Commentary

The Catholic Church’s new progressive facade covers a house of cards

Pope Francis greets pilgrims during his weekly general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on September 10, 2014.
Pope Francis greets pilgrims during his weekly general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on September 10, 2014.Photo: Shutterstock

Pope Francis entered his high position in March 2013 wearing a golden mask of liberalism and progressive policies that could have taken the Church out of the Middle Ages where it had remained entrenched. But, alas, as time has rusted and stripped away Francis’s thin veneer, only the corpses of failed lies and bigotry remain.

For example, during an impromptu news conference aboard his papal jet on July 29, 2013, while returning to the Vatican from Brazil after completing his first international trip where he spoke to millions celebrating “World Youth Day,” he responded to a question about gay priests, and stated: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Related: Is Pope Francis pro-LGBTQ or not? The Church doesn’t know either.

Scratch the surface, and Francis showed the rot under his mask by publicly opposing marriage for same-sex couples, condemning transgender identities, and fully privileging Roman Catholic Church Catechism (Catechism 2357) calling same-sex sexuality “acts of grave depravity” and as “gravely disordered.”

For individuals within the Church who cannot or will not change to a heterosexual orientation, Catechism 2359:

Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Anti-Semitism

In his November address in St. Peter’s Square, Francis condemned increasing violence against Jewish people across the globe.

He opined that the world has “seen so many brutalities done against the Jewish people, and we were convinced that this was over.” He warned, however, “But today the habit of persecuting Jews is beginning to be reborn.”

He concluded with an admonition.

“But today the habit of persecuting Jews is beginning to be reborn,” he said. “Brothers and sisters: this is neither human nor Christian; the Jews are our brothers and sisters and must not be persecuted! Understood?”

Does Pope Francis not understand that much of the persecution, violence, and murder of Jewish people over the millennia has been justified by the Church’s false perennial narrative of Jews being responsible for the death of Jesus? It appears to the contrary since Francis recently invoked this tired myth in his defense of a Cardinal convicted of child sexual molestation.

A court jury found Australian Cardinal George Pell guilty in December 2018 of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne. The incidents allegedly occurred in 1996 and 1997 following Sunday Mass. Pell was convicted of one charge of sexual penetration of a child and four charges of committing an act of indecency with or in the presence of a child. He was sentenced to a six-year person term.

Pell functioned previously as the archbishop of Melbourne and the Vatican’s treasurer. He was one of Pope Francis’ most trusted advisors.

Australia’s High Court, however, recently unanimously overturned Pell’s conviction by issuing a statement that “there ought to have been a reasonable doubt” of the defendant’s guilt and concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to convict.

Following the acquittal, Francis praised the High Court and began his morning daily mass livestreamed from the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta, the Pontiff’s residence by praying for “all persons who suffer an unjust sentence because of intransigence.”

During the mass, Francis compared the suffering of those inflicted with “unjust sentences” by raising how Jewish community elders supposedly persecuted Jesus with “obstinacy and rage even though he was innocent.”

The Church since its inception has used the Jewish people at its scapegoat and battering ram. For example, in 1239, using Biblical passages as his rationale, Pope Gregory IX ordered all copies of the Jewish holy book, the Talmud, confiscated, and in 1322, Pope John XXII ordered all copies of the Talmud burned on the eve of the Jewish Passover.

Pope Paul IV (1555-1559), in his Papal bull Cum nimis absurdum, segregated Jews within a walled ghetto with locked gates at night to keep them separated from the Christian majority, and to emphasize their inferior legal and social status.

Pope Pius IX, in 1858, kidnapped a young boy, Edgardo Mortara, from his Jewish parents in Bologna, Italy, and raised him in Rome as a Catholic against his parents’ wishes on the justification that a Catholic maidservant had secretly baptized the boy earlier when he was gravely ill. Pope Pius IX also referred to the Jews of Rome as “dogs.”

The Church has since admitted partial regret for many of the actions and words of former Popes. The Rev. Angelo Roncalli, who later became Pope John XXIII, was honored by Jewish leaders around the world for his work in saving large numbers of Jews during the German Holocaust.

As Pope, he convened the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which authorized the declaration Nostra Aetate and approved in 1965 under Pope Paul VI. An article in the document, while certainly not going far enough, stated:

True, authorities of the Jews and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be blamed upon all the Jews then living, without distinction, nor upon the Jews of today.

Moreover, the Church “deplores the hatred, persecutions and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source.”

Apparently, Pope Francis failed to read that memo. And the tarnish and rust has turned the Church’s façade to dust and has fully exposed the simple truth that the Church’s progressive architecture stands as a Medieval house of cards.

 

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