The new pontificate of Pope Francis is already revealing a most welcome novelty in the midst of so much obscurantism in the Church today: sheer simplicity of preaching. In his sermon during Mass for the cardinal electors today, the Pope declared: “When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind: ‘Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.’ When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness.... When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.”
I cannot remember the last time a Pope of the post-Vatican II era spoke plainly about the devil, the demon, and the worldliness of clergy. And the reference to Léon Bloy is quite telling, for Bloy was a Church-hating freethinker who underwent a near-miraculous conversion and became one of the foremost Catholic novelists of the 20th century. The Catholic novelist Graham Greene begins one of his novels with this quotation of Bloy: “Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering in order that they might have existence.” In this way does suffering open the closed and arrogant heart to the operation of God’s grace.
As of this writing, Pope Francis has not yet taken the customary step of appointing on a temporary basis the officials of the Roman Curia who were in power on the date the last pontificate ended, including Cardinal Bertone and those who have unswervingly followed the Secretary of State’s Party Line on the Message of Fatima. Has Pope Francis already seen the 300-page dossier prepared by the three cardinals to document corruption within the Vatican apparatus? Are we about to see a massive sweeping out of the Stygian stable of the Apostolic Palace? We should have more definite answers to these questions by the time the Fatima Center team leaves the Eternal City.
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