After the announcement of Anglicanorum coetibus, signifying the erection of the Ordinariates, the senior Anglican in Argentina ... so he narrates ... received an invitation from H E Cardinal Bergoglio. He "called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans."
Archbishop Venables later "clarified" this by saying that the cardinal's comments were more an affirmation of Anglicanism than criticism of the Ordinariate.
Some years later, after election to the See of S Peter, PF said to Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (Pembroke College Oxford and 'Foreign Minister' of the Moskow Patriarchate): "Before you I would like to reiterate--in a special way before you, my dear brother, and before all of you--that the Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to arise from her people. We will never allow ourselves to do this, I do not want it. In Moscow--in Russia--there is only one Patriarchate: yours. We will not have another one. And when some Catholic faithful, be they laypeople, priests or bishops, raise the banner of Uniatism, which does not work anymore, and is over, then it causes me pain. The Churches that are united in [sic] Rome must be respected, but Uniatism as a path to unity is not valid today."
Surely, quite a number of questions arise here.
(1) PF is speaking of matters which have doctrinal aspects. But he is not, apparently, speaking Magisterially.
(2) What did PF mean by "Russia"? I understand that His All-holiness the Patriarch of Moskow enjoys the title " ... and of all the Russias". Does this phrase include, in Muskovite understanding, Byelorussia and the Ukraine? The current breach of communio between Constantinople and Moskow would suggest that it does.
(3) Do PF's words indicate that he does not accept the assumption that all Christians should be in full communion with Rome? Or, at least, that such a state is highly desirable?
(4) Does he take the view that it is improper for groups of Christians ... or entire churches ... to enter into unity with Rome while still retaining those elements of Culture, Spirituality, Liturgy, Patrimony which they have enjoyed in separation, and which are not contrary to the defined doctrine of the Catholic Church?
(5) Is PF's attitude expressive of his dislike of Liturgical Traditions which differ from what he has claimed to be the unicus usus of the Roman Rite? Is it his belief that, if such regrettable phenomena must exist, it is better that they should stay well out of communion with the See of S Peter so that he can keep his Latin Church free of ancient Tradition and Usage, a Sartrian tabula rasa, pliable and malleable so that he can mould it to conform to his personal whimsies?
(1) would give rise to confusion. The more emphatically PF spoke, the more the exchange is, in my view ... improper, confusing, and a skandalon.
(2) would imply that PF is 'siding' with Moskow against Constantinople.
(3) and (4) appear to me haeresi proxima. They certainly indicate attitudes directly opposite to those inherent in the actions which PF's papal predecessor embodied in an Apostolic Constitution.
(5) suggests that PF does not really see himself as shepherd of the Universal Church, but only of its Latin portions. Such a self-understanding would mean, in effect, that he does not truly understand himself to be Pope. So is he, constructively, a Sedevacantist?