4 July 2022

Obsessive Pontiffs

 There have been pontificates enough in which some Catholics have been familiar with obsessed and rambling popes; Pietro Caraffa, Pope Paul IV, for example, was full of detestation of all things Spanish, and wanted nothing better than to wage war with Queen Mary I and to cite Reginald Cardinal Pole for heresy. 

Adrian Fortescue was among those who felt that S Pius X was somewhat obsessed with the war against Modernism, and might be better dead.

Perhaps some, more recently, have believed that Benedict XVI used his pontifical status to carry on his ecclesiological disagreement against Walter Kasper, investing his own views with his papal Magisterium. Personally, unlike many traddies, I have never felt that Kasper is 100% Bad; when the English Anglican bishops were considering the introduction of episcopussies, he came and read them a very categorical no-holds-barred explanation of what such a move would mean.

But I suspect that, whenever Benedict XVI engaged with his differences against Kasper, very few people simply dismissed his words as another example of poor old Ratzinger going on yet again ... delivering yet another rambling, rabid, bad-tempered, ill-argued diatribe about the priority of Ecclesia Universalis over against Ecclesia Particularis.

This is because Ratzinger was never a one-issue man. And never an obsessive.

When I returned home from hospital recently, and started again taking an interest in the News, how depressed I felt to recognise the same relentless, obsessive, onslaughts of PF against Tradition and those who rspect it.

Popes, poor poppets, should really try very hard to have more than one obsession. 

Could somebody persuade PF to take up Stamp Collecting? Train spotting? Lenition in Patagonian Welsh? 

He could make valued, peer-reviewed, academic contributions to the published literature on Eva Peron's taste in shoes.



Prayerful said...

In his days of exile after making a mess of Argentina's Jesuits, I think the Pope spent a good length of time in the Jesuit Milltown Institute in Dublin learning English, a language he has not remotely mastered (hard to follow even his reading of it). Perhaps someone could buy the Pope an upgraded Duolingo account so he might master it, or least learn to read it, and not get his news of the Anglosphere through leftist seethers in la Repubblica or from his pals who are also full of leftist seethe at the evil Yanqui on this 4th of July (happy that day to any Americans). This could be a useful obsession for him, a better one too.

Matthew F Kluk said...

This Pope's obsessive concerns will carry him beyond the grave, beyond judgement,to the reward he will have chosen for himself.

Matthew F Kluk said...

Thank you for the good wishes on the Fourth of July!

coradcorloquitur said...

A hilarious blog entry, Father. Except that I, for one, am convinced that St. Pius X was not sufficiently "obsessed" with Modernism. I believe developments in the recent destructive decades of Modernist stranglehold make that clear. I lament I will no longer think as kindly (or confidently) of Father Fortescue now that I learned of his lethal animus against one of the greatest, most saintly popes of the Church. As for harmless obsessions for Papa Bergoglio, I think it would be futile to suggest any to him: his favorite pastimes of subterfuge, gossip, and vindictiveness are too dear to his old, revolutionary heart and possibly take up all of his waking time.

John Vasc said...

"Adrian Fortescue was among those who felt that S Pius X was somewhat obsessed with the war against Modernism, and might be better dead."
Those who took that view were, unsurprisingly, modernists, and mainly members of the clergy. (Fr Fortescue's writings are themselves not untouched by modernist lapses.) Yet even Pope Pius X could not forsee how the gnostic version of modernism circulating in his time half a century later turn into the banal, inverted snobbish, 'godda-move-with-the-times' collectivist bullying of today's modernism. (Kasper's German 'Catechism' is a perfect example, and Benedict, as a German scholar, could see its insidious poison quite clearly.)
As the early 15c Imitatio points out to the reader, 'What is the good of a philosophical understanding of the Trinity, if the Trinity thinks you're an ar$e?'
(Though the writer of this classic of the devotio moderna does not express himself quite as 'modernly' as that.)

Stephen said...

There is a certain something that is common to Sarto and Trump...an unapologetic "in your faceness" to reigning shibboleths...a clear disdain for dominance by elites...and dare I say how much Pompeo comes across as a Merry del Val, American style? the mind boggles...

coradcorloquitur said...

What Trump and Sarto surprisingly share---their great differences notwithstanding---is a very Christian detestation of BS, lying, and hypocrisy. Come to think of it, these two very different men share those traits with Someone we call "Master"---and the world (and its fools) cannot forgive them for it.

John Patrick said...

Taking up trainspotting I am afraid might not be very satisfying given that the Vatican only sees one train a week so he would get rather bored standing by the tracks with his notebook and camera in hand.