Reflections on the hysteria, irrationality, and fanaticism of the anti-Francis mentality, from 1-22-15 — originally on Facebook.
I haven’t found yet where he is at fault in these 10 million clueless accusations thrown at him (certainly not in any major way). People can say that I simply defend him no matter what if they wish. I was accused of the same with regard to St. John Paul the Great, too. Nothing new under the sun. I’ve done the research and made the arguments; including writing an entire book about it. Anyone is welcome to try to overthrow them, rather than simply say, “well, hey, ten of my friends think his foot is permanently in his mouth, too!”
Give the devil his due. I think Satan has been extremely clever in bringing about this state of affairs where the Holy Father is relentlessly trashed and made an object of suspicion and disdain even from otherwise perfectly orthodox Catholics. It’s a diabolical masterstroke of great genius. And we Catholics are equally stupid, dumb, and imbecilic in falling for this tactic and strategy; enthusiastically volunteering to be dupes and pawns and useful idiots of the devil in his design of mocking and weakening the Catholic Church and its witness to the world, and message of hope.
He’s a straight shooter. He’s not this remote, super-pious figure. He speaks in normal, vernacular terms, so people can better relate to him. This is what St. Paul taught: “I have become all things to all men,” and what Vatican II urged all Catholics to do.
And the stupid, clueless criticisms of the pope’s statements can be criticized as both stupid and scandalous. Not every public statement he makes is infallible in the first place. Most of them are not.
If someone doesn’t like my (or anyone else’s) defenses of the pope (and to me the defenses are perfectly plausible and sensible), they can go and knock themselves out showing that they are invalid, point-by-point. But no one ever wants to do that, because that takes work and actual thinking, rather than the easy way out of the quick accusation, moaning and groaning, simply parroting the gossip of others, and furthering the false narrative about the Holy Father. Anything but actual rational analysis and interacting with different points of view. I’m sick to death of it by now . . .
Most of the trumped-up, pseudo-controversies come down to:
1) mere style,
3) rhetorical devices in response to others.
The misinterpretations come from reading him out of context and not taking into account #1-3 above.
I was already dissenting against what is likely to be in his encyclical about global warning even before it was published (which is perfectly fine because it’s not a “faith and morals” issue). That alone puts the lie to the cynical characterization that I never disagree with anything the pope writes or says. In the past I’ve disagreed with popes (to some extent) on capital punishment.
I like this pope and feel good about his personality not because I “have” to but because he is a likable and cool guy! Period. I have defended him against bum raps, and every time I set out to examine the latest supposed “controversy” I have found that it was ultimately groundless. I can’t change what my experience has been . . .
I mock stupidity where it is found. If people want to want to run down the pope, it is quite appropriate for me to run down dumb and stupid (and inexcusable) reasons for misinterpreting what the pope says. All people had to do in this case was read the transcript in context and then cease the idiotic comments for a change. Of course people will be offended if they hold a view that I characterize as “stupid.” That’s to be expected. It doesn’t follow that I don’t call a spade a spade. I didn’t take this job to win a popularity contest.
I defended Pope St. John Paul II, over the Assisi conferences and the kissing the Koran incident. I had to wrangle with self-described “traditionalists” all the time who ran him down. Robert Sungenis has attacked John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI as rank liberals, and I defended both. Nothing new there. I recently defended Pope Benedict XVI and his Summorum Pontificum against “traditionalists” who wanted to give up on liturgical reform.
I’ve written a book and a bunch of papers giving defenses of )ope Francis. They are there to serve Catholics. if someone is troubled, they should give my papers a shot. I’ve done the hard work (and am taking arrows as usual), and I see thousands of people who can’t even give the pope the courtesy of reading a paragraph to get the entire context of what he said.
Someone asked me: “Is any criticism allowed without being called stupid?”
Yes, of course: if it is a thoughtful, rational criticism made with full knowledge of what the thing is in the first place, that is being blasted. You guys in effect call the pope stupid over and over, as if he doesn’t know basic theology or the slightest thing about being a good pastor. Many today lecture him like some snot-nosed child. Yet if I call you out on it and use some strong (but absolutely justified) language I am Attila the Hun and Vlad the Impaler.
What is stupid is (for whoever does this) to not read a paragraph, to make any attempt to understand the basic point that the pope is making before lashing out at him in public, with many people making fools of themselves. That is STUPID: S, T, U, P, I, D. It is on the level of basic interpretation of words, and (far more tragically) in terms of spreading a scandal that is no scandal at all: making Catholics look totally ridiculous, as if we can’t read.
What I call “dumb and stupid” is this particular practice of not even reading properly, and then going out and saying asinine things about the Holy Father. It has to stop, and soon. If people don’t protest against it it will continue to get worse. It’s way out of hand already. The “rabbits” fiasco is perhaps the most ridiculous I’ve seen yet: in a long string of these ludicrous tempests in a teapot. The devil is laughing so hard over the stupidity of Catholics doing this again and again, that he must be crying and wetting his pants (if he wears them). It’s one of the most ingenious plots he has devised yet, to divide Catholics and make us look ridiculous to the world.
I was specifically referring to lashing out about the “rabbits” comment without even understanding the perfectly legitimate, orthodox, Catholic point that the pope was making. My words which had to do with the pope being taken out of context over and over, are themselves now being taken out of context (the same error repeated) [i.e., in the original Facebook thread], thus dramatically helping to prove my point. Critics of the pope need to read and think a lot better than they have been doing. It’s pathetic.
The only way to objectively approach the matter (given the “pro” and “con” views out there) is to grapple with defenses of what he says, such as what I do: on a case-by-case basis: to actually discuss the thing[s] and not merely mouth the objection that the pope supposedly has perpetual foot-in-the-mouth disease.
The latest thing is the “rabbits” controversy. If someone thinks I have not plausibly defended him, and shown that the objections are groundless, then by all means they should show all of us why and how. No one else has yet been willing to do so. I’m happy to let my readers read thoughtful, cogent presentations on both sides of the issue and make up their own minds as to whether the Holy Father has done anything wrong in this instance. Here’s where I wrote about it:
One can also say (as I would), “who gives a fig anymore what the liberal media thinks in the first place?” It will always distort Catholic and other Christian and conservative and traditional and pro-life thought, no matter what. So why worry about it so much? Just speak truth and let the chips fall where they may. Biblically speaking, those who are supposed to accept these truths will, by God’s grace. Those who will not to, will not.
Good grief. If I were always this concerned about how my writings would be received, I’d never write anything. I’d have permanent writer’s block, trying to please and appease men all the time.