Is the Pope Catholic?

Once upon a time, the Yankees “always” won the American League pennant.  Halfway through the season, if someone foolishly asked if the Yankees were going to do it again, some wise guy would answer the foolish question by asking another, “Is the Pope Italian?”  In later years, during the unending pontificate of John Paul II, the Yankees were no longer dominating the American League, and, if anyone asked some foolish question such as, “You think Sammy Sosa is taking steroids?,”  the responding question was, “Is the Pope Catholic?”  Today, I wonder how the wise guy would respond to a question like, “Is Sammy Sosa whitening his skin?”  

All the proverbial certainties on which simple people could rely are gone with the wind.  A Confederate dollar bill is worth more than a greenback,  most Catholic priests don't know any Latin--or theology--and, if the celebrity billionaires make good on their promise to go into space, pigs really will fly.

Is the current Pope Italian or Catholic?  Papa Bergoglio may be of Italian extraction, but he is not any more Italian than Andrew Cuomo, and, while he may be Pope in Rome, the hierarchy over which he presides can hardly be described as “Catholic.”  (Note, I am referring to the princes of the  Church and not to the peasant laity.) 

One more simple question, if the Pope or the majority of American bishops were really Catholic, would Andrew Cuomo or Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden or any other of the political bosses who advocate baby-killing be permitted to receive Holy Communion?  Would known sexual predators like Theodore McCarrick continue to serve as cardinals instead of being sent to prison?  

To put a point to the argument: Would Catholics be subjected to aesthetically degrading pop music every time they attend Mass?  I cite this last instance of a general trend because it tells us all what we need to know:  In our time, the Church has surrendered to the demons of progress, much as so many Christian ministers in communist countries, including China today, have bowed to the authorities.  Church music today is an anthem of servility to the coarsest kind of hedonism.

What does a Catholic do in such an age?  I have no advice.  For me, I hold my nose and try not to read anything that comes out of the Vatican or out of my diocese.  A rose may not always be a rose--for a French poet, it was the absent rose, not the rose in the hand or on the bush that really mattered.  So, too, the Church is the Church is the Church, though it may be the Church of the ages that matters and not these liars, cheats, scoundrels, and child-abusers in the hierarchy.  They  can only scrawl their wicked graffiti on the walls, but when these same liars, cheats, and scoundrels  pretend they have authority to change long-standing principles of moral theology—on capital punishment, socialism, the rights of nations to defend their borders—they deserve only a good old-fashioned Bronx cheer.  And they won’t dare do anything to repress their critics, because they don’t even have that much fortitude.

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

7 Responses

  1. Frank Brownlow says:

    Yes, the gang in charge now is far worse than the Renaissance popes who upset Luther; however misbehaved they were, they left the religion and its culture intact. It’s obvious that this lot, starting with Bergoglio, don’t believe the religion, and know very little about it–but then neither do large numbers of the people sitting in the pews–and that includes Protestants as well as Catholics. Look at the poor old Church of England and its offshoots.

  2. Kellen Buckles says:

    Two Sundays ago we visited St Ignatius’ church in Rome and appreciated the normal arrangement of altar, etc. A sign outside informed us that an English mass would be offered at another church a block away. Upon entering there we were struck by the incongruity: people glad-handing, hugging, chairs in a circle around an “altar” in the middle of the nave. At least, several people were practicing a hymn set to Hyfrydol. We left.

  3. James D. says:

    Should a Catholic continue to contribute to the offering? Our Diocese has paid out millions of dollars (more than $6 million reported to date, with millions more going unreported) to abuse victims, while continuing to shutter schools and churches, sell off assets, and allow the remaining real estate to fall into disrepair. My wife and I toured a Catholic grade school a few weeks back and the school was falling to pieces. Of more concern was that the teachers we met seemed to have ended up there because they weren’t qualified for a public school job. I think the financial situation is going to become immediately dire in my Diocese, and many others.

  4. Khater M says:

    The SSPX position seems like the most balanced one to me(we must recognize the authorities in Rome but reject their errors, “Recognize & Resist”) Being in DC is great because there are so many options for Mass. When I can’t get to a Latin Mass, going to a Melkite church works pretty well. A large portion of the folks at the local Melkite parish ran away from modern Western Catholicism.

  5. Dot says:

    Has the church reached a nadir? Is another reformation on the horizon?

  6. Alexander Krawczyk says:

    Well the obvious answer is, “No, he most definitely is not.” There’s so many examples to prove this it’s mind blowing – just look at (well don’t actually look at since it’s disgusting) the encyclical Amoris Laetitia… it outright approves of adultery and would fall under the magisterium the way it was promulgated. Absolutely sick! There’s a good series out there called “Francis Watch” which follows all of his nonsense and what the Church actually teaches – it’s pretty great! Here is the latest episode if anyone is interested:


  7. Alexander Krawczyk says:

    The bigger question though is: Is this guy actually the pope? After all, you have to be a Catholic to be the pope… How can the Church, which is Infallible and Indefectible, which teaches with the Authority of Christ, give us heresy and evil disciplines (like the aforementioned Amoris Laetitia)? It can’t! It’s impossible that the Authority of Christ gives to the faithful that which leads to hell… Obviously, the Catholic Church cannot do that; it can’t defect. Ah, but man himself can defect! All the heresies spewing out since Vatican II are indeed a certain sign that these supposed popes, have not actually received the authority of Christ; they are not actually popes. Just some food for thought, if anyone is interested this is a thorough site, with many articles on issues of the present times: