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The Superman Pope?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 16, 2015

Never in the history of the Church has a Pope been hailed by the world as Francis has: by every major newspaper and blog site, by every television network, by world leaders, including the Abortion President, Barack Obama. He has made the cover of one glossy magazine after another, including not only Time, Newsweek, and The New Yorker, but even Rolling Stone and The Advocate, the world's most popular publication for those who practice the sin of Sodom and call themselves "gay." All of these publications heap praise on the man the media are now calling "the Superman Pope."

In one of his seemingly endless string of interviews with left-leaning newspapers (but never with a traditional Catholic reporter who might pose some obvious tough questions about the Bergoglian program), Francis objected to the Superman designation: "To paint the Pope as some sort of Superman, a star, is offensive. The Pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends as everyone else. A normal person."

To be perfectly frank, Francis's objection to being called the Superman Pope reveals incomprehension of the reason for his wild popularity in the eyes of the world. No one in the media thinks for a moment that Francis is anything but an ordinary man who laughs, cries, etc. What Francis does not seem to understand (or perhaps is unwilling to admit) is that he is hailed as a Superman for a reason that has absolutely nothing to do with the person of Francis.

Rather, Francis is the Superman Pope simply and only because of what he says and does to diminish the image and credibility of the Church: his disparagement of the Church's traditions as mere "little rules" and "structures" that he likens to prison, his constant public attacks and insults directed those he considers "rigid" Catholics — non-stop mockery of his own subjects almost from the day he appeared on the balcony of Saint Peter's — his endless denunciations of an ill-defined "inequality," his "I'm OK – you're okay" approach to Protestants, Muslims, Jews and even atheists, and, of course, his "opening" to "gays" and public adulterers as seen in the outrageous "midterm report" of the recently concluded 2014 Synod — a document he foisted upon the Synod Fathers (who later rejected it totally) by publishing it to the world before they had even seen it.

Does what I say sound overly harsh? Consider this question: How long would Francis retain his "Superman" status if he began a staunch defense of the Church's teaching on marriage, family and procreation, rejected any compromise of the Church's traditional discipline against admission of divorce and "remarried" Catholics to Holy Communion (upheld by John Paul II only 33 years ago), insisted on doctrinal orthodoxy in general, condemned socialism in the manner of Pope Pius XI, and resumed the hated Pope Benedict's program to restore the traditional Latin Mass throughout the Church? The answer should be self-evident: the Superman Pope would cease to be Superman overnight because Catholic orthodoxy and orthopraxis are like Kryptonite to the image the world media have erected and now hail as a veritable idol.

Pope Francis might wish to consider restoring at least one of the ecclesiastical traditions for which he seems to have such disdain: the ceremony reminding the new Pope of the truth sic transit gloria mundi — "thus passes worldly glory". It is described here, from which I quote:

As the newly chosen pope proceeded from the sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica in his sedia gestatoria, the procession stopped three times. On each occasion a papal master of ceremonies would fall to his knees before the pope, holding a silver or brass reed bearing a piece of smoldering tow. For three times in succession, as the cloth burned away, he would say in a loud and mournful voice, "Sancte Pater, sic transit gloria mundi!" ("Holy Father, so passes worldly glory!") These words, thus addressed to the pope, served as a reminder of the transitory nature of life and earthly honours. The stafflike instrument used in the aforementioned ceremony is known as a "sic transit gloria mundi", named for the master of ceremonies' words.

It should not surprise anyone that this tradition, like so many others, was abruptly abandoned in 1963 — three years after the Third Secret of Fatima was to have been revealed to the world.