In 2013 Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor told Paul Vallely of The Independent, “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things.” In a story published in March 2017, LifeSiteNews quoted from a speech given by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick that there was a pre-conclave plan to elect Jorge Bergoglio as the one who could “reform the Church … [and in] five years, he could put us back on target.”
The LifeSiteNews article was itself about an interview with Cardinal Donald Wuerl that had appeared in the Jesuit magazine America. The essence of that interview was that, after the Second Vatican Council, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI had gone astray, but Francis had set the Church back on the path laid out by Vatican II. Wuerl’s assessment was that “[the papacy] will never look like it did 25 or more years ago.”
That assessment was too narrow. As Ross Douthat shows in his book, To Change the Church, Francis is not only changing the Papacy, but also changing Catholicism itself.
We now see why Pope Benedict XVI resigned. In early 2013, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was already 76 years old. He had been identified by certain cardinals as the right man for the job, but if he needed five years to get the job done, time was running out. Benedict was (and is) still alive. Benedict needed to be forced out. Someday, the full story how they did it will come out.
We can also see why the Vatican not only commemorated, but celebrated the riforma protestante in 2017. Francis, the Great Reformer, needed to be seen as following in the footsteps of the last great reformer.
Various Catholic media, awakening to the possibility that we might have a bad pope on our hands, have begun to observe that the Church has had bad popes in the past and survived. But this time it’s different.
On September 13, 2018, Fr. George Rutler appeared on The World Over on EWTN and told Raymond Arroyo that even in the most corrupt periods of papal abuse, the integrity of the faith was not challenged. Now, he pointed out, “we have corruption commingled with an attempt to re-dress the authentic faith of the church.” He nailed it.
The denouement is upon us. The new version of the faith is being forced upon Catholics with magisterial authority. The pope must not be questioned. The bewildered faithful do not know where to turn for the truth. They do not know because the Novus Ordo Church never told them where to find the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Instead, after 1965, Catholics were conditioned to accept every innovation that came out of the Vatican.
The new Mass, the new liturgy, the new Catechism, the new rosary, the new hymns, the new fast-tracked papal saints – these were all designed to prepare Catholics in the pews for what was to come next: the new religion. The new religion would seem completely natural and familiar to two generations of Catholics who had known nothing else.
Cardinal Wuerl seemed quite all right in 2017 with the popes who immediately followed the Second Vatican Council – namely, John XXIII and Paul VI. But the next two, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, were apparently problematic; they had strayed from the Vatican II path. This assessment is remarkable, given the list that Peter Kwasniewski gave us this week of 28 “terrible cardinals and bishops” who were created by these latter two popes and who today are responsible for the catastrophe that has befallen the Church.
Mr. Kwasniewski has also given us a chilling observation: “In the end, there are only two reasons we had a conclave of cardinals who voted for Bergoglio: Wojtyła and Ratzinger.” Whom, then, will the next conclave give us?
External circumstances led to the timing of Pope Benedict XVI’s abdication. Jorge Bergoglio had a five-year job to do, and the modernist cabal knew that Bergoglio was already 76 years old. Things had to be moved along.
External circumstances are now beginning to play a role again. Most significantly, the testimony of Archbishop Viganò is opening eyes and awakening even Novus Ordo Catholics. There is a slim chance that the credibility or even the power of the modernist cabal may be eroded. They will intuit that it is time for Bergoglio to move on and be replaced with a younger man who can continue steadfastly on the Vatican II path for another 30 years or so. It is time for a conclave they can still control.
What can they wring out of the last days of Bergoglio’s reign? Just as Bergoglio abruptly changed the Catechism of the Catholic Church to make capital punishment “inadmissible,” I foresee another change to the Catechism following the current Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, to remove the characterization of homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered.”
I also fear one final, treacherous act: the abrogation of Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.
With the traditional Latin Mass safely returned to the dustbin of history, and sodomy accepted as completely natural, the next pope can begin his reign. Who might that next pope be? How about an American this time: Francis II, the former Cardinal Blase Cupich?
Raymond Kowalski is from Rochester, New York. He is a product of parochial elementary schools and The Aquinas Institute. He holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University and a law degree from The George Washington University. After a forty-year career in communications law, he is retired and living with his wife in Gainesville, Virginia. They are the parents of three and grandparents of five.