I read yesterday an article by John Allen where he wrote that Pope Francis is a brilliant Jesuit politician, or words to that effect. If I recall, he’s trying to plug and sell his book that he believes reveals the real Pope Francis.
I don’t think such a book is necessary or even helpful because it only captures our dear pope up to a certain point in time and leaves the rest of his novelties unremarked. A book such as this can only be useful if it’s written after his papacy ends. Also, Pope Francis is not as obtuse as the book seems to indicate he is. We just need to listen or read what he says. Words mean something from a pope and always have, and Francis is no different except that he’s more muddled in thinking and delivery than we have been used to from popes.
From what we have heard and seen of Pope Francis over the last two years, it is clear that he cannot be placed into a “liberal” or “conservative” box, and I don’t want anyone to be so constricted by such labels. What we do know, however, is that he is a worldly politically correct pope who plays to the crowd and wants to have everyone from just about every perspective applaud him. Thus, those who adhere to the orthodox Faith completely in belief and practice will hear him affirm some of those dogmas and be satisfied, those who want the Church to change the “mean” and not “nice” dogmas will get his affirmation of their desires and “pain”, those who hate the Church for Her “backwardness” will get affirmation of the reasons for their hatred and a hint that he will change things to make the Church more appealing, and those who are threatened by the Cross will get that the Church is not out to convert them and in fact confirms them in their own “faith” or lack thereof. Pope Francis is in deed and in word a politically correct pope, who offends no one, so he believes, because he gives everybody what he believes that want.
Last year, he canonized Pope John XXIII and will soon canonize Paul VI. These are the Vatican II Saints, whereby he confirms for the “spirit of ’68” and “spirit of Vatican II” Catholics that the “old” traditions and practice of the Faith have been left behind and the new order and understanding is here to stay. He canonized Paul VI even though there are not the requisite number of confirmed miracles from his intercession, again showing there is a break with the “old” ways. This year he canonizes the parents of St. Therese of Liseaux where the requisite number of confirmed miracles are present, so he signals that there is not a complete break with the “old” ways.
A couple of weeks ago, he declared Saint Gregory of Narek a “Doctor” of the Church. St. Gregory was an Armenian and many have questioned whether he was in full communion with the Church. I have not been able to glean much information as to exactly why he should be a “doctor” of the Church other than the same repeated citations to Wikipedia that he wrote a book of prayers and that some of his prayers are recited in the Liturgy of the Armenian Church. However, this is Pope Francis. In doing this, he’s bestowing an honorific on Saint Gregory to send a politically correct statement because this year will mark the acknowledged beginning of the Armenian and Christian genocide by the muslim Turks. He cannot condemn the genocide by the rampaging muslims today outright because that would hurt their “feelings” and would be so politically incorrect a thing to do. By declaring Saint Gregory of Narek he makes obtusely a statement against muslim genocide of Christians and destruction of Christian civilization. Indeed, Narek was the site of a monastery where Saint Gregory resided and studied in what is now Turkey. Narek was obliterated by the Turks after the genocide and a Kurd village now marks the spot. By this politically correct maneuver, he is marking a worldly event, appealing to the Armenians and Christians persecuted and murdered today without making a forceful stand that would “offend”.
Pope Francis appeals to the world’s overarching desire to have homosexuality accepted, praised and blessed by both his statement that he is not one to judge a homosexual priest, or anyone else by extension, who “seeks God in good faith”. Rather than tell the world the truth that active homosexuality is intrinsically disordered and a sin that cries out to Heaven for vengenance as the Church has always taught, he appeals to the world to be politically correct and affirms the sin, indicating that this is now a good as the world has decreed. However, he will still declare that the Church will not tolerate “sexual abuse” in the ranks which again is the politically correct thing to say. Of course, thinking Catholics know that the “sexual abuse” is and was by and large and overwhelmingly the result of homosexual priests preying on adolescent boys, but that is not a politically correct thing to say, and so he and the Church do not say it, and do not remove homosexual priests unless they are caught “red-handed”, for to do so would not be politically correct either. The threat remains but it is more important to appeal to the world than to protect boys, even when a priest declares publicly that he is an a homosexual.
In matters of the family, Pope Francis has spoken of the value of fathers, mothers, and grandparents, for in doing so, he appeals to the great numbers of Catholics and non-Catholics who still value these roles. However, Pope Francis wants to be politically correct so he launches his synod on the “family” where he seeks to appeal to the worldly trend of unmarried men and women shacking up and having children without a marital bond, to the worldly trend of homosexuals shacking up with or without a false “marital” bond, to the worldly trend of divorce and remarriage, and seeks to affirm these people in their sinful actions by trying to find a way to declare their sins no longer sins but now goods to be offered to the Church and the world. Yet, he knows he cannot just make such an open declaration as that, so he send his sycophants out to confuse by having them say that he cannot change the doctrines but can find a “pastoral” way to meet these “poor” “marginalized” peoples’ needs to be “fully accepted” into the Church. By doing so, he’s is first and foremost politically correct which is most important, and thinks he’s throwing a bone to orthodox Catholics by saying the doctrine won’t change. Of course, this program is simplistically transparent but he thinks this will suffice, showing what he actually believes about real Catholics.
Pope Francis also knows that the Catholic Church is offensive to the world by Her declarations over the ages that there is One True Faith and it is in the Church, that there is no salvation outside of the Her, and that Jesus founded the Church as the way for souls to obtain salvation through Her sacraments. To be politically correct and get the applause of the world he desires, he states that salvation is not only found in the Church, but outside, for muslims, Jews, and atheists and everyone else whether they want it or not. He states that Catholics who are in mortal sin when they die can be saved as long as they were “good”. He states that Catholics in mortal sin can receive the Eucharist because “a little bread and wine never hurt anybody”. He states that proselytism is “solemn nonsense”. All of these declarations are politically correct for the world, and he believes that real Catholics will go along with the program since he will kind of hint that the Church is still the real Church with a wink and a nod when he’s with them.
So enamored is he with socialism and government devised schemes of bestowing largess, he makes his statements repeatedly about governments taking care of the poor, never forgetting the poor, and cannot give an answer for why there is suffering, as that would require a statement of the Faith that God allows suffering in order that a greater good might come from it. It is not politically correct to say when the cameras of the world are rolling, who don’t like it when God is mentioned especially as something to be truly believed. So he doesn’t, because he doesn’t want to offend. He wants the acclamations that come from being politically correct.
A couple of months ago, he picked up the banner of “man-made global warming/climate change” and declared that this contrived program of the new religion of atheists is to be a Catholic truth too, despite its fundamental hatred of life, especially human life, with its programs of sterilization, birth control, abortion and euthanasia, as well as its hatred of modern civilization, particularly for the developing world, and its assault on carbon, the fundamental building block of all life. The world today has latched onto this, despite the damning evidence that the science is contrived and twisted and despite its denial of God’s control, and Pope Francis, not wanting to miss out on the politically correct thing to do, also latches onto this program. He even declares that he is going to give the world an “encyclical” in June, just in time for the heat of summer to kick in in the western hemisphere, where he will demand that Catholics support this assault on humanity and civilization.
He also knows that it is politically incorrect for thee world to hammer home the intrinsically evil act of murdering children in their mothers’ wombs and so declares that Catholics in effect ought to shut up about it. He then appoints bishops that also say the same thing, preferring to equate all “Social Justice” issues of “poverty” and the “marginalized” with the murderous program so beloved these days by most of the world.
Pope Francis is not done yet, and as his papacy unfolds we will see and hear more politically correct appeals to worldly desires, with an occasional bone thrown to orthodox Catholics. That is how to define and understand this papacy. Save the book for after God mercifully puts an end to this.