What can one say about the recent comments and actions by Pope Francis? First I learned about the Pope’s analysis on Donald Trump’s immigration control proposals; and then there was that incident in Mexico when the Pope had to chastise an enthusiastic fan. My first reaction was to think: “If you go around acting like a rock star …” but then I remembered one is not supposed to bash the Pope. It is not the first time I see an angry Jesuit and that is why I rather stay a safe distance from them just in case.
What would I have done in that situation? I would have stopped the event right there. I would have called the man aside, asking the guards to form a circle around me (the guards are those guys with guns that are always around during papal public appearances,) and I would have said to the man: “I am the Pope, I represent Jesus while He is away. Why did you do that? You showed no consideration to that disabled brother in front of you, and also disrespected my office as a Vicar of Christ. I will give you a few minutes to think about what you have done, and then I am going to hear your confession.” That would have been much better than reacting in near anger. I am an angry person myself, I do not suffer fools lightly but then, I am not the Pope. So we will leave it at that.
Regarding Donald Trump’s political agenda — whom I would not vote for because I consider him unqualified to be President, in spite of his good intentions — I wish the Pope would have kept his opinions to himself. Much has been said about the man Bergoglio being a Peronist, and then one with leftist tendencies. That is unfortunately true of many a local priest in Buenos Aires. It is bad enough that Argentines had to suffer the consequences of Peron’s actions, there is no need to punish the whole world with century-old tired populist ideas.
I am under obligation to obey the Pope in matters of faith and morals just like I am obliged to believe that St Peter was the first Pope in spite of him denying Christ three times. I have no problem with that and yet I do not have to agree with the Pope’s ideas on economics, the environment, or on how to manage American immigration problems. Personally, someone who believes in Peronism or Marxism is hardly worthy of any intellectual respect. As a Catholic and, may I add as a Catholic with Argentine roots, I still remember the burning, looting, and desecration of churches by the Peronist hordes, a practice that remains to this day (see image, forgive how crude it is but I had to make my point.) I am at a complete loss on how one can sympathize with the ideas of those obviously deranged people, and at the same time be a Catholic in good standing.
All I can say is that I am terribly ashamed by the sexual scandals in the Church, a problem that is still to be addressed; and I am also very ashamed by the intellectual simplicity of the Pope. This makes me think that perhaps God is about to do something very big through him and Our Lord does not want us to attribute that great accomplishment to the Pope’s intellectual, or spiritual prowess. St Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:27 that “God chose the foolish in this world to shame the wise.” Let it all happen according to His will. Quoting St Paul again: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Lord grant us patience to endure our pastors, and those who persecute us.