NO TO A “SUPERPOWER POPE.” Mercifully, the new pope is not the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Shortly after Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th pope, Cardinal Dolan demonstrated why my prayers had been answered. The American had been bypassed.
Out of the papal conclave and into the limelight charged the vainglorious Dolan (who, it has to be said, harbored hopes of becoming pope). He then suctioned himself to the television cameras, American style. No other cardinal elector granted interviews on emerging from the Sistine Chapel; they were enjoined to secrecy.
Not the American cardinals. According to the Associated Press, these prolix self-promoters held daily press briefings near the Vatican to a room packed with reporters and television crews.
This was vulgarity, not transparency.
Not for nothing was the vow of silence once considered a test of character and spirituality in Christianity and in other faiths. This universal value has been inverted by American pop culture and pop religion. In the US, a deeply private person is considered defective; a blabbermouth who does and says anything on camera is canonized.
Dolan, by CBS’s telling, “broadcasts a weekly radio show,” and “was hardly silent during the cardinals’ self-imposed hush order.” For his vulgar electioneering, the Archbishop of New York was dubbed by Kean University historian Christopher Bellitto “The Ed Koch of Catholicism.” Having gigged with liberal comedian Stephen Colbert, Dolan’s showman credentials are “better” than Koch’s.
American public life is such that even our pick for pope (Dolan) struts his stuff like a “Jersey Shore” reality star.
The two-day long conclave gave us a glimpse of the sublime. The elevated atmosphere was sustained by the crowds in St. Peter’s Square. Dolan shattered the majesty and solemnity of that event at a press conference where he alone was in-attendance. There, Dolan disgorged the obligatory niceties about Pope Francis I. Cardinal Bergoglio was an “inspired choice.” May he persevere for years to come (“Ad Multos Annos”).
Then, like most Americans in public life, the man nicknamed “America’s pope,” “a happy warrior” and “the bear-hug bishop,” brought the discussion back to … himself. Out of the blue, Cardinal Dolan announced to the world that his “niece Kelly” had given birth.
To the girls at CNN – Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and their dominatrices – vulgarity equals “charisma.” “Isn’t Dolan wonderful?” they gushed (suddenly ignoring the cardinal’s pesky attachment to Catholic doctrine).
At CNN, the new Vicar of Christ quickly became the first Latino-American pontiff and was bestowed with the ultimate honorific. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Italian parents, the cable-news crazies hailed Pope Francis I as their first “non-European pope.”
Let us give thanks that the world was spared the self-promoting sins of a “superpower pope” and his entourage.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS ON THE RACK. That is the meme sounded by all big media covering the conclave. This the brilliant Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI knew all too well.
After “asbestos, tobacco, guns and lead paint, the next jackpot for tort lawyers was … sex,” explained Daniel Lyons of Forbes Magazine. In 2003, Lyons hashed out all there is to say about the $5 billion sexual-abuse shakedown to which the Catholic Church has been subjected. Many of these class-action claims are bogus, backed by the discredited excavation of false memories.
Sexual abuse litigation is big business, a racket facilitated by courts that are conduits to theft. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI knew that the Church was on the rack; that the victim movement had found a way to bleed the Church dry and rob it of its moral authority.
Prescient man that he is, Benedict XVI likely quit because he realized that the Church was no longer a haven from the toxic tides of populism and liberalism, and that he was powerless to halt this momentum.
Although the breakdown of boundaries in society is at the root of the rot around us, the Roman Church will not be permitted to survive in the only way it was intended to function since antiquity: as a hierarchical organization.
As the clamoring demos believe, they are every bit as smart as men like Benedict. The faithful, moreover, no longer see themselves as members of a community of believers, but as members of gay, lesbian, feminist, black, brown and plain angry clans. Unless the Church recognizes and recompenses their brand of identity politics – the masses will bring it down.
Right on cue – and by baring their breasts, of course – “ladies” demonstrated at the outskirts of St. Peter’s Basilica why the ordination of women should be out of the question.
In the fullness of time, however, the Pussy Riot sisterhood will storm the Sistine Chapel to ride roughshod over the Church and its wise old men.
The question is: How long of a reprieve does the Church of Rome have?