Jumping through Hoopes…
Pathetic Damage Control Effort:
New Book aims to clarify “What Pope Francis Really Said”
We predicted it early on, and it didn’t require a special gift of prophecy: Before long there was bound to be a big Novus Ordo book or media presentation about “What Francis Really Said/Meant”. It took them roughly 3 years, but now it’s finally coming to pass: On October 21, 2016, Servant Books will release a book entitled What Pope Francis Really Said, authored by National Catholic Register columnist Tom Hoopes.
The book comes with raving reviews by some of the usual Novus Ordo cheerleaders, such as Dwight Longenecker, Raymond Arroyo, and Elizabeth Scalia. However, we predict that this 160-page “clarification” of the “real” Francis will prove to be too little too late. After three-and-a-half-years of non-stop insults, howlers, and scandals by Jorge Bergoglio, most people just aren’t buying the “poor, misunderstood Francis” thesis any longer — nor, presumably, will they buy this book.
On September 27, Hoopes published a column which included a plug for his book at the EWTN-owned National Catholic Register, but the people leaving feedback in the combox at the end of the post would have none of it. Have a look yourself:
- “Catholic Journalists and Pope Francis” by Tom Hoopes
Judging by the small number of total combox contributions, this post didn’t seem to generate a whole lot of interest, which may indicate that the book won’t be a hot seller either. And why should it be? No one who has been following Francis’ words and actions since 2013 can reasonably entertain the idea that it’s all a big misunderstanding because we didn’t pay attention to what the man “really” said.
On September 30, Hoopes published another post at the Register promoting his book, which was essentially just a repeat of the post from three days before, with only a few minor edits:
The content of the two posts is virtually identical, although the second post must have gotten greater exposure because it generated more combox discussion.
“It is important to get to the bottom of what Pope Francis really said, because we need a strong shepherd”, Hoopes says in his two posts. One is left perplexed: What does one have to do with the other? Just how does Francis become a strong shepherd by people understanding what he really said?
Of course, the problem with Francis isn’t that people don’t understand him, it’s that they do. The problem is he — it’s not the media, not the translators, not his advisors, and not even “Cardinal” Dolan (pay attention, Michael Voris). From the beginning, countless Novus Ordo bloggers, columnists, pundits, and apologists had tried to spin Francis in the most orthodox way possible, and look at where it’s gotten them: The situation is now worse than ever. The only thing that such efforts ultimately accomplish is enabling and furthering the Modernist revolution.
Hoopes’ wishful thinking here is reminiscent of Michael Matt’s proposed strategy in late 2013, when the latter called for publicly supporting Francis whenever he “says something Catholic” (that’s no joke — see here). That ridiculous strategy was dead on arrival, and Matt himself abandoned it shortly thereafter, because the reality of the Modernism of Jorge Bergoglio was simply too manifest to be ignored, spun, or dismissed.
Since What Pope Francis Really Said won’t be released until October 21, it is impossible to evaluate the book itself at this point. However, if Hoopes’ argumentation in the Register is any indication, it will leave a lot to be desired and amount to little more than clever spin. In addition, at only 160 pages in length, the book will have to leave untouched most of the garrulous Jesuit’s controversial remarks during the last three-and-a-half years. The author himself hints at the limits of his work when he says: “…it seems that the opportunities for an expanded edition are never lacking”.
No doubt, Hoopes really believes he is rendering the “Pope” and the “Church” a wonderful service by defending Francis. Yet, no matter how sincere he may be, he isn’t boosting his credibility by saying things like this:
…I am so grateful that I [wrote this book]. I can hardly contain my joy. I discovered a secret I desperately want to share: Far from tearing the Church apart with oafish ambiguity, Pope Francis is building it up with strategic intelligence.
(Tom Hoopes, “Catholic Journalists and Pope Francis”, National Catholic Register, Sep. 27, 2016)
See, everyone, that’s it: Francis is just too smart for you all! He is utilizing a pastoral strategy that’s totally beyond the average Catholic’s ability to comprehend, so you better buy Tom Hoopes’ book to uncover the great secret of what a paragon of spotless orthodoxy, intellectual brilliance, and theological eloquence Francis really is! …And you faithless simpletons thought Francis was just a blathering boor who makes a mess everywhere he goes! Shame on you! Go to confession!
[quick time out for a good facepalm]
Folks, we’re talking about a man who has said such idiotic and outrageous things as this: “I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity…” (source). Yes, for Mr. Bergoglio, the mortal sin of fornication magically turns into the sacrament of holy matrimony, provided the two fornicating parties practice their illicit acts permanently and do so exclusively with each other. And yes, that is what he really said. If “fidelity” in sin makes a marriage, you know what this means for sodomite unions, don’t you? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, you know….
We will resist the temptation now to list example after example of Francis demonstrating his pastoral and theological brilliance. People who are interested in the laundry list of Francis’ most outrageous statements can find it at our Francis page, linked further below. Let’s just say that we dubbed Bergoglio “Chaos Frank” for a reason.
As for Hoopes’ attempt to shame people who denounce and complain about Francis into considering their behavior to be just like that of Cham, who told his brothers about their father Noah’s nakedness (see Gen 9:21-27), this is a great injustice. The spiritual crimes of “Pope” Francis are so serious and of such a nature that they require being exposed. By analogy, we are not talking here about a drunken Noah (whose drunkenness, by the way, was due to his ignorance regarding the intoxicating effects of strong drink, according to the Church Fathers, and at most a venial sin; see Haydock commentary) but about a wolf who is tearing the guileless sheep to pieces. And regarding such matters, we had better heed the following advice:
Reveal to the faithful the wolves which are demolishing the Lord’s vineyard.
(Pope Clement XIII, Encyclical Christianae Reipublicae, n. 2)
The declared enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics, must be criticized as much as possible, as long as truth is not denied. It is a work of charity to shout: “Here is the wolf!” when it enters the flock or anywhere else.
(St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part III, Chapter 29)
You have to defend the glory of God and the salvation of your neighbor; and with the object of your strife before you, neither courage nor strength will be wanting. It will be for your prudence to judge by what means you can best overcome the difficulties and obstacles you meet with. But, as it befits the authority of Our office that We Ourselves should point out some suitable way of proceeding, We wish it to be your rule first of all to tear away the mask from Freemasonry, and to let it be seen as it really is; and by sermons and pastoral letters to instruct the people as to the artifices used by societies of this kind in seducing men and enticing them into their ranks, and as to the depravity of their opinions and the wickedness of their acts.
(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Humanum Genus, n. 31)
Notice that the emphasis is on exposing, unmasking, and revealing. It’s not on hiding, cloaking, or dressing up. There is nothing holy, wholesome, or honorable about making the wolf look as much like a sheep as possible — much less like a shepherd! Tom Hoopes and his ilk, however, have apparently made it their task to iron the costume and explain away the growling, and now they’re making you — and presumably themselves — believe that it’s a noble thing to do. It is shameful.
Remember: With Francis, we are not talking about a man who once or twice stumbled in an unfortunate circumstance and then cleaned up his act. We are talking about a spiritual criminal of the highest order, who wastes no opportunity to humiliate, reject, deny, deride, or contradict the authentic Roman Catholic religion and those who (mean to) practice it. As our Blessed Lord said, “Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
As mentioned earlier, we have collected (and continue to collect) a list of Francis’ most outrageous attacks on Catholicism at our ever-expanding Francis page, but for those who don’t want to slog through the whole thing, here’s a quick reminder of just some of Francis’ outrages: He has used the Crucifixion of our Lord as the punch line of a joke in a book, he has suggested the Blessed Virgin Mary entertained blasphemous thoughts, he has said our Lord “probably apologized” to His mother and foster-father, he has stated that it doesn’t matter what religion you are, he has noted that his favorite exorcist is a Lutheran “bishop”, he has taught his godson swearwords, he has attempted to redefine sin as an imperfect participation in virtue, he has claimed God does not exist, he has declared there is no “Catholic God”, he has told Muslims to read the Koran and said the Jews are still God’s Chosen People, he has repeatedly denounced Catholic apologetics and the making of converts by means of convincing people through sound argumentation, he has indicated he doesn’t care if what he teaches is heresy, he has said that lifelong fornication equals a true marriage, he has ordered that a deceased Anglican-Pentecostal layman be buried as a Catholic bishop — and on and on it goes, ad infinitum.
Clearly, we are not dealing with someone who has been “misunderstood”. Exposing these wicked words and deeds is an act of mercy, and covering them up is diabolical.
Surely the divine words of our Blessed Lord Himself apply here as well:
Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: nor hidden, that shall not be known. For whatsoever things you have spoken in darkness, shall be published in the light: and that which you have spoken in the ear in the chambers, shall be preached on the housetops. And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will shew you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear him.
We expose the wicked words and deeds of “Pope” Francis for all to see so that people will rightly fear him who by his heresies and scandals “hath power to cast into hell”.
Early on in Francis’ “pontificate”, the whole “What the Pope really said” shtick was very popular, and one of the biggest apologists for the “misquoted, misunderstood Francis” thesis was “Father” John Zuhlsdorf, but even he had to give up eventually. The defense just wasn’t sustainable, and Francis was cranking out one howler after another, faster than Mr. Zuhlsdorf could write, “WDTPRS — What Did The Pope Really Say?”.
Of course, the ultimate defend-Francis-at-all-costs guy has been Jimmy Akin, and he’s still occasionally at it, although even he has slowed down tremendously as of late, probably exhausted from continually having to deal with the Argentinian Jesuit’s unstoppable verbal waterfall. However, when Akin does come to his client’s defense, no one can top him — his verbal and hermeneutical acrobatics are simply masterful. The man can turn a “yes” into a “no” and black into white, in a dozen easy steps for you to know and share. Our posts “Akin to the Rescue” and “Akin vs. Akin: Let’s Get Technical” illustrate how the man operates.
The whole “Here’s what Francis really said/meant” spiel is nothing but a laughing stock at this point. As well it should be. It’s one thing if a Pope accidentally misspeaks on one or two occasions or utters something not entirely clear or lacking context. But this isn’t what has been happening since March 13, 2013. Rather, there has been a near daily attack by Francis on Catholic doctrine, morals, piety, or practice, over and over again. At this point, any reasonable person has to conclude that it is deliberate, because sincere people who see that they are misunderstood or misquoted or misrepresented, take concrete measures to correct the situation, to redress the scandal inadvertently caused, to apologize, and to prevent it from happening again. Francis does virtually none of this, only confirming by his actions what he may have left unclear by his words. And last time he did verbally clarify something ambiguous, he confirmed that the heretical understanding of his words is the correct one. Remember?
Francis causes grave harm to souls not only by what he says and does, but also by what he does not say and by what he fails to do. It is certainly not wrong to preach the corporal works of mercy, to remind people that we must help a neighbor in need and be compassionate, but it is wrong to reduce the entire Gospel to that. The Gospel is essentially supernatural in its aim: the salvation of souls, the attainment of the Beatific Vision. The Gospel shows how man can once again be reconciled to God, after the initial friendship (sanctifying grace) had been destroyed through original sin. That is the essence of the Gospel — not the poor, not the elderly, not the sick, not using energy-saving lightbulbs or fighting global warming so we can “make the world a better place”. That is Naturalism, and that’s exactly what Francis is: a Naturalist. He preaches the “Gospel of Man”, as we have nicknamed it, a false gospel (cf. Gal 1:8-9) that deprives the true Gospel of its supernatural character and reduces it to what St. Pius X called “an inconsistent and impotent humanitarianism” (Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique).
Although many Novus Ordos may still be in denial, the SS Novus Ordo Titanic is sinking faster than Francis can say “existential peripheries”. Let Tom Hoopes and his co-religionists try to convince people that the iceberg is just a speed bump and the captain is as sober as a mackerel in ice water. “Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind” (Mt 15:14).
But you — get off the ship!
Lifeboats are standing by.