The other day I added a comment on Facebook to something a friend had posted; I thought I was posting my comment on his Facebook thread; instead, my comment ended up on the site called The Remnant -- which purports to be Catholic.
The discussion was about Pope Francis; and, I'm very sorry to say, the Remnant appears to have no scruples when it comes to bashing the successor to Saint Peter.
Oh, you think I exaggerate?
Here are some comments:
> "...his tacit support of homosexuality..." -- "John Antesberger"
> "I'm just curious. Does anyone actually have any doubts that Francis in his heart, in his soul, and in his darkened mind, is a heretic?" -- "Thomas Fortino"
> "If Bergoglio is the answer, it must be a very stupid question." -- "Andrew Russo"
Meanwhile, this same publication featured an article recently that speculated that Pope Benedict only sort-of resigned; he's still partly pope, possessing the infallibility, but none of the other parts, leaving Pope Francis with all the other parts, but not the infallibility. Now, that would be merely idiotic and laughable; except that there are honest people who are susceptible that sort of thing. Then it becomes destructive of people's faith; and -- I don't say this lightly -- damnable. (Biretta-tip to Mark Shea, who published an item by Karl Keating that led me to this.)
This is not the only place that traffics in this sort of thing, of course. Although not as extreme, the popular site Regina Coeli was so quick to denounce the Holy Father a heretic, it managed to do so with hours of his election.
Now, let's sort this out.
My premise here is not that Catholics can't disagree with the pope, or criticize him, or even think he is a bad fellow. History tells us that some popes were, indeed, bad fellows, and it's never been true that we were bidden to deny we see what we see.
But this is the Holy Father, the successor to Saint Peter. Oh, you don't believe that? Then you're either not Catholic, or you've lost your mind. Pope Francis was validly elected according to the laws of the Church; and before anyone trots out any mumbo-jumbo about Benedict, it's crystal clear that (a) he resigned; and (b) he thinks Francis is pope.
And if we're going to be ultra-traditional about this (not that I have any problem with tradition), how about folks go look up in the Catechism of Trent (edited by Saint Charles Borromeo and published by authority of Pope Saint Pius V) what it says about calumny and detraction, and about the dignity of the Supreme Pontiff. Run your acid words about Pope Francis through that sieve and let's see what remains, shall we?
When I read these things, I can't help thinking what my mother might have said or done, had I spoken about the pope in this way in her presence. I think she'd have slapped me. And she'd have been right. These folks, who post these things online, need to show them to their mothers, standing very close.