In a review of Wim Wenders’ documentary Pope Francis: A Man of His Word titled “Social Justice Warrior: A Review of ‘Pope Francis’” Brad Miner writes,
Why is Pope Francis the most divisive papacy since the last Medici?
Perhaps the most recent interview with Pope Francis in La Croix magazine by Guillaume Goubert and Sébastien Maillard sheds some light on his “divisiveness.” Here are excerpts from that interview with the Holy See [read the full interview by clicking here]:
QUESTION: In your speeches in Europe, you refer to the “roots” of the continent without ever describing them as Christian. Rather, you define “European identity” as “dynamic and multicultural.” In your view, is the expression “Christian roots” inappropriate for Europe?
POPE FRANCIS: We need to speak of roots in the plural because there are so many. In this sense, when I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful. It then takes on colonialist overtones. John Paul II, however, spoke about it in a tranquil manner.
QUESTION: On April 16, you made a powerful gesture by bringing back the refugees from Lesbos to Rome. However, does Europe have the capacity to accept so many migrants?
POPE FRANCIS: That is a fair and responsible question because one cannot open the gates wide unreasonably. However, the deeper question is why there are so many migrants now.
[ … ]
More generally, this raises the question of a world economic system that has descended into the idolatry of money. The great majority of humanity’s wealth has fallen into the hands of a minority of the population.
A completely free market does not work. Markets in themselves are good but they also require a fulcrum, a third party, or a state to monitor and balance them. In other words, [what is needed is] a social market economy. [Emphasis added]
QUESTION: The fear of accepting migrants is partly based on a fear of Islam. In your view, is the fear that this religion sparks in Europe justified?
POPE FRANCIS: Today, I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.
In the face of Islamic terrorism, it would therefore be better to question ourselves about the way in an overly Western model of democracy has been exported to countries such as Iraq, where a strong government [under Saddam Hussein] previously existed. Or in Libya, where a tribal structure exists. We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account. As a Libyan said recently, “We used to have one Gaddafi, now we have fifty.”
Ultimately, co-existence between Christians and Muslims is still possible. I come from a country where they co-habit on good terms.
QUESTION: The significance of Islam in France today, like the nation’s Christian historical foundation, raises recurring questions concerning the place of religion in the public arena. How would you characterize a positive form of laicity (Editor: ‘laicity’ refers to the French system of separation of Church and state)?
POPE FRANCIS: States must be secular. Confessional states end badly. That goes against the grain of History. I believe that a version of laicity accompanied by a solid law guaranteeing religious freedom offers a framework for going forward. We are all equal as sons (and daughters) of God and with our personal dignity. However, everyone must have the freedom to externalize his or her own faith. If a Muslim woman wishes to wear a veil, she must be able to do so. Similarly, if a Catholic wishes to wear a cross. People must be free to profess their faith at the heart of their own culture not merely at its margins.
The modest critique that I would address to France in this regard is that it exaggerates laicity. This arises from a way of considering religions as sub-cultures rather than as fully-fledged cultures in their own right. I fear that this approach, which is understandable as part of the heritage of the Enlightenment, continues to exist. France needs to take a step forward on this issue in order to accept that openness to transcendence is a right for everyone.
QUESTION: In a secular setting, how should Catholics defend their concerns on societal issues such as euthanasia or same-sex marriage?
POPE FRANCIS: It is up to Parliament to discuss, argue, explain, reason [these issues]. That is how a society grows.
However, once a law has been adopted, the state must also respect [people’s] consciences. The right to conscientious objection must be recognized within each legal structure because it is a human right. Including for a government official, who is a human person. The state must also take criticism into account. That would be a genuine form of laicity.
You cannot sweep aside the arguments of Catholics by simply telling them that they “speak like a priest.” No, they base themselves on the kind of Christian thinking that France has so remarkably developed. [Emphasis added]
QUESTION: The Church in France, particularly in Lyon, has been shattered recently by historical pedophilia scandals. What should be done about this situation?
POPE FRANCIS: It is true that it is not easy to judge the facts decades later in a different context. Reality is not always so clear. Nevertheless, there can be no statute of limitations for the Church in this field. As a result of these abuses, a priest, whose vocation is to lead a child to God, destroys him. He disseminates evil, resentment, distress. As Benedict XVI said, there must be zero tolerance.
Based on the information that I have, I believe that Cardinal Barbarin in Lyon took the necessary measures and that he has matters under control. He is courageous, creative, a missionary. We now need to await the outcome of the civil judicial proceedings (Editor: As opposed to canon law proceedings).
What do these questions and answers say about Pope Francis?
Fundamentally they say he is more a politician and less and less a Pope. His answers go against the teachings of the Holy Bible. Let’s look at each of his answers above:
- “Christian roots” takes on “colonialist overtones.” Mark 16:15 NKJV, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” It is the duty of all Catholics, Christians and the Pope to preach the gospel to every creature. The Pope appears to believe that the success of France’s christian roots is something to denigrate rather than to preserve. Christianity has done much more for France and Europe than not.
- In other words, [what is needed is] a social market economy. Government controlled economies create crisis that cause people to flee.Migrants are coming to Europe to flee government controlled socialist market systems. The same is true in South America, specifically Venezuela.
- Iraq, where a strong government [under Saddam Hussein] previously existed. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who murdered his own people using poison gas and started an extended war with Iran that led to the death of millions. Strong government is Communist/Islamic today. Pope Francis appears to be giving this form of government a green light.
- It is up to Parliament to discuss, argue, explain, reason [these societal issues i.e. euthanasia or same-sex marriage]. That is how a society grows. Society grows by following the word of the Bible on these issues. When euthanasia and same-sex marriage become the laws of the land society degenerates. Read Genesis 19, Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed.
- Church pedophiles “reality is not always so clear.” To clear the Catholic church of pedophiles the Church much defrock and excommunicate those accused of pedophilia. Not to do so gives succor to the sodomites.
Pope Francis is clearly working to change the Church to become more like the secular world. He is not up to the task of changing the world to be more like the Church. In this way alone is is much more dangerous that the Medici’s.
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