John-Henry Westen is the editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews (LSN). While LSN hardly shies away from difficult topics in general, there has been, I think it’s fair to say, a certain degree of reticence in acknowledging in a public way just how damaging the Francis papacy truly is. They have covered the commentary of other Catholic prelates, but rarely have I seen pointed editorial commentary coming from the LSN staff.
Last Friday, Westen wrote an article entitled, “Confusing even the devout: the troubling statements of Pope Francis“. In it, he relates his own sense of shock and amazement at certain statements of the pope:
Two weeks ago the latest controversial interview with Pope Francis hit the press, this time in France with the daily newspaper La Croix. Contrary to the teaching of previous popes, such as Leo XIII in Libertas and Pius XI in Quas Primas, Pope Francis said, “States must be secular. Confessional states end badly. That goes against the grain of History.” In the same interview, Francis suggested a comparison between Christianity and Islamic adherents’ use of conquest to impose their beliefs. “It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam,” he said. “However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”
The shocking statements reminded me of the very first leaked Q&A with Pope Francis at the beginning of his papacy. It’s an interview remembered most for the pope’s admission that there is a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican. Despite the fact that such explosive news would have been huge for LifeSiteNews, you won’t find that first interview covered on LifeSiteNews anywhere near the date of its release. I simply could not believe it to be authentic or accurate – not because of the ‘gay lobby’ comment – but because the Pope had spoken disparagingly about a spiritual bouquet of rosaries he had received upon his election.
Pope Francis was quoted as saying:
It concerns me; when I was elected, I received a letter from one of these groups, and they said: “Your Holiness, we offer you this spiritual treasure: 3,525 rosaries.” Why don’t they say, “we pray for you, we ask…”, but this thing of counting… And these groups return to practices and to disciplines that I lived through – not you, because you are not old – to disciplines, to things that in that moment took place, but not now, they do not exist today…
“There is no way,” I remember thinking to myself, “a Pope would ever say anything slighting the rosary.” That aspect of the interview made me question whether any of it was authentic. Thus, I resisted the pressure to publish a story on the Pope’s remarks on the ‘gay lobby’ in the Vatican. A few weeks later I was in Rome and finally got a chance to ask someone in the know about the leaked interview. I was shocked to hear: “of course it was true.” It was, I was told, the first example of a new communications method employed by the Pope using different channels.
That sense, of “there’s no way a pope could ever say such a thing,” has resurfaced time and again over the last few years, and not only from the Holy Father’s off-the-cuff and leaked interviews. Even in official teachings such as his Angelus addresses and homilies at big events, Pope Francis has shocked Catholic sensibilities. Such as the Angelus of June 2, 2013, where he spoke about Christ’s miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes as taking place by “sharing.” “This is the miracle: rather than a multiplication it is a sharing, inspired by faith and prayer,” he said.
Westen not only goes on to give another example of the pope’s
heretical erroneous interpretation of the miracle of the loaves of the fishes, but then recounts nine more examples of extremely troubling statements issued by Francis over the past three years (surprisingly for a pro-life publication like LifeSiteNews, the pope’s endorsement of eugenic contraception was not among them).
The number of people willing to put on a brave face about this papacy is dwindling daily. It’s a disaster, full stop. The more people who admit it, the better, so we can contain it, wait it out, pray for a good pope to be elected, and move on with our lives.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.