It’s a terrible shame when Catholic writers and editors become so self-important they consider themselves wiser than even the popes. It’s a terrible shame that in our beautiful faith where Jesus teaches us to avoid gossip, scandal and slander, some Catholic publications do just that about the actions and words of good Pope Francis and any others who dare to agree with him or at the very least stay silent. When it comes to discussing Pope Francis, these journalists are sophists who take facts and twist them in just a way to pit people against the pope, making themselves appear as the guardians of the faith. They pose a danger to souls when their sinful, deliberately twisted quotes and interpretations are accepted by some Catholics as facts and spread around the globe to anyone who will listen. The apparent goal of these writers is to convince people to rebel against Pope Francis because they say he is violating or even attempting to change Catholic doctrine. However, he has not done this as yet and this writer will venture to say he never will.
Take, for example, the new information that the personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has revealed. Georg Gänswein has recently stated that Benedict is aware of and is going to stay silent on the controversies surrounding Amoris Laetitia. Controversies, by the way, that the Catholic journals themselves actively stirred up. Instead of learning from the silence of Pope Benedict, a blog called One Peter Five criticizes, “Sadly, it does appear as though he (Benedict) is not concerned about what has befallen the Church in his absence. If that’s so, more’s the pity.” Imagine having the temerity to state unequivocally that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is not concerned about the Church because he won’t speak about, preferably in a negative light, Pope Francis. Surprising too, since many of these very same writers consider Pope Benedict to be a proper pope, perhaps even the “real” pope. Here, I won’t get into the conspiracy theories that Pope Benedict was secretly pressured to resign by liberal Cardinals who schemed to elect Pope Francis for the purpose of changing Church doctrine, a vicious rumor that still hasn’t materialized in four years of this pontificate and one that Pope Benedict has solidly refuted.
Another publication called Lifesite News implies that Pope Francis gave carte blanche for anyone committing adultery of any type without examination or repentance to worthily receive communion. This implication is unequivocally false. Lifesite wrote, “A Malta newspaper also recently reported that Pope Francis thanked the bishops of that country for their allowance of Communion for adulterers who feel ‘at peace with God.’” These words are a deliberate twisting of the guidelines written by the Maltese bishops on administering chapter eight of Amoris Laetitia. The bishops actually wrote, “Some remarried divorcees can receive Holy Communion after a period of discernment, with an informed and enlightened conscience, and if they are ‘at peace with God.’” This is a sound doctrinal statement through the use of a process called an Internal Forum available to divorced/remarried people who are seeking full reunion with the Church, but the full explanation is for another article. The twisted words of Lifesite are deliberately meant to cause misunderstanding. I daresay the writers, editors and journalists could be guilty of more serious sin than those they feign concern over!
And why do these Catholic writers and their followers promote and participate in this? There are a myriad of reasons including that Pope Francis was not their favored preference for a pope, they don’t like the progressive philosophies of Jesuits, they have a staunch traditional mindset, they are American and inappropriately compare the papacy of the Church to left/right politics, they don’t fully understand their faith, they are conspiracy minded, they follow false prophecies, they don’t trust Christ’s words in Matthew 16:18, ”I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it,” or they have some other unimaginable agenda.
The bottom line is that the responsibility of the journals should include investigating the full context, meaning, and truth of the words and actions of Pope Francis with comparison to doctrine and report on those facts without a slanted agenda. Readers should also be discerning; just because one agrees and desires it to be true does not necessarily make it true. All parties involved might surprise themselves by what they learn. Gossip, lies and slander are sins. Period.