Thursday, March 13, 2014

Look in my eyes, what do you see? The cult of papal personality

Year in review: Church teachings that Pope Francis has changed. Sometimes a little levity does the soul great good. I disagree a little though; Francis's "Who am I to judge" comment has probably done more damage than people realize. Francis is forcing us to reexamine our assumptions about the power and prominence of the papacy. It's too early to judge of course, but I'm going to speculate that Francis will be remembered as a Paul VI like figure after he goes on to his eternal reward. He's riding high on the adulation of the world right now. I may be too optimistic, but something tells me he's going to have his own "Humanae Vitae" moment. The great issue of our time appears to be divorce. There's gathering momentum and expectations in the Church that the upcoming Synod on the family will change the Church's discipline by allowing public adulterers to receive communion. Theologians, heretical or cowardly prelates, and the media will drum up fevered expectations just like in the 1960's toward the commission on artificial contraception put together by Paul VI. The Synod might actually recommend changing the Church's discipline. And then, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Francis will shoot them down in no uncertain terms.

If that happens, Francis will become the most reviled man on earth overnight. Paul VI was a fundamentally timid man (John XXIII called him "our Hamlet.") He was so shocked and depressed over the reception of Humanae Vitae that he never wrote another encyclical for the remaining ten years of his papacy. Francis would undoubtedly be shocked at the negative reactions to his upholding tradition and morals, but he'd probably bounce back.

Of course that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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