On the Ropes
“I don’t know how much more I can take of this. Internally screaming isn’t doing it for me anymore.”
This comment, shared with me yesterday on social media, summed up the way so many Catholics – myself included – are feeling these days. Day after day, headline after headline, accusation after accusation from Christ’s own vicar that the faithful are on the side of the “Great Accuser” and are far too “rigid” and don’t even have the “Spirit of God.”
We feel abused. Beaten. Exhausted. Defeated.
We look at the mess, piling up higher and deeper with staggering speed, and wonder how in the world God is going to sort it all out. When people ask us what we think is going to happen next, our most common answer is “I don’t know.” We have no idea what to expect. Like a cliffhanger at the end of a television show, we cannot fathom a good ending to the arc of the story with things the way they are.
We are, in many respects, like a boxer on the ropes: not out for the count, not quite able to stay on our feet, somewhere between accepting that we’re beaten and stubbornly getting our hands up for another round.
I guarantee you, they are counting on us feeling this way.
It is impossible to accomplish true revolutionary change through incrementalism.
Saul Alinsky wrote in Rules for Radicals, “I start where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be … it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be.”
But he also wrote: “the major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”
He also instructed his readers that “ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
(Got that, you rigid Pharisees?)
Cloward and Piven, another pair of revolutionary radicals, designed a strategy that would overwhelm and collapse the system so they could replace it with the one they wanted. It was a process that would begin slowly but escalate over time.
Francis and his friends are not at all different. What began as subterfuge was designed to escalate. So said the pope’s friend and ghostwriter, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, back in 2015 (emphasis added):
The pope goes slow because he wants to be sure that the changes have a deep impact. The slow pace is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the changes. He knows there are those hoping that the next pope will turn everything back around. If you go slowly it’s more difficult to turn things back.”
The interviewer then proceeded to ask him whether it does not help his adversaries when they know that Pope Francis says that his papacy might be short.
Fernández answered: “The pope must have his reasons, because he knows very well what he’s doing. He must have an objective that we don’t understand yet. You have to realize that he is aiming at reform that is irreversible. If one day he should sense that he’s running out of time and doesn’t have enough time to do what the Spirit is asking him, you can be sure he will speed up.
And so here we are, and they are throwing so much at us that we can barely keep up. After a year of battling over Amoris Laetitia, we were suddenly thrust back into a startling re-visitation of the clerical sex abuse crisis. Now it seems that each week, amid new stories of new accusations in dioceses around the world, more evidence is also emerging that the pope is personally involved in surrounding himself with and covering up for morally compromised men. Just this week, two more of his personally chosen and highest ranking prelates came under scrutiny for allegations of misconduct – homosexual behavior and abuse cover-up, respectively. One of those prelates was specifically warned about this in the testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, adding credibility to his claims.
But the media can focus on only so many things at a time. Right now, there’s a multi-week youth synod happening, and it is chumming the waters of Catholic discussion with an embarrassing array of modernist talking points. Whether it’s promotion of multiculturalism or “universal citizenship,” discussion of acceptance of homosexuals or “non-traditional families,” talking about a “vocabulary of dialogue” with other religions while avoiding using “traditional language” with youths under the assumption that they cannot understand it, every day of the synod presents a jaw-dropping display of tone-deafness to the real problems in the Church. It is impossible to ascertain through all the chatter what substantive “reforms” will come out once the sausage is done being made. But we are soon to be faced with a final document that – per the new apostolic constitution Epicopalis Communio – will become automatically part of the ordinary magisterium. That document, however, will be voted on by the Synod Fathers after having all 70 pages read to them aloud (but not, so far as we’ve yet been told, given to them in hard copy)! What could go wrong?
Meanwhile, we are told the pope has been seen wearing a rainbow cross not because of its immediate connotation of “LGBT” ideology, but because it is representative of various countries and cultures.
In an interview published today in La Civiltà Cattolica – the Jesuit publication run by papal “mouthpiece” Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., with full oversight of the pope – Francis said, “I know that the Lord wants the Council to make headway in the Church. Historians tell us that it takes 100 years for a Council to be applied. We are halfway there. So, if you want to help me, do whatever it takes to move the Council forward in the Church.”
The revolution will be televised, telegraphed, and thrown in our faces – because they believe there is nothing we can do to stop it.
Their bravado, however, is not entirely convincing. In one of the synod pressers this week, Paolo Ruffini, the new layman at the helm of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications (who replaced Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano of “lettergate” infamy) says there have been discussions of a “more official platform in the digital world” for the Vatican to combat “fanatical interpretations” on the internet.