Whatever our thoughts on Pope Francis, let's thank him for one thing: his off the cuff remarks always give us something to think about, for good or ill. Rorate broke the story while I was on my honeymoon, and my phone started chirping with text messages and facebook updates, preventing me from enjoying the Rockies with my now wife and drinking a Milk Stout Nitro, at least until I shut my phone off. Now that I'm back on lower elevations, my thoughts:
1.) On the whole "Pelegian" thing. I actually kind of get what the Pope doesn't care for. Sometimes you get some dissident groups who want to offer something ordinarily good and true for the Pope, but with the worst of motives. For some in groups like the SSPX, they offer these spiritual rosaries so the Pope can return to "eternal rome", abolish the New Mass, or basically do whatever the heck they think is right and true. Others look to make a show out of things by the amount of people they have doing it. If we get to 10,000 people doing this, it's more important than 9,900. The Pope's answer is: seriously guys, knock off the counting, just pray for me, let me know you and those like you are praying for me, and leave it at that. I think that's sound advice.
But Pelegian? Really? It's bad enough when ordinary Catholics turn small spiritual imperfections into heresies (I'm looking at you Christopher West and TOB evangelists!), and it's worse when a Bishop of Rome does the same, poisoning the well as a way to chum up to his fellow bishops, most who have a pretty negative view of Catholics who like the Latin Mass, even the loyal ones. To put them in the same boat as pantheists and new age nutjobs doesn't help either.
2.) The Corrupt Gay Lobby
When you are looking to reform the Church, it is best to identify who your enemies really are. Pope Francis outlines it in pretty stunning fashion without pulling any punches: a group of very powerful individuals within the Church are part of a "gay lobby" and are really corrupt. In other words, the food sucks and they serve such small portions! Hey everyone, remember when Mark Shea, Simcha Fischer and the Patheos mafia dismissed Michael Voris as a paranoid nut for talking about the "gay lobby" in the American Church? Can't wait to hear what they say about the new hotness...
So I guess my question is: Traditionalists hate the gay lobby and the corrupt individuals of the Curia. Even if Pope Francis doesn't like their so called "obsession" with counting the amount of Rosaries they say for him, why the heck alienate them, when its pretty clear he is going to need all the allies he can get when he "sees what we can do" about draining the swamp? If you want to destroy the enemies of the Church, you need to do so with a single-minded determination. That's not what we have here, and its why I'm still of the belief that while moves will be made, not much will change. Take out a few bad apples in the Curia, and they will be replaced by other bad apples. There are structural changes that need to happen, and its far better to focus on that, then to belittle those who are trying to help the Pope, even if in a flawed way.