The Francesco Fiasco: Novus Ordo Land reels from “Papal” Comments on Sodomite Civil Unions
When the news broke on Oct. 21, 2020, that Francis had endorsed legal protections for homosexual couples in an interview aired as part of the new documentary Francesco, it wasn’t difficult to predict that a firestorm of reactions would erupt — and boy, did it!
Before long, a veritable panoply of widely differing reactions presented itself: From irritated cries of “fake news” all the way to shrugs of “nothing new here”, from exasperated condemnations to enthusiastic applause, from “this has no authority” to “this indicates a shift in the Church” — the reactions of Vatican II “Catholics” were as varied as the liturgical chaos one finds in any Novus Ordo diocese. Conservative Protestants were shocked, too. Not so much Antonio Guterres, the “Catholic” head of the United Nations. Either way, the call for “clarification” is as popular as it is silly at this point.
After Francis’ remarks became public, predictably the “What the Pope Really Said” machine went into overdrive. Right off the bat, Catholic Answers’ head of apologetics, Tim Staples, made a complete fool of himself as he rushed to give “9 reasons to calm down” because “Pope Francis is still Catholic”. The first three of them tell you all you need to know:
1. We don’t know what Pope Francis actually said, or meant. By “said,” I mean we only have three sentences. We need a context. In human discourse, folks, we should give people the benefit of the doubt. That is not just being charitable. That is being human. Don’t make definitive conclusions without knowing all that was said. If it were anyone other than Pope Francis, or Donald Trump, this would be a given. But in these cases, the world seems to condemn first and ask questions never.
2. We have to consider translation. Sometimes the pope’s Spanish gets poorly translated.
3. Pope Francis was giving an opinion that is not a magisterial teaching. If he was wrong, he was wrong. We just cannot make a conclusion that he is wrong from what we have at present.
Be sure to read the remainder of his post, where he tries his darnedest to think of ways to defend Francis just in case he did say and mean what he said and meant. He ends by reminding his hapless readers that the gates of hell won’t prevail. But, as one sedevacantist said so pithily on Twitter the other day: “Don’t tell me that sedevacantism … means that the Gates of Hell have prevailed when your ‘pope’ is standing at the Gates of Hell, ushering people in.” Touché!
Some secularists saw in Francis’ words an approval of “gay weddings”, which they were not because he was speaking about civil unions and not about marriage. At the same time, what is a marriage to secular ears nowadays but a sort of “civil union” dreamed up by the state that can be entered into and ended at will? Surely the blame here cannot be laid entirely on the secular press.
Needless to say, the Novus Ordo sodomite lobby was delighted at Francis’ words. In New Zealand, a Novus Ordo bishop declared: “I endorse the reported comments of Pope Francis. I know that he is anxious for LGBTQ people to know that they are valued members of the family of the Church as they are of their own families. We want their happiness, and for them to know that they are loved.” In the Philippines, “Bp.” Pablo David came out praising his master. He went so far as to humiliate our Blessed Lord and His Holy Church by declaring that Christ “did not think building the kingdom of God was a matter of teaching people proper doctrine and morals” and that Francis “just wants to do as Jesus himself did”.
Of course not every Novus Ordo cleric was happy with Francis’ words. Many were outraged and didn’t even attempt a defense. Among them are “Cardinal” Raymond Burke; “Cardinal” Gerhard Ludwig Müller; “Bishop” Athanasius Schneider; “Fr.” John Zuhlsdorf; and an anonymous canonist, for example.
Also, “Bishop” Thomas Tobin of the diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, posted a fairly stern message on the diocesan web site:
The Holy Father’s apparent support for the recognition of civil unions for same-sex couples needs to be clarified. The Pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions. The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and must have their personal human rights and civil rights recognized and protected by law. However, the legalization of their civil unions, which seek to simulate holy matrimony, is not admissible.
Before we continue, a few words on “Bp.” Tobin’s statement are in order. (This Tobin is not, by the way, to be confused with “Cardinal” Joseph Tobin of “nighty-night” infamy, who was presumably in ecstasy over Francis’ remarks.)
If, as Tobin writes, Francis “clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church” with his statement, then there is nothing that “needs to be clarified.” If anything, it needs to be retracted. When a heretic is received into the Church, he is not asked to clarify his errors but to abjure them. The word “clarify” simply means “render clear”, but the problem with Bergoglio’s words isn’t that they’re not clear enough but that they’re scandalous and at odds with Catholic morals.
By going on to affirm the “human rights and civil rights” of sodomites, Tobin shoots himself in the foot, for what Bergoglio has asked for is essentially that their civil rights should also include legal protections similar to those enjoyed by the married, an idea which Tobin rejects. Therefore, although he opposes what Francis has endorsed, Tobin has by his own argumentation already laid the premises for its eventual acceptance.
While even sodomites have rights as people, of course, they do not have rights as sodomites. As people, they have the same rights as other people. A male who is attracted to other males is permitted to marry — a female. And vice versa. The reason for his inability to marry another male lies in the nature of matrimony, which isn’t subject to arbitrary redefinition by a majority of people, legislators, or judges. The nature of matrimony arises from its primary purpose, which is procreation. This purpose is gleaned from the function of the reproductive organs. None of this is terribly difficult to understand.
Likewise on Oct. 21, the Archdiocese of New York was quick to publish a statement by Ed Mechmann, who holds the position of Director of Public Policy and of the Safe Environment Program of the diocese. The title, “Dealing with Papal Mistakes”, makes clear what the author thinks of Francis’ comments. To wit: “It was a mistake by a man with good intentions but who just got it wrong. He was trying to give expression to his long-standing desire that we reach out to and include those who are marginalized or alienated from the Church or society.” A mistake! He thought that this was what the Church teaches or allows him to hold, and it turns out he remembered wrong. Oops!
Of course, that is simply a lame excuse. The fact is that Francis knew very well what kind of kerfuffle would result from his remarks, being no stranger to controversy, media coverage, or public reaction. The fact that he will not retract his “mistake” underscores this very clearly. No, we cannot speak of a mistake here. Mistakes are inadvertent. This was deliberate.
In fact, this seems to be the false pope’s preferred modus operandi: throw out a fire bomb, watch it set everything on fire, and personally keep an irreverent silence — all the while retaining a modicum of plausible deniability his defenders will happily harp on (“It was taken out of context!” / “It’s a poor translation!” / “The Pope wasn’t speaking in his native language!” / “His words were edited!” / “The journalist misunderstood him!” etc.). This way of proceeding does all the intended damage and yet gives his die-hard apologists sufficient tools for entering a “not guilty” plea on behalf of their man, however absurd that may now be after seven years of this chaos.
Still, not everyone is willing to play this ridiculous game anymore. For instance, Carl Olson, editor of the conservative Novus Ordo Catholic World Report, complained in a swift reaction: “So, which is it? Well, that probably depends on the day and week. Changing course and shifting narrative parameters for different audiences has been a regular feature of this pontificate, which often flies by the seat of its sentimentally-inclined papal pants.” The exasperation is palpable.
The very same day of its initial report of the Frankster’s verbal indiscretion, Catholic News Agency followed up with an “explainer” that, we must acknowledge in all fairness, at least stuck to its guns in terms of what Francis’ actual words were and how they differ from what even his own Novus Ordo predecessors said on the issue (although somehow Bergoglio always has useful idiots to argue that there is no contradiction).
“Bp.” David Zubik of Pittsburgh weighed in as well, although he calmly played the “pastoral approach” card. By contrast, “Abp.” Carlo Maria Viganò — we might just call him “The Commentator” at this point — released a fiery new declaration in which the retired ecclesiastical diplomat noted rather undiplomatically that Francis’ latest outrageous “words simply constitute the umpteenth provocation by which the ‘ultra-progressive’ part of the Hierarchy wants to artfully provoke a schism”.
Although Francis had expressed his position in favor of legal benefits for same-sex partnerships before, both as “Pope” and as “Archbishop” of Buenos Aires, sundry other pundits were in denial early on, arguing that Francis had not in fact endorsed civil unions for “gays”, blaming a faulty translation of his remarks. The Spanish term he used, convivencia civil (“civil cohabitation”), is not the same as union civil (“civil union”), so the argument went. However, it didn’t take long before that objection was blown out of the water:
- “Proof that Pope Francis’ comments approving of gay civil unions were translated accurately” (Life Site)
- “Bishop Schneider: Deception via hairsplitting – civil ‘union’ vs ‘cohabitation’” (Life Site)
- “Argentine archbishop and Pope Francis advisor says ‘civil union’ not mistranslated in documentary” (Catholic News Agency)
Then came the “context” argument: Bergoglio’s words had been heavily edited and taken out of context, it was claimed. And indeed, it was discovered “that several sentences spoken by the pope in the documentary were spliced together, out of context” from an interview conducted in May of 2019 by Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki, the most contentious parts of which had never been aired before and were included now by producer Evgeny Afineevsky in his Francesco documentary. The Jesuit rag America supplied the details:
The last sentence of the statement in the documentary is the final part of his original response to a totally different question that can be found only in the unedited version of the Televisa interview. Ms. Alazraki had recalled the pope’s battle against same sex-marriages when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires and asked whether his seemingly more liberal position as pope is due to the Holy Spirit.
His full answer in Spanish (translation mine) was: “The grace of the Holy Spirit certainly exists. I have always defended the doctrine. And it is curious that in the law on homosexual marriage…. It is an incongruity to speak of homosexual marriage. But what we have to have is a law of civil union (ley de convivencia civil), so they have the right to be legally covered.”
(Gerard O’Connell, “Analysis: What is going on at the Vatican’s communications department?”, America, Oct. 24, 2020; italics given.)
That may all be well and good as far as clarifying the context is concerned — but then it must be remembered too that Francis reportedly had previewed the film before its release and apparently did not object to how his words were being presented in it, as he still doesn’t even now. The fact that the Vatican honored the documentary’s homosexual producer the very next day with “the 18th Kineo Movie for Humanity Award in recognition of Francesco“, doesn’t exactly support the narrative that Francis has been misrepresented in any way.
But regardless, even if Francis had been misrepresented by having his statements taken out of context, now that the full context has been disclosed, we can see that this argument does absolutely nothing for Francis’ defense because the fact remains that what the false pope said, in context, is still unacceptable and scandalous, namely, that sodomites should enjoy legal protections for their depraved sexual relationship.
Of course, in a few people Francis has die-hard defenders. Take Novus Ordo apologist Steve Kellmeyer of the aptly-named Fifth Column blog, for example. He tries to justify Francis’ calling for legal protections for sodomites on the grounds that Ss. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas taught that prostitution is a vice that should be tolerated by the secular rulers in order to avoid greater evils (such as rape and sodomy). The “Pope”, Kellmeyer argues, is trying to avoid the greater evil of same-sex “marriage” and so opts for civil unions instead. However, there is a fatal flaw in the Fifth Columnist’s reasoning: Francis is not calling for the toleration of sodomites’ cohabitation, he is calling for the establishment of a law that grants legal benefits/protections to sodomites equal or similar to those given to married couples, thus facilitating and recognizing their abominable unnatural unions and enabling them to live as though they were married.
Over at Crisis, editor Michael Warren Davis is done with this lunacy: “Up to this point, I’ve tried very hard to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. No longer. The Pope has made it abundantly clear that his mind is not with the mind of the Church. He doesn’t believe in the sacred deposit of the Magisterium. He doesn’t feel bound to the Church’s traditions.” He should have added, “He’s not the Pope”, but perhaps that will come later. “Pope Francis doesn’t think of himself as pope”, Davis writes in the meantime. But if Francis doesn’t think of himself as Pope, why should anyone else?
Those who insist that Francis has not changed church teaching and he’s just expressing his personal opinions, and leave it at that, have missed the point because the consequences are still dreadful and intolerable, as poignantly noted by “Fr.” Gerald Murray:
Pope Francis’ remarks will give encouragement to all those, Catholic and not, who reject the Church’s teaching that sodomy is an inherently evil act. They will claim that the Church now accepts homosexual activity as something good when it offers a real good: life within a family, of a sort.
And in the context the pope has placed it, same-sex “families” deserve not only legal protection via civil unions but also societal approval in order to make same-sex couples feel as welcome and accepted as anyone else in society.
No “bridge-building” will result from this latest misstep. Those who accept the Church’s perennial teaching on homosexuality will be accused of being anti-Catholic enemies of the pope. But can that be true?
(Rev. Gerald E. Murray, “Pope Francis Oversteps the Papal Office”, The Catholic Thing, Oct. 24, 2020)
It must also be understood that whereas in Canada or in Belgium, Francis’ words may barely elicit more than a yawn from most, they are received quite differently in Nigeria or Iraq.
With his careless comments, Francis has also effectively stabbed a lot of struggling people in the back. Think of pending or future lawsuits in which a pair of sodomites is trying to litigate against an educational institution that means to be faithful to Christ’s teaching on human sexuality and keep its students from being subjected to teachers who are public perverts:
Francis’s remarks seem to undercut the policies of some Catholic institutions prohibiting employees from entering into same-sex marriages.
Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a religious studies professor at Manhattan College, expressed hope that the pope’s remarks “will prompt Catholic institutions to stop firing teachers, catechists, music ministers and others who are part of the LGBTQ community and a vital part of the Catholic community as well.”
(David Crary and Elana Schor, “Divided reactions in US as pope backs same-sex civil unions”, Crux, Oct. 22, 2020)
Francis’ scandalous remarks can also impact politics around the globe and, with that, countless children and families:
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said [Filipino President Rodrigo] Duterte has long supported same-sex civil unions and the papal endorsement may finally convince legislators to give their approval. In the past, such proposals have been opposed or avoided by conservative legislators or those who feared earning the ire of influential church leaders.
“With no less than the pope supporting it, I think even the most conservative of all Catholics in Congress should no longer have a basis for objecting,” Roque said.
(“Mixed Philippine reaction on pope nod on gay civil unions”, Crux, Oct. 22, 2020)
It will not do, therefore, to simply dismiss the whole thing as the private opinion of a certain Jorge Bergoglio. Precisely because the world (falsely) believes him to be the Pope, his words have tremendous reach and impact. “Remarks made in interviews or documentaries do not qualify as acts of the papal magisterium”, says “Mgr.” Charles Pope (yes, that is his name). But that’s not what Francis thinks: “I’m constantly making statements, giving homilies. That’s magisterium”, the Argentinian apostate said in a 2014 interview with Elisabetta Piqué. Now if we combine this with Pope Benedict XV’s teaching that the Vicar of Christ “possesses a perfect right to speak as he wishes and when he thinks it opportune” and people then have the obligation to “hearken to him reverently when he speaks and to carry out what he says” (Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 22), who is likely to win that battle? Pope or Antipope (get it)?
It would be silly for anyone to think that Francis’ comments are mere innocuous musings based on his personal preference. “Magisterial” or not, formal or informal, binding or optional, such words, widely reported in the press, can have immense consequences, whether intended or unintended, even in the long term. They were certainly a great humiliation for anyone who, despite feeling attracted to members of the same sex, has resisted such inclinations and lives chastely for the love of Christ. Life Site writes that “chaste same-sex attracted Catholics are struggling to find the right words to express the sense of betrayal and outrage they’re now experiencing” and have point-blank called on Francis to repent.
Similarly, the famous Kazakh auxiliary “Bp.” Schneider explicitly said Francis needs to convert:
All Catholics … should weep and cry to God that, through the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who in Fatima said that people should stop offending God, who is already too offended, Pope Francis may convert and retract formally his approval for the civil same-sex unions, in order to confirm his brethren, as the Lord has commanded him (see Luke 22:32).
(Athanasius Schneider, in “Bishop Schneider calls faithful to pray for Pope Francis to ‘convert”, Life Site, Oct. 23, 2020)
Here Schneider gives the impression, probably not unintentionally, that the referenced passage of St. Luke’s Gospel supports the idea that a Pope can stray from the Faith and must then be converted so he can exercise his duty of confirming his brethren. But we must remind “His Excellency” that Our Lord’s prayer for St. Peter was that, being converted from “the sifting of Satan, that is from his temptation and from the sin” of denying Christ (Lapide, p. 483), his Faith would never fail, and that this prayer has long been fulfilled not only in him, but is necessarily also fulfilled in all of his legitimate successors, as the Church teaches:
And since all Christians must be closely united in the communion of one immutable faith, Christ the Lord, in virtue of His prayers, obtained for Peter that in the fulfilment of his office he should never fall away from the faith. “But I have asked for thee that thy faith fail not” (Luke xxii., 32), and He furthermore commanded him to impart light and strength to his brethren as often as the need should arise: “Confirm thy brethren” (Ibid.). He willed then that he whom He had designated as the foundation of the Church should be the defence of its faith.
(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 12; underlining added.)
So, this gift of truth and a never failing faith was divinely conferred upon Peter and his successors in this chair, that they might administer their high duty for the salvation of all; that the entire flock of Christ, turned away by them from the poisonous food of error, might be nourished on the sustenance of heavenly doctrine, that with the occasion of schism removed the whole Church might be saved as one, and relying on her foundation might stay firm against the gates of hell.
(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 4; Denz. 1837; underlining added.)
More visible action against Francis’ loose tongue was taken by Alexander Tschugguel of the St. Boniface Institute, known for his Pachamama Tiber toss a year ago, who demonstated in front of St. Peter’s Square, unfurling a banner that read: “Holy Father: We ask for Clarity on Same-Sex Unions.” While that was a courageous deed that probably upset Francis more than any useless online petition ever could, it is unfortunate that Tschugguel’s objection to Francis’ words is that they are lacking clarity. It should be obvious that there is no need for Francis to clarify his words — he needs to retract them.
Interestingly enough, we must observe that for almost two weeks, the Vatican’s communications department had nothing to say on the matter:
Not only did Vatican Media not have anything to say, they actually imposed a media blackout for a while, probably to allow for enough time to get all their ducks in a row and come out with a consistent, coherent narrative.
It was not until Nov. 2, as many as 12 days after the scandal first broke and most people had probably forgotten about the matter already, that the Vatican finally acted, arguing that with his words “Pope Francis was referring to specific State dispositions, [and] certainly not to the Doctrine of the Church, confirmed numerous times in the course of the years.”
The distinction between civil law and Church doctrine may be convenient at first sight, but it doesn’t ultimately help the Vatican defense team. For all law, in order to be law, must be just, and human law cannot be just if it contradicts God’s Law: “Human laws are either just or unjust. If they are just they bind in conscience by virtue of the natural and Eternal law from which they are derived. If they are unjust they do not bind, and are not, properly speaking, laws” (Rev. Michael Cronin, The Science of Ethics, vol. 1 [New York, NY: Benziger Brothers, 1909], p. 613).
Perhaps the strangest defense of Francis’ comments comes from “Abp.” Victor Manuel Fernandez of La Plata, Argentina, whom we have disaffectionately nicknamed “Smoochie” on account of his 1995 book Heal Me With Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing. He actually maintains that Francis was endorsing legal protections for homosexual couples who do not engage in any sexual activity! Although that argument deserves an award for its sheer originality, it does not score quite so highly on the credibility scale. Journalist Inés San Martín reports Smoochie’s words as follows:
“However, [Jorge] Bergoglio always recognized that, without calling it ‘marriage,’ there are in fact, very close unions between people of the same sex, which do not in themselves imply sexual relations, but a very intense and stable alliance,” Fernandez wrote.
These people “know each other thoroughly, they share the same roof for many years, they take care of each other, they sacrifice for each other,” he continued. “Then it may happen that they prefer that in an extreme case or illness they do not consult their relatives, but that person who knows their intentions in depth. For the same reason they prefer that it be that person who inherits all their assets, etc. This can be contemplated in the law and is called ‘civil union’, or ‘law of civil coexistence’, not marriage.”
(Ines San Martin, “Key ally says pope’s always backed same-sex ‘civil coexistence’”, Crux, Oct. 23, 2020)
Even if we take all of that as truly reflective of Bergoglio’s own position, Smoochie isn’t exactly helping his boss.
Let’s be clear: There can be no “very intense and stable alliance” between people of the same sex who are sexually attracted to each other. That is a common misconception among Novus Ordos, who appear to believe that the only thing wrong with sodomite unions is the unnatural act and not other things that go along with their association, such as hugging, holding hands, looking at each other with depraved affection, etc.
Although a mere feeling of attraction itself is not sinful if it is rejected by the will, that’s just the point: There can be no consent to even so much as the attraction (cf. Mt 5:27-28) — it is not simply a question of refraining from unnatural relations. Therefore that bars all “intense and stable alliance” the Archlayman of La Plata has in mind. There can be no such alliance between same-sex-attracted individuals, much less a civil union or legal contract, for that would presuppose that consent has been given (and continues to be maintained) to that which is forbidden. If “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” (Deut 5:21), how much less so thy neighbor himself!
Ladies and gentlemen, it is evident that Francis has once again succeeded in making a mess. Not only has he scandalized the world’s population and caused the greatest chaos and disagreements among “Catholics” around the globe; he has also, precisely by means of the forseeable fiasco his words produced, intensified their impact.
We call him Chaos Frank for a reason.
Image source: composite with elements from shutterstock.com