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  1. “Wouldn’t the most prudent step be to ask if we are doing what the Church and her flock have always done, living consistently with the full body of her magisterial teaching while sitting at the feet of the great Doctors who have bequeathed so much which, today, is attended to so seldom? And here I am not only thinking of Ss. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, but Ss. Alphonsus, Bernard, Robert, and John Chrysostom as well—men whose thought was neither novel nor time-bound.”

    I think this is the correct attitude. The Church has become infected with a tendency that pervades contemporary politics (since how long, I do not know) which emphasizes the need for a leader to “do something.” Thus every pope is expected to revisit and revise the policies, decrees, laws, of even his most recent predecessors–if only for the sake of being seen to be making some kind of reform. As a consequence, we have the Second Vatican Council undoing (rather than completing) the work of the First Vatican Council after less than a century. The Novus Ordo was invented a few years after the 1962 missal was promulgated. We have the 1983 Code of Canon Law replacing the 1917 code of canon law after only several decades. There is talk of new legislation regarding the curia even though Pastor Bonus is not even three decades old.

    My impression is that Pope Benedict XVI was truly committed to pursuing a less activist papacy and only enacted very modest changes and reforms in promotion of his “hermeneutic of continuity.” Perhaps he would have liked to make more sweeping restorationist changes, but he determined that such policies would not be prudent. Unfortunately, Pope Benedict apparently did not realize that his lack of activism did not set a precedent. Instead it merely was a brief respite from those those who intend to transform and reinvent the Church with each successive papacy.

  2. I am of several minds concerning His Holiness, Pope Francis.

    The part of my mind that is Catholic believes that we should listen attentively to His words, and to afford Him, at the very least, the benefit of the doubt, especially when we have heard rumors that He has uttered heresy, or just plain rot. To date, I have found that when I have bothered to do so, that there is a mile of difference between what he has been asserted to say, and what he has actually said. This part of my mind believes that with Pope Francis, Monsignor Quixote has entered the Vatican.

    The part of my mind that indulges in apocalyptic is reminded of the prophesy of St. Malachy, which in its present interpretation would indicate that the present Pope is the Last Pope, Petrus Romanus, who will lead His Church in many trials before our Lord Christ will judge the world. This part of my mind notes that Pope Francis would appear to be as impetuous and generously confused as our first Pope Peter was, and trembles.

    Of course, the part of my mind that indulges in cynicism and Realpolitic parses the rumors and news that before Benedict’s abdication, the European Union and the banking consortium there was in the process of seizing or freezing the assets of the Vatican Bank because of its various derelictions, and wonders whether Benedict left because of pressure from the EU from without and betrayals by the Curia within.

    This part also wonders about the fact that the Jay Report indicates that the percentage of male-on-male paederast priests was 5%, or one in twenty, while the rate of male on male paederasty in the U.S. is one in 1700, less than one tenth of one percent, and that the rate of male on male paederasty is EIGHTY-FIVE TIMES the amount of the so-called general male U.S. population. There were also rumors (expressed in the recent Vanity Fair article) that Pope Benedict had a report detailing the extent of faggotry (by which I mean, promiscuously active male homosexuality) among RC priests and bishops, estimated elsewhere to be 35-50%.

    In that context, His Holiness’ statement of ‘who am I to judge’, translates out into my fear that what we have here, in the present pontificate, is only Pope Paul VI redux: in short, just another Pope who fiddles while Rome burns.

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