Monday, 30 December 2013

Why Have The Media Not 'Done the Dirty' on Pope Francis?

Photo doctored to show Fr Joseph Ratzinger giving Nazi salute
Happy Christmastide, everyone. We live in interesting times, no? Christmastide has permitted me to take a break from blogging and to do some much needed reflection. I won't bore you with my personal reflections on life - or my life (it's a disaster as usual!) - but the pontificate of Pope Francis continues to confuse me utterly. One large reason is his continued popularity with the media and this will be the focus of this blog post.

A New York Times columnist has today written the following concerning the papacy and the sexual abuse crisis that dominated coverage of the Church under Benedict XVI.

'’s troubling, and telling, that the media would give a more liberal-seeming pope a pass on an issue they hammered his predecessor on at every opportunity.' 

I am deeply disconcerted by our Pope's continued popularity with media organs usually emphatically opposed to the Catholic Church. His continued popularity with the Press is just weird and unprecedented in its scale. I do not wish to spread gossip, nor pile suspicion on the current Successor of St Peter, but to make known my apprehensions concerning the continued popular media relationship enjoyed by a Pope during times which are objectively dark and in which the sanctity of human life, marriage, the family, the Priesthood and the Church's Magisterium are under diabolical attack. I do not wish to accuse Pope Francis of anything, but only to elaborate on my personal fears concerning a honeymoon period with the media which shows no signs of abating.

More great press for Benedict XVI
The honeymoon period that never ends...

Since it is not just the Pope's loquacious interviews, nor the astonishing attack on the FFI or other matters pertaining to the papacy - these are all side matters that remain confusing and at times harrowing. What continues to perplex me is the continued 'love-in' with the mass media that the Successor of St Peter enjoys to this day.

For a time I have read blog posts from Catholic commentators suggesting that 'any day now' the thin ice sheet that protects Pope Francis from the icy, predator-infested waters of media character assassination is going to break. Since those commentators have made those prophetic statements, the Supreme Pontiff has won not just Time Magazine's Person of the Year, but that of The Times as well. The Nobel Peace Prize perhaps awaits him next year and His Holiness has even been awarded Person of the Year by a militantly homosexual publication. More plaudits surely await.

Doctored photo of Fr Ratzinger blessing a congregation
Over Christmas, my own parents called me a 'subversive' as I discussed Pope Francis with them in Arundel in a pub on Boxing Day. In reply, I asked my mum whether Pope Francis made her want to become a Catholic. She replied that nothing would make her become a Catholic but that Pope Francis seemed like a good thing and that if she were to become anything, she would become a Quaker.

Therefore, to those who assert that Pope Francis is the Evangelist extraordinaire, 'I rest my case'. Pope Francis has many notable personal qualities and virtues but it must be noted that His Holiness is content to leave everyone exactly where they are, thereby neutralizing the once great spiritual and moral force that was the Papacy and, with it, the Catholic Church's mission of Salvation on Earth.

Why I am waiting for the media to turn on Pope Francis...

If I say I am waiting for the media to turn on Pope Francis, it is not because I want him to stop being the great 'bridge-builder', but rather because I desire him to be Pope, Shepherd and Pastor to me, rather than that of the World and the media, since I am a Catholic and the World and the media are not. The first people the Pope should be feeding is the sheep of Christ and as a baptised Catholic, no matter what my personal failings are ("self-absorbtion", "neo-prometheanism"), I fall into that category. The media and the World do not.

What has happened to the Fourth Estate?

Exactly what has happened to the once fiercely anti-Catholic media? The media's extensive portrayal of Pope Benedict XVI as a Nazi sympathiser, despite his being pressed into Nazi Youth at a young age and leaving it, only to recant publicly of his involvement and to denounce the hideous ideologies of the 20th century was rarely left (though in shortened form) from the reports on any stage of his papacy from various media organs. Nor, indeed, was the supposed 'cover up' of criminal paedophiles by Pope Benedict XVI who had proclaimed not too long after his inauguration that he was determined to clean up the 'filth' that had infiltrated the Church.

And yet, with what can only be seen as mass media Absolution, the pontificate of Pope Francis has enjoyed the complete erasing of this prelate's 'murky' past in the Argentinian 'Dirty War'. I assume, therefore that the mass media have been politely instructed to ignore the alleged crimes and misdemeanours of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio under the military Junta even though people have come forward to implicate him personally in the 'disappearing' of both priests and lay people during the military rule of Argentina in the aftermath of the Peronist Government. Why, I simply ask, is this credible accusation never appended to every comment or article concerning the 'new world Pope'? With Benedict XVI everything - even things that could not be attributed to his culpability - fell upon him. So why the change?

Friends in High Places

What baffles me is not whether or not Pope Francis did or did not assist in the arrest and subsequent torture of Catholics who disappeared in the Argentine Dirty War, since the jury still appears to be out on that charge. I am happy to believe that he is perfectly innocent of all charges and acted to save as many lives as possible. I am happy even to believe that he may have acted heroically. What baffles me is that suddenly, after a few days of his election, the media were 'called off' this potentially explosive line of anti-Catholic and anti-papal enquiry.

The simple fact of the matter is that if the media wanted to 'go for' this Pope, there is ample 'ammunition' flung across the world wide web, yet, either by a masterstroke of public relations from an unassailable, untouchable popularist Pope of the people, or by a wilful collective decision to remain silent, on Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's past, we hear nothing. I say this only to contrast it with the experience of his predecessor whose reputation was kicked from pillar to post by the mass media.

Let's be plain about this. Pope Benedict XVI's history was one of youthful experience, which we can safely assume was under an element of coercion, with Hitler Youth. He himself was honest about his time during Hitler's regime as a boy. Despite what the media threw at him, there really was a great element of transparency about Benedict XVI.

Yet at no point was Pope Benedict XVI implicated in the 'disappearance' of those in his own care as an adult, nor of handing others over to an oppressive regime to be punished. Yet this is precisely the accusation that the media could level at Pope Francis, if they wanted to, but they do not. The media never wanted the real story on the Benedictine removal of serious sex offenders from the priesthood. They only ever wanted their own narrative from the beginning.

Why the change with Pope Francis? Media silence on the issue in the wake of his election is made all the more confusing in a mass media predominately populated by 'leftists' who hated the suppression of socialists and communists during the Dirty War. Yet the charge that Fr Jorge Bergolio handed over 'leftist' members of the clergy and/or laity in Argentina to the military junta to experience a helicopter flight from Hell goes unmentioned after the first day of Bergoglio's pontificate. I only ask the question: why? It is not as if the allegations - however unproven - have not been made.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's cordial 'connections' with General Jorge Videla are perhaps what we can expect of any South American prelate working towards the discouragement of communism and extreme forms of socialism in an ideologically torn Argentina. Yet it has been noted by others, and I know not whether the charge is fair or not, that in Chile, the Catholic Church refused to co-operate with General Pinochet's draconian clampdown on socialists and according to the reports noted here, saved thousands of lives in the process. In contrast, in Argentina, whatever you think of socialists (and I personally dislike them) 30,000 men and women were 'disappeared'.

The 'fog of war' is one thing, but it seems to me to be a very strange anomaly that the election of one prelate with a track record of alleged complicity or silence in the 'disappearing' of human beings and their subsequent torture and even death has been whitewashed from public discourse concerning this 'People's Pope' since such an allegation could amount to some form of stain on a prelate's 'pro-life' record. In fact, one could readily ask the question: after the muck thrown at Benedict XVI, what bright sparks had the idea of electing to the Chair of St Peter someone allegedly implicated in providing intelligence and even wanted persons to Argentina's military junta during the Dirty War in that land? To my mind, the election of such an individual to the Papacy only makes sense if that individual enjoys special protection of a first-class kind from the start. Like I say, it doesn't matter whether the allegations are all false. With Benedict XVI, all the media needed were false allegations and they employed them to a tee until no non-Catholic and even some Catholics could think of Pope Benedict XVI without thinking of child abuse and Nazis.

General Jorge Videla and P2 Masonic Infiltration of Argentinian Government

Of course, the media could really 'go to town' on the deeply masonic aspect to the Military Junta regime with which Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is alleged to have had dealings in Argentina, but, then again, the mass media tend to steer clear of the dark secrets of Freemasonry nowadays and who can blame them, what with Freemasonry being in charge of the vast majority of media organs. What with masonry being rife in public life, most especially in the Establishment of Great Britain and the Americas, as well as Europe and a particularly virulent form in Italy, it is no wonder that Time Magazine, for one, does not wish to delve deeper into the acquaintances of the then Fr Jorge Bergoglio to become Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and then Pope Francis. Again, I stand not as His Holiness's accuser, but simply ask the questions that a figure like Pope Benedict XVI most probably would have been asked by the media.

For instance, General Jorge Videla is known to have been a member of the masonic Propaganda Due lodge in Italy that worked in parts of Latin America. The scandal of the P2 lodge broke in Italy in the 1980s, shocking the Italian public, sending shockwaves too around the World concerning the subversive nature of this lodge in terms of Italy's political, economic and social life. Wikipedia makes the connections between the P2 lodge and the military regime in Latin America startlingly clear.

Of course, nothing in all of this implicates the then Fr Jorge Bergoglio in the atrocious P2 lodge, even if the Propaganda Due team of Freemasons were working at the behest of the fatally ambitious Licio Gelli in Buenos Aires at the time of his headship of the Order of Jesuits in Argentina, but then, neither was Pope Benedict XVI ever a SS storm-trooper and nor did he ever endorse acts of murder or genocide as a 14-year-old boy. Neither is the charge that he was complicit in the taking of life levelled at him despite his public vilification in the world's press.

The Vatican at War: From Blackfriars Bridge to Buenos Aires
Yet, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio seems to have enjoyed cordial and even co-operative relationships with high ranking P2 lodge Freemasons carrying out the 'dirty work' of the CIA in the 1970s. It just so happened that these men were on a list of around 1,000 members of the Propaganda Due masonic lodge in Italy that was smashed by Roman investigators. Stunningly, even membership of this masonic lodge never hurt Silvio Berlusconi of 'bunga-bunga' infamy and monopoly Italian media ownership notoriety. He went on to become very successful.

Just as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio seems to have enjoyed friendly and co-operative relationships with these nefarious Kissinger-Rockefeller supported individuals, well known for dumping their enemies in the sea after a helicopter ride, now Pope Francis enjoys a 'get out of jail free card' from the mass media, in complete contrast from his venerable predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who was daily accused of being not just a Nazi, but a 'protector of paedophiles' from more or less day one of his time as Supreme Pontiff.

Despite the media circus, I still feel like I do not know Pope Francis at all

In all my online investigations, amateurish as they may be, I'm just really trying to get to know, 'Who is the real Jorge Bergoglio?'

Am I simply to accept the media version? Despite the whirlwind of media reports concerning the great virtue of our beloved Pontiff, I still feel like I do not him, who he is, or what he stands for, other than some photographic opportunities that make him look like a Saint and an exhortation that tells us to put the poor first while persecuting a successful Franciscan Order.

I, like many, continue to be fascinated by not only the person of this Pope, but the media's reaction to him, at a time when the media represent dark and incredibly powerful forces working against the interests of the Catholic Church in its message of Salvation and its moral stature around the World, in terms of preaching not just tolerance and love, but repentance and the Teachings of Christ guarded by the Successor of St Peter in the Deposit of Faith. Meanwhile, as media reports of his greatness continue to resound around the World, from mainstream news publication to mainstream news publication, I hear of the mission of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate being thrown out of various helicopters and dumped into the sea.

'Please, what is the number of Pope Francis's PR man?'
The Guardian: Hurried 'Re-writing' of the Story of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio

Particularly eerie is The Guardian's revision of their own article on the date of 13 March 2013, the precise date of Pope Francis's election to the Chair of St Peter. The article itself, written in 2011, laments the silence and complicity of the Catholic Church in Argentina during the Dirty War. At the foot of the article now appears an amendment to the original, with anything that implicates the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio removed, as follows...

'This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio's complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio's "holiday home". This has been corrected.'

So, The Guardian saw fit to amend their original article on the Church and the disappeared just one day after the election of Pope Francis, having never seen fit to be accurate in their reporting between publication of the 2011 article and the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy? The removed piece can be found here.

A new book claims Fr Bergoglio saved 1,000 lives in the Dirty War
New book claims Fr Jorge Bergoglio saved a thousand lives in the Dirty War

Having allegedly refused to appear in court to face the various charges levelled against him by a human rights lawyer, Pope Francis, as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio dismissed the allegations brought against him as 'slander' and the media have, since his election to the papacy, accepted this with seemingly little further investigation.

I, too, am happy to accept that this is pure slander and slander is evil. Since his election, a book has been released documenting a completely different narrative of the Dirty War, in which the then Fr Jorge Bergoglio is heralded as an heroic Saint saving lives in a clandestine manner. He may well have, but speaking out against the excesses of the regime is something the head of the Jesuit Order in Argentina certainly never did - others did and paid with their lives for doing so. If only Pope Pius XII and Pope Benedict XVI had a PR team like that of Pope Francis, as well as a receptive Fourth Estate such as that we see today in love with Pope Francis, then one would never have been labelled 'Hitler's Pope' and the other a 'Nazi Youth' Hitler supporter.

I am not judging Pope Francis and I have no knowledge as to whether he is a Freemason, has ties to Freemasons or was guilty of any crime or assistance in disappearances during the CIA sponsored Dirty War. He certainly didn't choose to be head of the Jesuit Order in Argentina while Freemasons operating on behalf of the CIA were running the country and killing 30,000 people, but then neither was Benedict XVI ever ideologically or in any other capacity a Nazi storm-trooper rounding up Jews for extermination. Like the vast majority of German youngsters at the time, he was drafted into Hitler Youth.

It has to be said that the vast majority of the mass media is in the hands of elite men for whom the Catholic Church is a sworn enemy. Its subversion and its destruction is goal #1 for them, since they have their own agenda. I only ask the question once again: Why is there such a marked difference in the Press's treatment of Pope Francis and that of Pope Benedict XVI and his Predecessors? Whatever it is that media owners know about Pope Francis, that we do not, I, as a Catholic, would like to be informed. Until the day the powerful media owners of this World turn on him, I will most likely remain deeply perturbed because the favourable media reports just keep on a-comin'. 

The media mystery of Pope Francis is that we went from this to this, very quickly, to this

Happy Christmastide, one and all.


Alan said...

Phew! I think that this post might do with a bit of editing, Bones, since some of the cogent points you make perhaps get a bit lost in its extreme length.
To start on a personal note. I'm sorry you dislike socialists. I am one. You might find us useful allies in some of the not terribly satisfactory aspects of your employment that you reveal from time to time in your blog.
Where the press is concerned, essentially you're right. There is a lazy discourse of "nice Francis" versus "nasty Benedict". In fairness, the penny has dropped with some hacks that the Pope remains Catholic, as for example in a rather nasty piece by Nick Cohen in the Observer back in August.
Your comment about your mother is also spot on. I am always baffled by people who treat the Church as if it were a secular ordination, and doctrines "policies" which can be changed at will - so that a new pope can do to "Thou shalt not commit adultery" what Blair did to Clause 4. Yet they expect the Church to do what no secular organization does when seeking new customers/adherents. David Cameron competes with Ukip and/or the right wing of Lib Dems, not SWP sellers. Jaguar competes with Mercedes, not Dacia. The RC Church's appeal is going to be to "high" Anglicans and Orthodox, not to liberal protestants.
So far as Cardinal Bergoglio's role in Argentina is concerned, I'm in no position to say what he should have done to best protect his flock under the junta, but the lack of media curiosity is, as you say, fascinating. Maybe there's room for a Ph.D. thesis in the unjustly vilified discipline of media studies?

gemoftheocean said...

Excellent "think piece" as usual. But don't think you have it right re: any "power" Masons have in the US. Any power they once might have had is long gone. Members tend to be lower middle class and middle guys who just enjoy an all men's club with the chance to dress up and do some good works here and there. As regards the US. I'm not saying there aren't nasty virulent strains as what happened in Italy - but as far as I can tell the US doesn't seem to have this strain of lodge. The Masonic lodges in the US have long been dying off - most members are older guys, and the younger guys just aren't signing up as they find lots of other pursuits to occupy their time. And let's not forget Henry Kissinger's family was chased out of Nazi Germany too.

But you are 100% right in the obvious double standard treatment the media gives Francis. I suspect it started off positive because a) they wanted to give a subtle or not so subted back handed final kick to Benedict regards how "humble" Francis appeared. Thus "looking good" so people couldn't complain how all media does is trash catholics. "see, they were nice to the new pope." Then due to Francis's inexperience (and continued goof-ballism) re: making statements which are half baked re: the fullness of the faith, they are further using his statements to the ends of bashing traditional Catholic morality -- and they are using his ill formed statements as battering rams. And they will do so until the pope either wises up, or has someone take a boot to his rear end to wise him up until he can ignore his duty no longer to speak clearly and forcefully for the doctrines of the church. Once he starts doing that (if and when he comes to his senses) the bloom will be off.

Genty said...

Interesting piece. I'm afraid that in this superficial age it may boil down to simple, stereotyped prejudice rather than conspiracy.
German = arrogant, warmongering, humourless. South American = relaxed, cuddly, laugh-a-minute.
Benedict will be bashed until the day he dies - and beyond. It will take a very long time, perhaps 100years, before his worth is generally acknowledged, even by most Catholics.

Evagrius said...

"Therefore, to those who assert that Pope Francis is the Evangelist extraordinaire, 'I rest my case'."

I'm certainly not a believer in the so-called 'Francis effect', but argument from anecdote is not a valid form of argument. Please, for the sake of the Kingdom, argue on more effective grounds than these.

" I am happy to believe that he is perfectly innocent of all charges and acted to save as many lives as possible."

Surely, a man is innocent until proven guilty? There is insufficient evidence to accuse him, therefore you should be more than 'happy to believe' in his innocence. He is innocent - until proven otherwise, not the other way around.

The rest of this blogpost is little more than conspiracy theory, concocted out of the usual web of half-facts, suspicion, and paranoia. Pray for the Holy Father, write to him if he worries you that much (he seems to like contact with the laity - or to think he does, anyway!), but this sort of thing just makes orthodox Catholicism look ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I think you have reflected and written well.

I have been equally disturbed by the media's love affair with a Roman Catholic Pope. And you are quite right, Pope Benedict was crucified from day one and for 8 long years - relentlessly!


I don't have a lot of knowledge of Freemasonry - but I do know that they are in charge of the running power in the world from listening to ex-freemasons such as John Salza.

The Italian Alta Vendita is a shocking document and reveals masonic inflitration into the Church.
I found this:


"The papal condemnations of Freemasonry are so severe and sweeping in their tenor as to be quite unique in the history of Church legislation. During the last two centuries Freemasonry has been expressly anathematized by at least ten different Popes and condemned directly or indirectly by almost every Pontiff that sat on the Chair of St. Peter."

"The Popes charge the Freemasons with occult criminal activities, with 'shameful deeds', with worshipping satan himself (a charge which is hinted at in some Papal documents), with infamy, blasphemy, sacrilege and the most abominable heresies against the State, with anarchical and revolutionary principles and with favouring and promoting what is now called Bolshevism; with corrupting and perverting the minds of youth; with shameful hypocrisy and lying, by means of which Freemasons strive to hide their wickedness under a cloak of probity and respectability, while in reality they are the very 'synagogue of satan', whose direct aim and object is the complete destruction of Christianity."

Freemasonry and the Anti-Christian Movement (1930), Fr E. Cahill, S.J.

Keep writing Mr. Laurence, you have a sharp Catholic wit. I too cannot wait for the day when the mass-media finally turns on Pope Francis. It is not normal at all that he is so popular with the world.

I would also be really surprised that Freemasony has become so benign in America seeing that it is common knowledge that most of the American Presidents were (and are) freemasons.


Lynda said...

This is very disturbing to all honest orthodox Catholics and people of discernment and goodwill. It is bad when the long-time enemies of Faith and morality laud the leader of the One Holy Catholic Church.

Philip said...

For the umpteenth time the prelate pictured with Vidal is NOT Archbishop Bergolio, it is in fact the ten Nuncio Archbishop Pio Laghi. Please get your facts correct before attempting to slander the Pope God has given to us. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Philip I don't see any slander of the Pope in this article. Mr. Laurence, as a layman is expressing his perplexity at the strange relationship with the media and the present Pontiff. I happen to share this perplexity. If he made a mistake with photo it doesn't take away from the rest of his presentation. Can you contest it?

"The Pope that God has given us" is something that I would love to beleive - but I'm more inclined to think that the modernist Cardinals gave him to us. Bad thinking? I don't know.

However, he is still the canonically elected Pontiff, and as such merits our respect and filial prayers. I probably need to pray more for him myself.

Anyway if Mr. Laurence permits I searched this out to share with readers who may not know about the Alta Vendita:


Celia said...

Yes, it's odd. That the Guardian, of all anti-Catholic paper, should be so quick to say 'oops,got that wrong' and that no-one wants to investigate further.
There was something odd too about this papacy from the start in terms of PR and image management- it was way out of the Vatican's usual bumbling league. Remember the immediate outburst of 'humility'- won't live here, wear that, do this, all openly contrasted with the practice of his genuinely humble predecessor, whose mistake was just to get on quietly with being Pope in much the way his predecessors had done. It was so crass I couldn't believe people were falling for it, still less hard-bitten journalists. But it worked. Who was managing it?
I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories, but I am a fan of asking awkward questions, especially about media manipulation.

Deacon Augustine said...

The media is the mouthpiece of "the world" and the world hates the Cross because it reveals the sinful condition of the world and the sheer magnitude of God's wrath against sin.

As long as the Pope keeps feeding the media mealy-mouthed sound-bites that fail to challenge the world to convert to truth and holiness, they will continue to "love" him. He is not representing the Cross to them like his predecessors did. "Who am I to judge" displays the utter indifference to injustice and sin which the world wants more than anything else. Indifference to injustice of any sort arises from the antithesis of love - hatred. Even though the words might have been a flippant remark, subsequently taken out of context, the world feels that it has been confirmed in its hatred for God and all that is holy. What more could it want from a Pope?

bemused said...

The "Best Dressed Man of 2013" awarded by Esquire made my jaw drop.

Jacobi said...

Calm down and stop taking life, and afterlife, so seriously. And also study the art of summary.

For Christmas I’ve received, from two of my children, two different, (fortunately), histories of the Papacy. Heavens knows why, since I much prefer action novels.

Now half way through the first, it’s clear, as if I didn’t already know, that our Popes were an “interesting” lot. Some holy, some wise, some you certainly wouldn’t introduce to your mother, and some who just couldn’t keep their mouths shut. But that’s between them and Christ. The important thing is that they have, as Vicars of Christ, upheld the teaching of Scripture, Revelation, Tradition and the Magisterium (Ordinary and Extraordinary). That is their job.

Now Francis so far has shown his inexperience and gaucheness in dealing with the press and accordingly, they love him, and so would I if I were a press hack.

He has not contradicted any established teaching, he cannot. He does not have that authority. The Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium is but a wide ranging, reflection which does, however, condemn those post- Vat II liberal/Modernists in the Church who think in their “Promethean” Relativistic arrogance that they can diminish and eventually eliminate the Divinity of Christ. And so it should!

Supertradmum said...

Well, you are missing a few points. One, no one in Europe cares about what happened or happens in South America, really and there are few scholars checking facts.

Two, the Nazi generation is still alive, and those in the Nazi youth still alive, so this is a big deal.

Also, the Pope Emeritus loves the TLM which many bishops HATE-like the Archbishop of Malta. Therefore, he has been a target.

More later....

Andrew said...

I'm always shocked that the Catholic laity can be so unconcerned about the threat of masonry. Perhaps they could begin by taking Pope Leo's words a little more seriously:

"Today evil doers all seem allied in a tremendous effort inspired by and with the help of a society powerfully organized and widely spread over the world, it is the Society of Freemasons. In fact those people no longer even try to dissimulate their intentions, but they actually challenge each other's audacity in order to assail God's August Majesty.

"It is now publicly and overtly that they undertake to ruin the Holy Church, so as to succeed, if it is possible, in the complete dispossession of Christian nations of all the gifts they owe to Our Savior Jesus Christ.

"As a result, in the space of a century and a half, the sect of the Freemasons has made incredible progress. Making use at the same time of audacity and cunning, Masonry has invaded all the ranks of social hierarchy, and in the modern States it has begun to seize a power which is almost equivalent to Sovereignty."

And if not the words of Pope Leo XIII, then perhaps the words of Pope Clement XII, Benedict XIV, Pius VII, Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, and Pope Pius IX.

Savonarola said...

Maybe the media are not dishing the dirt on him (if dirt it be) because they like the attractive face of Catholicism that he is presenting. One gets the feeling that you would rather enjoy seeing him vilified.

Interesting that when some Catholics don't like a pope they say he was elected by modernist cardinals; if they do like him he is chosen by God!

Sixupman said...

Franciscus has retained a great PR team - typically Jesuitical!

EuropeanCatholic said...

I agree with the post.

I cannot begin to say how much I owe to me encounter with the life and writings of Joseph Ratzinger.

I continue to read him every day while also trying to learn more about Francis through his writings.

I still cannot work out Francis after reading so much by him. Some of what he writes is brilliant and some of it is not so good.

What does appear to be certain however is that he has decided that as Pope he will not speak out about abortion and gay marriage etc the way Benedict and John Paul did. The See of Peter has fallen silent on these issues and I think that is a terrible outcome.

By the way, did anyone read the report about Cardinal Meisner via Father Z's website:

"“At my last meeting with Pope Francis, I had the opportunity to talk very open to him about a lot of things. And I told him that some questions remain unanswered in his style of spreading the gospel through interviews and short speeches, questions which need some extended explanation for people who are not so involved. The pope looked at me “with big eyes” and asked me to give an example. And my response was : During the flight back from Rio you were asked about people who divorced and remarried. And the pope responded frankly: People who are divorced can receive communion, people who are remarried can’t. In the orthodox church you can marry twice. And then he talked about mercy, which, according to my view, is seen in this country only as a surrogate for all human faults. And the pope responded quite bluntly that he’s a son of the church, and he doesn’t proclaim anything else than the teachings of the church. And mercy has to be identical with truth – if not, she doesn’t deserve that name. Furthermore, when there are open theological questions, it’s up to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to give detailed responses“.

These comments by Peter McKay are typical of those we have read in recent months about Franics. They particlarly saddened me because of how they treat Benedict.

Mr McKay's "Tale of Two Popes" is about half-way down via this link:

It particularly saddens me to read it described that Pope Francis lives in a hostel!

If memory serves me correctly, the Domus Sanctae Marthae was built at the cost of around $20million by Pope John Paul with the intention of creating somwhere of comfort for clergy who visited Rome.

Unknown said...

I'm repeating here what I have said on another blog but I think it's worth repeating. I too read in Catholic publications all sorts of guff about the "Francis Effect". My group of friends are young 25 - 35 year old, middle class professionals. I am, or rather was a convert to Catholicism, I'm a celibate gay guy, so my being Catholic and what goes on in the Church was often a subject of conversation. My "orthodoxy" had been all but neutralised by Francis and his wacky comments and shrugging off of tradition, custom and practice. I say no to abortion, my friends said Francis said "stop going on about it", I say the Church says no to gay marriage, they said Francis said "who am I to judge". All the while not one of them has felt moved to become a Catholic, why should they, Francis has told them they are fine where they are. Francis has rewarded my fidelity to orthodoxy by pulling the rug from under my feet and then calling me a reactionary.

Francis seems either unintentionally or intentionally, hellbent on alienating those of us who have remained faithful sons and daughters of the Church, while confirming those of who haven't in their error.

His treatment of the FFI says all I need to hear/know about what he thinks of the last papacy, and it doesn't bode well for the future as far as I'm concerned. I'm happy or sad (I can't quite work it out) to say I am no longer a practicing Catholic, since a few months ago I left for the Orthodox Church, and am now happily affiliated to St Mary's on Trinity Road in London. If practicing gays and atheists can be saved, why not the Orthodox?

When the Vicar of Christ is lauded by the enemies of Christ, then for me all sorts of alarm bells start ringing. As for his rejecting of the trappings of high office - he might not sleep in the Apostolic Palace, but he does use them during the day, so he sleeps in one and works in the other. In effect, Francis has two apartments, unlike the last pope.

Martina Katholik said...

It´s amusing to see how the Daily Mail especially loves Pope Francis ("the greatest Pope ever"?). This newspaper also revealed who his alleged PR Genius is:

The PR genius who helped make the Pope popular: Francis's marketing mastermind, an ex US journalist who belongs to Opus Dei

The man who's taught the world the meaning of humility: He lives in a B&B and makes sandwiches for his guards. Could Francis be the greatest Pope ever?

Holy smoke! Pope Francis is officially the most talked about name of 2013 - followed by Ed Snowden and Kate Middleton

A divine sense of style: Pope Francis is named Esquire's Best Dressed Man of 2013

Pope Francis 'sneaking out of Vatican at night to give money to poor on the streets of Rome'

Pope sends out 2,000 Christmas packages to Rome immigrants containing phone cards and a free day's Metro travel

Annie said...

This morning I was looking for the quote where Pope Francis said that mercy must be based on truth. Googling for that brought me SIX pages of pro-PF articles which didn't mention it.

In frustration I googled "Pope Francis and Pope Benedict" to see if the comparison approach could elicit the quote and got another SIX pages of pro-PF articles; although this time there was ONE with a favorable PF-PB comparison him on page. 4 (LifeSite News).

Also, by page 4, I was wondering what was going on - where were the "other side of the story" articles? They were nowhere and I began to feel I was reading a list of propaganda pieces because they were all saying the same adulatory things about PF and how refreshing he was compared to PB.

Don't believe me - get googling for yourself and be disturbed at the media's near unanimous sunny gloss of the current Pontiff. Laurence is right that something doesn't add up.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

It is against the media's grain to not be hashing and re-hashing these allegations ad nauseum. Why are they keeping silent is an important question.

As for 'God's' Pope. I agree with Fr Dickson of Catholic Collar and Tie:
"I remind myself that the Popes we get are not chosen by God but by the Cardinals; God simply works with the Pope we give Him and keeps the Church safe."

The Bishops and priests have free will too (that should be reekingly obvious after the past 50 years).

As for the Masons - they're like the devil, it's much better if you believe they don't really exist (at least at certain levels) or, like the Pope, that everything is do-goody and cuddly concerning them. I have Masons in two generations of my family - the higher up they get, the weirder, colder, creepier they get. Masons are their own little 'famiglia' within or really outside, the family - another thing I noticed is the personal carnage that surrounds those close to them. Masonry is sin and you can see the results of it like all grave sin.

Is credible to believe that a Pope may done such things?

"The scandalous Popes"

It is not incongruent to stop here to note stories of Popes which may or may not be entirely factual, but which refer to Popes we acknowledge were less than they ought to have been in personal holiness and Church Governance. To name a few of the most frequently noted ‘bad Popes’ and their suggested failures...

Pope Stephen VI –had his predecessor exhumed, put on trial and his three fingers for blessings hacked off before throwing the corpse into the Tiber. It may have been Stephen VI who, it is said, ‘toasted to the devil at the high altar in St Peters’.

John XII –said to have been born to a fourteen year old girl, with his grandfather being his father. He himself is said to have had an incestuous relationship with his mother. He was Pope at eighteen and is said to have died at 27 when murdered by the husband of a lover. He is also said to have been guilty of arranging several murders himself.

Benedict IX –said to have been promoted to the Papacy at some age between 11 and 20, and to have engaged in sexual practices with men and animals.

Boniface VIII –said to have engaged not so much in sexual sin as simony (the buying and selling of ecclesiastical offices, such as Bishop, Cardinal etc).

Urban VI –said to have been a man of violent temper with a sadistic pleasure in violence: he is said to have complained if his tortured enemies did not scream loud enough to satisfy him.

Alexander VI (the ‘Borgia Pope’) is the name typically associated with ‘bad Popes’ since he is said to have had at least four children; to have hosted orgies within the walls of the Vatican; to have bought his way into the Papacy (the sin of simony); to have had an incestuous relationship with his daughter Lucretia and to have initiated several murders.

What these Popes show is that the Church has never been without its Judas’s, and never will be, but that the promise of Christ that Hell will not prevail has stood the test of time. After all, no mere human institution could have lasted with such grave abuses at the very top of its structures."

Well done, Laurence, thanks for all the hard work.

Pelerin said...

Curioser and curioser.

However whilst the media is continuing its praise of Pope Francis, every time an article appears about him on the newspaper websites the hatred by many of the Catholic Church rears its ugly head in the form of often disgusting comments all of which seem to be allowed through. These articles praising him seem to bring out the haters of the Church from the woodwork - it's as if they are waiting to pounce on the next article about Pope Francis in order to vent their spleen on the Church.

Hermit Crab said...

Laurence has written a balanced and just assessment of the extent to which the pope is caught up in a web of modern media spin.

Greg Burke, Vatican's Communication Adviser , is quoted as saying: "There are a lot of changes in store. I never thought I'd get to the day where McKinsey, was looking at the communications at the Vatican.....”

Not That Guy said...

Deacon Augustine - yes, exactly! You are right. That's what is going on.

Now, what I personally find irksome and must offer up I suppose is the sentiment from some Catholics that we should all be so joyful because Francis is making the Church a 'positive' influence again, that people are 'paying attention' to what the Church says. What Pollyanna BS.

Megan Branning said...

Disgraceful post and comments. The only people dissing Pope Francis are the supposedly uber-traditionalists here and elsewhere.

You lot say you are just waiting for the mob to turn on the new Pope, but you're actually hoping and praying it will happen. It's pure freudenscreude.

You will be disappointed (and probably go further into schism) when the media do not loose respect and praise for Framcis! How about a new year's resolution to give up the nit-picking and twisting of Francis.

Martina Katholik said...

@ Megan Branning

My google search - freudenscreude - did not match any documents.
I think you meant “Schadenfreude”. To accuse other Catholics of holding such feelings is very harsh. Moreover, consenting to “Schadenfreude” is always a sin.

I would say it is pretty judgmental to deduce from some short comments that their authors would feel “Schadenfreude” if the Pope was attacked and that “they're actually hoping and praying (!!!!) it will happen”.

I propose you a) go to confession and b) get yourself a copy of “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” from Ludwig Ott in order to realize that there are no “uber-traditionalists” but only Catholics “here”.

Anonymous said...

Mr Justin Welby (BBC R4) on Pope Francis:

"The pope has been hugely effective – he is an extraordinary man, quite brilliant in what he does. He has changed the sense of direction and purpose of the Catholic Church with his personal example and his words."

It is, to my mind, fairly rare to see so much heresy, (indeed blasphemy), in one short sentence.

Anonymous said...

And again:

"The Vatican felt compelled on Tuesday to deny that Pope Francis had “abolished sin”, after a well-known Italian intellectual wrote that he had effectively done so through his words and gestures.

Please, let us make a very special effort to pray for the Pope in Anno Domini MMXIV.

Lynda said...

The Media who are praising Pope Francis do so for dishonest purposes - because it furthers their campaign to destroy God's Church.

Lynda said...

Catholicism is never "attractive" to those who hate God and His Commandments. The Church is not dependent upon having good popes.

Sadie Vacantist said...

There is nothing new about this as J23 received a similar accolade in 1962. This says more about the mood music of the American media than it does about the Pope. TIME has tradionally enjoyed close links to the CIA and it is very difficult to second guess their motives. America has never been more hated in its history and perhaps they need friends especially after the failed attempts to extend the Middle-Eastern wars.

Robert said...

An interesting piece. I'm not sure that the media is anaginst the RC church per se. It is, as you say, "policies.". I have ling thought that the liberal media opposes the church because of its stand on abortion. this is THE issue. Child abuse does not turn the media against social workers and young female teachers who have been implicated in pederasty although the media report the cases. Do drop the freemasons thing. They are a busted flush- elderly labour councillors in northern cities. They are harmless. a friend who was a member for a while assures me it is all social with silly rituals. Freemasons do not control the media. you undermine youir very good comments by drawing on the conspiracy theories of neo-fascists!
Justin Welby made a complete arse of himself in praising Pope Francis as he implied that Benedict did nothing and Welby himself has done nothing to reform the sclerotic beaurocracy of the Co E. An Anglican bishop told me that Welby would be brought in to line when Welby was elected.

me said...

Boxing Day family get-together 2013

My 'part-time' Catholic sister: "I think this new pope is great"

Me: "Why?"

Sister: "Well because he is so humble, and doesn't stand on ceremony like the last one."

Me: Do you think?

Sister: "Yes! The other one was in the Hitler Youth movement at one time. This one is all about helping the poor and stuff. And, he lives in humble surroundings....not like the last one." (raising eyes to the ceiling)"What do you think?"

Me: I'm not keen. I think he's...

Sister: See! I knew 'you' wouldn't like him. You always have to be different from everybody else. You thought the last one was great!!?
Anyway it says in all the media that he's bringing a lot of people back to the Faith. What can be wrong with that?"

Me: "Has he brought you back?"

Sister: "Well, But...

Me: (to anyone listening) "Anyone want anymore trifle?"

So help me God, as near word perfect as I can remember the conversation. I sometimes feel duty-bound to explain/catechise my own Catholic-lite family, but where the hell do I even begin?

Lynda said...

Sadly, typical. Most souls are in the thrall of the false ideologies purveyed through the PR department that is the monolithic "mainstream" Media. They are incapable of thinking rationally. They are programmed as to what to say and do and the attitudes to adopt. They have been trained to be unquestioning fodder.

Lepanto said...

You have articulated (as you have before) something that has been vaguely worrying me. I was aware of the accusations against Francis and then noticed that the press went quickly and permanently quiet about them. As soon as he started saying those strange things, to Catholics, but so sweet to atheist ears, all is forgotten, forgiven and swept under the carpet. Our very own 'Madiba' (God help us).

Simon Platt said...

This is a very interesting post and comment thread.

Celia finds it hard to understand how the Holy Father has got away with his show of humility. I can't understand it, either: "It was so crass I couldn't believe people were falling for it". Yes, "crass" - that's the word. And Deacon Augustine was on the ball as usual. And, like kfca, I heard that ignorant Welby chap on the wireless with his nonsense about the Holy Father supposedly changing the direction and purpose of Christ's Church, and I realised that the Anglicans had taken to heart the frequent criticism of their previous leader's intellectualism, and resolved to do something about it.

But Archer Sterling hit closest to home for me, with:

"Francis seems hellbent on alienating those of us who have remained faithful sons and daughters of the Church, while confirming those of who haven't in their error."

I'm afraid that's true: it's true of most modern clergy and nearly all bishops, in my experience.

Tancred said...

I love how the sheeple you meet repeat the various soundbytes mindlessly about Pope Francis' profound humility, openness to dialogue and his alleged approachability.

Angie said...

I just came across this interesting. The Media certainly had it in for Pope Benedict XVI BUT, he didn't seem to be the Fierce Cheer leader for OPUS DEI that his predecessor was. Because lets face it Opus Dei has enough power in the media to have at least prevented the Slander Of Pope Benedict which was relentless

Angie said...

Just to clarify Pope Benedict XVI was automatically enrolled in Hitlers Youth all Children attending Schools were. This was automatic, Prior to any knowledge of Hitlers Regime. This group had very little to do with Hitler so if you were attending that school you would automatically be enrolled in Hitlers Youth!!

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