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Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason


The Despotism of Francis
a Wicked man

The Despotism of Pope Francis
the Benevolence of God

We do not argue that the Seat of Saint Peter is empty — which is to say that we are not Sedevacantists (from the Latin “sede vacante”, “the chair being vacant”)

Indeed, we maintain that the Chair is, in fact, occupied.

That it is presently occupied by an apparent heretic, pantheist and madman, in no way invalidates the statement that the papacy is indeed occupied.

Some popes have been saints. Some have been scoundrels. Jorge Bergoglio, regrettably, is certainly and most notoriously among the latter.

The “Cathedra Petri” is not and has never been empty (apart, of course, from the interregnum between the death of a pope and the nomination of his successor — the longest of which was 3 years (1268-1271) With Francis occupying the Cathedra Petri since 2013 however, this position has become increasingly untenable. At what point does a man — including a pope — cease to be in communion with the Church? At what point does he cease to be Catholic? If he does not hold what the Church teaches, what Sacred Scripture teaches, what Sacred Tradition teaches, what the authentic Magisterium of the Church has taught for 2000 years — in what sense do we hold him to be in communion with what he has openly repudiated — even suppressed?

Is the Pope Catholic?

Many Catholics and non-Catholics have, for some time now, nevertheless asked themselves what was once an amusing question intended to be a litmus test for the faithfulness of a Catholic. “How can you possibly question her fidelity to the Church? She’s as Catholic as the pope!” This, of course, presupposes that the pope is the paradigmatic Catholic entrusted with preserving and promoting Catholic teaching, dogma, the Sacred Deposit of Faith, the authentic and unbroken Catholic Magisterium, and millennia of Catholic Tradition.

This question can legitimately be asked — but without anticipating a positive response. Indeed, under the papacy of Francis, to be “as Catholic as the pope” is to be an uncertain, uncommitted Catholic, unsure of the credentials of the Catholic Church and uncertain of the morality historically predicated of Her and derived from Sacred Scripture. A non-creedal Unitarian Universalist 1 would be more in keeping with the mind of Francis than Catholicism as it has been historically understood.

Before we attempt to make sense of this apparent paradox, there are  a few things that we must be clear about; harsh as they may appear, they are quite nearly incontrovertible:

Francis is not a proponent of Catholicism, but an ideologue whose primary concern is an elusive and esoteric notion of “encounter” with all that is alien to Catholicism and most often antagonistic toward it — a program of assimilating other cultures by repudiating Catholic dogma and identity. For Francis there is nothing specific in the way of identity — essentially there is no differentiation—nothing is unique, nothing idiomatic: it is only sameness expressed in other terms that can never be incongruent. Uniqueness is anathema — even if that means sacrificing millennia old Catholic beliefs inseparable from the unique identity of Catholicism. Catholicism is an obstacle and if it is not consonant with every other belief system, it is Catholicism that must yield. Remember the absurd “Encounter Groups” which proliferated in the 60’s? (not coincidentally the era of Vatican II) These were even more flexible than Francis’s obscure — and rigid vision of the notion of Encounter. Yes, “rigid!” — the very epithet that Francis solely reserves for Traditional Catholics.

“Faced with cultural, ethnic, political and religious differences, we can close ourselves in a rigid defense of our so-called identity or open ourselves to the encounter with the other and cultivate together the dream of a fraternal society”, Francis pleaded.” 2

A “so-called” Catholic identity?

Why “so-called”? It appears that for Francis there is no unique “Catholic identity” that is distinguishable from every and any other social and religious identity. Each is simply a culturally inflected iteration of the other.

A “fraternal society” (much as Masons envision) rather than a Communion of Saints binding every Catholic to every other Catholic in the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant in Heaven with the singular goal of reaching Heaven, rather than “perfecting society on earth” as the Communists envision? Every member of a “fraternal society” will eventually perish. But not so for those who cleave to the Body of Christ (His Church) — and not the World — and who will not perish, but have everlasting life. (Saint John 3.15)

The Most Compelling Question is this: Given Francis’s Malfeasance, Why does God Allow it?

To clearly understand the predicament into which Francis’s papacy has placed us, we must first come to terms with what are called:

  • God’s Active Will and

  • God’s Permissive Will

Let us look at paradigms of each.

 The Active Will of God is always, in and of itself, absolutely good, for it is integral with God Himself Who is all-Good.

  • God does not actively will “relative” goods — that is to say, goods limited by other considerations and apportioned only as possibility allows.
    • In Himself pure actuality (there is no potentiality in God: He cannot potentially be “more” than what He actually is), there is nothing that can constrain His active willing, as though He were compelled to will lesser goods within a spectrum of possible goods to which He is confined.

    • God is absolutely free — without limitation or confinement; for these concepts are impossible to predicate of God as omnipotent. Each and every expression of God’s active will is ordered to the unmitigated good. “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness.” (1 Saint John 1.5).

    • Our first paradigm would actually be two-fold: the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments: Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21) and the Sermon on the Mount (Saint Matthew, chapters 5- 7) in which we find the Active Will of God: “This is what I want you to do and to refrain from doing.” This is God’s express will.

The Permissive Will of God

The most succinct definition of the next paradigm — the Permissive Will of God — is as follows:

  • In light of God’s conferring Free Will on man (God’s creation of man without this perfection would consequently be an imperfect creation by an all-good and all-powerful God, for freedom of will is an incontestable good — the privation of which results in an amoral world in which there is nothing meritorious and nothing blameworthy — much as we understand the operations of a machine that cannot do otherwise than its designer intended — a mere automaton to which we cannot ascribe any moral predicates.

  • As a consequence, man, possessing the perfection of free will, is free to choose what he wills, good or evil, and not what God wills. The same freedom may align man to God’s Express Will (he chooses to do what he knows God commands him to do — rather than that which he may otherwise be inclined to do — which is to say that his own will is freely aligned with the perfect will of God — before which he can plead no ignorance). What is more, God cannot revoke this perfect gift of free will without simultaneously abrogating that singular perfection with which He endowed man — and then re-create man as imperfect (without a free will).

A Pope — as with all men — is given the free will to do what he wills — rather than what God wills

This is the great mystery of the power of free will. So indefeasible and necessary to man’s created perfection (as noted above), God even permits man’s repudiation of God Himself! It is absolutely autonomous, uncoerced, and
intensionally 3(not “intentionally”) tautologous. 4

In a word, it is completely independent, self-referent, and completely free. However faithfully or unfaithfully a pope executes his Petrine Office is largely determined by the man. He may be good or he may be evil. In either case — even given the exalted office conferred upon him — he is withal and necessarily exercising his own free will. Even a pope is free to do what he wills, rather than what God wills. He can incorporate and exercise the legitimate responsibilities of his office, or he can be despotic and utterly ignore them, and with them, God. It is up to the man.

When the free will is consonant with God’s will it is holy, for God is holy. When the free will not consonant with God’s will it is evil (for there is nothing good apart from God.5) It is quite simple, really.

That God may actively or permissively will the Petrine Office to be occupied by the feckless despot Jorge Bergoglio as a scourge to a perverse and faithless generation, a generation which, unable to make God in their image, contrived to make His Vicar in their image instead — is altogether and increasingly likely.

We must equally remember two episodes, one from the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament in which we find God bringing good even out of evil:
In Genesis 15.18-20 we find the Patriarch Joseph thrown into a dry well to die by his eleven brothers, to whom he said when they were reunited, 

You thought evil against me: but God turned it into good, that he might exalt me, as at present you see, and might save many people.”

Pilate surely believed that it was in his power to crucify Christ or to free Him — but Jesus responds:

“Thou shouldst not have any power against Me, unless it were given thee from above.” (Saint John 19.11)

These are two striking examples of God’s Permissive Will — not simply respecting the free will He conferred upon man, but of His power to bring a seemingly impossible good out of the evil devices of men. Most often we do not see the end to which his benevolent, Permissive Will, is directed — and may not in this life at all. We are left with the assurance by Saint Paul:

“And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to His purpose, are called to be saints.” (Romans 8.28)

It is true that Jorge has uttered some things good and true — but because one utters some things that are true and good, we cannot infer that the one saying them is himself good ... or true.

An Apposite and Frightening Paradigm

Here our paradigm is no one less than Satan, who himself quoted Scripture in the Temptations of Christ (Saint Matthew 4.1-11) What he said was true in his unsuccessful attempts to seduce Christ from redeeming the souls of men, but because he quoted directly from Holy Scripture itself in no way mitigates his evil.

Some things that Bergoglio (Francis) says are both good  and true (when comprehensible —  but far too many are arrogant, evil and unjust) — and just as Lucifer can take the form of an angel of light,* so Francis can take the form of an apostle of Christ!

Like Satan, Francis can quote Scripture, too …




3 An intensional definition gives the meaning of a term by specifying necessary and sufficient conditions for when the term should be used by denoting the properties that an object requires in order to be understood as a referent of the term. For example, an intensional definition of the word “bachelor” is an “unmarried man”.

4 a tautology is the uttering of the same thing twice in different words.

5 Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.” (Saint James 1.17)

*“For such false apostles are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no wonder: for Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 13-14)

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal

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I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.
(Apocalypse 3.8)


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