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Pope calls off Christmas

We must have been bad children.

Or maybe he just figured Christmas is over now that he’s finished his own list of public browbeatings and has run out of creative insults to fling at his employees, officials and assorted serfs.

John Allen at Crux:

Speech to the Roman Curia in late December
Christmas Eve Mass
Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi blessing
Angelus address for the feast of St. Stephen
New Year’s Eve vespers service
New Year’s Day Mass for feast of Mary the Mother of God
New Year’s Day Angelus address
Mass for the feast of the Epiphany
Early January address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See

Those are nine major moments when the eyes of the world, especially the ecclesiastical part of it, are on the pope. Moreover, they come at a time when people are usually in a festive mood, more inclined to let bygones be bygones, so they create a natural chance for any pontiff to do some fence-mending if he perceives the need…

However, reaching across the aisle wasn’t quite the spirit Pope Francis exuded this holiday season. Instead, he appeared to project resolve to keep going.

Damian Thompson was less circumlocutory:

He can also be genial, funny and compassionate. But this side of his personality is increasingly reserved for his inner circle and his allies.

All popes have inner circles, it goes without saying. What distinguishes Francis from his recent predecessors is the nature of the alliances he forms. He is far more brutal in the exercise of his power than, say, Pope John Paul II, who certainly had an authoritarian streak in him.

Bergoglio divides the church into those who are with him and those who are against him — and if he thinks you’re in the latter camp then he’ll come after you,’ says a priest who works in the curia…

It’s not hard to detect a Latin American flavour to the deal-making and settling of scores that has become blatant over the past year. Most Catholic bishops had thought Francis was a plain-spoken and perhaps touchingly naive reformer. Instead, they are confronted by a pope who is simultaneously combative, charming, bad-tempered, idealistic and vengeful.

I think the reported conversation Muller tried to have with him about the sacking of three priests at the CDF probably summarizes the character of the Holy Father.

He [the Prefect of the Congregation] was very perplexed because it was about three excellent priests who are among the most capable professionally. He first avoided obeying and several times asked for an audience with the pope. He had to wait because that meeting was postponed several times. Finally, he was received in an audience. And he said: “Your Holiness, I have received these letters, but I did not do anything because these persons are among the best of my dicastery… what did they do?” The answer was, as follows: “And I am the pope, I do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions. I have decided that they have to leave and they have to leave.” He got up and stretched out his hand in order to indicate that the audience was at an end.

I read it and thought, “What does that remind me of? I am the something… Something-something…”

Oh yeah…

Steve continues:

I have described what I call “The Dictatorship of Mercy” — the unrelenting Vatican agenda-by-diktat, couched in the terms of “mercy” and “accompaniment” but as authoritarian as any program implemented by an autocratic regime. We have been given several recent examples — from the exile of Cardinal Burke to the purges at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Pontifical Academy for Life to the assault on the John Paul II Institutes for Marriage and Family to the unexplained, papally-ordered firings at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — that opposition will be crushed.

As John Allen and Damian Thompson both note in their own ways, there is a never-ending stream of indications that we’re looking at someone who is totally absorbed in his agenda, to the exclusion of even the most basic niceities, a man, as a former Vatican nuncio to Argentina put it, “sick with power”.

But one small indicator stuck in my mind this year, from a pal who works inside one of the Vatican’s offices. He said that normally, long in ages past, Vatican employees would get a nice little Christmas card from the papal office, a panetone and a bottle of prosecco. Well, the panetone and prosecco have disappeared in the last couple of Christmases, but this year the pope topped his Scrooge routine by sending out…


Yep. The Vatican’s lay employees got an emailed form letter. I suppose it’s better than the annual beatings the Curial officials get.

More and more, Francis can be parodied with simple Youtube clips of the great Vaudeville villains of the screen.

Too bad he lacks Alan Rickman’s flamboyant charisma, though.


12 thoughts on “Pope calls off Christmas”

  1. Pingback: Canon212 Update: Looking Forward to that New Holy FrancisMass – The Stumbling Block
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  3. Evangeline says:

    Our sins must be great to cause so monumentally bad a pope to ascend.
    He’s awful, thoroughly, and probably diabolical or crazy, but he’s the tip of the iceberg jutting up out of the water. There’s a whole big iceberg underneath the surface. The Cardinals knew who they were electing, and that’s always been the even bigger elephant. Bergolio was almost elected the Conclave before, it was only by a narrow margin PB was got in, isn’t that right? Wailing and gnashing of teeth must have occurred. Soon, they figured out how to harass him out of there, when he was weakened by age, and so, their guy is in the Big Chair, and they are making the most of it, willing to speed along now (running out of time) to get the destruction of the church and the faith DONE and over with. These are not “progressives”, they are DESTROYERS, and they believe they have the day.
    If this were 2015 it would be interesting, calendar-wise. That it is 2017, with all we know about prophesy and Fatima, it is astounding. What we have thought about, pondered, prayed for, etc., is playing out in a way we could never have imagined. When faith plays out in real life, it is surreal. These are surely amazing times. God, be with us, with your faithful Cardinals, with your church. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  4. c matt says:

    At least he is forceful, even if his decisions are in the service of the diabolical. A return to Benedict? No thanks, that’s what got us here in the first place. I would prefer a Traditionalist version of Bergo – someone who would clean house without hesitation.

  5. Presbyter says:

    If you follow the traditional calendar Lent does start a bit early in a way: Septuagesima Sunday is on February 17th .
    ;-). With this Pope it’s all winter and no Christmas.

  6. Andrew says:

    You’re a gem, Hillary. Love the youtube clips too.

  7. Michael Dowd says:

    Perhaps in a mood for penance P.F. might consider moving lent forward by a couple of weeks. But you have to hand to the guy. He wants to be sure we all live in constant state of tears. The thing he doesn’t realize is that the tears are about him being here.

  8. Brian Miles says:

    My guess is he called it off cause such displays are offensive to “migrants”.

  9. Martha says:

    Oh, perfect clips! ;’D

    The parallel is striking; devastatingly sad, really.

  10. Ademar says:


    It is high time that a bishop or cardinal NOT appointed by Bergoglio stand up to publicly declare that Jorge Bergoglio is NOT Pope and then, with all the episcopal spiritual power he can muster, anathematize (That’s formally curse, boys and girls.) Bergoglio’s demonic pride and all that feeds it to the detriment of his salvation. While Bergoglio is busy drawing breath to erupt with rage, the courageous bishop or cardinal needs to publicly call Pope Benedict to come out of seclusion and again rule the Church that he so foolishly abandoned.

    Our Lady of Fatima ora pro nobis!!

  11. Romulus says:

    Piero Marini would like everyone to know we’re now in ordinary time.

  12. mark docherty says:

    It is good to see the mask finally falling, even in the so-called “mainstream”. We are sprinting toward some interesting stuff.

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