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.”And there is more.
“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!”
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.”