As odd and confusing, seemingly contradictory to the spiritual instinct of the Traditional Catholic, as Pope Francis’ emblem for his Year of Mercy is, so too is his Papacy. Just as odd as the conjoining heads of God, and the subsequent three eyes, not to mention the contorted body image which poorly images the Savior who carries humanity on His loving shoulder, is the odd acts and words of our current Pope.
We live in a world full of monsters, terrorists, ideologues, liars, thieves, and bullies. What we have in Francis is a well meaning, gentle pebble.
But what we need is the Rock of Christ.
In an earthly analogy, Teddy Roosevelt said: ‘walk softly but carry a big stick.’ In a divine reality, Jesus walked as softly as a man ever has, but carried the big stick of the Cross as the Word made flesh.
Saint JPII, walked in the gentle faith of a Polish man of genuine Catholicism, but carried a big stick in his resolve to see the defeat of totalitarianism, first in Nazism, and then in Communism. There was no doubt that he was a Rock. Through encyclicals, luminous writings, personal rebukes, and public discourse, this Vicar of Christ was a Rock for a world in deep trouble.
B16, though a frail man of learning, fought with the weapons of personal holiness, theological sharpness, and an un-breaking spirit of stubbornness protecting Tradition, that which angered liberals worldwide, and fought the good fight against the false ideologies of relativism and Post-Christian Europe. This frail man of learning was a Rock, in a troubled world, through his dogged holiness and his dogged defense of Catholic Truth.
Pope Francis, however, has been a (negative) sign of contradiction since his first day as Pope. Always a media misquote machine, this Pope has been spontaneously vague enough to fuel more than a few anti-Catholic, anti-freedom ideologies. His first encyclical, curiously written on the topic of protecting God’s Creation, a big topic for far left wingers, left a lasting impression for his overt support for the controversial ‘science’ of climate change. Furthermore, the Synod on the Family, under his watch, was a spectacle of potential heresy and confusion for Catholics worldwide. Visiting America, moreover, he missed on a great opportunity to speak for Life, Liberty, and Truth, when he addressed Congress and said nary a word about Barack Obama’s attacks on those very topics. And let’s not forget his recent debacle with Donald Trump.
But what is most disconcerting is that there are consistent absences of Rock-like witness from the Pope. While the world is dogged by terrorism, totalitarianism, progressivism, radical environmentalism, the culture of death, socialism, communism, political correctness, and the undermining of world unity by the ‘United’ Nations, this Pope seems so full of sugary words about ‘compassion’ and ‘mercy’ and ‘love,’ all of which seem to carry nothing of the weight of his two great predecessors.
In effect, he has born witness to his own reality as the pebble of Christ when we most need a Rock.