Basically, it’s this: I am really, really, REALLY tired of hearing (some, but not all) ultra-conservative Catholics (of course, not all of them would self-identify that way, but call them what you want…Traditional? “Rad-Trad”? I think people get what I mean) griping about Pope Francis. If anything, it annoys me even more than the press’s misrepresentation annoys me, because these people should know better.
I won’t bother linking, but just look at the comments section of Fr. Z’s blog, one of the more “moderate” conservative comments sections out there. It’s pretty bad, but at least there are some defenders. There were other blogs where the trashing of the Pope was just horrific. It all stems from the same place, the idea that Francis is this rabid reformer who’s going to change everything from the way Benedict did it and change doctrine and get rid of the Latin mass or something.
We should expect this from the press. Although they really don’t have an excuse, it’s understandable how non-Catholic Christians won’t put the effort into understanding what he says. But the amount of Pope-bashing by CATHOLICS is incredible. A lot of it isn’t even misinterpretation. It’s just criticism, a never-ending stream of judgments about exactly what the Pope did wrong and what he should have done better. It’s disgusting.
The Pope is the earthly head of the Universal Church. He is the successor of Saint Peter, the first Pope picked personally by Christ. He came into office after the prayers of literally millions of people asked God to find the perfect Pope for our Church. How little faith must we have not to trust God’s judgment?
More than that, consider Pope Francis’s job. He is the official earthly head of a Church that comprises over a BILLION people. Every single thing he says is scrutinized and analyzed by the entire world. Every action he takes is scrutinized to see if it fits some larger motive. He has to figure out ways to deal with scandals, the “spirit of Vatican II” Catholics, radical traditionalist Catholics, the SSPX, AND figure out the direction the Church is going to take in the future. And he needs to do all of this while keeping in mind everything all of his predecessors ever said. More than that, he has to do all of this while his predecessor is still alive. It’s an incredible amount of pressure.
And yet here we are, getting annoyed because Pope Francis isn’t being “clear enough” to the media, or hasn’t expressly stated exactly what we were hoping to hear (“He was technically right, but I wish he’d also added…), or isn’t taking the Church in the exact direction we hoped he would. Well, I’m tired of it.
It isn’t my responsibility to decide exactly what Pope Francis says and how he says it. I support Pope Francis, and as a Catholic I make the decision to put my trust in the Holy Father’s wisdom and ability when handling both the media and the Church. As a Catholic, this IS my responsibility. And from now on I resolve to no longer be influenced by the opinions of people who want things to go THEIR way. This isn’t about us. It’s about trusting the successor of Saint Peter to lead our Church.
Vivat Papa Francisco!