Those who had attacked the pontificate of Benedict XVI now find themselves defending that of Francis. While Catholic writers such as Messori and Socci are blasted by Avvenire [the daily newspaper of the Italian Bishops' Conference]Matteo CarnielettoIl GiornaleJanuary 3, 2015
Let’s be honest: the most progressive fringe of the Church likes Francis. This is the fringe that during the pontificate of Benedict XVI kept attacking the Pope, and now they are dressed up as papal cheerleaders who are always at hand to defend the Pope—the Pope, please note, who is Francis, not the papacy as an institution. Right from the time of the publication of Non è Francesco by Antonio Socci, the new defenders of the “Church that is poor and for the poor” have not hesitated to come to the defense of the Pope by harshly attacking that Siena journalist. The same thing happened at the publication of the article by Vittorio Messori this past December 24. In fact, Paolo Farinella, a priest and writer for Il Fatto Quotidiano, who defined the pontificate of Benedict XVI as “a disaster for the Church”, launched an appeal to stop the attacks on Pope Francis. Has Farinella undergone a conversion to orthodox Catholicism? Not at all. He has simply found in Francis an ideal mouthpiece.
Among those who signed the appeal is the group “We Are Church”, who with great gusto expressed their appreciation for Benedict’s act of resignation: “the most innovative act of his pontificate”; Alex Zanotelli, the pacifist missionary who has said that he came to understand who Christ was thanks to Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Don Milani and Don Mazzolari; the Christian Base Communities, who, on their website, posted a review of a book called The Queer God, or rather “the poof God, the faggot God”, published by Claudiana, the Waldensian publishing house. And finally (but the list could go on and on) among the signatures is that of don Aldo Antonelli, “a troublesome and red priest” who, with candor, wrote on November 1, 2007: “Dear Pope Benedict, I do not understand you.” And after a long series of recommendations that were not asked for, he concluded: “In my theological studies I learned that we priests are supposed to be talking to poor beggars of this earth like Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). But I have the impression that you prefer to have conversations with men like Dives,” that is, with the rich and powerful.In this way the parties are reversed. The apologists like Messori and Socci who have always defended the Church, now find themselves in the role of “adversaries”, who are attacked by those who, casting away the clothes of the street priest, are now wearing the pontifical livery. [Source, in Italian*]
Note: As we have often noted here, both Socci and Messori were considered mainstream (not even exactly conservative, more appropriately conservative-friendly) Catholic apologists, probably the most important in Italy in the past 40 years. They remain extremely popular in Italy, precisely because they always defended Catholic truth in a secularizing society, and they were never, ever at all, even close to Traditionalists. So the current wave of hatred against them, even from "official Catholic" news sources, is nothing short of astonishing.
Despite many mistakes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI knew what they were doing regarding the long-term prospects of the Church in a highly secularized world.
[*Article translation by Fr. Richard Cipolla]