Patrick Archbold of the Creative Minority Report had a suggestion on the National Catholic Register that Pope Francis could be the ideal pope to bring the breakaway conservative Society of St. Pius X back into full, unambiguous communion with the Catholic Church. The Traditionalist website Rorate Caeli reports that the NC Register (owned by the EWTN Catholic TV network) pulled Archbold’s article. The article is now available on Archbold’s CMR website.
I think it’s unfortunate that the NC Register pulled Archbold’s article, because I think the article is a very important contribution to today’s intra-Catholic debate. I am on the ecumenical/interreligious/Novus Ordo/strongly-pro-Vatican-II side of that debate, but I think Archbold is right that Pope Francis — who is now so universally regarded as a church liberal — is ideally situated to being the SSPX and other Tridentine-Rite-favoring Catholics into the full embrace of the hierarchical/institutional church.
Yes, a handful of Traditionalist Catholics are anti-Semitic or hold other contemptible-crank views. But a nod from Pope Francis would be enough to make it clear that these kooks do not represent what Catholic Traditionalism really has to offer — and that there is therefore a home for Traditionalist views within the post-Vatican II Church. Pope Francis has made mercy a hallmark of his pontificate — even incorporating it into his papal motto. I would not be surprised if he ended up extending an olive branch to the resentful “elder brothers” in Catholicism, in the same way in which he has reached out lovingly to the Protestant Pentecostals (another Francis initiative I strongly support).
This is a good time for capital-C Catholics to remember that lower-case-catholic means “universal” — and that the enforcement of uniformity in non-essentials is not a part of the Catholic charism.