Pope Francis presenting Flowers to Jesus and Mary
at Saint Mary Major
Traditionalists need to take a deep breath!
Here's what I am deeply worried about:
Pope Francis hadn't been elected for more than two hours and the vitriol began to spew forth in the comment boxes of this blog and others. Many from the traditionalist crowd reacted against Pope Francis with words that were downright offensive. If one of my sons spoke like that about a priest (or any older man, for that matter), my boy would have a sore backside and a long stay in a dark room.
Within minutes of His Holiness' appearance on the loggia, some trads began an online campaign claiming that he was a persecutor of orthodox priests in Argentina. Then they said he forbade the Latin Mass in his diocese. Then they were mocking him for not wearing the scarlet papal mozzetta. They also expressed dismay over how His Holiness prayed in Italian and not in Latin. Next, they expressed their alarm that he took off his stole immediately after the blessing. Then they made much ado over how the tapestry unfurled over the balcony wasn't that of His Holiness' predecesor. And these comments aren't even the worst of it. I don't even want to list some of the other things they have written online.
After reading comments on my blog and other blogs (especially Rorate Caeli), I am really embarrassed by it all.
I felt obligated to clean up the comment's box on my blog, but fortunately others have done a good job silencing the angry voices.
Think about this for a moment. If you owned a business or were the president a large organization, how would you feel if your lower employees got together regularly to grumble about your leadership? What if they met together for the sole purpose of questioning your leadership and credibility? What if they gossiped and maligned you behind your back? What if they created chat rooms and spread it all around the internet. Would these persons be considered "faithful" to your institution? Would you like these people? Would you want to help these people? Of course not. Such actions are cowardly, immature, and small.
Perhaps one should pray 15 decades of the Rosary for the Holy Father before logging online and detracting the Vicar of Christ, whom St Catherine of Sienna called "our sweet Jesus on earth."
Yes, I am a member of a Latin Mass parish (Mater Dei Catholic Church in Irving, Texas).
I am the Chancellor of the Catholic College in the USA with Extraordinary Form of the Holy Sacrifice Mass seven days a week (Fisher More College
). It's part of our College's identity and mission. I attend the Extraordinary Form almost exclusively.
I'm "all in" when it comes the Latin Mass, but I am also "all in" when it comes to the Pope. I didn't leave the Anglican priesthood to pretend to be my own Pope once again only this time in the Catholic Church.
I am enthusiastic about Pope Francis? To be honest, I don't know very much about His Holiness. Yes, I'll admit it: I'm not as excited as I would have been if Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Ranjith had walked out on that balcony yesterday. Those who read this blog daily know that my heart and my reputation was set on Burke. Oh well. I'm not God. I was way off the mark. Still, the Holy Father Francis has my filial devotion and obedience.
Let's give His Holiness some time. Let's pray for him. If you're really worried, don't log on to a blog combox. Fast on bread and water, pray the Rosary more, go to confession more regularly, give alms to the poor, etc.
I'd like to encourage all of us to conform the pattern of our souls to the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When Saint Peter, our first Pope, denied Christ three times, she didn't publish the news in the highways and the hedges. Saint John and Mary Magdalene didn't shout it from the housetops. It's really not our place to sift through what might be the future errors of a Pope that we don't yet know.
In conclusion, let me list three things that give me great hope in Pope Francis. First of all, I was touched by His Holiness' words about the Blessed Virgin Mary and his personal entrustment to her. Also, his first act as Pope was to go to St Mary Major in Rome and offer flowers before the painting of Our Lady titled Salus Populi Romani. This means that our Holy Father is Marian. Being Marian is much more important that the 1962 Missal. The Holy Apostles were Marian, even without the Latin Mass.
Secondly, Holy Father Francis, today at Saint Mary Major, knelt down and prayed before the tomb of Saint Pius V - that great reforming Pope of the 16th century. Third, His Holiness' first Mass today will be in the Novus Ordo in Latin. Okay, not 1962 Missal, but not a clown Mass either. Let's just take a deep breath. Be charitable. Pray.
Perhaps your salvation will be based partly on how you receive this Holy Father. Don't fail in this. Anyone can grumble and find faults. The true and proper response requires supernatural grace and a reassignment to the divine will of God in all things. God will deliver us ab omnibus malis praeteritis, praesentibus, et futuris intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria.
It's easy to grumble (like the Israelites in the wilderness post-Egypt). The supernatural challenge is to retain faith, hope, and charity in all things. Okay, friends, back to the beads! Keep calm. Retain Christ's perfect peace.
Viva Il Papa!