Ten recommendations to survive a calamitous PopeBy Francisco José Soler Gil
Taken from http://info-caotica.blogspot.mx/2014/11/diez-consejos-para-sobrevivir-un-papa.html
Translated from the Spanish by Roberto Hope
Oh, but... can a Catholic think a Pope can be calamitous? Yes, of course. But should not a good Catholic believe that it is the Holy Spirit who acts behind a Pope's election? Evidently not. Maybe to that effect, it will suffice to remember the answer given to his questioner, professor August Everding, by then Cardinal Ratzinger in a famous interview granted in 1997. Professor Everding had asked the cardinal if he really believed that the Holy Spirit intervenes in the election of the Pope. Ratzinger's answer was simple and clarifying, as usual: «I would say no in the sense that the Holy Spirit should decide in each and every case since there are too many proofs against this contention; there are too many [Popes] regarding whom it is totally evident that the Holy Spirit could not have elected them. But that He, in the long run, does not let things get out of hand; that, to put it this way, He gives us a long rope, as a good educator, allows us plenty of freedom, but He does not let it rip entirely. To this, I would say yes. Hence we should understand this in a much wider sense, and not that He says: You have to vote for this candidate. But possibly allows only that which does not entirely destroy the whole thing».
Now although a Catholic takes for granted that no Pope can end up destroying the entire Church, history shows us that in the matter of pontiffs there have been of all kinds: good, regular, bad, solemnly bad and calamitous.
When can we say a Pope is calamitous? Of course for that, it is not enough that the Pope should hold false opinions on this or that topic. A Pope, as any other man, must necessarily be ignorant of many subjects and hold erroneous convictions on just as many topics. Hence, it may happen that a Pope bent on talking about stamp or coin collections, may hold crass errors on the value or dating of certain stamps or coins. Expressing opinions on matters other than his field of competence, a Pope is more likely than not to err. Just like you or I, dear reader. Hence, if a Pope should show a certain propensity to make public his opinions on the art of pigeon training, ecology, economy or astronomy, the Catholic specialist on such subject matters should do well to patiently endure the senseless occurrences of the Roman pontiff on subjects which evidently are foreign to his dignity. The specialist may, of course, lament the possible errors, and more generally, the lack of prudence which some declarations may manifest. But an imprudent or loquacious Pope is not for that matter a calamitous Pope.
It is or may be, on the contrary, the one who with words or deeds causes damage to the Church's legacy of faith, temporarily obscuring aspects of God's image or of man's image that the Church has the duty to guard, transmit and deepen.
¿But can such a case happen? Well, it has happened many times indeed in the history of the Church. When Pope Liberius (fourth century) ― the first Pope not to be canonized ― yielding to strong Arian pressures, accepted an ambiguous position with respect to this heresy, leaving the defenders of the Trinitarian dogma, such as Saint Athanasius, in the lurch; when Pope Anastasius II (fifth century) flirted with the holders of the Acacian schism; when Pope John XXII (fourteenth century) taught that the just's access to God does not occur until the Last Judgment; when the Popes of the period known as the «Great Western Schism» (fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) used to excommunicate each other; when Pope Leo X (sixteenth century) not only did intend to finance his luxuries from the sale of indulgences but also to defend theoretically his power to do so, and so forth and so on, a part of the legacy of faith was obscured for a greater or lesser period of time for their deeds or omissions, generating in this manner moments of enormous internal tension in the Church. The Popes responsible for such situations can properly be called «calamitous».
The question is, then, what can be done in times of a calamitous Pope? What attitude is convenient to adopt in such times? Well, since publishing lists of tips to attain happiness, to control cholesterol, to become more positive, to stop smoking and to get slim are now in vogue, I will allow myself to propose my readers a series of tips to survive a calamitous Pope without ceasing to be Catholic. Needless to say, it is not an exhaustive list, but it may nevertheless turn out to be useful. Let us begin: