Monday 13 March 2023

Damian Thompson: 'Ten terrible years of Pope Francis. The church has lost all its moral authority.'

The mainstream media, in the cant phrase, tell narratives. All is filtered through the prejudices of progressive, enlightened journalists.

You know that but it is most true when it comes to the reporting of the Catholic Church. 

Most journalists who are not Catholic (and many who are) hate the Church's teachings on sex and divorce. The non-Catholics often hate her opposition to abortion too. The media think the Pope is moving the Church their way, so his  shortcomings go completely unreported.

Whereas had the sainted Pope Benedict XVI been Pope and done the things his successor has done or failed to do, they would be front page news, very big scandals.

It's the same with President Zelensky. It was the same, during the 2020 US election, with Joe Biden. 

It's the same with Muslims, immigrants, Covid and climate change and on and on and on.

With Rishi Sunak the narrative is of failure that will lead to a landslide defeat at the polls in 2025, even though he has destroyed Nicola Sturgeon effortlessly and won a good settlement of the Irish question.

I am a Catholic and I hate to criticise the Holy See, but there can be and have been very bad popes. 

Pope Sergius III had his two predecessors murdered, after all. 

One was suspected of an improper relationship with an 18 year-old uneducated boy whom he made a cardinal.

Nor do Catholics have to agree with the Pope. 

I remember the legendary and much lamented Mgr Alfred Gilbey telling me that.

Hilaire Belloc never lets you down. He expressed it perfectly. 

"The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine, but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight."

I think you really should read this article, by Damian Thompson, until recently Editor of the Catholic Herald in London, a good Catholic and a wonderful but unhappy man. 

It's horrible but unfortunately it seems to be true and should be known by everyone.


  1. I thought you were English, no? Weren't most Catholics sort of driven out beginning with Henry the 8th, and continuing with Elizabethan policies, Cromwell's revolution, etc?

    1. Most were converted, slowly, and most English Catholics are the descendants of Irish immigrants, like me. But there are old catholics, including a number of hereditary peers of ancient title, such as the Duke of Norfolk and Lord Mowbray. Lord (Noel) Annan once recalled an occasion when a fellow peer quoted the famous lament of Sir Ranulph Crewe over the medieval nobility: "Where is Bohun, where's Mowbray, where's Mortimer? Nay, which is more and most of all, where is Plantagenet? They are entombed in the urns and sepulchres of mortality" — whereupon a voice piped up from the Conservative benches saying: "Mowbray is here!" "There, indeed," recalled Annan, "was the premier baron of England, fighting fit and at his place in that hour."

  2. I have great distaste for the ever-mounting vitriol toward Pope Francis from so many self-declared 'Trads'. I also hate they way they refer to him as 'Bergoglio' when they never refer to Benedict as 'Ratzinger'. It seems many of these people fancy themselves as the self-styled elite, morally above the average church goer who in their eyes is a 'sheep' attending the 'Novus Ordo' Mass. It seems many of them have nothing else to be doing except fixating on Francis. They come across as very bitter and unhappy people.

    1. I promised myself I wouldn't criticise the Pope unlike the liberals who criticised his two august predecessors, but I couldn't keep my promise. However I have not said a word of criticism in this blog post, but left it to Damian Thompson and Eccles. Did you read what Damian Thompson wrote? He was the Editor of the Catholic Herald, a job he took on a salary of £26,000, a fraction of his previous salary, from love of the Church. He is depressed which is a very pitiable medical condition.

    2. Catholics definitely do not have to agree with the Pope on climatology.

    3. What have his wages got to do with anything?!!....He is clearly obsessed with Francis. It's hardly as if the pontificate of Benedict was blemish and embarrassment free. People fixated on the current Pope should reflect on these words from a priest I saw on FB:

      "Coming back to Francis - he talks over the filters so you don't get ideologues who can then control the narrative, control the message, so yeah, people do not like that. I like Francis for his piety, his belief in Christ. As a priest, his spiritual rigor is inspiring. As for his legacy, I am not sure what to say. I think he continues the reform of the Church begun after VII, continued w JPII, Benedict, and now Francis. I like Francis, but let me say, 75 years from now, no one besides Church historians will be talking about JPII, Benedict or Francis; I am pretty certain of that. I am a priest, I budget a little time everyday to read theology - guess what, if you asked who was pope during Vatican I, I could not answer. I could not name all the popes of the 20th century. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius Xi, pius xii, and the vii popes. I mean younger Catholics do not have some visceral reaction to JPII bc they were not alive. His "legacy" began to die when he died, and that is not a bad thing, that is just life. That is totally normal. The popes that may have inspired us, fade from memory in time. That is normal. Jpii- I have a visceral reaction of the excitement of being in a crowd of young people and my faith becoming mine. Benedict, his writings, but even more, to me, going every Sunday to the Angelus w him, his humility. Francis, his Gospel love for Christ, his writings and interviews. They have all contributed to my formation as a Christian, but 75 years from now, each will be irrelevant to 99.9999% of Catholics, and that is totally OK."

    4. He acted from service to the Church by taking the job. That was my point. I think Benedict XVI was pretty wonderful. He at least tried to cleanse the Augean stables, though he was too gentle. Under St John Paul II terrible things happened and have continued to this day. Not just wicked priests, bishops and cardinals but terrible financial corruption. These things happened before he came to the throne. His monument will be altar girls, an innovation I think such a big mistake. At the moment the Church is deeply divided, because of Francis. Then there's his terrible sell-out to the Chinese Communists. Let's hope he is forgotten and does not leave legacy of huge division. A well-known English priest told me not to allow him to rent space in my head, but though I have tried I have found myself required to follow the news about him.

    5. I admit I take most of my Catholic news from DT on Twitter - and rage when i read their tweets at Austen Ivereigh and Big Beans, Massimo Faggioli.