One of the weird things about Reactionary sociopathic narcissism is that it has a built-in selection bias that deafens it to almost everything Pope Francis has to say to the Church. So, for instance, when his letter Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) was published, the one and only thing Reactionaries zeroed in on in the entire letter (a beautiful invitation for disciples of Jesus to be witnesses to his goodness, beauty, and truth) was a brief aside in the letter in which the Pope talked about two forms of worldliness that hinder the Church’s witness. Here is the passage:
This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past.
It will be noted that the Pope is addressing characteristic issues with the subjectivist “left” of the Church and the reactionary right–and that only in passing. Both are perfectly accurate observations. But when the letter came out, Reactionaries focused on “self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism” and had an absolute cow over it. Grifting Reactionaries rallied their cults of personality (and made money off it) with swag telling their defiant, self-absorbed members that their self-absorption was a badge of honor:
The Francis-haters brayed about it for years, whinging about being persecuted by the “dictator pope” and beginning a long and tedious tradition of claiming Francis was singling them out for abuse and never doing anything else but attacking them–a tiresome and entirely false whine that continues to this hour:
Here’s reality: Being self-absorbed, self-pitying, and in the grip of a radical lack of empathy for all human suffering but their own and that of the tiny minority of people who are extensions of their egos, Reactionary conservatives are like Ginger in the Far Side cartoon.
It’s not that “nearly every public appearance” by the Pope is All About Them. It’s that the only time self-absorbed Reactionaries notice what he says is when he mentions them. Most of what he says is about preaching the Good News to the poor. That’s why out of the 47,578 words of the text of Evangelii Gaudium, Reactionaries only heard four of them. And it’s why, despite all the calls of the Pope to bear witness to the gospel and open their hearts to the least of these, the Francis-hating sect hears only their own continual self-pity and spite. The suffering and needs of every person who is not the Reactionary or the extension of his ego is, as is chronically the case with conservatives, non-existent, contemptible, funny, and/or guilt manipulation.