[The following is an article I'm reprinting from Rorate Caeli
that I think is worthy of consideration]
Influential Editorial declares Francis Pontificate a "failure": Hope for an end to Hyper-Papalism
The very recent publication of the editorial by R.R. Reno, the editor of First Things, declaring the pontificate of Pope Francis a “failure” ("A Failing Papacy"
, Feb. 2019 issue), is both newsworthy and more importantly the beginning, we hope, of an intellectual examination of the present papacy that will result in an honest assessment of the present papacy and, one further hopes, a call for an end to the hyper-papalism of the past years—perhaps even over a century--, and a theological reassessment, based on the Tradition of the Church, of the nature and role of the papacy.
That the editor of First Things, which became for some years, in my personal assessment, an organ for the Neo-Conservative agenda, has written this editorial may not catch the attention of the New York Times, but certainly is significant among those Catholics who understand the Tradition of the Church and who have been and are greatly disturbed by the failure of this pontificate to articulate clearly and unambiguously the Catholic Faith in a time of political and cultural mass confusion.
Reno must be thanked for his courage and his clarity with regard to the current situation in the Church. Reno now understands that this papacy is not only not consonant with St John Paul II’s real attempt, grounded in the Tradition of the Church, to re-anchor the Catholic Faith in the person of Jesus Christ and the dogma of the Church after the threatened collapse of Church teaching and liturgical praxis after the Second Vatican Council. This papacy, with its lack of fidelity to the Tradition and its cheap and outdated appeals to Modern Man ironically at a time when Modernity no longer exists except in the Roman Curia who are still living in 1965, has lost touch with those Post-Modern men and women, especially youth, who are searching for what is real and true in the detritus of Modernity.
Not only has this pontiff and his coterie not articulated the Catholic faith both to faithful Catholics and to the disbelieving and hostile world, they also seem determined to accommodate the Catholic faith to the contemporary zeitgeist and all in the name of –mirablie dictu—mercy. And this mercy without the Cross of Jesus Christ. The very idea of a Savior of the world becomes not necessary when the very understanding of sin, central to Christianity, is emptied out by an anti-intellectualism and sentimentality that both deny the intellectual/doctrinal history of the Church and posit, in the words of one of the Pope’s more out spoken members of the inner circle, Fr. Thomas Rosica, a version of the Church that is presided over by a pope who is free from the demands of the Christian faith. This Canadian priest tells us that Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants, because he is “free from disordered attachments. Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”
This disordered lunacy could be an entertaining segment on a comedy show. But that such a statement does not cause Cardinals and Bishops to rise up and condemn such an unCatholic and unChristian statement is evidence both of the state of the Catholic hierarchy and of the intellectual level of those in charge of the Church (at least in charge in this world.) This is why we must hope that Reno’s editorial is the beginning of an intelligent and honest assessment of this papacy that espouses an agenda that certainly does not have Christ and His Cross at its center, and in fact, goes out of its way not to speak words like Savior, Redemption, the Way, the Truth and the Life, that refuses to speak about the difficulty of leading a moral life based on the teachings of Christ and His Church, and an agenda that refuses to preach and teach the radical nature of the Incarnation that changes human history forever and in one specific way –the Cross and Resurrection--that demands the attention of every man and woman in this world, demanding a decision that is ratified in eternity.
Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla