The Masked Angel:
I hoped it would not come to this, but a personal matter has lead me to put this post together. The other day, I had to cut ties with a close friend because of his views toward Pope Francis. According to him, Francis is not only a heretic but also not a legit pope and also claims Francis has said many things that I have heard many Catholics claim about him.
So let's set the record straight on a few things:
1. Francis is a legitimately elected pope.
It doesn't matter that Benedict XVI is still alive. The Church has had two living popes at the same time once before (not counting the anti-pope era). He was elected and he did accept it so that should be it in facing the reality.
2. The fact he was a Jesuit before he was elected doesn't mean anything.
In fact, we have had popes who were members of religious orders, such as Dominicans and Benedictines. But here is the important rub to remember about that: once a cardinal becomes pope, he relinquishes any and all ties to his order. Why? Because his duty now is to the Church as a whole; the whole Catholic flock is his responsibility now, not the concerns of his order's superior.
While we're on the subject of immediate superiors, in Francis' case he has to sever all ties because of the Jesuit's fourth vow of complete loyalty to the Pope. Now that Francis is pope, what is he going to do: swear loyalty to himself?
3. Pope Francis is NOT Peter the Roman.
This wacko accusation comes from people who still think the prophecy of St Malachy is viewed as legit by the Church. Not only is that not true, but most of the prophecies can only work by quite a stretch of the imagination. For example, the line "Abbot from Subbura" supposedly is about Pope Anastasius IV. While Subbura is his real last name, he was never an abbot; he was a member of the secular clergy.
For a more recent example, the line "Glory of the Olive" is supposed to be a link to Pope Benedict XVI and proponents have tried everything from saying olives are a symbol of the Benedictine order (which they aren't) to saying it is talking about the Olivetans, which is a branch of the Benedictines. To that I say so what? There are many branches that follow the Rule of St Benedict. Just because one just happens to have the word olive in it doesn't prove anything.
No matter how you look at it, you have to dismiss the so-called prophecies as pure pseudo-Catholic hogwash.
4. Pope Francis is quite orthodox when it comes to his theology.
This will most likely be the hardest for the anti-Francis crowd to face but after doing some research, I can name a whole list of issues Francis supports, such as:
-only men being allowed to enter the clergy
-being against artificial birth control
- being against gay so-called "marriage."
-being against "liberation theology" (More on this later)
-the pre-Vatican II Mass (more on this later)
5. Pope Francis DID NOT SAY atheists can get to Heaven.
This comes from the misunderstanding and a deliberate corruption of Francis' interview he did coming home from his first international tour. The media and several atheist talking heads had people believe Francis said atheists could get to Heaven when he was actually talking about how the redeeming power of Christ's blood is available to everyone. Even Richard Dawkins bought into his own hype on this.
Francis said atheists can remain atheist and still get to heaven? Nope. Sorry, fallen world. So-called "bright" Dawkins got it wrong again.
6. Pope Francis is NOT a Marxist.
This is coming from a recent comment Rush Limbaugh made about Francis' latest encyclical Evangelii Gaudium and in all honesty I don't think this would be making news if people didn't have this notion that critiques about capitalism automatically means you're a socialist.
(Sidenote: How is that any different than saying if you critique Obama, you must be racist?)
First of all, the document doesn't even use the words capitalism or socialism. Second, socialism by definition means the state has control over the means of production, yet His Holiness does not promote that anywhere. Third, he is not calling for a perpetual welfare state. In fact, that idea is contradicted by this quote:
"The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses."
Fourth, consider another trait of socialism: the denial of the Gospel's truth, even to the point of violently oppressing it. But again, Pope Francis advocates the Church's right to preach the Gospel.
7. Even though Jesuits are known for preaching liberation theology, Francis himself has never been at ease with it.
This was especially true in the 70s when his native Argentina was suffering at the hands of an oppressive government. While Francis has made his concern for the poor known, he does not support the violence or the communist leanings within liberation theology.
8. Francis has nothing against the pre-Vatican II Mass.
This appears to come from recent reports concerning the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. I hesitate to go into much detail on it, but only because the details currently released either contradict each other or can't cite the source material. I've heard every thing from "the head of the order had SSPX leanings" to "the order is being asked to swear an oath that they will only perform the post-Vatican II Mass".
Frankly, I don't know about any of this so I won't comment on them; what I will comment on is the notion that this is some attack on the extraordinary form of the Mass( aka, Pre-Vatican II Mass, aka the Latin Mass).
This accusation is a lie and here's how I know this: if this was an attack on that Mass, then they would also be attacking groups like the FSSP, or Opus Dei or Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or any other groups. But they aren't doing that.
So until more information comes forward, this accusation is just another violation of the Commandments.
9. Francis is NOT okay with homosexuality.
Again, this seems to come from a misinterpretation of what he said during an interview after his first international trip:
"If homosexuals want to seek out God, who am I to judge?"
Clearly, His Holiness is talking about people who seek out God, which is okay: anyone regardless of background can seek and find God. However, pro-gay groups hope your reading comprehension level is as poor as theirs because they keep thinking Francis said it is okay to be gay; the sad part is they even have a magazine cover showing how horrible their grasp of English is.
(Another side note: Pope Francis has admitted English still gives him problems, but then again, English is not his first language. What's the magazine's excuse?)