It’s hard to imagine the Catholic Church being in worse shape than it currently is. We have a colossal and ongoing sex abuse scandal among the clergy and hierarchy that continues endlessly like some demonic global Chinese water torture. Due primarily to this scandal, the Church has lost all its moral authority in the world. Further, decades of cozying up to the culture has led to massive defections from the Church, as people no longer see her as an escape from our deadly culture, but instead as a religious blessing upon it. And then there’s Pope Francis.
Pope Francis. Nearly from day one he has been a source of scandal to the faithful. From “Who am I to judge?” to denigrating big families for “breeding like rabbits” to encouraging acceptance of adultery by essentially blessing the non-Catholic paradigm of “remarriage after divorce,” he has consistently been at odds with the most basic Catholic doctrines. And now we have the Amazon Synod and the infamous “Pachamama” idols. Even with the absolute best reading of the situation — that the pope is just taking his love of diversity too far — he has scandalized millions with his laissez-faire attitude toward idolatry.
All of these events and more have led a crescendo of Catholics to wonder why Pope Francis has allowed heresy to flourish so much under his pontificate. This in turn has made not a few Catholics suspect that Francis is himself a heretic. But if Francis is a heretic, some uncomfortable questions follow.
The Nagging Question
Is Francis really the pope? Can a heretic even be a pope? Those are the questions many Catholics are asking today, understandably. How could Our Lord allow the pope — His vicar! — to permit and possibly even embrace heresy and thus inflict so much damage on the Church?