As I write, it has been just about ten weeks since Archbishop Ganswein confirmed Benedict’s intent to “expand” and “transform” the Petrine office in such way as to give it a “collegial and synodal dimension, as a quasi-shared ministry;” with Benedict desiring to relinquish only the “active ministry” while deliberately retaining the “contemplative ministry.”
According to Ganswein, Benedict’s longtime personal secretary and daily companion, “Since February 2013 the papal ministry is therefore no longer what it was before.”
These are the conditions by which the See of Peter was allegedly rendered vacant; creating the need for the conclave that elected the blasphemous Argentinian heretic in white otherwise known as Francis.
Given the utter lack of resolution in the matter – either by way of the Holy See’s firm refutation of Ganswein’s confirmation, or an attempt to reconcile Benedict’s intent with the Church’s immutable understanding of the nature of the Petrine office – one would think that the controversy would still be dominating both individual Catholic thought and the attention of Catholic media, but such is not the case.
As far as individuals are concerned, while many are either clueless or ambivalent, I’ve been seeing an awful lot of commentary lately from otherwise clear-thinking Catholics – some traditional, others not so much – who assert with utter confidence (and often no small amount of indignation), Francis was validly elected pope; end of story! – as if those who harbor grave doubts in the matter are little more than nut jobs and conspiracy theorists.
I’m not entirely sure what leads one to draw such a firm conclusion in the face of Ganswein’s revelations, but I suspect that at least for some it’s a defense mechanism of sorts; a manifestation of weakness whereby one prefers the illusion of assurance to the prospect of uncertainty in matters of supreme importance.
This brings me to those in Catholic media, from far-left progressives to bona fide “traditionalists” so-called; a group that after initially reporting on Ganswein’s presentation has been practically silent on the matter for some two months now.
For the progressives in Catholic media, it makes sense to avoid addressing the controversy. I mean, why poke the hornet’s nest at a time when the destruction of the Church is going so well?
Denial has long been a hallmark of the neo-conservatives, and so it likewise makes sense that precious little attention is being paid to the matter by those who fall into this particular category.
On this note, let’s give George Weigel credit for addressing Ganswein’s speech head-on. Sure, he made an ass of himself by suggesting that he knows the intent of Benedict better from the confines of the Washington, D.C. suburbs than the Holy Father’s right hand man does, but hey, at least he took a stand.
Then there are my colleagues in “traditionalist” (aka Catholic) media, among whom I count no small number of persons that I highly respect and others I consider valued friends, whose practical silence in the matter is most unnerving of all.
Since when is silence in the face of controversy, or perhaps deferring to the judgment of future generations, the stuff of the defenders of tradition?
The answer is that it’s not and never has been; in fact, a willingness to look to the Devil square in the eye is what defines, or at least should define each and every one of us.
For instance, while the progressives celebrate the Council as a moment of liberation, and the neo-cons defend it as an expression of continuity, traditionalists measure it against the immutable faith and condemn it for the revolution that it most certainly is. The same holds true with respect to the Novus Ordo Missae.
In the present case, we’re talking about a matter of similar gravity – the papacy and the very real possibility that the Holy Catholic Church is being dismantled by an anti-pope!
Look, all of us have grown numb to the assaults against truth that have come to define Catholic life over the last five decades, and even more so over the last three years. I get it, but for the life of me I cannot make sense of the fact that the Ganswein confirmation (and that is precisely what it was) seems no longer to be even a blip on anyone’s radar screen.
I am entirely certain that there isn’t one among my confreres in traditional Catholic media who, if presented with Ganswein’s description of Benedict’s designs for the Petrine office at any time prior to February 2013, would have concluded anything other than that’s simply not possible – not even the pope has the authority to do that!
Furthermore, there can be no doubt whatsoever that each and every one would likely have insisted that if such a conditioned “resignation” was ever tendered on the part of a reigning pope, the act would clearly be invalid, and any “conclave” that assembled under such circumstances would likewise be invalid; making the man that was thereby “elected” an anti-pope.
Edmond Burke is widely quoted as saying, though some question the attribution:
All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent.
Whether or not Burke actually said this matters not; the point that it makes is entirely valid – silence in the face of evil on the part of those who know better only serves to aid and abet the enemy.
My sense is that most in traditional Catholic media are deliberately choosing to kick the can down the road in this case, not because they fail to appreciate the gravity of the situation, but because doing otherwise necessarily means one of two things; either rejecting Ganswein’s presentation as an erroneous opinion (as Weigel did), or taking the only other logical position that remains – namely, the “resignation” of February 2013 was invalid, as was the “conclave” that followed.
I’ll readily admit that it’s not much of a choice: The former makes one look like an ass, and the latter invites being dismissed as a nut job and a conspiracy theorist.
Be that as it may, taking either one is more befitting a defender of tradition than silence.