One of the casualties of the current papacy is the disregard for dignity. Those who have been following the words and actions of the Holy Father do not need to be reminded by me of all the instances where the dignity of the office of the Pope has been trivialized in the last couple of miserable years.
When no dignity is apparent then no respect is, either. A "hail-fellow-well-met" papacy may appeal to the teenager in all of us but it does nothing to bring our eyes to focus on the Cross. When Our Lord was suffering and dying His agonizing death, He was not wearing a baseball cap, a clown nose or a sombrero, nor did He kiss the hands of the Pharisees and leaders of the people who badgered Pontius Pilate into putting the Son of God to death. From the cross He was looking down over those who mourned, and those whose hatred put nails into His hands and feet. It was not a happy occasion.
Pope Francis does not appear to let these somber thoughts interfere with his daily peregrinations and homilies. Nor do these thoughts prevent him from wasting precious time on meeting ridiculous third-rate actors like Leonardo de Caprio, as he did the other day, or other nonentities whose presence in the Vatican with him may make brownie points for Francis in the eyes of the silliest of his supporters but do little else other than mock the rooms where great men once stood. But I can scarcely imagine that these meetings with those whose boring lives fill our eyes at supermarket checkout counters will do much to bring back respect to the papacy or the Church of Christ. [Question: how do cretins like Mr de Caprio rate an audience with the Vicar of Jesus Christ?]
It is true that the present Pope has said and done things far more scandalous than meeting with Hollywood fools (and pro-sodomy ones like Mr de Caprio, who I can assume was not there to request Confession) but things like this form a pattern that we would be stupid not to recognize. Some may squirm and giggle at the thought of Francis meeting this man; others either cry or vomit as temperament demands. This meeting was hardly the first instance in which Catholics would be forced to cringe. This writer's first jolt of shock regarding Francis was the famous "altar boy incident" (see video below), which gave an early and clear and rather chilling indication of his weird discomfort with simple, pious behavior.
It is sad that we Catholics have to face a huge pile garbage and decaying refuse sitting in the courtyard of St Peter's, and we who hang on are left to pick through this smelly pile to find the occasional good word or deed done by the Pope. To be fair there are a few, a very few, pearls among the rubbish heap. But are we to be reduced to this? Is it our lot as Catholics, during this current and worst of all Church crises, to end up sifting through rotting food to find a little still edible bread?
The dignity of the Rites and outer actions of the Church and Churchmen has been a dead letter since the disastrous, Unnecessary Council of 1962-65. Every year though, and now it seems every day, respect for the Church dies a little more.
If you must trivialize and make irrelevant the Holy Catholic Church, Francis, could you at least do it without lowering the dignity of your office any lower than you have already done?