Youth and World Youth Day: Evil is only in the
eye of the beholder
Catholic neo-trads organized their own parallel World Youth Day in Rio to run simultaneously with the papal events. Juventutem Niteroi of the quasi-Diocese (Apostolic Administration) of Campos Brazil. While massive crowds were gathering about Pope Francis for the official liturgies and programs of World Youth Day, the alternative program, led by Bishop Fernando Rifan, celebrated Mass in the Extraordinary Form and held a series of catechetical sessions in which Bishop Rifan and priests of the Apostolic Administration taught Catholic doctrine with the neo-traditionalist twist. The Campos program drew about two thousand youth and sponsors; Pope Francis drew two million. Go Francis! Let’s hear it for bringing back Vatican II.
The Alternative Program for Neo-Trads:
the Prelate of Campos Celebrates the Old Rite
As if that wasn’t bad news enough for the neo-trad wing-nuts, Francis on his return flight to Rome signaled a remarkable change of direction both to Gay and Lesbian Catholics and to Catholics who have married outside the Church. Francis certainly did not endorse same-sex relationships, but when asked about gay priests said: If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?" Who am I to judge??? This drives the neo-trads right up the wall. If the Pope can’t judge, then how can they? And if they can’t judge then what use is religion after all. The main point of religion for them is to know that they are better than everyone else. Francis went on to suggest that the Church needs to reexamine its policy of banning those who are married outside the Church, and specifically those who have remarried after a divorce without obtaining a Church annulment, from Holy Communion. Several other churchmen have said this over the past decade, including a number of Cardinals, but when the Pope says it, it is news. There has of yet been no official change of policy however.
In the same interview Francis said that the Church must look again at the role of women. He specifically excluded the possibility of ordaining women to the priesthood or episcopate but he said that they must have greater roles than serving at the altar or being chancellor of a diocese or heading up a Vatican bureau. What is he thinking of? He was not clear. But without ordaining women to the priesthood or episcopate while opening up top-level Vatican careers, could he be hinting at the possibility of naming women to the College of Cardinals? It is not necessary for one to be a bishop or even a priest to be a Cardinal. If the diaconate were open to women, and there is no reason why it could not be, a woman could be a Cardinal deacon. And, if one looks at history, it would even be possible to name a woman—or a man for that matter—to the College without even the diaconate. The last lay Cardinal was in the nineteenth century but there is a long tradition of them. Wouldn’t that make the next conclave fascinating?
All this has bunched the panties of the neo-trads and to look at their blogs, they are in a panic. Their future which seemed so rosy a year ago is in great disarray. Who would have thought that the tables could turn so quickly? On the other hand, tables can turn again. Little did we know when the ultra-staid Pius XII was writing his revolutionary encyclicals Divino Afflante Spiritu, Mystici Corporis, and Mediator Dei that we were on the first incline of what has proved these last fifty years to be a wild roller-coaster ride in Church history.