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The Pope as Plaything

by Christopher A. Ferrara
June 8, 2015

Last summer in Rome, Pope Francis attended a meeting of Protestant “televangelists” organized by “Bishop” Tony Palmer, who belonged to a breakaway Anglican sect that ordains women.  Shortly after this meeting, Palmer was killed in a motorcycle accident. Among the “televangelists” in attendance at the meeting, which lasted more than three hours and included lunch with Francis, were James and Betty Robison and Kenneth Copeland.

During the encounter, according to Mr. Robison, Francis made yet another of the plethora of statements indicating that it matters not to him whether Protestants join the Catholic Church.  Robison related that Francis had spoken “on the need for everyone — Protestant, Catholic, whatever — to have a personal encounter with Christ.” In reply, Robison said to the Vicar of Christ: “Sir, as an evangelist, that deserves a high-five.” And then Robison and the Vicar of Christ shared a high-five:

obison and Pope Francis, image courtesy of Life Today

This picture says far more than a thousand words about the debacle to which the human element of the Church has succumbed since the Second Vatican Disaster created the endlessly vaunted “opening to the world” and launched an “ecumenical venture” that has produced a total collapse of the Church’s missionary activity, leading to humiliating scenes like this.  The Vicar of Christ—forgetting the supreme dignity of his august office, which has nothing to do with his person—happily lowered himself to the level of a Protestant minister, who treated him like some casual acquaintance he had encountered in a sports bar.

Yet I see no malice in somebody like Robison.  Rather, it seems he was genuinely moved to see a Roman Pontiff who does not think that he represents anything more than just another Christian denomination, no better or worse than the one Robison essentially invented, which condones contraception, divorce and remarriage.  For Robison and the other Protestant ministers who are wild about Francis, this is the Pope of Protestant dreams—a Pope who has finally and definitively abandoned even the faintest suggestion that his office embodies any inherently superior form of Christianity, much less the Church that Christ Himself founded on the Rock of Peter.

We need to remind ourselves constantly just how far and how fast the human element of the Church has fallen since the Council.  It is enough to recall the words of Pope Pius XI in 1928, in his encyclical Mortalium Animos, concerning the nascent “ecumenical movement.” Pius rightly condemned the movement because behind its “enticing words and blandishments” about Christian unity “lies hid most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.”

Addressing the Protestant leaders who professed to desire unity with Catholics, Pius XI issued a stirring declaration so far removed from the behavior and attitude of the current Roman Pontiff that one must wonder whether the entire Faith has been eclipsed by an ecumenical fog: “But, all the same, although many non-Catholics may be found who loudly preach fraternal communion in Christ Jesus, yet you will find none at all to whom it ever occurs to submit to and obey the Vicar of Jesus Christ either in His capacity as a teacher or as a governor.”

No, it never occurs to people like Robison to submit to the Vicar of Christ.  But they will offer the Vicar of Christ a high-five when he says something they like. And Francis will oblige.

Surely the Adversary is filled with diabolical glee over the black comedy that has been playing out in the Church over the past fifty years, whose final act seems to have begun with the election of Francis. If not for the promises of Christ that the gates will not prevail against His Church, one might be tempted to despair.  Instead, however, we find hope, paradoxically enough, in precisely the ever-deepening absurdity of our situation, which surely signals that its miraculous reversal cannot be far off.  The only question is, what punishment will we and the world have to endure before all that has gone wrong in the Church is set right again.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!