…at least the author is trying to read Pope Francis sympathetically and not search for any ammo and any excuse to destroy him:
At the risk of overgeneralizing, I would say that those most frustrated by Pope Francis tend to be Catholics steeped in Church history and tradition and, significantly, the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Although I have nowhere near the expertise in Aquinas possessed by some of the anti-Francis folks, I do understand some of their frustration. It was Aquinas that helped bring me (back) into the Church, and his Summa Theologica stands as a great rebuke to all modern moral philosophy. Although Pope Francis occasionally cites Aquinas, it is evident that some of his statements don’t fit snugly within the framework of the Thomistic doctrine that has dominated Catholic thought for so long. It is my conviction, however, that Pope Francis does not intend to leave Aquinas behind, but only to facilitate a shift to another, equally valid, way of understanding our life in the Mystical Body of Christ. It is a shift in emphasis, not a repudiation or a rupture. What we experienced in the dramatic resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis was a shift in some ways predicted by Pope Benedict XVI himself in his interpretation of St. Bonaventure: a shift from the Dominican to the Franciscan spirit, from Aquinas to Bonaventure, and from a Cherubic pope to a Seraphic pope.
I am highly skeptical of the claim that those who hate Francis steeped in Church history and Tradition. They often strike me as being remarkably ignorant of actual Tradition and only steeped in a sort of Americanist cultural fantasy about tradition. They do appeal to St. Thomas a lot (when it suits them) but they surprise me at how frequently they seem to know nothing else. When you point out, for instance, the development of doctrine regarding slavery, it’s news to them. When you note that the early Church imposed penances, not the death penalty, on murderers, they never heard of it. They sneer at the idea of becoming all things to all as early missionaries did. The concept of the common good is alien to them because libertarianism is the only thing they know.
So I’m glad this writer is trying to understand Francis in light of the Tradition instead of just spitting on him in the name of traditionalism.