Justin Trudeau has finally met the Pope, in theory, his spiritual head, to whom he (Mr. Trudeau, that is) owes obedience and respect. One would not have thought so, as John Robson points out, as Trudeau sauntered in to lecture the Holy Father, demanding, or perhaps requesting, yet another ‘apology’ for the Residential School crisis. Mr. Robson, who does not profess Catholicism, seems to have a clearer idea of what it means to be a Catholic than Trudeau, who does profess Catholicism. Trudeau should realize that the residential school was more a government project than ecclesiastical, and that Pope Benedict already offered an ‘apologia‘ for anything members of the Church did that was wrong.
I wonder what the two leaders talked about, besides the usual tiring trope of climate change and cultural diversity, that is. Euthanasia? Abortion? Evangelium Vitae? Formal and material cooperation in evil? The nature of evil itself, intrinsic, physical spiritual? The principles of the relation between the natural moral law and positive human law? What is entailed in the common good? Canonical requirements to receive Holy Communion?
Yes, one wonders, and one hopes. The optics of Trudeau’s insouciance towards the moral teachings of the Church is a true and unarguable scandal, to himself, as well as to so many untutored and impressionable others. When spiritual neophytes, the young and the old, see Trudeau march up and receive Holy Communion, without penalty, without rebuke, without any apparent feedback, what are Catholics to think? We are heading rapidly towards the very depths of the culture of death, and few of our leaders seem to heed, or to be putting any kind of brake on our descent.
Perhaps Trudeau did receive a rebuke from the Holy Father, but his usual smirking grin in the photo-op afterward, with the Pope’s (apparently customary) stony-face, gives one pause. Then again, Trudeau did not effuse, as did the non-Catholic Trump, that it was the ‘honour of a lifetime’; I am rather sure it wasn’t for Pope Francis either.
Ah, well, there is always prayer and sacrifice, the hidden battle within the realm of the spirit, which is really what this war is all about. By any objective standard, Mr. Trudeau is on the wrong side of that battle, and we should pray that he switches allegiances soon. For that grin won’t last forever.