Replies to Critiques of Pope Francis (Dave Armstrong)

Replies to Critiques of Pope Francis (Dave Armstrong) April 11, 2018

I have written a book defending Pope Francis as well, called Pope Francis Explained: Survey of Myths, Legends, and Catholic Defenses in Harmony with Tradition. That was published relatively early in his papacy (January 2014), but I think I still amply illustrate the false premises, dubious “facts” and inadequate logic and faulty interpretation often utilized in the ongoing critiques and outright bashing.

I wrote two articles that might be regarded as mildly critical of the pope. It has been my position that it would be good and helpful for him to reply as regards the five dubia: “I Hope the Pope Will Provide Some Much-Needed Clarity” (National Catholic Register, 9-30-17). I would say that this is “very gentle advice and encouragement.”

I was also quite critical (in March 2018) of his practice of repeatedly doing interviews with an atheist (Eugenio Scalfari) who has a lamentable record of distorting the pope’s alleged “words” in public, thus causing scandal (regarding the doctrine of hell). This involves matters of prudence and methodology, not theology (as with the other one).

See also my collection of 298 articles from others: “Pope Francis Defended: Resources for Confused or Troubled Folks”.

I have categorized the many articles below under alphabetized topics, for greater ease of access and reference. All articles were published on my Patheos blog (Biblical Evidence for Catholicism) unless otherwise indicated.


God bless you, brother! You are doing a great work! Defending Pope Francis from all of the caricatures and slander can be exhausting, as well as frustrating. And the anti-Francis mob has become fanatical. At times, it seems so many of them just end up angrily and incoherently rambling, and they tend to fall so far away from the pope’s actual words that one is left wondering… “Huh?” And the sheer volume of words can be daunting. But God bless you for cutting through the thick jungles of words and defending very simply “what the pope actually said…”

— Catholic Answers apologist and author Tim Staples on my Facebook page, 9-16-21

Amoris Laetitia

Amoris Laetitia: Pope Francis’ “1968 Moment” [4-8-16]

Defenses of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia [4-9-16]

More Defenses of Amoris Laetitia & Pope Francis [4-26-16]

Satan Loves Divisions Re Amoris Laetitia [5-2-16]

Dialogue: Amoris Laetitia: Confusing or No? [5-3-16]

Amoris Laetitia, “Trads” & Reactionaries [5-4-16]

Buzzing, Mosquito-Like Trashers of Amoris Laetitia [5-6-16]

Amoris Laetitia Has Already Been Clarified Many Times, Including by High-Ranking Cardinals [11-16-16]

Dr. Robert Fastiggi Defends Amoris Laetitia Against Critics [10-3-17]

Review: The Orthodoxy of Amoris Laetitia (Pedro Gabriel) [5-10-22]


Capital Punishment

Jesus, the Death Penalty, & the Adulterous Woman [8-2-18]

Burning Heretics, Frying Murderers, & Slavery (Analogies) [8-3-18]

Steve Skojec: Pope Sez Death Penalty is Intrinsically Evil (?) [10-8-20]

Death Penalty, Reactionaries, & a Devious Liar-Pope? [10-10-20]

Three Popes & Capital Punishment (vs. Ed Feser) (with Catholic Theologian Dr. Robert Fastiggi) [10-20-20]


Celibacy, Priestly

Pope Francis: Strong Defender of Priestly Celibacy [1-14-20]


Chilean Sexual Abuse Scandal

Pope’s Chilean Abuse Apology Troubles Simcha Fisher [4-12-18]


“Confusing” Pope Francis?

Does Pope Francis Have “Foot-in-the-Mouth” Disease? [1-22-15]

Dialogue: “Bad” Bishops & “Confusing” Francis [4-28-16]

“Confusing” Pope Francis & Prudent Public Discussion [6-22-16]


Contraception / Procreation

Dialogue: Has Pope Francis Changed the Constant Catholic Prohibition of Contraception? [1-2-14]

Pope Francis and Catholics Reproducing Like “Rabbits” [1-21-15]

“Irresponsible” Pope Francis? (Woman Who Had Seven C-Sections) [1-23-15]

Pope Francis: 7 C-Sections is “Irresponsible” (Group Discussion) [1-23-15]


Criticism of  Pope Francis and Other Popes / “Papal Bashing” / Honoring Popes

Folks Willing to Understand Pope Francis, Can; Unwilling Won’t [1-18-14]

Peter Kwasniewski, Fr. Thomas Kocik and a Growing Chorus Disagree with Pope Benedict XVI Regarding the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite Mass (Or, Reports of the Death of the Reform of the Reform are Greatly Exaggerated)  [+ Part Two] [2-24-14]

Denunciations of Incessant Bashing of Pope Francis [2-22-15]

The Ridiculous “Anti-Francis” Mentality: My Theory in Brief [12-7-15]

Ratzinger: Avoid Criticizing Church in “Mass Media”  [6-26-16]

On Rebuking Popes & Catholic Obedience to Popes [12-27-17]

On Rebuking Popes & Obedience to Popes, Part II [12-28-17]

“Nothing New”: Reactionary Attacks on Pope St. John Paul II [4-9-05; with tie-in end note added on 3-2-18]

Dialogue: Sharp Inquiring Protestant vs. Pope-Bashing Catholic [3-6-18]

Dialogues w Critics & Disparagers of Pope Francis [3-6-18]

Popes Leading the Church Into False Doctrine (E.g., Paul VI) [3-8-18]

Reactionaries Begin Savage Attacks on Pope Benedict [3-17-18]

Negative Reactionary Views of Popes Since 1958 [3-18-18]

Honoring Popes / Scriptural Honor of Even Wicked Rulers [11-30-17; some additions on 3-26-18]


Pope Francis (and Others) and Analogies to Jesus (Explanation of a Widely Misunderstood Aspect of Analogical Arguments) [1-6-20]

Dialogue w Timothy Flanders #2: State of Emergency? [2-25-20]

St. Paul’s Rebuke of St. Peter = Francis-Bashing? [8-19-20]

If We Have to Constantly Defend Holy Scripture, How Much More the Pope? [Facebook, 10-23-20]

Kwasniewski vs. Cdl. Newman Re Pope- & Council-Bashing [12-3-20]

Fr. Peter Stravinskas & Irrational Pope Francis-Bashing: Sad Case Study in Taking the Holy Father’s Words Out of Context and Indefensibly Misrepresenting Them [4-15-21]

Pope Francis: Popes Can be Respectfully Criticized [7-21-21]

Reply to Fr. Thomas Weinandy: Pope Francis a Heretic? [9-21-21]

Pope Francis Did Not Say EWTN = “Work of the Devil” (Case Study in “Conservative” Catholic Media Bias, Which is Becoming as Problematic as Mainstream Liberal Media Bias) [9-22-21]

How Dare Pope Francis Defend the Church! (He’s Supposed to Not Utter a Peep About All the Slanderous, Worthless Gossip & Rumormongering Today Among Catholics) [9-24-21]

Some Catholics Hope Pope Francis Dies? Yes . . . [9-25-21]

Ostensibly “Respectful Criticism” of the Pope Almost Always (in Online Threads) Quickly Morphs Into the Usual Boorish and Impious Pope-Bashing [Facebook, 9-30-21]

Erasmus’ Criticism of Popes = Today’s Pope-Bashing? [11-10-21]

Now Pope Francis’ Press Conferences are Supposedly Unprecedented and Somehow Objectionable? [Facebook, 10-6-22]

Pope Francis-Bashing Evolving Into Pope Benedict Tin Foil Hat Conspiratorialism (A Sad Case Study) [Facebook, 10-10-22]

Too Many Papal Critics or Bashers Exhibit the Heretical Spirit of John Wycliffe [Facebook, 8-10-23]

Leila Marie Lawler: Self-Appointed Pope-Basher / Papal Indefectibility Dogmatized at Vatican I [Facebook, 9-27-23]



Deaconesses: Examination of Biblical & Patristic Data (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 5-12-16)


Development of Doctrine

Pope Francis, Cardinal Newman, & Fresh (Orthodox) Presentations [1-29-18]

Dr. Echeverria: Francis Wants Development, Not Revolution [5-28-19]



Douthat, Ross / To Change the Church

Douthat’s Flawed Critique of “Conservative” Catholicism [3-2-16]

Douthat’s To Change the Church: Mini-Debate w Karl Keating [3-24-18]

Protestant Takes Solace in Douthat’s Pope-Bashing Book (also discusses Phil Lawler) [3-24-18]

Douthat’s Pope-Bashing Book Attacks Vatican II [3-24-18]

Debate on Ross Douthat’s Critical Views of Vatican II [3-26-18]


Dubia / Cardinal Burke

Pope Francis on Cardinal Burke (+ Discussion) [Facebook, 12-8-14]

Pope Francis Did Answer the Dubia (Dr. Robert Fastiggi) (It Was Also Answered [with the Same Answers] by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2019) [9-27-21]

Pope Francis Has Answered the Five Dubia in His Teachings (+ Legitimate Biblical & Spiritual Reasons for His Not Directly Answering Particularly Accusatory, Ill-Willed, & Wrongminded Critics) [8-3-23]


Ecumenism and World Religions

Pope Francis & the Diversity of Religions (The Sedevacantist Outfit Novus Ordo Watch Lies Yet Again About Pope Francis) [11-29-20]



Are Modern Papal Encyclicals Too Long? [7-9-15]


Environmentalism / Theology of Creation

Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato si: A Beautiful and Profoundly Wise Statement of Christian Environmentalism and Theology of Creation [6-18-15]

Critique of Chris Ferrara’s Radical Reactionary Hit-Piece in Opposition to Pope Francis’ Christian Environmentalism [6-20-15]


Eucharist / Transubstantiation

No, Pope Francis Did Not Deny Transubstantiation (Phenomenological Language in Holy Scripture and in the Addresses of Pope Francis) [6-25-19]

Pope Francis & Transubstantiation (vs. Sedevacantists) [7-2-19]


Evangelism and Apologetics / The Gospel

Dialogue: Pope Francis Doesn’t Evangelize? [4-29-16]

Pope Francis Condemns Evangelism? Absolutely Not! [10-17-16]

Is Pope Francis Against Apologetics & Defending the Faith? [11-26-19]

Debate: Pope Francis on Doctrine, Truth, & Evangelizing (vs. Dr. Eduardo Echeverria) [12-16-19]

Dialogue: Pope Francis vs. Gospel Preaching & Converts? No! (vs. Eric Giunta) [1-3-20]

Abp. Viganò Whopper #289: Pope Forbids All Evangelism (?) [4-8-20]

Pope, Peter, & Paul: Evangelize; Don’t Proselytize [4-28-20]

Pope Francis vs. the Gospel? Outrageous & Absurd Lies! (Anti-Catholic Protestant James White and Catholic Reactionary Steve Skojec Echo Each Other’s Gigantic Whoppers) [5-26-20]


“Filial Correction” / Correctio and Formal Criticism  of June 2016

Is Pope Francis Wrong? Thoughts on the “Filial Correction” [9-24-17]

Radical Reactionary Affinities in “Filial Correction” Signatories [9-28-17]

Reactionary Influence: Correctio & June 2016 Criticism of the Pope [10-3-17; expanded on 1-24-18]



Pope Francis, Foot-Washing, & Humility [with Pete Vere, 3-13-13 and 3-30-13]

Pope Francis Foot-Washing Controversy Redux  [3-26-16]


Fundamentalism: Catholic and Otherwise

Kwasniewski vs. Pope Francis Re “Fundamentalism” (Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI Fully Concur with Pope Francis) [12-9-20]

Pope Francis’ Proper Use of the Term “Fundamentalism” (. . . and the Similar Sociologically Proper Use of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope St. John Paul II) [12-28-20]


Hell, Satan, and Demons / Demon Possession

Lawler vs. Pope Francis #3: The Pope Annihilated Hell? [1-2-18]

Pope Francis, Hell, Phil Lawler, Lies, Damned Lies, . . . [3-30-18]



Heretic Popes?

Pope Francis Accusers Reject Magisterial Teaching on Popes (The pope’s teaching is indefectible and cannot be judged or “overruled” by any man: or even an ecumenical council) [7-23-20]

Pastor Aeternus (1870): Can a Pope Ever Make Heresy Binding? (Dr. Robert Fastiggi and Ron Conte; edited by Dave Armstrong, in Response to Timothy Flanders) [12-1-20]


Homosexuality and Same-Sex Unions

Lawler vs. Pope Francis #2: Homosexuality & “Judging” [1-2-18]

Pope Francis, Same-Sex Unions, & Chicken Little Mass Hysteria [10-22-20]

“Gay Unions”: Leftist & Reactionary Catholics vs. Pope & CDF [3-23-21]

Pope Francis vs. Same-Sex “Marriage”: The Record [3-25-21]

Pope Francis’ “Endorsement” of Fr. James Martin, SJ (Does it Entail a Denial of Church Teaching on Gravely Disordered Homosexual Sex?) [6-30-21]


“Insulting” Pope Francis?

St. Paul: Far More of an “Insulter” Than Pope Francis [4-11-18]


Jesus / Christology

Does Pope Francis Think that Jesus Was a Sinner? (. . . Beyond Bearing Our Sins on the Cross; i.e., Partaking / Entering Into Sin)? [2-27-14]

Christ “Became the Sinner”: Pope Francis and Bad Translators [Seton Magazine, 1-21-15]

Pope Francis Espoused a Sinning Jesus? Think Again [1-8-16]


Keating, Karl, The Francis Feud

Keating & The Francis Feud: Six Errors Documented [6-2-18]

Review of Keating’s Francis Feud Removed, w Apology [12-24-18]


Kissing the Papal Ring / Papal Attire and Related Customs

Papal Ring-Kissing, Gossip, & Pharisaical Nitpicking [3-29-19]

Legalism Re Pope Francis & Papal Attire (Mozzetta) [7-10-20]


Lawler, Phil / Lost Shepherd

Quasi-Defectibility and Phil Lawler vs. Pope Francis [12-28-17]

Dialogues with Karl Keating & Phil Lawler on Pope Francis [12-29-17]

Lawler vs. Pope Francis #1: Critique of Introduction [1-1-18]

Lawler vs. Pope Francis #4: Communion / Buenos Aires Letter [1-3-18]

Lawler vs. Pope Francis #5: Jerusalem Council vs. “Ideology” [1-3-18]

My Critiques of Lawler’s Lost Shepherd / Exchanges w Karl Keating [1-7-18]

Shock! Former Catholic Rod Dreher Loves Lawler’s Pope-Bashing Book [2-22-18]

Phil Lawler’s Lost Shepherd: My One-Star Amazon Review [2-26-18]

Reply to Stephen Phalen Re Phil Lawler’s Lost Shepherd  [3-10-18]

Phil Lawler’s Mythical Private Letter (Unfruitful Discussion) [3-10-18]

Merits of Phil Lawler’s Lost Shepherd: Three Common Fallacies [3-12-18]

Lawler Hypocritically Acts Like He Claims Pope Francis Does [4-28-18]

Keating & The Francis Feud: Six Errors Documented [6-2-18]

Phil Lawler: No Proof Pope Francis is a Heretic [3-5-21]


Liturgy / Mass

Pope Francis’ Traditionis Custodes is for the Sake of Unity [7-16-21]

Skojec Loathes Traditionis; Illustrates Why it is Necessary [7-19-21]

Catholics (?) Trash, Judge, & Mind-Read the Pope (In 1968, “all” the liberal Catholics rejected Humanae Vitae. Now in 2021, “all” the self-described “conservative” Catholics reject Traditionis Custodes — and none see the outright absurdity and irony of this) [7-20-21]

Traditionalist Fr. Chad Ripperger Critiques Traditionalism [7-21-21]

Traditionis Custodes: Sky Hasn’t Fallen (Bishops) [8-2-21]

Dialogue w Traditionalist “Hurt” by Traditionis Custodes [8-2-21]

Traditionis Custodes Results: No Fallen Sky (I Called It) [9-6-21]

Traditionis Custodes: Sky Still Intact After Two Months [9-14-21]



Pope Francis: Pro-Marriage & Contra “Marital Skepticism” [1-29-18]



Random Thoughts on Rush Limbaugh’s Comments on the Pope’s Alleged “Marxism” [Facebook, 12-5-13]


Mary, Blessed Virgin

Is Pope Francis Guilty of Blasphemy and Departure from All Catholic Mariological Tradition in His Comments on the Possible Momentary Temptation of Mary at the Cross? [1-19-14]

Yes, Virginia, the Pope Believes Mary is Immaculate [12-29-18]

Pope Francis vs. the Marian Title “Co-Redemptrix”? (+ Documentation of Pope Francis’ and Other Popes’ Use of the Mariological Title of Veneration: “Mother of All”) [12-16-19]

Pope Francis’ Deep Devotion to Mary (Esp. Mary Mediatrix) [12-23-19]



Does Pope Francis Deny the Catholic Doctrine of Merit? No [7-1-19]


Miscellaneous / General

Reply to a Critique of My Book, Pope Francis Explained, by Dr. Phil Blosser [8-24-14]

Exchange on Pope Francis and the Church [vs. Tony Jokin; Facebook, 12-17-14]

Jeremiad on Stupefied Anti-Francis Mentalities (w Paul Hoffer) [1-22-15]

Forcing Pope Francis Into Our Own Image [9-18-15]

On the Endless Second-Guessing of Pope Francis [2-25-16]

The Real & the Imaginary Pope Francis [6-27-16]

Dialogues with Karl Keating Regarding Pope Francis [12-29-17]

Am I a “Pope Francis Defender”? (Statement of Intent & Purpose) [11-5-19]

Fr. Z Asks for Pro-Francis “Compendium”. I Provide It [3-9-21]

“Pope Francis is So Confusing!”: A Spirited Reply (The Sad and Slanderous Promotion of a “False Narrative” Concerning Pope Francis’ Supposedly Massive Errors) [9-7-21]


Modernists / Theological Liberals / Dissidents / Heterodox / Heresy

Swishy Bishops, Liberal Dissidents, & “PR” Regarding Pope Francis [3-6-14]

Why is Pope Francis So Loved by Theological Liberals? [2-21-15]

Pope Francis: Obsessed with “Change”? [5-14-16]

Is Pope Francis a Heretic?: Options and Respectful Speculations on the Synod on the Family, Amoris Laetitia and Practical Applications [12-13-16]

The Orthodoxy of Pope Francis [9-6-21]

Pope Francis the “Heterodox Liberal” (?????) (He’s Against Contraception, Cohabitation, Same-Sex “Marriage”, Abortion, Euthanasia, & Biomedical Reproduction Technology: in Five Paragraphs) [9-29-21]


“Pachamama” Hysteria and Controversy / Amazon Synod

“Pachamama” [?] Statues: Marian Veneration or Blasphemous Idolatry? [11-5-19]

“Pachamama” Fiasco: Hysterical Reactionaryism, as Usual [11-8-19]

“Pachamama” Confusion: Fault of Vatican or Catholic Media? [11-12-19]

Alexander Tschugguel, Taylor Marshall, & God’s Wrath (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 3-19-20)
Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis

Pro-Life / Anti-Abortion / Catholic Social Teaching


Must the Pope Explicitly Mention Abortion to Congress? [9-24-15]

Pope Francis’ Strongly Pro-Life Comments to the UN (“Both/And”!) [9-25-15]

Pope Francis: All Life: Preborn and Born, is “Equally Sacred” [4-9-18]



Radical Catholic Reactionary Super-Site Rorate Caeli‘s “Cherished Friend” and Featured Pope-Basher, Marcelo González, is a Holocaust Revisionist [4-8-13]

Pope Francis and Pope Benedict Refer to “Extreme Traditionalism” [8-5-13]

Discussion on the Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Especially in Relation to Radical Catholic Reactionaries [Facebook, 11-26-13]

Opposition to Extreme Anti-Francis Bias: Elliot Bougis [2-28-14]

Debate with Hilary White: Masonic “Bergoglianism” or Catholicism? [2-16-16]

Classic Reactionaryism: Skojec Disses Cardinal Burke (Over Amoris Laetitia) [4-12-16]

Dr. Fastiggi & Dr. Goldstein Debate Dr. Shaw Regarding Pope Francis [10-9-17]

Dr. Joseph Shaw Apes “Reformers” (“Ambiguous” Catholic Documents) [10-11-17]

Dr. Fastiggi’s “Exchange” with Correctio Signatory Chris Ferrara [10-12-17]

Is Pope Francis Opposed to Catholic Traditionalism, or Only to the Extreme Reactionaries? [Facebook, 9-13-19]

Pope Francis’ Emphasis on Criticizing Reactionaries (A Theory) [12-30-19]


Sire, Henry / The Dictator Pope

Henry Sire of Dictator Pope Infamy: Reactionary Extremist [3-27-18]


Temper / Anger

Pope Francis’ Slap & Loss of Temper (Close Examination) [1-2-20]


Ultramontanism / Papolatry (common charges against papal defenders)

My Supposed “Papolatry”: Outrageous Reactionary Lies [8-26-21]


Vatican I (1870)

Peter Kwasniewski: Gotta Exorcise Vatican I (1870) [12-4-20]


“Vicar of Christ”

The Remnant’s Anti-Francis Insanity (“Vicar of Christ”) [4-7-20]


Bishops Viganò & Schneider: The Extreme Anti-Francis Fringe Among the Bishops

Bishops Viganò & Schneider Reject Authority of Vatican II [11-22-19]

Viganò, Schneider, Pachamama, & VCII (vs. Janet E. Smith) [11-25-19]

Abp. Viganò Descends into Fanatical Reactionary Nuthood (. . . Declares Pope Francis a Heretical Narcissist Who “Desacralized” & “Impugned” & “Attack[ed]” Mary) [12-20-19]

Abp. Viganò, the Pope, & the “Vicar of Christ” Nothingburger (with Catholic Theologian Dr. Robert Fastiggi and Apologist Karl Keating) [4-6-20]

Thoughts on Abp. Viganò & the Continuing “Wacko-ization” & Fanaticism of the Anti-Francis Mentality [Facebook, 6-14-20]

Abp. Viganò: Fanaticism, Extremism, and Conspiratorialism (Summary from August 2019 Until July 2020: Alarming, Increasingly Quasi-Schismatic Spirit) [7-13-20]

What’s So Bad About Abp. Viganò? (Traditionalists Ask) [7-14-20]

Anti-Francis = Anti-Vatican II (You Heard it Here First) [7-16-20]

Bp. Schneider Evokes Luther’s Disdain for Councils [7-17-20]

Viganò’s Outrageous Lie Re Pope Benedict XVI & Tradition (Unwillingness to Make Even Rudimentary Efforts to Consult Context or to Understand a Pope’s Overall Thinking) [8-21-20]


See also my collection of 298 articles (as of 8-3-23) from others“Pope Francis Defended: Resources for Confused or Troubled Folks”.


Photo credit: Swiss Guard at the Vatican. Photo by gunthersimmermacher (9-8-15) [Pixabay / CC0 Creative Commons license]


Total of 220 articles.

Last updated on 27 September 2023


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