Rorate Caeli

Mexican Bishops Livid at Pope: "Who has advised the Pope so Badly?" - an increasingly isolated Francis

Mexico 3 Argentina 0 -- under Captain Bergoglio

Sandro Magister
Settimo Cielo Blog
March 8, 2016
That the Mexican Bishops were not pleased with Pope Francis’ discourse of February 13th, had been understood immediately.

Even so, three weeks later the discontent has now exploded in “Desde la Fe”, the Archdiocese of Mexico City’s magazine, and simultaneously on the Archdiocese’s official site, in an unsigned editorial [in Spanish here], thus traceable to the Archbishop himself, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera.

It was one passage in particular that humiliated the bishops in the Pope’s discourse, when Francis stopped reading the written text and said:

“The mission is vast and it requires many ways to conduct it. And it is with the most earnest insistence that I urge you to preserve unity among you. This is essential, brothers. This is not in the text, but comes to me now. If you have to fight, fight; if you have things to say to each other, say them; however, as men do, face to face, and as men of God who afterwards unite in prayer to arrive at discernment; and if you have crossed the line, ask for forgiveness, but maintain the unity of the Episcopal body; communion and unity among you. Communion is a vital form of the Church and the unity of Her Pastors is evidence of Her veracity… There is no need for “principles” but for a community of witnesses to the Lord.”

The media, naturally, had seen in these words a harsh rebuke by the Pope to the Bishops. It is precisely this rebuke that the above-mentioned editorial rejects as unjust.

It reads:

“We must ask ourselves: does the Pope have some reason to rebuke the Mexican Bishops in this way? What the Pope knows for certain, and is very clear to him, is that the Church in Mexico is an atypical case in respect to the other countries in America.”

Atypical (positively) for three motives - the editorial continues - by making not a very subtle comparison between Mexico and Argentina, where, differently, Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s country has given in on these three points.

The first motive is the high percentage of Catholics in Mexico: 81%, many more than in the other countries of the Continent where they continue to drop, as www.chiesa had already highlighted at one time.

The second motive is “the great resistance of the Mexican Catholic Church to the expansion of Protestant communities of a charismatic and Pentecostal nature, which on the other hand are being propagated unchecked in other countries.”

The third is “the strength with which Mexican Catholicism has faced the challenge of both cultural and political secularism,” since the “anticlerical, Masonic attack of the 1920s, when “visible signs of holiness” emerged “also from the Mexican Episcopate”.

On this third motive the editorial adds nothing further. However, it is known that the bishops and Mexican Catholics were unhappy about that the Pope on his trip was silent about the heroic insurrection of the “Cristeros” against the anti-religious persecution of the 1920s; much more painful silence inasmuch as a boy martyred by those persecutors will be proclaimed a saint this year, Josè Sanchez del Rio whose relics (in Morelia Cathedral) Francis made a hasty stop in front of but with no connection made to the official acts in his trip.

Here is the conclusion of the editorial:

“The Mexican Episcopate is united and ready to face the challenges that His Holiness put before it. But, unfortunately, there exists a “hand” of discord that tried to emphasize the negative, confusing the vision of the Church, attempting to influence the Pope’s discourse in a way that the public understood the opposite, that is to say: that the challenges and trials are caused by [the wrongs of] the Episcopate. This is not the case. And here we must ask a question: why is the merit of the Mexican Bishops’ work being minimized? Fortunately, the people know their shepherds and are with them in the building of God’s Kingdom, at whatever cost, as we have seen throughout the history of this country. Could it be perhaps, that the Pope’s “off the cuff” remarks are fruit of some bad advice given to him by someone close to him? Who advised the Pope so badly?

After this editorial was published, in Rome, Luis Badilla, the director of the para-Vatican site “Il Sismografo”, reacted by republishing in full Francis’ discourse to the Mexican Bishops. As if they hadn’t understood it, but he had.

By the way, Spanish daily El Mundo adds to the information provided by Sandro Magister above:

"The truth, according to what EL MUNDO could learn, which in any event is an open secret, is that the relations between Pope Francis and Cardinal Rivera are terrible, that the Cardinal, by feeling neglected in the trip created difficulties, especially by not mobilizing volunteers, and that the next chapter will be the upcoming renewal of the top of the Mexican Church, in which it is probable that the clash will be made more evident."

We think we know why Francis hates the Archbishop of Mexico, Cardinal Rivera: Rivera was one of the 13 Cardinals who signed the letter in defense of marriage; and the Mexican bishops are, on average, as Magister recalled, doing a reasonable job of keeping the flock from abandoning the Church from becoming secularized or joining Evangelical sects in droves as in all other Latin American nations. So, instead of just chastising the Bishops of Mexico in his address to them, a reasonable Pope would have praised them and asked them to help their fellow Latin American bishops and Bishops in the United States to share their secrets to keep Catholics inside the Church. Instead, it seems he despises them.