Is the Pope Catholic?
Once upon a time, the Yankees “always” won the American League pennant. Halfway through the season, if someone foolishly asked if the Yankees were going to do it again, some wise guy would answer the foolish question by asking another, “Is the Pope Italian?” In later years, during the unending pontificate of John Paul II, the Yankees were no longer dominating the American League, and, if anyone asked some foolish question such as, “You think Sammy Sosa is taking steroids?,” the responding question was, “Is the Pope Catholic?” Today, I wonder how the wise guy would respond to a question like, “Is Sammy Sosa whitening his skin?”
All the proverbial certainties on which simple people could rely are gone with the wind. A Confederate dollar bill is worth more than a greenback, most Catholic priests don't know any Latin--or theology--and, if the celebrity billionaires make good on their promise to go into space, pigs really will fly.
Is the current Pope Italian or Catholic? Papa Bergoglio may be of Italian extraction, but he is not any more Italian than Andrew Cuomo, and, while he may be Pope in Rome, the hierarchy over which he presides can hardly be described as “Catholic.” (Note, I am referring to the princes of the Church and not to the peasant laity.)
One more simple question, if the Pope or the majority of American bishops were really Catholic, would Andrew Cuomo or Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden or any other of the political bosses who advocate baby-killing be permitted to receive Holy Communion? Would known sexual predators like Theodore McCarrick continue to serve as cardinals instead of being sent to prison?
To put a point to the argument: Would Catholics be subjected to aesthetically degrading pop music every time they attend Mass? I cite this last instance of a general trend because it tells us all what we need to know: In our time, the Church has surrendered to the demons of progress, much as so many Christian ministers in communist countries, including China today, have bowed to the authorities. Church music today is an anthem of servility to the coarsest kind of hedonism.
What does a Catholic do in such an age? I have no advice. For me, I hold my nose and try not to read anything that comes out of the Vatican or out of my diocese. A rose may not always be a rose--for a French poet, it was the absent rose, not the rose in the hand or on the bush that really mattered. So, too, the Church is the Church is the Church, though it may be the Church of the ages that matters and not these liars, cheats, scoundrels, and child-abusers in the hierarchy. They can only scrawl their wicked graffiti on the walls, but when these same liars, cheats, and scoundrels pretend they have authority to change long-standing principles of moral theology—on capital punishment, socialism, the rights of nations to defend their borders—they deserve only a good old-fashioned Bronx cheer. And they won’t dare do anything to repress their critics, because they don’t even have that much fortitude.