First, many conservatives may settle into a kind of internal exile, focusing on their local parish and diocese and ignoring the Vatican. One prominent American conservative said this week that he’s got a good bishop and good situation in his local church, and he’s decided to pay no attention to Rome for his own spiritual health. Second, some conservatives may stop defending Francis, trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, and become locked into a cycle of suspicion and dissent about virtually everything that he says and does. (Source)
Well, yeah. For me that’s check and check to both of those points.
What people generally think of as “conservative” Catholics are often among the Church’s most dedicated members, among other things serving as major financial donors. Already, one head of a conservative think tank in Rome this week said he’d gotten a call from one of his benefactors saying that if things keep going the way they are, he was going to stop ponying up. More broadly, Catholics typically labeled as “conservative” are often people who carry water for the Church at all levels, from the local to the universal. If that pool of human capital begins to dry up, it could make it more difficult for Francis to advance his agenda.
Well, you know what they say, money has away of expanding one’s horizons and perspectives. If I had a ton of money that I was dumping in the Vatican, I would instead stop giving and give to my favourite social justice cause: pro-life activism. Loose cannons like the current ones in Rome don’t foster trust or respect. Even lawyers and Pharisees can be useful from time to time.