“An unexamined faith is not worth believing.” This maxim rings true considering how many Catholics give a blind allegiance to the “infallible” and “indefectible” Church of Rome. The institutional certainty of Catholicism boils down to a single code: “We are infallible and indefectible because we say so!” But such nostrums fly in the face of reality.
For one, almost every speech from Pope Francis elicits a litany of articles by Rome’s apologists who struggle to “clean up” the mess he creates. It’s like trying to dress up a monkey as a dove while its ugly face and hairy tail keep popping out. Like Merida’s efforts in Brave, to prevent others from seeing that the Queen had changed to a beast.
The Israelites were in a similar condition in Jeremiah’s time. Their prophets were mediums of Baal and the people had replaced God with idols. They had forsaken God, the Living Water and had dug for themselves “broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer. 2:13).
They only had fig leaves to cover their spiritual nakedness. It appealed to the physical senses and human wisdom, but it was an empty religious system lacking divine approval and spiritual refreshment.
This aptly fits Catholicism. Its theological landscape is a strange one – full of unexpected detours, inconsistencies and surprisingly contradictory backwaters. Let’s look at some examples:
1. The ecumenical and “infallible” Council of Florence decreed:
“It firmly believes, professes and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart ‘into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock … no one … even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church” (Denzinger, 714).
Yet, another “infallible” Council says the opposite: “Those who can attain to salvation [are those] who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God” (Vatican II, Sec. 16)
Then the Catholic Catechism says: “Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth is necessary for salvation...” (# 846).
But in his message on the feast of St. Cajetan, Pope Francis was asked “Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic?” He answered “No, no, no” (Catholic News, August 7, 2013).
But this view flies against that of Pope Pius XII who said: “For those who do not belong to the visible Church … none can be assured of eternal salvation” (Mistici Corporis, June, 29, 1943).
2. “Retired” Pope Benedict XVI said: “Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith” (November 30, 2005).
Pope Francis echoes this at this year’s Feast of Epiphany: “Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only once certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God” (Catholic News Agency, Jan. 7, 2016).
But six months later, on June 28, 2016, Francis tweeted: “If God is present in our life, the joy of bringing the Gospel will be our strength and happiness.”
His tweet the next day reads: “Today the Lord repeats to all pastors: follow me despite the difficulties, follow me by proclaiming the Gospel to all.” Now, if everyone is God’s children, then no one really needs the Gospel.
Yet this same Francis appointed Shellen Huber, an atheist, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and was chosen by him to present his encyclical on the environment in May 2015. If we go by his tweets, it implies that Francis is not following the Lord and doesn’t have His presence in his life.
3. Pope Eugene IV declared that “there is hope that very many from the abominable sect of Mahomet [Muhammad] will be converted to the Catholic faith” (Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, 1:479).
But the Catechism now says: “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims...” (Sec. 841)
On May 14, 1999, Pope John Paul II bowed and kissed a Quran presented to him. He later said: “May Saint John the Baptist protect Islam” (Vatican News Mar. 21, 2000) In contrast, Pope Benedict XVI in his Regensberg lecture quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel Paleologus who said:
“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword of the faith he preached” (Faith, Reason and the University, Sept. 12, 2006). This statement blew the turbans off the heads of several Muslim leaders in different countries.
That same month, Benedict XVI publicly received a Quran and said: “My personal view of the Qur’an for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion.”
Since his installation, Francis has called for Islamic prayers and Quranic readings at the Vatican and has visited the Blue Mosque in Turkey to pray to the god of Islam. The views of Catholics opposed to Islam notwithstanding, it’s no more an “abominable sect” to Rome.
4. The Catechism says: “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death, the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire‘” (1035, 615).
But in 1998, Pope John Paul II says hell is figuratively “the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God … Rather than a physical place, hell is the state of those who freely and definitely separate themselves from God, the source of life and joy … [It is] a condition resulting from attitudes and actions which people adopt in this life … The thought of hell and even less the improper use of biblical images must not create anxiety or despair” (Vatican News, July 28).
The Catechism says: “Jesus often speaks of ‘Gehenna’ of ‘the unquenchable fire’ reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost” (1034, 612).
But the Vatican-approved La Civilta Cattolica quenched hell’s flames: “Hell exists, not as a place but as a state, a way of being of the person who suffers the pain of the deprivation of God” (Los Angeles Times July, 31, 1999).
5. The Catechism defines sin as “an offense against reason, truth and right conscience … It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law” (1849, 121).
But Pope Francis wrote in his biography: “I often say that the only glory we have, as Saint Paul says, is that of being sinners … That’s why, for me, sin is not a stain I need to clean” (Conversations, 2014, 120, 121).
When asked if he approves of homosexuality, Francis, like a good Jesuit, toe-dances the question: “Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of the person with love or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being” (The American Magazine, September 30, 2013).
6. The Catechism declares that Satan is real and “may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and indirectly, even of a physical nature – to each man and to society” and is “permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history” (No. 395).
But in his book, In the Beginning, Benedict XVI dismisses the existence of demons from which human may protect themselves from because eternal Reason underlies all of creation (1995, p. 9).
In 2006, he exhorted Catholics “to say ‘yes’ to Christ, who destroys the power of evil with the omnipotence of Love. We know that only hearts converted to Love which is God, can build a better future for all” (Immaculate Conception Anniversary).
Then in 2012, it was reported in the news that this same Benedict XVI “exorcised two men in the Vatican” – with what, sweet love? Conversely, Francis his successor talks about demons so much that some Catholics are now having goose pimples.
7. Pope John Paul II told a large Hindu audience in India: “Indeed, India’s greatest contribution to the world can be to offer it a spiritual vision of man. And the world does well to attend willingly to this ancient wisdom and in it to find enrichment for living” (L’Osservatore, Feb. 10, 1986).
But in his encyclical Dominus Iesus he says: “The Church’s constant missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de factor but also de iure (or in principle). As a consequence, it is held that certain truths have been super-ceded … For this reason, the distinction between theological faith and belief in other religions, must be firmly held” (par. 4-5).
Now, Francis says: “I am respectful of all new spiritual proposals … Surviving the passage of time is the major test of spiritual purity” (On Heaven and Earth, p. 236). Using this logic, witchcraft would also be “spiritually pure” since it has survived the passage of time.
Recounting his visit to a Buddhist temple in Columbo, Sri Lanka, in January 2015, the Vatican News reports Francis saying: “In this temple there were relics of two disciples of the Buddha that for them are very important. These relics were in England and they managed to get them there, and they took them out so we could look at them.”
Try to imagine apostle Paul praising the “ancient wisdom” of Greek paganism “to find enrichment for living” or apostle Peter on a surprise visit to the Temple of Diana in Ephesus to view their special relics.
8. When Francis became pope in April 2013, he was praised by the Grand Masters of the Grand Orient Freemasonic Lodges of Italy and Argentina who had publicly supported his election. An interesting twist, considering how Masonry is publicly denounced by Rome.
In the picture, Francis gives what looks like a sign of the master of the second veil in Masonry. Indeed, some of Francis’ statements are in tune with Masonic/pagan beliefs.
In an address, he declared: “Muslims, Jews, Orthodox, Catholics and others. We are all brothers and sisters! We all adore the One God! Never ever let there be separation among you” (L’Osservatore, May, 22, 2015).
Similarly, his tweet on June 20, 2016 says: “We are all on a journey to the common house of heaven…” These are closer to Masonic beliefs. Not everyone is serving God or on the path to a “common heaven.”
In his speech at the United Nations, he said: “[T]he Earth never forgives. Protect our sister Earth, our Mother Earth, so that she does not respond with destruction” (L’Osservatore, Nov. 28, 2014, 16). This is rooted in a Pagan/New Age concept of earth as a living goddess.
Catholics generally avoid questioning whatever Rome says. Even when compelling evidence are stacked against the Magisterium, they still put their trust in it. “The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus and He won’t allow it to fail,” they argue. This is self-deceit.
If the “living teaching office” that is supposed to safeguard you from heresies has become a purveyor of spiritual confusion and death, your reliance on it is misplaced. “God is not the author of confusion” (1Cor. 14:33). Discard the broken cisterns and place your faith solely in Jesus, the Living Fountain and follow His Word.