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



Pope Francis?

No Comment

After all ... Who are we to judge?

Pope Francis: a frightfully emerging picture

(a frightfully emerging picture ...)

The Popularity of Francis

may not be a good sign after all

It has been nearly three years into the Papacy of Francis and we have written nothing until now. Why? You be the judge ... (and, yes, actually you can).

If you are on good terms with the world, you probably are not on good terms with God. (Saint James.4.4)

The lives of the Saints are striking testimony to this. They have not been welcomed, and most often reproached, exiled, despised, and outcast. From Saint Paul to Saint Athanasius, from Saint John of the Cross to Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río, to name a few. But do not take our word on it: there is a greater Authority:

“If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (St. John 15.18-20)

“Unprecedented popularity”

“Pope Francis is the 266th pope and history has seen 37 false or antipopes,” he [Cardinal George Pell] wrote. “The story of the popes is stranger than fiction,” the cardinal wrote, and today “we have one of the more unusual popes in history, enjoying almost unprecedented popularity.”1

The Lingering — and discredited —Encounter Group mentality of the 1960s

This, of course, is not to make a judgment, nor to imply one either by Cardinal Pell or us.

We do, however, question the implicit paradigm of Encounter Groups — “Often associated with the radical social upheaval of the 1960s” 2 — that Francis appears to endorse on a massive scale, insisting that, “the culture of encounter that is the foundation of peace.” 3

And all this time we thought — and the Church taught — that it was God, Christ Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Who isthe foundation of peace.

Not an Encounter — with Christ

It is important to note that Pope Francis is not speaking of an encounter with Christ — that is to say, an encounter with God and the subsequent conversion experience to Jesus Christ together with the peace that attends this conversion (for that, after all, would be “proselytism”, or the turning of others to Christianity and the Church which he openly and famously deplores as “nonsense”) — but with other “cultures”.

What an odd notion. We wonder if the Holy Father plans Encounter Groups with ISIS and Radical Islam — clearly another “culture” altogether — and after absorbing their thoughts on the matter arriving at that “foundation of peace” through his policy of the “culture of encounter”. In this case — and it is an important one — God cannot be in the mix. After all, by what name would both cultures call Him (and your head may well depend on your answer), and so arrive at peace?  Perhaps we could compromise on the Name of God since we have already compromised on so much.

This is no rhetorical question. Pope Francis’s mantra, hearkening back to the clarion of Vatican II, is clear:

“A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive.” 5

This entire narrative gives pause ... no matter how non-judgmental we must “correctly” be in order to offend no one in the name of Christ.

Pray for the Holy Father. Pray for the Church. And never cease to pray for the conversion of the world to Christ. It was, after all, His last commission to us. 4


Boston Catholic Journal


1  Cardinal George Pell (Catholic News Service. October 24, 2014)
3  (Vatican Radio - Pope at Mass: Culture of encounter is the foundation of peace) Homily by Pope Francis May 22 2013
 “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (St. Matthew 28.19)

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Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
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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