At his February 6th Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis, after reading the Gospel passage of the beheading and death of Saint John the Baptist, decried his martyrdom. He then took the opportunity to declare that Christians are being martyred today.
The Pope said : “When I read this passage I confess I get emotional” and I always think of “two things”: “First, I think of our martyrs, the martyrs of our times, men, women, children who are being persecuted, hated, driven out of their homes, tortured, massacred. And this is not a thing of the past: this is happening right now. Our martyrs, who are meeting their end under the authority of corrupt people who hate Jesus Christ. It would do us good to think of our martyrs. Today we remember Paolo Miki but that happened in 1600. Think of our present-day ones! Of 2015 “.
Yes, think of them. You might even pray and fast for them. You might even demand loudly that the world take notice and do something for them. It seems that the ether has been clearing around him and he’s taken notice of the slaughter of Christians, something that he has not mentioned except for an occasional comment. Glaringly omitted has been the mention of the destruction of churches in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and Mali, which is reported even by the so-called mainstream media, the thousands of Christians tortured and murdered in horrific ways in those places, and the wholesale purging of Christians from many of these area at the hands of moslems, which is less reported by that same mainstream media. Today, he took notice, kind of, but cannot bring himself to say where this actually occurring and at whose hands. To his credit I suppose I could say he did note that they are being treated this way by “corrupt people who hate Jesus Christ”, which is another definition and term for moslems.
We know that today’s martyrs are the victims of moslems. The Buddhists, the Shintos, the Confucians, the animists, the Zoroastrians, and New York atheists aren’t doing it, and the Hindus and the communists in North Korea do it once in a while but not on such a grand scale, day in and day out. As the head of the Church and the leading voice of moral authority, he ought to have been raising his voice every day loudly, shaming the silence and inaction of the “moderate” moslems, those self-proclaimed paragons of peace, love and understanding who regularly decry the distortion of the religion that only spreads by the sword, but who do not in reality, the mainstream media so intent on spreading its fantasy that the world needs to stop the scourge of “islamophobia”, and the near total silence of the so-called United Nations and world powers which have shown they do not care precisely because the great majority of the victims are Christian, all of which are sinfully complicit in this evil genocide and destruction.
As an aside, isn’t it telling that, at the same time, the moslems, who claim that there is one god, the so-called Allah, do not raise a whisper or gather together in great mobs to protest and riot about the horrible and evil deeds done on behalf of Allah, but do so over stupid pictures of their Mohamed so-called prophet? Who do they worship? Yet, they rant that everyone else is an idolater.
Pope Francis, being himself, then went on a ramble into his theology, again sowing confusion for the Faithful who care, and shared the Christian understanding of death being “annihilation”. Isn’t that what Christianity has always taught? Isn’t it?
The Pope concluded “this abasement of John the Great, this ongoing slide into nothingness makes me think that all of us are on this road and we are travelling towards the land, where we will all end up. This makes me think of myself: I too will meet my end. We all will. No one can “buy” their life. All of us, willingly or unwillingly, are travelling on the road of the existential annihilation of life, and this, at least to me, makes me pray that this annihilation is as similar as possible to that of Jesus Christ, to his annihilation“.
Annihilation is the total destruction, the extermination, the obliteration into nothingness of a thing or a place. Atheists believe that when we die we are annihilated. Christians believe otherwise.
Here is the Catechism explanation. As you will read, death for Christians is not annihilation.
* The meaning of Christian death
1010 Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”576 “The saying is sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him.577 What is essentially new about Christian death is this: through Baptism, the Christian has already “died with Christ” sacramentally, in order to live a new life; and if we die in Christ’s grace, physical death completes this “dying with Christ” and so completes our incorporation into him in his redeeming act:
- It is better for me to die in (eis) Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. Him it is I seek – who died for us. Him it is I desire – who rose for us. I am on the point of giving birth. . . . Let me receive pure light; when I shall have arrived there, then shall I be a man.578
1011 In death, God calls man to himself. Therefore the Christian can experience a desire for death like St. Paul’s: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ. “579 He can transform his own death into an act of obedience and love towards the Father, after the example of Christ:580
- My earthly desire has been crucified; . . . there is living water in me, water that murmurs and says within me: Come to the Father.581I want to see God and, in order to see him, I must die.582
I am not dying; I am entering life.583
- Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.585
1013 Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed,586 we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.”587 There is no “reincarnation” after death.
1014 The Church encourages us to prepare ourselves for the hour of our death. In the ancient litany of the saints, for instance, she has us pray: “From a sudden and unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord”;588 to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us “at the hour of our death” in the Hail Mary; and to entrust ourselves to St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death.
- Every action of yours, every thought, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience. . . . Then why not keep clear of sin instead of running away from death? If you aren’t fit to face death today, it’s very unlikely you will be tomorrow. . . .589Praised are you, my Lord, for our sister bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe on those who will die in mortal sin!
Blessed are they who will be found
in your most holy will,
for the second death will not harm them.590
1015 “The flesh is the hinge of salvation” (Tertullian, De res. 8, 2:PL 2, 852). We believe in God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh.
1016 By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.
1017 “We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess” (Council of Lyons II: DS 854). We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, but he raises up an incorruptible body, a “spiritual body” (cf. 1 Cor 15:42-44).
1019 Jesus, the Son of God, freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all men.
Of course, the Gospels and the New Testament explain and give us understanding of death, for Christians and unbelievers, where we shall have either eternal life in Heaven or in hell, but will not be annihilated. If one takes the time to read and study, even in a few hours he or she will realize that our Pope doesn’t speak or teach as one who believes. He believes as the atheist believes. I believe as Jesus teaches. From the Gospel of Saint John, chapter 5:
 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and giveth life: so the Son also giveth life to whom he will.  For neither doth the Father judge any man, but hath given all judgment to the Son. That all men may honour the Son, as they honour the Father. He who honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father, who hath sent him.  Amen, amen I say unto you, that he who heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath life everlasting; and cometh not into judgment, but is passed from death to life.  Amen, amen I say unto you, that the hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.
 For as the Father hath life in himself, so he hath given the Son also to have life in himself: And he hath given him power to do judgment, because he is the Son of man.  Wonder not at this; for the hour cometh, wherein all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God.  And they that have done good things, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.  I cannot of myself do any thing. As I hear, so I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Also from the Gospel of Saint John, chapter 8:
 Amen, amen I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever.
I have pointed out in other posts that Pope Francis does not speak about the ultimate point of being Christian, of adhering to the fullness of the Faith, of receiving the sacraments, repenting, doing penance, hopefully leading us to eternal life in Heaven through the salvation offered by Jesus by His death and resurrection. This homily gives insight as to why he does not speak of these things. He needs our prayers.