One thing that really gives me the creeps about the Francis triumphalists in the Catholic blogosphere is their complete separation from reality when it comes to their hero's reception by the secular world, especially the press. They insist that "the usual suspects", i.e., the press, immediately rose like a Herodian swarm to destroy and devour the newborn papacy of Francis I. As proof, they offer one hoary story
about being on the wrong side during the Argentinian military dictatorship. The suspicion was no sooner raised than it was debunked
and dropped, and in the New York Times, no less, but the pope's cheerleaders still fancy themselves as plucky Davids engaged in dramatic combat with a hulking, malevolent Goliath.
In truth, the press coverage of Francis has been almost uniformly positive. He's enjoying nearly Obama-level approval from the New York Times and the Washington Post. Their pages for over 2 weeks have been filled with bubbly reports of his heartwarming simplicity and humility, usually set against pointedly disapproving comparisons of his predecessor, to show him to greater advantage. It could hardly be plainer that the press and the left think he's one of them
. But it's too uncomfortable for Catholics to look around and recognize that they're now allies with those who have always been the enemy, so they keep pushing on a now-open door and pretend that nothing has changed.
Except for a few perfunctory "Of course I loved Pope Benedict, too" disclaimers at the very beginning (which have pretty much disappeared by now), Francis's cheerleaders have gone along with this distorted media campaign. In what is practically a repeat performance of Obamamania, Catholic blogs like Little Green Catholics
and even The Anchoress
have thrown themselves giddily into a brainlessly emotional enthusiasm over a blank slate, filling the spaces with their own fantasies and wish-lists. Like the Peggy Noonans and David Frums of the right, they've spent the last few weeks furiously digging themselves into their entrenched positions, and thrown themselves into aiming their artillery on their former allies who are now reviled as pharisaical mugwumps too hidebound by tradition to recognize the time of their visitation. (Though Elizabeth Scalia has shown some signs of sobering up.)
I think it's worrisome when people don't recognize when they're living in a fantasy world. It was a bad sign when people couldn't see the truth about Obama and actively resisted accepting it. It's just as bad now when they won't recognize a song half-sung from the Vatican.