Pope Francis, the Faith, and faith in historical evolution

From pew level it appears we need a new clarity and distinctiveness rather than a call to merge into a general historical process of debatable nature and tendency.

Pope Francis releases a dove as a sign of peace outside the Basilica of St. Nicholas after meeting with the leaders of Christian churches in Bari, Italy, July 7, 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

As a thinker Pope Francis puzzles. He raises issues, often ambiguously and in ways that unsettle things, but does not resolve them. He calls for encounter and dialogue, but refuses to answer questions. And he doesn’t like statements of doctrine.

So what’s going on? To find out we should look at what he considers basic. In Evangelii Gaudium he lays out four principles that he says “can be a genuine path to peace within each nation and in the entire world,” and so are evidently basic to his pontificate. The principles aren’t self-explanatory, so let’s look at each and how he presents it.

1. Time is greater than space

For Francis, “giving priority to time means being concerned about initiating processes rather than possessing spaces,” by which he means “spaces of power and of self-assertion.” The thought is that helping things develop is more important than controlling where they are now.

With such a view it’s not surprising he’d rather unsettle things, so they can begin a process of development, than try to pin them down the way he considers correct. What is surprising is the importance of the issues his words and actions call in question. The questions the five dubia cardinals raised regarding Amoris Laetitia provide an example.

The resulting confusions regarding basic issues have led a number of serious and competent people to call for clarification. Some have even accused the Holy Father of heresy. Under such conditions, why wouldn’t the Pope, as supreme pastor, allay the alarm of many in his flock by clarifying his meaning?

Seemingly, he thinks it more important to let the process he has started develop freely, without the constriction papal intervention would impose. But how does he think it will turn out? I have no idea, but to many ordinary laymen the whole strategy seems a bad idea—something that is further disrupting a Church already deeply troubled.

2. Unity prevails over conflict

Francis of course rejects the concerns of such people, and this second principle provides an explanation.

Conflict, he says, is real, and must be faced head on. What is needed, though, is solidarity based on consciousness of the dignity of the other, which allows a “setting where conflicts, tensions and oppositions can achieve … a resolution which takes place on a higher plane and preserves what is valid and useful on both sides.”

This view, which corresponds to the Hegelian understanding of conflict followed by synthesis as the creative engine of history, explains Francis’s willingness to provoke disputes he refuses to settle authoritatively. By doing so he is, in the Marxist phrase, “heightening the contradictions,” and so accelerating the historical evolution toward what he expects will be a better world.

(Note: Francis’s emphasis on universal solidarity is enough to tell us he is no Marxist. He does, however, have a soft spot for Marxists, because of a common emphasis on the poor and a somewhat similar view of conflict and history.)

3. Realities are more important than ideas

At first glance this principle seems clear and plausible. If reality is one thing and my ideas are another, I ought to change my ideas.

Even so, it hides complications. For one thing, it seems at odds with the Pope’s first two principles, which tell us that ideas like “peace” and “justice” will, through a process of historical development, ultimately prove stronger than the realities that now resist them.

So the issue is what realities and ideas we’re talking about. Francis mentions “empty rhetoric” and so on, which are of course less important than realities. But what about true ideas? If the reality is that I’m a drunk and the idea is that I shouldn’t drink so much, then I ought to go with the idea.

The possibility of true ideas isn’t something Francis mentions, an odd omission for a man charged with guarding Catholic doctrine. But that lines up with his wariness around doctrinal formulations, and with the Hegelian/Marxist rejection of truth that transcends history in favor of truth as something ultimately emerging from a long series of conflicts leading to progressively higher syntheses.

On that view there are no true ideas at present, only ideologies that express the point of view of one side of an historical struggle. That condition will continue until a final stage is reached in which all conflicts have been resolved, and a system of truth can finally come into being.

Perhaps it is that final stage Pope Francis has in mind when, in his discussion of time and space, he speaks (rather strangely for a Catholic) of “the greater, brighter horizon of the utopian future as the final cause which draws us to itself.”

4. The whole is greater than the part

The discussion makes it clear that by “the whole” Francis means global society, by “the part” its constituents. He treats both as necessary and important, the local to give us something definite to work with and the global to add broader meanings. An image he likes is the polyhedron, in which the specific identity of each piece is maintained, but they are brought together in an indissoluble whole that makes each piece part of something much grander.

All well and good. But what does he mean by saying the whole—that is, the social whole—is greater than the part? Because some of the parts of that whole are, in basic ways, greater than it is. The individual is part of the global whole, but Catholics believe he has an eternal destiny that transcends every worldly social structure. And the Abu Dhabi Document on Human Fraternity, which tells us that other religions are also willed by God, makes the Catholic Church part of the global whole like Islam and Shinto. But the Church, headed by Christ, is plainly not subordinate in any basic sense to global society!

More generally, the idea that the whole is comprehensively greater than the part is somewhat troubling, because it suggests a Hegelian view that denies transcendence and makes history the whole that gives everything its place and meaning—including the human individual and the Church.

I’ve mentioned some concerns regarding Francis’s four principles. These concerns should not be taken in too absolute a sense, since he is not a man who strives for theoretical clarity and coherence, and what he says depends very much on the setting. However, these principles, and the conception of peace and how it might be attained that govern how he uses them, do seem troublesome in some ways.

It is notable, for example, that they present a this-worldly conception of social evolution toward ever higher stages of life and ultimately some utopian end state. There is apparently some inner dynamic of world history with no explicit connection to the Christian revelation, a sort of common grace, that points in that direction.

Various features of his discussion confirm that impression, for example his interpretation of the parable of the wheat and the tares: “the enemy can intrude upon the kingdom and sow harm, but ultimately he is defeated by the goodness of the wheat.” But in the Gospel it is not the goodness of the wheat but the supervening action of the harvesters that gets rid of the tares.

A tendency to look to some process within human history to save the world rather than God’s specific intervention can be found in some tendencies associated with the Second Vatican Council, as well as thinkers such as Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. but to a layman it seems basically anti-Christian. The Gospel doesn’t say the world will evolve into utopia; it says it will evolve into catastrophe from which it will need to be rescued by divine intervention.

All of which may require various nuances to be correctly understood. But to all appearances initiatives based on confidence in this world’s historical dynamics have failed. Rather than utopia we see decline, and rather than a new evangelization of the world we see a new worldliness within the Church. From pew level it appears we need a new clarity and distinctiveness rather than a call to merge into a general historical process of debatable nature and tendency.

When will we see that?


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About James Kalb 116 Articles
James Kalb is a lawyer, independent scholar, and Catholic convert who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of The Tyranny of Liberalism(ISI Books, 2008) and, most recently, Against Inclusiveness: How the Diversity Regime is Flattening America and the West and What to Do About It (Angelico Press, 2013).

68 Comments

  1. The four so-called “principles”: But:

    When is “time is greater than space” at risk of HISTORICISM?
    When is “unity prevails over conflict” at risk of CLERICALISM—e.g., replacing the incarnational Trinity with gender theory’s “three options”?
    When is “realities are more important than ideas [concepts?]” at risk of NOMINALISM?
    When is “the whole is greater than the part” at risk of GLOBALISM (Mathematics, the Fundamental Option, Proportionalism/Consequentialism)?

    Instead of the Council’s aggiornamento and ressourcement, do we now devolve into Hegel and the dialectic of the “spirit”? (1) the Deposit of Faith is branded as the (“rigid”!) thesis; (2) disconnected and fluid praxis seeps in as the antithesis, and (3) polyglot synodality is the synthesis. Clearly, the so-called “right side of history” is God!

    The un-Development of Doctrine = the Hegelian dialectic of “the spirit.” The forgotten Veritatis Splendor, especially, succumbs to the “throwaway culture.” Likewise, the Real Presence and a robust Eucharistic coherence?

    • Mr. Beaulieu,

      You are a Catholic treasure! I presume your working on another book because if you are not and are in good health than your orthodox and brilliant Catholic commentary needs to be heard by a much wider audience; in my humble opinion.

      God Bless,
      Jim Gill

  2. Time is greater than space. For Francis, “giving priority to time means being concerned about initiating processes rather than possessing spaces,”

    Our Lord Himself has initiated a process of change now in the present moment while the lack of possessing spaces by the elite within the Church was never more evident than within the Divine Mercy Image/revelation/message given to Sr (Now St) Faustina.

    Throughout history, God has made His Will know to mankind through his Saints, Spiritual leaders, and Prophets. And at crucial times His Will has been revealed in a way that that cannot be misunderstood by His people. The Divine Mercy Image/s that the Church displays to the laity today is an affront to God, instigated by nationalistic pride and those who would pacify the powerful, it has nothing to do with Trust. As The true Divine Mercy Image is an Image of Broken Man. If this image were to be accepted in humility, it would renew the face of the church, by manifesting holy people who hold themselves accountable before the inviolate Word (Will) of God, to each other and mankind.

    Our Lord Himself has given the faithful the means to confront ongoing manifestations of evil within the Church, by calling the elite to account, for collusion with the public breaking of the Second Commandment. So why do they not do so?

    “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”

    “Paint a picture according to the vision you see and with the inscription. “Jesus I trust in thee”. I desire that this picture be venerated first in your chapel and then throughout the world”

    His Will was manifest by the actions of Sr Faustina, as she immediately accepted, and acted upon It, with singular pure intent, to paint/draw the said picture. The Church states that Private Revelation is only binding on those who receive it, assuming of course that they are of sound mind, and have accepted within their heart, that they have received a message from God, requesting them to do something, as the recipient would feel obliged to fulfill that request, and in the case of Sr Faustina, she acted immediately to His request.

    Logic says that if the given Revelation was accepted and endorsed by the Church, which it was, then the acknowledged request attributed to God, contained within it, would oblige the Church also to accept that request.

    The Church fulfilled her obligation to God’s request, by promising that the said Image would be presented to the faithful for veneration throughout the (Churches of the) World, with the inscription “Jesus I trust in thee” So Yes, we now have a picture in God’s house on earth with this inscription, but it is not the painting/picture/image requested by God.

    — Catechism of the Catholic Church 2147
    Promises made to others (In this case the faithful) in God’s name engage the divine honor, fidelity, truthfulness, and authority. They must be respected in justice. To be unfaithful to them is to misuse God’s name and in some way to make God out to be a liar. (1 John 1:10)

    “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”

    Actual words attributed to God (His Name) by the Church that contains a request which the Church has endorsed and acted upon, must not be misused, distorted, or twisted in ways that impugn the character of God, and then be used by man for his own ends, to do so, would be to say that God was made for man, not man for God, in effect the elite within the Church would be conspiring with the Devil.

    The elite within Church needs to make a Public Act of Contrition for this infringement of the Second Commandment and make ‘straight His ‘Way’ commencing in Rome by recapturing (Staging) the original ceremony by displaying the present self-serving blasphemous Divine Mercy Image an image of Clericalism, then remove (Destroy) it publicly and re-place it with the true image an Image of Broken Man and in humility venerate it in a symbolic way that cannot be misunderstood by mankind, then re-enact this action with the help of the bishops throughout the whole Church (World).

    If this were to happen a Transfiguration would occur within the Church at this moment in time that would resurrect the true face of Jesus Christ our King a face that reflects Truth and humility before all those she is called to serve in Love/Truth and Compassion (The Way the Truth and the life). From this base one of humility before God, the Church can proceed to tackle many of her ongoing problems/dilemmas.

    The true DM Image One of Broken Man is a missionary call instigated by our Lord Himself to the whole Church, to evangelize through the action of Humility, a disarming action in its honesty, that embrace all in its simplicity, as we encounter and welcome our brothers and sisters who stand and seek direction at the crossroads (Difficulties) of life.

    Please consider continuing this theme on the evangelizing action of humility before God and mankind given via the link
    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/05/29/the-holy-spirit-in-and-of-the-church/#comment-189855

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Kevin, please no longer, ask the Divine Mercy for the graces to be free, healed and sanctified, in this month of the Most Precious Blood, from within the First Friday and Saturday Two Alliance Hearts of Jesus and Mary….blessings brother in Christ Jesus!

    • Addendum to my post above
      To understand the fullness of the Revelation to Sr. Faustina we need to view the request made by our Lord, as seen on the spiritual plane. We can assume that her attempt to paint the picture would be very childlike, in effect a distorted/broken reflection of the vision she saw. This reflection is a self-reflection of herself but also a reflection of all of us before God, that is one of been flawed and sinful.

      So, the true image if viewed ‘honestly’ confronts the ego, impelling one to proclaim in humility “Jesus I trust in thee” Trust in God is not just about words, rather it is a movement of the heart, that induces a shared relationship with Him, and underpinning this relationship, is our humility before Him.

      God’s Word (Will) is Inviolate it cannot contradict Itself if it does it cannot be from God. A ‘direct’ request was made to the then Sr Faustina to “ Paint a picture according to the vision you see” only she can ‘see’ and paint (Fulfil the task given) the picture, to say otherwise, would be to say that God did not know what he was doing.

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

  3. I don’t even think Pope Francis himself knows the answers to the dilemmas he raises. He seems to be the type of person who speaks from sentiment and emotion, as opposed to reason and logic.

  4. ” Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the world? No, I came to divide.” This pope is innocent of Christianity.

    • We all need to understand how vanity affects our philosophy, or lack of coherence, and our willingness to capitulate to the principalities of eltitism. In particular we’d all be better off ignoring the confused mind of an adolescent philosophy student acting as a Pope, although praying for that mind’s conversion.

  5. I am a “cradle-convert to Catholicism, raised nominally Methodist, but from my childhood, I’ve been fascinated by and drawn to the Catholic Church. I’ve tried to learn and understand the teaching of the Catholic Church since the beginning of my conversion 52 years ago. I have a problem understanding why the leadership seems to strive to make the teaching of Jesus so complicated. The unity sought by the USCCB is easily found in understanding Church teaching and supporting it. Why do they talk of division/unity? The unity they supposedly seek is in the Catechism, the Scriptures and Canon Law. If I can understand this, why can’t the bishops and the pope?

    • Is it not astonishing how they make a knot of what is quite straightforward? I ascribe it to an addiction to a fraudulent academicism which provides their egos aggrandizement. They believe this provides them currency in the secular culture – relevancy! Quite the contrary, they are maligned behind their backs and the perennial Magisterium is reduced to an amusement to be debased when it is regarded at all.
      I made my career in the academy and I have seen this to be true repeatedly in both the secular and theological academy — in the Ivy League. It was grieviously painful to observe. One is left to wonder if it is purposeful or clueless. Neither is acceptable.

    • I think he is a deceiver, certainly not forthright, or concerned about the confusion in our church today. Sad to say isn’t that what satan does?

  6. I don’t understand of how Pope Francis’s recognition that “The pluralism and diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God” makes the Catholic Church part of the global whole like Islam and Shinto. There are multiple religions in the world. If they are not willed by God (according to his permissive will), then their existence is something beyond God’s power and providence. This implies that God is impotent in some respects. In his General Audience of April 3, 2019, Pope Francis explained that the many religions exist according to God’s permissive will:
    https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190403_udienza-generale.html The Holy Father is correct.
    God, in his providence, can permissively will the existence of some historical realities for a positive purpose while tolerating the errors that emerge from free human choices. This has a biblical basis with respect to civil authority. Jesus tells Pilate that he would have no authority over Him (Jesus) “unless it had been given from above” (Jn 19:11). St. Paul, in Romans 13:4 describes the civil authority as “a servant of God for your good.” God therefore, can permissively will a civil authority such as the Roman Empire for a good purpose (e.g. civil order) without positively willing the evils and sins that emerge from the free will of those who possess this civil authority. The same logic applies to Non-Christian religions. God can permissively will their existence for reasons of his own while not positively willing their shortcomings and errors.

    • Dr Fastiggi your fairness and comprehension of matters is appreciated. Although, as rationale supportive of God’s permissive will, and tolerance of evils attached, at times the evil is so explicitly antichrist that it questions this rationale. Example, “Dear friends, it is really true that truth is stranger than fiction. It has happened and is still happening in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the parish of San Juan de Macias, run by a Spanish priest, Juan Pedro Oriol, and to whom Cardinal Robles cannot say no to just about anything. Thus, a Pachamama-Monstrance was used for the first time at a youth meeting, and dominates the high altar, under the crucifix” (Marco Tosatti cited in LifeSite 6.1.21). Now Pachamamma was first invested with ecclesial enshrinement at the Vatican.

      • Very well said Dr.
        We can add John 17:20-22. “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one..”

    • Stai sicuro, Roberto? Jesus Triunely Witnesses, “Father what You have hidden from the learned and the clever, you have revealed to the merest children. Father is it so, You have graciously willed it so”…arriving here one will understand the errors….

      ….further, do not remove a part and make it a whole; keep all the proper and full content its proper and full context…

      • The Word Creator of all things, through his Mystical Body infinitely surpasses any concept, that is, any intellectual conceptualization of part in relation to the whole, the aggregate of which finds its very existence and salvation in him.

        • In what is often thought to be the complex philosophical system of phenomenology, Karol Wojtyla, in his book The Acting Person, pointed out that any description of understanding and perception and discovery and access to truth and avoidance of delusion and error, although complex in qualifying, in actual reality must be a process that the poorly educated soul can intuit even if he cannot articulate the process systematically. God is accessible to everyone.

    • There are obviously respects in which the Catholic Church is part of the global whole, along with Islam and Shinto. The Abu Dhabi declaration attends to those respects. But there are also much more important aspects of the Catholic Church. For that reason, an assertion that the global whole is greater than its parts seems deficient as a fundamental principle for understanding our situation and how to deal with it.

      • True and, on the other hand, it has brought the stuck in the mud Catholics into the open; those who refuse to move forward into today’s world which also needs to be made aware of the message of Christ. People are taking the message into Asia and Africa where it is growing.

        • I wonder if King Solomon thought himself very progressive when he gave into his foreign wives? It cost him his kingdom. Is the faith being advanced on God’s terms or the world’s terms? Christ in His Temptations in the Wilderness was offered the kingdoms of the world, but on the world’s terms. He rejected it. The Church currently appears to be being given her own testing for worldliness.

          • Must not hide from the world, but take our Lord’s message to it. Jesus prayed: “as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

        • Mal,

          I don’t understand the expression about Catholics who are ‘stuck in the mud.’ Are they the impure, the dirty, the ignorant and uneducated, the unrepentant, mortal sinners? White? European? Male? Who are they and where is this mud?

          How are those same Catholics not ‘into the open’? Are they heterosexual straights hiding in closets? If they are not in[to] the open, how do we see them, talk to them, and come to personally know and experience their beings? How have you come to know them?

          If such Catholics ‘refuse to move forward into today’s world,’ can they move backwards, sideways, or around like a ‘Robo’ vacuum? Perhaps they move up and down?

          And if they refuse to move into today’s world, perhaps they are beyond it and into tomorrow’s world. In what other world do they dwell?

          Is it possible that they exist on a supernatural plane about which we have yet to learn?

          Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”.

          • meiron,
            The Lord’s Church is a living family and, as we know, living things grow. Some Catholics refuse to associate with the Church post Vatican II. They call the Church Modern, APE and the like. They refuse to grow with the Church.

    • Peeling off just one layer of the onion called “pluralism of religions,” let us say that Islam, rather than a parallelism, REPLACES Christ with the Qu’ran which in the 9th century became “an integral part of the divine essence.” Not the eternal Second Person of the Trinity, but rather the “uncreated” (!) book from before history or time, and dictated (not merely inspired) by the Angel Gabriel. (See Jacques Jomier, O.P., “The Bible and the Qur’an,” 1959 and Ignatius 2002). FOUR POINTS:

      FIRST, Islam is a natural and multi-sectarian religion, and a nearly impenetrable COLLAGE of poetry, cultural anthropology, historical happenstance, and loosely-cribbed events from the bible (mostly from the Pentateuch). Christ is highly respected, but reduced to a sort of John the Baptist foretelling the coming not of the Holy Spirit, but of Muhammad.

      SECOND, in 833 A.D. the Caliph Ma’mun imposed the Mutazilite doctrine that the Qur’an was (only) a “created” good, BUT a leading opponent was scourged by his successor the Caliph Mu’tasim. As a consequence, “[t]he palace was in danger of being wrecked by an angry mob which had assembled outside to hear the result of the trial.” The Mutazilite dogma was ABANDONED by the Caliph Wathiq and in 847 declared heretical by Mutawakkil. “From that time to this the victorious party have sternly suppressed every rationalistic movement in Islam” (Reynold Nicholson, “A Literary History of the Arabs,” 1907). The Qur’an is “uncreated.”

      THIRD, as for the ROMAN EMPIRE, the Protestant scholar/theologian, William Barclay, proposes that in late Roman times, Caesar worship [like divinization of the Qur’an], was “not imposed on the people from above. It arose from the people: it might even be said that it arose in spite of efforts by the early emperors to stop it, or at least curb it…Caesar worship began as a spontaneous outburst of gratitude to Rome” (for impartial Roman justice). (See William Barclay, “The Revelation of John”, Vol. 1, 1976).

      FOURTH, a new Triad! (a) The populism of Rome deified CAESAR, and (b) the later populism of Baghdad deified the QUR’AN. And (c) embedded and post-Catholic clericalism seems to feel invited to broadly misinterpret/airbrush an ambiguous “PLURALISM” of religions as meaning a flat-earth equivalency—willed/ permitted/undefined/or whatever, again by God Almighty. Elitist populism reincarnated from across the centuries!

      It’s deja vu all over again! Cardinal Parolin’s 2016 undefined “NEW PARADIGM” of “anthropological cultural change?” An Islam-like collage of perpetual synodality, anyone?

  7. As to ambiguity and incoherence of Francis’ message we may elicit from Amoris Laetitia a coherent doctrine by logical inference of his principles specific to that document, hardship mitigation, finality of personal conscience, universality. A doctrine couched in a dualism of Apostolic tradition in antagonism with merciful judgment. If we assess the overall language of Pope Francis’ pontificate it is exactly as described by James Kalb, a form of Yin Yang process of historical events anticipating a good end. Kalb’s bottom line assessment, “To a layman it seems basically anti-Christian” is the correct conclusion. As a suggested solution to the quandary of interpretation of Pope Francis’ pontifical message, we can consider the effects. Christ’s simple counsel, We know the tree by its fruit. Now it comes to what fruit you prefer. Personally, like Christ, I like good ripe figs.

  8. The hallmark of a modernist is a lack of clarity.

    In a similar fashion, we hear calls for “love” and “acceptance” from homosexualists or their supporters. They don’t move beyond this facile and deceptive rhetoric, and people are supposed to go along with their program. Probably the ignorant do or at least are reduced to a state of confusion.

  9. “As a thinker Pope Francis puzzles.”
    Mr. Kalb provides this individual far too much confidence. I have never regarded this pope as a thinker. A sentimentalist? Yes. A rationalizer? Yes. And yes, most regretfully, a stranger. Indeed the entire crew of purveyors of the “new paradigm katholicism” can be described with these and far less charitable adjectives.
    We find our Catholic faith eviscerated virtually on a daily basis with calculated half-truths by the occupant of the Chair of Peter, a mind numbing number of the episcopate and a huge coven of “theologians” sitting comfortably in katholic academia. In so doing they are not merely benignly “revisioning” the timeless faith gifted us by our Lord, Jesus Christ, they are cutting the hearts out of the faithful. Christ’s faithful, regarded pejoratively as ridged Pharisees.
    There is no thoughtful engagement with the truths of the faith to be found among this squad who regard themselves as purveyors of some sort of “transcendent” humanistic secular materialist “revelation.” There is no charity in a current which sports Christ as a mask. There is no mercy to be had from those who have no true treasure of Mercy from which to draw upon.
    Psychobabble and pie-in-the-sky koochy-coo deconstructionism doesn’t cut it. No thanks, Ma told me not to take candy from strangers.

  10. Time is strictly a worldly concept, as God is ever in the Present; space is infinite. Realities and ideas: If the author is correct, one must wonder if Pope Francis knows or understands “history”? Clearly demonstrated therein is the cyclic rejection of Truth–of Divine Authority– that repeatedly has led to, not from, erroneous ideas that then effected disastrous realities. Re unity vs. conflict and the whole being greater than the part: What may be suggested here is that Pope Francis favors conformity, compromise, and even capitulation for temporal calm over confidence, commitment and courage that supports Truth and builds authentic peace. Regardless, the Catholic Church must spread the Good News–love and save souls foremost. Moreover, if everyone followed the Gospels, there would be no need for this extraneous but dangerous busyness.

    • Whole greater than the part: Abe Lincoln and the Civil War? Yet Pope Francis is not an Abe Lincoln trying to re-unite what was previously united.

  11. Let me make it simple:

    Francis: “God wills all religions”
    Bishop: “You mean with his permissive will? Otherwise that’s heretical.”
    Francis: “Yeah that’s what I meant. Isn’t it great how God wills all religions for the sake of having a beautiful diversity?”

    Apologists can popesplain with “permissive will,” but it’s clear from the context of the original remarks that that is not what Francis meant, and he may not even understand what “permissive will” means.

    • What was Noah’s religion? Or Abrahams? Or Lot’s?
      What was the Good Samaritan’s religion?
      God looks beyond religion and the laws or rules contained in it. He looks to see if we are living righteously. And, of cannot enter heaven without Jesus who lived as a Jew.

        • And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Gen 7:1

      • God does not look beyond the religion and laws you are implying. The religion of the Old Testament was that which God created. The religion of the New Testament is that which was founded by Jesus Christ himself. The Holy Roman Catholic Church is the Jewish religion in its fulfillment of the OT prophecies. The Church God created from the beginning continues. The Holy Roman Catholic Church is that very religion which was established by Jesus himself, Christ said, “He who hears you hears me”, “If they reject you, they reject my Father in heaven”, “Thou art Peter and upon this Rock, I will build my Church”, “Whatsoever you shall bind on earth is bound in heaven, whatsoever you loose upon earth is loosed in heaven”. Christ established one religion for our salvation. I see now the great damage caused by the abomination against God of the Abhu Dabi declaration. I recommend “Dominus Iesus” the Apostolic Letter on the Catholic Church being the one true religion created by God.

        • Jesus lived as a Jew. Jews did not have a new religion; it was the old Adamic religion explained in the Garden of Eden. Moses simply codified it.
          Jesus did establish the Church after he “accomplished” his mission on that cross. This is what ushered in the New Covenant and to make the blessings contained in it, he established the Church family.

      • How can we live righteously if we are not instructed in God’s way? What is righteousness? The Traditional Cathechism was illegitimately abolished but still is mandated by God as it is the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The Traditional Catechism instructs us of who God is and what it is he mandates us to live by in order to be righteous in His sight. Try “Deharbe’s” Catechism for the proper instruction that leads to heaven. You will recognize the Modernists heresies that plague the Truth.

  12. I respect the Chair of Peter, but not this Pope. He lost my support when he didn’t respond to the Dubia, and I became fully opposed to him when he put the Pachamama idols on the altar in St. Peter’s. So far, his plan to destroy the Catholic Church is working.

    • Roger Downey, I to respect the Chair of Peter. I looked to the counsels of St. Pope John Paul ll and Pope Benedict XVl. I question the Papacy of Francis. When it comes to the Pachamama, those from the Amazon familiar with it have confirmed, it’s dangerous, as it contains a powerful diabolical presence. Why is Francis trying to introduce Idolatry into Christ Church? Francis enshrined the Pachamama on the Main Altar of St. Peter’s Basilica and then would not say Mass on that Altar for two years. I ask, is Francis dabbling with the occult? Or is he already a great part of it? Could that be the reason why he is seeking to destroy the Church? We can conquer this by Prayer, Pennance, leading a holy life, and recognizing it’s time to make our voices heard to weaken and abolish Francis’s evil intents. You say, “so far, his plan to destroy the Church is working” Look at the comment you wrote; it is such actions that are weakening Francis evil. Francis says that his greatest opponents are from the United States. This has shown that we have been weakening him and his plots. God Bless!

  13. “Note: Francis’s emphasis on universal solidarity is enough to tell us he is no Marxist”

    >marks article with the tag “Marxism”
    >uses “Marxism” five times throughout this article

    Gee, I wonder what tedious hobby-horse this article beats to death?

  14. Mr. Kalb, thank you for a very lucid piece. You must be a very patient man, working through the Francis labyrinth as you did. I more fully understand why Francis avoids doctrine, as it would put up some guard rails and restraints on his verbal adventures. It is as though he regards the papacy as his personal rostrum for the gospel according to Francis. In the meantime, the number of former Catholics increases.

  15. In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul wrote “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

    Friends: Francis is our persecution and our passion.

    His ‘thinking’ is confused and confusing. I have decided to stop reading his blather.

    Who was the Cardinal who, upon hearing that Bergoglio was near receiving enough votes in the Conclave, is reported to have said, “But he’s CRAZY.”? Truth is true. Frank is our Saul, our Judas, the instrument of the Church’s passion.

  16. What “Pope” Francis has done is to bring the liberals fully out into the open.
    They will lead us to Hell if we let them. So, in a way, “Pope” Francis has done
    us a service. We are getting a clearer view each day of which bishops and priests
    are serving God and which bishops and priests are members of the great “reset”.

    Stay close to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady through the Rosary.
    Only God can straighten out this mess.

    • True and, on the other hand, it has brought the stuck in the mud Catholics into the open; those who refuse to move forward into today’s world which also needs to be made aware of the message of Christ. People are taking the message into Asia and Africa where it is growing.

  17. Here’s the scoop.

    It’s all about abolishing the concept of sin. When this book was published it was clear that the author pointed out the problem and the development of this problem is in full blossom now. Pub. 1970:
    Whatever Became of Sin?: Menninger, Karl: 9780553273687 …

    It is well described by Turner in his short article. Menninger’s book is most important in understanding the landscape of happenings since at least the 1950’s

    Written by Dr. J.J. Turner ©
    WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SIN?

    “Years ago when I was doing graduate working in counseling, based on a biblical perspective, one of the textbooks I was required to read was Dr. Karl Menninger book, “Whatever Became of Sin? This book written in the early ‘70s by a psychiatrist is still relevant today: “Whatever Became of Sin?” In my opinion, is more relevant today than when it was written. Why? Because sin has been relegated to the “no longer relevant trash ben” of modernism.” See:

    http://jeremiahinstitute.com/index.php/resources/whatever-happened/158-whatever-happened-to-sin

  18. Mr. Walters has been posting his DM complaint for a number of years now.
    Reading those repetitive, interminable, and megalomanic posts, one may question where said DM complaint ranks in relation to Our Lady of Fatima’s request for the consecration of Russia. One may conclude with Fr. GF: Please, Kevin, ask the DM for the grace to be free, healed and sanctified from the obsession which has led to lengthy complaining to your neighbors for so long. God is in charge, and there is infinitely more to His life and grace than one saint’s painting and the Church’s failure in its regard. One day God will set it all right. In the meanwhile….prayers for healing and peace are being said for Kevin.

    • Thank you for your comment Merrion “there is infinitely more to His life and grace than one saint’s painting and the Church’s failure in its regard. One day God will set it all right”

      The church’s failure can be corrected and we the faithful should call demand that the leadership does so now in the ‘present moment’ for not to do so is to collude with their breaking of the Second Commandment.

      You say “One day God will set it all right”

      “I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things” St Mother Teresa

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

    • Thank you! Well said. This site isn’t really the appropriate place for KW to be processing his issues, but it’s been almost impossible to help him see that. He just ends up posting a link to another one of his interminable narratives.

  19. Thank you, James Kalb, for the excellent article. Pope Francis did, at the very beginning, promise to shake us up a bit. Having spent many years working with, and for, the very poor, the ignored and those who had been stranded by the state and, sadly, by their spouses as well, he is well aware of their needs and desires. Even in Rome, he has been seen going out at night to tend to the needs of the homeless. He is a Christian in word and deed. It is our discipleship in action that he is trying to instil in us.
    When our Lord walked the streets of the Holy Land, he upset many “religious people” because he mixed with sinners and prostitutes, used a Samaritan – a heather in the eyes of the Jews – to demonstrate true love in action. This, and his teachings such as not prayers that will necessarily save us but only he who does the Father’s will or work, upset them. Yes, we know that Jesus himself did, and they planned to eliminate him.
    The Pope asks that we should be merciful, meek and peacemakers. Jesus stood on top of a mount and proclaimed it.

  20. As an elitist sentimentalist himself, Francis, supposedly familiar with some amount of Christian history, demonstrates no reason to believe he would have ever encountered let alone appreciated Niebuhr’s famous rebuke of sentimentalized Christianity: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”
    As an elitist, intent on perfecting a world that God can not perfect, without violating His covenant of fee will, Francis’ silly abuse of philosophical language seeks to describe an if-I-ruled-the-world narcissistic vision that just seeks to obliterate the edifice of whatever moral witness the Church has remaining.
    And what is this superior vision? A corruption of mercy that expunges God’s gift of guilt and is utterly merciless towards the victims of sin. An alleged concern for the poor that would universalize poverty through the “evolution” of global bureaucracies. A synodal process seeking to re-envision the family to accommodate human frailties and immorality rather than heal them through preaching repentance. It is not by accident that a coddled homosexual population that is 98 percent pro-abortion has remained unchallenged by any prominent prelate on this very point. A synodal syncretic gesture towards a primitivism that displaces human concern for the children they bury alive, while bringing blatant idol worship to the altars of the Vatican. Lip service against abortion while rebuking those too “obsessed” least they upset his abortionist friends doing the important work for holy mother earth by spreading the abortion regime throughout the world with an implicit de facto pontifical blessing. And an accepting view towards tyrannical government that is not the least bit anti-Marxist, involving the kissing up to a current brutal communist state and getting all weepy over the brutal mass murderers Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.
    It is not worth the time trying to interject sensibility to the childish abuse of philosophical language by someone who would flunk freshman philosophy, or who would flunk freshman Catholic theology, and not have the conscience to care in the least about his report card, and not care to have enough self-awareness that this is a grave matter for a pope.

  21. The Pontiff Francis’ first move in 2013 was to lift up and reward the disgraceful criminal sex abuse coverup artist Cardinal Daneels, a sociopath who in 2010 was exposed by the Belgian newspapers (De Staandard etc) for trying to coverup the homosexual abuse of his friend Bishop Vangelhuwe, another sociopath who raped his own nephew. The Pontiff Francis rewarded Daneels for getting him elected Pope by making Daneels a commissar for the Pontiff’s “Family Synod.”

    This was followed by 5 years of showing contempt for the 6th and 8th Commandments, from liberating and restoring priestly faculties to the sex abuser “Rev.” Mauro Inzoli, who raped boys in the confessional, to bearing false witness against Fr. Manelli and the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI), at the hands of the suspicious Bishop Carballo, whisked away to Rome in 2013, after spending 10 years as Director General of the OFM Franciscans, and just before it was publicly disclosed byhis successor Michael Perry that the OFM Franciscans under Carballo has incurred debts exceeding $10 Million, resulting in what Perry called a “grave, and I underscore grave” financial situation, due to “financial irregularities” under the “direction” of Bishop Carballo. There are numerous accounts, including that by Nick Squires of the UK Telegraph in if I recall correctly November 2014.

    And the accumulation into “the Establishment of Francis”of sex abusers and effeminate clerics, like Zanchetta and “Heal Me With Your Mouth” Fernandez, ghost-writer of Amoris Laetitia.

    Etc etc etc.

    But not finding it satisfying to weary mere men by showing contempt for the lower Commandments, after 5 years, the Pontiff had to satisfy his ego by showing contempt for the 1st Commandment, and orchestrating idolatry in Rome in 2019.

    I suppose the faithful might join Fr. Weinandy in extending the analogy, and discerning that God did not positivelythat Francis be elected Pontiff, but allowed it as his permissive will, to reveal how impoverished of Christian Faith the Church has become.

    • And don’t forget about McCarrick! I’m sure he’s responsible for part of this problem also, in some way that’s irrelevant to the topic at hand, I’m sure. But you didn’t mention him here.

  22. Here, in plain and forceful words, is a statement direct from Walter Kasper, the German “Cardinal,” who is declaring what he (and what Austin Ivereigh calls Team Francis) believe and disbelieve:

    “The God who sits enthroned over the world and history as a changeless being is an offense to Man….We must oppose this God….he is the enemy of the new.” (Walter Kasper, “God in History,” 1968)

    Saint James the apostle, who saw Jesus face-to-face, before and after the resurrection, and lived and died giving witness to Jesus, warned the first Christians with these words: “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good endowment and evey perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1: 16-17)

    So what shall we understand are the inventory of things that Cardinal Kasper and Ivereigh’s “Team Francis” are opposed to?

    1. Are we expected to submit to “the new evangelization” that Kasper and Team Francis announce, that it is an offensive to them that God is ruler over space and time, and that such theology should be opposed?

    2. Are we to submit to the “new evangelization” that Kasper and Team Francis think that it is an offensive idea to hold that God is a changeless being, and that such theology should be opposed?

    OR…

    Shall we instread simply tolerate their apostasy, and submit in faithfulness to The Lord of the world and history, that he has not positively willed that they attain to power in the Church, but he has allowed them in his divine permissiveness, to ascend to power, to expose the spititual impoverishment and apostasy of the Church and its high establishment?

  23. Great article! Who can figure out Francis?? At one point, before being elected, Bergoglio was under the care of Psychiatrists. I believe he really has a mental issue—a problem with reasonable reasoning; It’s an obvious fact. He must acknowledge this and resign for the good of Christ’s Church.

  24. It just occurred to me that the four principles of Francis ably outlined by Mr Kalb, could be embraced by someone who doesn’t believe in God. In a broad sense, then, the principles are an example of humanism of a sort that does not necessarily require a theistic worldview, let alone, Trinitarian theology.

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