German Journalist Calls Pope Francis a Relativizer


Alexander Kissler

Alexander Kissler is a German author and journalist who is responsible for the Culture Section of the German intellectual journal Cicero. He is also one of the few open critics of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Open Door Politics with regard to the immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. He had, for example, an outcry of indignation after the Cologne incident on New Year’s Eve in 2015, where hundreds of women were aggressively pursued by “North Africans, most of them asylum seekers.”

Now he has directed his indignation toward the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. The cause of it is Pope Francis’ recent  17 May La Croix interview. First, Kissler commented on this interview on Twitter with the following words: “Relativistic sillynesses which are directed against one’s own Church. A Pontifex as a loose cannon.”

Then Kissler followed up with a 19 May article, entitled “A Relatively Catholic Pope” which has already found wide distribution. This article appeared not only in the journal Cicero, but also in the popular magazine FOCUS, under another title, namely: “This is Why This Pope Does Damage to His Own Church.” In the following, I will quote from the Cicero version of his article.

Kissler says that this pope is “practicing a voluble relativism” which has come clear once more in this recent interview of his. With this, Kissler says, “he is damaging the Church and confusing the world.”

In an ironic tone, the journalist wonders: “Probably, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is exactly such a relativizer who is conscious of his power, voluble and relatively uninterested in the Catholic Faith.” Pope Francis, according to Kissler, appeared on the  “pontifical stage” by saying “Good evening,” and then proceeded to always have a joke on his lips. However, says Kissler, these jokes and “grammatical half measures” have now become “stale and wounding.” The German author continues: “This pontificate runs the danger of damaging the Church and of pleasing a world which continues to remain skeptical about everything ecclesial. Francis is offending Catholics without finding new believers among the non-Catholics. The numbers of Catholics leaving the Church continue to remain high, the number of new priests modest, and the extraordinary Year of Mercy as declared by Pope Francis lures only few people to go to Rome.”

In Kissler’s eyes, Pope Francis “relativizes the distinctiveness of the office” by talking so much and by giving so many interviews. He boldly claims that this pope – as proven in this later interview with La Croix – tries, even with the help of sillynesses and “affronts against his own Church”, to get approval from “those tribunes of the world who do not expect anything from him.”

Alexander Kissler is indignant about Pope Francis’ “drawing a direct connection from the mass-murdering terror of the ‘Islamic State’ and its ‘War of Conquest’ over to the mission of the disciples sent by Jesus  which could be interpreted in the sense of ‘the same idea of conquest.’” Kissler comments with the words: “The Church as a potential terrorist organization – is this a derailment or more?” and then continues:

In the face of such a counter-to-fact contraction, what might the Christians now think who are running for their lives away from fanaticized Muslims? Do they now feel consoled, understood and strengthened by their Supreme Shepherd – or cynically abandoned? Whoever compares everything with everything, loses the foothold, misses one’s own bearing What does it say about a Church whose own chief has difficulties with the profession of Christ’s salvific necessity?

It is obvious that this man, Mr. Kissler, has a just sense of indignation and desperation about the phenomenon of Pope Francis. He continues in his article to show the irrationality of a pope claiming that there are wars in the world “because there are weapon producers” (“As if mankind did not wage wars earlier with the mere help of bare hands and stones….”); he argues against Francis’ “anti-capitalism which is not well thought through”; he shows how Professor Robert Spaemann criticizes the pope for his “situation ethics”; Kissler also questions with regard to the “female deacons” whether the pope knows what he is talking about; he shows how the pope keeps talking even though he himself constantly warns against “gossip and chatter”; the journalist also is indignant about Francis’ constant “scolding of the priests” (“One does not want to be a priest under this pontificate.”); Kissler sees relativizing tendencies with regard to the papal text Amoris Laetitia (“A pope, however, who turns everything into fluid, is no rock.”); and, finally, Kissler refers to the pope’s words on 24 April 2016 at the “International Earth Day” meeting in Rome – namely, that it does not matter which religion one belongs to – and then comments: “The problem is not, that someone talks like Pope Francis – the problem is that it is a pope who talks like that.”

Kissler concludes his article with the piercing words that the pope should not try to become a “UN General Secretary with a Pectoral Cross” or a “Dalai Lama turned white” but, rather, to do the “essential duties of a pope,” namely: “to herd the sheep and to lead mankind to Christ.”

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