Saturday, March 8, 2014
What to Do About Francis?
The Bear, on the other hand, doesn't want to feel that anything can happen. He wants to feel like nothing is likely to happen. He'll wager a lot of other people feel the same way. It would be nice to be able to go about all our Catholic stuff -- which, yes, has always included alms for the poor and humility -- without worrying what the Holy Father will say next.
The simple fact is that Pope Francis, for all of his good qualities is likely to continue impressing his personality on the Church in an unprecedented way, and broadcasting confusion at 50,000 red hot watts, to borrow the old KMOX tagline.
The Church has a pope, not an oracle. We shouldn't have to compulsively interpret every pronouncement. I think fear is driving that. Fear because we don't know him, and don't know where he might take the Church. That can't be healthy. Francis is not likely to (with all due respect) stay quiet, which leaves it to us to stop reading the stories, and the stories about the stories. And for me to resist writing about them, as juicy as they are, like fat ponies running by almost every day.
Pope Francis knows how to communicate with us when he wants to. We have a duty to listen to messages directed to us. A shout-out to the unctious Tony Palmer and Kenneth "Name It and Claim It" Copeland isn't for us, and is just scandal bait.
We should also respect Pope Francis. I don't want to be like the people who felt free to say horrible things about Pope Benedict because they perceived him to be conservative.
The old popes kept a healthy distance between themselves and the world. A celebrity pope does not make it easy on his children. We're used to making fair comment on our celebrities. Even John Paul II, as famous as he was, maintained a sense of dignity, continuity and stability. That is what many of us desperately need from Pope Francis, I say with all due respect, as a loyal son.
You can respect and even love your father while acknowledging his imperfections. When Noah embarrassed himself, one of his three sons couldn't wait to tell the others. The two other sons discretely took care of the situation. The tale-bearing son was cursed. That's the story I'm going to try to keep in mind about Francis. The Bear will try not to be the one to say, "Did you see what Pope Francis did now?"
So the Bear will go back to being an ultamontanist. It's about the office, which is St. Peter's, not just the current occupant's.
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