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This is significant!

Over the life of this blog, your humble blogger has been picking up on the “tension” between Francis, the bishop of Rome and Cardinal Muller.

If there is one incident that can be seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back, it would be the attempt by the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to gain control over Francis’ “magisterium”. Card. Muller named this “theological structuring” and we documented this EVENT for posterity in a post titled Theological Structuring? Francis Don’t Need No Stinking Theological Structuring!

Fast forward to the beginning of July, a post appeared at the OnePeterFive blog about the circumstance around the unprecedented firing of Card. Muller by Francis. (see here) What was of interest in this post, outside of the detailed information that it contained, is that… wait for it… detailed information of this sort was released into the public domain.

Your humble blogger, or rather the news filters, picked up on what appeared to be a second front opening up against this Francis bishopric. The first is the Dubia Fathers initiative, an initiative that Cardinal Muller has been at pains to not be seen as being a part of. I would even go as far as to say “artificially”.

I even posted a Tweet about just this:

On the back of this above EVENT, we found out that Pope Benedict XVI has not been happy about the Card. Muller firing. (see here)

Today, we find out that a “personality cult” has been formed around the current bishop of Rome. I have republished the Eponymous Flower post below. (see original here)

Cardinal Müller Questions Cult of Personality Around Pope Francis

[Katholisches] “Every Catholic, especially every bishop and every cardinal, has a positive and constructive relationship with the Pope. But this is anything but courtly manners and the groveling of subordinates, against which Pope Francis always spoke.”

“That means that not everything he does and says is, from the outset, already perfect and unquestionable.”

“There should be no personal cult and a pope-touching tourism.”

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Congregation of the Doctrine and the Faith, no longer in office, on Pope Franziskus, report of the German Press Agency (DPA), quoted from Der Spiegel v. July 19, 2017.

So today, we see more EVIDENCE that two “distinct” groups have formed to resist Francis.

Now, regardless of whether this “bifurcation” is artificial or not, one thing is certain, two fronts opened against Francis is better than one.

I would also like to throw in one other EVENT which appears to be related. The recent report of Cardinal Sarah’s attempt to “resurrect” the reform of the reform. What I suspect is behind this move, a move which took much of the Catholic world by surprise, is an attempt by Card. Sarah to “move to the center ground”.

What I think is happening is that Cardinal Sarah, and his advisors realize that it is the “center ground” within the Church, i.e. the JPII folks, that is the largest constituency. I also think that for most of the bishops and especially the cardinals, they most likely have a good opinion of those JPII years. If for no other reason than those same bishops and cardinals were young, and everyone has positive memories of their youth.

Aside, one anecdote that could be helpful to understand the above observation. I grew up in Chicago and am the son of Polish immigrants. Growing up in Chicago, when discussing what was happening in the Old Country, we always explained away an OBJECTIVE REALITY, i.e. how it was that Poles could be Communist collaborators and be doing what they were doing to their fellow countrymen.

When the subject came up, one useful rationalization was: these people must be transplanted Russians. (Which in fact a lot of them were. But I digress…)

But when I started traveling to Poland post transformation, I was shocked to find out how many people had a “warm and fuzzy” memory of the Communist era. Talk about TRANSRATIONAL?

One explanation that I heard, and it makes sense and is this: these people were young during those times, so when they remember the bad 1970’s and 1980’s, their memories are skewed by the fact that they were young during this time. Therefore, their memory is experiencing something called “duration neglect”. Here is that definition:

Duration neglect (Peak-End rule): The way we remember events is not necessarily made up of a total of every individual moment. Instead, we tend to remember and overemphasize the peak (best or worst) moment and the last moment, and neglect the duration of an experience. This explains why normally the bad ending ruins the whole experience. For example, when you remember your summer vacation to Canada, there is just too much information to evaluate whether it was an enjoyable trip. So, you apply the peak-end rule and you more heavily weight the best moment and the most recent moment.

Concluding, what could be happening is that a conclave is slowly approaching. The rule of thumb is that after the end of any conclave, the job of the cardinals is to start looking for the next pontiff. Therefore, they start identifying the papabile.

So what we are seeing now, is the beginning of the papabile beauty pageant. We see a DavosPontiff (Card. Parolin- “I know how to get the money in”), we see a DissidentPontiff (Card. Tagle – who is trying to sheld the GermanPuppetPope impression and is also trying to make himself acceptable to the center) and we see a CatholicPontiff (Card. Sarah – “reasonable” Catholicism), positioning themselves on the papal battleground.

And with respect to Cardinal Sarah, if in fact it is a “peak-end rule” strategy, I think a strategy based on “reasonable” Catholicism combined with a harking for the good old days of JPII “the great” could be as good a strategy as any.

A black pope?

Downright “transformational”!


And it does provide an explanation…

And now, back to vacation…