The Pope as Arch-Troll


The Pope as Arch-Troll

What does he get out of it?

Some have argued that Pope Francis is not an ideologue. That is, while he wants to be or be seen as a liberal “revolutionary,” this isn’t because he has any particular belief in liberal theology per se. Rather, it’s about power. His power, of course. To “change” the Church is not only a means for Bergoglio to solidify a certain power base, but is a manifestation or sign of the exercise of power itself, and, thus, is worthwhile on its own terms.

Just as, say, a sculptor gets satisfaction out of transforming natural material into a shape that conforms to some inner intention or design of his own, the tyrant gets satisfaction out of transforming people, or transforming those things that are important to people in a way that let’s them know they are under his control. How he transforms people or things, or to what apparent end, is secondary to the act itself.

In a sense this is similar to the motivation of the classic social-media “troll.” People often speak of “liberal” trolls or “conservative” trolls who wish to fight ideological battles online by, say, spreading “fake news” or rudely insulting their enemies or whatever. Yet this is a misapplication of the original meaning of the term.

“Troll” (as used in social media) originally meant someone that wanted to provoke emotional reactions, not to advance any particular agenda, but for the sheer enjoyment of the provocation itself. Thus a troll might pretend to be liberal to stir up conservatives, or pretend to be conservative to stir up liberals. The object was simply to get people to react, preferably in a way that showed distress or confusion. Or to put it more plainly, the goal was to screw with people.

I used to think Jorge Mario Bergoglio was motivated largely by vanity. He wanted to be a different pope, a better pope, a pope loved by the world, and so on. By transforming the Church to conform more with the liberal zeitgeist he would be praised by the media (made up of liberal journalists) and go down in history (written by liberal historians). Power was a means to achieve worldly praise.

But I gradually came to have a different view, a view solidified by the events of recent days: During Holy Week, Catholics were “stunned” and “rocked” to hear that their apparent leader had denied (or so it seemed) one of the central tenets of their faith, a denial particularly stark on the eve of Good Friday.

Catholics regularly affirm that after Jesus died on the cross, He descended into hell to save the righteous who had perished without knowing Him, just as the righteous that came after would be saved through His Church. But if there were really no hell, what did that mean? What did Jesus die to save us from?

It was another gut-punch to all faithful Catholics, arguably one of the worst, but still simply another in a long-line against Catholic mothers (who breed like rabbits), Catholic priests (who are joyless Pharisees), Catholics in difficult marriages who have tried to conform to what they thought were the teachings of the church (what goody-goodies), and just Catholics in general who have made what many might see as sacrifices . . . for what?

The denial/non-denial from the Vatican of the Pope’s hell comments was blackly comic. It scrupulously avoided explicitly contradicting the essence of what the headlines claimed, nor did in affirm that the Pope himself believed what all Catholics have always been told they had to believe.

Francis himself could have simply issued a short statement affirming that he subscribed to the orthodox view. He didn’t. Why?
I actually don’t think it has anything to do with what he believes or doesn’t believe, if he in fact believes in anything. It’s laughable to even consider the proposition that Bergoglio is a devout annihilationist (someone who subscribes to the theological claim that the souls of those who are not saved do not go to hell but simply cease to exist). I would be surprised if he has ever seriously considered the question for more than a few seconds in his adult life.
Why did he do it?
Because, to use the blunt language I used above, he enjoys screwing with us. He actually gets sadistic glee from knowing that he has, as it were, spit in our soup yet again. And he knows that we know he can do it anytime.
The Pope, trolling his own flock.
Should this make us angry? Of course. But I wonder how many Catholics are still angry at him. I have to confess that I’m not, or not really, in the same way that I assume I wouldn’t necessarily be angry per se at, say, a political tyrant, at least after a certain point. Bergoglio is who he is. I can’t change that. Presumably no one can.
But what of all the good bishops who continue to go along with it – this sadist, this troll, this monster, continuing to squat on the Throne of St. Peter?
Don’t they have compassion for their flocks? How can they let this go on?
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One comment on “The Pope as Arch-Troll

  1. Answer to the final question: Nope. Why would they change a script that’s made them more politically powerful and far richer than any bishops since the heyday of ecclesial Nirvana in Renaissance Europe and ever in No. American history?
    I also don’t hold to Spalding’s deranged personality theory. PF’s little changed from his early days as just one of many So. American Jebbies with a rotten formation and a lot of ambition. Antonio Socci’s two track magisterial template theory is much more correct. Francis discombobulates Catholics with running right up to the hertical edge while he is busy chatting up his favored lapdog media strumpets with preselected tidbits of where he really wants to take “his” Brave New “church” doctrinally.

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