Francis´ new church

By Joachim Heimerl

No one expected that the great scholar Benedict XVI would be followed by a pope of errors and confusion.

In the meantime, however, this has become so evident that even apologists for the pope are finding it increasingly difficult to build continuity with previous pontificates.

But where continuity ends, rupture begins, and this is precisely what is becoming increasingly evident under Francis.

Of course, one could argue that the Church was experiencing a rupture long before Francis, for example since the introduction of the new liturgy. However, John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried to smooth out this rupture, while Francis is provoking it more and more openly. - It is the pope who - as he himself has said - would accept a schism. However, not to protect the deposit of faith from heresy, but to adapt it to his personal views in the long run. This is very Jesuitical, but it is not the task of a pope. Yet: Francis wants the Church to become what he personally wants it to be, regardless of what Jesus Christ wanted and what the Church has always taught.

But how does Francis see the Church?

We know he likes to use the metaphor of the field hospital, but this is a pastoral skirmish. In reality, he is concerned about a new conception of the Church that no longer corresponds to Catholic standards. - Of course, no one says this, least of all the Pope, who prefers to speak vaguely of "renewal" of the Church. It sounds harmless and doesn't hurt anyone, but it is just window dressing. Anyone who looks a little behind the words quickly realizes the whole thing. Some examples:

According to the Abu Dhabi document Francis signed, the Church is no longer something universal and unique. On the contrary, it stands alongside all other religious communities, both Christian and pagan. It sounds nice and cosmopolitan, but it is not Catholic. The one saving mediation of Christ, whose mysterious body is the Church, is not a religious option next to others. Here one can no longer speak of a "further development of previous doctrine" in the light of "interreligious dialogue." This is a fundamental relativization of the Church and the Christian faith as such.

Incidentally, this also applies to the Pope's latest statement that the mission of Christians and communists is the same. There is no need to point out that this is not so; after all, all popes have condemned communism except Francis. If one synthesizes this with the Abu Dhabi document, it becomes even clearer how Francis wants the Church to be, namely as an NGO with a liberation theology slant that is one voice among many in the religious marketplace of arbitrariness. In other words, the Pope sees the Church primarily as a secular phenomenon and is therefore trying to secularize it in a targeted way. His constant battle against "clericalism" actually serves his program of secularizing the Church.

Thus, there is no longer any mention of unpopular categories such as sin or hell, at least not in the previous sense. On the contrary: recently the Pope even admitted that he would prefer hell to be "empty." In doing so, he has departed from the clear statements of Jesus and from everything we have read in the Catechism.

This may be considered a change of emphasis, but in reality it is a systematic approach by the Pope to change the Church to his liking:

This could already be seen in the post-synodal letter "Amoris laetitia": here Francis relativized nothing less than the irrevocability of marriage; the simple buzzword "mercy" has now replaced contrary statements in Scripture.

However, it is precisely this watchword strategy that Francis is increasingly using, and there is hardly anyone who questions it. His words sound too soft for that, for example when he recently stated that the Lord would bless all people and effectively added, "all, all." - This obviously meant all irregular couples, whether adulterous or homosexual.

There is no reference in the Bible to this practice of blessing. On the contrary, Jesus clearly condemned adultery and by no means blessed "everyone, everyone," especially homosexuals. Unlike the Pope, however, HE would have had the authority to overturn the clear condemnation of Scripture, but he did not: "I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill" (Mt. 5:17). - This is the exact opposite of what Francis practices. But does the Church care about the will of God or the will of the Pope?

One thing is already certain today: under Francis, the rift in the Church will become even greater, while the Church itself will lose its ultimate credibility. And while Benedict XVI warned of the danger of relativism, Francis has made the Church a victim of relativism. A "renewal" of the Church certainly looks different. It will presumably be possible only after this pontificate, and only if the Church faces the truth of the Gospel and no longer succumbs to widespread errors - even if the Pope proclaims them.