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(Sources: Pope Francis, Private jet)
Warning: When I first wrote this article, I was still under the impression that Francis was the Pope. At the end of this article, there is a series of post-scriptums which show I eventually gave up and decided Jorge Mario Bergoglio could not be a real Pope. I'm keeping this article because it shows the evolution of my position over the years.
Shortly after his election on 2013-March-13, Pope Francis started saying things which I thought were rather bizarre. Since he's the Pope, and I'm nobody, I kept quiet (except for some lamentations in private). Now that he's had over nine months to settle into his new job, I'll take the risk of making a few comments. But first, a few little warnings:
1.1) First, I submit my writings to the judgment of the Church, and I only dare to criticise the Pope insofar as he sometimes speaks and acts as a personal theologian, and not as the supreme Catholic doctrinal authority.
1.2) Second, I know Leftist journalists love to tell lies, so I carefully take my quotes of Pope Francis straight from the official Vatican web site (with one exception: his conversation with Eugenio Scalfari was posted on the Vatican web site, but later removed).
1.3) Third, what made me speak up was the observation of the damage done to Faith by Pope Francis. To begin, a few examples taken from my private life. One of the better Priests of the diocese told me seriously and in front of a witness: "The Church doesn't have the mandate to talk about abortion and "gay marriage" (pseudogamy); go read the interview with Pope Francis to convince yourself". One of my good buddies was told the same thing by his parish Priest. Some of the people I know who are most opposed to the Church (a member of my family, and a co-worker) told me that they found Pope Francis, as opposed to all the other Popes, rather agreable because of his more flexible positions on abortion, sodomy, etc. Then, a few examples taken from the Media. The President of the USA, Barack Hussein Obama, had some praise for Pope Francis, because of his more flexible positions on abortion, sodomy, etc. Same thing for globally influent Leftist newspapers like The New-York Times, The Guardian, the Huffington Post, etc.
1.4) Fourth, I assume the intentions of Pope Francis are excellent. Except it's not necessary to have an evil intention to cause harm. I'm not examining the Pope's heart, but some of his declarations, and their effects on people.
My comments on Pope Francis concern the Mission Statement of this web site, which is to clearly and unambiguously present the official teachings of the Catholic Church which sinners don't want to hear, and timid or heretical members of the clergy don't want to say:
"Abortion is murder, Islam is a lie, sodomy is against Nature, and Atheism poisons everything".
Seen this way, it's obvious why Pope Francis and I have a conflict of personality: he tries to hide what I try to show.
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use
of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. [...] it is not necessary to
talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the
church are not all equivalent. The church's pastoral ministry cannot be
obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be
imposed insistently [...] otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is
likely to fall like a house of cards
[Interview with pope Francis by Fr Antonio Spadaro, 2013-August-19]
What is wrong here? Pope Francis is "right", in a very restricted sense. The straw man he is attacking really is a bad straw man, so his attacks are good. Except he's attacking a straw man.
First, no member of the Catholic clergy "talks about those issues all the time". On the contrary, almost none of them dares to even mention those topics, never mind actually teach what the Church officially teaches! (I've heard only one sermon on abortion in my entire life! And that Priest, according to my sources, was kicked out of the diocese because of that sermon!)
Second, the teachings of the Church on those topics are the exact opposite of "a disjointed multitude of doctrines". Go re-read "Evangelium Vitae", for example. The Blessed Pope John Paul II explains why the Church has the duty to preach the Gospel, and why the Gospel of Life is an essential part of the Gospel. (How can you preach the liberation of man from sin, if you start by killing him with abortion? How can you preach the dignity of every man, if some are treated as sub-humans whom we can dispose of at will?) Removing the Gospel of Life makes the Gospel crumble like a house of cards, not the other way around.
Third, he is the one equating murder with mutual masturbation (what the Leftists call "contraception") and the legal glorification of sodomy (what the Leftists call "gay marriage"). Why claim "dogmatic and moral teachings of the Church are not all equivalent", while simultaneously equating murder with far lesser mortal sins?
Fourth, Pope Francis says he's a "son of the Church" in his position on abortion, except all "Catholic" abortionists say the same thing! The Media is festering with pompous declarations made by famous and powerful politicians who claim to be "sons of the Church" while savagely promoting abortion. In an era where no "Catholic" abortionist gets excommunicated, nor even publicly upbraided by the Bishops on account of their support for abortion, the act of professing that one is a "son of the Church" is only an escherism.
The sacred writings of Islam [...]
Apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, #252.
[...] authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every
form of violence.
Apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, #253.
Here again, if we are mental contortionists, we can find an interpretation of these statements which is in accord with Catholicism. "Sacred writings of Islam" means, for any normal human reader, "the Koran was inspired by God". And since the Koran says Christ is not God, then that means Catholicism is a lie. But if we wrap our leg around our neck and tickle our forehead with our tongue, we can interpret that same statement as meaning: "the writings which are considered sacred by muslims, even though in reality they are not". Now that interpretation is compatible with Catholicism. Why didn't the Pope just say that? It's not that hard.
The second statement, for any normal human reader, clearly says that "Islam is The Religion Of Peace (TM)", a favorite statement of Leftists, which is contradicted clearly and unambiguously by what the Koran actually says.
Here again, if we stick our big toe in our left ear, we could also interpret that statement as meaning: "If a man uses his common sense and his right reason, he can assume the true God would never actually dictate what is written in the Koran, and simply chose to ignore those many passages, as well as ignore all the official declarations of all those muslim religious leaders over the centuries, and instead use the interpretation proposed by the guy who is not in charge of interpreting the Koran, i.e. the Catholic Pope".
Pope Francis, despite his age, would be
a great contortionist in the Cirque du Soleil!
What I find especially amusing is the way he harps on dialog with Muslims. Sure, Mister Pope! I'm all in the favor of it. But why not show us how to do it, since you seem to be an expert? I'll pay for your one-way plane ticket to Nigeria, or Syria, or Pakistan. I just can't wait to see you work your magic, Mister Pope! Ah, yes, I forgot, you'd actually have to get off your private jet and go down in the streets where those poor Christians are being hacked to death with machetes and bombs and kalashnikovs....
If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am
I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a
beautiful way, saying ... wait a moment, how does it say it ... it says: źno
one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into
society╗. The problem is not having this tendency, no [...]
[Press conference of pope Francis during the return flight, 2013-July-28]
Here again, we can find a narrow and precarious way to interpret those statements in a way compatible with Catholicism. First, "gay" can be interpreted as "person with same-sex attractions", since the Church officially teaches that we should not call them "gays".
Second, it's true that having same-sex attractions is not necessarily a sin ("the problem is not having this tendency"). The Catholic Church has always taught that if you do nothing to provoke a temptation, and if you resist that temptation, then being tempted is not a sin. But the Catholic Church also teaches that since the result of the inclination (toward sodomy) is a mortal sin, that means the inclination itself is intrinsically bad [CCC, #2358].
Third, it's true that Christ will come back to judge the living and the dead, and that only God decides who goes to Hell. So the Pope can be forgiven for not mentioning the fact God has already decided who goes to Hell, and that God Himself tells us that sodomites will burn forever, if they don't repent.
Ambiguity: What happens in vagueness, stays in vagueness!
The Lord redeemed everyone with Christ's blood, "everyone, not only Catholics.
Everyone". And atheists? "They too. It is this blood that makes us children of
Morning meditation in the chapel of the Domus sanctae Marthae, 2013-May-22.
Each one of us has his own vision of good and evil and must choose to follow
the good and to fight the evil as he understands them.
[Conversation between Pope Francis and Eugenio Scalfari, Atheist founder of La Repubblica, 2013-Oct-01.]
Once again, Pope Francis tells the truth (if by "truth" you mean a very complex mental restriction).
First, it's absolutely true that Redemption is divided into Objective Redemption and Subjective Redemption. (Quick reminder: the Titanic hits an iceberg, so everybody is doomed. A rescue ship big enough for everybody shows up, everybody is "objectively saved". You decide to actually jump from the Titanic to the rescue ship: you are "subjectively saved". An Atheist freely decides to stay on the Titanic: he is lost forever, even though he used to be "objectively saved".)
From the point of view of Objective Redemption, everybody (including Atheists) is saved. Pope Francis just conveniently avoids mentioning Subjective Redemption (which is the hard part, because he would have to mention that outside the Church there is no salvation, and that Atheists have to repent from their atheism [1Jn 2:22] and believe in Jesus Christ to be saved).
Second, the Pope talks about doing good and avoiding evil. How could an Atheist do good? If God doesn't exist, good and evil don't exist either!
Third, it is true that we have to obey our conscience. The Pope just conveniently avoids mentioning that if our conscience is mistaken, we can go straight to Hell even though we are obeying our conscience!
What is going on? Nothing out of the ordinary or unplanned. We are just witnessing yet another confirmation of the truth of the official teachings of the Catholic Church. Remember Christ didn't just predict Simon-Peter would be the first Pope [Mt 16:18], Christ also predicted this first Pope would deny Him three times [Mt 26:34]! And even after Simon-Peter repented of his triple denial of Christ, he still made mistakes for which canonized saints publicly reprimanded him [Ga 2:11].
As I constantly repeat throughout this web site, Popes can go to Hell just like you and me. The dogma of Papal Infallibility doesn't say the Pope is perfect every time he opens his mouth.
I have much admiration for the comic talents of Rowan Atkinson (better known as "Mister Bean" or sometimes "Johnny English"). One of this favorite ways to make us laugh is to desperately try to hide something that everybody can see. I'm thinking of scenes like when he turns his back to his boss and pretends to be petting her cat, because he's just pushed that cat out the window of a tall office building. Or when he tries to hide as best he can the box of voice-modifiying throat lozenges (after having tasted one, of course!), while answering: "No, I didn't see them", but in a ridiculously high tone of voice, etc.
Johnny English pretending to pet a cat he just mistakenly pushed out the window,
or trying to hide a box of throat lozenges he wasn't supposed to taste.
I sometimes have the impression that Pope Francis looks a bit like that. The Catholic religion is like a box of cookies, and these cookies contain ingredients which make Leftists howl with anger. Pope Francis holds this box of Catholic cookies, while posing for the Leftist photographers. Except he constantly finds ways to hold this box of cookies while putting his fingers on the list of ingredients! Everybody knows what ingredients are in those cookies. Everybody knows what is written on the box. But Pope Francis still tries to put his fat fingers in strategic places, while simultaneously looking innocent and photogenic.
The secret of the popularity of Francis is in the generosity with which he
concedes to the expectations of "modern culture" and in the shrewdness with
which he dodges that which could become a sign of contradiction.
[The Francis Transformation, 2013-Oct-03.]
Does Pope Francis deserve the admiration of Leftists? I don't know, I'm not a Leftist. For myself, if for example I was allergic to peanuts, I would not admire a cookie salesman who would hold the box while putting his fat fingers on the list of ingredients. I'd prefer a cookie salesman who would change the recipe (if that was possible), or who would cure my allergy.
Pope Francis takes great care to cultivate an image of someone "close to the poor". But despite trying to look "close to the poor", Pope Francis sometimes seems to treat the Catholic Church like his own private jet.
While the laity are left battling in the trenches, he cavorts with the Leftist Media. He enjoys the lifestyle of being the Pope, while avoiding the dirty and painful parts of the job. And if he is suddenly confronted with a tough question, he just opens the door of his private jet and pushes out those nasty pro-life Latin Mass conservatives.
Do I agree with what Pope Francis says? When he repeats the eternal teachings
of the Catholic Church, of course! But when he seems to say things which
directly contradict the eternal teachings of the Church, my duty as a Catholic
is to "resist him in the face"
And since I am "searching for the Lord and I have a good will", then
who is Pope Francis to judge me?
A non-Catholic buddy of mine has recently called to my attention the fact that Pope Francis can be compared with Saint John Paul II, but he can also be compared with, for example, Pope Benedict IX. I admit reading about Benny 9 did seriously cheer me up about Pope Francis.
On the other hand, after almost three years as Pope (I'm writing this 2015-Nov-08), my opinion on Jorge Mario Bergoglio has only confirmed itself. I appreciated among others these two articles. A few excerpts:
"The [2015 synod concluding] speech was notable for its nastiness, displaying the very lack of charity he routinely assigns to conservatives."
"Previous Popes [...] would conclude that the speaker held to the theology of liberal Protestantism. They would find the false contrasts between divine law and mercy, upon which Francis habitually relies, pitiful in their shallowness, and they would find his constant resort to straw-man fallacies and motive-mongering against traditionalists to be an unsightly blot upon the papacy. With a pope like this one, orthodox Catholics don't need enemies."
"Like many modern Jesuits, Francis often sounds like he loves every religion except his own."
"No pontiff in living memory has awakened the specific fear now spreading around the Church: that the Magisterium, the teaching authority vested in Peter by Jesus, is not safe in his hands."
"At times he resembles a motorist driving at full speed without a map or a rear-view mirror. And when the car stalls, as it did at the October synod on the family, he does a Basil Fawlty and thrashes the bonnet with a stick."
Apparently, there is even a repertoire of Bergoglio's doctrinal weirdness (but careful, they sometimes tend toward a "tradi" version of guilt by assocation):
Another "laundry list" of Bergoglio's stupidity can be found here:
With Burning Concern: We Accuse Pope Francis
So where does that leave me with the Pope and the Magisterium? Same as always. I just added one paragraph at the end of Section 10 to repeat in other words what my whole web site has been proclaiming for years. And I continue to pray for the Pope twice a day.
After the pontifical debacle of Amoris Laetitia, I officially give up on Bergoglio, I now think he is a heretic. It's the only logical explanation for what he says and does.
Saying such things might appear contradictory with what I say my Legal Considerations:
If there ever should be a disagreement between the Pope and me, the Pope is right, and I'm wrong!
But there is no contradiction. The second hyperlink is important, especially the last paragraph of Section 10. I'm not talking about any dumb thing said by a guy who is the current Pope. I'm talking about what the Pope, as Pope, says. Bergoglio contradicts Christ, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and all previous Popes (not to mention Saint John the Baptist and Saint John Fisher and all the other saints who died martyrs to defend the dignity of Marriage). He is obviously not speaking as Pope.
That being said, I reiterate my previous conclusions. Pope Francis will have to answer for his behaviors before the Eternal Judge. Me too, and that makes me tremble. I must double down on prayer, fasting, and uprooting my vices.
See Hasta La Vista, Jorge!
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