Pope Francis is behaving like a Latin American dictator – but the liberal media aren’t interested
In the latest Holy Smoke Podcast, canon lawyer Dr Ed Condon suggests that Pope Francis style of governance is more akin to that of a Latin American dictator than the Supreme Bridge Builder (Pontifex Maximus). However, despite the scandals rolling out of the Vatican on an almost unprecedented basis, he reflects on the fact that the liberal media aren’t paying any attention. As Damian Thompson points out:
Coverage in secular newspapers is patchy, biased and unreliable – The Times is perhaps the worst offender – while certain Catholic journalists who write about the Vatican appear to be taking dictation from a liberal faction in the Church that is trying to hijack this pontificate.
I say ‘hijack’, because the progressive churchmen who present themselves as Francis’s allies are pretending to be better connected than they are. The Pope frequently wrong-foots them by saying the opposite of what they expect. [case in point here is the terrible Charlie Gard affair]
Dr Condon offers a plausible theory as to why a supposedly approachable pontiff is regarded as a bully by many of the people who work for him, he comes from a religious order organised on miltary grounds and in such an environment, you do not question your orders. Condon suggests the pope likes being the man at the top and gives attention to the things he is interested in, as opposed to the more collegial way of doing things which is the accepted norm in Rome.
Condon sees Müller as a very loyal Vatican civil servant, something we have discussed here before as it seems that despite being firmly at odds with the pope on Amoris Laetitia, he has remained supportive of the Pontiff and tried to avoid a direct confrontation.
Condon says that the tone of governance has shifted radically and the ground has not been well prepared for that. Meanwhile, the background top recent events is really muddy and there is a clear lack of coherence in the reforms that Pope Francis is trying to push through.
Condon says that Pope Benedict refused to be part of the curial politics which are naturally a part of life in the Vatican whereas Francis is much more involved. This is because he cares about certain issues and wants to ensure their success.
Despite all these problems, we are not reading much about it in the media. This seems to be because they like Pope Francis whereas they did not like Pope Benedict. Condon says the journalists are taking dictation from factions in the Vatican.
Most interestingly on the dubia, Condon suggests that making the dubia public was a political move which invited an angry response from the authoritarian pope, notwithstanding the fact that the questions themselves were perfectly reasonable under the circumstances.