The liberals and the ill-informed might insist that it was in a terrible state, but most of us realize that’s a lie.
Whatever the state of the Church back in 1958, one thing is certain, relatively speaking, it was one hell of a lot healthier than the Church of 2013. Again, liberals who rather enjoy believing and behaving as protestants will disagree, but it’s the truth.
Pope Francis pointed out in his recent interview that John XXIII employed an approach to Church governance that is summarized in the following motto:
“See everything; turn a blind eye to much; correct a little.”
I hadn’t heard that before, but it rings true. John XXIII corrected, not a little, but nothing as far as I know. For example, he promulgated the very important Apostolic Constitution,Veterum Sapientia, and yet when bishops conferences and seminary rectors thumbed their nose at it, he did nothing.
Later in his short pontificate, John XXIII ordered that the Catechism of the Council of Trent should be republished, but that order also fell on deaf ears without any repercussion.
The high point of this spineless pontificate came in October 1962. The liberal faction among the Council Fathers’ first order of business at Vatican II was to summarily dismiss the 72 schemata painstakingly drafted over a period of more than two years by the Preparatory Commission appointed by Pope John XXIII for that very purpose. Though the mutiny-bent bishops couldn’t manage the 2/3 majority necessary according to the council’s rules to formally reject the schemata, the pope let them do it anyway.
You get the point.
Angelo Roncalli, a man who by all accounts was personally determined to be well-liked by all, inherited a healthy House of God with well nurtured children, not without lurking dangers, obviously, but healthy nonetheless. In short order, after “turning a blind eye to much,” those who prowled about the Church whilst hiding in the shadows from within, seeking the ruin of souls, emerged to operate freely in the light of day, as though they were the sole standard bearers of the new and improved Catholic truth, and far too many faithful and clergy simply fell in line behind them.
Fast forward to 2013, with bankrupt dioceses, a massive priest shortage, religious orders on the verge of extinction and parish closings too numerous to number.
Enter Jorge Bergoglio, who on 13 March inherited a House of God in disarray, its visible structures crumbling at an alarming rate and her children malnourished to the point of spiritual death. And whom does he choose to emulate in his approach to papal governance?
You guessed it: Pope John XXIII.
This is a story almost too ridiculous to be true.
If the father of teenaged children who were dabbling in life threatening activities took the same approach to running his own household, most everyone would call it neglect; some, child abuse. Many would question the qualifications of this man to be anyone’s father.
Then again, based on current events, maybe the PTA and the majority of the neighbors would rally to his defense, nominate him for Father-of-the-Year, and make of him a celebrity.