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Newly elected Pope Francis I -1761696The new Pope has not been crowned and it has started. From one side the self-styled traditionalists are bemoaning Pope Francis lack of their sense of his office in a way captured brilliantly here by Fr. Longenecker. Like the Father, I am rather inclined that way myself, but I find something ridiculously infantile and premature about the attitude of some. If Jesus Christ Himself turned up in the wrong regalia would you also criticise Him?

On the Fundie Right in the USA the fact that Pope Francis is a Jesuit has sent people into paroxysms of what is, frankly lunacy. One video asked ‘who rules this world?’ before going off on one about the ‘Illuminati’ (and no, I am not linking to it, you can find it easily enough).

The Pope mentions the poor as one of his main concerns, and some people need smelling salts. If they do that strange thing, read the Bible, they will find Christ had similar concerns; people of their persuasion crucified Him for it (among other reasons).

On yet another wing, the ageing dinosaurs of the Tablet seem to think that the fact that the Pope does not wear a mozzetta means that there wil be clown masses in the Vatican next Sunday and that there will be communal festivals of ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ on a weekly basis, complete with liturgical dancing and compulsory lessons in tumbling.

Suddenly everyone has a contact in Argentina, and on that basis they are qualified to pronounce as above. He worked with the Junta; no he didn’t; well he didn’t fight the Junta and that’s the same thing; and so it goes, and no doubt will go until the Pope actually does something. I prophecy that when he does he will not please all Catholics; there, that’s bold of me. You are welcome to come back and tell me I was wrong; I would love that, but we all know it is not going to happen.

It is, we are told by those whose minds were already made up, the Cardinals who did this. Well, the belief of the Church is that they are guided by the Holy Spirit, although those who are more Catholic than the Pope cleaely know better than that – and for all we know, than the Holy Spirit Himself.

I know next to nothing about the new Pope – so do most of those commenting. So I would ask them to calm down and pray for him, as he asked us to. Those subject to fantasies of the Middle Ages and of a Pope as a great ruler in pomp and state might take time off to pray for a Pope who, like Christ, wishs to concentrate on the salvation of souls. And if there are clown masses in the Vatican next week, we can all decamp to the Orthodox Church – and get back to a Church which thinks the filioque a novel addition.

So, how about we all give it a rest (even journalists) and see what this new chap gets up to. One question though about the photograph – the Cardinal on the far right looks like Rupert Murdoch – could it be …. (one for the conspiracy theorists).