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Pope Francis Has Single-Handedly Destroyed Catholicism

September 18, AD2013

…or so you’d think if you got all your information about Catholicism from blog comboxes.

Not surprisingly, Pope Francis has been in the news lately. The media jumped on his offhand comments about homosexuals, breathlessly reported on a letter he wrote to an atheist, and made much hay over an interview given by the Vatican’s new Secretary of State (the media was apparently under the impression that Pope Francis is a very clever ventriloquist, and he was the one talking while the new Secretary’s mouth was moving – at least, that’s what they reported).

A common refrain I’m observing in the comboxes of various Catholic bloggers lately, when said blogger discusses one of these media reports, goes something like this:

“The Pope needs to stop making remarks like this! They’re too easily misunderstood! No one should have to write an article after the fact explaining what the Pope actually said/meant. The Pope needs to deliberate for hours on end before so much as opening his mouth! Every word must be crafted with the utmost perfection so that the media doesn’t get the wrong idea!” etc., etc.

And, my favorite:

“This kind of thing never happened when Benedict XVI/John Paul II was Pope!”

To these people, I respond:

Really? That’s some pretty amazing selective memory you have going on there. Granted, I’ve only been Catholic for the last ten years, but I remember:

The Condom Kerfuffle, in which the MSM proclaimed that Pope Benedict said condoms were perfectly okay for everyone to use (when he actually said that in certain situations, the use of a condom could indicate that someone was trying to act in a moral fashion by not spreading disease, and that trying to act morally could be a good first step on the road to repentance).

Pope Benedict’s speech at the University of Regensburg, in which (according to the media) the Pope said that Mohammed was evil incarnate and all Muslims were going to hell. (The Pope later explained that his words had been misunderstood by Muslims.)

The publication of Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate, in which the MSM announced that the Pope attacked capitalism as always evil in any circumstance and wholeheartedly supported the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was, according to the media, Pope Benedict’s last ditch attempt to revive a dying church by resurrecting a dead language.

John Paul II’s release of Dominus Iesus in 2000 spawned dozens of newspaper headlines (one of which I remember seeing in my college newspaper) proclaiming that “the Pope says non-Catholics aren’t really Christians!”

In Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, John Paul II stated unequivocally, “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren […] I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” (emphasis mine). Seems pretty straightforward, but the MSM headlines in response? “Pope’s words about women’s ordination spark debate” or similar.

I’m sure I could list hundreds of examples dating back decades, if not centuries, about how the media flagrantly and deliberately misrepresents a pope’s statements, leading to a need for the Vatican et al to issue a clarification. This is not a new phenomenon. The media does not exist to tell the truth – it exists to make people rich. Juicy headlines sell newspapers and garner millions of website hits, which generate revenue. “Pope Reiterates 2,000-year-old Teaching of the Church” doesn’t make money; “Pope Declares that All Atheists Go to Heaven” does. Truth has nothing to do with it, and this type of misrepresentation for personal gain is something that’s been happening as long as the papacy has existed.

Indeed, St. Peter himself could have been speaking about the mainstream media when he said, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Of course, in every combox you find at least one person lamenting that the current Pope is destroying the Catholic Church. One example:

“This is doctrinal immodesty, if I may use the phrase. Rather than clothe the precious doctrine of the Body of Christ in garments of sobriety, modesty and Prudence, the truths of the Church are being sold away [by Pope Francis, presumably] cheaply to the moral perverts and enemies of Christ.”

I’m very curious what the commenter in question would have had to say about some of the Church’s earlier Popes:

  • Pope Stephen VI (896–897), who had his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed, tried, de-fingered, briefly reburied, and thrown in the Tiber.
  • Pope John XII (955–964), who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife.
  • Pope Benedict IX (1032–1044, 1045, 1047–1048), who “sold” the Papacy
  • Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303), who is lampooned in Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • Pope Urban VI (1378–1389), who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured.
  • Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503), a Borgia, who was guilty of nepotism and whose unattended corpse swelled until it could barely fit in a coffin.
  • Pope Leo X (1513–1521), a spendthrift member of the Medici family who once spent 1/7 of his predecessors’ reserves on a single ceremony
  • Pope Clement VII (1523–1534), also a Medici, whose power-politicking with France, Spain, and Germany got Rome sacked.

(The preceding examples are taken from E. Chamberlain’s book “The Bad Popes,” as summarized by Wikipedia.)

We once had a Pope who was murdered while engaging in the act of adultery – and the Church survived! After that, can anyone honestly believe that the Church will be utterly decimated and destroyed simply because the current pope made statements about atheists that were deliberately misconstrued by the media in order to boost ratings?! Perhaps the Holy Spirit is insulted by the implication that His protection of the Truth was considered so weak and ineffective.

So please, fellow Catholics, the proper response when reading a MSM headline about the Pope changing a long-held doctrine of Catholicism is not panic or rage or despair. Rather, it’s a yawn, an eye-roll, and a resigned sigh – as well as a realization that we’re once again called upon to engage in the new evangelization for the sake of the Kingdom in the realm of social media and among our friends and family.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

JoAnna was baptized, raised, and married in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America but converted to Catholicism in May 2003, on G.K. Chesterton’s birthday. She has six terrific kids here on earth, four saints in heaven praying for her, and a wonderful husband who supports her in all things. She enjoys defending the Catholic faith online (in between her duties as chief cook and bottle washer for La Casa Wahlund, and her role as Senior Editor of Catholic Stand). She blogs at www.catholicworkingmother.com and more sporadically at http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com.

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  • Thank you for this article! I’ve lost count of how often I have to correct stories in the comments section. And I’ve had to calm the panic of some of my friends. Thankfully, I’ve only had to do it twice as they quickly caught on to the ruse by the press. When they can’t find something they’ll ask me. I never, NEVER trust anything reported by the press, even typically conservative sites. I do my research. So far the worst twisting I’ve ever seen was when Pope Francis, for the Year of Mercy, gave all priests the authority to remove the automatic excommunication associated with abortion, which is usually only done by the bishop in some areas (here in US and Canada priests have been able to do that). What came out on the conservative sites were variations on the following: Pope Gives Catholic Women a Year to Have as Many Abortions as They Want; Pope Says Abortion No Longer a Sin…. you get the picture.

  • Several recent comments on this article have been deemed inappropriate and removed. As a result, further comments on this article have been closed.

  • Steve

    The problem with so much information these days is that we people’s minds often respond like a stomach at a buffet all you can eat (stuff) and pick and choose what we want (or just how much can be consumed in the shortest amount of time) just because its there and cheap and we forget to taste (enjoy) the food (in the case of information use critical thinking taking our time) and then (god help us) we add the “media” dressings of choice and then wash it down with some glass of “post opinion – on the rocks” and no wonder our minds get the equivalent of acid indigestion!

  • BelovedCatholic

    Thanks JoAnna for this Article. God bless you!!!

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    History has distorted the truth about how religion developed, the gaps in the archeological footprints between mythology and theology are becoming more apparent and people a beginning to realize we all have been believing in myths. Science and medicine have also proven that economic progress got in the way of the substances which should have been condemned that have altered the brains of many people in which now only medicine can alleviate with anti-depressants or opiates such as Suboxine for life. Example: Heroin changes the brain permanently and no amount of prayer, will power or believe in God can feed the need the nervous system no longer can produce. Intelligent people or powerful people who have the ability or power to change society were considered Gods by the dependent upon them and Kings whos authority was required in order to bring about social order used religion to keep people in submission. Females in particular were ignored throughout history and the autonomic structure of our bodies kept us in confusion about the confidence we otherwise could have had in being pro-active as family protectors. Religion has been de-bunked by in large and there is more to be discovered about what happens when we die.

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  • Katherine

    I am NOT Catholic, but the Pope is the best person walking the face of the earth who has a voice heard by others. He follows Christ’s teachings. I personally don’t care about the history of human faired in the churches of the world; I care about humans who walk in the footsteps of Christ. If any church leader doesn’t do what the Pope does the church is already dead.

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  • Alan

    Pope Francis is really very forward thinking and is truly commendable for has spoken about topics relevant to the current issues of the world such as environmental protection and he has addressed several oppressive, backward, thinking and practices about evolution and society.
    Pope Francis must be heard and people need to listen to see how all this will improve the world.

  • larry

    Actually Pope Francis has had many other internal helpers to destroy the Church over the years. His own religious preach heresy and false theology.

    • Yes, people have free will to do bad things. The question is, does Pope Francis agree with those who preach heresy and false theology, even within the Church? The answer is no.

      I find it sad that you don’t trust Jesus’ promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail.

    • larry

      The more I hear what the Frank says, the more I believe that he is swayed by modernist ideas which is dangerous. Pius X addressed the dangers of Modernism in an encyclical.

    • Hm, that’s interesting, because Pope Francis doesn’t teach anything contrary to what Pius X taught.

      Here is something Pius X DID teach:

      “Therefore, when we love the Pope, there are no discussions regarding what he orders or demands, or up to what point obedience must go, and in what things he is to be obeyed; when we love the Pope, we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough, almost as if he were forced to repeat to the ear of each one the will clearly expressed so many times not only in person, but with letters and other public documents; we do not place his orders in doubt, adding the facile pretext of those unwilling to obey – that it is not the Pope who commands, but those who surround him; we do not limit the field in which he might and must exercise his authority; we do not set above the authority of the Pope that of other persons, however learned, who dissent from the Pope, who, even though learned, are not holy, because whoever is holy cannot dissent from the Pope.” http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2012/11/love-pope-no-ifs-and-no-buts-for.html

      I don’t think think Pius X would be impressed with your disrespect of Pope Francis.

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  • NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!! Look up “Tomás de Torquemada”: Catholicism is evil!!!

  • If the Catholic church doesn`t change and conform to modern times, only pedophiles will be catholic. The Pope mobile alone proves the “Catholic God” is invisible because it ain`t there to save The Pope or anyone else for that matter. I`ve seen the poor, lame, maimed, blind, homeless, starving, and tortured. I`ve seen the pope`s golden throne and his giant gold cross and ruby slippers; you will all burn according to Jesus:

    “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.” — Luke 6:24

    “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.” — James 5:1

    Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”

    Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, “Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”

    Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    Lets face it; we all know the bible is superstitious, supernatural, paranormal, metaphysical, mythological, magical, mystical, fairy tale bs or at least you know now. Faith=BS; look it up.

    Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    Your sadistic, evil, monster-God doesn`t exist and if He did; it would be our moral duty to kill it!

    http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html

    Peace, love, happiness, truth, justice, liberty, freedom, democracy, equality, empathy, and compassion to all of us; every one!