At Protect the Pope we’re hearing that some Catholics and Catholic blogs are publicly expressing concerns, even alarm, about Pope Francis’ celebration of the liturgy, and his imparting of the apostolic blessing. Look, everybody is getting used to each other, the Holy Father is getting used to his new role as the successor of St Peter and we’re still getting over the shock of Pope Benedict’s abdication and are trying to absorb Pope Francis election. What isn’t helpful during this time of transition is people firing off public complaints and criticism of Pope Francis through blogs and comments. If we cannot say anything supportive and encouraging about Pope Francis we shouldn’t say anything in a public forum, he has enough enemies in the media and blogs than to have Catholics joining in the negative narrative.
It’s important that Catholics heed the words of Bishop Mark Davies’ pastoral letter exhorting us all to renewing our obedience to the successor of St Peter:
‘Our Catholic faith leads us to recognise and promise today, as I promised on the day I became a bishop, to be faithful, obedient and united under the authority of the Successor of the Apostle Peter (Rite for the Ordination of Bishops). In the Catholic heart, there is not only a recognition of the vital ministry of the Pope, but a love for the Pope. The Acts of the Apostles tells how the Church at the beginning prayed unceasingly to God for Peter (Acts 12:5).
‘This moment surely invites us to renew personally our loyalty to the Pope chosen to guide the Church in these testing times. In the faithful witness Pope Francis will give, often in the face of opposition, may you and I always stand steadfastly and courageously with St Peter’s Successor. I ask you to renew this promise with me today. I am certain there can be no progress for the Church in the Shrewsbury Diocese without this living, faithful, loving unity with the See of St Peter, with our Holy Father, Pope Francis.’
At Protect the Pope we are convinced that we must guard against a consumerist mentality affecting our attitudes, judgments and comments about Pope Francis. A consumerist mentality reduces the pope to just another service provider, who is expected to deliver a service just as the consumer expects and demands. The fundamental belief of consumerism is that the consumer has the right to complain if they’re unhappy with the service provided. This consumerist mentality is not a Catholic attitude to the successor of St Peter. As Bishop Davies writes in his pastoral letter:
‘The Pope is neither a politician nor a celebrity, but always a witness to the Truth, to the One who was crucified, to the faith handed down by the Apostles. The word ‘martyr’ means ‘witness’ and describes those who suffer and die for Christ.’
The Holy Spirit knew Pope Francis’ approach to liturgy when he inspired the cardinals to elect him to the See of St. Peter. Show some humility about this.