I don’t often remember dreams, but when I was at seminary, I had a dream of being in Italy during the Fascist era. A crowd was singing the Fascist anthem Giovinezza to other words beginning Paolo Sesto e Mussolini… followed by other words in Italian that I cannot now remember.
In actual fact Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini was Secretary of State under Pius XII during World War II and only became Pope in 1963, eighteen years after Mussolini’s ignominious death in Milan (killed by the partisans). In my dream, Montini as Pope Paul VI and the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini were contemporaries and in full collaboration with each other. I would take this as meaning to me that I saw Paul VI as having been a very authoritarian pontiff, even with his reforming agenda.
Despite having taken my distance from Roman Catholic traditionalists in France and elsewhere (and they from me), I do notice some of what seems to be going on in the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis seemed to have his own reforming agenda, but was leaving the Anglican rite ordinariates and the traditionalist communities alone. From the beginning of his pontificate, I intensely disliked him and have never had much esteem for the Jesuits (other than the first generation of saints, martyrs and heroes). He really seems to have turned out something of an authoritarian in the manner of Paul VI (the abolition of the old Roman rite, the suspension of Archbishop Lefebvre, etc.). It was under the pontificate of John Paul II (1990’s) when I had my dream of the clown dictator standing next to Paul VI and both revelling in their power.
Episodes of sanctions against Anglican use churches and traditionalists seem to be multiplying. I mentioned Our Lady of the Atonement yesterday. Dr William Tighe is welcome to send in comments, since he seems to be well-informed. Fr Hunwicke has written on his blog about this subject (see my previous posting for the link).
Our Californian friend John Bruce over the past few day seems to be lapping it all up and revelling in it – but he too as a conservative is also a part of the ecclesiastical equivalent of the basket of deplorables! He is for winding up the Ordinariates and bringing back the Inquisition – or something like that – to get all the people concerned into lock-step with the Novus Ordo bishops and bureaucracies. Whatever happened to Religious Liberty?
Bishop of Rockford Sets a Curb on Use of the Extraordinary Form tells a tale of heavy-handed tactics by a diocesan bishop as frequently happened before the pontificate of Benedict XVI. This of course is the initiative of a diocesan bishop like in Texas with the Anglican users, not the Pope, but it seems to be setting a trend.
Something serious has been brewing for a long time with the Order of Malta. Pope seizes power from the Knights of Malta, brutally ending 900 years of their sovereignty. The Order of Malta is by definition a sovereign state, even after its re-foundation in the nineteenth century. The Order of St John of Jerusalem has been through many vicissitudes in its long history, and remnants of the old Order could regroup under princes and monarchs in friendly countries. One “branch” obtained legitimacy with a prince in Russia and another large portion went to the Pope in the early nineteenth century. There are at least two small groups in the USA claiming legitimacy from the Russian branch. The Order of Malta is the part that approached the Pope. Under what conditions? They could be found in the various charters, constitutions, foundational documents, etc. I have neither the inclination nor the resources to do such research myself. Is the Order of Malta the same thing as the ancient Order of St John or a new (19th century) creation under the authority of the Pope? I cannot tell whether the present Pope’s intervention in their affairs is abusive or not. It seems all the same suspicious. Read the articles (and the one in the Catholic Herald by Damian Thompson) and judge for yourself.
There are also examples of priests and bishops being sanctioned for objecting to Amoris Laetitia from the traditional moral judgement of divorce and remarriage. We (or they) may be moving towards a new period of intolerance and abuse of papal authority.