Thursday, March 26, 2015
POPE FRANCIS, THE MEERKATS AND THE CHAMELEONS
The election of Pope Francis just two years and a few days ago, certainly has brought in its wake a vigorous stirring of the waters within the Catholic Church. Anxiously, various groups of interested Catholics have looked for signs as to what the new Pontificate might mean for them.
Two special groups whose activities are not often identified are those I have chosen to call the Meerkats and the Chameleons. Meerkats , not so much for the "loveable" characteristics usually imputed to those animals , as for the custom of the Meerkats to suddenly stand up craning for the best view possible to protect themselves and their interests. And Chameleons for their ability to change their colouring to blend in with the prevailing local colour range.
These first two years of Pope Francis' activity have been times of radical superficial change, and this has demanded the attention of both groups.The Modernist Meerkats had been steadily forced into a prolonged period of inactivity in the Pontificates of Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. They had lain slumbering in the " long grass" and rarely visible - it suited them in some ways. As one of them told me some years ago " We are all tired after all the struggle". The "struggle" was to get into the Church as much radical false " spirit of the Council" change as they could manage - extirpating the sense of the sacred, wrecking the interiors of churches,preaching thinly veiled heresies or sometimes blatant heresies, suppressing traditional groups, getting rid of clerical attire, confronting popular piety etc.
Then Pope Francis arrives , the clamour of the Conclave attracted their attention . Roused from their slumber they stood erect in many places to see what was going on. As the novelties of the new Pontificate mutiplied, and all seemed to be useful to their aims, more and more of them stood up and thus identified themselves. They came to believe they were back in business. From layfolk to religious, to clergy and Prelates they became increasingly noisy and active.
Hubris seemed to get the better of them. And the more senior they are the more this is true. Cardinal Kasper and a number of the other German Bishops were really high in this heady atmosphere. It is true that the Holy Father's favour, and remarks in Kasper's regard seemed
to warrant their confidence. Seemed is the operative word. Their brash performance in the lead-up to the Synod and in the Synod seems to have blown up in their faces. The stalwart defence of Catholic Truth and orthodox practice by Cardinals Pell, Burke, Muller, Caffarra, Napier and Sarah and the majority of Synod members has mobilised a massive preparation for the October 2015 Synod which will return to the subject of Marriage and the Family .Despite administrative manipulations by the Meerkats, the defenders of the Faith and of orthodox practice will be ready for them.
What of the Chameleons? These are more subtle and deceitful creatures who " run with the fox and hunt with the hounds". They will kneel in smiling admiration before Pope Benedict XVI and go back to their Diocese and kow tow to the liberal majority there. Comes along Pope Francis and " Who am I to judge?" and they begin to espouse the liberal agenda openly and facilitate the advancement of their more openly liberal fellows. From Southern Australia to the North they can be found to-day.Their new colouring shocks those who have known them, but it is the nature of the beast, and will revert to its former hues after the next Conclave no doubt.
Indeed, both groups will be already on the alert fearing that they have been flushed out in a false dawn. For in recent weeks reports from usually reliable sources record Pope Francis distancing himself from the views of Cardinal Kasper and moving his favour very strongly to Cardinal Caffarra (Archbishop of Bologna) who has always been a staunch defender of Catholic orthodoxy and a vigorous opponent of the Kasper approach. In addition they would note that the radicalist "unity" of the German Bishops is cracking with Cardinal Cordes and another Bishop openly opposing the stance of the radical majority.
Equally, they have come to see that on matters of Doctrine and Tradition the Holy Father is constantly affirming the Church's Magisterial teaching. His casual remarks may serve to grab attention but they never affect the orthodoxy of his considered teaching.
Life for Meerkats and Chameleons can be very "interesting" not say, distressing in these times, especially with the Holy Father publicly voicing his view that his Pontificate will be brief.