Sure, conservative anxiety about Pope Francis has been building for months, but since His Holiness exhorted the faithful with his “Joy of the Gospel” there has been a serious outbreak of Francis Derangement Syndrome (FDS).
Rush Limbaugh, of course, was the canary in the cave, accusing Francis of emitting “pure Marxism” back on November 27. A few days later, Larry Kudlow wanted to know why the pope wasn’t “harping on” the dangers of secularism and leaving economics to the experts. And so it’s gone.
Over at the American Spectator, George Neumayr now declares, “It was clear from day one that Francis never took canon law all that seriously.” In the bosom of the Vatican, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the longtime secretary of ex-Pope Benedict and current prefect of the papal household, feels impelled to smack down Francis enthusiasts, saying that “their jubilation will remain stuck in their throats.” Et tu, Georg? (H/Ts MSW and Pray Tell)
“Dr. Silk,” I can hear some of you asking me, “What can we do to rid ourselves of this dread disease? Unfortunately, there is no cure in sight for FDS. However, I do believe a careful course of reading can relieve the symptoms.
Begin with the Sermon on the Mount, and particularly do not overlook Matthew 7:1. (“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”) Then turn to Matthew 19:24 — you know, where Jesus says it’s harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Go next to Part II, chapter 4 of the Little Flowers of St. Francis, which tells how Brother Juniper couldn’t be constrained from giving all he had to the poor.
Proceed thence to Rerum Novarum, the 1891 encyclical in which Pope Leo XIII makes the case for labor unions. Finally, take up and read Gaudium et Spes, the Vatican II constitution on the church in the modern world that discusses how “strenuous efforts must be made, without disregarding the rights of persons or the natural qualities of each country, to remove as quickly as possible the immense economic inequalities, which now exist and in many cases are growing and which are connected with individual and social discrimination.”
Then say two Hail Marys and call me in the morning.