Francis — the Great Divider
The Two Faces of Pope
Will the Pride and Arrogance of Francis dare even defy God Himself?
Much depends upon which side
of a Radically Liberal Agenda you Stand
Francis is a man of inversions
If you stand on the right side of him you are well-treated and heard;
if you stand on the wrong side of him (as, say, Cardinal Burke)
you are dispatched to the Ultima Thule. But the “right”
side of Francis is on the Left; and the wrong side of Francis is
on the Right. For all his putative benignity, Francis
can be ruthless. It is a side of Francis that receives little attention
from the media. He autocratically tolerates no disagreement and
is quick to punish or exile. He is not “the man-made-by-the-media”.
In an irreconcilable juxtaposition he is ostentatiously humble,
trumpeting the humility he tries to equate with himself while failing
to exercise that “humility and gentleness” among his own courtiers.
That “an atmosphere of fear” pervades the halls of the Vatican
His disdain for, and antagonism toward,
traditional Catholics and the those who adhere to the Tridentine
Mass is well known. But there is no such disdain for openly dissident
Catholics such as Kasper and Danneels, both cardinals, who enjoy
his favor and to whom he is keen to listen. Indeed, they are part
of the inner circle of his closest advisors.
Unlike his immediate predecessor, Francis is openly antagonistic
and condescending toward those who do not align themselves with
his unquestionably revolutionary — many would say destructive
— liberal agenda that would not only “decentralize” the 2000 year
old teaching authority of Rome, but effectively abdicate the
papacy itself , leaving all matters ecclesiological in the
hands of broadly dispersed Synods (a 1965 creation of Vatican II),
Episcopal Conferences (another creation of Vatican II in 1966),
local Ordinaries (bishops), and even in parishes themselves, free
to articulate the Faith as a “praxis” unique to each local parish’s
“creative” expression of the Faith — which may differ entirely from
a neighboring parish’s creative impulse and expression of the Faith.
The two needn’t be uniform in either teaching or “praxis”. If there
is contradiction in the teaching of each — and, eo ipso no
unity among them — then that is the most genuine expression
of the Church for those particular parishioners, priests, and Parish
Council (yet another 1965 creation emerging from Vatican II that
deprived the pastor of his authority in the parish. While it is
ostensibly an “advisory” group — often comprised of disaffected
Catholics — it often works to undermine the unique pastoral responsibility
of the priest. Here you find the feminists, the liberal Catholics,
the “progressives”, the people who really run the Church). That
contradiction exists and flies in the face of reason and logic (specifically
the Principle of Non-Contradiction) is beside the point. After all,
according to Francis, we must be open to “God surprising us”.
us put it bluntly: Francis is not a particularly bright man.
This is not to say that being intelligent, coherent, and articulate
is indispensable to being holy — but it certainly helps in every
other aspect, especially as it pertains to the Vicar of Jesus Christ
Understanding what Francis is saying concerning extremely important
issues should not be an exercise in verbal Sudoku, an effort
to make sense of what he is attempting to say — presuming
that he himself “knows” rather than solipsistically intuits what
he is saying, leaving the rest of us to guess.
He is a man of tremendous ambiguity despite his vaunted simplicity.
There is a distinct lack of clarity often couched in awkward phrases
— often neologisms — doubtlessly written for him by others,
and the tone, the phraseology, is one often encountered in the lexicon
of distinctly liberal circles and among “New Age” thinkers.
What are we to make of such statements?
“If we, each doing our own part,
if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing
good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make
that culture of encounter: We need that so much. We must
meet one another doing good.
'But I don't believe, Father,
I am an atheist!' But do good: We will meet one another there.”
Where is “there”? And how is it different from “here”
if one is talking with an atheist? Will the atheist no longer be
an atheist in that nebulous “there”? Will the Pope no longer be
a Catholic when he reaches “there”? If “there” is “in the
doing of good”, what is the outcome he suggests will result — that
we will find that “we are both doing good and that is good — and
it really does not matter if we believe in Christ or not … as long
as we are doing good? As long as we are being nice to each other
we both will find that Christ is really beside the
point and quite unnecessary. We can trade places and our ultimate
destiny will be unaffected … as long as we “meet each other there”.
In Whom we believe or do not believe is really unimportant (despite
what that Person in Whom we believe or do not believe has said
concerning belief in Him in very clear and
On the other hand, however insipid and incoherent the statement,
it is the logical and inevitable result of an emerging policy
in Francis’s papacy that discourages, even forbids, any attempt
by a Catholic to convert another to Christ
(and through Christ to come to salvation, and ultimately to Heaven
(the best possible will we can have toward another: their
ultimate, ontological and eternal good — for which we were created
in the first place — at least according to authentic Catholic doctrine).
Francis is an accomplished showman.
His repudiation of the emblems of his office, his refusal to live
where his predecessors lived, to deliberately be chauffeured in
sub-compacts, to make his own meals — ostensibly to reveal his simplicity
— appears not so much an example to the faithful for
their own edification — as it does a reproach to his
predecessors who chose to accept the historical tradition
accorded their ecclesiastical office. Every pontiff, after all,
surely understands that the office of the papacy is not about
“them”. They occupy an exalted “office” — but they themselves are
not “exalted” simply because they occupy it — as many did
before them and as many will do to come. Yes? The A
cynic, then, may say that it is a carefully and publicly orchestrated
slap in the face to his predecessors — which hardly accords with
humility. In fact, the press, the media, are invited to witness
and to broadly publicize this exaggerated “humility”. There is something
troubling in this ostentation of “humility” which immediately
invokes Jesus’ parable in Matthew 6.5:
“Do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in
the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly
I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
that is not confusing enough, let us look at another bewildering
statement by Francis, invoking one of his “blessed” predecessors:
VI expressed this eloquently: “We can imagine, then, that
each of our sins, our attempts to turn our back on
God, kindles in him a more intense flame of love,
a desire to bring us back to himself and to his saving plan
In light of what precisely
that “plan” is, and “Who” is putatively involved as quite necessary
to it, Francis is not clear, given his rapprochement with the straw
atheist. This is a decidedly queer notion with no clear Scriptural
or theological credentials, for we had been taught (note the past
tense) that sin is an offense to God, an evil so great
that it required the very Son of God to die in expiation for it.
Following this logic, then, if I wish to be more loved by
God then I should sin more often … and the graver the sin,
the more intense God’s love, yes?
But that ability to
confuse, to render indistinct, is precisely the sine qua non
of the agenda of those who boasted of putting him in office
(Cardinal Danneels of the infamous “Vatican Mafia” who openly
declared that Francis was “their man”, that is to say, the candidate
favored by the notorious “St. Gallen Club” who regularly met for
years to undermine Pope Benedict’s election, and ultimately his
papacy, in order to replace him with “their man”. And who
was “their man”? Bergoglio! Surprise!
And now, as Francis, the devolution of
the Church has been inaugurated. He is merely “the Bishop of Rome”
as he fondly refers to himself, and concomitantly diminishes and
undermines the universal authority of the papacy itself).
This is to say nothing of:
Danneels cover up of the pedophile
of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, despite the insistence of the bishop’s
own nephew who was sexually victimized by him for 14 years and
demanded that Danneels bring it to the attention of the pope
— which he refused to do.
This same Cardinal Danneels
also vigorously attempted to convince King Baudouin of Belgium
to legislate an abortion bill despite the king’s
moral reluctance as a matter of conscience (The king stepped
down for 36 hours rather than associate his name with the bill
that was subsequently passed)
His approval of
and his lobbying for same-sex “unions” which he considered,
in his own words, and as a Catholic Cardinal, “a positive development”.
This same Cardinal Danneels
was the number two appointee
to the Synod on the Family! (of all things) — despite
being disgraced … and did we mention that he is
retired? Why was he given this position of such prominence?
It is simple: Quid pro quo: something for something.
In other words, Francis’s personal invitation and
appointment of Danneels was a blatant “thank you!”
for Danneels’ part in having engineered his ascent to the Throne
of Peter (the Holy Ghost, of course, is parenthetical to all
this). Did we mention that the extremely liberal Cardinal Walter
Kasper of Germany — also a member of the same
“St. Gallen Club” — was number one on the list?
Quid pro quo x 2.
Let us put this into
clearer perspective that, unfortunately, requires less imagination.
Let us assume that a presidential nominee is elected to office.
It is later found that a powerful coterie of conspirators had done
everything legal and illegal to place him in office to further their
own interests (which may in fact coincide with the president’s).
One of the conspirators is found to be deeply involved in criminal
activity of the most loathsome sort and the media, seizing upon
it, expose him to public outrage. However, the statute of limitations
required by law expires before he can be convicted. He then goes
on to publicly boast of how instrumental he was in getting the current
president elected, and had, in fact, engineered it. Soon after the
president assumes office, he assembles a group of advisors. The
number one appointee is someone openly disaffected with the Constitution
of the United States and makes every effort to undermine it. We
are astounded. But that was just the jab. The real blow comes when
the number two appointee is the very man who had engaged in unscrupulous
and criminal activity — and who had publicly boasted to the news
outlets that he was the kingpin in getting the president elected.
He is not simply a personal, but a public disgrace!
Would a politician really make so blatant, so egregious, so open
a payback as to place this man in his inner circle of advisors —
and as the second in the position of influencing the president?
Would not the president, rather, distance himself from that figure
at all costs as a liability to his own credibility? Of course he
would! Obama even distanced himself from his “friend” and “pastor”
the “reverend” Jeremiah Wright after preaching “God damn America”
… three times in one homily … among many other incendiary remarks?
It was political poison to the president.
But it is not a theological and moral outrage that Francis appoints
Danneels and Kasper to his own inner circle? It is not just theology
and morality — it is stupidity … or worse yet, utter arrogance:
“If I can get away with this, I can get away with anything.” And
he has. And, to the detriment of the Church, likely will continue
Very Proud of His Humility
... an Oxymoron
this assessment goes against the prevailing narrative of a man “renowned
for his humility” in the secular press. Indeed, he completely agrees
with and personally endorses this narrative. In discussing the dismal
results of Vatican II we find the following:
“He said the Second Vatican Council,
the 1962-65 meetings that brought the church into the modern world,
had promised such an opening to people of other faiths and non-believers,
but that the church hadn't made progress since then.”
have the humility and ambition to do so,” he said.”
What does this say of his predecessors?
That all of them lacked the requisite personal attributes
(humility and ambition) to fulfill the revolutionary vision of Vatican
II— while Francis unflinchingly asserts that he
possesses what they lacked — and flatly tells us so. Because
he possesses the … unique … combination of (self-acclaimed)
humility and ambition lacking in his predecessors, he
can achieve what they failed to. Even the most casual
Catholic recognizes an inherent conflict in this perplexing and
troubling statement. Self-ascribed humility
strikes us the wrong way — think of Christ’s parable of the
Pharisee and the Publican praying before God), especially when it
is coupled with ambition. Are self-acclaimed humility
and ambition really exemplary or even complementary virtues
in any remotely Catholic discourse? The hubris less-than-implicit
in this remarkable statement is given clearer, bolder relief in
the following story we find quite revealing and not a little unsettling:
I am the pope!;
do not need to give
This is what Pope Francis unceremoniously told Cardinal Müller of
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — who
dared to disagree with Francis on issues within Amoris
Laetitia — when Francis effectively fired him. Technically what
he stated is true. It is true of any corporation or business: one
can be called in at the end of the day of twenty years of faithful
service and be summarily dismissed
— but is rarely exercised because of the odor of autocracy that
surrounds it together with the blatant exercise of pitiless power
uncommon even in business and industry. Certainly we found no such
crude exercise of power within other pontificates of recent memory.
Human dignity demands reasons for such curt dismissals — and so
do human beings. It is callous and stinks of supercilious authority,
prepotency and crude superiority. In other words, earmarks that
have characterized the authoritarian papacy of Francis. It is
no more than a slap-down: “I am the Pope ... dammit! ... just do
as your told, man!”
So much for the much vaunted mercy, tolerance, gentility, and good-will
of this deeply confused and even more confusing pope.
an interview with the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse,
Cardinal Müller revealed details of the meeting in which he learned
of the Pope’s refusal to renew his 5-year mandate as prefect of
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).”
Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller said, “communicated his decision” not to renew his term
on the last work day of his five-year-term ...
and did not give any reasons for it.
The same Cardinal Müller found his
own peremptory dismissal reminiscent of Pope Francis’s summary and
inexplicable dismissal of three extremely worthy priests from his
office at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith; priests
that Cardinal Müller found indispensible just before Christmas last
year. On that occasion Cardinal Müller politely inquired about their
abrupt dismissal as follows:
I have received these letters (demanding their
dismissal), but I did not do anything because
these persons are among the best of my dicastery…
what did they do?”
was, as follows:
“And I am the pope, I
do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions.
I have decided that they have to leave and they
have to leave.”
up and stretched out his hand in order to indicate
that the audience was at an end.” (if you wish
to read more of this dramatic episode, see:
Dismissal of Cardinal Müller, Pope Asked Five
Pointed Questions”. Note particularly
“The pope wants to speak
to you.” “Did you tell him I am celebrating
Mass?” asked Müller. “Yes,” said
the secretary, “but he says he
does not mind—he wants to talk to you all
the same.” The cardinal went to the
sacristy. The pope, in a very bad mood, gave
him some orders and a dossier concerning one
of his friends, a cardinal.”).
This is the same author of Laudato
Si who literally pontificated about “the immense dignity of
each person, who is not just something, but someone.” (65) and that
“In our time, the Church does not simply state that other creatures
... have no worth in themselves and can be treated as we wish. The
German bishops have taught that, where other creatures are concerned,
“we can speak of the priority of being over that of being useful”
Why do we even bring this up? Is it
character-assassination? Malice? No. It is simply relevant.
Let us be clear. We wish Pope Francis every good and no evil. This
is the correct understanding of loving anyone. We love Pope Francis
as Christ commands us to love everyone.
Is this assessment lacking in charity? I think not. Saint Paul rebuked
Saint Peter himself
saw that they walked not uprightly unto the truth of the Gospel”
but that Peter, "fearing them who were of the circumcision" had
acquiesced to what may be considered the first attempt at "ecumenism"
(Gal 2.11-14). Did Saint Paul not love Saint Peter? And because
he loved him — and because he loved Christ more —
he reproached him.
Rarely, in the history of the Church, has a Catholic had to choose
with whom to side: Christ or the pope? To side with the pope
was to side with Christ! This is no longer so clear, and it
is puzzling to many faithful Catholics when Francis advocates that
which Christ opposes, or opposes that which Christ mandates. How
is a Catholic to accept two contrary counsels ... even commands?
therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
is solemn nonsense.”
How do we reconcile such completely
contradictory exhortations? Have we come to such a state
of affairs that Catholics are confronted with choosing between
what our Blessed Lord commanded and what Pope Francis
disdains as nonsense? This is not simply scandalous ...
it verges on — and is a broad and deep current toward — nothing
less than heresy: the rejection of what Christ Himself
unquestionably taught. There is no other plausible explanation
for this contradiction. Such contrariety cannot co-exist
in the Church. It is a violent breach of 2000 years of Catholic
teaching and doctrine. The heresy of Indifferentism
2 was not repealed by the Second Vatican Council,
nor can it ever be, for Christ simply and forcefully stated:
“I am the
way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father,
but by me.”
(St. John 14.6)
are we to Judge?”
Is Francis dismantling the Barque
of Peter — plank
by plank — or simply following the prevailing winds and steering
it into the rocks? Cardinal Burke aptly used the analogy of
a ship without a rudder in reference to Pope Francis's apparent
lack of reference. Look at the confusion about you and tell
us. If the ship is heading toward Lesbos driven by a furious
and feckless wind, what are we to do? Reproach the pilot
to avert disaster? But to reproach — however pressing — is to
judge, and in in Francis's own words, who are we
to do so... ?
— the First Apostolic
Exhortation to Sin!
And this ... this is to
utter nothing of the horrific scandal and heresy inherent in
Francis’s troubled Amoris Laetitia, an Apostolic Exhortation
— to sin! Perhaps the first ever: against Christ's own
teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, the
sin of adultery, His unequivocal injunction against
divorce, and Saint Paul’s stern admonition against receiving
Holy Communion unworthily (1 Corinthians 11.27) — the
very Body and Blood of Christ — while in a state
of mortal sin (adultery)!
And Francis presumes to abrogate
what Christ Himself established?
Indeed, all 4?
Two days ago (August 2, 2018)
Francis had the audacity to change the Catechism of the Catholic
Church, abolishing the more than 2000 year old Church Teaching
that the State has the right to impose the death penalty on
individuals for certain heinous crimes (Luther and Calvin
agreed with this as do Muslims and many Atheists). The point
to consider, however, is the precedent Francis
is establishing in no longer preserving and protecting
2000 years of Church teaching, which is his primary duty as
the Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth, but in fact abolishing
it! This is to say nothing of the egregious implication
that what the Church has taught from the beginning has been
corrupt, and up until now (that is to say, up until Francis)
He is the first to have
Does Francis’s defection
from Church teaching constitute formal heresy? We cannot answer
that, although the odor is distinct. That is the competency
of the College of Cardinals which, up until now, has been
habitually and remarkably silent and — dare we say
— pusillanimous. Courage and careerism seldom
coincide — as we have repeatedly witnessed in today’s ... “delicate”
... Episcopacy. As G.K. Chesterton appositely noted, “only
live fish go against the current.”
An Extremely Important
much is vital:
we must ask, perforce, how many
to Catholic Teaching found in the Catechism of the Catholic
Church and in violation of the Sacred Deposit of the Faith are
now open — by Francis’s precedent?
Did not someone speak of the reek
of sulfur in the Vatican? How prescient!
Tomash Peta who sat on the Synod that produced this document
observed that: “Blessed Paul VI in 1972: ‘From some crack the
smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.’ I am convinced
that these were prophetical words...”
So are we.
is the belief that it does not matter what religion a man professes;
he can attain to salvation by any religion. The Church has roundly
condemned this notion as a heresy in very strong language, holding
it to be a denial of extra ecclesiam nulla salus (outside
the Church there is no salvation). Here, we feature
a brief passage from Mirari Vos, by the last great monk-pope,
Gregory XVI (August 15, 1832). All emphasis (bold and italics),
are ours; paragraph numbers, and reference numbers appear as
in the original:
“13. Now We
consider another abundant source of the evils with which
the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This
perverse opinion is spread on all sides by
the fraud of
the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal
salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion,
as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a
matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people
committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle
that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism” may
those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor
of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever.
They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself
that “those who are not with Christ are against Him,”
and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with
Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever,
unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.”
Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into
three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried
to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: “He
who is for the See of Peter is for me.” A schismatic
flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has
been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine
would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form
when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit
for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?”
14. This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that
absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty
of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads
ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over
and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage
accrues to religion from it. “But the death of the soul
is worse than freedom of error,” as Augustine was wont to
say. When all restraints are removed by which men are
kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is
already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly
“the bottomless pit” is open from which John saw smoke
ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts
flew forth to devastate the earth.
Thence comes transformation
of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things
and holy laws — in other words, a pestilence more deadly
to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from
earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion,
and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely
immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and
desire for novelty.”
— Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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Further Reading on
the Papacy of Francis: