Eight years ago, the Cardinal electors made a dreadful mistake. Even I, a mere lawyer in Cleveland, knew that Benedict XVI wanted Angelo Scola to succeed him. That is why he had moved Scola from Venice to Milan.
Eight years later, I can see many arguments for the case that Francis has strengthened one faction in the Church against other factions in internecine squabbles that do nothing to attract people to Christ. I see no argument at all for the case that he has strengthened the Church as a whole or is drawing more people to Her. You never hear about the “Francis effect” any more because there is none.
I am open to counter-arguments, if you have them. I don’t.
The Cardinal electors have made mistakes before. The Church survived. The Church will survive Francis. I’m certainly not going anywhere. Still, I wish Benedict XVI had never resigned.
The “Francis effect” certainly exists; only there is nothing positive about it. A recent CNA “confidential” interview of 25 or so mostly American bishops revealed that none of them could think of a single vocation to the priesthood that was inspired by Francis. Yesterday, we heard of the latest outrage against the Faithful coming from the Francis Vatican. The anger that traditionalists and conservatives feel towards this Pope and his allies is entirely justified.
If ever a man did not want to be Pope, it was Benedict. He wanted to leave the Vatican earlier, but stayed on at John Paul II’s request. I think the furor following the Regensburg address stung him and the campaign to sabotage his Papacy only intensified as time went on. In retrospect, the effort to eject him from the Papacy resembled the Deep State effort to depose Trump. We can only guess at who all the players were: The Saint Gallen’s mafia, certainly; the EU; the Obama Administration; the international banking cartel – there are stories that, in the days prior to his resignation, the Vatican financial system was being frozen up. The Vatileaks butler scandal was probably the last straw. It seems very unlikely that this low level employee was acting on his own. Benedict could have gone down as one of the greatest popes of all time, instead his resignation opened up the door to someone who may very well be the worst.