The latest news about Pope Francis is that he is suffering further from pain in his legs and that he made an appearance this week at the Vatican in a wheelchair. This is the first time he has appeared in public in this manner, reinforcing the health problems he has been suffering.
Catholics may be concerned for his health, and perhaps justifiably so, but I suspect that many more Catholics are concerned for what this man is doing to the Church itself and believers worldwide. It seems that not a week goes by that some decision or statement by Pope Francis is revealed to the public, and it shakes things up again for true believers.
Catholics are still trying to adjust to the announcement that the pope wants to end the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass. Believers already are dealing with the decision after Vatican Two that the Mass be celebrated in the language of the country, meaning that in the U.S., it is celebrated in English.
Despite that, there are many parishes across the United States, and indeed the world, that still celebrate the Mass in Latin, and those are increasingly gaining followers. Despite that, the pope wants it stopped, and there is growing pressure from the Vatican to see that it happens.
How that plays out remains to be seen, but I suspect it will not be an easy battle. There is strong support for the Latin Mass among clergy as well as lay people, and they won’t give up easily.
But this controversy is mild compared to the most recent statements from Francis concerning the thousands of migrants moving across the world. In a Good Friday interview on Italian television, the pope expounded on the issue of immigrants, saying that the West is “racist.”
How about that?!
He said, “Refugees are subdivided. There’s first class, second class, skin color – We are racists, we are racists, and that is bad.”
He had no further specifics on what he’s referring to – since he has continually supported the movement of Muslims into Western countries and has found no fault with it. In fact, he has called those who are against such migration “un-Christian.”
It seems this is another example of the pope finding it easy to criticize “average white Christians.”
Nowhere have I seen any coverage of any of his statements or thoughts concerning the attacks by jihadis against civilians, the clergy and indeed actual attacks on church buildings. There have been enough of them not only across Europe, but indeed across the world, and yet Francis has remained silent on them.
He hasn’t said anything that has been reported about the number of jihadi terrorists among the millions of refugees moving into the West and the terror they bring with them. Not a word on that, yet he makes the pronouncement that the West is racist.
For him, it simply means that we – the West – read that “white people” – are racist, and for him that is not a point to be argued. He makes these pronouncements and then shuts the clerical door so that there is no opportunity to question what he said or ask for an explanation.
I almost hesitate to remind him that he is “white.”
Unfortunately, the average Catholic in the West – and indeed in the United States – has been conditioned NOT to criticize the pope.
Popes have been portrayed as being virtually untouchable, and anything they say or do is OK. That they are human beings and subject to human frailties is ignored … so far.
Catholics felt that way about priests too, until the terrible scandals became public, and it was realized that under the clerical collar is an average human being.
How long it will take for similar conclusions be made about a pope or a cardinal remains to be seen. There are enough problems coming from the Vatican concerning politics and finances and real estate that it may not be too long before it all breaks out in public in detail. It may not be pretty.
Where will that leave Pope Francis? How long will he be able to pretend that all is just fine in Rome, when in fact, it appears from all I have read that it is not.
The bottom line for me, as a Catholic: I want an apology for his accusation of racism against the West.
He has overstepped the bounds of propriety, and as far as I can see, that’s a sin.
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