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Pope Janus?

In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is depicted as a two-faced god looking to the future and the past.  In modern times, “Janus-faced” has come to be associated with someone who is duplicitous.

One of the hallmarks of this pontificate has been rampant mendacity, relying on mixed messages utilizing a kind of duplicity or alternate truths for different audiences.

A prime example comes from a new book in which Pope Francis says that having gay men in the clergy “is something that worries me” and that some societies are considering homosexuality a “fashionable” lifestyle.

How can one reconcile this statement with Francis’ infamous quote from early in his pontificate when he was asked about gay priests and responded with, “Who am I to judge?

At that time, his quotation was heralded around the world as a new era in Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality.  If the Pope’s words were being misinterpreted by the media, the Vatican did nothing to correct their interpretation.

A skeptic might argue the Pope’s latest statement regarding homosexual priests as nothing more than “lip service” designed to relieve some of the pressure on a pontificate coming under increased fire for its role in the sexual abuse crisis; a crisis which by now most people can clearly see is deeply rooted in homosexuality.

The skeptic may be right.

Many people have argued that to understand Francis, one must understand the politics and culture of his home country of Argentina in which Juan Peron ruled during Francis early life.  In a blog post early this year, Fr. Raymond Blake provided his readers with an explanation of Peronism:

I had a lesson in Peronism from an Argentinian waiter recently, in Argentina he was a PPE graduate.  Peronism, he said, was the most corrupt form of politics, because you could be a Communist, or a Facist, or a Capitalist, the only thing that mattered was support for Peron, post Peron any other head of State. It is a remnant of 1920/30s Facism, where the will of the Fuhrer or Il Duce was all that mattered. Right or Wrong, Good or Bad, Custom or Tradition, Law or Morality or anything else pale into insignificance and have no validity compared to the Will of the Leader.

Therefore the ideal is to be as close as possible to the Leader, failing direct proximity the next best thing is to be close either to those who are close to the Leader or those know, or claim to know, the mind of the Leader. Under such a system moral automony is reduced to slavery because is no moral compass, such abstracts as Right and Wrong are of no importance. All that does matter is Dux Vult. If the leader is somewhat erratic that doesn’t really matter, it just means his followers have to be closer and listen even more intently and it could be that what was the Leader’s will last year or even this morning, might not be so now, or his will expressed to A might be the complete opposite of what was expressed to B.

To the Peronist the old elite, who based their authority on intellectual expertise or their understanding, or knowledge, even their fidelity to the law must be supplanted, nothing other than the leaders will matters. They represent an alternative authority, and therefore a possible alternative source of power, and certainly a source of evaluation and criticism. Peronism hates intellectuals, they are always totally arbitary and concerned with what is expedient, what adds to or deepens the leaders power.

This may help to explain, at least in part, the apparent contradictions emanating from this pontificate, making it one of the most confusing in the history of the Catholic Church.