The Pope Francis story that (almost) broke me
EDINBURGH, Scotland, December 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — I’m not really writing this blogpost; officially, I’m off sick, finding myself incapable of writing the news today. Normally if I’m feeling depressed, the best course is to carry on working: I try to write two stories a day. The preparation for a story—the note-taking, the telephone calls—can be difficult, and God knows how sick I am of making notes from screens instead of paper, but once I start writing, the fallen world goes away. When the story is done, there’s the satisfaction of a job well done.
Getting started is the worst, though, and every day brings the bad news that is my job to absorb and to write for you, hoping that you will be able to do something concrete with the information, not just suffer another disappointment or thrill of anger or fear. Maybe you will bake a pie and visit a friend even though your local government says you can’t. Maybe you will call a friend-in-the-know and find an underground Mass. Maybe you will phone a family member who has stopped going to church because he can’t stand the corruption anymore and say “I understand.” Maybe you will write to an elected representative and say, “Vote for this, not that.” And then write to him or her again the next week.
That’s what I hope.
The problem with reading endless news while doing nothing in response, teaches us helplessness. Reading news merely for entertainment is like eating sugary cake for nourishment: it’s tempting but a bad idea. The point of LifeSiteNews is to challenge the newsfeed of the Culture of Death and to spread the Gospel of Life. It aims to make readers not consumers but colleagues.
However, facing the armies of death day in and day out is hard, hard, hard, especially when those we used to rely on as our fellow soldiers of life—indeed, even as our leaders—seem to have gone over to the other side. And I say “seem” deliberately because the worst of it is the uncertainty. Is Cardinal Wilton Gregory a homosexual? I don’t know. I know there’s chatter about it. Is Cardinal Wuerl? Again, no idea, although of course there’s chatter about that, too. I had no idea that the late Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the disgraced Archbishop of Edinburgh, engaged in homosexual affairs, and I stuck up for him in print. Well, I know better now.
But I’ll tell you when the uncertainly really got to me: it was the story of Pope Francis signing on with the Woke Capitalists. I’m used to the stories that Pope Francis doesn’t like Americans, and that he doesn’t care for rich people, and that he preferred to ride the subway, yadda yadda, so the revelation that Pope Francis had made common cause with an American Rothschild and the credit card companies blew my mind. The full name of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism is “Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican,” which looks for all the world like The Vatican is just another trademark. Pope Francis is the chaplain for a group of woke non-Catholic capitalists. Is this a matter for rejoicing—billionaires want to serve others, guided by the pontiff—or anguish?
In the end, I left it to my colleague Michael Haynes to report the story, which he ably did.
As a Catholic, I should not have to doubt the orthodoxy and the loyalties of my pope. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to escape this uncertainty since October 13, 2014, the day the infamous mid-term relatio of the Synod of the Family was released. We’ve had six years to get used to it, but that day the revelation that bishops think divorced-and-civilly remarried Catholics should receive Holy Communion was a theological explosion equalled only by the revelation that bishops also think we should value homosexuality. To sum up, it was a revelation that the bishops do not actually believe some of the most difficult and counter-cultural teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
As a head-trip (I’m avoiding the less family-friendly expression), that was unparalleled in my experience.
Fortunately, Poland’s Archbishop Gądecki revealed that the mid-term relatio was a fraud, that these were not ideas the bishops had discussed. However, between the news and the correction, I had had a very bad hour or couple of hours in which I struggled with the idea that the Church had committed apostacy against herself and with the temptation to take what I suppose we could call the Dreher Option. (I wonder if St. John Paul II would have been so eloquent on the Two Lungs of the Church had he known that so many anguished Catholics would turn to the Orthodox Church for refuge, but that’s another blogpost.)
Apparently, people who are traumatized turn back to the trauma over and over again. That was my central trauma as a Catholic—and believe me, I have certainly had a number of unwelcome shocks over the years—and so perhaps it should not surprise me that, while reading the webpage of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican™, I burst into tears.
My husband came into my home office (aka the dining room) to see what was wrong. When tears turned into hysterics, he begged me to get help, and so I’m going to talk to somebody today. This is an act of trust, though, as I once had a counsellor whom I trusted with my mind and soul until the day she told me that her long-term boyfriend was a high-profile priest.
But that’s the problem, isn’t it? We can’t function without trust. We cannot cope as human beings unless we trust those around us. That’s why lying, not to mention treason, is so bad. That’s why ripping down statues, an act which destroys the public’s faith in the public, is so terrible. We have to trust to stay sane, and right now I don’t trust my pope, my governments, my family’s governments back in Canada, the Pfizer vaccine, and a host of other people and things.
However, I do trust LifeSiteNews readers, which is why I am putting this cri-de-coeur out there for you, knowing that many of you will be feeling the same. If you feel like you’re going crazy, you’re not alone.