The innovations in the customs and speeches of Pope Francis have led to an acute crisis in the conservative groups that strictly followed the directives of the two previous Popes. They find it especially intolerable that the Pope received in private audience one of the pioneers of the “condemned ” Theology of Liberation, Peruvian Gustavo Gutierrez. They are stunned by the Pope’s sincerity in recognizing the Church’s errors, and his own, and in denouncing the careerism of many prelates, calling “leprosy” the courtesan and flattering spirit of many in power, who are known as “vaticancentrists”. What really scandalizes them is the inversion he makes, by putting in first place love, mercy, tenderness, dialogue with modernity and tolerance towards people, including the divorced and the homo-affective, and only in last place, ecclesiastic doctrines and discipline.
The voices are already being heard of the most radical, who, referencing Pope Francis, offer petitions, “for the good of the Church” (evidently, their Church), such as: “Lord, illuminate or eliminate him”. Eliminating problematic popes is not a rarity in the long history of the papacy. There was a time, between the years 900 and 1000, in the so-called «pornocratic era» of the papacy, when virtually all the popes were either poisoned or assassinated.
The most frequent criticisms that circulate in the social media of these historically antiquated and backward groups, go along the line of accusing Pope Francis of undermining the sacred nature of the figure of the papacy, trivializing and secularizing it. In reality, they ignore history and are hostage to a secular tradition that has little to do with the historical Jesus and life style of the Apostles. But it has lots to do with the gradual adoption of pagan and worldly customs by the Church, in the style of the pagan Roman emperors and Renaissance princes.
The door to this process was already opened in the times of Constantine (274-337), who recognized Christianity, and Theodosius (379-395) who made it the sole official religion of the Empire. The decline of the Roman Empire created the conditions for the bishops, especially the Bishop of Rome, to assume the functions of command and order. This was clear with Pope Leo I, the Great, (440-461), who was proclaimed Mayor of Rome in order to confront the invasion of the Huns. Leo was the first to use the term Pope, which previously had been reserved for the Roman emperors. It acquired greater strength with Pope Gregory Magnus (540-604), also proclaimed Mayor of Rome, and later culminated with Gregory VII (1021-1085) who assumed for himself absolute power in the religious and secular fields: perhaps the greatest revolution in the field of ecclesiology.
The present imperial, princely and courtesan customs of the hierarchy, the cardinals and the popes, date back in particular to Pope Sylvester (334-335). In his time the falsehood, the so-called, “Donation of Constantine”, was created, with the objective of strengthening papal power. According to that “Donation”, emperor Constantine had given the Pope the city of Rome and the Occidental part of the Empire. Included in that “Donation”, unmasked as false by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1400-1460), was the use of imperial emblems and clothing (purple), the title of Pope, the gold crosier, the cape, covered with ermine and trimmed with silk, on his shoulders, the formation of the court and the palatial residences.
This is the origin of the present princely and courtesan customs of the Roman Curia, of the hierarchy of the Church and the cardinals, especially of the Pope. Its source is the style of the pagan Roman emperors and the sumptuousness of the renaissance princes. There has been, then, a process of the Church as a hierarchical institution, adopting pagan and worldly customs.
Those who want to return to the ritual traditions that surround the figure of the Pope are not even conscious of this historically closed and conditioned process. They insist on something that does not comport with the evangelical values, and praxis, of Jesus.
What is Pope Francis doing? He is restoring to the papacy and the entire hierarchy their true style, linked to the Tradition of Jesus and the Apostles. In fact, he is returning to the most ancient tradition, eliminating the pagan customs of the papacy, within the spirit of the Gospel, that were lived so emblematically by his mentor and inspiration, Saint Francis of Assisi.
The authentic tradition is on the side of Pope Francis. The tradicionalist are only that, tradicionalist and not traditionals. They are closer to the palace of Herod and Caesar Augustus, than to the grotto of Bethlehem and the house of the artisan from Nazareth. In contrast to them is the praxis of Jesus and His sayings about having nothing, about simplicity and humility, and power as service, rather than as exercised by the pagan princes and lords who subjugate and dominate: “it should not be that way among you, that the oldest be like the youngest and the one who gives commands be like the servant” (Luke 22,26). Pope Francis speaks from this original and oldest, tradition, the Tradition of Jesus and the Apostles. This destabilizes the conservatives, who have been left without arguments
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Melina Alfaro, firstname.lastname@example.org,
done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.