Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Matt C. Abbott: "Papal sound bites: soothing the soul?"

Matt C. Abbott column
Papal sound bites: soothing the soul?

Matt C. Abbott
Matt C. Abbott
July 31, 2013

Pope Francis' style of speaking in edifying and sometimes humorous sound bites is definitely music to journalists' ears.

Given our media age of tweets, texts and tidbits, it's understandable.

What's frustrating to observe is the spin that often follows in the media. It's as if the Catholic faith has been reduced to whatever the pope's latest off-the-cuff remark happens to be.

But let's face it: That's just the way it is. It's not going to change anytime soon, whether it's Pope Francis or some future pope (assuming there's going to be a future pope, of course).

The media aren't particularly interested in quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which does provide the authentic magisterial teachings. Yet even if they did, I wonder how many Catholics – or non-Catholics, for that matter – would give a darn? Probably a distinct minority.

Thus, when the dust settles from this latest papal encounter with the press, virtually everything will remain the same in the short run.

Anti-Catholic bigots will remain bigoted.

Catholic-friendly non-Catholics will remain non-Catholic, with many saying something to the effect of, "That Pope Francis sure seems like a nice and humble guy!"

Heterodox Catholics will continue to be heterodox.

Sedevacantists will continue to reject Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Mass, asserting that all post-Vatican II popes have been apostates and freemasons-in-disguise.

And orthodox Catholics will continue to hope and pray for the best, even throwing in a clean but corny joke or two (well, that's what I like to do, at least).

In the long run, it's hard to say what the effect of Pope Francis' pontificate will be. Perhaps he'll prove to be a holy genius who leads the Church into a new time of glory.

Then again, maybe not.

Maybe things will stay more or less the same.

Maybe things will get worse [shudder]. God only knows.

In the meantime, I'm very intrigued, even a bit perplexed, by the following allocution of Pope St. Pius X – one of the greatest popes in the history of the Church, no doubt – delivered in 1912, documented in the book The Pope, the Council, and the Mass, by James Likoudis and Kenneth D. Whitehead:
Food for thought.

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic columnist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management from Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He has worked in the right-to-life movement and is a published writer focused on Catholic and social issues. He can be reached at

© Copyright 2013 by Matt C. Abbott