|Archbishop Victor Fernandez|
Pope Francis hasn't followed Hal's example of dissing former less than orthodox friends though, perhaps because he cares little for orthodoxy himself. He and his buddy Archbishop Victor Fernandez have been thick as thieves for years. And, in fact, Fernandez is reputed to be the pope's ghost writer who is hot to remake the Church and chortles that "there's no turning back":
The pope goes slow because he wants to be sure that the changes have a deep impact. The slow pace is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the changes. He knows there are those hoping that the next pope will turn everything back around. If you go slowly it's more difficult to turn things back. . . .The archbishop also reports that Pope Francis, "knows very well what he is doing" and believes in the infallibility of his capricious teachings. Fernandez said this in an interview last year:
If and when Francis is no longer pope, his legacy will remain strong. For example, the pope is convinced that the things he’s already written or said cannot be condemned as an error. [Not even his silly statements on global warming?] Therefore, in the future anyone can repeat those things without fear of being sanctioned. And then the majority of the People of God with their special sense will not easily accept turning back on certain things.According to Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, Fernandez is the voice behind Amoris Laetitia as well as Evangeli Gaudium and Laudato Si. When one looks into the background of the Archbishop that is troubling indeed. Interestingly, like infamous dissenter Fr. Charlie Curran, Fernandez was once blocked from a theological position until Bergoglio came to his rescue. Here's the background from Magister:
...in 2004 an international theological conference was held on “Veritatis Splendor,” the encyclical of John Paul II on “certain fundamental truths of Catholic doctrine,” decisively critical of “situational” ethics, the permissive tendency already present among the Jesuits in the 17th century and today more widespread than ever in the Church.
Attention. “Veritatis Splendor” is not a minor encyclical.... In “Veritatis Splendor” the pope emeritus saw the restoration to Catholic morality of its metaphysical and Christological foundation, the only one capable of overcoming the pragmatic drift of current morality, “in which there no longer exists that which is truly evil and that which is truly good."...
So then, that 2004 conference in Buenos Aires, dedicated in particular to the theology of the family, moved in the same direction later examined by Ratzinger. And it was precisely in order to react to that conference that Fernández wrote the two articles cited here, practically in defense of situational ethics.
Partly on account of those two articles, the congregation for Catholic education blocked the candidacy of Fernández as rector of the Universidad Católica Argentina, only to have to give in later, in 2009, to then-archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who fought tooth and nail to clear the way for the promotion of his protege.Fernandez is considered a theological lightweight "anything but brilliant" according to Magister. The
archbishop's first book (1995) was on the "art of kissing" where he wrote in the preface:
“Let me explain to you that I write this book not so much on the basis of my personal experience as on that of the life of people who kiss.... In this way, with the intention of summarizing the immense richness of life, have come these pages on behalf of the kiss, which I hope may help you to kiss better, urge you to liberate in a kiss the best of your being.In view of the clerical sex abuse scandals this is almost laughable. Note the photo of Archbishop Fernandez above. Can you suggest an appropriate caption?