VER SINCE HIS ELECTION, irresponsible and sensationalistic journalists have created a particular “narrative” for Pope Francis. (The irony, of course, is that if they’d simply stuck with the facts about the man, they’d be amazed & inspired.) What I especially hate is when they slobber over Pope Francis, yet ignore his message, in which he glorifies Jesus Christ … not himself.
The distortions about Francis might have been created with malicious intent, but more likely result from ignorance, laziness, and (most importantly) greed. After all, it’s difficult to sell newspapers and magazines without giving stories an “angle,” and journalists don’t seem to care how genuine their angle is.
A number of picco-liturgists have subscribed to this fictitious narrative, and wake up every morning hoping Pope Francis will insert “progressive” elements to the Roman Missal. From the beginning, some have pointed out how improbable such a development would be, but the “progressive” liturgists refuse to give up hope.
At this point, it seems they’re grasping at straws.
I recently came across an article in The Tablet dealing with the recent document by the CDW on the Sign of Peace, which (though helpful and welcome) is fairly inconsequential, containing absolutely nothing new or surprising. The Tablet article could best be described as “ill-informed gossip” by a totally unqualified author with too much time on his hands; yet one can easily find hundreds more just like it!
I’ve attempted to write a parody, but I fear it’s so similar to what passes for journalism these days, it hardly qualifies as satire:
TEINWAY HAS RECENTLY BEGUN constructing pianos with a slightly different alloy than they had used before. Some say this new alloy might be cheaper than the old one (but this hasn’t been confirmed yet). If so, the Steinway corporation might have more money to spend on helping the poor, and this would obviously be a response to the pope’s initiatives. After all, Pope Francis is the first church leader ever to encourage helping those in need. Indeed, this new alloy epitomises Pope Francis’ approach to life, the Church, and the sacraments, and suggests that Pope Francis will soon make vast changes in the Church, such as allowing women’s ordination and eliminating all dogmas.
As I mentioned already, it’s highly unlikely Pope Francis will make sweeping changes to the liturgy. In spite of what some have claimed, 1 Pope Francis is not as interested in the liturgy as B16 was.
I have a secret … but please don’t tell the “progressive” liturgists. If they want to learn about a pope who made sweeping changes to the liturgy, they should study Pope Paul VI. They would be amazed at the great number of changes he made. (In fact, he left very few items untouched.) Again, please don’t tell them, because it’s quite amusing to watch them go crazy every time Francis does something, assuring us that his “secret fingerprints” are on such-and-such, and he’s secretly intending to do such-and-such, and he’s poised to make massive changes, ETC.
I HAVE TO ADMIT, there was a good deal of ignorant sensationalism about Benedict XVI, as well. People who knew absolutely nothing about how the Church operates would notice B16 wearing some vestment (which popes have worn for centuries) and declare that “big changes” are coming to the Church. Yet, when I’d walk into a local Church, nothing had changed. For example, we still had disrespectful musical styles with horrible lyrics, like a Communion meditation I heard recently at Mass:
We are the Church, we are the chosen.
We are the poor, we’ll suffer no more.
We are the victors, we’re here and we’ll triumph.
We’ll come to the light, we’ll be there with might,
and accept our cup of blessing.
(Those are the actual lyrics of the song.)
But all this has been taken to another level with the “Francis Myths.” How can people take this stuff seriously? Maybe Fulton Sheen was right. “The problem is not that modern people believe too little; the problem is, they’ll believe anything.”
By the way, if you haven’t read Fr. Friel’s article about Benedict XVI and Francis, please do so.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Fr. Anthony Ruff, who frequently presents at “progressive” gatherings like Call to Action, asserted in 2013 that Pope Francis is “more interested in liturgy” than Pope Benedict XVI.