Francis on Prophets of Doom
by Christopher A. Ferrara
July 11, 2015
In Evangelii Gaudium Francis declared (quoting John XXIII) that “We feel that we must disagree with those prophets of doom who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand.”
Just over a year-and-a-half later, however, Francis declared in Laudato Si’ that “Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain.”
A change of position? Perhaps an outright self-contradiction? It is neither. The two statements relate to different sorts of prophet. The first statement, echoing the truly fatuous optimism of John XXIII, scoffs at traditional Catholic “prophets of doom,” including a long line of Popes before Vatican II, who warned of the coming destruction of our entire civilization because of its rejection of Christ and the authority of His Church.
For example, in his encyclical Evangelii Praecones (1951) Pope Pius XII — in line with Pius XI, Pius X, Leo XIII, Pius IX, and Pius VII — summed up the prophecy of doom that Francis, joining John XXIII, belittles:
Venerable Brethren, you are well aware that almost the whole human race is today allowing itself to be driven into two opposing camps, for Christ or against Christ. The human race is involved today in a supreme crisis, which will issue in its salvation by Christ, or in its dire destruction.
Francis will have none of that sort of thing, which would mean that men must actually believe in Christ and obey His teaching as expounded and defended by the perennial Magisterium in order to avoid not only loss of their souls but the raining down of divine wrath upon the whole human race. It would also mean that the world is threatened by enemies of Christ, who must be opposed. Not exactly music to the ears of someone who prayed at the Blue Mosque in Turkey and feels himself competent to declare that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” It does not seem that Francis thinks that Christ or His Church have a single enemy in the world.
On the other hand, while Francis scoffs at “prophecies of doom” uttered by his own predecessors, he is all ears when it comes to doomsday scenarios propounded to him by atheist, pro-abortion, climate change fanatics who advocate population control and “reproductive rights,” such as Jeffery Sachs and the screwball Francis appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Science, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.
Heeding the advice of such people, Laudato Si’ employs the word “crisis” 23 times, “destruction” 10 times, “destroy” 9 times, and “danger” or “dangerous” 9 times, “threat” 6 times and “threatened” 3 times. These dire expressions do not concern the consequences of apostasy and sin in the world, but rather “global environmental deterioration.”
So, there is no contradiction at all. Francis is completely consistent. Hence he thinks nothing of prophecies of doom relating to the eternal fate of souls, but is quite concerned about “the increasing use and power of air-conditioning” (Laudato Si, ¶ 55). Now that’s a threat we have to take seriously!
Ironically, a Pope who scoffs at the predictions of his own predecessors about the terrible consequences of society’s rebellion against Christ is actually a sign of the coming fulfillment of the very prophecies at which he scoffs.
Thus does the Third Secret of Fatima continue to unfold before our eyes.