There are certain kerfuffles going on in the reactionary fever swamps to the effect that I “apologize” for this pope. The subtext is that I shift in my seat uncomfortably, knowing down deep what a horrible disaster he is, but like a good trooper for evil “novusordoism” (meaning “the Holy Catholic Church and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the Greatest Catholics of All Time routinely blaspheme”), I soldier on making excuse after excuse for him while knowing in my heart that the shrieking people who gazed into his “cold dead eyes” a year ago totally called it and recognized him for what he was: History’s Greatest Monster/a Damn Librul/Etc./Ad Nauseam.
It’s far far worse than that, O Panickers and Haters of Francis. People who think I am “apologizing” for Francis need to deeply internalize the following: I don’t think he’s a bad and embarrassing pope I must perpetually labor to excuse. I think he’s a *fantastic* pope and I love him to bits. This story is one more reason why. Like the Catholic faith itself, he challenges, teaches, confounds, comforts, and astounds. But most of all, he preaches, lives and celebrates Jesus Christ according to the Tradition and I’ve never seen him say or do *anything* that was not easily understandable in light of it and often profoundly illumining of it. He’s the real deal. He gets it. And if you hate and fear him, you don’t get it and your judgments against him will, in the end, only be judgments against yourselves.Seriously, O Panickers and Haters of Francis. I’m not “making excuses” for the guy because I’m not, like you, embarrassed and ashamed of him or the gospel of Christ he lives so beautifully. So unlike some prominent voices among the Greatest Catholics of All Time, I do not pray for his death and liken him to Judas Iscariot in that not-at-all-crazy-and-unstable way they have. I’m thrilled and moved by the guy and pray God grant him many many more years. I’m sorry the Francis Haters are choosing to make themselves crazy, bitter, and miserable in such a splendid time in the Church’s history, but that’s up to them, not me. Meanwhile, face reality and, for the love of St. Pete, get it through your heads that I’m saying what I say about how much I love him because I mean it, and not because I’m trying to tow some imaginary “Church of Nice Party Line”. Do me the honor, if you hate Francis that much, of hating me as well and not merely pitying me.