During the press conference on the airplane returning from Bangladesh on December 2, the French journalist Etienne Loraillère posed this question to Bergoglio:
“Which is your priority: to evangelize or to dialogue for peace?”
The response of Bergoglio – after a series of incredible absurd statements – ended with these unheard of terms:
“And your question: what is the priority, peace or conversion? But when you live with testimony and respect, you make peace. Peace starts to break down in this field when proselytism begins, and there are so many ways of proselytism, but this is not evangelical.”
In practice, Bergoglio is maintaining that to announce the Gospel (proselytism) creates division and the purpose of the presence of Christians in the world is to dialogue, “to make peace.”
But the Church is not the United Nations. She exists to announce Jesus Christ to all mankind.
As Riccardo Cascioli has observed, this response of Bergoglio renders substantially useless (if not harmful) the missions and missionaries — and in fact it delegitimizes the many Catholic martyrs throughout the history of the Church (who evidently made the mistake of putting the proclamation of Christ ahead of the goal of getting along with everybody).
An answer like this – perfectly in line with Bergoglio’s behavior, which in fact discourages conversions – leads to a much bigger and more serious question.
I ask myself if this can truly be the response of a pope…the apostolic mandate of Jesus is something else and it is very clear:
“Jesus said to them: ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15-16).
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Matthew 28: 19-20).
Jesus also predicted that this work of evangelization would entail persecution and martyrdom:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own, but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15: 18-20).
Jesus warns his disciples that the proclamation of the Gospel will create divisions because darkness can only hate the light, but all the same we are called to give testimony:
“Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father. Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:32-36).
Jesus has also taught us that the proclamation of salvation is TRUE peace, not what the world considers peace. It is precisely by evangelizing that the Church builds up TRUE peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you” (John 14:27).
If therefore the apostolic mandate of Jesus and the reason the Church exists is evangelization, how can we remain silent in the face of a pontificate like Bergoglio’s which – with both words and actions – totally overturns the Lord’s command?
Are there still any Catholic bishops and cardinals left? They ought to know that God will demand an account from them for their complicit silence. And in case they might have forgotten, we must remind them of it.
What are they waiting for to make their voice heard and to confirm publicly – before the people of God – that the words of Jesus in the Gospel are the mission of the Church?
To recall the words of Jesus – even to Bergoglio, as a fraternal warning – is an act of charity towards him. It is their duty before God and men.
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino
This article originally appeared at Antoniosocci.com. It has been reprinted with permission and formatted for 1P5.