I knew getting sick and not being able to immediately comment on this issue was a mistake, for it seems the Orthodox have beaten me to it and responded exactly as I expected they would.
For the uninitiated, the Chaldean Christians in Iraq have suffered horrifically ever since the U.S. invasion in 2003 and with ISIS it exacerbated to levels unseen since the Ottoman genocide in World War I. Thousands have fled their homes and some priests have abandoned their flocks. To provide the faithful with pastors, the Patriarch has ordered some priests in the thriving communities outside Iraq and Syria (most notably in El Cajon, California where the Church boasts both a cathedral and a smaller church) to return to the land of their birth. The problem is that some of these clerics left as far back as the original Gulf War (the one with daddy Bush, not Dubya) and have since assimilated into their new homelands and see themselves as belonging there. They have refused to comply with the Patriach and have stayed put even under the threat of excommunication.
Frankie (or the cabal of greasy bureaucrats in monsignori dress, depending on who you believe runs the Vatican) has intervened and told the priests they need not obey a command from their direct Patriach. This sign of bad faith has been largely and rightly ignored by the Chaldean Patriach who has reiterated his threat of excommunication to the dissident clerics.
Aside from the disastrous message this sends to the Orthodox Christians, this an example of a Pope taking on authority he simply doesn’t have. Does the Ukrainian Catholic Patriarch have authority to interfere in the internal affairs of the Romanian Catholic Church? What if the Chaldean Patriarch wished to do the same to the Malankara Church? The Armenian Patriarch to the Ruthenian Church? The Coptic Patriarch to the Ethiopian Church? (alright, that last one would have some historical justification)
If Rome wished to intervene they should have done so A) By consulting the Patriarch and B) with an alternative solution to the problem. How many Roman priests with biritual Chaldean faculties are there (that’s an honest question, because I really don’t know)? How many priests in the Western Church – to be blunt – do absolutely no parish work (“There is a man who you should see, he writes a blog and his name is Z…”)? If Rome wants to intervene let them help these brother Catholics: either find some priests to help or make some! As is, this act is proof that papal absolutism is far from dead and thrives most when it pretends not to exist.
I started this pontificate with no ill feelings or preconceptions of the pope. One friend was instantly against him on account of having gone to a Jesuit high school (I, however, only recently discovered the ear-rape that is the collection of songs by the St. Louis Jesuits), others were shocked when he threw away his “papal dignity” by washing the feet of a Muslim woman (I shrugged and reminded them that Christ washed the feet of all the apostles, even Judas), and more still were scandalized by the “who am I to judge” quote (I almost immediately learned of the real comment in context and decided to stop paying attention to the “National Enquirer”-esque gossip around the man). I have become convinced that he is simply there to be a distraction for the masses, a scapegoat for the Trads, a smokescreen for the Kasper cabal, and something for the Neocons to blindly defend like the fools they are (only the more reasonable Conservatives seem to be recalibrating themselves in any fashion approaching sanity).
The worst despotism is always the one behind a liberal facade and pleasant smile. Just ask Pio Nono.
“Even his cats are liberals,” – Gregory XVI
“I am the Tradition! I am the Church!” – Pio Nono