Because you know it’s going to happen. It’s getting to be pretty hard for recent popes not to be canonized. They’ve even slated Pope John XXIII, the worst pope in the Church’s entire history, for sainthood. If they can do it for Good Pope John, how can they not do it for Good Pope Francis? After all, Pope Francis is perfectly replicating Pope John’s institution-smashing recklessness (Vatican II / the Extraordinary Synod) and deliberate downplaying of opposition to the most militant evil of the day (communism / sodomy) thus winning great personal popularity in exchange for the jeopardy of souls. Francis is practically a Roncalli clone.
While we’re on that topic I honestly don’t understand why traditionalists get so much more worked up over the canonization of John Paul II. It’s not that I agree with everything JPII ever did, but I’ve never doubted that he was fundamentally on the Catholic side against modernity. He inherited an impossible situation, and he had to choose his battles. Overall, I think he chose them wisely and fought them well. Pope John inherited a strong, healthy church and murdered it. Even Pope Paul VI, when he faced his judgment before God, had one glorious moment of courage to his credit. When some day, God willing, the Second Vatican Council is forgotten, Humanae Vitae will still stand out as one of the glories of papal history. (And, yes, they’re pushing for Paul’s canonization too. I’m as ultramontanist as the next Catholic, but even for me this is becoming unseemly.)
Yes, I realize that one canonizes the man, not his policies, and it’s possible that Pope John was very holy and very stupid. However, for a public figure like a pope, the policies are the main thing he’s known for. Declaring someone a saint doesn’t just declare that this person is in heaven; it holds him up as an example. If a pope does a bad job, and we don’t want him to be held up as an example of how the Church should be run, there’s nothing wrong with letting him enjoy the fruits of his holiness without official recognition. It’s not like he’ll be kicked out of heaven.
Why do I bring this up? Because it adds a new layer to that burden we reactionaries always feel, the weight of our descendent’s hatred. Not for us is the comfort of imagining that history will vindicate us, that even if we fail, school children in the distant future will someday be taught that our cause was just. We’ve always known that secular culture despises us now and will despise us more with each generation. I suspect that even Catholic history in the future will condemn us. The traditionalists criticized by Francis will be remembered in Catholic history like the Integralists are in the post-VII Church, as fools and bigots that the heroes had to overcome. That, like yesterday’s Integralists, today’s traditionalists are actually right won’t mean anything to anyone, except God.
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