First, recall that Francis is a Jesuit, albeit in Franciscan drag. Recall further that it has long been unwritten tradition that no Pope should ever be chosen from among the Jesuits. Nor has ever been in all the Church’s history until now. Revelation enough we suppose, of the Cardinals’ desperation.
Jesuits are eminently political creatures; providing the Pope’s version of the CIA and special forces, often to the chagrin of other prelates. It was long unwritten but very firm doctrine that no Jesuit should be a Pope. That would confer too much power upon one order within the Church. Until now.
We recall a scene wherein a young man asked the Pastor of his bride-to-be’s parish for permission to marry her in his own parish, instead of in that of the bride as tradition required. The resulting interrogation elicited the fact that the prospective groom was a graduate of a Jesuit college, whereupon the Pastor asked: “Why didn’t you learn from a Catholic priest?”
Pope Francis made two headlines today; he said that contraception might be okay in the face of the Zika virus and he denounced Donald Trump as no Christian. What are we to think?
Well, given the centuries of Churchly opposition to any form of artificial contraception, we visualize the graves of centuries of bishops full of spinning remains. Not to mention apoplectic current clergy. Artificial contraception has been a huge no – n for aeons. Some might now expect Francis to next, offer abortion services.
Attacking Mr. Trump by name is different. Recent Popes have avoided direct political meddling, at least in the U.S. The historical anti-Catholicism of the country was thought enough of a problem without Papal amplification. That Francis feels free to sound off is therefore, a sort of compliment, he must feel that anti-Catholicism has abated, at least among the people. He may however, have misread his audience.
First, Catholicism has weakened in the U.S; while a Pope is a recognized moral authority of sorts, he is not American and not accorded a right to tell Americans what they should do. He is a foreigner and as such, even today suspect when it comes to Americanism. And second, he is aligning himself with the Establishment against the White Knight at a time when the primary Trumpean appeal is the Donald’s perceived outsider status. People are not so much pro-Donald as Anti-Establishment. Popes generally are not viewed anymore as anti-Establishment.
So we expect Mr. TRump’s numbers to be at least unaffected by he Pope’s ire, and maybe even enhanced. We recall that those still religious in the U.S. include a lot of Protestants, folk whose Christianity has been questioned by a long succession of Popes.
For those reasons, we surmise that His Holiness’ disdain will not only not hurt Mr. Trump, but may well enhance his prospects. In short, Pope Francis blew it. Unless he was aiming for that result, which would indeed be Jesuitical…