Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pope Francis ... wowsers!... not!

Earlier today, I received an email purporting to describe statements made by Pope Francis. I read it with my jaw dropping. Later, the sender sent a second email ... it was all a FAKE. But before that second email, before I was forced to admit how ignorant I was, I was enthralled and warmed and hopeful and applauding and ... duped:

This is what I wrote:

I guess I missed it somehow, but today it was reiterated to me in email -- statements by the Roman Catholic pope, Francis, that, if even half true, make me think someone will kill him and then canonize him before getting back to business as usual.

The statements appear to have been made on Dec. 5, the last day of the Third Vatican Council. The statements were astounding enough so that at least one cardinal quit, branding Francis as a "heretic."

I have no way of assessing the impact of Francis' remarks. All I can say is that they made my jaw drop in a confused wonder and delight. If this is just another Vatican bait-and-switch of the kind seen in the past vis-a-vis pedophile priests, etc., it's certainly a risky course. But if it is simply the truth, I have a feeling that is even riskier. I can do no better than to excerpt:
The Third Vatican Council concluded today with Pope Francis announcing that Catholicism is now a “modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes. The time has come to abandon all intolerance. We must recognize that religious truth evolves and changes. Truth is not absolute or set in stone. Even atheists acknowledge the divine. Through acts of love and charity the atheist acknowledges God as well, and redeems his own soul, becoming an active participant in the redemption of humanity.”
“Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God” Pope Francis declared.
In a speech that shocked many, the Pope claimed “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.”
One statement in the Pope’s speech has sent traditionalists into a fit of confusion and hysteria. “God is changing and evolving as we are, For God lives in us and in our hearts. When we spread love and kindness in the world, we touch our own divinity and recognize it. The Bible is a beautiful holy book, but like all great and ancient works, some passages are outdated. Some even call for intolerance or judgement. The time has come to see these verses as later interpolations, contrary to the message of love and truth, which otherwise radiates through scripture. In accordance with our new understanding, we will begin to ordain women as cardinals, bishops and priests. In the future, it is my hope that we will have a woman pope one day. Let no door be closed to women that is open to men!”
And there is more.

Based on the past, Francis' statements feel to me a bit like the man about to be hanged ... he feels the noose tightening around his throat; he knows that at any moment the floor beneath his feet will disappear; and then ... and then ... the rope is loosed.

Not entirely loosed, of course. There were dissenters. 
A couple of prominent Catholic cardinals have responded to Pope Francis’ declarations by leaving the church. Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria asked, “what do we stand for if we declare that truth is relative? On the contrary, truth exists independently of our personal feelings. All of this talk of love and tolerance is hollow if we have no identity of our own, if we stand for nothing. I charge that Francis has become a heretic, and that he is not a valid Pope. Indeed, Francis is no longer even a Catholic. The seat of Saint Peter is vacant. I am now a Sedevacantist. I should have become one long ago. The Vatican has embraced ecumenism in the past, but worse than that, it has now embraced moral relativism on abortion and homosexuality. At the same time it is embracing moral absolutism in favour of illegal immigration and cultural genocide against Europe.”


  1. Papal schisms are not new, reformers have come and gone, these many years later it's still leaching off the poor and offering in exchange something that doesn't exist. The only real change is it's value as a political engine has waned significantly.

  2. For no particular reason this post reminded me of two of Mark Twain's published comments on religion:

    Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion--several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven....The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.
    -from "The Lowest Animal"

    In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.

    - from "The Autobiography of Mark Twain"

    Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910).

    Clemens was born shortly after a visit by Halley's Comet. He died the day following the comet's subsequent return.