There have been 5 Popes in my life and Francis is easily my least favorite of the group. Despite this, it has been recently asserted that I hold him up as a demi-god. Nothing could be further from the truth.
His views on politics, economics and the environment include some positions that make me absolutely berserk. I am also, like so many of you, deeply troubled by his deference to people like Fr. James Martin whose views I find absolutely repulsive. I am also deeply sympathetic to the view that Pope Francis has seemed decidedly one-sided in his criticism of American politicians. I do not even claim to have satisfactory explanations for these things.
Like all of you, I draw conclusions by what I see.
My sense of Pope Francis is as follows-
I see him as a well-intentioned and holy man who is not where I am on many world issues and is so clumsy on the world stage that he can't stop tripping over his own feet.
Here is what I do not see-
An antipope or false prophet
A man with bad intentions
A man that is a threat to our faith.
An idol worshipper
A supporter of the LBGTQ agenda
An advocate for changing any catholic doctrine.
Someone even close to being one of the worst popes in the history of the church.
So, while I often grimace at the difficulty this papacy has presented from time to time, I also bristle at conspiratorial hyperbole such as weaponized ambiguity. What happened to the notion that someone just isn't a good speaker?
He has seemed to be- I will gladly concede- a terribly ineffective Pope in many respects. However, he is not a monster and he is the validly ordained Vicar of Christ. The idea that the Pope is only infallible in a very small sliver of circumstances is simply unfounded. It just ain't true.
This Pope, like all others before him, is not capable of binding or loosing any doctrine on faith or morals that is not, likewise, bound and loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:18-20, 18:15-18). This Pope, like all others can not be a formal heretic, even if he wanted to.
This apostolate can respectfully disagree on whether relieving Bishop Strickland was the most prudent action. However, I expect all of our members to uphold Francis as the Rightful Pope and give him the honor and respect he is due in that role.