So please, do not let your attitude to the Pope be determined by the media. In this age of lightning-speed communication rumours and blatant fabrications on the Internet regularly turn up as ‘information’ in mainstream news sources. And besides, the categories used by secular journalists to judge achievement and failure in the Church are bound to be very different from the spiritual and supernatural considerations that matter to a believer. St Peter, St Paul and St Francis would all be considered blundering gaffe-merchants by the standards of what is deemed politically correct today.
Whatever personal feelings – euphoric, neutral or negative – an individual might experience towards the person of any particular pope are neither here nor there as far as being a good Catholic is concerned. There is, however, a very definite and proper Catholic response to the election of a new Pope. We receive the Successor of St Peter into our hearts with love, and we support him with our loyalty and with our prayers. Charity, or love, here does not mean a fickle sentiment that waxes and wanes depending on whether we are delighted with a pope’s thundering denunciation of gambling one day and then up-in-arms about his reluctance to be carried on the sedia gestatoria the next.
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