The string of eloquent German journalists who have gradually lost patience with Pope Francis does not seem to stop. Now we have another well-known and honorably independent journalist, Matthias Matussek, who has added his own name to the list of reflective papal critics. Matussek, who is an eloquent Catholic conservative critic and book author, currently writes for the well-established Swiss weekly magazine Die Weltwoche and the German magazine FOCUS.
In the 12 April (14/2017) issue of Die Weltwoche – which displays on its cover a picture of Pope Francis himself sitting on a swinging wrecking ball – Matussek characterizes Francis as “gratuitous, appealing, chumming up” and says that this pope reminds us less and less of a Pontifex Maximus. With reference to a recent sharp critique of the pope by the British weekly Spectator, Matussek asks: “Has the Pope Gone Crazy?” and he then proposes to answer the question himself:
This [query] is not so far off as one would think: in fact, this Argentine Pontifex Maximus has uttered so many confusing, contradictory, and politically provocative things that the members of his press corps have a hard time keeping up with corrections and then recommending certain interpretations. Without now here judging the truthfulness of the matter – but, frankly, how does one, for example, moderate this formulation: “Readers of newspapers are inclined toward coprophagy” – i.e., the lubricious consumption of excrement?
To support his point, Matussek attentively – and with a vivid and sprightly style – enumerates in the following seven pages of his article many of the contradictory scandals that we here at OnePeterFive have extensively – and regrettably – reported on; thus a list of Matussek’s topics should now suffice:
– the scandal that Pope Francis reinstated the perverted priest, Father Mauro Inzoli (“Don Mercedes”) after he had been suspended;
– the pope’s outbursts of temper in smaller circles, as well as his curses, crude expressions and “crudities that would better not at all be published”; the fact that Pope Francis humiliates his closest collaborators – and this in an increasing fashion;
– the costly decision of the pope to live at the guest house Santa Marta which is a “method of control, in order to get informed at lunch about the happenings in the diverse camps in the Vatican;
– his harsh treatment of his opponents; for example, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke;
– his decision not to answer the justified Four Cardinals’ Dubia;
– the fact that Pope Francis often makes new laws for the Catholic Church from his own lunch table, rather than going through the channels of the Roman Curia (Matussek quotes here a high-ranking leader in the Curia);
– Francis’ problematic recent comment that many people prefer being an atheist rather than a “hypocritical Catholic”;
– the reaction of the Romans, even to the point of putting up satirical posters about Pope Francis (“The base is mobilizing against Francis, nobody understands him any more.”);
– Pope Francis as the “posterboy of the politically correct way of thinking”;
– his being twice presented to us on the cover of the journal Rolling Stone;
– his stopping Cardinal Robert Sarah in his attempt to promote traditional liturgical forms, such as the praying of the Holy Mass ad orientem;
– that the Wall Street Journal declared (in December of 2016) Francis to be the “leader of the global left”;
– his pretentious way of presenting his humility by driving in a small used car in front of the White House during his visit to the U.S.;
– his taking Muslim refugee families back to Rome with him, after his visit at Lesbos, but not any Christian refugee families;
– that Pope Francis does not appear to care too much about his own religion (In Matussek’s eyes, the sentence of Our Lord “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; nobody will come to my Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) does not seem to mean very much to the pope.)
– the invitation of Paul Ehrlich, the promoter of abortion and population control, to a Vatican conference;
– his inclination to give scope to liberalizing progressive ideas such as female priests and the abandonment of the priestly celibacy;
– his “Who am I to Judge?” with regard to the homosexuals (“Who else?” answers Matussek.)
– in times of political instability and lack of trust in political leaders, “now also the sureties [seem to weaken] with which the oldest institution of the West has heretofore passed through the times of history. She made it, especially because of the recognized loyalty to rites, and to forms and to dogmas.”
– his “agenda which could lead to the dissolution of the una sancta catholica” which was given to us “by God,” and against whose very gates themselves “hell shall not prevail.”
– Pope Francis and his “basis-democratic” questionnaires about marriage sent out to the world, instead of first and mainly referring to the Bible;
– his “angry” demand – put to all the European countries – to “open all the borders for the immigrants”;
– Pope Francis’ neglect of dogmas – in spite of the fact that a limitless world demeans man and lowers him to the level of animals or even plants (here G.K. Chesterton’s reference to magnanimous beets is quoted – “trees have no dogmas; beets are extremely magnanimous”!);
At the end of his breath-taking and spirited – but somewhat disheartening – overview over the recent papal scandals and misdeeds, the German journalist comes back to the truths of our Faith. Matussek defends the Catholic Faith and its truths against his own pope and reminds us that this Faith has existed visibly since the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and His Nativity. He also explains to his non-Catholic readership that, since the Second Vatican Council, the traditional Mass as it had been developed over centuries was “destroyed.” “Altars were cut into pieces” and “brutal blocks of sacrifice were put into the spaces of the altar.” The Church art decayed into “semiotic delicacies”; the priest addressed the congregation “like a TV moderator” and he purportedly celebrated Mass “so that people could look at his fingers, just like with a magician in a third-class variété show.”
In light of all this destruction of spiritual and visual beauty, Matussek concludes with piercing words, as follows: “The former erasers of the barricades (Barrikadenstürmer) – all of them now in their eighties and beyond – still hold on to their juvenile nonsense of modernization and adaptation to the Zeitgeist.” With gratitude, Matussek remembers here the act of Pope Benedict XVI to free the Tridentine Latin Mass which, since then, has attracted especially the young. “The secret returns into the emptied out modern churches, and with it adoration and the mysterium.”
Thus Matthias Matussek ends his Rundumschlag (tour de force) with a positive note, proposing to Pope Francis that he start working in the direction of restoring Tradition, rather than speculating as to whether “I [Pope Francis] might now go down the history as the pope who split the Church” – as reported by Der Spiegel in December of 2016. The German journalist then also adds a passage from the second letter of St. Paul to Timothy, where St. Paul instructs his disciple to “teach the Faith in season and out of season.”
Dare we hope that such wholehearted and faith-inspired articles might also help Pope Francis to convert, after a deep and candid examination of conscience?
Dr. Maike Hickson, born and raised in Germany, studied History and French Literature at the University of Hannover and lived for several years in Switzerland where she wrote her doctoral dissertation. She is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.
Her articles have appeared in American and European journals such as Catholicism.org, LifeSiteNews, The Wanderer, Culture Wars, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Apropos, and Zeit-Fragen.