The Next Pope After Francis (2)

Source: FSSPX News

In Rome, the question of Pope Francis's succession has become increasingly acute since his health has deteriorated. The Vatican press room issues frequent but terse communiqués, saying that the Holy Father had to cancel this or that appointment, following a “bad flu”. It was under these conditions that a cardinal signing himself as Demos II proposed the portrait of a future pope.

The fact remains that the Demos II document paints a contrary sketch of a future pope. He shows what he should not be: Francis II. In La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana of March 1, Stefano Fontana lists the criticisms made by Demos II against the current Pope to guide the conclavists in the opposite direction:

– The role of the papacy is transformed and from guaranteeing the confirmation of brothers in the Faith, it becomes a “model of ambiguity in matters of faith.”

– The exaggeration of God’s mercy to the detriment of His justice.

– The historicization of “objective and immutable truths about the world and human nature.”

– An extravagant hermeneutic of the Word of God contained in the Scriptures.

– The revision of the concept of sin.

– Reservations about the evangelizing mission of the Church.

– An implicit interpretation of Vatican II as extraneous to continuity.

– The problematic vision of the sensus fidelium deformed by the lens of the “theology of the people.”

– The tendency to modify teachings to adapt them to the world.

– Underestimating the content of believed truths and viewing doctrine as rigid and abstract.

– Contempt for canon law.

Will Demos II be followed? In Il Giornale of March 3, Nico Spuntoni opportunely recalls the threat that looms: “the possibility of a reform of the conclave capable of shuffling the cards looms over the hope of a new pope... Last December, the American Vatican correspondent Diane Montagna was the first to launch on The Remnant the rumor of a draft document being examined by the Pope, aimed at eliminating the General Congregations [before the conclave is held], reorganizing the work in small groups as at the Synod [with “facilitators” to obtain consensus], and also to make religious sisters and laity voters.” 

A White Pope, a Black Pope

On February 15, the blog of the Argentinian known as The Caminente Wanderer put forward several hypotheses. It started from the fact that "the cardinals do not know each other, because Francis took care to populate the Sacred College with unknown personalities who pastor their flock in remote countries,” and were only very occasionally brought together in consistory at Rome.

“This naturally causes the candidates who are most likely to be elected to be the most universally known. Hence the thesis that we argued that one of them would be Cardinal Pietro Parolin, about whom Marco Tosatti also spoke a few days ago: the Secretary of State would be supported by the cardinals of the Curia, by the progressives, because he is one, and by some conservatives who would consider him the lesser evil compared to the possibility of a new Bergoglio.”

But The Caminente Wanderer mentions a newcomer among the cardinals likely to be papabili: “The Fiducia supplicans case has brought to light a completely unknown cardinal: Fridolin Ambongo, Archbishop of Kinshasa, who had the enormous courage to organize all the bishops of sub-Saharan Africa and to directly oppose the pretensions of Cardinal Fernández and Francis himself.”

“Few, very few, bishops are man enough for such audacity. I am not saying that Ambongo is currently a candidate for the papacy, I am saying that all the cardinals already know him – which was not the case before – and just as he will have aroused the contempt of the Germans and Belgians, he will also have aroused many sympathies. We will have to see how many and of what caliber.”

A Bland Pope

But the Argentinian adds another very trivial possibility: “Cardinals, generally speaking, are men who have no faith. They have gotten to where they are because they made the proper alliances and renunciations, and not because of their piety and holiness of life. What they want is to have a good time and enjoy their purple; they no longer fear God but only the media, so they will choose a pope who does not create problems for them.”

“And these problems would arise with a pope who is markedly progressive, or markedly conservative, or who, even if moderate, takes his ministry seriously. ‘Let us have the party in peace,’ the cardinals will say, “and choose a nondescript and insignificant character.’ In this way, they will ensure the tranquility they crave, knowing that, for them, Christianity and its ideals are already dead, killed by the forces of the world that, in the end, have triumphed. Just read the chilling statement from Cardinal Marc Ouellet.”

The Caminente Wanderer continues: “If this [the election of an insignificant pope] were to happen, I believe that we would witness a rapid balkanization of the Church that, on a global level, would end up divided into episcopates in different colored shades of catholicity. Or, in a profusion of more or less Catholic dioceses, they would render symbolic obedience to the Roman pontiff. In some of them, irregular and even very irregular couples would be blessed, and in others not.”

“In some, the traditional liturgy would be authorized and encouraged, and in others the Holy Mass, even that of Paul VI, would have disappeared, replaced by ‘celebrations of the Word’ presided over by deaconesses and other specimens. In some, the children would receive the truths of the faith of the apostles in the catechism, and in others, the truths of environmentalism and democracy.”

“In short, a kind of Anglican Communion or, if you don't want to think about that extreme, a ‘pan-orthodoxy’ in which each patriarchy does more or less what it wants while maintaining, at best, a modest respect for the Patriarch of Constantinople.”

And he concludes, by announcing another reform, according to him, coming soon: “The hypotheses raised here are very short in force. We will see how bishops and priests mobilize when, in a matter of weeks, the institution of ‘non-sacramental’ deaconesses [but simply pastoral, like the blessings of Fiducia supplicans] is announced.”