all the same mentality. This is one of the trademarks of reactionary thought: pope-bashing. And if you bash one pope, you will bash any pope. I wrote about the same thing in my second book about reactionary Catholics: Mass Movements, in 2012, before Pope Francis was pope. There’s nothing new under the sun. All errors are recycled over and over.
We have a somewhat new thing today, in that Pope Francis is being increasingly bashed by people and venues who previously did not enter into the typically reactionary pastime of bashing popes. Now we have Phil Lawler’s hit piece, Lost Shepherd (see my many writings about that; especially my review for Amazon). We have Raymond Arroyo regularly bashing the pope on his TV show (and even on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News conservative politics show the other night). Lots of folks and venues have now jumped on the chic, fashionable bandwagon as well.
Meanwhile, the reactionaries, from whom this mentality (in my opinion) is directly derived (having engaged in it for over 50 years), have upped the ante. They have now started in on a full frontal attack on Pope Benedict XVI. He’s the big scapegoat (whereas he has been the hero of legitimate mainstream traditionalists and the wacko reactionaries for many years now). If he hadn’t resigned, we wouldn’t be where we are now (so they think). There’s nothing like one’s hero letting one down (so they think) and becoming a traitor. The “hero of reactionaries” was always a myth, and so is the “traitor” routine now fashionable. If you think this thing is ugly now, just give it six more months, or a few years. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
What appears to have triggered this next step in the evolution of rebellion against Catholic ecclesiology was the recent incident of the letter Pope Benedict wrote in support of Pope Francis (that I dealt with in my other post today). It’s nothing new. He has consistently supported him all along. But as a result of this occurrence, prominent reactionaries have decided to cast Pope Benedict to the wind and attack him with a fanatical fury and ignorant calumnious vehemence previously reserved only for Pope Francis.
I basically called this, too (i.e., specifically the attacks on Pope Benedict), and have been predicting it over the last several months. In my article, “Nothing New”: Reactionary Attacks on Pope St. John Paul II, from exactly two weeks ago, before the letter incident happened, I wrote:
Pope-bashing didn’t start with Pope Francis . . .
For a direct, demonstrable connection between this bashing of Pope John Paul the Great and the present bashing of Pope Francis, see my documentation of the opposition of many of the signatories of the Correctio, to Pope St. John Paul II’s beatification or canonization. Search “John Paul II” in this paper. There are 13 appearances. Michael Voris savaged Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation and accused him of abandoning his flock (he called the resignation “immoral”) and exaggerating his illness: another pathetic theme that is seen more and more as of late (example). Even his liturgical opinions are rejected.
The examples of bashing I provided from Chris Ferrara and Michal Matt of The Remnant and from Bob Sungenis, were actually from the years 2005 and 2011. I wrote about how it seemed that Cardinal Burke may be subtly questioning Pope Benedict’s resignation. That was over two months ago now.
Eight days ago I wrote about how the reactionaries were attacking Blessed Pope Paul VI due to his impending canonization (just as they bellyached and bloviated and whined like petulant 2-year-olds about St. John Paul the Great’s canonization). And now, just a week and a day later, we see the latest movement to “diss” and reject Pope Benedict XVI. All these popes (along with Pope St. John XXIII) are perfectly consistent with each other. The reactionaries have finally figured that out and thus reject them all (just as the sedevacantists do; though the reactionaries don’t deny that they were valid popes, like the sedes).
Steve Skojec of One Vader Five infamy, citing certified wingnut Hilary White, has now jumped on the bandwagon, as I documented in my other post today. To get the full treatment of what we can now expect to regularly hear about Pope Benedict, there is no one better than the inimitable Hilary White to be our “guide.” She already gave indications of this more radical and tin-foil hat conspiratorial view a few years back (when I engaged in some surreal exchanges with her). Her revealingly titled savagery at The Remnant: “Et Tu, Benedict? (Some Final Thoughts on Joseph Ratzinger)” (3-12-18) tells us all we need to know. I shall cite as little of it as I can, to give you the idea (line breaks indicate a break in the text):
It’s been five years, and I’ve noticed that there are a lot fewer people talking about what a “courageous” act it was to give up the pontificate.
[A]s all the poisons that had been lurking for fifty years in the NewChurch mud are busily hatching out, many Catholics want to know why we hear nothing from him? This man whom we had believed a “champion of orthodoxy,” whom we thought we knew. Error, even heresy and blasphemy are pouring daily out of the mouth of his successor, who has, literally, turned the Vatican into a den of thieves, and we hear nothing but the occasional, carefully worded statement on how fine everything is.
There’s no doubt that this is an extremely strange and frankly fishy situation; something doesn’t add up, it’s true.
With the “arch-conservative” “Rottweiler” Ratzinger in CDF, why do we have the situation we have today? What did he do to stop the explosion of neo-modernism – that burned like an unchecked wildfire throughout the Catholic world through the reign of John Paul II?
[T]he scandalous pack of frauds we currently have in the episcopate is entirely the product of the “arch-conservative” John Paul II and the “Rottweiler” Benedict XVI pontificates. Why did we think that Ratzinger, in this crucial role of CDF prefect, was a bulwark of orthodoxy? Is it simply that we have moved so far away from the ancient Faith that we no longer have a realistic notion of the Faith ourselves to make a comparison, to make an objective judgement?
Steve Skojec told me that our willingness to go along with the whole “emeritus pope” charade was an error: “I think the problem is that we all went along with their game of make believe, and we shouldn’t have.” In fact, I am starting to think that the willingness of most Catholics to go along with the entire charade of post-conciliar Catholicism has been a grave error. By playing along, by pretending that we could be “conservative Catholics” in this New Paradigm that also includes “liberal Catholics” we have helped them perpetrate one the most monstrous frauds in human history.
For five decades we played the Anglican game; as long as we don’t talk about it, there isn’t a problem. Ottaviani’s Holy Office and schema were the last gasp of the old Church – and as de Lubac said above, it was killed by Joseph Ratzinger. We had a long hiatus in which the popes pretended nothing essential had changed, while the institution around them fell to the New Paradigm, until the papacy was the only thing left. One of the things I’ve been saying is a blessing in disguise, and an enormous relief, about the Bergoglian era is that we can finally leave behind us the absurd situation of the Wojtyla/Ratzinger era. We were expected for all those years to pretend we were in the “New Springtime of Vatican II,” while we watched these wolves in shepherds’ clothing eating the sheep. Now we can, at least, finally stop pretending that everything is just dandy under the New Paradigm of Merciful Conciliar Wonderfulness. For those still wondering, Bergoglio isn’t a shock, he isn’t even a surprise; he’s just the logical end result. This pontificate isn’t an anomaly; it was the only possible outcome, and it was as much the work of Joseph Ratzinger as Walter Kasper.
She added more worthless nonsense and potshots on her own site the next day:
Bergoglianism is the logical conclusion of VaticanTwoism, and that, not the historic Catholic Faith, is what Ratzinger always believed in.
I seriously had no idea there was this letter thing coming. I knew nothing about it before yesterday morning. And, as predicted by some Traddie pals, it has been leapt-upon by increasingly hysterical “conservatives”, desperate to make excuses for darling Benedict, concocting Dan-Brown-thriller conspiracies to explain it: Benedict was threatened. Benedict was coerced. Benedict didn’t write it.
But I think it’s time to drive this home: Ratzinger isn’t coming to save us. He isn’t the pope. He wasn’t “coerced” into resigning. He hasn’t been intimidated into silence. All these people concocting hysterical fantasies about this have failed to do him the courtesy of taking him at his word. He has repeatedly told us, but we have continued to refuse to accept it.
He was never a hero of orthodoxy. We were fooled. We bought the media propaganda. Maybe it’s wounded pride that keeps us trying to defend him.
The truth is the man we loved never existed. He was created for us out of a blend of wishful thinking and secular media narrative, propaganda which we heavily bought into because we were terrified of the alternative.
The evidence is starting to be gathered, in fact, that Ratzinger himself had more than a little to do with the debacle of the Synods and Amoris Laetitia.
I know the big, bitter Red Pill is hard to choke down, but once you do you will feel so much better.
Chris Ferrara of The Remnant: arguably the most vocal and influential reactionary writing today, is ready to jump on board. He wrote (3-14-18):
[I]f Benedict is aware of the Bergoglian Debacle, then the conclusion that he is knowingly aiding and abetting it is inescapable. In that case, the letter to Vigano would be just another example of how the conciliar Popes have presided over an epoch of deception that the Vatican has been orchestrating for more than fifty years. . . .
That fraud upon the Church was finally exposed by Benedict himself in Summorum Pontificum. Yet even Summorum kept the fraud going on some level by means of the shifty rhetoric that has enabled the post-conciliar revolution from its inception. . . .
Here, and in so many other places throughout Joseph Ratzinger’s long ecclesiastical career, we see an evidently conflicted theological liberal, a “moderate” Modernist who was instrumental in the Council’s disastrous departure from its traditional schema. Yet he later had the intellectual honesty to admit the failure of the post-conciliar aggiornamento, especially where the new liturgy is concerned, while invoking the utopian hope in a future realization of “the true Council” by way of a “hermeneutic of continuity” that he was never able to explain and should never have been necessary in the first place. . . .
But who can provide a definitive diagnosis of the mind of Ratzinger, his subjective intentions for the Church over some sixty years, or the reasons for his mysterious abdication? Certainly not this writer. This much is clear, however: Pope Benedict’s abdication and the rise of Bergoglianism mark the end of the line for neo-Catholicism and its ruinous attempt, assisted too often by Ratzinger himself, to reconcile Tradition with the spirit of the age.
Calypso Louie Verrecchio (“aka Catholic”) throws in his two cents as well (3-15-18):
Let us not forget, however, that the stage was set for the Bergoglian propaganda operation by yet another audacious act of fakery – the so-called “resignation” of Benedict the Abdicator, who, according to no less an authority than his longtime and current personal secretary, Archbishop Ganswein, thereby sought to transform the Petrine Office by dividing its duties among two men.
There you have it, folks. This kind of outrageous bilge is the ultimate logical reduction of the pope-bashing going on today with regard to Pope Francis. If you despise Francis, you start thinking about the pope who resigned and made his pontificate possible. And then you start to go after him and engage in ridiculous conspiracy theories. Blessed Pope Paul VI and Pope St. John Paul II were bashed before that (and still are today). It’s a mentality. It’s the spirit of falsehood and calumny and gossip and rumormongering.
People engage in it, of course, to different degrees of consistency, fanaticism, and rebellious attitude. I know that. But I also am trying to take a long view of this mess and what it might evolve into as we go forward. It has already evolved quite a bit. I do so based on my long study of both reactionaries and pope-bashing in particular. I’m trying to issue a warning. I’ve been proven right in predicting that more and more people would start attacking Pope St. John Paul II and also Pope Benedict XVI. I was writing about it way back in 2002. Perhaps I am also right about my overall thesis, and in my belief that Pope Francis has not proven himself to be a heretic or subversive revolutionary at all.
I’m calling it as I see it. And you, the reader, have to make up your mind whether you want to join in this “feeding frenzy” of unjust pope-criticism going on every day and growing every day. Will you jump on the bandwagon so you can be praised and lauded by all of those already on it, or will you speak out against it, because it’s wrong and a disgrace? This stuff may be fashionable in certain circles, but it still remains true that Pope Francis has an 84% approval rate among American Catholics (essentially identical to that of world Catholic opinion), according to a recent survey of Pew Research. So there are plenty of people who have not jumped on the bandwagon. Think and act as a Catholic should. Think for yourself!
Photo credit: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, later pope Benedict XVI., in the colors of his fraternity, KDStV Rupertia Regensburg im Cartellverband (undetermined date). Photo from KDStV Rupertia Regensburg [Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license]