The “inside story” (from Hilary White) of what happened among a cadre of well-known fanatical reactionaries on the very night Pope Francis was elected
Dr. John Rao, “Rorate Caeli’s first-ever credentialed Conclave correspondent in 2013″ and regular Remnant columnist, signed the objection to the beatification of Pope St. John Paul II (posted at The Remnant). Reactionary Hilary White provides (at One Peter Five: 6-7-16) an utterly fascinating “inside” account about how she was with John Rao, Mike Matt (big shot at The Remnant), the late John Vennari (of the reactionary Catholic Family News), and John-Henry Westen (of the reactionary LifeSiteNews): all together in Rome [except, I think, Westen on the phone] on the night that Pope Francis was announced as the new pope (13 March 2013).
Note how they regarded him on his first day, before he had done anything! In other words, it’s relentless pope-bashing, that would have been applied to anyone. Here is Hilary’s own account:
For quite a while after he was elected I continued to work for LifeSite and as John Henry said above it took a while for the editorial staff there to come up to speed [with the pope-bashing and reactionaryism]. . . . Some of the VEC [Venerable English College] boys had smart phones and we had to learn from the internet – while standing in the damn piazza! – who had just been elected. All it took, even before he came out on the balcony and did his Frankenstein routine, was the information that he was a South American Jesuit, ordained in the early 70s and the archbishop of Buenos Aires.
I opened my phone and called first Mike Matt and told him, “We’re completely ___ed.” He told me to meet up with the gang at Roberto’s in the Borgo where we would be spending the rest of the night receiving text messages from Argentina about just how _____ed we REALLY were.
I struggled out of the crowd before he gave his papal non-blessing, (but after he had pulled – in the first five minutes of his pontificate- his first ridiculous populist stunt of bowing to the crowd) and caught up with friends for a hot chocolate. We huddled around their smart phones while warming up and exchanged horror stories coming in to our various email addresses. Then I got on the phone with JH [John-Henry Westen] who started telling me what a wonderful record he had on life issues. I tried to tell him we were in the biggest trouble the Church had ever been in, but I was told not to judge too quickly.
Then I went to Roberto’s were I and Mike Matt, John Rao, John Vennari and various others I can’t name spent the night drinking in shocked horror. None of us were near our computers, or we would have got ahead even of Rorate Caeli who was the very first to sound the alarm bell [they trashed the pope in an article based on the opinions of Marcelo González: a Holocaust revisionist, as I have documented]. They produced that within hours of Bergoglio’s little performance on the loggia. We all read it while we were still in the Borgo.
If you’re actually interested in what I really wrote publicly – and at some risk since LSN [LifeSiteNews] wasn’t on board yet [with reactionary radicalism] – you can find quite a bit of it on my blog, Orwell’s Picnic, for the date March, 2013.
This is the post I wrote while I was recovering from my hangover on March 14th, but before I went down Vittorio Emanuele and saw his ugly mugg plastered over the front of every paper at the kiosks and was almost sick again.
Also, I’ve been writing against modernism since before Benedict was elected. I’m not new, I’ve been a trad blogger since I learned what a blog was in 2004 and I was nearly fired on several occasions for pointing out that John Paul II, the “greatest most prolifest poap evah!” was a modernist who was failing to do his job. So you can take your smarmy condescending tone and shove it somewhere dark and unmentionable.
Thanks, Hilary, for a spectacular confirmation of virtually everything I have claimed about reactionaries, above: the networking, the exact groups and persons involved, the knee jerk opposition to popes (any pope), the groupthink clonism. It’s all there in one big package. She even throws in a bonus observation in the same comment: saying that Pope St. John Paul II “was a modernist who was failing to do his job.”
Now that we have heard the real story: how Rao, Matt, and other reactionaries “spent the night drinking in shocked horror,” we can see what they said for the cameras of “Remnant TV” on the next day (14 March 2013), in the interview of Dr. Rao by Michael Matt. He says “It doesn’t look good” (1:00); that Pope Francis was elected by a faction who “don’t care if the Church dies” (1:15). How melodramatic! I thought the Church couldn’t die?! Isn’t that the quaint and old-fashioned notion of indefectibility?
Rao talks about the disappointment of what he calls “traditionalists” [i.e., reactionaries] over the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI: “I’ve seen over the past couple of days the anguish over Benedict’s resignation, turn to serious resentment on the part of traditionalist Catholics” (4:03). He refers to the opinion of a friend (with whom he seems to agree): “Benedict thwarted the will of the Holy Spirit by abdicating, and perhaps our punishment for that is to return — at least somewhat — back to the catacombs” (4:28).
At 5:58, he reiterates his sunny, relentlessly optimistic faith: “The Church, underneath the spirit of the council, is dying, and will, insofar as it can die, die.” And, of course, those who are devoted to the extraordinary form Mass will be, so says Rao shortly after, “perhaps the only serious group that still survives.” That’s the sort of message that will make Catholics go out and joyfully share their faith, isn’t it? Who in their right mind would want to join such a doom-and-gloom Church?
More on Hilary White:
Hilary White: Vatican II Ought to be Given a “Dignified Burial” [Facebook, 6-13-14]
Photo credit: Hilary White: photo from July 2011, from her blog: Orwell’s Picnic.