by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
As protests go, it was short and undeniably sweet: a man ran up the central aisle of Brussels’ main cathedral and shoved a cherry pie in the face of Archbishop Andre Leonard, a man seemingly tailor-made by history and Catholicism to roil and divide. Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Leonard’s in-your-face pastry clearly indicated that he was adding to the hapless Benedict’s already at-risk pontificate instead of helping out, as he was supposed to.
And the pope had no one to blame but himself.
Archbishop Leonard is smiling.. but the well- living, comfortable Belgians are not.
It’s easy to see why the archbishop is enjoying himself. At 70, an age when other men contemplate their gardens and the dinner menu, Archbishop Leonard is a man of destiny. Striding through an airport the other day, his grace was dogged by paparazzi and protestors… the cynosure of every eye, the darling of Rome and other intractables. His deeply self-satisfied smile could not be mistaken. He was where he was meant to be defending (in)fallibility, injustice, and the deeply troubled Church of Rome, whose saviour he could imagine becoming.
It was the perfect formula for maximum unhappiness and division… and his grace was nothing if not the man to savor every divisive moment of this unexpected opportunity.
And the pope had no one to blame but himself.
The pope’s policy has been this: remove liberals, like retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels, beloved of the dwindling believers, and replace them with hard-liners, driven by an ardent desire to bring back the good old days of Pius XII and the undoubted majesty of Torquemada and the ardent joys of the long lamented, so satisfying Spanish Inquisition. Ah, yes, those good old, good old days.
The pope laid his hands upon the exultant Leonard, whom he had plucked from well-warranted obscurity in January, 2010 from a picturesque Belgian citadel town. Exultant, indeed, because he thought his rising days were long over.
But the Holy Father needs loyalists to do his bidding, and there is no one more loyal than a washed out party man who is summoned to a higher fate by a leader who desperately needs such troops… and has all the loaves and fishes to reward those who serve — and obey.
The archbishop returned to Brussels and its over 30 years of progressive theological thought and an unceasing attempt to reconcile the Church of Rome with the satisfied, live- and-let-live people of Belgian… and he returned with a determined vengeance. He would root out the heresies of the Belgians with vigor, determination and the joys of complete and total submission by the erring (no longer) faithful.
His grace lost not a minute in announcing his red-blooded views… and his determination that the Belgian faithful must submit today, tomorrow, forever.
Pow! AIDS is a form of “justice” for homosexuals. They deserve what they get.
Pow! Retired pedophile priests must go UNpunished for their transgressions, ending their years of abuse in prayer and protected from further review and action.
Pow! Women who undergo abortion will be greeted in the afterlife by the heart-rending screams of their murdered children “Momma! Momma!”
The archbishop, like so many hard-liners, has a gift for the trenchant, chilling, hell- conjuring phrase… and he uses this gift lavishly.
The hapless Vicar of Rome sent this man of stern views and complete self satisfaction to the Belgians of all people, cosmopolitan, sophisticated, laissez faire, tolerant…. and now appalled by this archbishop’s distinctly unBelgian views.
Two of the 10 bishops of Belgium have publicly challenged Archbishop Leonard’s views; he is their superior in the hierarchy but they have distanced themselves from him notwithstanding.
M. Yves Leterme, Belgium’s prime minister and a Catholic, has been resolute in his condemnation of the archbishop, who no doubt is not surprised by the protests of the easy-living miscreants, for all they may be a prime minister. Let them howl, so long as they submit.
Bert Claerhout, editor of Church and Life, a Catholic weekly, reports he’s been inundated with fierce letters of complaint from readers, awakened from their good living lethargy by a determined man who quite clearly believes everything he says and is equally determined that you believe it, too –or else.
Then there is the matter of the cherry pie which in its simple, gastronomic way made such a tasty impression on a nation which insists upon the proper preparation and delivery of its fine cuisine. For such a people, such a pie, presented and delivered properly was most apropos.
And then this: even Archbishop Leonard’s spokesman resigned, saying he could no longer morally defend his slash-and-burn employer. Ouch. Juergen Mettepenningen called the archbishop a “loose cannon who thinks everybody else is wrong.”
All this the pope brought on himself and must continue to do if he maintains his flawed policies which have only the aging intransigents to draw on to defend them. In short, this is a pontificate in deep, profound trouble which every word from the fiery archbishop and his ilk intensifies. As the Church of Rome removes itself from the people, the people will firmly and irrevocably remove themselves from the Church of Rome.
A sense of doom surrounds the Bishop of Rome and his stewardship of the Vatican. These are the words that come to mind about this beleaguered, increasingly unhappy Holy Father: misguided, flat-footed, slow to understand, slower to address. He is a man whose pontificate was bound to be difficult, following John Paul II for whom the adoring faithful filled St. Peter’s Square shouting “Santo! Subito!” But it didn’t have be this difficult, this unsatisfactory, this unhappy.
However, Benedict XVI selected doctrinal purity over universal inclusiveness; he chose to look backwards… when we all, whether Catholic or not, wanted him to look ahead and plot the way to bring us all demonstrably closer to universal harmony and peace.
The strident partizan Archbishop Leonard is the merest detail, easy to return to the obscurity from whence he came at the pope’s merest motion. But the pope himself? He is the unhappy man… the man who called upon to improve the future, gave us nothing more than patches on the past. And he did it to himself.
About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant’s live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! Dr. Jeffrey Lant is a well known marketer, speaker, consultant, and author of 18 best-selling books. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.