Fratelli Tutti and its critics

Pope Francis’ encyclical suffers in places with the kind of ambiguities this papacy has all too often engaged in. But it is not, despite what some critics claim, in any way “heretical” or even “dangerous”.

Pope Francis greets people during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Oct. 7, 2020. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The most recent encyclical from Pope Francis has triggered the usual suspects, many of whom have accused the document, in various ways, of pushing a “one world government” agenda, contradicting past infallible teaching on the permissibility of the death penalty, being far too breezy and superficial in its analysis of economics, as well as the minor sin of being stylistically verbose and far too long.

Those who know me well understand that I am not generally a fan of Pope Francis, who was elected to reform the curia (so we are told) but has failed miserably so far in that regard. He has also appointed to high office individuals who seem like old guard, unreconstructed, post Vatican II liberals—which is a bad thing in my view. However, contrary to what some on the far-Right think, he really is the pope and therefore as Catholics it is incumbent upon us to take his magisterial teaching seriously. Those who are criticizing Fratelli Tutti are, evidently, attempting to do just that. However, I find some of their criticisms lacking in both precision and charity and would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to address them.

I will first deal with the easiest and least serious of the objections. Namely, that the encyclical is verbose and far too long. As I trudged through the document my first reaction was the same: “Dear Lord, make it stop soon.” One can only take so many frizzy buzzwords and anodyne bromides about “dialogue” before one grows weary of the effort to grasp the deeper points the Pope is making. Nevertheless, if one presses on with an attempt at a charitable reading of the text—a charity which Lumen Gentium 25 requires of us—then one begins to see the contours of a line of reasoning that is not as trite as it might at first seem.

For starters, the sheer length of the document actually seems to serve a purpose that goes beyond verbosity. The Pope quotes himself more than any other source (by far) and includes in that body of material statements he has made over the entirety of his papacy in various speeches that were not, originally, magisterial. But guess what? Now they are. Just about every major theme of his papacy has been taken up in this encyclical and given a new home in the magisterium of the Church. The Pope, therefore, is not engaging in a form of literary narcissism wherein he quotes himself at length just because he is enamored with his own eloquence. Rather, he is very consciously doubling down on everything he has said and done as pope up to this point and tying it all up into a long, but cogent, summary. Love him or hate him, this pope has reminded everyone that he is the pope and he is going to teach what he wants to teach. In America’s current political maelstrom, we have been reminded that “elections have consequences.” Well, that goes for popes too.

I would therefore reinforce the point made by others that this encyclical has the appearance of a “capstone” document that provides us with all the themes of this papacy in one magisterial location. Whether this means Pope Francis is now going to step back from further teachings or not remains to be seen. But those who are hoping for even more “innovation” from Francis are likely to be disappointed. In many ways what this Pope hasn’t done is more instructive than what he has. After seven years of sitting on the Chair of Peter he has not abrogated Humanae Vitae, or approved of the ordination of women, or abolished mandatory priestly celibacy in the Latin Church, or opened up intercommunion with Protestants (or even the Orthodox for that matter), or given a straight forward carte blanche approval for divorce and remarriage, or changed magisterial teaching on homosexuality. When he was elected pope he described himself as a “loyal son of the Church.” And that is exactly what he seems to be.

As for his pronouncements on economics it is indeed true that he overreaches and makes blanket statements on the evils of the free market that are far too breezy to be taken seriously as a valid discourse on economics. Nevertheless, he is not alone among the Catholic intellectual world in his discomfiture with the consumeristic, “throw away culture” that the modern free market has created. There are still great disparities worldwide between the rich and the poor, not to mention the environmental nightmare unfolding before us as a result of our economic system of industrial production and consumption. Therefore, despite his carelessness in some of his utterances on these matters, as a Catholic Worker I hear the voice of a prophet not altogether dissimilar from similar observations from Saint John Paul II. There is a genuine spiritual insight here and to dismiss it on the grounds that it is “unfair to the free market” is missing its prophetic point. Pope Francis, despite his lack of expertise in economic matters, is reasserting the teachings of all modern popes, going back to Leo XIII, that we must place people over profits, labor over capital, and the common good of society over the corporate bottom line. And to say that the modern free market hasn’t compromised those values is insouciant nonsense.

Perhaps the greatest criticism of the encyclical comes from those who view his comments on the death penalty as a clear contradiction with the magisterial Tradition of the Church and Scripture on this matter. I disagree most strongly with that view. Pope Francis says the death penalty is “inadmissible” and refrains from using the stronger language of “intrinsically evil.” That has to be by design, and it tells us something. It tells us that the Pontiff has no desire to abrogate the fundamental logic behind the principles of retributive justice. How could he? Both Scripture and Tradition make it clear that the logic of retributive justice underwrites the moral legitimacy of the notion that those who shed the blood of innocent persons shall be liable to the same at the hands of the government. To deny the fundamental moral legitimacy of the death penalty, therefore, would also be a denial of the principle of retributive justice. And this the Pope knows would be a foolish thing to do—or so it seems to me. Therefore, he refrains from the language of “intrinsically evil” and for good reason. Thus I think those who think he is saying this and obsess over it are missing his deeper point.

Therefore, what he appears to be doing is what John Paul II also did. Namely, to engage in a thoroughly legitimate development of doctrine on this matter by appealing to those elements of the Gospel that ask us to go beyond the precepts of retribution and into the higher register of forgiveness and mercy. In the Sermon on the Mount Christ, in quoting the Law’s dictum “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” does not reject this principle in any way, but asks his disciples to consider the fact that we are all guilty of deep hatreds and in need of mercy, indicating as well that to be his disciple your first moral instinct must not be retribution but an awareness of solidarity in a shared human weakness.

In other words, as both John Paul and Francis point out, the Gospel presents us with an image of human dignity wherein we must consider the whole person in a way that goes beyond “what they deserve” and to consider their soul as well as something worthy or mercy and forgiveness in the hope of repentance and of regeneration through grace.

Therefore, even though a murderer might “deserve” death (and he does by the standards of retributive justice) there is a Gospel-based truth involved that asks us to go beyond this basic principle and into the deeper register of mercy. This insight has gained steam in this century owing to the carnage of our various genocidal wars and the general degradation of respect for human life. In a genuine application of the principle of reading the “signs of the times” both popes are asking us if now is not the time to finally consider the abolition of the death penalty in the interests of promoting a reinvigorated respect for human life—even human lives that have taken other lives, thus robbing them of their dignity as well. Perhaps this is an ill-advised reading of our times. Perhaps both popes have gone too far. That is a judgment I will leave to others. But to say that Pope Francis is engaged in contradicting past teaching on this matter is also a bridge too far since it is a reading of what he is teaching jaundiced by a prioritization of retributive justice as the only principle worthy of consideration.

Finally, the Pope also mentions that allowing governments the right to kill their own citizens is a reality open to great abuse. Here too we see both John Paul II and Pope Francis asking us to consider the sad history of the illegitimate application of the death penalty by despotic forms of government—and even by the Church herself in her zeal to stamp out heresy. They both are asking us to consider that the placing of this power in the hands of sinful human beings isn’t too fraught with danger to be allowed any longer. The principle of retributive justice is not denied by either pope, but in applying our historical memory of egregious judicial injustices they both invoke the prudential decision to end this practice once and for all.

Finally, moving on to the criticism of the encyclical endorsing a “one world government” philosophy, I can only say that I do not see such an endorsement in the text. Instead, what I see is a questioning of the hegemony of the thoroughly modernistic concept of the “sovereign State.” Were the war crimes trials at Nuremberg an exercise in multilateral, transnational cooperation that transcended the national sovereignty of the former Nazi State? You bet they were. Similarly, it seems to me that the Pope is appealing here, not to a one world government, but to the primacy of the moral law and the universal common good of the human family above the interests of particular States. And this is something popes have always done; it is one of the glories of the papacy insofar as the very existence of the papal office is a moral and spiritual hedge against the reduction of the moral law—and indeed of the faith itself—to ethnic and nationalistic degradation. And in a world that is quickly becoming a balkanized jabberwocky of competing “powers” the Pope’s message is both timely and thoroughly rooted in the Tradition of the Church. Only those who come to this encyclical with apocalyptic end-times scenarios of a pope in league with a globalist agenda spawned by the anti-Christ could see in Fratelli Tutti a call for such a one world government.

Is this a “great” encyclical? I think not. It has flaws, chief of which is the fact that the name of Jesus Christ is rarely mentioned. And it suffers in many places with the kind of ambiguities this papacy has all too often engaged in. But it is not, for all that, in any way “heretical” or even “dangerous”. At worst, it is merely dull and plays at times in the sandbox of a kind of modern verbiage that I find to be superficial and trite. But it is a magisterial document and deserves to be read charitably by all Catholics open to the fact that Pope Francis may indeed have something of value to say.

Editor’s note: This is the third of several CWR essays on Fratelli Tutti and related topics. The other essays are:
• “Fratelli Tutti is a familiar mixture of dubious claims, strawmen, genuine insights” (Oct. 5, 2020) by Samuel Gregg
“An encyclical filled with tensions and omissions” (Oct. 8, 2020) by Paulo Futili
“Culture, dialogue, religion, and truth in Fratelli Tutti (Oct. 9, 2020) by Eduardo Echeverria
“Brothers without Borders: Pope Francis’s Quasi-Humanitarian Manifesto” (Oct. 10, 2020) by Daniel J. Mahoney

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About Larry Chapp 51 Articles
Dr. Larry Chapp is a retired professor of theology. He taught for twenty years at DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He now owns and manages, with his wife, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. Dr. Chapp received his doctorate from Fordham University in 1994 with a specialization in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He can be visited online at "Gaudium et Spes 22".


  1. Forty three thousand words? Yaawn.
    Jesus name mentioned, well, somewhat? And at least it’s not ‘dangerous’.
    Twenty twenty is truly a horrible year.

  2. To Mr. Chapp –

    Phillip Lawler has pointed out that TF is, among other things, in error and is contradicted by Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII. Specifically, Lawler points out that in RN Leo XIII teaches that to defend the dignity of persons, thevright to private property is INVIOLABLE.” Lawler then points out that PF erroneously contradicts RN, asserting that “the Christian tradition has never held that the right to private property is…inviolable.”

    Thus, the Pontiff Francis has again taught error, this time in social teaching (as done last time in sexual morality in AL).

    That is a big problem, and it shows that the Pontiff’s orientation is not Catholic.

    • I could not find in RN 22 the statement that the right to private property is inviolable, on that it is “natural” and that crucial to this natural right is proper use of the property. Did FT contradict this?

      • Sir:

        The statement of Leo XIII contradicted by Pontiff Francis is in RN 15 (not RN 22…as you pose).

        Here is the critique by Phillip Lawler:

        Private property. In a footnote to paragraph 119, Pope Francis writes that “the Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property.” True, the Church has never agreed that private property involves an absolute right; Catholic social teaching is clear on the universal destination of the world’s goods and the “social mortgage” on property. But Pope Leo XII wrote in Rerum Novarum (#15): “The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.”


  3. A missed historic and teaching moment! We read: “After seven years of sitting on the Chair of Peter he [Pope Francis] has not abrogated Humanae Vitae [….]”

    After half century of catechetical paralysis, what if instead of remaining silent on Humanae Vitae, Fratelli tutti exposed the link between the 1968-ish “it’s my body and I’ll do what I want with it” and today’s utilitarian global trajectory: “it’s my world and I’ll do what I want with it” (?).

    The mentality opposed by Humanae Vitae—-sex without intrinsic moral limits—-is replicated in promiscuous “superdevelopment” without global limits (the objection of Laudato Si). The link between violations of an “integral ecology,” both fulfilling and limiting, and the vast corporate support for, say, the infecund and unbounded sexuality of homosexual “marriage” (over 400 amicus briefs filed to the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015)?

    Part of Fratelli Si is Humanae Vitae in different clothing. A concise teaching-moment of penetrating insight capable of less than 43,000 words which, instead, “play at times in the sandbox of a kind of modern verbiage that I find to be superficial and trite.”

  4. Phillip Lawler points out that in FT the Pontiff Francis “flatly contradicts” Catholic social teaching on the right to private property, claiming that “the Christian tradition has NEVER recognized the right to private property as…inviolable.” Lawler also points out that the Pontiff Francis asserts “the obviously false claim that the magisterium has NEVER suggested otherwise.”

    But in outright contradiction to the false teaching by the Pontiff Francis and his doubly-false claim, Catholic social teaching DOES declare that the right to private property is INVIOLABLE.

    Pope Leo XIII writes in Rerum Novarum #15 (published in 1891): “The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.”

    The Pontiff Francis writes in FT, in his footnote to paragraph 19: “the Christian tradition has NEVER recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable.”

    So there you have it: outright contradiction of Catholic teaching, and false assertions that the Church has never disagreed with the ideology of the Pontiff Francis.

    All credit to Phillip Lawler of Catholic Culture, read him here:

    • Rerum Novarum alludes to “the inviolability of private property” (nn. 12, 15), but ALSO reads that “the State has only the right to regulate its use in the interests of the public good, but by no means to abolish it altogether” (n. 35).

      This real issue of moral theology and public policy, then, is both the irreducible and inviolable personal right to private property OWNERSHIP and/versus the actual USE of that property in light of the common good. While clerics and others are too often flatfooted in focusing on this duality (not necessarily a “contradiction”), if seen right, perhaps ecological interconnectedness (e.g., everyone lives downstream of everyone else) can still mean something quite other than Socialism.

      In the same way, Catholic Social Teaching, in its more coherent presentations, insists that the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity are always complementary and inseparable–not contradictory. The Catechism reads: “The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at HARMONIZING the relationships between individuals [rights] and societies [solidarity]. It tends toward the establishment of true international order” (n. 1885).

      In his n. 19, Pope Francis more competently never should have added the word “inviolable” to the term “absolute”. He doth conflateth too much, here and elsewhere.

      • Very well said. The Pope should have used the word “absolute” instead of inviolable. But I think a charitable reading of the document rather than one that is heresy hunting, will be able go parse It out properly as you just did. Too bad you didn’t write that section of the encyclical!

    • Lawler is misguided and grasping at straws. Rights are morally inviolable in the sense that someone who violates them incurs moral guilt. But St Thomas and the whole Catholic moral tradition have never made the right to private property absolute. Stronger rights such as the right to life and the universal destination of goods override the right to private property, and it that sense it is violable. In the use of terms you must pay attention to meaning and context. Any reasonable hermeneutics requires as much. St John Paul II had to clarify the language of Rerum Novarum, and Francis is simply using that clarification. If Francis is contradicting Rerum Novarum, then so is John Paul II. See

    • The Pope is obviously against war, but does he realize that the position he holds that seems to be pacifism can easily lead to war as happened in the 1930s, when PM Chamberlain returned to London assuring his countrymen that he had achieved “peace for our time”?

  5. Stop with the “Far-Right” nonsense. It no longer plays in Peoria. The verdict is in with regard to “Tutti fruiti.”

  6. Francis and his allies are not hostile to all sovereign states; it is only “populist” Western governments trying (though not hard enough) to preserve what remains of order and civilization in their countries that draw ire of the Vatican. They are far more indulgent of Communist and Islamist regimes, despite the flagrant anti-Christian policies. They seem positively enthusiastic about the CCP, perhaps the most murderous political gang in world history. I am also certain that Francis will be much more favorably disposed to the US government if the election goes the way the polls currently suggest. How, Mr. Chapp, is the “universal common good of the human family” served by flooding Western nations with Third World immigrants who are easily manipulated by leftist demagogues and oligarchs? The first and overriding priority of a national governments is to provide for the well-being of its own citizens. There is nothing unchristian about that. If that puts “populist” governments at odds with the ruling clique at the Vatican, I know on what side I am.

  7. Many viewed the Nuremburg trials as being seriously flawed, especially given the participation of the Soviets as judges. Citing them, or the record of the United Nations, is probably not the best way to extoll the virtues of multilateralism.

  8. I’ll just quote your own words: “Pope Francis’ encyclical suffers in places with the kind of ambiguities this papacy has all too often engaged in.” That alone in itself is dangerous and not of the Holy Spirit.

    • That’s not fair. While much of the Catholic Worker movement has sadly been coopted by SJW’s, the author of this article seems to be quite orthodox as does his apostolate.

      • Thanks for this Andrew. I am indeed a very orthodox theologian. In fact, those on the Left would consider me a traditionalist Catholic! Furthermore, Dorothy Day was a very, very devout Catholic who was very loyal to the Magisterium.

        But I will cut my critics some slack here which is why I did not respond to them above. The fact is the modern Catholic Worker movement has strayed from the Catholic faith in many places. There are exceptions to that and I hope I am one!

  9. This Encyclical will go down in history as the worst, mots heterodox, most narcissistic document even penned by a Pope. To demand the Laity give assent to something which constitutes a rupture with Church Teaching (on too many issues to mention) and all previous Popes is absurd.

    His Holiness would have to do better than “because I say so” to attempt to force the Laity to accept the radical heterodox changes to the Church he is pushing.

    • The laity are not called upon to give their assent to anything that contradicts the “perennial” Magisterium, such as Francis’ conception the death penalty being “indamissable”. The author praises PF for not declaring it intrinsically evil. This is basically a word game. Is anything that is inadmissible considered correct? I assume that anyone who doesn’t admit some doctrine considers is wrong and false. Of course, St. John Paul II set up the situation by declaring that modern governments have the means of punishing criminals without the death penalty. However, do countries like those in Africa, or Brazil, where there are regular riots in prisons with not a few deaths, have the ability of punishing criminals when they kill even in the prisons?
      Whatever PF thinks about Humanae Vitae, he was doing nothing heroic or to be particulary praised for by not revoking it when a solid argument for its teaching being infallibly taught over the centuries by the ordinary Magisterium. After all, Vatican I, in Aeterni Patris declares that it is not the misison of a pope to produce any new doctrine, but to reiterate the Apostolic Tradition. It is not the job of a pope to change Catholic doctrine.

  10. The purpose of the magisterium of the Church is to apply the authority of Jesus Christ to correct error and to make the complex or vague clear and distinct. The Pontificate of Francis has been, alas, a magisterium of confusion. About the magisterium of Bergoglio, the best that can be said is that it is muddle-headed, the worst is that it is subversive—and as to the latter point, let’s start the conversation with a discussion about the Chinese Catholics who Bergoglio has turned over the Chinese Communists.

  11. I’m not consoled by the idea that Francis could have done more damage but has yet chosen not to. Sure, Francis hasn’t changed too many traditional teachings, but he certainly has chipped away at them and at the ecclesial environment that supports them. His wink and nudge approach to teaching has made the environment of confusion in the Church his responsibility. I wish he would focus on eradicating the corruption and sexual perversion in the Vatican and the Church at large before presuming to lecture the rest of us. It takes a special kind of arrogance to write a document like FT while at the same time being head of one of the most corrupt countries in the Western world.

  12. Honest question…if the papacy promotes error and disunity, what exactly is its reason for existing and what benefit comes from being in communion with a Pope like Francis?

    This was the question posed to me by an Eastern Orthodox friend. Sadly I was at a loss for words.

    And yes, I’m aware that the Orthodox have their own problems but heresy ain’t one of them.

    I was trying to witness to him and his response was “no thanks dude”.

    It was similar to my agnostic brother’s response to my encouraging him to come to church. He said, “why would I want these people (priests) to be around my family? Why would I choose to be obedient to a guy like Francis?” My brother reads the headlines and our diocese has been rocked by sex abuse scandals. Again, no words. The usual arguments just seem to fall flat these days.

    • Take your brother to a Mass with a good priest who gives intelligent homilies, even if you have to gas up the car. If you’re in the NYC area, trek in to Manhattan to Masses celebrated by Fr. George Rutler. A badly misguided pope is a wake up call to the Church, as are all the scandals. We shouldn’t be complacent about anything anymore. I’m still waiting for one prelate to apologize to the world for not speaking out forcefully against the practice of burying children alive by the idealized tribal societies during the Amazon Synod a year ago, and I let my bishop know it.

  13. Other than intellectuals and a few others, who is likely to read such a long document? Busy pastors in parishes – few, I would reckon. To put it another way, who is the audience?

  14. Both Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II taught that the death penalty is not acceptable for Catholics along with abortion and euthanasia. It has never been an infallible teaching or a defined article of faith, de fide definita. People relying on St Thomas reflect his medieval worldview, e.g. His approval of the killing of atheists.

    • There are doctrines never defined that are infallibly proposed by the ordinary magisterium, as explained by Lumen Gentium. The legitimacy of capital punishment is cleary one of them, especially since it is expressed in by Sacred Scripfure itself and the whole of Tradition. I don’t see how the introduction of the word “inadmissable” can change that, nor can the change PF is attempting to make can be square with the criteria for authentic development of doctrine as proposed by Sts. Vincent of Lerins and John Henry Newman. Besides, it is not the job of a Pope to present new doctrine, as Vatican I cleary stated. If some idea is inadmissable, it is either evil or untrue.

  15. Dr. Chapp, you point out that this is a lengthy encyclical. There are indeed flaws in free market economies but I believe Pope Francis had an obligation in a lengthy encyclical to point out the flaws in a major competing economic system, communism as represented by China, Vietnam, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, etc. In a lengthy encyclical, couldn’t one infer that not forcefully taking communism to task represents either fear of China or naïveté about what this belief system represents?

  16. I ask myself this a lot. I am very weary of the “The Church has always been corrupt,” or “You realize Judas was an Apostle, right?”
    Right now, pretty much the only thing I can agree with The Church on is contraception and abortion. The rest? I’m not sure.
    Perhaps we are simply living through another Arian Heresy of sort. The True Church exists…but not anywhere near me. The nonsense coming out of Rome and the USCCB is harmful to the poor. And I’m supposed to support these guys? But to do so harms the poor, which is opposite of everything Jesus taught.

  17. Get it straight, the Catholic Church is NOT Corrupt, the people are Corrupt that Assume leadership, as the Council of Catholic Bishops who set in Washington DC next to the Government, looking for the Government to save them (enrich them).
    The USA is in a mass of corruption today in its forever, Unjust Wars to spend a Trillion a year on Murder to enrich a few by Military Industrial Complex. The US genocide of Yemen today is Mortal Sin on the USA that calls the Wrath of God. For Genocide is the single reason a Catholic can go off to war, is to stop, prevent, end Genocide of Humans.. Yet the USA incites Genocide on Yemen, with out a whimper of Protest from any “assumed” Catholic leaders in the USA today..
    Condemnation to the Pope and the action of, teaching of to others, is a grave mortal sin….. For he is guided by God.
    what do you call a True Catholic in the USA? A visitor, or one who grew up in another Country.. Who appreciates God, the Wonders of, and looks to God, the Pope.

  18. Dr. Chapp,

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think there is an error in the eleventh paragraph.
    Your discussion on the topic of retributive justice doesn’t match what you wrote here:
    To me, it seems that you did NOT intend to write:
    “They both are asking us to consider that the placing of this power in the hands of sinful human beings ISN’T too fraught with danger to be allowed any longer.”
    I think you intended to write:
    “They both are asking us to consider that the placing of this power in the hands of sinful human beings IS too fraught with danger to be allowed any longer.”

    Am I misunderstanding something?

  19. It is an encyclical “without a world to come.”

    “[Satan] will set up a counter church, which will be the ape of the [Catholic] Church … It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. We are living in the days of the Apocalypse, the last days of our era. The two great forces — the Mystical Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of the anti-Christ — are beginning to draw battle lines for the catastrophic contest. The false prophet will have a religion without a Cross. A religion without a world to come. A religion to destroy religions. There will be a counterfeit church.

    Christ’s Church, the Catholic Church will be one; and the false prophet will create the other. The false church will be worldly, ecumenical and global. It will be a loose federation of churches and religions, forming some type of global association. A world parliament of churches. It will be emptied of all divine content, it will be the mystical body of the anti-christ. The Mystical Body on earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the false prophet. Satan will recruit him from our bishops.

    The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise, he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the Devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes him, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as “I am Who am,” and the Devil as “I am who am not.”

    Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first “red.” Rather, is he described as an angel fallen from Heaven, as “the Prince of this world,” whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no Heaven, there is no Hell; if there is no Hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge; and if there is no judgment, then evil is good, and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect — and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect.

    How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion? The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the great humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty, not as means to lead us to God but as ends in themselves.

    The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion or a politics which is a religion — one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s. In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret, which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God.

    Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counter church which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all its externals resemble the mystical body of Christ.”– Venerable Fulton Sheen

    • JP already happened.
      Communist Russia, United States World War Two Ally, Britain under Cromwell in the British outlaw of the Catholic Church. World War Two was a Christian war, with all wars since Unjust wars, forever wars, Genocides and over throw of Democratic Governments. The US over threw the Democratic government of Syria (1953) in total anarchy today, US over throw of Iran, instilled the Sha (king) of Iran, ranked as most murderous leader in the 1970’s. Exiled to the USA in 1979 did the corrupt and evil puppet of the US in 1979. Guatemala over threw in 1954 by the Dulles Brothers, total anarchy today for the people of Guatemala, refuges fleeing for their lives. Dulles Brother Son came to be main leader in US Catholic Church.. Yet Dulles brothers by US military actions came to control large part of Guatemala from the native people, stolen. With genocide of the Indigenous common by US in Guatemala.
      The Catholic church is unchangeable, its corrupted by people.
      But, OUR Children and children and on will pay for our sins of greed, inflicting misery and discontent on the World, the poor, the down trodden we have created and interjected on them… The US has interjected grave evil on others, and itself.
      Time to repent, go back to the Church.

      • If you would learn to write coherently, perhaps I might be tempted to read your posts instead of stopping after a sentence or so and deciding they’re not worth the time it would take to decipher them.

        • Leslie, Your Criticism says and proves the terrible reality of the United States today, is no longer a Christian nation.
          The harsh reality to that is, the actions today call for the wrath of God on the people. For God will hear the cry of the poor, the down trodden. For our ethically and moral obligation is to feed the poor, cloth the naked, and give drink to the thirsty, not Genocide of them.
          Some believe past President Obama should have been recognized to war crimes in the Genocide of Yemen.. Not in the US Catholic media did or will we see an address to this issue, recognizes a grave issue of failure.
          Its an honor to be ridiculed by the same people as ridicule the Pope! thanks.
          For US Catholic “leaders” stand for nothing, a repeated undisputed fact.

  20. I commend and thank Dr Larry Tapp for exposing some of the more excessive and unfair responses to the Pope Francis’s encyclical, and for reminding readers that Pope Francis is the legitimate occupant of the Chair of St Peter. What he writes in “Fratelli Tutti” requires a charitable reading on the part of Catholics, and accusations of the incumbent Pope being an accomplice and instrument of the Anti-Christ seem to me to be irreconcilable with Catholic understanding of the divinely instituted and sustained standing of his Office. Do not personal attacks by Catholics on the Holy Father weaken the respect due to the papacy itself? Charitable reading, further reflection and prayer for the ministry and intentions of the Holy Father and the mission of each one of us and the whole Church seem to me the most appropriate response at this point.

  21. So was Jesus’s death “inadmissible” since it was under the death penalty at the time? I am really confused about this, did Jesus come to abolish the death penalty even though he died under it? Can someone answer this for me?

    • Wow C Saccro, confused is an understatement. Jesus did not die, he attained eternal salvation, in he did NOT deny his Father, God, nor should, or can we. You prove the US is NOT a Christian nation today, and unfortunately a repeat of the Roman Empire of Jesus time.. Infanticide, Marriage a civil contract, no value to human life, slaves were eback and used to destroy the family farm, or as Jesus went into the Temple and stood against debt slavery. Stop making slaves of my people, all and more, as genocide of other countries. Jesus was executed for standing against, what the USA is today, that is not confusing, just the facts. but, he did not die…

      He Rose Up, as was prophesied for thousands of years. To which we need to relearn, to look to God to save us, not a government that wants to ruin the people, in the gain of a few. Go spread the good news, be not confused.

      • Jesus actually died. It says says so in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds.

        The Catechism put it this way (636):

        By the expression “He descended into hell”, the Apostles’ Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and through his death for us conquered death and the devil “who has the power of death” (Heb 2:14).

        In other words, if he didn’t die, then death would not have been defeated by His glorious Resurrection.

        • What do you mean by Hell in the creed. Jesus as God and man ccould not descend into evil. just as Mary was immaculately conceived and born so that Jesus would be able to enter a womb that was without sin. Using the word for hell in Polish is Pieklo meaning the hell of damnation In the credd the Word is Pekel which means Dead. Therfore Christ descends to Adam and Eve and all the saved to take them to heaven which is accomplished on the Day of Ascension.

          • Jesus as God and man could not descend into evil.

            And Jesus as God could not die. But He did. Scripture, Tradition, and the CCC all state that Jesus did indeed descend into hell:

            This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.

            Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” – Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek – because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”: “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.”482 Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him. (CCC, 631-33)

  22. Carl,
    This QUESTION: given the “eternity” of God, and the “time” (duration) of man, how long were those souls actually waiting for the Redeemer? Some relevant thoughts…
    One school of theology about Mary, preserved from original sin by the LATER (!) Incarnation, is that foreknowledge of her roll, in the “BEGINNING,” accounts for the prideful choice by some angels to not serve a God who would seemingly lower Himself. A second school of thought is that in God’s “eternity” He creates/created all things, including each of us, in some sense SIMULTANEOUSLY, meaning that our involvement (concupiscence) in the actual sin at our origin(s), while not exactly the same as Adam’s, is profoundly part of our shared human nature as ORIGINAL SIN.

    St. John Paul II opens the door to this side-by-side look at “eternity” and “time” when he contrasts the non-sequential creation of man and woman as ONE act (“God created man in his own image…male and female he created THEM” Gn. 1:27) to the sequential creation of woman from a “rib” (also translated from the Aramaic as “life”) while Adam is cast into a deep “sleep” (Gn. 2:22-24).

    St. John Paul II writes: “Perhaps, therefore, the analogy of sleep indicates here not so much a passing from consciousness to subconsciousness, as a specific return to non-being (sleep contains an element of annihilation of man’s conscious existence), that is, to the MOMENT preceding creation [!], in order that, through God’s creative initiative, solitary ‘man’ may emerge from it again in his double unity [!] as male and female” (The Original Unity of Man and Woman).

    In summary, in the eternity of God, perhaps those awaiting the Redeemer did not have much “time” to hang out playing solitaire?

  23. “Triggered the usual suspects”. Nice.
    This pope and,apparently, the author have no use for criticism.
    So be it.
    We grow weary of sophomoric jesuit-speak.

  24. Like minds of children, run the United States Catholic church, or devils advocates, who call themselves critics.
    When they should be looking and leading the People to look away from the government to lead them, and back to God. To forgive others, that they might be forgiven for the horrific crimes against humanity the US inflicts on the world today…
    Yemen, Mexico, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Haiti, all the Americas with Unjust wars, Unbridled Capitalism, forever wars, and the crime their is no forgiveness for, Genocide.

    Failure to educate the Children, entire generation know left to flounder, uneducated to Truth, the greatest moral and ethical obligation, is not even known to Assumed US Catholic leaders themselves. The Catechism says we are not to fight with our Brothers and Sisters of the Islamic religion, but not a single Assumed United States Catholic leader professes that today, or know it, or teaches it.

    Ignorance Rules, Truth is forgotten, denied, powered by greed in the USA, that destroyed the US economicly, morally, ethically and financially. For the Family was the foundation, and is the foundation of a strong civilization.

    Love without boundaries, definitely without a war machined as the number one export, profit mecca.

6 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Brothers without Borders: Pope Francis’s Quasi-Humanitarian Manifesto – Catholic World Report
  2. Culture, dialogue, religion, and truth in Fratelli Tutti – Catholic World Report
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  4. Reading Fratelli Tutti on Mars Hill - Catholic Daily
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  6. Commentary on Fratelli Tutti - Together For The Common Good

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