I was going to post an entry in re to the TLM and NO Mass but since the airplane interview w/ Pope Francis and some of the comments making their way around the internet...that entry can wait a day or two. Negative comments about our Holy Father are not anything new.It's not hard to imagine since from the moment the words Habemus Papam were spoken and but 5 min later he was announced he was already under attack. Boy,that was a short lived pontificate.I have run into a lot of nervousness,hand wringing,consternation, fear and what feels like very close to loathing(some).I had to wonder where all this was coming from.Not like us. We were blessed with one of the longest Pontificates in history with Blessed John Paul II and much sadness when he passed.Then Pope Benedict the XVI was elected and we were exuberant!! Little did we know it would be some 8r yr later he would freely step down.
I heard some criticism re his stepping down.There were people who felt he should have stayed until the end. John Paul II suffered greatly and stayed until the end. We expected Pope Emeritus Benedict would do the same. What we seemed to forget is that Blessed John Paul II was one of the youngest men to be elected Pope and Benedict the XVI was the same age when he stepped down as John Paul was when he died.In fact Pope Emeritus Benedict was almost the same age as John Paul II was when he died as when he was elected. So he began the Pontificate when he was elderly.John Paul was a very healthy man when he was elected.Not so healthy later. I wonder that Pope Emeritus Benedict didn't have some health issues from the beginning.They don't always get better and with age we decline.Some of us faster than others,some slower. I think when Pope Emeritus Benedict stepped down we were shell shocked.I also believe we all realized that the election of the next Pope would be of great consequence for the Church.Finally with the loss of John Paul II and the stepping down of Benedict the XVI we were really fearful especially with all the turmoil going on in the world.We feel under attack ourselves (we are) Let's be honest here;When Pope Francis stepped out the night he was elected we didn't know the man from a hill of beans.My reaction at first was, WHO? So he we were in shell shock and they elect a man we hardly knew, if at all. I do know this though:
I also think he's well aware of the dire poverty in his native country. The poverty we talk about in the United States is nothing compared to the poverty in his country. We really don't know what it's like to live in dire poverty here. So i think with that in mind it is easier to understand why Our Holy Father would live a little simpler life style.This is NOT a slight of our 2 previous Popes at all.
1. Pope Francis is orthodox. He is not going to change the doctrines of the Church,permit women to become priests or allow men who have homosexual tendencies to be ordained.He is definitely not going to sanction same sex "marriage"
2. Pope Francis is not going to live an immoral life style as a few Popes of the past did.
3. Pope Francis has a great deal of respect for Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI. His Holiness Benedict could go on from the loss of John Paul II.Our Holy Father Francis has a living Pope Emeritus that he could suffer the danger of comparison to. He has handled it well and as he said himself,the 2 are brothers.
4. Pope Francis IS going to shake up the Church. He is not going to do it by tossing orthodoxy out the window,changing doctrines or becoming a flaming wild eyed[ for lack of a better word] liberal.
5. Unlike his predecessors Pope Francis does not speak other languages well and that includes English.He does the best he can do.I think part of the problem he's had in communication is that when he's not speaking his native language what he says can be misconstrued.
6. The media is notorious. Their taking something our Popes have said and extrapolating it to suit their agenda is nothing new. The one thing i did get from the interview of Pope Francis on the way back from Rio is they're bound and determined to dig up the gay lobby story. There's a theory they have that's why Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI stepped down. It's sensational. Truth is not one of the things the media likes to dig up and they have NO understanding of religious topics.NONE.They will always go for the sensational even if they have to stretch things on a slow news day.
7. Generally Pope Francis says very little.His homilies are not always that long but i think he was so excited to be in his native country that he spent a little more time speaking than he usually does.They're not that short either.i get that;but i wonder if they're really any longer(or shorter)than previous Popes?
8. Finally,i've heard comments from people questioning his genuine simplicity right from the beginning. Sorry,but i think that's just him.
Over the years our Popes have all chosen to become simpler and let go of some of the traditions(small t)of the past.It's not as if Pope Emeritus Benedict and Blessed John Paul II were living high off the hog-after all it's not about how much wealth we have or don't have. It's about detachment to the material goods of this world.I digress there but it boils down to just another step in simplicity.
The conclusion i've reached is this: CALM DOWN. I understand that we are fearful anyway with all that IS going on in the world with attacks on our Church and our values-and now we have a new Pope that we are just getting to know. We should remember though:The media will continue to do what the media does. It is a media with an agenda. It doesn't help the Church to attack the Pope.His pontificate is still fairly young.