It's understandable that the world's elite news media failed to capture the essence of who Pope Francis is, given their dogged determination to always be ahead of the narrative. One can find a representative sample of the approach taken in the New York Times piece by Rachel Donadio from July of last year, "On Gay Priests, Pope Francis Asks, ‘Who Am I to Judge?’" Who can blame them for failing to understand a personality such as his — compassionate, humble, and yet with firm convictions regarding the difference between truth and falsehood, good and evil, beauty and ugliness, wisdom and folly, material and spiritual, timeless and ephemeral. One must travel far and wide to find such a combination in a world leader these days. Even Catholic journalists found him confusing, although one can come across the occasionally balanced perspective, such as that of Colleen Carroll Campbell in her piece "God and Mammon". And as the English poet, Alexander Pope, noted, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast." It matters not the provenance of that hope.
Of course, this delusion regarding the Pope's convictions could not last forever. The first person to notice the inconsistency between the dominant media narrative and reality, however, seems to have been Anna March, who, writing for Salon.com, noted "Pope Francis’ new clothes: Why his progressive image is white smoke and mirrors." It's been a week and a half since March's piece penetrated the fog of ideological warfare, however, and the rest of her compatriots have yet to catch up. Catch up, however, they will.
More concerning, however, are the random rumblings of disconnected events.
Stephanie Cardone posted a tweet showing the Pope quietly watching the Argentine/Swiss matchup in World Cup Football (known by the name "Soccer" in the U.S., to distinguish it from its indigenous game by the same name) with his cohort of Swiss Guards. (If you prefer not to check the Twitter feed, the significant image is below:) The final nail-biting score, 1-0 might have been less of a challenge to the Pope's safety if the Swiss team had won. As it is, the defeat proved to be particularly hard for them. (For an English language account of the media reaction, see "Swiss media lament 'cruel' and 'bitter' defeat.") One wonders if the Swiss Guard see Pope Francis with different eyes these days. Might they be thinking the Pope prayed a little too hard for his native team?
The recent rant of ISIS (now taking the more abbreviated form IS) commander/potentate, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, expressing his intentions to conquer Rome, may be more than an effort to steal the march on progressives disillusioned with the Pope. (See "Rome will be conquered next, says leader of 'Islamic State'.") Although it could also, I suppose, be a matter of simple confusion about geography or history. (The guy has a Ph.D. in "Islamic Studies", according to the Times piece. If that has all the substance of "Feminist Studies" or "Queer Studies", one can be confident that the guy is merely confused.) On the other hand, maybe that's only campaign rhetoric, and he'll, instead, strike out at Baghdad next, or, like Adolf Hitler in WWII (who swiveled south in his Russian campaign), lust after the oil fields and head south.
Who knows? Maybe Mr. Baghdadi's desire is much more simple, and he wishes to become known as the Great Baghdad Daddy? And maybe the resemblance of such a title to that of the Pope (in Italian, Papa) made him think of eliminating the latter from the global daddy competition. Who can say?
And who can say whether the ultimate problem the progressive media have with Pope Francis might be of a similar character? After all, if progressives want to establish the progressive version of a world caliphate, and if that caliphate goes by the preferred name of "Nanny State", then who could blame them if Pope Francis (big Daddy) falls out of favor with big Nanny?
The Papal honeymoon, it seems, is definitely over. My, what a hoot, big Nanny!