Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"The Horror!": The Hysterical Rad Trad Reaction to Pope Francis

I remember the horror of the hard-left Catholics when Pope Benedict XVI was elected, but it seems that now it's the turn of the hard right to rival the left in hysterical ugliness. In reading around for the various reactions to Francis's election, I went over to a few of the traditionalist sites and was absolutely appalled by the tenor of the conversation:
  • snide remarks about his vestments (no mozzetta!), coupled with fears that this indicated all the beauty was about to be leached out of the liturgy
  • horror that he actually asked the people to pray for him before giving his blessing
  • indignation about the arrogance of choosing the name Francis (someone really did call it a break with tradition that a Pope should choose a new name, as if there had never been a Pope Pius I)
  • fussing that he didn't chant his blessing -- people! he only has ONE LUNG!
  • disgust that he greeted the crowd by saying, "Good evening!" -- so plebeian
This letter posted with approval at Rorate Caeli is a sampling of the kind of gracious commentary from the hard right: 
The Horror!

Of all the unthinkable candidates, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is perhaps the worst. Not because he openly professes doctrines against the faith and morals, but because, judging from his work as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, faith and moral seem to have been irrelevant to him.

A sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass, he has only allowed imitations of it in the hands of declared enemies of the ancient liturgy. He has persecuted every single priest who made an effort to wear a cassock, preach with firmness, or that was simply interested in Summorum Pontificum.

Famous for his inconsistency (at times, for the unintelligibility of his addresses and homilies), accustomed to the use of coarse, demagogical, and ambiguous expressions, it cannot be said that his magisterium is heterodox, but rather non-existent for how confusing it is.

His entourage in the Buenos Aires Curia, with the exception of a few clerics, has not been characterized by the virtue of their actions. Several are under grave suspicion of moral misbehavior.

He has not missed any occasion for holding acts in which he lent his Cathedral to Protestants, Muslims, Jews, and even to partisan groups in the name of an impossible and unnecessary interreligious dialogue. He is famous for his meetings with protestants in the Luna Park arena where, together with preacher of the Pontifical House, Raniero Cantalamessa, he was "blessed" by Protestant ministers, in a common act of worship in which he, in practice, accepted the validity of the "powers" of the TV-pastors.

This election is incomprehensible: he is not a polyglot, he has no Curial experience, he does not shine for his sanctity, he is loose in doctrine and liturgy, he has not fought against abortion and only very weakly against homosexual "marriage" [approved with practically no opposition from the episcopate], he has no manners to honor the Pontifical Throne. He has never fought for anything else than to remain in positions of power.

It really cannot be what Benedict wanted for the Church. And he does not seem to have any of the conditions required to continue his work.

May God help His Church. One can never dismiss, as humanly hard as it may seem, the possibility of a conversion... and, nonetheless, the future terrifies us.

It would seem that for this crowd, making a statement about gay marriage such as, "Let's not be naive: this isn't just a simple political fight, it is the destructive pretension against the plan of God," does not count as strong enough condemnation unless the speaker is wearing a fiddleback chasuble.

Over the years it has been part of my plan to provide a space in which – to put it bluntly – some of you of the more traditionalist flavor could vent a little. After decades of what can only be called oppression and heart-breaking disappointment, some of you were understandably angry. Some venting has been necessary now and then for the sake of healing the bruises.

In the last few years I have sensed that some of the more traditionalist flavor were finally beginning to unclench a bit. Thus, the time for a certain kind of venting is drawing to a close.

Since the announcement of a new Pope last night, I had to clean some really harsh things out of the combox and the comment queue. ...I won’t stand for bashing the new Pope here.  It isn’t going to happen in my combox. You are NOT welcome to come into my living room and have a spittle-flecked nutty like whining liberals do whenever Catholic teaching and discipline is reaffirmed. I don’t expect “papolatry”. I ask for respect and decorum when concerns or disagreements are expressed.

If it turns out that our new Pope starts us down a path you or I don’t like, then we will discuss those matters as they come along. But… how long has he been Pope?

Look. We all have to get to know Francis. He has to get to know himself now, too! Pray for him.

Last night I saw a man come out in what looked like a state of mild shell shock, who called first for communal prayer, starting with the most traditional prayer there is, the Lord's prayer; who brought St. Peter's square to a state of near-perfect quiet by requesting a moment of silent individual prayer; who called our Christian life a journey of charity; who offered an indulgence to all watching. Christ was present in his Vicar on earth and in the prayers of his people, and it was beautiful.

Beauty is not just a part of Christ. Christ IS beauty itself. If anyone can see a man proclaiming Christ -- and see people responding to that proclamation -- and complain about the lack of beauty, then that person does not know what beauty is. That person only recognizes aesthetics.


theladyisugly said...

I personally just find the hysteria hilarious, but I'm a terrible person anyway.

I have been listening to (and, I guess, meditating on) Derek Webb's In God We Trust a lot these past few weeks. It's really about the '08 US elections, but the general sentiment fits here as well.

"in God we trust
He uses both good and evil men

in God we trust
so we fight for peace and He fights for us
in God we trust
even when He fights us for someone else
in God we trust
even when He looks like the enemy"

I'm just going to leave at that, it's been sixteen minutes and I'm the worst at writing coherent comments.


Unknown said...

Amen, Mrs!

bearing said...

I stopped reading when I got to the first comment intimating that "Bergoglio" is not, actually, really the pope, because something something Summa something something.

lissla lissar said...

I'm glad it wasn't just me who thought he looked like he was in shock.

I haven't been reading the far rightists, but my facebook feed yesterday was full of liberals complaining about the election of a Pope who thinks gay marriage and gay adoption are wrong. It was kind of funny.

Ana Maria said...

partly ruined my day yesterday so instead of writing about my habemus papam experience I just prayed my annoyance to sleep ;-)

Jennifer Fitz said...

I was very impressed by the way he got everyone at St. Peter's not just to listen to *him* pray, but to pray themselves -- twice. The kind of guy who can get 100,000 people to shut up and pray? I like that.

Amber said...

I wondered of that was going out there in that quarter... But didn't want to look! And I was really impressed with my first glimpse of our new Pope and I am looking forward to getting to know him better.

Charming Disarray said...

Good post. The reaction of so many of the trads I know (and some of whom I like quite a bit) I think has put the last nail in the traditionalist coffin for me. I've lived my life around this stuff and it's only as I get farther and farther away that I see how poisonous it all is.

Your bullet points are an exact rundown of all the things that rad trads love to do:

-Judge how good of a Catholic someone is by what they're wearing.
-Assume the worst possible interpretation of any pious action of a "non-trad."
-Call something untraditional when it is blatantly traditional.
-Always expecting more and better regardless of the person's health and wellbeing.
-Pointless snobbery and elitism.

I was talking to my mom (who is not "traditional") about the new pope, and I remarked that I didn't actually know much about the papal election process, or the cardinals, or any of it, because none of that was considered important or relevant by the people who were teaching me about the Faith, like the modern church hierarchy is just sort of this unimportant and even dangerous thing. She said, "I know." Poor lady, she's been saying this stuff for years.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Holy Spirit got it wrong. Some people will never be happy.

r said...

Reading that quote made me sad, because I have a good feeling about our new Pope (who did not have a speech prepared, obviously! but did a good job nonetheless).

J.C. said...

For the record, Rorate Caeli posted this link to the letter from which you quote (from a secondary source), and which Rorate had previously published 2 years ago It's far too simplistic to reduce the position of Traditionalists by labeling them mere aesthetes.

bgeorge77 said...

Not really into kicking trads. They're a tiny portion of the Church, and the older among them have been subject to hatred for holding true to what they were taught. A small group of trads express fear of being shoved back into the broom closet for another 40 years and then a much, much larger group of "moderates" proclaim how gross and unacceptable those horrible pharisaical trads are.

Charming Disarray said...

I'm not sure if it's true that trads are a tiny portion of the Church. In any case, they're getting a lot more attention than they used to, and are now even publishing articles on Slate:

And the truth is that they are not nearly as persecuted as they like to believe. I was raised very rad trad and spent most of my life around "first generation trads" who did everything in their power to spread the idea that they were being treated badly while alienating and often being downright abusive towards anyone who disagreed with them even on small points. I never saw anyone "kicking" them. I did see, and still do, a lot of puzzlement and sometimes annoyance at all the hostility and pessimism that they are continually spreading. The idea that the traditional Mass is about to be suppressed again has no basis in reality and many trads are already acting like it's a done deal, and are flipping out that the new Pope might actually care about things that they don't consider important--this is not a crisis. It's a giant tantrum, and after forty years, it's getting really old.

JMB said...

Well said.

Crude said...

I'd just like to say, I really like this new pope so far. More than that, I like some of the reactions I'm seeing to him. People, even non-Catholics or non-Christians, seem to genuinely like him at the moment due to his emphasis on serving the poor, on humility, etc. We'll see what happens when he starts talking about social issues.