Yesterday morning, it was a luminous, sunny day here in London. A team from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation came to my small, sunlit flat. Intrepid reporter, Ellen Mauro interviewed me on camera, about ‘the Francis Effect’ and whether or not liberals love the real Pope Francis or their idea of Pope Francis.
There is an audience of millions the world over, who are fascinated by Pope Francis and they think he will dramatically change Church teaching. They are under the impression that Pope Francis will admit women to the priesthood, lift the ban on gay marriage, allow contraception for married couples, and make exceptions for abortions in hard cases.
He is of liberal-sounding speech, but conservative action.
Take for example, last autumn when Francis said that he finds devout Catholics who are unhealthily fixated on abortion. This led many to think that Pope Francis would allow for abortions in certain cases. But look back to Pope Francis in 2006 when he fought with the President of Argentine, Mrs Kirchner. He went head-to-head with her because he opposed the loosening of abortion laws in Argentina. Or, during his first year as Pope, when he plucked up the courage to ring a pregnant mother under pressure to abort, and told her that he would personally baptise her baby.
I discussed the above and many more topics such as the sex abuse crisis, was it appropriate for Pope Francis to ask for forgiveness, Pope Benedict’s papacy in contract to that of Pope Francis, gay marriage, contraception, and Pope Francis’s quote that the reservation of the priesthood to males ‘is not a question open to discussion’.
He is of liberal reputation, but conservative record.
But regardless of what I like, or how people like to think of him as a soft lefty, you have to see that there is a huge gap between fantasies about him and the reality of his actions.
Where will it all end, will liberals be so disappointed that their wishes are not being granted by Pope Francis, that their love will turn to hate?
The heart of my interview really concerned the unsteady foundation on which the liberals base their love for him. The foundation is based on a false misconstruction – that Francis will re-build the Church in the image of modern secular liberalism.
When the foundation crumbles, will they disown Pope Francis? Taking a pessimist view I could see the headlines turning to the 'great disappointment' suffered by liberals. Being an optimist, I could see many open-minded people taking a greater interest in the Church, and even trying out Catholicism, perhaps even converting. Perhaps the end result will be a bitter-sweet mix of both.
I was interviewed for over an hour, and it will be heavily edited and most likely only a tiny snippet will be used in the program on Pope Francis that will air this coming Easter Monday on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The reason they were interviewing me was on account of a post that I wrote for The Catholic Herald entitled, 'Catholic journalists and bloggers have a duty to tell the truth about Pope Francis'.
Watch this space, I will post a link to the episode on Easter Monday, the day it will be broadcast.
PS - For people reading this post today, Spy Wednesday, and who are looking for something that pertains directly to Holy Week, you might like this most recent post.