Did someone give FrankenPope bad advice? Catholic journal questions some of the pope’s words to Mexico’s bishops
[The old “blame the advisors” routine]
MexicoNewsDaily.com/news/did-someone-give-francis-bad-advice/ | Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Pope Francis reportedly came down a bit hard on Mexico’s bishops during his visit here last month. On Sunday, a Catholic Church publication wondered if he had been given bad advice.
The Archdiocese of Mexico City was responding to some harsh words used by the pope when he addressed bishops in Mexico City. In an editorial the Catholic weekly journal Desde la Fe asked if their spiritual leader had any reasons to “chastise” Mexican bishops.
On a February 13 visit to the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, Francis urged bishops not to be afraid and to be “transparent,” urging that any differences among them should be resolved head on.
Francis’ wake-up call was blunt: “Don’t let yourself be corrupted by trivial materialism or the alluring illusions of accords reached under the table.”
He also said that bishops should not waste their time and energy on secondary issues, in gossip and intrigue, or in “vain personal career projects . . . we do not need ‘princes,’ but rather a community of the Lord’s witnesses.”
The harshest part of his message was, perhaps, when Francis told them: “If you have to fight, then fight. If you’ve got things to say to each other, then say them, But [do it] like men, to the face. And like men of god, pray afterwards if you went too far.”
The words of the pontiff were picked up by local and foreign news outlets, which also recalled that the church hierarchy in Mexico has close ties with the political and economic class, dismisses their faith’s austerity mandate, and holds rather conservative positions with regard to controversial issues such as abortion and gay marriage, in contrast with the general public’s more liberal opinions.
On Sunday, Desde la Fe addressed the phrase “fight like men,” explaining that Francis wasn’t alluding to confrontations as reported by the media, “which are more focused on histrionics than the deep meaning of the words.”
“Instead,” the editorial continued, “the phrase should be understood as an urging to react with evangelic audacity to the alienating proposals that want to corner the church.”
Desde la Fe highlighted the resistance of the Mexican Catholic Church to the expansion of protestant communities, and then wondered if Francis ignored the situation “to give the bishops such a chastisement?”
“The Mexican bishops have been accompanying the suffering, downtrodden people, devoting their lives to others and not living like ‘princes,’” the editorial said.
The editorial concluded on a harsh note: “Who is trying to devalue the labor of Mexican bishops . . . . Could it be that the holy father’s improvised words were a response to bad advice given by someone close to him? Who is giving the pope bad advice?”
The rector of the Pontifical University of Mexico, Mario Angel Flores, said the editorial appeared ill-advised, given that the pope’s comments “were very frank words, inviting everyone to be more clear.”
For Flores, the editorial was “trying to downplay and question [the pope’s] words, which is not the most correct thing to do.”