Some American traddies, I am told, suppose that he is some sort of Marxist. And others (not only Americans) wish he would zip his lip. But Francis is undeniably popular. He has marketed the Mercy brand with conspicuous success. There are those in the media who suppose that, until Bergolio, compassion was unknown in the Catholic Church.
And yet…from time to time, and with (one is bound to admit) the utmost sincerity, he comes out with statements which seem retrospective, if not downright retrograde. And he seems genuinely surprised when Liberals take courage from his statements. Witness his denial that establishing a Commission on Women in the Diaconate meant that he was in favour of actual CHANGE.
What, asks the Tablet Tendency, is Papal Infallibility for if it is not a license to CHANGE things?
But Francis consistently disappoints them: he gives voice to the superstitions of the age…and then does battle with the Devil and all his works with an old-fashioned ferocity.
Francis – let us be clear – is neither a Marxist nor a Fascist. He is an unprincipled Populist: the Eva Peron en hoy dia.