For some time now, Ann Barnhardt has denounced Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, a.k.a. “Pope Francis,” as a villain and an enemy of the Church. I’ve tried to reserve judgment on the matter, being: 1) a lay Catholic of somewhat off-center convictions, and 2) not half as certain of my opinions on doctrinal and ecclesiastical matters as Ann Barnhardt. Also, it doesn’t conduce to certainty about a man to be half a world away from him and entirely unacquainted with him personally.
But with this most recent papal effusion, I’ve moved a whole lot closer to Ann’s opinion of the cardinal from Argentina:
In an interview on Tuesday with the French magazine La Croix, Francis minimized the difference between Islam and Christianity, arguing that the religions share a concept of subjugation.Today, I don't think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. 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.
This connection is so asinine, it can only be explained as a deduction from the liberal tenet that all religions are morally equivalent.
Let’s make the most generous possible assumptions about what Bergoglio said:
- That he was misquoted;
- That he spoke casually and in haste;
- That he was mistranslated, perhaps deliberately;
- That he was under pressure to satisfy the interviewer’s agenda;
- That he simply failed to find the right words to express his intended meaning.
Even if all the above were provably true, the quoted statement is as massively unwise and anti-canonical as any statement recorded as having been made by a pontiff. Worse, those five generous assumptions cannot simultaneously be true.
The most benevolent possible evaluation I can make of Bergoglio, given all his other massively unwise (and frequently ignorant) forays into spheres a sensible cleric would instinctively avoid, is that he’s a fool: a well-meaning fool, perhaps, but that kind can do even more damage than a malicious one.
Did the College of Cardinals have an agenda of some sort when it elevated this man to the Throne of Saint Peter? If so, what could it have been? Nothing in accord with the interests of the Church or Christianity in general, I’d say. Perhaps they sought to “back away slowly” from some of the more conservative stances of Pope Benedict XVI. If so, they got a whole lot more than they bargained for.
Popes don’t last forever. At some point Bergoglio will depart from the papacy. What sort of man will the College choose to succeed him – and what will their selection tell us about the vector of the Church, the oldest continuously functioning institution in the world and the one most reviled by “those who have not joy,” who would see Christianity extinguished forever?