1.8.15

Love your enemies

The Sensible Bond, 01/08/2015:
"... there is another reason for my silence under this papacy about which I blogged quite heavily in its first eighteenth months. I say this ... by way of trying to explain how I am coming through what I feel has been a tremendously difficult time...

The Synod last year broke many things. But most particularly, it broke my human faith in the sincerity of the pope. I was prepared up to that point to believe that, somehow, human explanations existed for the calamitous blend of moralising, unilateral rule bending (ultramontanists can remove that snarl from their lips right this minute) and bizarre sponsorship of some of the worst parties to don a cassock.

But the Synod was different. The Synod seemed - to my human eye; dico humane - to show Pope Francis in hyper-cynical mode. He appointed the most appalling specimens to drive the Synod agenda, and drive it forward (or backward, I suppose) they did, to the open fury of many bishops and cardinals. When the most offensive parts of the Instrumentum Laboris failed to secure the right support, the pope insisted on their being kept in the final documentation anyway. All this I could understand, even if I was horrified by it. Horrified, simply horrified.

Then came his final address to the Synod... As if the whole world could not see that he himself had poured out the petrol that set this Synod aflame, he delivered a final address (admittedly in his usual finger-wagging style) ticking off everybody on all sides of the debate. Maybe this is thought clever among Jesuits: start a fire, enjoy the conflagration and then reproach those who question whether it should have been bigger, as well as those who thought lighting fires was just plan stupid.

I'm afraid I was more horrified by this address than by anything else. It seemed like a stupendous monument to manipulation. It was simply abusive. It was spiritual bullying. Francis looked to be using his power - openly, overtly, with a transparency that shocked me to the core - simply to shut down criticism of his abuse of power.

And this was our father in Christ? My heart closed down.

... After the Synod Francis was still the pope, and of course I still owed him due reverence and obedience. But by the end of the Synod I regarded him as a pontifical bully of the worst kind; in the great and distinguished tradition of pontifical bullies. Of course he had his cuddly side but what did that matter? All bullies do.

But my point is that I didn't believe in 'us' anymore... we (I mean Pope Francis and I) have shared ecclesial and canonical bonds. But in all other ways I have felt more estranged from the pope, from the Church, than at any time in my life. ...

... So is there an end to my tale? Well, yes and no.

No, because we do not yet know what will happen in the October Synod. I am prepared to witness any stunt - any stunt! God help us all.


And then, in another way, yes... maybe, just maybe, I have allowed the cold and poisonous shock of last year's Synod to stop me loving him like I should.

It's one thing to love someone who you admire. It is quite another to love someone who you think is ready to trample over you with his papal boots on. ...
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