Tuesday 13 November 2018

Does Pope Francis have a cunning plan?

Pope Francis has mistakenly been identified as ushering in a new era of ‘progressive’ Catholicism. His real objective is the restoration of a more essential perspective on Christianity

THE POPE: May be opting to play liberal media on their own turf
THE POPE: May be opting to play liberal media on their own turf

John Waters

Some people talk about Pope Francis — some in admiration, some not — as though he is not a Catholic at all, but a liberal interloper determined to dismantle some of the key moral teachings of the church. A disconsolate conservative rump regards him as a dangerous showman, indifferent to the consequences of unwarranted loose talking, prepared to sell out on the truth for an easy popularity.

More than a few in the church are confused, but remain loyal and obedient because the pope is given to them by the Holy Spirit. There are others who see him as the pontiff with the cunning plan, the purveyor of a constructive ambiguity designed to throw the enemies of the church off guard.

Within a few weeks of his election, he started saying things that appeared to throw open the Church’s position on hot-button issues like homosexuality, abortion, women priests and clerical celibacy. These statements, together with what is interpreted as a left-leaning position on economics, have turned Pope Francis into the darling of the liberal media and the new white hope of ‘progressive’ Catholics. Pope Francis, who insists that he is ‘a son of the Church’, attracts vast crowds whenever he appears, and is described as ‘a breath of fresh air’ even by agnostic journalists who hitherto had nothing but ill to say of the Vatican and all belonging to it. Already, by all accounts, there’s a steady flow of lapsed Catholics back to the pews and the sacraments.

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