Pope Francis' use of the word 'rigid' or rigidity in the past, certainly, and again recently, perhaps, tends toward a disdain for traditional piety and the manner in which his criticism is delivered reeks of a slightly more than snarky attitude toward people who value the quest for personal holiness in Christ. Surely Pope Francis cannot be criticizing young people who love Tradition and who actually strive to live a life not compromised by moral laxity. He cannot possibly be referring to those beautiful college-aged souls who, not burdened by yesterday's rebellious spirit (of Vatican II), are joining traditional religious orders and societies or institutes with authentic zeal. Or is he?
The Holy Father's comments, if he has intended to criticize young disciples who strive for moral uprightness confidently sought and expressed in Tradition, could be construed to be utter nonsense given the renaissance among younger Catholics of the desire for depth that is leading them to the living history of Tradition and the locus of that Tradition, i.e., the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Sadly, if Pope Francis is criticizing Tradition-minded disciples, where is he getting his information, and from whom? From tired old relics, perhaps, who, locked in their ivory towers of irrelevant progressivist ideology and detached from the very sheep a certain pope has demanded they should smell like, waste time and effort inventing defects in others when they should take a little time to look in their own bathroom mirrors to locate the real problem?
Would it be unfair to suggest that the Holy Father has repeatedly fallen prey to the liberal revisionist code of conduct? I.e., invent a narrative and use that narrative to demonize and marginalize opposition. Yes, discernment involves authentic discrimination that distinguishes between good and evil behaviour. Unfortunately, liberals tend to use such categorization to marginalize the person rather than engage. Anyone who does not fit the liberal agenda is attacked personally, even if in a general way. Is that what Pope Francis is intending to do by using the "R" word again?
Pope Francis said Saul’s early life reminds him of “many young people in the church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity. Some are honest, they are good and we must pray that the Lord help them grow along the path of meekness.” (Well then, it's 'ok' to be an honest rigid person... . Wuh?)
Others, the Pope said, use rigidity to cover up their weaknesses, sins and personality disorders and to assert themselves over others.
“They are the rigid with the double life. They show themselves as beautiful, honest, but when no one is looking, they do bad things,” he said.
A love of Tradition necessary presents a threat to anyone who is not well formed in the virtue of obedience nor formed with an appreciation for history. Obedience, to the relativist, is too often interpreted to be rigidity. Francis' "mess" theology is not merely a poorly chosen description for a mission. It has become, intentionally or accidentally, a proscription for rebellion. Is it too much to say that Francis has been tainted by that aspect of Liberation Theology which, at best, mimics the part chosen by Martha (and mimicking badly that part) while denying Mary's choice? The faithful disciple wants the better part that Mary chose, the part which necessarily includes both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the Cross.
At best, Francis' actions are puzzling. At worst, his behaviour (choice of words) is damaging. A necessary counterpoint to the Bergoglian noise is the serene witness to the Faith exemplified by Cardinal Sarah and others who understand that a 1970s Jesuit praxis, similar to a contemporary progressivist agenda, is wholly inadequate for the present times. A bold disciple might suggest that in a few years the Church will look back and see the present papacy, and its accompanying rejection or avoidance of doctrinal clarity and loose play with language, to be the last gasp attempt of a mixed-up generation that seeks to fasten their inane agenda in the minds of Catholics.