THIS TIME IT'S PERSONAL
This may come as a shock to the news media, but there are a lot of Catholics who love Pope Benedict. I am one of them.
Not to take anything away from the new pope, Francis. This is his day in the sun, his "honeymoon" period, if you will. The Church is celebrating the election of a new pope and it is only right that he be shown the respect and admiration Catholics offer to their popes.
The problem is that some of the "celebrating" has gone too far. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is being disrespected and trashed, in many cases by people who should know better.
XM Satellite Radio's own Catholic Channel has been celebrating around the clock, but I'd had enough this afternoon when one of the program hosts suggested that someone watching the pope who came back to the Catholic Church because in Pope Francis, they felt a human touch. Just what does that mean? That Pope Benedict was somehow less than human?
America's most embarrassing Churchman, Cardinal Mahony, recently tweeted this message: "Moving from HIGH Church to LOW and humble Church! What a blessing that we are encountering Jesus without trappings!"
One can almost hear him humming Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead.
Germany's Cardinal Lehmann, a man one would think had some respect for his former leader, recently praised the new pope by stating that Pope Francis might bring in Catholics who in past years "were somehow disappointed".
The soft, ignore-the-rules, left-leaning dissidents who are high-fiving each other about the new pope have had the reins of the Church since 1963. Their "successes" include a free-fall drop in Mass attendance, an all-but-disappeared line at the confessional, huge defections in the ranks of priests and nuns and a Catholic populace with little objective idea of a basic catechism, embracing an eternally lethal pick-and-choose aesthetic. Pope Benedict had a measly 7 years to rule the Church during this unprecedented epoch of disaster. He dared to do what his previous three predecessors somehow forgot: He tried to govern.
Those who knew Ratzinger were not surprised by his style, because he was not the "panzerkardinal" the leftist press portrayed. He was gentle. He let a lot of bad bishops serve out their terms before replacing them with prelates willing to restore the Catholic faith to their dioceses. He reached out to the Church's most maligned (and faithful) group, traditionalists, and gave them the opportunity to worship as the Church always had. He gave Anglicans and Episcopalians who were fed up with their own church's disintegration an easier pathway to Rome. He reached out to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, a group whose most unforgivable crime was their distrust of Vatican II, which oddly enough, dried up vocations for the "mainstream" while their chapels exploded with new vocations.
Pope Benedict was unpopular with one group: Fake Catholics. Hans Kung, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the staffs of U.S. Catholic and The National Catholic Reporter hated Pope Benedict. And now that he is gone, the media is going to ignore one very telling fact about Pope Benedict's pontificate: No pope in modern history drew bigger crowds to his Vatican audiences than Pope Benedict. That's right, not even the "rock star" pope, John Paul II drew crowds as large as Pope Benedict's. Yet, to hear the current buzz in the media and among the dissenters, you'd think Benedict drove people away from the Church.
Pope Benedict brought people INTO the Church. And he would have done more if the people he trusted had served him well.
As I said, Pope Benedict was and is a gentle man. He is a true Catholic. He does not return insults and slights. And that is precisely why the cheap-shot artists who despised him are showing us their true colors today.
Lest anyone doubt that Pope Benedict was undermined by his own curia, and by the bishops he trusted to obey him, look and listen to the "celebrations" of the new pope. As more time passes, the insinuations against Pope Benedict will be less veiled. The open contempt that is slowly unfolding before us is downright demonic.
Only one thing can be said to the priests and bishops who have turned on their former leader:
SHAME ON YOU.