Francis and the Anarcho-Papacy
by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 29, 2015
Just before Francis ordered his transfer-removal as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship to the Spanish diocese of Valencia, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, widely known as a “little Ratzinger” because of his conservative approach to the liturgy, issued a circular letter that was intended to curtail the preposterous extremes that have resulted from the post-Vatican II novelty of a “Sign of Peace” in which the faithful participate before Holy Communion. Pope Francis himself approved the document shortly before Llovera was removed as part of the ongoing purge of “Ratzingerians” at the Congregation.
A key provision of that document is as follows:
It will be necessary, at the time of the exchange of peace, to definitively avoid abuses such as: … the departure of the priest from the altar in order to give the sign of peace to some of the faithful.
A wandering priest administering the “Sign of Peace” to people in the nave of the church is an abuse because of its obvious disruption of the Mass and its distraction from what should be an intense focus on the Real Presence of Our Lord, Who has just been brought down upon the altar by the words of the Consecration.
In what is becoming a commonplace during the reign of Pope Bergoglio, however, the Pope has blithely engaged in precisely the abuse the law of the Church — in this case the very document he had approved — prohibits. To the evident surprise of his beleaguered Master of Ceremonies, Guido Marini, during the papal Mass in the Cathedral in Manila, Francis abruptly left the altar just before Holy Communion to spend several minutes in the sanctuary allowing nuns in wheelchairs and several clerics to kiss his ring, even chatting with some of them.
For nearly two years now, Pope Francis has been mocking and denigrating what he considers to be the Church’s “small-minded rules”, which she has wisely adopted to defend the integrity of her doctrines and to make clear their meaning. Another infamous example is his conversion of the Holy Thursday mandatum, in which the priest washes the feet of adult males to commemorate Our Lord’s founding of the priesthood during the First Mass, into his own personal display of “humility,” kissing the feet of non-Catholic prisoners in a juvenile detention facility, including a Muslim woman.
And, of course, for much of the past two years Francis has clearly been pressing to overturn the bimillenial discipline of the Church, defended by John Paul II a mere 33 years ago, which forbids admission to the Sacraments of divorced and “remarried” Catholics who refuse to end their adulterous relations with a second or third “wife” or “husband”. This move is in keeping with Francis’ oft-expressed disdain — quite unprecedented even in this post-Vatican II epoch of confusion in the Church — for orthodoxy and orthopraxy as such. As he infamously declared in his personal manifesto Evangelii Gaudium: “A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism…”
Really? But is there nothing narcissistic or elitist about a Pope who ignores the laws of the Church without even purporting to abrogate them, indulging in one “surprise” after another the net impact of which can be summarized thus: Look at me.
The law and discipline of the Church exist for a reason: to defend her doctrine and inculcate in the faithful an understanding of its meaning and importance for salvation. When a Pope does whatever he pleases, sending the message that the rules don’t apply to him, that they are nothing more than “small-minded” restrictions of no importance to the Faith, he only contributes to what Benedict XVI, writing as Cardinal Ratzinger, frankly described as “a continuing process of decay” since the Council. Under Pope Francis, that process of decay seems to be emerging as a veritable program of his pontificate.
Today (January 26) we read that Francis received and embraced during a personal audience in his residence a woman claiming to be a “man,” who is undergoing “sex-change” procedures, whom Francis personally telephoned twice and invited to visit him — along with her supposed fiancée! The woman, who now calls herself Diego, had written to Francis to complain that she felt “left out” of the Church merely because she had decided to mutilate herself surgically in a perverse effort to change her gender from female to male.
The anarchic tendency of this pontificate seems to be only in its early stages. One can only pray for divine intervention when one reads what Francis has in mind according to the handpicked head of his “Gang of Eight,” Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga Rodriguez, who exclaimed only days ago: “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible. The wind that propels the sails of the Church towards the open sea of its deep and total renovation is Mercy.”
May the mercy of God deliver us from the “mercy” of Francis. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!