C.S. Lewis remarks on the way in which our dislike of somebody can take on a hellish momentum:
“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred,” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I think of this as I watch the death by a thousand tiny cuts being inflicted on Francis by Super Catholics who now are committed to finding, not just something wrong with him, but everything–and to heaping on him the sort of malice that Jeremiah describes receiving from the mob who likewise hated him and sought to gossip him to death:
For I hear many whispering.
Terror is on every side!
“Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
say all my familiar friends,
watching for my fall.
“Perhaps he will be deceived,
then we can overcome him,
and take our revenge on him.” (Je 20:10).
Anything and everything becomes a subject for malignant backchat about him, because the goal is now simply to bite him to death and to mutually reinforce one another in a gloating, gossipy mob contempt for the man.
So the other day, for instance, Francis gave a little talk for the Feast of Guardian Angels. During the course of it, he remarked, “Do you talk to your angel? Do you know your angel’s name? To you listen to your angel? Do you let your angel lead you by the hand & push you” when you’ve stalled?”
It was a typical pious exhortation by a pope formed in a culture of peasant piety. His heart was obviously in the right place because he is obviously a good man who believes you should cultivate a relationship with your guardian angel.
Ah! But he made a mistake! And so the accusers pounced!
It turns out that according to the widely read and extremely well-known Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 216 (under the heading about Devotion to the Holy Angels):
“The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.”
GOTCHA! The pope is confusing the laity with FALSE TEACHING! Because who has not carefully read the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy cover to cover and memorized its contents? Clearly, the Pope knew all about this and was seeking to pervert the teaching of the Church, as he always does.
And so the drip, drip, drip of poison found a new source of energy for a few more bites:
Makes one wonder what “angel” the pope has been listening to.
Totally confused by this pope………..sheesh!
If the next pope does not repudiate the deviancies of this papacy, then there is going to have to be a reappraisal of that rule, just as the praise of Pope John Paul II for Antonio Rosmini triggered a reappraisal that led to the revival of his cause for sainthood.
You want demons cause that’s how you get demons.
How I wish this were one of the important issues of this pontificate.
Drip, drip, drip.
Of course, we could try the idea of putting a charitable construction on all this (which was, after all, a pious exhortation to love, cooperate with, and seek the help of our guardian angel and not evidence that Francis is a demonically-inspired monster of evil). We could, with a supreme act of will, imagine the possibility that Francis, like many people, happens to come from a culture in which this obscure instruction against naming angels is not well known and that he himself has never heard of it. That would make him ignorant, but not a heretic bent on perverting the faith, much less a servant of devils. It could even be that he was formed in a culture where it is a pious practice to name one’s guardian angel as a way of seeking a closer personal attachment with one’s angel. So, for instance, Eastern Catholic Churches, with full papal approval, celebrate the Synaxis of the Seven Archangels, and all seven are named in that ancient liturgy. And my guess would be that lots of people throughout the history of the Church have likewise given their angel a name for a zillion innocent reasons, oblivious to this instruction in a document nobody but people looking for ammo against the pope knows about. But, of course, that would require a minimal extension of charity to the pope instead of “Gawd! Francis! Amirite? What a demonic heretic maroon!”
Relatedly, on another thread, the pope was quoted as remarking, ““Hope challenges us, moves us and shatters that conformism which says, ‘it’s always been done like this.”
So naturally, a Super Catholic casually remarked for the delectation of the Girardian mob:
I hope he isn’t talking about the Nicene Creed.
Because it is taken for granted among the scapegoaters that you can casually suggest that the pope is a heretic who, if he could have his way, would deform or abolish the Creed. You can just toss this off as casual slander against the Holy Father now and, not liberal dissenters, but the Defenders of the Faith and the Greatest Catholics in History will, as a clique, take it for granted that “It’s funny cuz it’s true.”
Drip. Drip. Drip.
The other day, the pope used something called a “ferula”
Deacon Greg Kandra has a nice piece on it here that gives the background. Turns out it’s a crucifix that is not to everybody’s taste, including mine. But since I don’t confuse aesthetics with morals and, above all, am not hell bent for leather to take every occasion to assassinate his character, I can overlook it. Instead, I note that it was given to him by some young people who asked him to use it during the Synod. He, being a nice guy, did so. Fine by me.
But not, of course for the Combox Inquisition! They are sniffing out what this evil liberal is really up to!
Keeping in mind the homoerotic nativity in St. Peters last year, take a look again at this photo, released by the Vatican.
It turns out that statues of St. Joseph on the pope’s desk, like the ferula, are secret homoerotic messages to the Homosexual Network. Oh, but wait, there’s more!
It is a Jansenist Crucifix
Because we all know the pope is a heretic.
Plain ugly and insulting
Because we all agree together as Real Catholics that the pope means to insult the Cross of Christ.
It looks like a stang to me.
I heard that some youth (singular or plural…?) gave it to him and asked him to carry it. I should not doubt the good will of the young people…still… There ARE young people into witchcraft and satanism. Just as there are people who approach for communion with the intention of stealing the host for desecration I don’t think it’s impossible for someone to have an ulterior motive for asking the Holy Father to carry this thing.
I hope I am mistaken and that this thing is not a pagan symbol.
A pagan stang made to look like Christ crucified?
All these comments were allowed to stand, without question, comment, rebuke, or rebuttal on the FB page of one of the most famous apologists and defenders of the Faith alive today. Because we all agree as Real Catholics that casually smearing the pope as a pagan who promotes witchcraft is now totally fine and well within the universe of ordinary water cooler discourse for Our Sort. Poisonous gossiping that the pope wants to destroy the faith with pagan homoerotic witchcraft is now normal and mainstream for the Greatest Catholics of All Time. It’s just talking shop.
The greatest enemies the Church has right now are not liberal dissenters but people who, twenty years ago, claimed that they were the Real Catholics[TM] and assumed to themselves the role of Defenders of the Faith. They have a snowballing, self-reinforcing, and now self-sustaining contempt for the Holy Father. Indeed, casual contempt for him suffuses every word they say about him. And every day, in a hundred small ways, they labor to bleed him to death with a million little gossipy assaults like these. The goal is to destroy him and to remake the Church in the image and likeness of Christianist culture war Pharisees certain of their own righteousness. They want that smaller, purer Church. And by smaller, they mean not only “purged of all those we hate” but “purged of any teaching not in keeping with ideas solely convenient to the needs of the Party of Trump, the magisterium of FOX, and dogmas of Good White Christianists. The goal is to whittle piety down to the Extraordinary Form, Purge the Gays and Liberals, and Magic Abortion Away. Racism, misogyny, the worship of Mammon and Power, Pornocracy for rich white men, cheating workers of their just wages, death for all those whom the Party of Trump wants to kill, destruction of evangelism for all those the Pure wish to expel or block from access to grace, caging of brown children, nativism, enrichment of the rich at the cost of impoverishment of the destitute: these are the real goals of the Perfecti. And they will hide behind the unborn and victims of sexual abuse to achieve those goals.
When you point this out, they invariably shout back that you are an Ultramontanist who thinks the pope can do no wrong. It’s a lie, of course. The issue is not that the pope can do not wrong. This has been know since Our Lord called Peter “Satan”. It’s that, in imitation of the Right Wing Lie Machine and its habit of stampeding the faithful with the drip, drip, drip of daily Panics du Jour, the cult of Francis Hatred insists by its daily and hourly actions that he can no right and that they and they alone are anointed by God to save the Church from him. So every single thing, big and small, that he says and does is picked apart and the whispers persist day and night: “demonic. heretic. dictator. gay. confusing” Etc. forever.
It is classic Girardian scapegoating. It comes from hell, not from God. And it will not, in the slightest, help in correcting his real faults, nor in renewing the Church. It will, rather, help harden and “perfect” a rich, power-hungry, corrupt, pride-filled American Conservative Catholic subculture in which what FOX news and the Trump Administration and Liesite and 1 Peter 5 and EWTN and Church Militant blow out into social media today becomes the Magisterium by which Catholics ignorant of the Tradition navigate while the actual teaching of the Church is spat on as “liberal”. It aims to create a conservative laity in de facto–and ultimately in de jure–schism. It wants a people who believe that contempt for gays and opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world and grant them a 007 to embrace a host of sins that cry to heaven for vengeance “for the greater good.”