Is this the beginning of the end for Pope Francis?
In the latest Spectator Podcast, Dr. Ed Condon and Dr. Damian Thompson discuss recent calamitous developments in the Pontificate of Pope Francis: Chile and China.
I am especially glad they talk about Cardinal Danneels inclusion in the synod on the family as Pope Francis' special guest, despite serious questions about his cardinalate, see here and here as I can't believe more questions haven't been asked about this, especially given his claims about Pope Francis' election in his autobiography (see here for the details).
There's also analysis of the Chinese betrayal: Thompson concludes "the bad guys have won", Condon says there are faithful priests and bishops within the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, however he points out that many are opposed to any deal and the CPCA bishops incur automatic excommunication under canon 1382. Huang was also publicly excommunicated by Benedict XVI in 2011. Another example of Pope Francis' flagrant disregard for law, structure and procedure?
Meanwhile, Cardinal Joseph Zen is sounding the alarm that the Vatican "is selling out the Catholic Church in China" and that it is "giving the blessing on the new...schismatic Church" created by the Communists.
There's real criticism for Cardinal Parolin (although I think Frank Walker absolutely nails Parolin in his video here). Condon says Parolin's record doesn't instil confidence in his ability as Secretary of State and this debacle may well see the end of any ambitions Parolin has for the Papacy.
Both agree Pope Francis is a charismatic leader who makes big decisions, but being pope and effecting real change requires attention to detail and that's not Pope Francis who Thompson describes as aCardinal Parolin: "We trust that the Chinese faithful, thanks to their spirit of faith, will know how to recognize that our action is animated by trust in the Lord and does not answer to worldly logic"— Catholic Sat (@CatholicSat) January 31, 2018
The suffering Chinese faithful aren't easily deceived, your Eminence #laogai https://t.co/UT3S0zmKVB
"stubborn short tempered octogenarian who reads only one newspaper and is advised by priests who are barely in touch with what's happening in the media".Condon says that Pope Francis sees structure and process and law as enemies. Considering he has ridden rough-shod over canon law, liturgical norms, moral theology, diplomatic niceties and just about anything else he has been exposed to, I would say they're both being extremely generous about the Pope here.
Finally, Cardinal O'Malley's rebuke is said to perhaps have placed him in pole position for the next conclave, especially given he is seen to have shown good judgement and sound handling of his archdiocese, which was "in flames" when he took over.