March 5, 2017

Is the Pope Francis Papacy in Crisis?

Pope Francis' coat of arms One longtime Catholic commentator says, in the most demonstrative of terms, that the papacy of Pope Francis is a disaster. In Phil Lawler's Op-Ed for Catholic Culture he writes:
For over 20 years now, writing daily about the news from the Vatican, I have tried to be honest in my assessment of papal statements and gestures. I sometimes criticized St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, when I thought that their actions were imprudent. But never did it cross my mind that either of those Popes posed any danger to the integrity of the Catholic faith. Looking back much further across Church history, I realize that there have been bad Popes: men whose personal actions were motivated by greed and jealousy and lust for power and just plain lust. But has there ever before been a Roman Pontiff who showed such disdain for what the Church has always taught and believed and practiced—on such bedrock issues as the nature of marriage and of the Eucharist?
Pope Francis has sparked controversy from the day he was elected as St. Peter’s successor. But in the past several months the controversy has become so intense, confusion among the faithful so widespread, administration at the Vatican so arbitrary—and the Pope’s diatribes against his (real or imagined) foes so manic—that today the universal Church is rushing toward a crisis.
Lawler’s statement: “has there ever before been a Roman Pontiff who showed such disdain for what the Church has always taught and believed and practiced—on such bedrock issues as the nature of marriage and of the Eucharist?”, is profound. Pope Francis' obfuscations of Church teaching and embrace of positions contrary to doctrine is nothing new. To wit; a panelist at a Vatican-run workshop on “how to save the natural world” claimed on Thursday that "Pope Francis has urged us to have fewer children to make the world more sustainable." 

Life Site News reported that, "This solution to securing the world’s sustainability was presented by botanist and environmentalist Peter Raven during a press conference that concluded the ‘Biological Extinction’ workshop that took place at the Vatican earlier this week." The workshop drew additional controversy because it featured a paper by notorious pro-abortion population control advocate Dr. Paul Ehrlich. At the event Ehrlich, and co-author Dasgupta, said that the Catholic teaching of "responsible parenthood" in determining family size has “result[ed] in collective failure” in reducing the world’s population.

Given all the confusion in the wake of Amoris Laetitia, his commission to study female deacons, or Francis' admitted propensity to "make a mess" (see here and here), many Catholics are asking for clarity. It should be remembered that no pontiff can unilaterally overturn Church doctrine. What the Holy Father has done, as Mr. Lawler astutely points out, is allow controversy, false hope and division.

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