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“Pope Francis is SO Confusing!”: A Spirited Reply

“Pope Francis is SO Confusing!”: A Spirited Reply September 7, 2021

The Sad and Slanderous Promotion of a “False Narrative” Concerning Pope Francis’ Supposedly Massive Errors

[originally posted on my Facebook page on 9-6-21. You can see some further discussion there. I’ve expanded it presently.]

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One of my Facebook friends wrote: “Pope Francis is a cause of a lot of confusion! That’s why you are writing about it!”
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This is my reply:
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The confusion arises because he is 1) massively lied about, and 2) massively misunderstood. And those things happen because many people won’t take the time to be fair and open-minded and read two sides of any given “controversy”. It’s very much like President Trump in that respect . . . It’s groupthink: sheep jumping on the bandwagon; clones . . . There is also the problem of the “false narrative” that has been created. I wrote on 3-5-21:
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The problem, then, seems to be that folks . . . aren’t willing in charity to withhold scathing judgment of the pope, until the full story of any given [almost always trumped-up] “incident” is heard. They’re lightning quick to judge. . . .
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As with so many people today, otherwise good Catholics . . . have bought a cynical, hostile, outrageously false narrative regarding Pope Francis: against which mere facts and reason — within this mentality — are oblivious and irrelevant, almost disallowed.
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If someone doesn’t like my (or anyone else’s) defenses of the pope (and to me the defenses are perfectly plausible and sensible), they can go and knock themselves out showing that they are invalid, point-by-point. But no one ever wants to do that, because that takes work and actual thinking, rather than the easy way out of the quick accusation, moaning and groaning, simply parroting the gossip of others, and furthering the false narrative about the Holy Father. Anything but actual rational analysis and interacting with different points of view.
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And on 4-26-16:
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More and more people have jumped onto the narrative and bandwagon of “Pope Francis as a liberal and loose cannon” and they interpret accordingly. But the foundational premise is wrong. . . .
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I’m saying that they are the ones (for varying reasons) who are beginning to increasingly buy into the narrative that there is something fundamentally, seriously wrong with Pope Francis, whether he is (at best) maddeningly inarticulate (the mildest form) or ignorant of basic tenets of theology and moral theology (more severe criticism) or flat-out heterodox / modernist (the strongest bashing).
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I can understand someone being confused. There are many reasons for it. They might listen to the liberal media, or the radical reactionaries, or liberal Catholics who think the pope is one of them, or the increasing bandwagon chorus (among orthodox Catholics) of the pope’s detractors (what I have called “the [false] narrative”). They don’t study or don’t have time to.
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Lots of folks are confused about Catholicism itself, and believe many lies about it. Is that Catholicism‘s fault, too?
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Lots of folks are confused about — and sometimes even downright distort and twist — the Bible. Is that the inspired, infallible Bible‘s fault (God’s revelation) or theirs? The cults don’t get it right. They can’t even grasp the obvious biblical teachings of the divinity of Christ and the Holy Trinity.
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Atheists play the game of coming up with “700” bogus so-called “contradictions” in the Bible and sit there and say, “there just so many of ’em; how can I believe this Bible?” Someone like me comes along and systematically debunks scores and scores of those (just as I do with slanderous lies against this pope), but it has no effect. They simply say “there are still 601 left that you haven’t solved.” It’s a game; it’s intellectual dishonesty and special pleading (richly fed — let no one doubt it — with an obstinate, relentless ignorance) so that they don’t have to be accountable to God or anyone.
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Lots of folks didn’t grasp what Jesus said, either. . . . They didn’t have “ears to hear.” “No one is so blind as he who will not see.”
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1 Corinthians 2:6-8, 12-14 (RSV) Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. [7] But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. [8] None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. . . . [12]  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. [13] And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. [14] The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
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In other words, the mere presence of “confusion” does not prove that Pope Francis is responsible for it. It may very well be coming from the other “end”: his innumerable loudmouthed critics. I say it flows from their hostility and bias (not to mention intellectual laziness) far more than it does from the things themselves. Simply saying, “I have heard about 39 things where Pope Francis said or did something stupid / heretical / incomprehensible” [take your pick] doesn’t prove diddly squat and doesn’t cut it. It’s rumormongering, gossip, and slander. Each accusation has to be specifically examined.
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I save people the work of doing that by spending my time as a professional apologist, either showing, myself, that they are groundless charges, or providing almost 300 articles from others that explain all of these supposedly “incomprehensible” or “confusing” things. But if people aren’t fair-minded or honest with themselves enough to read them, then I am helpless to dissuade them from their illusions and delusions.
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The attainment of truth and wisdom takes work (“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”: Philippians 2:12 / “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own”: 3:12 / “for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. [14] But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil”: Hebrews 5:13-14.).
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One doesn’t achieve that by simply following what is fashionable at any given moment. We need to stop being afraid to death of what other people think, and start seriously worrying about what God thinks of our behavior and our words, with regard to the Supreme Head of the Catholic Church, protected from ever binding the faithful to heresy (so said Vatican I in 1870, with the highest authority).
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Related Reading
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Photo credit: geralt (5-22-18) [Pixabay / Pixabay License]
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Summary: I take on the boorish canard that “Pope Francis is so confusing!” It’s automatically assumed that he is to blame, not the critic. I show in many ways how this is a lie & shoddy thinking.
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