Pope Francis botches the job delivering Pope Benedict's funeral eulogy

Most Americans probably missed Pope Benedict's funeral service, given that it was held in the wee hours of the American morning.

But writer Rod Dreher, who has interest in Catholic things, was there, and as someone with affection for Pope Benedict XIV, didn't want to miss his funeral. 

The pomp and ceremony of it was lovely, as was the mass itself. But there was one element that Dreher thought a little substandard -- Pope Francis's presiding over the mass itself, in his reading of the eulogy for his immediate predecessor. He kind of went ... generic, like he didn't know the guy. 

In a piece for The American Conservative that is just out, Dreher writes:

The funeral mass itself was quite beautiful. I don't know how many people were present in the square -- 60,000? -- but it wasn't like John Paul II's funeral, because Benedict had been out of the papal office for almost a decade. Still, those who were there loved him. Two old Bavarian women sat behind me. They loved him too, but in a way the rest of us can't understand. He was theirs.

We all prayed the rosary, in Latin, before the funeral started. The liturgy was glorious. Eventually, Pope Francis, who was shown being carted out in a wheelchair, gave his homily. Maybe I overreacted, but I thought it was a disgrace. Here is the text:

"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46). These were the final words spoken by the Lord on the cross; his last breath, as it were, which summed up what had been his entire life: a ceaseless self-entrustment into the hands of his Father. His were hands of forgiveness and compassion, healing and mercy, anointing and blessing, which led him also to entrust himself into the hands of his brothers and sisters. The Lord, open to the individuals and their stories that he encountered along the way, allowed himself to be shaped by the Father’s will. He shouldered all the consequences and hardships entailed by the Gospel, even to seeing his hands pierced for love. “See my hands,” he says to Thomas (Jn 20:27), and to each of us. Pierced hands that constantly reach out to us, inviting us to recognize the love that God has for us and to believe in it (cf. 1 Jn 4:16).[1]  


Benedict, faithful friend of the Bridegroom, may your joy be complete as you hear his voice, now and forever! 

It was not a bad homily necessarily, so why did I think it was a disgrace?

Dreher wrote that the speech intended to celebrate the life of Pope Benedict was utterly generic, containing no references whatsoever to the life that Pope Benedict XIV actually led. On Twitter, Dreher wryly observed:

Dreher continued:

Because Francis barely mentioned the man we were burying -- only at the end, as if to say goodbye. Francis's predecessor was perhaps the greatest theologian ever to occupy Peter's throne, but of this, Francis said nothing. Joseph Ratzinger was an absolutely essential pillar of the world-historical great papacy of St. John Paul II, but of this, from Francis, nothing.

You don't even have to have liked Ratzinger's theology to nevertheless recognize his significance. This was Francis's opportunity to do so. He refused. He could have delivered this homily for his butler. Compare it to the detailed, joyful Benedict XVI gave at the funeral of John Paul II. Again, I know I am a partisan, but this struck me as an act of disrespect explicable only as an exercise of banked contempt.

Look, i don't have a lot of regard for Francis's papacy, but even I could have found words of praise for Francis in such a situation. And for Benedict, if a Swiss Guard had collared me, an ex-Catholic, and shoved me onto the stage, I could have delivered a homily in praise of that great old Bavarian Christian that would have been true to his towering legacy. Not the sitting Pope, though. No. It could be that Benedict's last act was to reveal the small, bitter, spiteful character of his successor, by the way Francis sent him to the ages. How much this pope must have hated Benedict.

Well, we don't know that, but it kind of points to it, given the context.

Dreher is right that Pope Benedict XIV deserved better than the generic and impersonal words he got, and his observation here:

..rather makes sense, given the other things we have seen, such as the shutdown of Latin masses for traditional Catholics who like that style, and the defrocking of pro-life priest Frank Pavone. Who the heck is running the asylum at the Vatican these days and with all the crazed lunacies on the Catholic left going on, why is just one side being sanctioned?

Are hard times coming for conservative Catholics? It seems like it, given Pope Francis's physically enfeebled state, and the rat's nest of leftists surrounding him.

That's a cold wintery period for more traditional and conservative Catholics, who, as always, will probably have to just wait it out for longer than they want to, if not hole up with some of the Orthodox churches (which are not completely separate from the Catholics of Rome) for a spell.  

Image: Rod Dreher, Twitter screen shot

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