Well Pope Francis’s favorability ratings among Americans has taken a serious dip. All I can say is that it is about time. For two and a half years now everybody has been falling all over themselves over Francis and I have been asking myself: Are they listening to the man??? Really listening???
Well, ok, not everybody was falling all over him. The Krazies spotted something wrong right from the first. A Jesuit?!? Not a good sign! “Francis”—hmmm, a break with tradition, shoulda been a Pius or an Alexander. And where is the papal folderol that we had grown used to again??? You know, the fur-trimmed cape, the floppy Santa-hat, the ruby-reds on his feet??? But the regular joes liked it: living simply, eating in the cafeteria with the staff, the used car to get back and forth to the office. “A poor Church for the poor”—good rhetoric, clever marketing. But there were a few more who saw the problem: without the fancy shoes and living on the palace, he becomes just another priest doing his job. I mean he had might as well just get a bicycle to ride around like the Queen of Holland. Michael Voris was first to sound the blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of a Jesuit claiming to be Pope when the real Pope is still alive. Now that Mother A. is incapacitated, thank heavens we have Michael Voris to be our infallible guide when the magisterium fails.
And then there was “who am I to judge.” That alienated all the Pharisees. I mean, if the Pope can’t judge then the rest of us can’t keep score. This time it is Lions 0, Christians 1. Game’s over. Son of a Bitch called an “olly olly in free” for sinners. Damn. The I’m-holier-than-thou crowd still hasn’t forgiven him for that. Poor Carol McKinley at Throw the Bums Out 2010, aka The Tenth Crusade, aka What the Pope Really Means, and Janet over at Restore D.C. Catholicism, and Mary Anne at Les Femmes: what will these women do if they can’t cast the first stone at anyone who doesn’t meet their criterion for worthy reception of Holy Communion. If we don’t get back on track, next thing you know prostitutes and tax-collectors will be entering the Kingdom of Heaven before us.
But despite all this, still Francis managed to hold on to the vast majority of Catholics. Only the spiritually elite were seeing it. Most of us weren’t interesting in sitting in judgment anyway, and most of us liked the Pope being a bit down at the heels after the previous Pope’s somewhat of a dowager’s penchant for damask and old lace. And all that Swiss Guard, and Gentlemen of His Holiness, and stamping of feet and saluting of soldiers and thrones and things stand in somewhat dramatic contrast to the plain hard wood of the Cross. The gilded crucifix thing used to work; doesn’t anymore. So we could live with this guy: we liked it actually. But then he began to move from the theatrical to the everyday and that increasingly made us uncomfortable. Of course before we run-of-the-mill Catholics realized we were being hoodwinked by this somewhat commonplace excuse for a pope, there was the famous Father Hunwicke, a refugee from women-priested Anglicanism who has been appalled at Francis’ disdain for the pontifical; but then the good Father is a subject of her Britannic Majesty and so can’t imagine life beyond the fantasy realm of Queens and palaces. And our own America presbyter vagans, Father Z, another convert, has been beside himself about the Pope’s everyday style. Why did these people become Catholics anyway: it certainly wasn’t the Gospel. What did you go out into the desert to see? A pope dressed in fine clothes? Those who wear elegant clothes and live luxuriously are found in palaces. If you don’t like a down-at-the-heels Jesuit from Buenos Aires, you certainly aren’t going to be happy with a carpenter from Nazareth.
But then it began to get a little to hot-in-the-kitchen for the rest of us. Frankly, when it comes to the immigrant thing, a lot of us want Donald Trump for Pope. I mean if this Francis fellow wants to ramble on about Africans swimming ashore at Lampedusa, who cares? Let the I-talians deal with their own problems, but when he starts talking about those Latino types climbing over our border wall with their diseases and their penchant for drugs and rape and violence, well, he should stick to things he knows about.
And then it only got worse. He won’t pontificate at the Traditional-Latin-Mass-of-All-Ages-and-Everywhere-Like-Jesus-did-at-the-Last-Supper (you know when he gave the Apostles Holy Communion—in one kind—on the tongue as they knelt around the table), but he’ll pontificate about Climate Change and how he thinks capitalism is ruining the earth. He should stick to faith and morals. In this age of abortion and rampant birth control and same-sex marriage any pope has more than enough to keep him busy without interfering with fracking and strip-mining and deforestation and human trafficking. I don’t go to Church to hear about this world; I go to hear about the next world. I mean, we are going to be in heaven (or hell) a long time; much longer than we will live on this earth. So who cares about this world. God gave it to us to dominate so strip ‘er bare and make what money you can doing so. There’s no sin in being rich. Jesus endorsed trickle-down economics when he told us about how that poor fellow, what was his name? Lazarus? How he used to eat the crumbs from the rich man’s table. We need to hear more about that—what was it that Ronald Reagan said: when enough crumbs fall all boats rise. No, this Francis fellow will destroy America as we know it. He’s got to go. Never trust a Pope who wears black shoes; he isn’t the real McCoy.