I have a new article up on Crisis Magazine’s website. This time, I try to explain what Pope Francis means by using the term “backwardism.” Here’s a snippet:
But the question remains: Why? What was so awful about the pre-Vatican II Church that its memory needs to be obliterated and those who hold to doctrines that are ancient in provenance must be labeled as “rigid” and psychologically damaged? I should be clear, I don’t think there are any good reasons for this, and some of this must be attributed to ill feeling on his part. Francis clearly sees people who are somehow “backward” as opponents, and he clearly wishes they would go away.
However naive it may be, I am not willing to leave it at that. It may be that there is no rationality at all in this attack on the Catholic past, but somehow I doubt it. In part, it is because this attack is selective. Only parts of the past come in for this sort of treatment and not others. Because there are so many different parts of Catholic teaching and tradition that “progressive” Catholics call into question, it is difficult to pin down one set of motives; but I think the motivation is political, in the broadest sense of that term.
Read it all here.