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VIDEO: Young Catholics are asking: Is Pope Francis a bad Pope?

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October 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — This Special Edition of The John Henry Westen Show is a bit of a role reversal. You see, I was just in Milwaukee and some great young men who run a local Catholic blog called Cream City Catholic put me on the hot seat. 

Jake, and Adam, and their co-conspirator James, who I wasn’t able to meet, are militant Catholic young men running a local Catholic blog which makes great and entertaining video promoting faith and beauty. 

Jake’s questions were tough…“Is it right to call Pope Francis a bad Pope?” “Can you be pope after publicly spitting on Christ?” Yikes! Watch, listen to, or read the transcript below to see what I had to say. Be sure to check out CreamCityCatholic.com

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Full Transcript

Jake Ross: Hello everyone, my name is Jake Ross. I’m one of the founders of Cream City Catholic and today I'm sitting down with a co-founder of LifeSiteNews, John-Henry Westen. Thank you very much for joining us today.

John-Henry: Good to be here, Jake. Thank you. 

JR: We have four questions for you, so I'll make this brief. The first question I have for you is: Was the pope worshiping a pagan idol in the Vatican Gardens? If so, this has gone beyond heresy to apostasy. Can you be pope after publicly spitting on Christ?

JH: Well, thing is, with regard to a pagan idol in the Vatican, no one's answering the question, which is very strange. They have this idol. It's a wooden, carved, nude, pregnant image. There was two of them actually when they were doing the prostration before it in the Vatican Gardens. The pope wasn't one of the ones actually kneeling down. If you watched the video, they were kneeling down around a circle and then actually went foreheads to the ground. So it was some kind of adoration or worship of whatever, they’re not saying. 

At first, the bishop on the dais at the first of the press conferences for the synod said, “Well, it might represent the Virgin Mary or maybe, you know, Mother Earth or something. We don't know.” That's very dangerous because Mother Earth is Pachamama, also known as Gaia, a false God, to whom actually in much earlier times they used to do human sacrifice, then it became much more friendly. But it is a pagan God. 

So are they worshipping it? Well, they're not saying. What are they doing? I don't think someone lost their contact lenses and they were all looking for it. Sorry. So they were doing something of a religious nature whether they want to admit that or not. 

So the fact that this thing has been trotted into St. Peter's Basilica, put on the floor — the pope, was saying prayers with the cardinals in front of it — there’s something strange going on. Whether or not he thinks he's worshiping an idol, I don't know. 

The fact that they're not answering the questions makes it all more all the more concerning and so it's very difficult. The bishops already, Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Brandmüller, have already called the Instrumentum Laboris “apostasy.” The problem with that, of course, is that had to be approved by the pope before it was released.

JR: Obviously, the bishop at the synod said, “I don't think we need to create any connections with the Virgin Mary.” Serious problem…

JH: Yeah, I know. That's the next, one of the next press conference conferences that they talked about it. The bishop there says, “no, no, it's not the Virgin Mary.” So then that leaves us with, uh, what? They try to dismiss it as just, “oh, it's a nothing. Don't worry about it. You know, look the other way. Don't see evil under rocks when there's nothing there.” Come on. There's something going on. They won't answer the question. It's concerning.

JR: How do you feel about this statement? “Vatican 2 was obviously a huge failure. This is manifestly shown through its fruits. Now, this nuclear destruction of our church was probably not a mistake. It was a plot by agents of the devil to destroy the church.”

JH: Well, one of the things that you can tell from the fruits of what was attempted with Vatican II, particularly — there’s sort of a difference, I guess you could say, between what is actually in the documents and what's happened thereafter in the spirit of Vatican II, although even the spirit that went into creating the documents was problematic, because we know now if you read the history, what was actually going on was this huge openness to the world in a way that was extremely detrimental to the church. 

Watching the aftermath has been the most horrifying thing that's ever happened. And I'm too young to have watched the early part of it. But by the time I came along in the church it was pathetic. And every time you see a resurgence of the old mass, thanks to Pope Benedict, largely in Summorum Pontificum, you’ve seen a growth, a spark of vitality — young people coming back and an amazing knowledge of the faith. 

Somehow with tradition, there is a knowledge of the faith like you never see. I can tell you one of the first times that I give a talk at a traditional parish in Toronto, I was shocked at the knowledge of the faith. These young people, young men and young women, who knew their faith, whereas, you know, much of Catholicism post-Vatican II, basically the faith disappeared and the knowledge of the faith disappeared.  

So has it been a failure? Yes, I think just speaking based on evidence. Absolutely. No question at all. Was it a plot? Well, I do think that there were some people who plotted to do very nefarious things with it. And normally what happens is they work themselves into processes and then work within them to create what they create, and it turns out for the bad guys, this one worked out very well. And so was their plotting? Yes, there was. But, you know, you can't say that everyone who did it plotted, obviously. So were there good people who tried to work within Vatican II? Yes, there were. And did they think they were doing good things? Yes, they did. 

And so that's that's one of the sad things. We don't often see the machinations of the devil and don't recognize them and sometimes go along doing things that are actually very bad and we think they're good. I'm sure there are many priests, God forbid, who, who tell people not to kneel for holy communion, which is horrific, but they think they're doing a good thing. And yet I would say it's evil.

JR: Next question: Is it okay for Catholics to say plainly and out loud that Pope Francis is a bad pope? 

JH: First of all, it's a simple answer, that is yes, because ostensibly it's true we've never had a pope like this. We've had popes who have had affairs, have done all sorts of things, have stolen money, and done even worse than that. But we've never had a pope like this. 

And I've been told by some people who know much more than I do, it would be much better, for instance, if he had some women and children, because at least it would be a moral failing on his part. What we have with this is an aberration in teaching that we've never had to this extent before. In the Aryan heresy, you did have the Pope sort of go along with it for a long, long time and it really did feel like the whole world was Aryan. But you at least had one heresy. Now we have multiple heresies going on from the pope himself. And that's that's the problem. And it's not my words. I'm not a theologian, but it's very plain as just a dad who has kids who are older now and therefore confused in their faith because of what the pope is saying. He's distorting the faith on contraception, on cohabitation, on the Eucharist, on homosexuality, on transgenderism, not even so much by his words, which there are words to back all those things, but also by his actions. 

And so these things are harmful for the faith. So, can you say this is a bad pope? Well, absolutely. So, should you say he's bad pope? At this point I'd say the answer is yes. You might try to be prudent in the beginning when things aren’t so bad and sort of "benefit of the doubt” and maybe it's going to change. And we're hoping and praying. We have been hoping and praying for six years now. And this is not changing so far, barring a miracle. I don't see it changing. We have to pray for the conversion of the pope. Is he a bad pope? The evidence speaks for itself.

And the faithful, in canon law, I think it's Canon 212, are given the right even the duty to manifest to their sacred pastors, the pope included, they're concern about especially when the faith is in danger with respect for persons. 

And we are speaking with respect for the pope by calling him a bad pope also because he's endangering his own soul. The Pope, while being the vicar of Christ, while being a bishop and cardinal and so on, a priest of God, he's also a man. And therefore, in that sense, our brother and we're responsible for the souls of our brother, even if he's our spiritual father. 

And so in a normal family, when the father is getting drunk and doing all sorts of things that are unbecoming of a dad. If the son if especially an older son or something is really concerned for the dad, he's going to tell him that. And if he doesn't listen, he's going to tell me again. He's gonna tell us stronger and stronger every time so that he will come out of it for his own good. And that's true love. It's tough love but it's true love.

JR: It’s easy to get discouraged with all this stuff. Given the troubling reports coming out of Rome, have you seen any silver lining in the midst of all the confusion and heterodox? 

JH: Oh, yes. I think the most amazing part of this whole story is that I have seen a resurgence of faith in this time like never before. I think when, you know, when things get tough, the tough get going. That's been proved in spades. And I see it in young people with the energy and the fight they have for the faith. They're coming alive out of the woodwork.  

I'm here with incredible pro-life, pro family, hard core Catholics, the Catholics United for the Faith conference where I was, and I was receiving that award on behalf of Archbishop Vigneault. He’s incredible! To see this caliber of Catholic. To be with brothers in arms who are ready to fight for the faith unstinting. And it's not only here, but I am so impressed with you I have to say. But in Rome, all over the world, there are these incredible fighters for the faith who are being brought together like never before. This is one very interesting thing. There's all sorts of factions. You know, this and that. And you don't like this sort of thing. So there was a lot of division. But you know what? So much division is being done away with because…being so attacked that the only very narrow path of the truth is we're all rubbing shoulders now.

So about two weeks ago we ran what we called a roundtable in Rome that just was before the launch of the synod. And we brought together Michael Voris, Michael Matt, Taylor Marshall. Marco Tossati, Professor de Mattei, Jean Smits from France. And we did was we all were there. And, you know, there are some difficulties between Voris and Matt, and perhaps Taylor, I don't know. But the thing is, they sat together, they proclaim the faith together. And we thought, oh, they're all huge personalities, they’re going to hog the mic and maybe not let each other speak or who knows what? It was awesome to watch them dialogue with one another. And there were some disagreements, but they disagreed not in the way we see in this sort of political left wing/ right wing disagreements, which isn't really a dialogue at all. When you say “dialogue, dialogue,” its all BS. There it was. It was real dialogue. So yeah, I see encouragement like I've never, ever seen before. 

We know in the end the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph. That's for sure. So if you know the ending, you can watch all the things that are happening that are bad, going, “Oh yeah, that’s really bad.” And we might suffer some. We can offer it up and, yeah, it’s bad. But you know what? That makes the victory in the end all the sweeter.

Because out of the crucifixion, the most horrible thing ever, came the salvation of mankind. And so the Mystical Body of Christ, the church, will suffer. The catechism tells us that. It will suffer like her head. It will follow her head into her agony and passion. And so I think we're suffering some kind of an agony in the church. But, you know the victory is coming and the troops are rallying. It's incredible to see. 

And I want to not finish this interview with the most important thing and the most important thing and the rallying cry. And I think what is uniting us more than anything else is true devotion to Our Lady. Our lady plays the key role in the end times. We were told in Fatima about what was coming in 1917. She warned that in the end, the final battle between our Lord and the reign of Satan would be over marriage and the family. And she told that to Cardinal Caffarra. Well, Sr. Lucia did. And she said, you know, you're always going to be persecuted for such things but don't worry. In the end, her immaculate heart will triumph. So that's what we're dealing with now. And that's why I think the number one thing we can all do is true devotion to Mary. St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion is the original and best devotion. And it will bring you to tradition. It will bring you to Christ like no other thing ever can. 

You know, the Saints in the olden days, de Montfort describes how they molded themselves into Christ. But it was very arduous, tough work. It was like hammer and chisel, chiseling away the bad parts. And if you do a wrong blow, you get some weird deformity in the artwork. And it's so difficult to do. And it's painstaking. They call Mary the mold of God. You melt yourself or you try to do away with yourself, make yourself small. Pour yourself into the mold and you're formed into Jesus Christ like there's no other way of doing that. So there's a lot of hope and its in Our Lady.

JR: John-Henry, Thank you very much!

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John-Henry Westen

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.  

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.