Browse Our Articles & Podcasts

Review: Praise for The Political Pope: A Book Worth Supporting

A Guest Book Review
By Matt P. Gaspers*

The Political Pope: How Pope Francis Is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning Conservatives
George Neumayr
Hachette Book Group
220 pages
$18.36 Hardcover; $9.95 Paperback

In early May of this year, I was browsing the headlines at OnePeterFive and came across one that peaked my interest: “An Interview with George Neumayr, Author of The Political Pope” by Dr. Maike Hickson. After I began reading the interview, it didn’t take long for me to conclude that I needed to read Mr. Neumayr’s book. One statement of his, in particular, which appears about a third of the way down, caught my attention: “Pope Francis is the worst teacher of the Faith in the history of the Catholic Church. One could not trust him to teach an elementary school religion class.” Immediately I had come to mind a strikingly similar observation made by John Vennari, the beloved late editor of Catholic Family News, just a few months into Francis’ pontificate:

I’ve been following Pope Francis’ words and actions, and read the entire book On Heaven and Earth that he co-wrote with Rabbi Skorka.

He seems to have a good heart and some good Catholic instincts, but theologically he is a train wreck – remarkably sloppy.

Though this might shock some readers, I must say that I would never allow Pope Francis to teach religion to my children.[1]

One of the first things I did after receiving my copy of The Political Pope in the mail was review the chapter endnotes to see what kinds of sources were used to document the contents of the book. Upon investigating, I was pleasantly surprised to find several familiar and trusted names listed, including Catholic Family News, The Remnant, Christopher Ferrara’s Fatima Perspectives column, Tradition in Action, Rorate Coeli, LifeSiteNews, and OnePeterFive. While also drawing from a wide variety of secular sources for relevant information, Neumayr demonstrates a clear and unapologetic support for traditional Catholicism throughout his book, which is wonderful to see.

An Exposé of Pope Francis – In His Own Words

One of the most powerful aspects of The Political Pope is that a good amount of material throughout the book consists of direct quotes from Francis himself. In many ways, it is a compilation in one volume of Francis’ most scandalous and revealing statements, which tragically exist in abundance. For example, Neumayr begins with a thorough look at the people, ideas, and culture which most shaped Jorge Mario Bergoglio during his formative years. The opening chapter, called “The Pope They Have Been Waiting For”, includes a section examining Francis’ communist mentor, a woman named Esther Ballestrino de Careaga, for whom he worked at a laboratory in Buenos Aires. Neumayr quotes Francis’ pleasant memories of Ballestrino and describes his enduring association with her:

“She often read Communist Party texts to me and gave them to me to read. So I also got to know that very materialistic conception. I remember that she also gave me the statement of the American Communists in defense of the Rosenberg’s, who had been sentenced to death,” he has said. Learning about communism, he said, “through a courageous and honest person was helpful. I realized a few things, an aspect of the social, which I then found in the social doctrine of the Church.” After entering the priesthood, he took pride in helping her hide the family’s Marxist literature from the authorities who were investigating her. According to the author James Carroll, Bergoglio smuggled her communist books, including Marx’s Das Kapital, into a “Jesuit library.”[2]

Francis’ admiration for Communists like Ballestrino remains the same to this day, as evidenced by his profoundly offensive claim (quoted by Neumayr) that “if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians.”[3]

Who is Pope Francis?

This is perhaps the central theme or core thesis of the book: Jorge Mario Bergoglio “is a product of political leftism and theological Modernism,” as Neumayr summed up in his interview with Dr. Hickson. He is the quintessential liberal Jesuit, born and raised in socialist Argentina, who in his young adult years encountered and embraced the Marxist-inspired heresy known as “liberation theology.” Neumayr spends roughly the first four chapters developing his thesis, relating biographical information about Bergoglio’s “progressive” formation under Fr. Pedro Arrupe (the Jesuits’ Superior General from 1965-1983), his single term as Provincial Superior in Argentina (1973-1979), and his tenure as Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires (1992-1998) and later Archbishop of the same (1998-2013). In each successive chapter, Neumayr explores a different facet of Francis’ pontificate in light of the above-mentioned thesis and presents copious supporting evidence.

Interestingly, Neumayr’s description of how the Church ended up with Pope Francis is reminiscent of John Vennari’s assessment as presented in The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita: A Masonic Blueprint for the Subversion of the Catholic Church (published by TAN Books in 1999), more proof positive that Neumayr has done his homework. He opens Chapter Three (“The Left’s Long March to the Papacy”) of The Political Pope as follows:

The election of Jorge Bergoglio marked the culmination of the left’s long march through the Church. For decades, liberals, both inside and outside the Church, had labored for the elevation of a progressive pope who would incorporate the tenets of modern liberalism into Catholicism. That movement has been gathering strength since at least the advent of the modernist heresy in the Church, which Pope Pius X addressed in his 1907 encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis.

To read that encyclical today, one might think Pope Pius X was writing about the papacy of Francis. Pope Pius X warned that the modernists wish to fashion a faith “suited to the times in which we live,” based not on the immutable doctrines of Catholicism but on the subjectivism of “modern philosophy.” He foresaw a Church that would chase after elite fads, defer to the spurious claims of modern science, bow down to the secularism of the state, treat all religions as equal, cast Jesus Christ as a mere human political activist, reduce priests to social workers, and Protestantize its worship and doctrine.

Despite Pope Pius X’s efforts, modernism continued to spread in the Church throughout the twentieth century, bubbling up most visibly at Vatican II and its aftermath. … The liberalism of Francis’ pontificate can be traced to that modernist spirit.[4]

Granted, the errors mentioned above began well before Jorge Bergoglio was elected the 265th successor of St. Peter (they began in earnest during the reign of Pope John XXIII, 1958-1963), but it is equally true that Francis has taken those errors to unprecedented extremes.

The Marxist Pope

To understand Pope Francis and his radical pontificate, we must examine his words and deeds through the lens of his self-professed Marxism. As unbelievable as it is, the current occupant of the Chair of St. Peter is a firm adherent of liberation theology – that is, Communism with a Christian veneer – which was concocted by the Soviet KGB (secret police) and brought into Latin America by KGB agents as a means of subverting the Catholic Church.[5] During his four years as Supreme Pontiff, Francis has personally rehabilitated several previously censured liberation theologians, including Gustavo Gutierrez, Leonardo Boff,[6] and Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. It is very reminiscent of how Pope John XXIII rehabilitated so many notorious Modernists just prior to Vatican II and invited them to participate as periti (theological experts) during the Council.[7] “According to Boff,” writes Neumayr, “Pope Francis will eventually rehabilitate all of the condemned liberation theologians from Latin America. Boff believes that Pope Francis is waiting until their old critic, Pope Benedict XVI, dies.”[8]

His championing of socialism and admiration for socialists extends into the secular sphere as well, thus making him “a darling of the global left” and “the ecclesiastical equivalent of Barack Obama,” says Neumayr.[9] Whether it be his lobbying for the dubious “science” of climate change, his support of the United Nations’ radical environmentalism (i.e. population control via abortion and contraception), or his honoring of Alinskyite politicians such as Bernie Sanders with invitations to speak at the Vatican, Francis has proven himself a staunch ally of liberals the world over. And specifically in regard to the United States, Francis fosters what Neumayr calls “The Unholy Alliance” (Chapter Five of The Political Pope) between the Catholic left and the Democratic left. Prime examples of this alliance include such “Catholic” Democrats as former vice president Joe Biden, former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Tim Kaine (Hillary Clinton’s running mate) – all notorious for their full support of abortion, contraception, homosexual “marriage,” etc. – who have nothing but praise for Pope Francis, a fellow socialist.

It is quite providential that Neumayr’s book has been published during this Fatima Centennial Year – in the month of May, no less – since it demonstrates so thoroughly that the “errors of Russia” about which Our Lady of Fatima came to warn us have indeed infected the Church at the highest levels.[10]

No Tolerance for Tradition111

One of the hallmarks of Francis’ pontificate continues to be his overt disdain for Sacred Tradition. It was evident, literally, from the first moments of his papacy when he was presented to the Church and the world on the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. On that most solemn occasion, he declined to wear the traditional papal vestments (red mozzetta and stole)[11] and requested “the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop” from those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.[12] Only after a moment of silence for this “blessing from the people” did he then impart his Apostolic Blessing as Supreme Pontiff.

This was only the beginning, the proverbial tip of the iceberg, as Neumayr chronicles throughout his book. Pope Francis has publicly ridiculed, scolded, and otherwise defamed devout Catholics (clergy and laity) on multiple occasions simply for their sincere fidelity to the traditional liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of Holy Mother Church. He has referred to traditional Catholics as “rigid,” “pharisaical,” “hardheaded,” and even “heretical” for refusing to accept his heterodox version of the Faith. In his inaugural Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World), Francis critiqued traditionalists in a very condescending and denigrating manner, as noted by Neumayr:

He has accused traditional Catholics of “self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism,” without bothering to clarify the insult. Oozing contempt for traditionalist Catholics, he said they consider themselves “superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past” and that their “supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.”[13]

Unfortunately, Francis’ fierce opposition to Tradition and those Catholics faithful to it does not end with mere words. As Neumayr observes, “One of Pope Francis’ first moves was to harass a growing traditionalist order in Italy called the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, which had enthusiastically embraced Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI’s order authorizing wider use of the traditional Latin Mass.”[14] Neumayr goes on to quote from the decree issued by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (colloquially known as the Congregation for Religious) concerning the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (Protocol 52741/2012, dated 11 July 2013):

“…the Holy Father Francis has directed that every religious of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary [i.e. Novus Ordo] rite and that, if the occasion should arise, the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community that makes the request.”[15]

This sort of treatment of traditional Catholics has apparently been par for the course throughout his clerical tenure. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Neumayr explains:

The only group of Catholics whom Archbishop Bergoglio treated severely were conservative Catholics, whose interest in the traditional Latin Mass he blocked. “He has persecuted every single priest who made an effort to wear a cassock, preach with firmness, or that was simply interested in Summorum Pontificum,” Argentine journalist Marcelo González has written. Bergoglio referred to conservative religious orders as “restorationist factions” and decried their “rigid religiosity.”[16]

Cheerleader for the Church’s Historic Enemies

While Pope Francis is unjustly harsh with members of his own flock, he is inexplicably supportive of the Church’s most notorious enemies. Neumayr spotlights Francis’ incessant call for Europeans to allow a virtually unlimited number of Muslim “refugees” into their respective countries, thus referring to Francis as “The Open-Borders Pope” (Chapter Seven). He observes:

In stark contrast to his predecessors, Pope Francis has shown no interest in reviving a historically Christian Europe against a potentially Eurabian future. Pope Francis subscribes to the left’s suicidally softheaded explanation for the rise of Islamic terrorism in Europe. He blames it not on Islamic radical ideology but on the West’s unwillingness to “integrate” Muslims and open its borders to them.[17]

In conjunction with his dangerous call for open borders, Francis shamelessly defends Islam against reasonable criticism and promotes the false notion that it is a “religion of peace.” For example, he wrote thus in Evangelii Gaudium (portion quoted by Neumayr in bold):

“We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our [traditionally Christian] countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.[18]

I am reminded of Christopher Ferrara’s intrepid questions in response to this passage: “By what authority does Francis declare who are the ‘true followers of Islam’ and what constitutes ‘authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran’? Is this the Vicar of Christ or the Vicar of Mohammad speaking?”[19]

Neumayr’s refreshingly accurate treatment of Islam throughout The Political Pope also brings to mind the magnificent declaration With Burning Concern: We Accuse Pope Francis penned by Michael Matt, Christopher Ferrara, and John Vennari (issued jointly by The Remnant and Catholic Family News in Sept. 2016). Addressing the Pope directly, the esteemed authors of With Burning Concern confront Francis on a whole host of subjects, including what they correctly identify as his “Absurd Whitewash of Islam.”[20]

Pope Francis displays equal enthusiasm and spreads similar disinformation about the heresiarch Martin Luther, as evidenced by his trip last October to Lund, Sweden to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolt. Neumayr discusses this most regrettable episode, as well as the virtual “canonization” (or at least exoneration) of Luther by Pope Francis, which occurred in the Vatican a couple of weeks prior to the Lund trip:

Pope Francis goes out of his way to prop up the Church’s historic opponents. Who could have imagined any other pope than this one celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation? In October 2016, Pope Francis traveled to Sweden to participate in a Catholic-Lutheran service that commemorated the beginning of Martin Luther’s revolt against Catholicism. According to L’Osservatore Romano, the idea for the joint commemoration came from Pope Francis, not from the Lutherans. …

In anticipation of the trip, Pope Francis praised Luther, describing him as a “reformer.” He didn’t mention Luther’s sweeping rejection of Catholic doctrine and sacraments, reserving his criticism not for Luther but for the Church. “I believe the intentions of Martin Luther were not wrong,” he said. …

… On October 13, 2016, in an event that played out almost like an Onion parody at the Vatican, a group of Lutherans presented a smiling Pope Francis with a copy of Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” against the Church.

At that event, a young Catholic girl asked the pope, “My friends do not go to Church, but they are my friends. Do I have to help them to go to Church or is it enough that they simply remain good friends?” Don’t bother, the pope replied: “It is not licit that you convince them of your faith; proselytism is the strongest poison against the ecumenical path.”[21]

So said the pope who devoted over 200 pages (Evangelii Gaudium) to discussing the urgent need for evangelization! What is “evangelization” if not an effort to convince others of our Faith – the one true Faith – and their need to embrace it for salvation?

What Must Be Done?

To conclude his groundbreaking work, Neumayr poses a most pressing question: “Will Paul Correct Peter?” (Chapter Twelve). As he explains, he is referring to the famous episode at Antioch when St. Paul “withstood [St. Peter] to the face, because he was to be blamed” for giving a bad example (see Gal. 2:11-14). Neumayr goes on to quote from Aquinas’ Summa on the importance of fraternal correction and exhorts his readers about the need to resist Francis, citing Bellarmine:

“Just as it is lawful to resist the pope that attacks the body,” argued St. Robert Bellarmine, the celebrated sixteenth-century Jesuit, “it is also lawful to resist the one who attacks souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is lawful to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed.”[22]

Neumayr also discusses examples of the recent “historic pushback,” as John Vennari called it, such as the theological critique of Amoris Laetitia by an international group of 45 scholars and the famous dubia submitted to Pope Francis by Cardinals Burke, Brandmüller, Meisner, and Caffarra.

Read the Book, Spread the Word

This review has truly just scratched the surface of the contents of George Neumayr’s book. I strongly encourage readers to support his laudable work by purchasing a copy of The Political Pope, reading it in full, and then spreading the truth of its contents far and wide. As Neumayr ultimately concludes, our solemn duty as Catholics during this time of unprecedented crisis is to “defend the faith from a pope who aligns with her enemies.”[23] May we all “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and persevere in that Faith unto the end.

And may we remember to pray much for the Holy Father, as Our Lady of Fatima and the three little shepherds taught us.


* Originally published at Catholic Family News. 


[1] John Vennari, “Blessed Pius IX, a Model in Our Struggle,” blog posted dated June 13, 2013 (

[2] George Neumayr, The Political Pope: How Pope Francis is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning Conservatives (New York: Center Street, 2017), p. 8

[3] Ibid., p. 153; see also Steve Skojec, “Pope: ‘It is the Communists Who Think Like Christians,’” OnePeterFive online article posted Nov. 11, 2016 (

[4] Neumayr, The Political Pope, p. 41-42

[5] Neumayr cites Ion Mihai Pacepa, former head of intelligence for communist Romania, who defected to the United States in 1978 (see The Political Pope, p. 2-3). Pacepa offers a detailed account of the Soviet origins of liberation theology in his book Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (Washington, DC: WND Books, Inc., 2013), p. 106-110.

[6] Neumayr cites an article by John Vennari (“Pastoral Discernment and Dead Members ‘Alive’”) as his source for a quote from Boff (see The Political Pope, p. 16, note 11).

[7] See Roberto de Mattei, The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story (Fitzwilliam: Loreto Publications, English Ed. 2012), p. 188-192

[8] Neumayr, The Political Pope, p. 5

[9] Ibid., p. 11

[10] See Maike Hickson, “Have the ‘Errors of Russia’ Now Infected Rome?” OnePeterFive online article posted Dec. 13, 2016 (; Jan Bentz, “Bishop Schneider likens treatment of four Cardinals to Soviet regime: ‘We live in a climate of threats,’” LifeSiteNews online article posted Dec. 6, 2016 (

[11] He wore the traditional gold-embroidered red stole only while imparting his first papal blessing, then immediately removed it.

[12] First Greeting and Apostolic Blessing (Urbi et Orbi) of Pope Francis given Mar. 13, 2013 (

[13] Neumayr, The Political Pope, p. 164; see Evangelii Gaudium, n. 94 (

[14] Ibid., p. 190

[15] Ibid.; see Sandro Magister, “For the First Time, Francis Contradicts Benedict,” Chiesa online article posted July 29, 2013 (

[16] Neumayr, The Political Pope, p. 73

[17] Ibid., p. 126

[18] Ibid., p. 147-148; Evangelii Gaudium, n. 253

[19] Christopher A. Ferrara, “Vicar of Christ or Vicar of Mohammad?” article published in Sept. 2016 issue of Catholic Family News

[20] See With Burning Concern: We Accuse Pope Francis, Part II (

[21] Neumayr, The Political Pope, p. 155-156

[22] Ibid., p. 219

[23] Ibid., p. 221

38 thoughts on “Review: Praise for The Political Pope: A Book Worth Supporting”

  1. Excellent review. It is only when we can see the whole litany of words and actions perpetrated by this sad Pope Francis that the force of the damage comes through. Most of us are exhausted trying to assimilate this demonic onslaught. We can’t be beat, but we can be wearied.

    What can we do but pray that Our Lady will convert Francis and his cohort before they die – and we must beg her to bring us a new pope with courage and Faith.

    • As a Lenten penance, I read Paul Vallelly’s “Pope Francis: The Struggle For the Soul of Catholicism.” Talk about exhausting. It starts out sounding really even-handed in it’s descriptions of the players. By half way through its 458 pages, though, it transpires that everyone opposed to Francis in any way does so from slovenly motives. Benedict repeatedly comes up for shabby criticism.

      Your call for prayers to Our Lady may be prescient, however. The one hopeful ray of light in the whole biography was learning that the Pope prays three Rosaries a day. I almost hope it isn’t the truth; one shudders to think how much worse things will be if he abandons the practice.

  2. My only regret about the title of this book is that it describes the pope as “…abandoning CONSERVATIVE Catholics.”

    The Church is not a political organism consisting of factions and parties with legitimately diverse views on the content of the Faith. The Faith is ONE, as the Church is ONE as baptism is ONE and as there is ONE God who is Father of all. The point is that Francis is abandoning CATHOLICS and the CATHOLIC FAITH. We do not need any political adjectives to relativize the magnitude of what he is doing.

    • I understand your point, Deacon, but saying he has abandoned “conservative Catholics” doesn’t mean he hasn’t abandoned Catholics in general. There are people like me who happen to be conservative as well as Catholic, and Francis most certainly has abandoned us, lock, stock, and barrel. (Here I interpret “conservative” as meaning someone who rejects completely the ideas propagated by the 1789 revolution in France and the philosophies that succored that disaster.) But the author makes it clear in the book that Francis is an equal opportunity destroyer, that he is completely undermining Catholicism as a way of life, gutting its teachings.

      A book’s cover is a small space. To “sell his product,” Neumayr decided to use common political shorthand, something every book browser could grasp with a quick glance; an author does have to consider the commercial aspects of his trade, after all. I think we can hardly blame him for wanting to put bread on his table while raising a very legitimate alarm.

      • If it were me, I may have decided the title of the book be: ‘The Destroyer Pope’, or maybe even the ‘Anti Catholic Destroyer Pope’. I realize how harsh that language is, but at some point you’ve got to call a spade a spade. We’ve had ‘Political’ Popes in the past but I don’t believe anyone that actually wanted to gut the Church. John Paul ll was political, no doubt about that, but he didn’t show evidence of wanting to destroy the Church. This one is pretty much ‘in your face’ about his intentions to do away with Catholicism that has been handed down to us for over 2,000 years. That’s quite earth shattering. And he goes about it like a typical Argentinian Dictator.

      • I tend to agree with Don Nicola Bux, recently of CDF, that there are no such things as “Conservative Catholics” and “Liberal or Progressive Catholics” in the Church. There are only Catholics and Modernists.

        • Can we say that, while there may not be “conservative Catholics,” there are Catholics who also happen to be conservative? Most people to whom you and I might grant the moniker “Catholic” are not nearly so conservative as, say, Nicolás Gómez Dávila, but both he and they are most certainly Catholic. A distinguishing adjective can be helpful. I’ll agree with you, though, that “Liberal Catholic” is an oxymoron, something akin to “tolerant Nazi” or “moderate Muslim.”

        • Except that the truth is, to the extent that things like abortion, same sex marriage and climate-change hysteria are opposed at all in the political arena they are opposed by those on the political right, by conservatives.

          And to the extent that “Rome” continues to clamor for things like open borders, government redistribution of wealth and increased accommodation of Muslims no matter the cost to citizens—to that extent it identifies itself with those in this country who also favor those ends, the political left, liberals.

          If you call me a conservative Catholic, I know you understand that I will always vote for those politicians who will optimally support strong Catholic moral positions. If you call me a liberal Catholic, I’ll know you mistakenly believe that I support carbon taxes and the establishing of emission standards for cow exhaust.

          Certainly these positions are not set in stone. No doubt there are otherwise liberal Catholics who oppose abortion, and otherwise conservative Catholics who support same-sex marriage. But by and large each has its own standard checklist, and I can’t see it as unfair or unjust to acknowledge it.

    • Totally agree! As far as I’m concerned there is no ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ Catholic……..there are Catholics and there are non Catholics. Francis is absolutely a non Catholic. And that’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is that he has a pure repulsion for Catholicism. I’ve really, until now not looked at it this way, but Francis is a real enemy of the Church. And he’s trying very hard to annihilate it. Boy, did anyone ever in their wildest imagination think they would be even thinking such atrocious thoughts……about someone that actually sits in the Chair of Peter???!!! Let alone saying them?? At least in my lifetime, I surely didn’t. Yet………here we are folks, The truth is horrendously HIDEOUS, but it’s slapping us right in the face. Francis has very EVIL intentions. And we, as the faithful of Christ in His Church, MUST resist him every inch of the way. We MUST.

    • I tend to think the words “liberal” and “conservative” are useful distinctions.

      A priest is both a teacher and a pastor. I recall an ex-seminarian who told me that in his class on moral theology the men were told “Always preach the ideal.” That is a priest’s duty as preacher/teacher.

      It is as a pastor that a priest has the latitude to exercise mercy and understanding and compassion. As a preacher the rule is: thou shalt not steal! As a pastor in Confession, though, if you discover that the thief before you is a kleptomaniac who struggles mightily but continually falls into petty stealing, your able to adjust your compassion accordingly.

      I see conservative Catholics as those who place their emphasis on maintaining the purity of the teachings; while liberal Catholics place their emphasis on being pastorally compassionate. The problem is, if you lose the former, the latter can only dissipate. We need both.

      My problem with Francis is the same as the problem I had reading Charles Currran 40 years ago. At first I was attracted by the obvious concern he expressed for the people he ministered to—in particular, married couple who, barely surviving financially as it was, didn’t want to have more children.

      Eventually I decided, though, that the solution is not to define sin down. To demand that the Church change her teaching to accommodate difficult challenges is actually to show an impatience with and a repudiation of, the very “accompaniment” being claimed.

      Francis, I’m afraid, is Father Curran on steroids.

      • Very well put, Father. As a conservative, I am happy to know priests are applying the principles of right teaching WITH compassion in the confessional. God knows I’ve had, have, and will have again need of His truth delivered with mercy in the confessional! My objection is to this pope’s using “mercy” at times as if it were a pair of boxing gloves with which to box the collective ears of mere Catholics, and on other occasions as a battering ram with which to knock down the walls of orthodoxy. This world is messy enough without his making an even bigger mess of things. “¡Hagan lío!” is a slogan worthy of a ruffian and troublemaker, not a pope.

        • I agree…although I’m not a priest. I have known a good number, though, having worked at a Catholic bookstore back in the mid-seventies.

          • My bad. I read your first line, 3rd paragraph thus: “It is as a pastor that I have the latitude…..” I bet you never knew ordination was such a breeze!

        • Yesterday I heard John Allen talking about some sign Francis put on his door that repudiates “whining”. I think the implication is pretty clear: disagreeing with him is “whining”. So much for discussion and encounter!
          The thing that troubles me isn’t that I WANT to be able to abandon my wife and kids and get remarried without being barred from the Eucharist or that I think people who are SSA should be accepted or whatever. It’s that I’m concerned about the souls of the D&M, SSA, etc. receiving communion and even more concerned about the souls of the priests administering the sacraments!

      • To believe and teach the doctrines of the Church is not mutually exclusive with being pastorally compassionate. The tone I take in the pulpit is quite different from the tone I take with somebody who needs help with a problem – and rightly so. This is why political labels are wholly inadequate to identify orthodoxy and heterodoxy, orthopraxis and heteropraxis..

        • Yes, as I said, we need both.

          But in my experience, those I would call conservatives Catholics are ones who emphasize—and are always tempted to overemphasize—doctrinal purity, sometimes at the expense of a certain depth of empathy.

          By the same token, those I would call liberal Catholics are ones who emphasize—and are always tempted to overemphasize—concern for
          their sheep, sometimes at the expense of bringing any moral clarity to, or eliciting any real repentance from, those to whom they minister.

          Here, the distinctions I make between liberal and conservative are a matter of temperament. And when I say we need both, I’m referring to the fact that each needs to keep the other from going off the deep end.

          Elsewhere on this site, I mention the moral distinctions. Political conservatives—Catholic or not—-tend to uphold traditional Catholic moral principals. Political liberals—Catholic or not—will tend to support anti-Catholic values.

          In this, we do not need both. We need to kill liberal “morality”—ie. same-sex marriage—while sustaining liberality of sentiment.

  3. I think this interesting book is a condensed résumé of Bishop Bergoglio‘s deeds.
    And, on the other hand, I don’t agree with two of the comments made in the article:

    The observation made by John Vennari (R.I.P)
    “I’ve been following Pope Francis’ words and actions, . . . . . . . He seems to have a good heart and some good Catholic instincts.”
    I’m sorry, but that is not what it seems to me. Beyond the decisive technical details of his corrupted doctrine, which could be simply error, and beyond his improper inclination to the left, which could be simply humane, what I feel as most important and unlikable is the man.

    The advise from the author of the article:
    “And may we remember to pray much for the Holy Father . . . ”
    Sorry, but I can’t call him by those two words; by neither of them.
    I think, to my spiritual taste, that the prayers would be better oriented toward the endurance of the Church.

    • If Bergoglio saysthree rosaries a day, he has three Catholic instincts. Calling him Holy Father presents more difficulties because for one thing, it sounds like a contradiction in terms.

  4. Why is it, when I think of this Pope’s insistence on accommodating Islam I’m reminded of the bumper-sticker: Visualize Whirled Peas?


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popular on OnePeterFive

Share to...