John-Henry Westen

From the desk of the editor.


Raising concerns about Pope Francis is hard, but essential. Here’s why (VIDEO)

In the first episode of The John-Henry Westen Show, I explain why we must be willing to criticize the Pope, for his own good.
Mon Mar 25, 2019 - 3:45 pm EST
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March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today LifeSite is launching The John-Henry Westen Show, a short weekly commentary on the most important news developments in the Church and culture. We are beginning with a series laying out the hard evidence for our concerns with Pope Francis.


We decided to launch today for the feast of the Annunciation, but starting tomorrow it will appear every Tuesday. The show is available by video on The John-Henry Westen Show Youtube channel, and right here on my LifeSite blog.

We are also releasing it in audio on platforms such as Spotify, Soundcloud, and Pippa. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe for the audio version on various channels, visit the webpage here.

We’ve created a special email list for the show so that we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here, or fill out the form at the bottom of this post. You can also subscribe to the Youtube channel, and you’ll be notified by Youtube when there is new content.

Every week we will also be publishing the full transcript right here on my blog, in case you prefer to read the content. However, the show was created for video in order to show you, directly, the evidence of what I’m discussing. I encourage you first and foremost to watch the video commentaries.

You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected]

Watch the introductory episode here:

Listen to the introductory episode here:


Transcript: Welcome to The John-Henry Westen Show

For the past six years LifeSite has been experiencing many difficulties in our reporting on what's going on in Rome. For 22 years now we've reported on the Vatican and especially the statements of the Popes focusing most on life and family.

With John Paul II and Pope Benedict it was relatively easy. Since they would say so many pro-life and pro-family things, it was a joy to report. It was a real encouragement to pro-life and pro-family leaders all around the world - to hear the words of Popes who it seemed really had your back even when sometimes your local Bishops did not.

But things changed with the election of Pope Francis. After a year of trying to explain away his confusing statements, and sometimes statements that went directly against his two predecessors, we knew at LifeSite we had to just report straight what was happening and let people know what was going on.

Faithful Catholics need to understand the severity of the situation so they can pray like never before for the crisis in the Church – pray, fast, and take action.

When we started to do this, however, we noticed that some of our most loyal followers – in fact some of my own friends and even family –  started to question what we were doing. As if after so many years of faithful, truthful reporting we were starting to make things up, even create things out of thin air.

I have to tell you how distressing it was and still is. I've often wished that with some of my friends and family I could sit down with them and show them the evidence first hand. And that was actually the genesis of the video series that I'm about to launch tomorrow.

The evidence for our concerns with Pope Francis speaks for itself. Most of his controversial statements are made in front of cameras, so we’ve pulled the footage and translated it, and pulled the Vatican’s own transcripts of them so we can definitively show what has happened.

It is totally understandable that faithful Catholics want to show allegiance to the Pope. And in this day and age of ‘fake news’ in the mainstream media, mistrusting a news agency is nothing new either.

But we pray that the evidence speaks for itself.

Catholics believe that the Pope is infallible, but not with everything he says or does, only in specific cases when he is explicitly defining doctrine pertaining to faith and morals.  And with regard to confronting the Pope even publicly we have the example of that right from the beginning with the first Pope - St. Peter.

Remember the account from Galatians 2 when St. Paul confronted Pope St. Peter over Peter’s refusal to eat with uncircumcised Gentile Christians and would eat with Jewish Christians only?  St Paul recounts that he “opposed” the Pope, St. Peter, “to his face” because he was in the wrong. St. Paul also notes that he did so publicly.

The Church’s greatest doctor of the faith has also commented on the need to carry on with this tradition of correcting the Pope when needed. St. Thomas said:

…if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning the faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Gal. 2:11, Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.

Another important point to be made is that which was given to me by a good and holy bishop, His Excellency Athanasius Schneider of Astana in Kazakhstan. He teaches that “the true friends of the Pope” are those cardinals, bishops, and laymen “who express their public concern about these very important issues, about the state of confusion in the Church.”

Bishop Schneider said that those who perform “adulation of the Pope” and “deny the evidence” that ambiguity in the Pope’s teachings is causing confusion are not helping the Pope nor themselves when they will face their final judgment.

Bishop Schneider quoted Melchior Cano, a famous Dominican Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent. He said:

Peter has no need of our lies; he has no need of our adulation. Those who close their eyes to the facts and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are those who contribute most to undermining the authority of the Holy See. They destroy its foundations instead of strengthening them.

For us at LifeSite we come at this from a perspective we’ve taken on as a motto - Caritas in Veritate - Love in Truth. We recognize that sometimes it's difficult to speak the truth but out of love and a sincere wish for the good of others we must speak the truth even when it’s unpopular.

So too with Pope Francis. We love him and pray for him daily both individually and as a staff on our morning prayer call.

And we can’t do as some have suggested and just keep our heads down and ‘wait it out’, because there are souls at stake and even more personally our own children are being confused. I’ve got eight children, including five teens and two in their twenties. They are being confused.

The truth of Christ means everything to us. He is the only way to eternal life and outside of Him there is only eternal hell.

That’s why we do what we do at LifeSiteNews. There is no hatred or animosity here toward Pope Francis. There is loving concern and a willingness to confront even the Pope when it comes to errors threatening the faith. We try our best to do so with respect and charity but also with clarity.

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