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Winters was reacting to a debate on Al Jazeera between Matthew Schmitz, youthful literary editor of First Things, and me, on the perennial topic of the Francis pontificate.
Schmitz, a young convert, had undergone a second conversion since 2013. At first he welcomed Francis’s election. But then came a series of realizations.
Francis - Program - Reform - Expense - Children
He had now come to see that Francis was building his program of reform “at the expense of children orphaned by the culture of divorce left by the 1960s,” attempting to restore a “discredited version of Catholicism,” and who “builds his popularity by shucking off traditions and formulas of the office” of pope. Oh and introducing the antinomian, Protestant notion that truth and mercy are counter to the law.
And if the many retweets of my retweet of Winters’s complaint is anything to go by, many share his view not just that this stance is not just incongruous, but annoying, because rather than consider the possibility that there may be something deficient in their own view of the Church and its tradition, they prefer to assume that it is the successor of St. Peter – chosen by the Holy Spirit in a conclave free from outside interference – who is lacking. [So, the Pope is “chosen by the Holy Spirit”. Non-convert Joseph Ratzinger has a healthier view. Ratzinger, who has more experience of conclaves than Ivereigh, was interviewed by a Bavarian TV network. He was asked:
INTERVIEWER - Eminence - Church - History - Elections…
INTERVIEWER: Your Eminence, you are very familiar with church history and know well what has happened in papal elections…. Do you really believe that the Holy Spirit plays a role in the election of the pope?
Now it is quite possible that elegant commentators such...
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