Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Obamazation of Pope Francis VI

Nelson Mandela died last year on December 5th.  Tributes to the man who smashed apartheid in South Africa poured out from world leaders, among them Pope Francis who wrote:
 It was with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Nelson Mandela, and I send prayerful condolences to all the Mandela family, to the members of the Government and to all the people of South Africa. In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss. Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. With these sentiments, I invoke upon all the people of South Africa divine gifts of peace and prosperity.
For decades Nelson Mandela was a controversial figure.  He was demonized by those who were desperate to keep South Africa a bastion of white supremacy.  He was lionized by those who were determined to break the stranglehold of the Afrikaner minority over the indigenous peoples of South Africa.  Like most historical figures, and indeed like most of us, he was neither as good a person as he should have been nor as bad a person as he could have been, but few people in our modern world have had the impact for justice that  had Nelson Mandela.  On the principle of de mortuis nil nisi bonum we can let it rest there. To the average Catholic the Holy Father’s comments were measured, rational and appropriate.
But the wing-nuts in the Church were not willing to let it rest there.  Their discomfort, indeed fury, with Francis was only fueled by his relatively neutral remarks about the late President.  There were those like “Mac” who wrote on  “Im (sic) disappointed with Pope Francis choice of words again.”  Ok, fair enough. We can always be disappointed.  But then Janet from Restore DC Catholicism came on a lot stronger with her disappointment, writing:
 With disappointment I read the news that Pope Francis paid public tribute to genocide-facilitator Nelson Mandela …by no stretch of the imagination was Mandela "promoting the human dignity of the nation's citizens".   ...  The Holy Father's "tribute" does not constitute dogma or even the lowest level of Church teaching. Deo Gratias!
Ladies and gentlemen, let's be clear about something, shall we? We have been promised by Our Lord that His Vicar will never solemnly promulgate error. But that's it! Never has Our Lord promised that all pontiffs will be wise. The Church's history has featured many popes who did much damage to the Church. ….we  do not hold him (Pope Francis) above question in matters of prudential judgment.  
 Well that was actually fairly mild compared to “EastSideHunky” on Stephenson County Pro-Life’s blog: Pro-Life Corner and their Posting “Pope Francis and the Child Killer.” 
Francis is clearly a modernist, one day quite orthodox and the next a total liberal. On these “off the cuff” comments one can totally ignore and disregard as divisive as they are. They are not magisterial nor proper to the teaching office of the supreme pontiff. Unfortunately, many conciliar Catholics and libs will either be confused by Frank ( Pope Francis) or cheer his heterodoxy.
This marks a notching up of the rhetoric when a figure as multi-faceted as Nelson Mandela is reduced to a simplistic caricature such as “Child Killer.”  This is precisely the same sort of reductionism that these same voices use to demean President Obama.  And where is the heterodoxy in Francis’ message of condolence?  And what qualifies East Side Hunky to label something as heretical?  This is the sort of partisan negativity that makes any true dialogue, whether political or theological, impossible.  It totally undermines rationality with bias.  But it gets even more outrageous.
When Britain’s Catholic Herald headlined “Catholics around the world mourn Nelson Mandela” one Agnus Dei replied
"No they do not! Not those who abide by the Church's teachings. Those who call themselves "Catholic" and who are not, are far more dangerous than those who say they would never join the Church because they do not agree with Her teachings. They do not harm the Church, professing to follow and worship Christ, yet fulfilling Satan's agenda to remodel Christ's Church in HIS own image. Making Her pay lip-service to Holy Church, whilst at the same time allowing Her to be undermined and perverted by those working so tirelessly against Her. 
Wolves disguising themselves as sheep have come into the sheep-fold and the sheep are being led astray. adhering to the doctrines of demons. The Holy Church of Christ is in perilous danger.
So Pope Francis and other prelates who paid tribute to President Mandela are remaking the Church in Satan’s own image and are leading Christ’s sheep astray.  That is far more than a vote of no confidence in Francis’ leadership, it is a strong indictment against him and his papacy.  But it follows the line of argument put forward by one wing-nut website which expressed its unhappiness with Pope Francis, not only for his message of condolence on the death of President Mandela but for his tolerance of gay people.   It gives us a picture into the rabid hatred that motivates those who are committed to the resurgence of racial hatred and the ties of racial bigotry to gender bigotry. 
The increasingly anti-traditional Pope praised the recently deceased communist and anti-white terrorist Nelson Mandela.  ….
Mandela’s South Africa was a genocidal, anti-white nightmare, where the most disgusting depravities were enshrined as “human rights”.  In South Africa we see the future of the entire White world, a future which Francis and the corrupted Catholic Church are fighting for.
Now granted that particular website is clearly wing-nut territory, but let’s look back to a more moderate one: Stephenson County Pro-Life’s Blog, Pro Life Corner, where Linda writes
Nelson Mandela did NOT sacrifice his freedom for anyone! He was justly convicted to life in prison for the mass murders of thousands of innocent men, women and children, white and black–as the leader of the “armed wing” of the African National Congress. He proudly pleaded guilty of terrorist acts, and REFUSED to denounce his violent activity as the leader of the “armed wing” of the African National Congress. He was a ruthless, heartless killer, a Communist, who enacted revenge while president of South Africa on those who protested his legalization of ABORTION, PORNOGRAPHY, PROSTITUTION, GAY MARRIAGE! Adolph Hitler did a lot of “good things” for Germany: built a modern road system, increased jobs, repaired infrastructure, etc. Do you think Pope Pius XII would have given such gushing accolades for Adolph Hitler at Hitler’s death because of those “good things he did”, like Pope Francis did for the Communist Nelson Mandela? Or would the Pope use the very words of Jesus, speaking of another secular governor, Herod: “That FOX…” This is a sad, sad day in the Catholic Church.
Linda’s rants are reminiscent of the sort of the discrediting libel that the FBI of J. Edgar Hoover put out against the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights Era.  There is a mad, irrational affixing of labels and names that bears no relation to the nuances of historical facts.  People—in this case, President Mandela and, by association, Pope Francis—are painted with broad brushes that ignore the subtleties of fact and the distinctions of history. 
What explanations can we draw from the sort of the attacks that conservative Catholics are making on Pope Francis?  What are they really upset about?  Is it a message of condolence to a nation on the death of their re-founding father? 
At the transition of millennia, we are witnessing the shift of history’s tectonic plates.  Power—and the future—are shifting from the North to the South.  The White race is losing the hegemony over the world since a global consciousness emerged in the sixteenth century with the Age of Exploration.  In the same way—and much closer to home for many of us—the gender roles have shifted dramatically within two generations.  Women head nations, major corporations, and even religions.  Openly Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered men and women are taking places in society that were closed to them until a decade or so ago.  Those who find their identity (and comfort zone) in the white male patriarchy that has governed life in American—and the greater part of the developed world—society are feeling more and more disenfranchised.  Many of us do not have the standard of living that our parents had twenty years ago.  We feel politically voiceless as well as increasingly economically emarginated.  Change is very threatening.  Nelson Mandela is a powerful symbol of change.  Pope Francis’ papacy is symbolizing change.  A President of African lineage in the White House is enormous change.  Fear and Anger are normal responses when we find ourselves threatened by the slippery slope of being on the downside of history.  Get over it.  Put on your big boy (girl) pants and decide how you are going to be part of the future and stop fighting it.  Our Christian faith tells us that somewhere in that future is the Kingdom of God.  Shape the future, don’t fight it.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing your blogs. I first became acquainted with your site when our parish priest shared it with me. I love your posts relating to Pope Francis and I look forward to reading future posts. You are a refreshing voice for Catholics.