Thursday, March 22, 2018


Despite his rockstar status, in many circles, there are those who are very wary of Pope Francis and they let me know it.  It is a completely different group from those who were very wary of Pope Benedict and let me know it; which was a somewhat different group from those who didn’t care for Pope John Paul II.  Was it ever thus?  St. Paul had a run in with St. Peter and sought him out to set his straight.  Then there were those who didn’t care for Jesus much either, even among His most intimate brethren.

Is there cause for concern with Pope Francis?  I will admit that every once in a while he says something that causes my right eyebrow to rise up slightly higher than the left.  Objectively, he has not changed anything of the fabric of the faith.  The most serious accusations thus far (at least it seems to me) is that he thinks a bit too much out loud and may be a cause of scandal particularly for those whose faith is weak (adult children, grandkids, friends.)  

Conversely there are those crowing because they are back on some sort of “winning side.”  With Pope Francis they see the hope of some flagging dreams for the Church spark and catch on once again.  

Every pope brings his with him his human strengths and weaknesses.  They are men after all.  Pope Francis seems to think out loud.  A lot.  John Paul II - excuse me - St. John Paul (the great?) - was not a great administrator.  But if you really want scandal, especially of the moral kind, it is easy enough to find in the history of the line of popes in the Catholic Church.

But the faith has never been compromised.  Sometimes God uses his popes as sons, sometimes as tools.  Even the most morally corrupt pope was what the Church needed at the time - saving the Church from bankruptcy, making it possible for some of our most beloved art to exist - but never did God allow the Church to fall away from truth in any official manner and I dare say he won’t under this pope either.

There are two reasons for this:  The first is that there are just far too many safeguards in place.  A pope may say, “I have decided that polygamous marriages are a good idea,” but that does not mean that the Church will allow it.  (Have you witnessed one change to faith and morals in the past century during a time that mainstream Protestantism went through wholesale overhauls of 2,000 years of beleif?)  The second is that the Holy Spirit is ultimately in charge.  He always has been in charge and He always will be in charge.  Men and women may do unintelligent and unholy things, but the Church, the spotless Bride of Christ the Bridegroom, will never be so sullied.

So if you don’t like, agree with or are nervous about a particular pope, pray for him and for the Church.  I guarantee you he is making mistakes and needs prayers.  It’s difficult enough trying to manage a parish, I can’t imagine trying to manage 1.3 billion Catholics of different languages, customs, practices, cultures, etc., some of whom are cheering you, others booing, some passionate, some disconnected.  

Then give thanks that you are not the pope.


Anonymous said...

Seeing that headline, aren't you afraid of being reassigned to a parish in Siberia? Come on Father V, we need you here!

p.s., I agree! :)

Anonymous said...

Exactly, Father. Every time someone gets ticked at Pope Francis and says so, I remember that St. John Paul was regularly run over the coals for whatever he was up to. So was our good Pope Benedict. So was Pope Paul. And Pope John. And so it goes. Whomever is getting picked on gets compared to another supposedly perfect pope. They *never* make everyone perfectly happy.

I remember reading something after Pope Francis became our pope. It was to the effect that we are blessed with the pope that we need for our times. I think there is a lot of truth in that, and perhaps it applies to pastors as well.

Like you, I sometimes wonder about the things Pope Francis says. But I have no doubt whatsoever that he was sent to us by God, to lead us to Him. Maybe it isn't obvious how he will accomplish this. But our job is to pray for the Pope, our Bishop, and our good pastors and parish priests, whether we like them or not. They not only lead us to Jesus, but they are our brothers in the Faith.

God bless you and Fr. Simone and everyone at St. Sebastian!

Pat said...

Then-Cardinal Ratizinger was interviewed by Raymond Arroyo on EWTN in 2003. One of the things Cardinal Ratzinger said was (and I'm paraphrasing) that the Lord does not promise us that each pope will be a saint.

Stephen said...

Dear Father Valencheck,

I believe that the Holy Spirit has an absolutely wild sense of humor.
That is why I expect you to be elected our first American Pope.
Now that would be funny.

Dick said...

Dear Fr Valencheck,
He has caused more than an eyebrow to raise(mainly my blood pressure). I really believe that Francis has no clue that he heads 1.3 billion Catholics. He spends too much energy on things like climate change, etc. Worry about increasing the priesthood, nuns, and a dying Church in Europe, especially. I go back through Pope Pius X11 and this pope worries more than any other I can remember.

Anonymous said...

I cannot express enough how dangerous this Pope is.
He is the anti Christ. His audacious arrogance is beyond measure.
He wants the Church to be his own..a cabal of sodomites...i.e.Cardinal Wuerll.etc.etc.
and thousands of men that follow his demonic persuasion.
He is evil personified. Beware!

Unknown said...

P.S. He is so sympathetic to the poor and oppressed..Why doesn't he open the many Vatican rooms for refugees? The Vatican is its own country which could house and pay for hundreds, if not thousands... As Christ and the real St. Francis would do.
He is a fraud that dines on his own veal that is raised just for him.
Keeping veal calves is the most horrendous of animal abuse. He is revolting and despicable. Another Borgia type!