The latest Pope Francis interview was granted to Franca Giansoldati of the Italian daily Il Messaggero and published on Sunday, June 30, 2014. (English translation provided by Zenit.)
As with each of the pope’s previous forays into the secular press, this interview contains a number of highly disconcerting statements; the one receiving the most attention having to do with the notion that the Communists have stolen the “flag of the poor” that properly belongs to the Church. (See also Mundabor’s treatment of the pope’s side-splitting Scripture “joke.”)
Much has been written on this topic already; I will only add that one would be sadly mistaken to imagine, as the popes seems to suggest, that genuine concern for the poor has anything whatsoever to do with the Communist agenda.
For most clear-thinking Catholics, that’s not exactly news.
Unfortunately, however, when it comes to the pope, the thinking of most Catholics appears to be anything but clear. As such, I’ll likely take some heat for saying this aloud, but here goes:
Neither does a genuine concern for the poor drive, in any meaningful sense, the pontificate of Pope Francis.
But Time Magazine said he’s “A pope for the poor!”
Sorry to bust your bubble, kids, but for all of his talk about the poor, Pope Francis’ words all-too-often bring about as much authentic Catholic substance to the conversation as the populist slogans of the Church’s enemies.
Now, let me be clear: I am perfectly willing to accept that the man Jorge Bergoglio cares about the plight of the poor and genuinely wishes to relieve their temporal sufferings. [Nota Bene: their temporal sufferings.]
And yet, as the content of this latest interview confirms, the program of this pontificate, including its approach to the poor, is so entirely earthbound in scope that most of the Holy Father’s comments therein would fit very comfortably in a Democrat Party position paper.
Throughout the interview, Pope Francis was given opportunity after opportunity to point to Jesus Christ as He who alone can relieve the sufferings of those who dwell in this valley of tears; the poor, the rich and everyone in between.
And yet, time and time again, he dragged the conversation back to earth.
For instance, when asked if there is “a hierarchy of values to be respected in the management of public affairs,” the pope responded:
“Certainly, to always protect the common good … Today, the problem of politics – I don’t speak only of Italy but of all countries, the problem is worldwide – is that it has been devalued, ruined by corruption, by the phenomenon of bribery.”
And here you thought that corrupt politics is the fruit of men in civil authority who have lost sight of the Source of all authority, Christ the King. Nope, the problem is bribery.
Asked to comment further upon political corruption, the Holy Father proposed:
“We are living not so much an age of changes, but a change of age. Therefore, it is about a change of culture; precisely in this phase things of this sort emerge. A change of age fuels moral decadence, not only in politics, but in financial and social life.”
Really? How can the Vicar of Christ fail to insist that man distancing himself from God (otherwise known as sin) is the source of all corruption?
Truly, it boggles the mind; the Catholic mind, that is.
At this, Ms. Giansoldati responded by delivering a softball that practically begs the pope to mention a loss of faith as the cause of society’s ills, saying, “Even Christians don’t seem to give a shining witness…”
To which the Bishop of Rome insisted, “It is the environment which facilitates corruption.”
He then went on to blame political corruption on some amorphous systemic problem wherein good people are “swallowed up by a multi-level, across the board, endemic phenomenon.”
If this were not enough to cause one to wonder if in fact the person answering the questions in this interviewer is really Hillary Clinton, Ms. Giansoldati then resorted to giving the pope a multiple choice question:
“Are you more alarmed by the moral or material poverty of a city,” she asked?
Wow. Can the interrogation get any easier?
I mean, Our Blessed Lord Himself let it be known how we must prioritize our lives vis-à-vis the poor.
Furthermore, Pope Leo XIII taught with great clarity that “Christian morality, when adequately and completely practiced, leads of itself to temporal prosperity.” (Rerum Novarum – 28)
Surely the pope will get this one right, no?
“I am alarmed by both,” the pope replied.
“For instance, I can help a hungry person so that he is no longer hungry. But if he has lost his job and doesn’t find employment, he has to deal with another poverty. He no longer has dignity. Perhaps he can go to Caritas and take home a food parcel, but he feels a very grave poverty that ruins his heart. An Auxiliary Bishop of Rome told me that many persons go to the cafeteria, secretly and full of shame, and take some of the food home. Their dignity is progressively impoverished, they live without hope.’
Setting aside for the moment the mind blowing fact that the pope failed to duly stress the problem of moral poverty (as any reasonably well-formed Catholic would naturally be compelled to do), pay close attention to what he said.
After answering that he is alarmed by both “moral” and “material” poverty, Pope Francis goes on to give examples, “For instance…”
As for material poverty, the pope pointed to hunger and unemployment. When it comes to illustrating moral poverty, however, the best he can do is speak of the wounds to “human dignity” allegedly evidenced when one feels bad about themselves.
He even goes so far as to say of the poor, “they live without hope,” and yet amazingly he stops short of holding up the solitary Source of hope for all of mankind! (Remember Him?)
From here the topics of child labor and child prostitution are brought up, and just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Holy Father says, “I think they are problems that can be resolved with a good social policy.”
The Holy Father went on to explain the need for “social services that help families to understand, supporting them to come out of burdensome situations.”
Once again, Ms. Giansoldati attempted (in vain) to bring the pope’s focus back to the business of being pope; you know, speaking as Christ’s Vicar and the visible head of the Holy Catholic Church.
“The Church, however, is working so much…” she said before the Holy Father interjected:
“And she must continue to do so. Families in difficulty must be helped, uphill work that requires a common effort.”
Uphill work. Common effort. Social services. Social policies.
Well, I guess it could be worse. At least he didn’t say “it takes a village.”
Undaunted, Ms. Giansoldati persisted.
“Does the Gospel speak more to the poor or to the rich to convert them,” she asks?
To which Pope Francis replied:
“Poverty is the center of the Gospel. The Gospel cannot be understood without understanding real poverty, keeping in mind that there is a most beautiful poverty of the spirit: to be poor before God so that God can fill you. The Gospel addresses the poor and the rich alike. And it speaks both of poverty and of wealth. It does not, in fact, condemn the rich at all, except when riches become the idolatrous objects — the god of money, the golden calf.”
This, my friends, is as close to speaking like a pope as the Bishop of Rome would go, and even here his words are an embarrassment to the Church.
“Poverty” is not the center of the Gospel, Jesus Christ is the center of the Gospel, and every authentic Christian, including the heretics, knows it. Then again, who really wants to talk about Him?
How is it possible that the rhetoric of the pope can be so consistently empty?
Francis, the pope of so many words, provided the answer:
“I am the first pope who didn’t take part in the Council and the first who studied theology after the Council and, at that time, for us the great light was Paul VI.”
When we reverse the Natural order of our priorities, putting creation before God, we end up with inordinate love for what we put first, which leads us blindly into the arms of Satan, mistaking him for God, whom we have dethroned..
With Faith in the promise that God knows all we need and will provide it once we Seek His Kingdom first, we walk in the light of His Divine Revelation and Tradition, that prevents us from subjugating those things man’ needs for the Salvation for his soul and spiritual well-being, to those things necessary for his body and physical comfort.
When Cardinal Bergoglio called his priests sacramental blackmailers and hypocritical, power hungry Pharisees for obeying Church regulations and requiring repentance of sin and the living of a moral life before Baptizing children in Argentina (in one case that of a prostitute)
He said: “Rubbing the fragility and wounds of the faithful in their faces, or dampening the hopes and expectations of those who supposedly do not fulfil the ‘requirements’ in terms of DOCTRINAL PREPARATION, OR MORAL STATUS, is a pastorally misleading model which rejects the dynamics of Christ’s incarnation”——
If only he could see how healed those wounds would be, and how high those hope could soar, from the very things he was rejecting as necessities.
Next he’ll be wanting to sell the Vatican treasures to help the poor— like in the old movie— “Shoes of the Fisherman” . Lord have mercy–I was hoping during his month of REST that he would rest his comments–silence can be a beautiful thing.
Francis is just warming us up to “Saint” Paul VI. Disgusting.
I translated an interview last year of Father Juan Carlos Scannone who was a sort of theological mentor of Jorge Bergoglio.
Notice that the themes that have emerged out of this papacy are already outlined by Scannone in May of 2013 — only a few months after Bergoglio’s election. Such themes as a “church of the poor”, ecumenism, relations with Jews and Muslims. And contrary to many reports according to Scannone, Bergoglio does favor a Argentine form of liberation theology which he refers to as “theology of the people”. Although perhaps this could also be translated as “theology of the poor” or “theology of the common people”.
This “theology of the poor” is what we see so clearly demonstrated in this latest Bergoglio interview.
Here is a quote from the interview with Father Scannone:
“I believe he will promote the preferential treatment of the poor as the hermeneutic that reflects the theological and pastoral teachings of Latin America. In Argentina, he defended what I refer to as “Argentinean liberation theology”, which some refer to as the “theology of the people”, and I assume he will continue to promote it.”
note re over statement paragraph 2 above: Revelation =Scripture and Tradition
Pope Francis claims to be the ” first [pope] who studied theology after the Council”. Would his humility allow him to call himself the synthesis of post VII theologies?
Pope Francis appears to have stolen the flag of the Communists.
Thank you for the hermeneutic. Unfortunately for everyone, in this case it shows real continuity.
Know I know we are in real trouble LA BUFFUNO strikes again. god helps us.
Your comment goes right along with a private Catholic Prophecy..
Blessed Elena Aiello, (beatified by Pope Benedict XVI,)
had a vision of the triumph of Our Lady, in which
“Flagstaffs (flying the Red flag over St. Peter’s dome and elsewhere) collapse
Dear Indignus. I saw a YouTube video of Bergoglio when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in which he was leading a crowd in what were essentially marxist chants. The chant was something like “pan y solidaridad” — “bread and solidarity”. Presumably this was a low income neighborhood.
Regarding marxists and the poor, I would say that they really don’t have the true interests of the poor in mind — not even the material interests. They are simply interested in exploiting the poor in order to gain power and impose their atheistic ideology. The reason they cater to the poor is because there will always be more low income people in a society than rich people. Which is why they use the term “the masses” — which is really a derogatory term when you think about it.
The same applies to masons who like to talk about “democracy” and the same applies to the way that Bergoglio exploits the poor. Only he dresses things up in Catholic rhetoric by talking about “the gospel of the poor”.
What is most disgraceful and in my opinion unpardonable is the way Bergoglio attempts to exploit the devotion of the poor to the Blessed Virgin. He attempts to portray Our Lady as some sort of action figure in the struggle for human rights. She is nothing of the sort. He has in mind an image of the masonic goddess of liberty — not Our Lord’s Mother.
Ever read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” ? Same scenario.
A statement on the poor from a document of then Cardinal Ratzinger:
10. But the “theologies of liberation”, which reserve credit for restoring to a place of honor the great texts of the prophets and of the Gospel in defense of the poor, go on to a disastrous confusion between the ‘poor’ of the Scripture and the ‘proletariat’ of Marx. In this way they pervert the Christian meaning of the poor, and they transform the fight for the rights of the poor into a class fight within the ideological perspective of the class struggle. For them the ‘Church of the poor’ signifies the Church of the class which has become aware of the requirements of the revolutionary struggle as a step toward liberation and which celebrates this liberation in its liturgy.
One would think he simply doesn’t get it -like he’s had a faith lobotomy or something – but then I find it difficult to accept that anyone who rises to positions of global influence are ever as dumb as they seem.
“[Bergoglio’s words]would fit very comfortably in a Democrat Party position paper.”
I have noticed how there is a much used refrain in Bergoglio’s magisterium of ‘make a mess’. He frequently says, ‘I follow Christ’, then goes on to cultivate an agenda that follows not Christ as preached by St Peter and the Apostles but someone the likes of Lloyd Geering has been touting in his war against an authentic understanding of Christ, for decades.
A little while ago I heard a radio talk by an ex-novus ordo seminarian. The seminary actually provided field trips to visit Sandanista’s so as to get properly acquainted with the struggle of the ‘proletariat’. This ideology is so obvious from the homilies of almost all the novus ordo priests I’ve come across. I could actually name only two exceptions. The novus ordo, for the most, is synonymous with these anti-christ worldly ideologies that the majority now mistake for ‘catholicism’.
I’ve heard of that movie, never seen it. Some commenters reckoned it paved the way for Wojtyla’s time in Rome (well, actually mostly out of Rome). There is apparently a scene that shows really accurately how they burn the dry straw in the stove at a conclave to signal the election of a pope which those who have heard of the ‘siri theory’ would find interesting.
Pope Francis: “I am the first pope who didn’t take part in the Council and the first who studied theology after the Council […].”
These are, in my opinion, the most revealing – and the most ominous – words in the entire interview. In the works of the other post-Vatican II popes – Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI – a certain tension is often evident; there are clear signs of an interior struggle to reconcile the remaining fragments of a traditional faith with the demands of a modern world. In Pope Francis, we have the first for whom there is no such struggle: he is a true son of “the Council”. Whereas the former, in moments of uncertainty, would decry the loss of faith and the advances of the diabolical within the Church, the latter, it would seem, has made peace with the Devil himself.
Heaven help us.
dear John Madison,
Exactly ! I know ! I find myself constantly having to heighten my nausea threshold. By end September I’m going to need to carry around a first aid kit just to protect me from His Humildad.
Exactly! They created a false Christ by cleverly removing every word the True one said about the free-will responses of remorse for sin, so necessary to salvation. No more original sin or post Baptismal accountability for it; no danger of Hell or Divine Justice, just love meaning compassion, mercy, charity, and hope–without any Faith, because it’s all man-based. We can do it ourselves, if we just pull together, and “God’s” mysterious plan is fulfilled through us.
We are battling the forces of evil, over the meaning of true Charity as a result of this great deception. Brotherly correction is the new taboo, and if you want to see this Pope’s venom exhibited, all you have to do is speak of limiting access to what is Holy, until those seeking it are repentant enough to change the behavior which disqualifies them from reception.
Happy Birthday SP!
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi
St. John in the Book of Revelations, warns us of the false prophet of the Beast, which comes up out of the earth, with two horns like a lamb, but speaking like the Dragon.
When you contrast this with Jesus’ words “I know my sheep and Mine know Me” and “My sheep listen to My voice”, it becomes clear that the greatest danger to souls is from the false prophet. The Beast he serves can deprive us of physical life, but following a voice other than that of the True Good Shepherd, can lead us to the fires of Hell. And Jesus warned us to have more fear of that, than of those that can harm the body.
Dear Matthew. You’re exactly right. There is no “tension” that moderates Bergoglio’s actions. For him VII is a “new beginning”, a “new covenant”, the “new pentecost”, “the new gospel”, “the new anti-dogma”…. for him VII is the Holy of Holies.
They procalaim that “every knee must bend” before their new idol. Even Jesus Christ Himself is whipped into submission.
Saint Vatican II… the saint above all other saints. The “new tower of Babel” which claims to reach to heaven solely through human efforts and without assistance from God.
The “new anti-Jerusalem” that seeks to de-throne God.
Dear Michael Leon
Your comments closely resemble the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich..
“I saw again the strange big church that was being built there (in Rome). There was nothing holy in it…… Everything was being done, according to human reason. I saw all sorts of people, things, doctrines, and opinions. There was something proud, presumptuous, and violent about it, and they seemed to be very successful. I did not see a single Angel nor a single saint helping in the work.” …. All in this church belonged to the earth, returned to the earth. All was dead, the work of human skill, a church of the latest style, a church of man’s invention like the new heterodox church in Rome”
The Holy Ghost’s long march…. through Santa Fe:), via RC.
With a little help from the Chicago boys.
We can pray thay ‘these days be shortened’!
Regarding ‘religion’ and ‘politics’; BP Williamson, with his merciful way of teaching the Faith ‘so plain a child could understand’, gives a homily:
‘paralytic obedience to false authority…authority without Truth is not authority, authority exists to serve Truth.’
The statement of then Cardinal Ratzinger concerning the poor of scripture is so very pertinent. As Christians we have not come to truly grasp what that distinction signifies. The notion of the “option for the poor” and the “theology of liberation” that was so prevalent in Latin American is so very understandable due to the intense struggle that has been its life for centuries. Yet, the lack of a clear insight leaves us vulnerable to the wiles of those who twist its meaning so as to destroy life for everyone but themselves. The struggle of meaning goes on still here in the USA. We hear it as a cry for the poor which trumps any other response but one of guilt and power: guilt for those who believe it and power for those who push it. The gospel wants all to come to the knowledge of God and to live in grace so as to make their way to be “happy with Him in the next.” Poverty as an obstacle to that process demands resolution. Poverty has less to do with what one has as to who one can be. So much of Latin America was filled with that conflict and rightly so. The oppression of the poor was enormous. There is poverty in this country as well for any system that oppresses its people from becoming a full human being with the tools of truth is poor indeed.
In those first years after the council, there were so many strange expressions and activities that were meant to break our traditional understanding of the way of the Church. I heard the Bishop of Bridgeport say, “Do whatever you want. If I don’t like it, I will let you know.” That has little to say about the dye has been cast. Such expressions were the seeds that have grown into this free-for-all that we see today. Another priest professor at the Maryknoll theologate inspired the seminarians with his comment: If you have a choice between prayer and reading…READ! We who grew up in the middle of all of this knew that the future was going to be bleak indeed.
Actually, that is very scary. Those at the council may have at least known the truth of the process and influences. A document hardly came off the press with the ink still wet, and it was out in in the media with explanations and commentary. So those who were not there have little idea about just what was going on at the sessions more than what we heard in the media. Obviously, the media served as a great filter of the entire development. So it can be said that we were the children not of the council as much as of the media. Trent and Vatican I were much more “hampered” by the lack of technology and therefore a slow process of assimilation. Vatican II was wholly distinct. Francis is the product of that process. He too was raised on innuendo and false notions. It has taken decades to begin to find the true teaching of Vatican II: good and bad. It certainly seems that this Pope is a total supporter of Vatican II with the canonizations of the recent past and the projection of the next saint to be.
Pope Francis promotes the idea of eliminating greed by setting up a Central World Government with mechanisms in place to prevent it. It looks like he’s trying to heal the “mortal” head wound the world thought it gave to Communism when the Berlin wall came down.
We heard he had a Communist teacher in high school, and that’s where he first read about it and fell in love with it’s ideas. He says he thinks they belong to Christ, which is where this whole discussion of Liberation Theology and the poor fit in. Ultimately, it’s about the gift of free will, properly used, when people remain free and live by Truth.
Yes, Psalm 109:8 keeps coming to mind when I read his interviews.
That’s exactly why it became more important than ever for the faithful to study the Scriptures, and choose to imitate Jesus and the faithful, while recognizing what they have to teach us about false teachers.
Our master spent whole nights in prayer, and said that His brothers and sisters were those who keep the Commandments. He said people erred because they did not know the Scriptures. In addition, we have the Tradition and lives of the Saints, and except for a few like “Francis-the-Earth worshipper” for the most part they haven’t been touched by all this, and we can see how they followed Tradition in their daily lives. There are ways around this, and God has led us to them. He has not left us orphans..
Pope Francis himself has given us an important key for understanding his actions: Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi. This is a document which greatly inspired the young Bergoglio. Read it, and you will see Francis – even down to the wording of several of his recent public statements – jump off the page.
In connection with this topic, I invite those who have not yet done so to watch the following interview with His Excellency Bishop Fellay (SSPX) from December of 2013. The talk becomes particularly interesting around the 23 minute mark: