Tag Archive for: Pope Francis

Pope Francis Commemorates 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide — “The first of the 20th Century”

Turk_official_teasing_Armenian_starved_children_by_showing_bread,_1915_(Collection_of_St._Lazar_Mkhitarian_Congregation)

Turkish official teasing starved Armenian children by showing bread during the Armenian Genocide, 1915.

Pope Francis chose this Sunday to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by the Young Turks of the waning Ottoman Empire.  He called it the first genocide of the 20th Century”. The AP reported, that Turkish President Erdogan called “hateful “and “unacceptable.”  He immediately ordered the recall of their Ambassador to the Holy See and had the Foreign Minister invite in the Papal Ambassador.  The AP wrote:

Pope Francis on Sunday called the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks “the first genocide of the 20th century” and urged the international community to recognize it as such, sparking a diplomatic rift with Turkey at a delicate time in Christian-Muslim relations.

Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, who was on hand to mark the 100th anniversary of the slaughter at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, praised the pope for calling a spade a spade in an interview with The Associated Press. But Turkey, which has long denied genocide took place, recalled its ambassador to the Holy See in protest.

“The pope’s statement, which is far from historic and legal truths, is unacceptable,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted. “Religious positions are not places where unfounded claims are made and hatred is stirred.”

Francis, who has close ties to the Armenian community from his days in Argentina, defended his pronouncement by saying it was his duty to honor the memory of the innocent men, women and children who were “senselessly” murdered by Ottoman Turks.

“Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it,” he said at the start of a Mass in the Armenian Catholic rite honoring the centenary.

In a subsequent message directed to all Armenians, Francis called on all heads of state and international organizations to recognize the truth of what transpired to prevent such “horrors” from happening again, and to oppose such crimes “without ceding to ambiguity or compromise.”

[…]

Turkey’s embassy to the Holy See canceled a planned news conference for Sunday, presumably after learning that the pope would utter the word “genocide” over its objections. Instead, the Foreign Ministry in Ankara summoned the Vatican’s envoy, and then announced it was recalling its own ambassador to the Vatican for consultations.

In a statement, it said the Turkish people would not recognize the pope’s statement “which is controversial in every aspect, which is based on prejudice, which distorts history and reduces the pains suffered in Anatolia under the conditions of the First World War to members of just one religion.”

ravished armeniaOur NER colleague, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein wrote a chronicle of the Ottoman pogroms and genocides perpetrated  against the Armenians in the late 19th Century and during World War I,  The Armenian Genocide as Jihad”  (January 2015)Dr. Rubenstein is the author of seminal works about the Holocaust and more recently, Jihad and Genocide.   Rubenstein’s opening stanza of his article recalls the appalling depredations wreaked by Turkish and Kurdish auxiliaries:

There is a 1919 silent film about the Armenian genocide, “Ravished Armenia,” originally produced in Hollywood using Turkish documentary footage. It was based on a book by a survivor, Aurora Mardiganian, who also starred in the production. The film originally consisted of nine reels, most of which have been lost. Recently, a twenty-minute clip was found that contains brief scenes of many of the incidents that took place during the genocide.1

Although low-definition, there is one terrible scene toward the end of the clip that is especially difficult to watch. Seldom, if ever, have I viewed a film scene that matches this one in sadistic obscenity. It is a crucifixion scene, but unlike Christian images of Christ on the cross that express symbolically the triumph of eternal life over evanescent human pain, this film’s crucifixion scene carried a very different symbolic meaning. There are eight crosses in a row to which are nailed eight naked, young Armenian women. After the film offers a panoramic view of all of the crosses and their victims, it focuses on a single sufferer. Nailed to the cross, she is helplessly alive. One could tell by her eyes and facial movements that her cognitive functions were unimpaired as she awaited the painful doom of her crucifixion.

The terrible scenes of the deportations, confiscations, sadistic brutality, rapine, outright murder of helpless Armenians, and the crucifixion of the Armenian maidens could not have been filmed without the involvement and consent of Turkish authorities.

The perpetrators took the most sacred symbol of Christendom and turned it into a blasphemous obscenity, symbolically proclaiming absolute Muslim dominance. Nevertheless, something else was involved: women are the child bearers. Their wombs carry the next generation. No words were necessary. The message was clear: “We express our utter contempt for you and your religion. We intend to destroy your future. You have no human rights. We can do with you whatever we wish.”

Nevertheless, shortly after the film was released, Turks apparently had second thoughts about what could be made available publically. Since then, for almost a century, Turkish governments have vehemently rejected the charge that Turks committed genocide against the Armenians. The most Turks have been willing to acknowledge is that both the Turks and Armenians inflicted wartime harm on each other, thereby arguing for moral equivalence between Turkish genocidal violence and rare instances of Armenian defensive action. Admitting that there were massacres, Turkish authorities have insisted that the number of Armenians killed has nevertheless been greatly exaggerated. Moreover, in spite of the publication of a host of well-documented eye-witness reports and testimonies, Turkish governments have used their diplomatic influence to prevent governments, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and others, from taking any action that would validate the Armenian claim that a nearly successful attempt to exterminate the Armenians of the Ottoman empire took place during the first World War.

In view of the fact that post-war German governments have acknowledged the role of National Socialist Germany in planning and implementing the extermination of Europe’s Jews, why have successive Turkish governments refuse to tread a similar path with regard to the Armenian victims?

[…]

This suggestion is in accord with the first words in Vahakn N. Dadrian’s magisterial study of the Armenian genocides. Dadrian begins: “As a first step toward a full analysis of the nationality conflicts [in the Ottoman Empire], it is necessary to examine Islam as a major determinant in the genesis and escalation of these conflicts.

Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Senior

Henry Morgenthau, Senior

The massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in the midst of WWI was largely met with indifference by the Christian world.  The exception was the American Committee for Syrian and Armenian Relief, now Near East Foundation that created refugee centers for Armenia orphan children. This despite information provided conveyed to the U.S. Statement Department by the American Ambassador to the Sublime Porte, Henry Morgenthau, Senior. President’s Wilson Jewish appointee who served in that post during the period from 1913 until his resignation in 1916. He   wrote a personal account in Ambassador’s Story, about his confrontation with Ottoman officials over eye witness reports he received from Consuls in Van and Aleppo of the heinous crimes committed by Turkish and Kurdish forces. those reports to his friend Aldolph Ochs, publisher of the New York Times.  His book has graphic photographs of the devastation wreaked upon the country’s Armenian minority.   Morgenthau also noted the indifference of the German Ambassador an ally of the Ottoman Turks during this great slaughter.  In a 1915 telegram to the US State Department, Morgenthau “described the massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a “campaign of race extermination.”  In his book. Morgenthau wrote:

The real purpose of the deportation was robbery and destruction; it really represented a new method of massacre. When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact.  Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story pg. 309.

Ambassador_Morgenthau's_Story_By_Henry_MorgenthauAs noted by Dr. Rubenstein, this first genocide of the 20th Century was used by Hitler as justification for the Final Solution for the murder in unspeakable ways of six million European Jewish men, women and children.  The depredations committed against Jews during the Shoah were not dissimilar from the outrages perpetrated on Armenian throughout the Ottoman Empire, although with an important difference- the organization of a network of slave labor and death camps using technology.  The reports of the Armenian slaughter look eerily similar to those of the Islamic State against Orthodox and Assyrian Christians in both Syria and Iraq 100 years later.  During WWII it was left to the Ambassador’s son, Henry Morgenthau, Jr. ,President Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary , who with his able staff , brought about  the creation of the War Refugee Board (WRB)  to save an estimated 250,000 Jews who fell into allied hands. The WRB enlisted the aid of Swedish businessman Raoul Wallenberg and others in the diplomatic community that used funds for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee  to safe house 90,000 Hungarian Jews in Budapest.

100 years after the Armenian Genocide Islamist President Erdogan perpetuates official amnesia conveying it as hateful to Turkish nationalism, when in fact it was a Jihad perpetrated by reformer predecessors of the Young Turks, Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha, Enver Pasha and Djemal Pasha.

Hitler, who admired Islam and Jihad, used the Turkish destruction of Armenians as the model for the Holocaust against the hated infidel Jews.  He reportedly  told his friend, the German Muslim convert Ached Huber, “The only religion I respect is Islam. The only prophet I admire is the Prophet Muhammad.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The below video is the 1919 film RAVISHED ARMENIA , the original movie was also known as  the Auction of Souls:

The following poster shows graphically what happened then and what is happening now to Christians in the Middle East. History tends to repeat itself…

armenian genocide girls crusified

Pope Francis Calls for a Synod of Bishops on Sunday, October 5th, 2014 in Rome

Hope all is well on this wonderful “Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi” – arguably the greatest of all saints and the first ever to bear the Stigmata – the “5 wounds of Christ”. And, St. Francis is also the name sake of our 266th Catholic pope, the former Jorge Bergoglia of Argentina. And, this weekend – beginning tomorrow, Sunday, October 5th, a very significant event in the history of the Catholic Church, will be taking place – THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS in Rome.

synod

Synod.

The Synod of Bishops, in the Roman Catholic Church, is an advisory body for the Pope. It is:

“[A] group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and meet together at fixed times to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world”.

Of its nature, the Synod of Bishops is permanent, even when not in session. Periodically, it holds assemblies, which are either general, if called to consider matters directly concerning the universal Church, or special, if called for problems of a particular geographical area. The general assemblies are either ordinary (held at fixed intervals) or extraordinary (held to treat of some urgent matter).

As well as holding these periodical assemblies, the Synod of Bishops has a permanent secretariat which is headquartered in Rome but is not part of the Roman Curia. The Code of Canon Law’s chapter on the Synod of Bishops comes after that on the Pope and the College of Bishops, and before that on the cardinals. In the Annuario Pontificio, information on it is given before that on episcopal conferences.

The “Extraordinary Synod” – the third of its kind in the modern history of the Catholic Church – is part of a process of reflection that will last more than a year. It’s likely to reveal both the nature and, most likely, the limits of the change heralded by Pope Francis. And, it could not have come at a better time. Our world is in a “world of hurt” – sin, violence, war, persecution of Christians, abortion, terrorism, Ebola virus outbreaks, deterioration of the family, you name it.

The coming together of our our Bishops with our Holy Father is truly what I believe GOD has been calling for, for years, now. And, with Pope Francis – the bold and humble leader that he is – I honestly think that the setting and the timing could not have been better. I have personally been calling and pleading for a “Vatican III” for the past several years, as we truly need to get the Holy Catholic Church back on track – back to where Jesus envisioned it over 2,000 years ago when He built our solid Church upon the Rock of Peter.

The Second Vatican Council – commonly known as Vatican II – was, in theory at least, the seismic event in the modern history of the Catholic Church. It was a huge event! It ran from 1962 to 1965 with over 2,800 bishops involved. Some think that it was quite controversial. Others felt like it was the best thing that ever happened to the Holy Catholic Church.

I personally believe that it was “necessary” – just like I believe that this Synod of Bishops taking place in Rome this weekend is long over-due. We need a “shake-up” in the Catholic Church…We need those “Judas warm Catholics” – those sitting on the fence – to wake up and get involved. We need some “house cleaning” – the House of the Lord! We need to overturn those tax collector’s tables all over again at the Temple and run all those out who are sinning and manipulating the system. And, we need all of our clergy – including some of our prominent church leaders – to get back on the same page – the same book – the Holy Bible.

My prayer is that this shake-up isn’t a controversial one – a negative one – but, rather a positive one. One that will even catch the liberal, secular media by surprise and stop them in their tracks. That same media that is salivating, waiting for the pope to make a comment that they can take out of context and make the pope appear that he is just as liberal as they are. They are dying for him to fail, to fall through the cracks. This opportunity is when I truly believe that Pope Francis will have the “global stage” – the platform and the attention of the entire world – and be able to lay down the real Truths of the Catholic Church teachings. I have referred to the pope’s approach as a “Global Open House” – where he has embraced and invited the entire population – the atheists, the sinners, the homosexuals, the outcasts, etc. to come to listen to what he has to say. I think that this Synod of Bishops will be a huge step in the pope’s process of laying down the “law of the land” from a devout Catholic’s perspective.

And, since the topic of discussion at this particular Synod will be “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”, you can just imagine how tense the air will be. With so much attention being paid to same sex marriage in today’s society – with “19” states in America allowing same sex marriage to take place in their respective states today…with Pope Francis marrying 20 couples a few weeks ago right there at St. Peter’s Basilica (with some of the couples having lived together and a couple having babies out of wedlock) – you know that there is bound to be some heads turning and some ears burning with what may come out of these conversations.

Is Pope Francis going to play it conservatively and not make any waves with this topic of Family, or is he going to make some statements that may ruffle feathers with the conservative Catholic faithful? How is the Holy Father going to tackle the issue of same sex marriage at this Synod when he already caught the entire world’s attention last year when he calmly made that comment about not judging the homosexual lifestyle during his interview on an airplane coming back from World Youth Day in Rio by uttering those “famous 5 words”: WHO AM I TO JUDGE?

Friends: The stage is set for this weekend in Rome as we truly need to pray that the Holy Catholic Church gets back to the basics of Catholicism – the basics of our beloved Catechism – the principles & doctrines that our church was built on. I, for one, love the “old school” as well as the New Evangelization that Saint John Paul II instituted less than 25 years ago where I honestly believe that every Catholic in this country needs to maintain that balance in his or her walk in Faith. Maintaining that tradition from the true, Traditional Holy Roman Catholic Church, tied in with the New Evangelization that the past 3 popes have clearly elaborated on – is the ideal formula for the Catholic Faithful to build their faith on and to help build the Catholic Church today. That is what Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus were banking on and what I pray that Pope Francis continues to push and takes it to another level.

Change is tough. It can be good, but it can be controversial. My prayer is that Pope Francis institutes some wholesome, positive changes (if need be), within the parameters of the institution of the Family and that nothing he institutes or comments on during this Synod, causes the Catholic Faithful to turn on the Holy Father and criticize him for being too liberal, too progressive. Pope Francis will NOT be changing Catholic Church doctrine – just merely delivering it an a less orthodox fashion. As of today, countless Catholics all over the world have criticized the pope for being too liberal and too progressive and for playing too much to the liberal media. The last thing we need at this Extraordinary Synod is for the pope to say something about okaying same sex marriage and having it twisted and turned every which way by every reporter in the world. In my heart of hearts, I think that Pope Francis knows what he is doing and will do what the Holy Spirit has asked him to do in leading the Catholic Church. And, the Holy Spirit is that passionate third person in our Blessed Holy Trinity. GOD and His son, Jesus, will be watching closely and with all the angels and saints – including the humble saint in whose Feast Day we celebrate today, and whose namesake our beloved Holy Father took after – we will be in good hands…in GOD’s hands.

And, all the Catholics in this world said: AMEN…

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of RTE News.

Who is Pope Francis? Perhaps his ‘Transformation on 9/21/53’ may help us understand him better?

Today’s million dollar question: Who is Pope Francis?

I refer to our Holy Father as a Holy Catholic Enigma.

Hope all is well on this day after “Pope Francis’ 61st Anniversary of his Conversion & Call to Religious Life”. Yes, it occurred in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the Feast Day of St. Matthew (September 21st, 1953), some 61 years ago, when a troubled, 16 year old Jorge Mario Bergoglio walked into church for confession. The rest is history…and, the rest is a bit confusing and perplexing – especially the last year year and a half of his 77 years here on earth.

Pope Francis has been at it for 18 months now, as our Holy Father – CEO of 1.2 billion Catholics world-wide. He hit the Vatican ground running on that Feast Day of St. Joseph (March 19th, 2013), as he took the baton from our beloved Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus, who thought it was wiser to resign from his post at age 85, allowing the younger cardinal from Buenos Aires to take it from there. First time we have seen that in the Vatican in 600 years, since Pope Gregory XII resigned in 1415. Wise move from a very wise retiring pope, who gave it his all in his nearly 8 years as our 265th pontiff.

And, if we were to take a national survey today – 61 years after Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s confession & conversion – we would probably see a wide assortment of answers when asked that million dollar question: “Who is Pope Francis”?

Friends: Where does one begin? How does one describe what you have seen, heard and watched from Pope Francis in his short, 18 month tenure so far? Why is it that this pope has caught the attention of billions (as in B) all over the world, as in a stark contrast to his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who quietly took over after Pope John Paul II’s incredible 27 years? Is it because Pope Francis was elected so quickly by the 121 cardinals and because it was after the resignation of a pope, which we have not seen in 6 centuries? Is it because this pope is from the Americas – South America – of all places? Is it because he has a “chip on his shoulders” and wants to embrace the entire world to the religion of Catholicism like it was meant to be – just like Jesus ordained it to be over 2,000 years ago?

Or is it because this is what GOD ordained and what GOD considers part of the Big Plan? If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked “Willy, what is your take on Pope Francis”, I would be able to buy new text books for all 100 Catholic dioceses in this country who unforgivably adopted the Curse of Common Core and I would get the curse out of every one of those schools immediately.

Friends: Keep in mind that every time Pope Francis answers a question from the media, it is interpreted hundreds of different ways in hundreds of different languages. And, that is why the secular, liberal media love this guy. They get to twist & turn every one of his words and they, for some reason, always take his comments way out of context. That is one reason why he was voted “Person of the Year” last year and why he appeared on the front cover of “Rolling Stone” magazine…not “Roll away the Stone” magazine…The secular media see Pope Francis as a rock star…but, millions of faithful, die-hard Catholics all over the world do not.

And, that is where it gets sticky, confusing, perplexing, frustrating, and some times, down right excruciating. The “old school” Catholics don’t care for the pope being named Person of the Year. They don’t read Rolling Stone magazine. But, they do read the interviews on the pope. They do read his comments on abortion, contraception, same sex marriage and wealth vs. poverty. They saw him wed 20 different couples at St. Peter’s Basilica two Sundays ago (hearing that several of those couples had lived together and a few had babies out of wedlock).  And, the majority of people in this country, alone, still do not know what to make of his ever-famous quote given 3,000 feet up in the air on his return trip from Rio de Janeiro after World Youth Day when our Holy Father uttered his “famous last 5 words”:

WHOM AM I TO JUDGE?

So, with all this being said and with this “enigma-laced” question above still dangling for everybody to interpret – “Who is Pope Francis” – what do we make of all this? Like I told the Palm Beach Post almost a year ago when they interviewed me: “Pope Francis is doing a ‘Global Open House’, where he is inviting EVERYBODY to the table – the haters, the sinners, the homosexuals, the atheists, the outcasts, etc., and is simply getting their attention to be able to sit them all down at one time in about another year and show them what Catholicism teaches – what the Holy Catholic Church truly teaches”…I pray that I am right.

This has been my prayer ever since I heard his interview when he told the reporters “Who am I to Judge”? Believe me, friends, those 5 words do not sit well with me because like I said last year in that same interview – they can be interpreted a million different ways…and, they have been. It sent out mixed messages and truly confused the Catholic faithful. The pope opened up more than a can of worms when he uttered those 5 simple words and many of the Catholic die-hards lost it about then. And, many left the Church and refuse to come back.

And, while Catholic lay evangelists like Matthew Kelly, Dr. Scott Hahn and Tom Peterson are trying their best in “Calling Catholics Back Home”, damage has been done and those “old school” Catholics who were not patient enough to see when Pope Francis is going to elaborate on all of these “new school” expressions (not Catholic doctrine or teachings), may have left prematurely as the Church has lost numerous patrons who said they had seen enough.

And, Catholics are stubborn by nature…So, to ease your minds, please take a good look at this article below, which makes a ton of sense when speaking about Pope Francis. It honestly allowed me to relax a bit and not be so impatient with the pope. It gave me a different perspective on the pope’s perspective. The sections on “personal encounters” and “forgiveness” says a lot about our Holy Father and gives you the sense that he truly does believe in compassion and embracing even those who transgress us. Deep down, I honestly believe that the pope is simply trying to follow in the footsteps of our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, but, he does add a bit of flair and drama to his evangelization and preaching, thus, keeping everybody honest and a bit off balance…some more than others.

Enigma: Look it up on Google and see if it says “Pope Francis” under synonyms…He is like the Holy Rosary…a mystery to so many Catholics…a joyful one, though.

All Eyes on Francis

September 18, 2014

All eyes are on Pope Francis.

People around the world are watching what he is saying and doing and trying to understand what it means.

A friend called today from Switzerland: “What do you make of this alleged ‘irritation’ of the Pope over the new book defending traditional Catholic teaching on marriage?” he asked. “And his allegedly asking Cardinal Mueller not promote the book? What’s going on?”

Another friend emailed from New York. He had just spoken with an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi who is well-known in the pro-life movement. “I have been talking to a mutual friend — Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who spoke at the March for Life for several decades. He is a strong supporter of the Catholic Church’s stand against abortion, and for traditional man-woman marriage, etc. He is a spokesman for the Rabbinical Alliance of more than 800 Orthodox Rabbis. He feels that if the Church waffles or retreats on abortion or homosexuality or marriage at the upcoming Synod, this will have an adverse effect on Orthodox Judaism and other strong family religions. He is very concerned about the upcoming Synod.”

And another friend wrote, in response to my email of yesterday: “Excellent run down on the issue and cardinals involved. Prelates encouraging or advocating change are gradually ruining the authentic true Catholic Faith. The Roman Catholic Church is not supposed to be a ‘feel good’ Church, waxing and waning to current social issues. It is tragic, that the once prestigious Roman Catholic Church, is now dysfunctional, divided, depleted, contentious and infiltrated.”

And another reader wrote: “Many thanks — was hoping for more clarification on this issue! Will watch this space. Any comment on Cardinal Burke’s new job?” (Note: There have been unconfirmed reports that Pope Francis has decided to move the American Cardinal Raymond Burke from his post in the Roman Curia, as head of the Apostolic Signatura, to a post outside the Curia, as head of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta: see the report on this by Sandro Magister, the Italian Vaticanist, at link).

So many Catholics, and some Orthodox Jewish rabbis, in many countries around the world, are watching Pope Francis, and wondering what he is doing, and what he will do next…

Understanding Francis

Pope Francis, I think, is attempting to make a slight adjustment in the Church’s pastoral focus.

Not to change Church doctrine, but to review and reform how the Church deals with, and cares for, fallen human beings.

This attempt is rooted in both personal experience, and in theological conviction.

Francis is persuaded there is a need to reach out to suffering, wounded, disoriented sinners in part because of a personal experience.

He had a personal, life-changing experience, a mystical experience, of God’s forgiveness of his sin.

It came after he went to confession, at the age of 16, in a church in Buenos Aires.

He has even told us the date: on September 21, 1953 — the Feast of St. Matthew (for this reason, Francis is fascinated by the painting of Caravaggio called The Calling of St. Matthew in the Church of St. Louis of the French near Piazza Navona in Rome; in past years, he often would go there when visiting Rome). This is how the Vatican put it in a biographical sketch published at the time of the Pope’s election last year: “Following a confession, he felt his heart touched and sensed the descent of the mercy of God, who with a look of tender love, called him to the religious life, following the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola.” In these few, spare words, we are told of an experience which transformed the life of young Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He felt his heart “touched” and he “sensed” the “descent of the mercy of God.” He felt, “in a very special way,” the “loving presence of God in his life.”

This experience is part of the reason the Francis wishes to deal with human frailty and sin, not through a restatement of why the sinner is in sin, or in a recitation of the Church’s judgment that the sinner’s choices and actions are sinful, but with mercy, with forgiveness, and so, with an opening out to new life.

There are also theological convictions at the base of Francis’ vision for the pastoral care of Christians — and for all human beings.

Francis is persuaded that the Church is a Mother, that the Church nourishes and protects and supports her children.

He is persuaded that the Lord Jesus, Founder of the Church, still present in the Church, in the Eucharist, in His Word, in his ministers and disciples, and in the love of the members of the Christian community for one another, wishes — as He did when He walked on this earth — to pardon sinners, to forgive them and heal them, not to condemn them and cast them out.

Francis believes in the “personal encounter” — with persons, with a “Mother”… a “Father”… a “Brother” who walks beside us, with us.

And he regards a certain type of “moralism,” which can seem to set laws and precepts and anathemas above such a “walking with,” as something to be avoided, a possible trap for believers.

He doesn’t want to “change the rules” about what is good and evil. Rather, he wishes to forgive those who transgress those rules, and repent, and seek forgiveness.

And he senses that he must privilege this attitude, and this action, or he may lose many souls, who will, sadly, perhaps in despair, turn aside from the way of the Christian faith, unless the Church reaches out to them with arms to embrace and forgive.

And precisely today, Francis spoke about this very personal vision of human life, human morality, and human sin, in his morning homily at Mass in the chapel at his residence, the Domus Santa Marta.

In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said that it is precisely in one’s sins where one meets Jesus. (Here is a link to a Rome Reports video of parts of the homily: Link)

The Pope said that in recognizing our sins, we are able to experience Christ’s loving forgiveness. He said: “This is why the ability to acknowledge our own sins, to acknowledge our misery, to acknowledge what we are and what we are capable of doing or have done, is the very door that opens us to the Lord’s caress, His forgiveness, to His Word ‘Go in peace, your faith has saved you!” The Pope concluded his homily saying that those who feel themselves sinners open their hearts in confession and experience the mercy of God.

Vatican Radio provided these further excerpts: “He (Christ) only says the word salvation — ‘Your faith has saved you’ — to the woman, who is a sinner.

“And he says it because she was able to weep for her sins, to confess her sins, to say ‘I am a sinner’, and admit it to herself.

“He doesn’t say the same to those people, who were not bad people: they simply did not believe themselves to be sinners.

“Other people were sinners: the tax collectors, prostitutes… These were the sinners. Jesus says this word — ‘You are saved, you are safe’ — only to those who open their hearts and acknowledge that they are sinners.

“Salvation only enters our hearts when we open them to the truth of our sins.”

“This is why the ability to acknowledge our own sins, to acknowledge our misery, to acknowledge what we are and what we are capable of doing or have done is the very door that opens us to the Lord’s caress, His forgiveness, to His Word ‘Go in peace, your faith has saved you!’, because you were brave, you were brave enough to open your heart to the only One who can save you.”

One can see clearly in these words the influence of the Pope’s personal experience of September 21, 1953, which continues to shape his understanding of how he should deal, as Pope, with the issue of moral evil and sin, and with the reality of God’s loving mercy which can forgive such sin.

Pope Francis: Left, Right and Wrong? Left on Marxism, Right on CEO Capitalist Greed, Wrong on Prosperity

This is a response to the pope’s attack on capitalism referenced in the UK Telegraph, January 9, 2014. This Pope is destined to impact the world, but is he right?

This author, as a college youth who spent summers in Colombia and Venezuela, landed in Caracas in 1960 and was shocked to see a Communist demonstration because a Communist diplomat from Cuba was arriving. I was told that the poverty in Latin America was fertile soil for their ideology.

Why the poverty in Latin America? Those countries were colonized by Spain and Portugal at the same time the United States was forming. They have an abundance of natural resources without the severity of climate in the northeast where the pilgrims landed. But after centuries of Catholic dominance, I witnessed a country where millions of people were illiterate and could not read or write. Yet in every village, high above the sheds and shacks, was a cathedral built by money from these poor people. I was told the gold in a Panama cathedral was white-washed to disguise and save it from an invading army.

Alberto Rivera, a converted Jesuit priest, says when his father died, his mother had to give their only cow to the priest to get daddy out of purgatory (a word not found in the Bible). Rivers’s wife believes he died of poisoning. One of his revealing books, The Godfathers, is linked at the end of this article.

The pope admits Marxist friends, but says they are wrong—after all, they don’t believe in God, and one of the pope’s titles is ‘Lord God the Pope.’ That claim and the persecution of those who would not bow to the pope led Protestant Reformers to believe the papacy was the “little horn” power that grew out of the Roman Empire in the imagery of Daniel 7’s sequence of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia and Rome.

The pope is right about capitalistic greed of CEO’s paid such inordinate amounts. The Bible says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” [1 Timothy 6:10]. But the pope forgets the Sermon on the Mount; We can’t take the speck out of our brother’s eye till we take the beam out of our own. [Matt. 7:3,4].

The Vatican is the largest holder of land titles for any organization or government in the world with visible title at around USD $316 Billion of property (churches, schools, hospitals etc.) and around USD $264 Billion of investment property hidden in extremely complex networks of hundreds of thousands of trusts and front companies. AND THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING!” [Sic, Comment in UK article]

The Bible teaches prosperity and America flourished from 1776 to JFK when conflict with his church over the Vietnamese War may have contributed to his demise. Since JFK, every president may have been threatened with the same destiny as they moved us toward a New World Order with Rome behind it all. Rome is the recipient of wealth from banks as Karen Hudes reveals half-way through her expose.’ Search YouTube for Karen Hudes World Bank Whistle-blower; huge revelation that may get her killed.

Now we have a majority of Supreme Court Justices that are Catholic and Congress is mostly Catholic or catholic (universal—go along to get along). Where are the Protestants? No wonder this country is about to get flushed down the toilet of economic greed, moral pollution, and spiritual depravity.

Rome’s role in both World Wars is exposed in Rivera’s Godfathers and may be read online. The Bible describes the harlot (a woman represents a church in Bible prophecy, Jeremiah 6:2) as decked with gold and precious stones (wealthy church) and is the mother of abominations, Revelation 17:4,5. How it got there is well-described in a chapter of The Great Controversy a best-seller that can be read online.