...too much of the mainstream media – and, increasingly, the blogosphere media – believes in its unlimited infallibility with a tenaciousness that makes Pius IX’s grip on his quite limited infallibility seem tenuous by contrast....And if anyone challenges the infallibility of the traditionalist blogosphere .... woe betide!
Eight months after Pope Francis was elected, I wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he had become a global Rorschach blot, on to which Catholics and non-Catholics alike were projecting their hopes and fears, often without paying serious attention to what the Pope actually said or did. The Rorschaching of the Pope has not abated since then; it’s intensified, and it’s the primary distorting filter through which a lot of bad reporting and commentary on Synod-2015 has been run.
This Rorschaching knows no ideological bounds: the conservative and traditionalist Catholic blogosphere has been just as sunk in it, albeit with an obviously different analysis of What It All Means, than the usual suspects on the port side, like the National Catholic Reporter and the New York Times. But to cite an old friend previously quoted in these Letters – Sergeant Joe Friday of the 1950s detective series, Dragnet – any serious analysis of Pope Francis and Synod-2015 should begin with “Just the facts, Ma’am.” ..Yes. Look at the original texts Some of those infallible sources definitely need to be triangulated with other sources before you can trust what they are saying and repeat it to the aether. (Is Pope Francis really proposing decentralisation of doctrinal teaching?...)
Pope Francis is, admittedly, a complex man. But why do Catholic traditionalists miss his defence of orthodoxy as badly as the two Times, that of New York and that of London? It’s not a great mystery why the Times people miss, or wilfully ignore, the Pope’s commitment to the truths the Church holds; it ill serves the cultural, social, and political purposes into which they’d like to recruit Pope Francis as a trophy chaplain. But serious Catholics ought to know better.