(LifeSiteNews) — In the Chaplet of the Holy Face one prays, “Arise, O Lord, and let Thy enemies be scattered, and let all that hate Thee flee from before Thy Face.” This is taken from verse 1 of Psalm 68, and so has a solid theological basis. Indeed, if you read all the Psalms, over and over there is a cry for God to deliver his people from their enemies.
We tend to think of the enemies of the Church as attacking her only from “outside,” but, sad to say, today it seems our enemies are also attacking us from within, even from the highest ecclesial office of the Holy Father.
Witness the recent further crackdown on the Traditional Latin Mass, of which, in a LifeSiteNews article, Father Gerald Murray observes: “This is damaging the Church. It absolutely is.”
Alas! If we are honest about it, not only this latest action against the Latin Mass, but in so many other ways during his ten year pontificate Pope Francis has damaged the Church. Faithful Catholics, like sheep without a shepherd, are bewildered, wounded, and left to bicker – sometimes fiercely – with each other.
Regardless of his interior motives, looking just at the exterior forum, Pope Francis is doing the devil’s work. Instead of being the source of unity as the visible head of the Church on earth, he is fomenting division. It is a horrible trial for the Church, first of all because Francis is reputed to be the Pope (lots of controversy over that, so I say “reputed”) and therefore, as the highest authority in the Church on earth, he cannot be judged by anyone, and so we feel paralyzed to do anything about the situation.
Secondly, as good Christians, taught by Christ to forgive our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, and realizing our own weaknesses and sinfulness, it seems only right to give him the benefit of the doubt, and/or pray for his conversion while hoping for the best. “Patience endurance attaineth to all things,” as one of St. Teresa’s prayers puts it.
But we have to remember that above the Pope is Jesus Christ. And Jesus instituted the Church to be the instrument of salvation for the whole world. Commissioned to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth, and to also administer the graced filled sacraments, the Church has a mandate to overcome the powers of darkness with the light of Christ.
To undermine the Church from within – by sowing darkness, confusion and division – is to thwart the very purpose for which the Church was founded. It is to work against the salvation of the world – a horrible thought! Again, no interior motives are being judged, just the effect of Pope Francis’ words and actions.
What do I mean by “undermining”? Francis does not directly deny that hell exists, but he gives an interview with an elderly journalist who claims that is what the Pope said, and there is no rebuttal from the Vatican. Doubt is sown. He does not immediately give a clarification on a troubling footnote, but first lets a bishops’ conference give their heterodox interpretation, so he can ratify it as the one he wants, thus sneaking into ordinary Church teaching the permission for couples in an adulterous situation to receive communion. In a slap in the face to an archbishop, he allows communion to be given to a well known pro-abort politician right under his nose in the Vatican, claiming it is not “pastoral” to do otherwise.
He sends a handwritten note to Father James Martin, thus unofficially (it’s not a formal Church document, right?) approving of Martin’s pro-LGBT stance. He does not come out in favor of women priests and blessings for LGBT couples, but lets the German synod continually push for this, for even with an occasional papal brake on the proceedings, the synod somehow keeps chugging along.
The list could go on and on: “off the cuff” remarks seized upon by the media; the troubling things he says in audiences, which don’t agree with what previous popes have stated; the subtle messages he gives by those he chooses to meet with, versus those he refuses to see. It is all so disheartening.
Nothing is official, so in principle you don’t have to agree with what he is saying and doing, but it is the Pope who is saying it, the Pope who is doing it, the Pope who is not doing what he is supposed to be doing – namely, promoting the one true Faith given to us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
There is much concern about a one world government, and, for a time with the COVID pandemic, the globalists elites seemed to be making headway in this direction. But the war in Ukraine shows the futility of such an endeavor. The Biden administration and NATO are pursuing their own self-interests, while Russia and China are pursuing their own self-interests. Alliances made for convenience can easily fall apart, and it becomes “every man for himself” as we head towards what could be World War III. (Please God that won’t happen!)
There is also much concern for a one world religion, but, as pointed out in a recent Faith & Reason video mentioning the new Abrahamic temple, all the talk of “fraternity” will no doubt come to naught. For example, a Muslim who tries to convert to Christianity is considered an apostate and should be killed!
The curious thing about Pope Francis is this: those who cannot ultimately unite politically, or on religious grounds, all meet in him. He has brought them together in his one person. In other words, he is friendly with all the enemies of the Church. He is friendly with atheistic communism in the secret agreement made with China. He is friendly with Islam by welcoming Muslim immigrants and making pacts with Muslim leaders, all the while denying the violent aspects of their religion. He is friendly with the globalists of the secular West by welcoming them to speak at the Vatican, pushing their abortion-tainted vaccine, and echoing their concerns for “global warming.”
He is even friendly with paganism in the Pachamama scandal. As Pope, he is the personal representative of Jesus Christ, or the “Vicar of Christ” (even though he rejects that title). Can you imagine Jesus Christ standing in the Vatican gardens, giving tacit approval to the proceedings as religious, priests, and other guests bow down before an idol of Mother Earth?
What point am I trying to make here? I remember reading somewhere that Sister Lucia of Fatima believed we are entering into the final battle between Our Lady and her adversary, the devil, the decisive battle in which only one side will emerge victorious. It is easy to believe this is true given the state of the Church and the world, but especially in view of how even the Pope seems to be unconcerned with the true welfare of the Church.
The situation is much more critical than a less-than-edifying pope whose personal life needs conversion. Think of the upcoming Synod on Synodality – the very existence of the Church is at stake!
Well, we know who will win the battle, but we have to do our part. Let us pray that God will deliver us from our enemies, and yes, even from Pope Francis if he continues down the path he has chosen!
The Holy Face devotion is one such way to pray for deliverance from our enemies, while also making reparation for the many sins against the first three commandments. But whether or not one feels drawn to this particular devotion, perhaps the latter point – reparation – needs more consideration.
If faithful Catholics have been offended by things Pope Francis has said or done, how much more so has God been offended? And although the Church is not a democracy – we didn’t elect Pope Francis, nor can we depose him – nevertheless, as head of the Church – our head – he in some way represents us when he acts in his official capacity as Pope.
And so, whether or not we realize it, in view of this bond with our head, the whole Church has been drawn into all the offensive things he has said or done. It seems we have no choice, because who can go against the pope and remain a good Catholic? Still, God has been offended; reparation is called for. Who will make this reparation? Pope Francis shows no signs of repentance; this duty must fall upon us, the ordinary faithful Catholics who nonetheless are so grieved by this pontificate.
And I think the need for reparation is what many people, with all the good will in the world, miss when they try to excuse Pope Francis or minimize the damage he is doing. They want to show respect for the office of the Pope. They don’t want to encourage people to leave the Church and thereby endanger their eternal salvation. Protesting the Pope seems wrong. What else can be done except pray for his conversion? Anyway, what he is saying is not official teaching – you know all the reasons people give to try to make sense of what does not make sense. What kind of Pope is this?
Such reasoning ensnares us with immediate concerns of how this papacy affects us. We are under the Pope and therefore subject to his authority. Questions arise which understandably are very important, so important that we fight each other to establish the correct answers. Is Francis really the Pope? Is this an official teaching or merely the Pope’s opinion? Do I have to obey him in this matter or must I, in good conscience, resist him? Does he really mean what it sounds like he means, or is his statement being taken out of context or somehow mistranslated?
To avoid being trapped in such in-fighting among the Faithful, I would like to suggest that we have to focus our attention in a different direction, and try to see things from God’s point of view. God is not worried about having to obey the Pope, as he is most definitely above the man! Nor does God have to guess at what Francis is really up to when he does or says a certain thing. God knows everything, and he is much more concerned with how well his servant – the servant of the servants of God – is following the mandate entrusted to the Petrine ministry: feed my sheep; feed my lambs. Here, for anyone with eyes to see, Pope Francis is a miserable failure.
Of course a pope, being human, can occasionally make mistakes. But a good man, one who is humble, can own up to this and try to make amends. He wants to make amends. Witness the first Peter being corrected by Paul. But a man who is reputed to be the Holy Father, yet never tries to make amends, and instead establishes a pattern of behavior which continually upsets and divides the Faithful, is feeding himself and not the sheep. And that is an abuse of papal authority.
And that is the real problem with Pope Francis: he is not an outright heretic. He has not formally apostatized. Rather, he is using the papacy in such a way that we, the little ones trying to faithfully follow Jesus Christ, feel abused and neglected by our Papa.
The casual remarks which grate against the sensus fidei of lay persons; the belittling of couples generously open to new life in the establishment of large families; the rebukes uttered against those who take evangelization seriously and bring others into the Church; the favoritism and honor shown to those who openly dissent from Church’s teaching; the reduction of the Gospel message to this world by harping upon environmentalism; the attempt at world peace through mere human means, which is to say, the establishment of a fraternity where all are welcomed and none excluded except those who hold to the true teachings of the Church!
And to be such a bad Papa, to be the kind of father figure one cannot trust – because even if he says something orthodox one day, by word or action he appears to support the opposite heterodox position another day – is surely offensive to God, the perfect Father, who wants all his adoptive children to be saved, as this is the very reason he established the Church in the first place.
Here the objection of other bad popes in the Church’s long history could be brought up. What makes Pope Francis different from these? While some have offended God indirectly by sins against one’s neighbor (the second half of the Ten Commandments) – such things as lust (a mistress or two), avarice (gaining personal wealth and earthly power from the papacy), or murder (getting rid of a political rival) – Pope Francis has scandalized the Faithful by demonstrating a shocking lack of reverence for the sacred, or for what is directly owed to God by the first three commandments.
The Pachamama and smudging ceremonies/rituals. The preaching of a false mercy which presumes God will overlook everything, thus making sin of no consequence. The treating of the Most Holy Eucharist as mere food to be given to all. The denial that contrition is needed for the forgiveness of sin. The squashing of reverent liturgies, while doing nothing to correct the abusive ones. The approval of closing churches during the COVID scare, so that for the first time in centuries there was no public celebration of Easter Sunday.
Where is the love, reverence and worship due to God alone? And how is it that such an obviously bad Papa, the likes we have not seen before, remains the reputed head of the Catholic Church? In other words, how is that God, who promised that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the rock of Peter, is permitting a pope to trample upon the sacred, all as part of a wider plan to dismantle the ancient traditions and teaching of the Church, and there is seemingly nothing – rebukes, fraternal corrections or pleas – that anyone can do to stop the mess Francis is creating? Isn’t this whole situation afflicting the Church a bit odd?
Well, if we are in the decisive battle between Our Lady and her adversary, than perhaps it is not so odd at all. Perhaps the papacy of Francis, in all its distressing and troublesome aspects, is but a sign that we have reached the apex of the devil’s power in his century-long, if not even longer, attempt to destroy the Church.
For Francis is hardly alone. There are many cardinals, bishops, and priests who support his views. There are many poorly catechized Catholics who haven’t a clue as to what all the fuss, over what Francis may have said or done, is all about. And, of course, those nasty “outside” enemies, who continue to oppose Church teaching and/or persecute the Church in various ways, are delighted to work with Pope Francis, as his alliances with them makes it even easier for them to gain the upper hand against the Church.
An all out-war against the Church is no time to remain passive. But because demonic influences are at work here, a mere human solution will not do. We have ample evidence of this in all the in-fighting between Catholics. By relying on our own efforts to figure out how to handle the problematic papacy of Francis we end up attacking each other, which only weakens the Church even more, as a schism would also do.
We need to recognize that we are in the midst of a spiritual combat and only the omnipotent power of God, humbly implored for by the Faithful, can unseat these horrible demonic forces. And so the prayer – Arise, O Lord, and let Thy enemies be scattered, and let all that hate Thee flee from before Thy Face – is ultimately aimed against the demons. In effect, let those who have made an irrevocable choice against God bear the consequences of their decision, but let God Almighty be loved and honored as is right and just.
So we must not assume that reparation, seeking to satisfy the demands of God’s justice, is opposed to seeking God’s mercy. The Holy Face chaplet begins each decade with “My Jesus, mercy.” And there is a prayer that can be added at the end, “Lord, I do not desire the death of the sinner, that he be converted and live. Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”
So can we try to see the bigger picture? Can we realize that more is at stake here than surviving the current papacy? We have a problem on our hands too big for us to solve – but God can solve it. Let’s stop being overly merciful to Pope Francis by minimizing and excusing his behavior, and finally admit the painful truth: whatever Francis’ canonical status is in the eyes of God, as the reputed head of the Church, he is a very bad Pope. And since he is such a bad Pope, he is surely offending God the Father, who wants the Church to flourish so that souls may be saved. And because Francis is supported by many other bad fathers in the Church who are in league with him, much reparation is needed.
Let us show true love for our shepherds by making reparation for the harm they have done and thus bring down God’s blessings upon the Church and the world.
I share here what I call my five petitions. One decade of the Rosary (whichever mysteries I am doing) is offered for each petition:
- That we might see and acknowledge the harm Pope Francis is doing – how deeply God is offended by the way he is leading the Church – and be moved to make reparation,
- That the next pope will be a good man, a saint, who, by the grace of God, will lead the Church back on the right path,
- That God will purify the priesthood of all the filth which has infiltrated into it,
- That there will be peace and reconciliation among all Catholics, especially those who, in all good will, are currently attacking each other,
- That God, in his infinite wisdom and loving concern for all his children, will deal with Pope Francis as he knows best, even if this seems harsh to us, for it is not just one man, but the future of the Church, hence the salvation of the world, which is at stake.