“Do not deceive yourselves,” wrote St. Paul. “If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
Pope Francis appears to disagree. He treats the standards of this age very reverentially while undercutting “fools for Christ” like Kim Davis. Shortly after the worldly wise expressed outrage at his meeting with the Kentucky clerk, he authorized his press secretary to spin it as a meaningless gesture, akin to a random ropeline greeting.
“The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” said his press secretary. “Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.”
That former student turned out to be a homosexual caterer with his boyfriend in tow, prompting such pleased headlines from the liberal media as: “Vatican distances Pope Francis from Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. Meanwhile, the Vatican confirmed that Francis met with a gay friend and his partner a day earlier.”
Were St. Ignatius of Loyola alive today to witness this Jesuit papacy, he would see it as a grim parody. St. Ignatius established his order to advance the “Church militant.” Pope Francis is fostering a Church muddled. His spokesmen say that he is comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, seeking out the scorned on the margins. The evidence for this claim is hard to find. If anything, he is comforting the comfortable and leaving faithful Christians, who have never been more scorned, out in the cold.
The endless prattle about his unique gifts as a “pastor” ignores that he routinely leaves the gate open for the wolves to devour the lambs. To treat Kim Davis as the wolf and homosexual activists as the lambs is not pastoral. It is unholy. It confuses the faithful, discourages the truly seeking, and emboldens the Church’s enemies.
St. Paul wrote his letters to “fools for Christ” to confirm them in their faith. Pope Francis writes letters to opponents of Christian teaching to confirm them in their errors. Italian atheist Eugenio Scalfari felt so confirmed in his unbelief and relativism after his epistolary exchanges with Francis that he gushed, “an openness to modern and secular culture of this breadth, such a profound vision between conscience and its autonomy, has never before been heard from the chair of St. Peter.”
According to his spokesmen, Pope Francis is “reaching” out to these lost sheep. But he is not telling them that they are lost. He is telling them that they are on the right path. His former student, Yayo Grassi, rushed to the press to inform them that he and his boyfriend Iwan had received a papal blessing and that Francis, in a previous exchange, had assured him that “I want you to know that in my work there is absolutely no place for homophobia.”
The Vatican, while offering a “clarification” on the Kim Davis meeting, hasn’t bothered to clarify that papal remark to Grassi. It is content to let the Church’s enemies think that she no longer takes her own moral teachings seriously anymore. The priority of this pontificate is not to “reach out” to those enemies for the purpose of Catholic conversion but for the promotion of political liberalism and maybe at best a lowest-common-denominator theism.
Kim Davis is irrelevant to that papal goal and so she is easily discarded. Francis isn’t worried about losing the good opinion of “fundamentalists,” whom he regularly caricatures as out of step with the modern zeitgeist, but with losing the good opinion of the liberal elite. Once they heard that Pope Francis had thrown Davis under his Fiat, he returned to their good graces. As one liberal pundit put it to his confreres, only half-facetiously, “You can like the Pope Again! Vatican Distances Pope From Kim Davis.” Saturday Night Live depicted Pope Francis in a skit untangling himself from Kim Davis’s embrace.
The late cardinal of Chicago, Francis George, once said, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” Given the Church’s respect for the wisdom of the world under Pope Francis, George’s prediction will not come to pass. The Kim Davises will rot in jail while the Pope is driven to palaces in his Fiat.
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