Life, including time spent in West Michigan’s largest corn maze, has given me little time to write, which may be for the best given current events in Rome. Now comes the time when the contrasts between the “Optimists” and the “Realists” concerning Pope Francis’s reign will become even more apparent. The “Optimists,” well-intentioned though they may be, appear to lack the sobriety and historical vision of the “Realists.” A striking example of “Optimism” can be found over at Ethika Politika today where Audra Nakas writes:
At the end of the day, I trust Pope Francis because I trust that the Holy Spirit guides the Church and listens to our prayers. Whatever his weaknesses as a human being or as a leader, Francis is the Vicar of Christ leading us in this particular time and moment. He takes us out of our comfort zones because it’s his job to challenge us to live the Gospel; a person who doesn’t find him or herself challenged by Francis’ words and example isn’t listening.
For the “Realist” camp, I have been particularly impressed by the commentary of Elliot Milco whose recent blog series, “A Critique of Contemporary Ultramonantism” (now in four parts), is essential reading for those who wish to understand — and overcome — the contemporary pathology of papal maximalism. As the following extended quote shows, Milco has never been afraid to call balls and strikes when it comes to Francis’s pontificate. Perhaps we shouldn’t be either.
From an address given today by Francis to an inter-religious assembly gathered at the World Trade Center Memorial.
For all our differences and disagreements, we can live in a world of peace. In opposing every attempt to create a rigid uniformity, we can and must build unity on the basis of our diversity of languages, cultures and religions, and lift our voices against everything which would stand in the way of such unity. Together we are called to say “no” to every attempt to impose uniformity and “yes” to a diversity accepted and reconciled.
There have been a few moments during this pontificate when I’ve simply balked at Francis. His apology to a group of pentecostal protestants in Italy because in past years the Church had obstructed the growth of their denomination. His insistence in a speech after last year’s Robber Synod that doctrine had not been called into question, despite the overtly heretical implications of Walter Kasper’s proposal. But to date the above takes the cake. The man occupying the See of Peter is publicly preaching indifferentism. What a disgrace.