A Shaken Church

Source: District of Asia

A retrospective look at the ten-year pontificate of Francis

Pope Francis' pontificate has just passed the ten-year mark, which is already a respectable length of time. It is therefore possible to take a first retrospective look at it, as we did last time with the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. First of all, let us clarify our position by stating that we have no personal animosity towards Pope Francis. On the contrary, he has made several significant gestures towards the Society of Saint Pius X, which count for us.

Everyone acknowledges that Pope Francis has a very personal mode of governance—quite authoritarian—and that he acts at his own discretion and often unpredictably. The number of Motu Proprio that he has already promulgated is an unequivocal sign of this. In absolute terms, of course, one could discuss this way of doing things, but he is certainly not the first Pope to act in this way. In any case, it is not his method of command that we will talk about today.

What really seems important to us is not how Pope Francis acts, but what he does, the actual content of his action. And there, it must be said clearly, the results of his pontificate seem rather catastrophic to us. Pope Francis keeps attacking structural elements of the Church, pillars of Christian life, and thus shaking them deeply, leaving one to fear or expect their total collapse.

It is not precisely in the speculative, dogmatic order that he directs his attacks. It is not, it seems, a field that attracts and excites him. He focuses rather on the practical domain of action, but there, he is advancing at a great pace, unfortunately in the wrong direction.

He first attacked morality, a field that had been preserved, however imperfectly and only in part, from systematic questioning. Through various documents and initiatives, he paved the way for "societal" demands to be met, namely access to the sacraments for divorced and remarried couples and homosexual couples, recognition of transgender identity, access for women to ordained ministries, etc., as the German Synod has also understood.

The massive and coordinated assault on traditional liturgy, whose celebration is nonetheless so modest and marginal, constitutes the second stage of the rocket. It is a question of eradicating everything that would recall not only the Church before Vatican II but even simply the Church before Francis, since after all, the official return of this ancient liturgy dates back only to his predecessor.

Through his actions in these and parallel areas, Pope Francis will undoubtedly leave behind a deeply shaken Church.

Abbé Benoît de Jorna FSSPX | Supérieur du District de France