Thursday, September 5, 2019

Pope: 'It's An Honor that Americans Attack Me'

While on his way to Maputo, Mozambique in Africa, Pope Francis made some comments which have ignited an already brewing war.  He said that he is "honored" to be attacked by Americans. The pope said this after he was presented with a book authored by a French reporter Nicolas Seneze. This book entails the strong opposition his papacy has received from those who call themselves "traditionalists" and the media calls "conservatives."

As the book was handed to him, the pope joked stating, "this is a bomb" alluding to the contents in the book.  The pope then said in Italian,  "Per me รจ un onore che mi attaccano gli americani (For me it’s an honor that Americans attack me).” The press onboard, including those from the Vatican were dismayed at the words and pressed to get more details.  Vatican spokesman for the press, Matteo Bruni verified the remarks and explained them stating,  “In an informal context, the Pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honor, particularly when they come from authoritative thinkers and, in this case, an important nation.” 

Seneze added that his book details how a wealthy faction in the American Church is seeking to remove the pope or force him to resign. He mentions EWTN Global Catholic Network, LifeSite News and other as the main culprits.

As expected, the remarks set ablaze this faction of so-called "traditionalists" found mostly online. They took to social media and blogs to voice their anger against the Holy Father. Many saw the remarks as a battle cry from the pope and replied to him, "oh, it is on!" 

I cannot speak for the pope or for those in the book, but I can speak to what I have witnessed online.  There is clearly a disregard for the pontificate of Pope Francis on social media by a faction that describes itself as "traditionalists." There is no denying this. In fact, I have lost followers over this. Some have blocked me. I have mentioned this before on previous posts of how after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the catholicsphere online dissolved. I remember a time where Catholics would follow each other, share each other's content and even help one another engage atheists, protestants and pro-abortion supporters. After Pope Francis was elected, things began to slow down in this regard. After Amoris Laetitia, it got worse. This was when I began to see accusations of heresy and antipope circle about the catholicsphere online.  Books began to come out with the most recent one by Taylor Marshall which mostly reads like a conspiracy drama-spy novel. Now every word and action by the pope is filtered via the lens of "heretic." The "viva il Papa" phenomenon has died, it seems.

As stated before, followers of mine began to act more like fundamentalists and started to attack Vatican II, the Ordinary Form and even Communion on the hand. It has totally gotten out of hand, in my opinion. It is no wonder why the pope said that the book written by Seneze is "a bomb." Pope Francis should really look at social media and see the angry tweets about him.  How did this happen?  Well, everyone is to blame, I think. First, the pope has not had a good track record in regards to clarity. He makes remarks that seem contradictory or ambiguous. I know that being Latino, he has a way of communicating which mostly Latinos will understand. However, as a global leader, he has to be able to speak to all and set aside the colloquialisms that often cause confusion.  I think this is what began the accusations of heresy. The pope would say something that was not fully understood.  Then the media spun it and it went haywire in the minds of Catholics and others online. However, the pope is not to blame solely. I think those who call themselves "traditionalists" are also to blame. Many of them pretend to hold a claim to Catholicism which is not reflective of their role in the Church. What I mean is that there are some "traditionalists" who feel they are the guardians of the faith and that the faith is only properly understood via their interpretation. I see this a lot, especially with the Liturgy. There are those who will get upset when you cite sources disproving their misconceptions. Instead of relying on facts, they rely on conspiracy theories and misinformation.  One such instance is the idea that the Ordinary Form is an innovation called the "Novus Ordo." Another is that Communion on the tongue is the only proper way to receive Communion. Then there is the endless attacks on Vatican II and the blaming of the council for abuses seen around the globe.

These kinds of attitudes are what led the pope to criticize those in the Church who are "rigid." By rigid, he does not mean those who practice the faith correctly. He means those who are not flexible with their approach to faith.  In other words, like the Pharisees, a rigid Catholic cannot see past the black and white of the law into the gray. A person who received by the hand is automatically irreverent. A gay person is automatically condemned. Women who do not wear a veil are automatically seen as sinful. I can go on and on, but we get the point.  This is what the pope means by those who are rigid. We cannot be so rigid so as to become robots following rules and forgetting about that rules were made to serve the people.  Now not all so-called "traditionalists" are like this.  We have to be clear about this.  There are just some who become fundamentalists to the point of presenting themselves as being more Catholic than the pope.  This is clearly something much deeper, perhaps a mental condition.  In any event, the combination of the pope's poor communication and those Catholics who call themselves "traditionalists" is the root cause of this division, in my opinion. 

The comment that the pope sees it an honor to be attacked was a bit too much. It comes across as defiant and arrogant to some, and understandably so.  If the pope feels honored to be attacked by Americans, then he should have been more specific and not leave it open to interpretation.  Many are interpreting it as a battle cry.   Moreover, I know the pope was referring to "Americans" mentioned in the book by Seneze, but these so-called "traditionalists"  who do not like his pontificate come from all over. 

What do you think?  Post below on disqus.  Be sure to follow the rules on commenting.       


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