83 thoughts on “Open discussion: Habemus Papam

  1. From what I know of the man, he seems like an excellent choice. His Papal name selection of Pope Francis I, in remembrance of Saint Francis of Assisi, is commendable. Intelligent, humble, theologically conservative, and bold; with the help of God, he may turn out to be an incredible Pope.

  2. My sympathies definitely lie with the traditionalists, but the rad trads (e.g. over at Rorate Caeli) are rabidly foaming at the mouth over this. And the latest post at RC — “The Horror!” — appears to be downright slanderous.

    • RC tends to see everything through the lens of liturgy, and it is true that he has never been a friend of liturgical tradition, so that explains their contempt for him. On the other hand, it’s worth remembering that Bergoglio was, in 2005, the liberal Cardinals’ favored alternative to Ratzinger, so we can perhaps safely assume they know something about him that the rest of us don’t.

      If that’s true, let us pray that the office sanctifies him, as it did Pius IX. For myself, I am very alarmed by what (little) I know about him, but he is enough of a mixed bag that I’m willing to adopt a wait-and-see approach.

      • I am very alarmed by what (little) I know about him

        Why? He sounds fantastic based on what I’ve heard.

      • Rorate Caeli seem to think he’s a disastrous choice, but so far they haven’t produced any evidence that seems to justify this. I never did understand the whole “praying with Protestants is evil” thing, and most people would agree that I’m a pretty reactionary Catholic. Given my fear of the movement to arrest a pope, I’m relieved that the new pope is neither a U.S. citizen nor a citizen of a member state of the European Union. The fact that he’s a Jesuit is, of course, worrying. I am annoyed that the press makes such a big deal of public displays of humility and frugality (“He rides buses!”), but at worst this is just a subtle form of personal vanity, and at best it might spring from a genuine spirit of poverty.

      • What is it about Jesuits that should have us worrying? I don’t know too much about them, aside from their intellectual capacities.

      • Of the big five religious orders, they were probably hit the hardest in the postconciliar silly season. The American Jesuits, in particular; they’re widely rumored to be the order you join if you’re gay.

      • I am amused that “praying with protestants” is apparently scandalous enough to merit a “shocking” photograph at RC. What do these people do when they’re eating in a group and a protestant wants to say grace?

      • Erm, I actually do see their point in that particular instance. Aside from there being a priest present, he is kneeling before Protestant ministers for a blessing. Perhaps from intuition I see that this seriously undermines the Faith’s superiority. There is a sacred significance when a Catholic priest gives a blessing that is not equal to a mere preacher’s prayer, who is, in actuality, a layman.

        Of course, we Catholics do not limit grace, so please don’t confuse that.

      • As a Jesuit educated fellow myself, I’ll second Bonald’s worries. I have a love-disgust relationship with the Society of Jesus; they have impressive men, but not always Christian men. Fortunately, this fellow seems genuine.

        By the way, a few days before the election, someone tweeted: “If a Jesuit was elected pope, we would finally have one loyal to the pope.” Prescient and funny. (But shouldn’t it be “were elected pope”?)

        WaPo also described Francis as a “humble Jesuit.” I never before considered that pairing possible.

        We’ll see. I wish the Romans the best.

      • That would perhaps explain the rumored split of liberals in 2005 between Bergoglio on the one hand and Martini on the other. Was Bergoglio the blue dog Democrat to Martini’s limousine liberal?

      • Nothing about him specifically, but the Argentinian branch of the RCC has been very politically active against feminism, the culture of death, and the modernist habit of robbing from the poor to feed the rich. They’ve been battling the Kirchners for years, but also speaking out against the banksters that have been looting the country.

      • It’s his economic views against corporatism and rent-seeking that get the “liberals” excited.

        Right. I hesitate to pigeon-hole him according to the Nolan Chart, partly because I don’t know much about him, but more because I want to steer reactionary discourse away from that whole system of modern archetypes – but it does seem to me as if he’s got positions that I would describe with words like common-sense, reasonable, moral, compassionate…

      • I do agree there may be a danger of some folks turning liturgy into an idol. At the same time, I must object to referring to the post-Vatican II liturgical crisis as a “first-world problem”.

        The ugliness, irreverence, and banality one so often finds in Novus Ordo liturgies is an intrinsic evil which leads to other evils. (I might mention that though I and my family sometimes attend the Latin mass, we are actually members of a solely Novus Ordo parish)

        In the long run ugly and irreverent and banal liturgy has contributed to the production of ugly and irreverent and banal Catholics.

      • Sadly, like many of his fellow Latin American bishops, our new Pope appears to specialize in ugly, irreverent, and banal liturgies:

      • @Proph’s Video


        And this is our new Pope?!
        I hope he has a change of heart…and soon…

      • I’d like to respond to the criticisms about liturgy being “first world problems.” Though now living in the states and married to an American, I am a Russian from the former USSR. I did not exactly grow up in first world conditions. When the first Franciscan missionary came to our town which did not have a Catholic priest for about 80 years, he immediately began offering a very pious and solemn novus ordo mass with parts of it in Latin. There was no music, though he could have asked someone to play a guitar we sang a capella. None of us were catechized (we didn’t even know we were supposed to call him “Father”), but there was no attempt to banalize the liturgy to make it more relevant, more attractive, etc. And that was a wonderful thing because it drew us above our day to day existence of shortages and difficult lives. If beautiful liturgy is needed anywhere, it is precisely in places that have incredible problems. Beauty and a call to higher things provides a necessary relief from the day to day: and that applies both in the first world and the second and third worlds.

        Actually, another Franciscan missionary friend of mine who is now in St. Petersburg has been asked to preside over a traditional mass once a month. The people who asked for it were not Anglo rad-trads, but mostly regular Russian, Latin-rite Catholics.

        I do hope you are correct, however, about his stances on anti-feminism. His comments about gay marriage were certainly heartening. Overall, I am hopeful about our new pontiff.

    • Let’s pray his assessment is reliable. For myself, I think the first major test of his Papacy will be who he appoints to the various Curial positions.

      • My latin is not perfect by any means! I’m still learning it, after all. 😉
        @Kristor 🙂
        @CaseyDeann: I’m not sure if it was a common insult, but it very well could have been, the germans have a similiar saying, which basically means “fool” but a literal translation to english would be “stupid head”. “Inepta caput” means “silly head”.
        @Proph: Close, yes. I was trying to say “I laugh at you, silly head”, but you got the gist of it, heh! And yes…it does seem like you can make anything sound beautiful in latin! (French too…and Sindarin/Quenya) 😉

    • Although Thomas has yet to return to defend his snark lobbed into this otherwise good faith discussion, I might point out that tho’ he believes he (and his own, hypothetical “we”) have Christ, it is the Catholics (among others) who worship the true body, true blood, soul and divinity of Christ. And having a pope is, among other things, a sacramental symbol of the unity of all believers, a way of knowing, in fact, that we “have Christ”. So you really cannot have one without the other…

      Ave verum corpus, natum, de Maria Virgine,
      Vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine,
      Cuius latus perforatum fluxit aqua et sanguine:
      Esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.
      O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.
      Miserere mei. Amen.

      • ” And having a pope is, among other things, a sacramental symbol of the unity of all believers, a way of knowing, in fact, that we “have Christ”. So you really cannot have one without the other…”

        That does not follow. The Pope is a symbol of unity and confidence, therefore he is required to have Christ? What did I miss?

      • In order to know you “have Christ”, and not just some made up idea that you call “Christ”, you must have it on some authority, that this (and not that other) is “Christ”. Authority that is not in some sense hierarchical is not really authority. So the line:

        Me <– Authority Level (Me+1) <– … <– Bishop <– in Union with Pope <– “Christ”

        is at least secure and authoritative, whether or not you believe the Pope or the Bishops in visible union with him, can speak infallibly on who Christ is or not.

        The line:

        Me <– Authority Level (Me+1) <– … <– People who agree with Me <– “Christ”

        has a fundamental flaw because, it is ultimately me, and those with whom I choose to associate, who decide who “Christ” is.

        (Here’s hoping that all that html code renders right…)

  3. His alleged collusion with Argentine military dictators is certainly a plus, even if not, as is overwhelmingly likely, not true. He is said to have (at least a few moments ago on Wikipedia, whose page on him merits some sort of real-time option for viewing) a connection to Communion and Liberation, which is also a huge plus. C&L, in contrast to Opus Dei, doesn’t have an army of monastic albino assassins, but hey you get everything you want. At least he ruffles the right feathers. Of course Benedict was the devil incarnate to the progressives and he turned out to be remarkably mild, even if quite unequivocal on the central issues.

    I was hoping for Scola, he looks meaner, but Pope Bergoglio is fine by me.

    Your prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father may now resume.

  4. at worst this is just a subtle form of personal vanity, and at best it might spring from a genuine spirit of poverty.

    Thou art cynical to a fault, Bonald.

  5. I am skeptical of a non-European pope. I certainly did not want an American pope, and I am an American. Is he going to continue the path of the recent popes towards multiculturalism, which is the Tower of Babel? If so, God will certainly command schism. Hopefully, Argentinia is sufficiently related to Europe (and demographics indicate that it probably is) that Pope Francis will not go down the wrong road.

    But man I am worried about the horror that recently occurred in the 70s and 80s with all the disappeances and violence.

    That violence dwarfs, though does not diminish, the aggressiveness of Argentina against the British Falklands. That is a culture and a product of it to be concerned about. How would everybody feel about it if Mexico attacked the U.S. despite the Treaty of Guadupe Hidalgo (which is actually going on), or the U.S. attacked Canada despite the Treaty of Ghent, or Germany again attacked France over the Alsace-Lorraine?

    These are just facts and ideas to keep in mind, not accusations.

    • Francis is Italian by ancestry, as is a majority of Argentina’s population. (Old quip about Argentines: a bunch of Italians who speak Spanish and think they are English).

      Tangential point, but complaining about Argentina’s “aggressiveness” against the Falklands is bunk. The British took the islands by force, and Argentina – and most of the world, in fact – has never recognized it. The situation is in no way comparable with the examples mentioned, where the defeated party agreed, by treaty, to its losses. The 1982 invasion was stupid, but it was not Argentina who had begun the aggression.

      Let us hope Pope Francis can help in solving this controversy amicably, as Pope John Paul II did with the Argentine/Chilean border dispute that nearly led to war in 1978.

      • Balderdash. The British discovered the islands and their colony was a legitimate acquisition. Indeed it was a good deal more legitimate than any Spanish colony in South America, given that the Falklands were uninhabited when they were discovered. The inhabitants have voted nearly unanimously to remain under British control; this was their wish in 1982 and remains so. The Argentine invasion was unquestionably aggressive and justly received the decisive rebuff it deserved on the basis of international law and national self-determination.

        It is pretty funny to hear the heirs of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata whine about colonialism. They’re not exactly the indigenous inhabitants themselves.

    • @Tarl

      Yes, I know: the British (and the Falklanders) have their arguments. The Argentines have theirs too, and would disagree strongly with your rendering of the events, whether the current Falklander population is a legitimate party to the controversy, whether national self-determination is really at stake here, etc. The details of the specific British or Argentine positions is immaterial: the whole point is that there’s a controversy.

      Britain could conquer Argentina and force it to sign a treaty giving up the Falklands, but since that’s not in the cards nowadays, negotiation is the only way out, whether anyone likes it or not.

      It is pretty funny to hear the heirs of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata whine about colonialism. They’re not exactly the indigenous inhabitants themselves.

      So Britain cannot complain about what it considers an attack on its territory unless all the Anglo-Saxons leave and only the Celts remain? They’re not the indigenous inhabitants either…

      I’ll keep hoping Pope Francis can repeat Pope John Paul II’s success.

  6. There’s some evidence that the state of the TLM in Argentina is not so bad after all: http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2013/03/old-rite-mass-in-argentina.html. Evidently, Card. Bergoglio was quick to implement the TLM there and it is offered at maybe a dozen or so places elsewhere in the country. So it would seem the RC types are talking out of their respective asses. Of course his personal liturgical sensibilities seem to suck but, hey, at least it’s not an impediment to the rest of us.

    He also seems to have endorsed denial of communion to politicians supporting abortion and perversion: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/03/13/cardinal-jorge-mario-bergoglio-becomes-pope-francis-to-lead-catholics/.

    • I get the impression some of the RC types are receiving their info from anonymous sources which could mean it’s out of their asses, like you say.

    • Few Bishops it seems are liturgical fanaticists–this is probably a good thing on average. They go zillions of places, sometimes strange to them, to celebrate masses. Beforehand, they have their master of ceremonies interact with the local parish folks to decide about how things will go down. Unless the appointed MC is a total hard-ass (and was instructed by his Bishop to be so), it stands to reason that the mass is going to contain a large amount of the local parish culture… such as it may be. The Bishop has to tread carefully between his teaching/pastoring role and the risk of alienating people who may already distrust or dislike him (and would love to have more reason to do). Not every battle can be fought every minute of every single day… So one video doesn’t necessarily tell us much, no matter how ugly and degrading it is. What are liturgies like in his cathedral? That would tell us something.

      • Oddly, in his first Papal Mass today, he forewent the Papal vestments, vesting just like the Cardinals save for the white zuchetto (instead of their red). That, paired with his repeated reference to himself during his first urbi et orbi as merely the “bishop of Rome” and his other unusual choice of vestment so far makes me wonder if we’re seeing glimpses into his attitude re: collegiality. If so, I worry: a weak and deferential Pope is exactly what the Sodanites want.

    • Wow thanks for that Proph. I guess I should be paying better attention myself. Without Christ, without evangelization, the Church becomes merely “a compassionate NGO”. Very interesting phrase, very concrete phrase, for a pope to publish. Large swathes of Church ministry already are exactly that, of course… although probably of only middling compassion anyway.

  7. The new RCC Pope is Italian by ethnicity, Italian by name, Argentinian by nationality and orthodox by doctrine.

    How long since the RCC has had an Italian Pope? I would like to know.

  8. Some of the comments here are reassuring, which is good, because I was more than a little spooked by the commenting over at the RC blog.

    While I was really hoping for a Ranjinth, this man seems to have potential, even if some things about him make me cringe (clown masses?! Oh Lord). Maybe he will be a good Papa after all!
    Still, I do wish they would have elected someone who would carry on B16’s legacy… and I still scratch my head over why they picked him (was it really just because he was the runner up back in 2005?).
    While it does not seem this Pope will carry on with the reform of the reform (of the liturgy), he should be good at sweeping out the corruption in Rome! Let’s just hope thay he sweeps out the actual corruption, not the traditions of the Church (please Lord, no more kicking Church traditions to the wayside so we can “modernize” the Church, or make her more “democratic”).

      • The only issue they mention was his frowning on the practice of denying baptism to the babies of lapsed Catholics without qualification, a question which isn’t exactly a modern/traditionalist division. There’s plenty of good arguments for either position, and Ratzinger himself admitted to having waffled on the issue before coming down on the same side as Bergoglio.

  9. Well, it could have been worse, I suppose. But then, the Holy Spirit has spoken, and he knows best. Though I really was hoping for Ranjith (can’t go wrong with a guy who goes around saying “I’m not a fan of the Lefebvrians…but what they sometimes say about the liturgy they say for good reason.”)

    Anyway, let’s celebrate!

    • Oh man, where’d you dig that up? ROFLMAO!!! Better not let the “Youth Mass” folks here it… they’ll try to cover it for Offertory.

  10. The Holy Spirit guides the Cardinals, but that does not mean they listen. Nobody should pretend that the choice of Pope is beyond scrutiny.

    There is plenty reason to be cautious about Francis. As a Cardinal, he was not just indifferent but outwardly hostile to the Latin Mass, and was prone to involve himself in silly ecumunical publicity stunts.

    And I can’t help but think of the “Bishop dressed in white” from the revealed part of the Third Secret of Fatima when I look at his apparent allergy to traditional papal vestments. The last thing we need is another Pope who tries to be the “cool guidance counselor”.

    Yet, I’m hopeful that his humility and devotion to Our Lady, and even his lack of experience in the Curia could be a benefit. If he is truly devoted to Mary, and submissive to the will of God, maybe Russia could finally be consecrated, and maybe genuine house cleaning could happen.

    So I’m still unsure about Francis, but as always I will trust in God.

  11. The frivolousness of some reactions to the election of the new pope defies parody. Nancy Pelosi said she is very pleased he has chosen the name Francis because she represents San Francisco. Another dotty woman writes (in the Daily Telegraph) that since the word ‘papa’ in Latin is a feminine noun, she “hopes the reign of Pope Francis will herald a more enlightened approach to sex and gender”.

    • Ah, but “papa” is not feminine gramatically – it is in the same declension as many feminine nouns – but it is masculine as you must employ masculine pronouns to agree with it! Dotty indeed.

  12. In the matter of Pope Francis & the liturgy, maybe we should all start praying that the judgment of Inside the Vatican’s Robert Moynihan is correct:

    “[W]e should have no concerns whatsoever about the continued celebration of the traditional Latin Mass under our new Pope, Francis. I do not believe Francis will do anything to undermine the freedom Pope Benedict granted to the traditional Latin Mass in 2007.”

  13. http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/
    The new post, entitled “Pope Francis” by Michael J. Matt was very helpful, you guys should check it out, as it does clear some things up, like the whole kneeling to recieve a blessing from a protestant pastor thing.
    It seems the folks over at the Remnant Newspaper (trads) are at least hopeful about the new Pope, and that is a very good thing in my book. Given what has been going on over at RC, I had half expected the Remnant to see things the same way.

  14. Francis’ Papacy has been pretty bewildering thus far. The Vatican’s high-handedness with the Francisicans is disappointing. Also the recent spectacle at WYD shows little has changed.


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