Fire at will Americans.
That’s the message that Jorge Brogoglio, also known as Francis, the man sitting on the papal throne these days, sent this week while on the plane travelling to Mozambique. He had just been handed a copy of “How America Wants to Change the Pope,” a rebuke of Vatican whistle-blower Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, when Francis went on the offensive.
“It is an honor for me to be attacked by the Americans,” the pope said.
Then turning to hand the book to one of his staff, Francis said, “This is a bomb.”
For American Catholics, Francis’s invitation is rather tempting. The man simply does not comprehend the anger building among the faithful against him and the group of bishops and cardinals who take up space in the Vatican and the Curia, the administrative arm of the Church. The gang is essentially a homosexual ring hell bent on changing the Catholic Church into something unrecognizable.
Not long after, the papal spokesman and director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, made his way to the section of the plane reserved for journalists to issue a clarification, spinning the pope’s words in an unlikely direction.
“In an informal context, the Pope wished to say that he always considers criticism an honor, particularly when it comes from authoritative thinkers and, in this case, from an important nation,” he said.
The pope’s words regarding Americans do not come as a great surprise to close followers of his pontificate, who are well aware of the pontiff’s general dislike of the yanquis (Yankees).
In 2016, veteran Vatican journalist John L. Allen wrote that a “defining feature both of Francis’ personality and his approach to governance … is a distinct ambivalence about the United States and about Americans.”
The thing about Francis’s ambivalence that he fails to appreciate is that American checkbooks will close, eventually, if their Faith is attacked the way Brogoglio goes about trying to change things for the sake of change. When that happens, we’ll see just how ambivalent the man is.