Before attempting to get my hands around the pope’s interview with America Magazine, I’d like to make two preliminary observations:
Number one, informal papal interviews are a bad idea.
The voice of the pope is the most powerful force on earth. Whenever the Vicar of Christ speaks publicly, it is no exaggeration to say that his words carry the potential to alter the course of human history. This is the truth by virtue of He whom the Roman Pontiff represents, Christ the King who rules over all things, and it remains the truth even for a pope who prefers instead to think of himself as the chief facilitator of a man made Synod of co-collaborators.
Secondly, informal papal interviews with popes who are prone to speaking in highly nuanced, imprecise and doctrinally confusing ways is a foolproof recipe for unrest both within the Church and without.
Blaming the media for distorting the pope’s words is like a blaming Fido for licking your ice cream cone every time you stick it in the Doberman’s face.
And please, spare me the immature protests about the media “having no right” to do such a thing. Neither does Satan “have the right” to prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Clearly, God allows both and everyone with a drop of common sense knows it. It’s time to stop whining about it.
Since the elevation of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, a virtual industry has emerged wherein conservative Catholic media types labor mightily to recast the voluminous flow of ill-advised papal rhetoric in the “light of the Gospel,” placing it as best they can within the “confines of Catholic doctrine.”
This is very much the fruit of Vatican II, the council that formed the current pope; the same that is so lacking in precision that one is required to read its text through a narrow “lens,” forcing upon it at all costs the “hermeneutic of continuity” lest one end up a protestant.
In the end, either a given conciliar text communicates the immutable faith that comes to us from the Apostles with clarity, or it doesn’t.
Does it make any sense whatsoever to continue giving Vatican II “a veritable pass” in the form of tortured interpretations simply because it is a valid ecumenical council?
No, of course not. If the witness of the last four decades has taught us anything it is that this exercise is a monumental waste of valuable time that only serves to further the devastation that has been unfolding ever since, needlessly exposing countless souls to the deceptions of the Evil One all the more with every passing day.
Now, all you neo-con conciliar apologists out there, pull on your big boy pants and repeat after me:
In far too many places, the Second Vatican Council simply failed to uphold its chief responsibility; that is, to safeguard the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine.
There, was that so difficult? No? Good. Stick with me…
This applies to the Roman Pontiff as well. Whether anyone likes it or not, that same responsibility – to safeguard the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine – is a major part of the job description that came along with the office voluntarily accepted by Jorge Bergoglio on 13 March 2013.
Either Pope Francis, just like the 265 popes who preceded him, does it well or he doesn’t.
To the simpering sycophants of the New Evangelization who insist upon twisting themselves into unsustainable yoga positions every time he falls short, I say, Namaste, knock yourselves out, but don’t expect any excuses or tortured interpretations from me. They’re not the solution; they’re part of the problem.
Half a year into this pontificate, Pope Francis is no longer a mystery; his orientation is rather well known. He isn’t “full of surprises;” he’s as predictable as the sunrise, and his words and deeds speak for themselves, deliberately painting precisely the picture he wishes to paint.
We’ll examine that picture as represented in his recent interview in my next post.