[UPDATED] The Present Crisis of the Holy See Tested by Prophecy (2): Is Pope Francis the antichrist ?

The title of this post may be considered a bit inflammatory, but the question is not illegitimate because the Pope himself tried (unsuccessfully) to answer it in his "airplane magisterium".

While flying from Cuba to the US, on Sept. 22, 2015, he said:
"A cardinal friend of mine told me that a very concerned woman, very Catholic, went to him. A bit rigid, but Catholic. And she asked him if it was true that in the Bible, they spoke of an antichrist...But why is she asking me this question, this cardinal asked me? “Because I’m sure that Pope Francis is the anti-pope,” she said.
And why does she ask this, why does she have this idea? “It’s because he doesn’t wear red shoes.” The reason for thinking if one is communist or isn’t communist.I’m sure that I haven't said anything more than what’s written in the social doctrine of the Church. ....
And if necessary, I’ll recite the creed. I am available to do that, eh."
Why is this answer less than perfect? Well, because first he didn't deny he was the antichrist. Second, because he has said many things that are not compatible with the doctrine of the Church (see here 108 specific examples - and counting ) and, lastly, because the Creed is recited by many heretics and schismatics.

Even if he had proposed to recite the "Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity", we would have to ask ourselves why would the antichrist refuse to recite a few paragraphs if that would help him fulfill his mission? I mean, he is the antichrist ! His conscience will not bother him if he tells a few lies  ... Even prelates and theologians promise to "hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety" and then do the opposite (e.g. #Synod14 and #Synod15) and they are much, much lower in the antichristian hierarchy...

So, is the Pope Francis THE antichrist ?

While reading Cd. Manning's book (see previous post), I came across what Manning describe's as the spirit of the antichrist:
He will be the "the lawless [or licentious] one the, one who is without law, who is not subject to the law of God or of man whose only law is his own will to whom the license of his own will is the sole and only rule which he knows or obeys" (p. 37)

He will "introduce disorder, sedition, tumult and revolution both in the temporal and spiritual order of the world ..." (p. 37).
This, I'm sorry to say, made me think of our Pope.

His trademark is confusion.

Oh, you disagree ? So, please explain to me what does the Pope teach concerning the following issues:
  • Can an incontinent divorced "remarried" catholic go to communion?
  • Are homosexual acts objectively mortal sins?
  • Will God forgive all sins and sinners?
  •  [Bonus question] Can we judge?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear concerning these four issues (see n.ºs 1650-1651, 2357-2359, 1864, 1861).  But ever since the Pope returned from Brazil, July 28th, 2013, and inaugurated his "airplane magisterium", a thick doctrinal fog enveloped the Church (some prefer to call 'the smoke of satan').

It's fair to say that heresy was already present and thriving before the present pontificate, but it was kept within certain limits. Now it occupies center stage and the clarity of Truth was relegated to the peripheries ...

So, yes, he seems to be to be under the influence of something similar to the spirit of the antichrist.

Second, it can be argued that this pontificate is enabling the revolt that will precede the second coming.

This revolt is marked by schism, heresy and the denial of the incarnation. The last few Popes were a bit passive concerning heresy and schism, failing to adequately discipline and correct heretics and schismatics, but Francis has actively tolerated, enabled and promoted them (who are the ghost-writers of the coming Apostolic Exhortation?). He also seems to a have high regard for unbelievers whom he never calls to conversion.

But, in spite of all he has done and encouraged, Pope Bergoglio fails to comply with the first mark of the antichrist.

Although he seems to have a great esteem for jews - something that contrasts starkly with his lack of basic respect for catholics (see Pope Francis little Book of Insults) -, he himself is not jewish.

So... Pope Francis cannot be THE antichrist because he is not a jew !

But, could he be A antichrist, one of the forerunners of the man of perdition ?

Well, from our previous discussion he could be one of the lesser figures that, from the beginning of the Church, have pre-figured the man of perdition.

He does seem to be playing for the opposite team. He has scored an impressive amount of own goals, injured our most valuable players, antagonized the team's most loyal supporters, brought in new players from the lower leagues (some of them were brought in from retirement) and failed to fulfill the team owner's command to "strenghten the brethren" (Lk 22:32). He also proudly displays his ignorance of the game and never read the rule book. [UPDATE] He even re-wrote some sections of the rule book in order to allow what until then was a red-card offense, while at the same time pharisaically declaring that he was defending the game...

This would also explain his popularity among the antichrist's chearleaders, which directly contradicts the prophecy of Jesus (and Cd. Manning's) concerning the persecution of the Church. Cd. Manning explains the persecution of the Church in the midst of a "universal toleration" in the followong way:
"because the Church of God is inflexible in the mission committed to it. The Catholic Church will never compromise a doctrine; it will never allow two doctrines to be taught within its pale;... is bound by the Divine law to suffer martyrdom rather than. compromise a doctrine ...; and more than this, it is not only bound to offer a passive disobedience, which may be done in a corner, and therefore not detected, and because not detected not punished; but the Catholic Church cannot be silent; it cannot hold its peace ; it cannot cease to preach the doctrines of Revelation... ".

 Is this Francis's Church?[/UPDATE]

To conclude, he could be one of the forerunners if it were not for the fact that, well, he is the Pope (duh). And the Pope is (at least) part of the "hindrance which retards his manifestation", even if he is doing a lousy job of it.

Conclusion: (1) he is not A antichrist; (2) we are stuck with him until his contract expires or he retires.

What is Pope Francis, then ?

Cd. Manning's book helps us to form a theory - actually, two - of what Pope Francis might be.

We know that the "hindrance or barrier" which retards the manifestation of antichrist "is weakening every day". On the the intellectual sphere "Catholic truth" was replaced by the "substance of rationalism" and,consequently, "society is now founded upon errors", which translate in the public sphere into:
  •  a materialistic theory of civilization "which finds its supreme perfection in mere material prosperity; admitting within its sphere persons of every caste, or colour of belief, upon the principle that politics have nothing to do with the world to come" , that "the government of nations is simply for their temporal well-being.... that is to say, for the cultivation of the natural order alone";
  • a perfect toleration that recognizes no distinctions of truth or falsehood between religions, despises all positive truth, and grows  an intense hatred of what is called dogmatism.
We also learned that "[i]t is... against the Church of God, and above all against its Head [and His vicar], that all the spirits of evil in all ages, and, above all, in the present, direct the shafts of their enmity."

My first "theory" is then the following:

The head of the Pope was struck. Universities, seminaries, the media, entertainment, culture were permeated by the antichristian spirit and Bergoglio's head was fed, not with "the substance of Catholic truth", but with all the philosophical errors that killed christian society. The Pope's head has been "poisoned", "all that [he] holds as incontrovertible is false". When he listens to his conscience, when he prays, he either just hears the echo of the modern lies or truth filtered though a thick layer of philosophical error. He is not a "son of the Church". He is a son of this materialistic, antichristian world.

Worst still, he judges doctrinal truths from the throne of his false "incontrovertible truths" (it should be the other way around).

That is why we can find so many of the events that will precede the persecution in the Pope's words and actions:  the "materialistic theory of civilization", perfect toleration, an intense hatred of what is called dogmatism, the persecution of the truth , the exclusion of religion from public acts and education, ....

This dovetails nicely with my previous post on Pope Bergoglio's Regnocentrism. It also allows for invincible ignorance and/or good intentions.

The second "theory" is more straightforward. Holy Scripture teaches that in the end “Some of the learned shall fall", partly by fear, partly by deception, partly by cowardice; partly because they cannot stand for unpopular truth in the face of popular falsehood; partly because the overruling  contemptuous public opinion so subdues and frightens Catholics, that they dare not avow their principles, and, at last, dare not hold them.

Pope Francis and those around him sometimes seem to be playing the part of the fallen learned ones.

Either way, he is a very bad Pope, arguably the worst Pope ever. The destroyer of what little was left, the persecutor (and prosecutor) of the remnant.


The Present Crisis of the Holy See Tested by Prophecy (1): a primer on the antichrist

In 1861, Cardinal Manning published The Present Crisis of the Holy See Tested by Prophecy a series of four lectures in which he tried to explain "the antichristian movement of Europe against the Temporal Sovereignty of the Holy See" (p. vi). (See also Papal States).

I couldn't possibly do justice to this book in a blog post, so I will briefly (!) summarize the four lectures and then, in a follow-up post, I will try to apply Cd. Manning's method and insights to the present crisis of the Holy See (!).

But first, a few words about the author.

Cd. Manning

Henry Edward Cardinal Manning (1808-1892), was the second Archbishop of Westminster. A former Oxford Don, he was ordained as an anglican minister and, later, elevated to archdeacon. He was briefly married. [A delightful detail related with Cd. Manning's marriage: "When Manning died, for decades a celibate Roman Catholic cleric and widower, a locket containing his wife's picture was found on a chain around his neck".]

Cd. Manning (not a selfie). In the 1800's protestants had to become Catholics before being elevated to the Cardinalate.

His study of Patristics and the history of the Church shaked his faith in anglicanism, but the beginning of the end was the Gorham Judgment of 1850. In the Gorham Judgement the Privy Council forced the institution of a clergyman who held the heretical calvinist view that the sacrament of Baptism as no objective regenerative effect.

When his efforts to fight the intrusion of the secular power in the doctrinal sphere failed to garner significant support, Manning could no longer believe that "the Church of England was a part of the one Holy Catholic Apostolic Church of the Creed, and as such was guided and quickened by the presence of the Holy Spirit... to guard and cherish the revealed doctrines committed... to her care.". The logical conclusion was that "far from being a divinely... created institution, that church was merely a man-made creation of the English Parliament.".

Manning converted to Catholicism in 1851.

The next Supreme Governor of the Church of England and the current Prefect of the Congregation of anglican bad faith. Nowadays, prospective converts to catholicism have to choose between these two and the dynamic duo of Pope Francis and Cd. Kasper...

He was one of the council fathers at Vatican I where he labored in the committee "De Fide" which dealt with Papal Infallibility. On his return to England, he was forced to publicly defend the Council and the Papal prerogative.

Pope Pius IX at Vatican Council I in a humble, simple, low-emissions, environmentally-friendly vehicle. Surprisingly, this synod was not a cause of scandal for the faithful. .

He participated in the Conclave that elected Leo XIII, whose encyclical Rerum Novarum is said to have been influenced by Manning.

Argentinian edition of Rerum Novarum. A rigid, legalistic, fundamentalist encyclical which aimed to "refute false teaching" (n.º2).

The Book

In  The Present Crisis of the Holy See Tested by Prophecy Cd. Manning "examine[s] the present relation of the Church to the civil powers of the world by the light of a prophecy recorded by St Paul and [draws] out certain principles of a practical kind for the direction of those who believe that the Divine will is also present in the events now taking place before our eyes" (pp. 1-2).

This is quite refreshing.

Instead of reading the Signs of Times as an invitation for the Church to "come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization", the good Cardinal reads the said signs  through the lenses of revelation trying to discern Divine Providence, the heralds of the Second Coming and the call to repent and believe in the Gospel in the apparent chaos of reality.

The book reads as a long exegesis of 2 Thess 2:

"Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, Who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God... For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, 10 And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: 11 That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity... 14 Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle..."

This exegesis is based "either in the Fathers of the Church or in such theologians as the Church has recognised" (p. 3).

Do not judge the book by its cover. In hilo tempore cardinal's books remained within the confines of Holy Scripture and Tradition.

The book is organized according with four of the prophecies:
"We have here a prophecy of four great facts first of a revolt which shall precede the second coming of our Lord secondly of the manifestation of one who is called the wicked one thirdly of a hindrance which restrains his manifestation and lastly of the period of power and persecution of which he will be the author" (p. 3)

Cd. Manning's purpose is to defend the Pope, but he ended up writing a very good and readable primer on the antichrist.

Interestingly, Manning dedicates the book to Cd. Newman, with whom Manning had not a few disagreements, but who nevertheless merited the following compliment: "Newman, to you I owe a debt of gratitude for intellectual help and light greater than to any one man of our time" (p. vi).

Lecture I: "the revolt which shall precede the second coming"

Lecture I deals with the revolt which shall precede the second coming. In the original  Greek the revolt is called an apostasy and in the Vulgate a departure.

A departure.

"Now a revolt implies a seditious separation from some authority and a consequent opposition to it.The authority then from which the revolt is to take place is that of the kingdom of God or in other words the one and universal Church founded by our Divine Lord and spread by His Apostles throughout the world" (p. 4).

The inspired writers expressly describe the notes of this revolt:
  1. Schism;
  2. The rejection of the office and presence of the Holy Ghost. St. Jude says: "These are they who separate themselves, sensual men [i.e. animal or merely rational and natural men] having not the spirit". This necessarily involves the heretical principle of human opinion as opposed to Divine faith, of the private spirit as opposed to the infallible voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through the Church of God;
  3. The denial of the Incarnation (p.  5)

On the other hand, both St. Paul and St. Peter speak of this antichristian revolt as having already began in their own day (p. 6).

And in fact, since Jesus founded the Church,"every successive heresy has generated schism and every schism has generated heresy and all alike substitute human opinion for Divine faith and all alike work out by a sure process a denial of the Incarnation of the Eternal Son. All the heresies from the beginning are no more than the continuous development and expansion of the mystery of iniquity which was already at work" (p. 7).

The history of heresy also teaches that heresy:
  • organizes and perpetuates itself at least "until it resolves itself into some more subtle and aggressive form" (p. 8). It matures and grows in power with the passing of time and becomes increasingly dangerous to the Church;
  • develops and worships the principle of nationality (p. 10), attaching itself to the "pride of government";
  • promotes the deification of humanity (p. 11).

Lecture II: "the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition"

"In all the prophecies of Revelation there is not one among them which relates to the coming of Christ more explicit and express than those which relate to the coming of Antichrist".

This is how Sacred Scripture describes the antichrist:
  1.  He is described with the attributes of a person... (p. 22) with many forerunners, as also Christ Himself had;
  2. The antichrist will be of the Jewish race (p. 24);
  3. "He will not be simply the antagonist but the substitute or supplanter of the true Messias, a temporal deliverer the restorer of their temporal power or in other words a political and military prince";
  4. "The prophecies assign to the person of Antichrist a more preternatural character. He is described as a worker of false miracles His coming is said to be according to the working of Satan in all power and signs and lying wonders and in all seduction of iniquity..." (p. 29);  
  5. The antichrist will be "worshiped so that he sitteth in the temple of God showing himself as if he were God".
Antichrist and theological adviser (STL, STD, D.D., Phd., University of Tubigen). Notice that they share an arm, but the antichrist kept all the hair and, wisely, dispensed with the horns. He is so humble that he doesn't even wears shoes !

Now, given the skeptical and materialistic character of our age, it seems difficult that the last two prophecies - antichrist as a worker of false miracles and as substitute god - will ever be fulfilled.

But the Fathers of the Church themselves state that in the end of the world paganism shall be restored (p. 31), and that when the intellectual become pantheists the simple will become polytheists (p. 32).

This is the plausible scenario that Cd. Manning presents to resolve this apparent difficulty (p. 33):

For Cd. Manning it is not "difficult to understand how those who have lost the true and divine idea of the Messiah"  will be "dazzled by the greatness of political and military successes" and "pay to the person of Antichrist the honor which Christians pay to the true Messiah" (p. 29).

...but Yoko Ono bossed me around ...

Lecture III: The spirit of the antichrist is lawless, disorder, revolution

Lecture III starts by considering what is the character of this wicked one or antichrist:
  •  He will be the "the lawless [or licentious] one the, one who is without law, who is not subject to the law of God or of man whose only law is his own will to whom the license of his own will is the sole and only rule which he knows or obeys" (p. 37);
  • He will "introduce disorder, sedition, tumult and revolution both in the temporal and spiritual order of the world ..." (p. 37).
This made me seat straight and is the reason why I decided to write this post (and the next one).

Lecture III (continued): "the hindrance which retards his manifestation"

The main topic of Lecture III is the hindrance which retards the manifestation of the antichrist. The Apostle says: "The mystery of iniquity doth already work only that he who now holdeth, hold until the time that he be taken out of the way" (p. 35).

In the original St. Paul  uses two expressions.He speaks of the hindrance as of a thing and as of a person.

As stated above, the antichrist introduces disorder, sedition and revolution and so "that which shall hinder his development and shall be his direct antagonist after his manifestation must necessarily be the principle of order, the law of submission, the authority of truth and of right" (p. 37).

At various times through the history of the Church, this hindrance as been identified as Roman Empire , "the grace of the Holy Ghost, or the Divine power" (p. 38), and the presence of the Apostles (p. 39). But almost two thousand years of history allows us to have a more integrated and full interpretation of this prophecy:
  1. "First, then, the power of the heathen empire of Rome was undoubtedly the great barrier against the outbreak of the spirit of lawless disorder";
  2.  Secondly, "it was not the Roman Empire... alone, but the kingdom of God which descended upon the whole earth, and from the day of Pentecost spread throughout the circuit of the Roman Empire, with an authority higher than the authority of Rome" (p. 40). "By the side of the tribunals of iron force, were erected the tribunals of divine mercy" (p. 41);
  3.  Thirdly, it was "Christendom and its head and therefore in the person of the Vicar of Jesus and in that twofold authority with which, by Divine Providence, he has been invested, we see the direct antagonist to the principle of disorder. The lawless one, who knows no law, human or divine, nor obeys any but his own will... has no antagonist on earth more direct than the Vicar of Jesus Christ, who bears at one and the same time the character of royalty and of
    priesthood, and represents the two principles of order in the temporal and in the spiritual state...
    " (p. 45). ";
  4. Cd. Manning believed that in his time this society based in the Incarnation where the Laws of God were the first principles of legislation was no more: "We are departing from it throughout the whole of the civilised world In England ...". What then is it that holds in check the manifestation of this antichristian power and the person who shall wield it is the remnant of the Christian society which is still existing in the world.
[My comment] This remnant of Christian society 'R Us ... [/My comment]

I will devote a little more space to this departure from the Laws of God.

Lecture III (continued): "this hindrance or barrier is weakening every day"

As stated above, Cd. Manning sees the hindrance or barrier weakening every day, both in:
  • the intellectual and public sphere where "Christian and Catholic civilisation is giving way before the natural material civilisation, which finds its supreme perfection in mere material prosperity; admitting within its sphere persons of every caste, or colour of belief, upon the principle that politics have nothing to do with the world to come, — that the government of nations is simply for their temporal well-being, for the protection of persons and of property, for the development of industry, and for the advancement of science; that is to say, for the cultivation of the natural order alone. This is the theory of civilisation which is becoming predominant every day";
  • and also in the family where "Catholic piety also is be coming weaker and weaker, and to such an extent, that there are nations still called Catholic in which the proportion to the mass of those who frequent the Holy Sacraments is hardly calculable" (p. 50). He concludes “Because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.” (St. Matt. xxiv. 12).

He calls as his witnesses De Tocqueville and Donoso Cortez. Go and read all what the Spaniard has to say. I will leave here an apéritif:
 "... At this day the world is on the eve of the last of its restorations—the restoration of socialist paganism. Again he writes: “European society is dying. The extremities are cold: the heart will be soon. And do you know why it is dying? It is dying because it has been poisoned; because God made it to be nourished with the substance of Catholic truth, and the empirical doctors have given it for food the substance of rationalism. It is dying because, like as man does not live by bread only, but by every word which comes out of the mouth of God, so societies do not perish by the sword only, but by every word which comes out of the mouth of their philosophers. It is dying because error is killing it, and because society is now founded upon errors. Know, then, that all you hold as incontrovertible is false. ... There is no salvation for society, because we will not make our sons to be Christians, and because we are not true Christians ourselves. There is no salvation for society, because the Catholic spirit, the only spirit of life, does not quicken the whole; it does not quicken education, government, institutions, laws, and morals... (pp. 53-54).

Lecture III (continued): the hindrance will exist until it “ be taken out of the way”

Now what is the meaning of the words, until it “ be taken out of the way”? Who is to take it out of the way? If the barrier which has hindered the development of the principle of antichristian disorder has been the Divine power of Jesus Christ our Lord, incorporated in the Church and guided by his Vicar, then no hand is mighty enough, and no will is sovereign enough to take it out of the way, but "until the hour shall come when the Son of God shall permit, for a time, the powers of evil to prevail".

There is an analogy to this. Cd. Manning states the history of the Church, and the history of our Lord on earth, run as it were in parallel:
"For three-and-thirty years the Son of God incarnate was in the world, and no man could lay hand upon Him... No man could break through ‘that circle of omnipotence until the hour came, when by His own will He opened the way for the powers of evil. For this reason He said in the garden, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Lecture IV: Of  how the hindrance will "be taken out of the way

"... there are upon earth two great antagonists—on the one side, the spirit and the principle of evil; and on the other, the incarnate God manifested in His Church, but eminently in His Vicar, who is His representative, the depository of His prerogatives, and therefore His special personal witness, speaking and ruling in His name." (p 59).

"Now, it is against that person eminently and emphatically, as I said before, that the spirit of evil and of falsehood directs its assault; for if the head of the body be smitten, the body itself must die. “Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered,” ... It is, nevertheless, against the Church of God, and above all against its Head, that all the spirits of evil in all ages, and, above all, in the present, direct the shafts of their enmity."

Protect the head of the Vicar of the Head of the Body ....

Lecture IV: the persecution of the Antichrist and the death and resurrection of the Church

Cd. Manning dedicates the bulk of Lecture IV to the coming persecution:
"When the hindrance is taken away, the man of sin will be revealed; then will come the persecution of three years and a half, short, but terrible, during which the Church of God will return into its state of suffering, as in the beginning; and the imperishable Church of God, by its inextinguishable life derived from the pierced side of Jesus, which for three hundred years lived on through blood, will live on still through the fires of the times of Antichrist..." (p. 64)

Cd. Manning states the history of the Church, and the history of our Lord on earth, run as it were in parallel:
"We have already seen reason to believe that as our Divine Lord delivered Himself into the hands of sinners when His time was come, and no man could lay hand upon Him, until of His own free will He delivered Himself over to their power, so in like manner it shall be with that Church of which He said, “Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” As the wicked did not prevail against Him even when they bound Him with cords, dragged Him to the judgment, blindfolded His eyes, mocked Him as a false King, smote Him on the head as a false Prophet, led Him away, crucified Him, and in the mastery of their power seemed to have absolute dominion over Him, so that He lay ground down and almost annihilated under their feet; and as, at that very time when He was dead and buried out of their sight, He was conqueror over all, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, and was crowned, glorified, and invested with His royalty, and reigns supreme, King of kings and Lord of lords,—even so shall it be with His Church : though for a time persecuted, and, to the eyes of man, overthrown and trampled on, dethroned, despoiled, mocked, and crushed, yet in that high time of triumph the gates of hell shall not prevail. There is in store for the Church of God a resurrection and an ascension, a royalty and a dominion, a recompense of glory for all it has endured. Like Jesus, it needs must suffer on the way to its crown; yet crowned it shall be with Him eternally" (p. 67).
  And a warning for the Catholics of all times but especially for us:
"We are fond of imagining triumphs and glories for the Church on earth,——that the Gospel is to be preached to all nations, and the world to be converted, and all enemies subdued, and I know not what,—until some ears are impatient of hearing that there is in store for the Church a time of terrible trial: and so we do as the Jews of old, who looked for a conqueror, a king, and for prosperity; and when their Messiah came in humility and in passion, they did not know Him. So, I am afraid, many among us intoxicate their minds with the visions of success and victory, and cannot endure the thought that there is a time of persecution yet to come for the Church of God" (p. 68).

Lecture IV (continued): the persecution of Antichrist - the prequel

In a very prescient section of Lecture IV Cd. Manning describes the events that will lead to the final persecution:
  1.  A separation of States from the unity of the Church, loosing the guidance of the Divine teacher in the process.
  2. A scornful indifference to truth or falsehood under the form of a perfect toleration that recognises no distinctions of truth or falsehood between religions, despises all positive truth, and grows  an intense hatred of what is called dogmatism (p. 71).  The Roman Empire also welcomed within its borders all manner of religions, cults and superstitions as a mode of tranquillising, of governing, and of maintaining in subjection the people (p. 70).
  3. The persecution of the truth (p. 72). In the midst of this universal toleration, there is one exception: the Church of God. Why? Well, Cd. Manning's gives two reasons:
    • "because the Church of God is inflexible in the mission committed to it. The Catholic Church will never compromise a doctrine; it will never allow two doctrines to be taught within its pale; it will never obey the civil governor pronouncing judgment in matters that are spiritual... is bound by the Divine law to suffer martyrdom rather than. compromise a doctrine, or obey the law of the civil governor which violates the conscience; and more than this, it is not only bound to offer a passive disobedience, which may be done in a corner, and therefore not detected, and because not detected not punished; but the Catholic Church cannot be silent; it cannot hold its peace ; it cannot cease to preach the doctrines of Revelation... therefore it stands alone in the world" (p. 74)
    • A further reason: "the Son of God, when He came, established a kingdom upon earth, and therefore the Catholic Church governs with the authority of the universal Church of God. a government, a power, and a sovereignty and the governors and princes of this world are jealous of it for that very reason."
The direct tendency of all these events is the overthrow Catholic worship throughout the world , the exclusion of religion from public acts and government. And if government be without religion, education must be without religion...The result of this can be nothing but the re-establishment of mere natural society  (p. 83).

Interestingly, Holy Scripture states that “Some of the learned shall fall" that is, they shall fall from their fidelity to God. And how shall this come to pass? Partly by fear, partly by deception, partly by cowardice; partly because they cannot stand for unpopular truth in the face of popular falsehood; partly because the overruling  contemptuous public opinion so subdues and frightens Catholics, that they dare not avow their principles, and, at last, dare not hold them... (p. 84).

Does any of this sound familiar ?

Lecture IV (continued): the persecution of Antichrist - the marks which the prophet gives of the persecution of the last days

In the foresight of prophecy these three marks are given of the persecution of the last days:
  1. During the reign of Antichrist, the holy sacrifice of the altar will cease (p. 79);

    "Then, the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible, hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking-places ; for a time it shall be swept, as it were, from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early centuries". Cd. Manning mentions two forerunners of the supression of the Sacrifice: the  Mahometan superstition, "where soon it became dominant... suppressed the worship and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.... at this moment holds for its mosques a multitude of Christian churches, in which the continual sacrifice is already taken away, and the altar utterly destroyed". The second example is protestantism: "The suppression of the continual sacrifice is,'above all, the mark and characteristic of the Protestant Reformation" (p. 81).

  2. The Sanctuary shall be occupied by the abomination which maketh desolate.

    What is the great flood of infidelity, revolution, and anarchy, which is now sapping the foundations of Christian society but the abomination which desolates the sanctuary, and takes away the continual sacrifice? " What can be more literally the abomination which makes desolate than the heresy which has removed the presence of the living God from the altar? If you would understand this prophecy of desolation, enter into a church which was once Catholic, where now is no sign of life; it stands empty, untenanted, without altar, without tabernacle, without the presence of Jesus" (p. 82).

  3.  The casting down of “the Prince of Strength” that is, the Divine authority of the Church, and especially of him in whose person it is embodied, the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

Now the last result of all this will be a persecution: "Brother shall betray brother to death;” it shall be a persecution in which no man shall spare his neighbour: in which the powers of the world will wreak upon the Church of God such a revenge as the world before has never known. The Word of God tells us that towards the end of time the power of this world will become so irresistible and so triumphant that the Church of God will sink underneath its hand — that the Church of God will receive no more help from emperors, or kings, or princes, or legislatures, or nations, or peoples, to make resistance against the power and the might of its antagonist. It will be deprived of protection. It will be weakened, baffled, and prostrate, and will lie bleeding at the feet of the powers of this world. (p. 85).

Lecture IV (continued): the last overthrow of evil

"But there is One Power which will destroy all antagonists; there is One Person who will break down and smite small as the dust of the summer threshing-floor all the enemies of the Church, for it is He who will consume His enemies “ with the Spirit of His mouth,” and destroy them “ with the brightness of His coming.” It seems as if the Son of God were jealous lest any one should vindicate His authority. He has claimed the battle to Himself; He has taken up the gage which has been cast down against Him; and prophecy is plain and explicit that the last overthrow of evil will be His; that it will be wrought by no man, but by the Son of God ; that all the nations of the world may know that He, and He alone, is King, and that He, and He alone, is God."

Some of the greatest writers of the Church tell us that in all probability, in the last overthrow of the enemies of God, the city of Rome itself will be destroyed; it will be'a second time punished by Almighty God, as it was in the beginning (p. 86). The writers of the Church tell us that in the latter days the city of Rome will probably become apostate from the Church and Vicar of Jesus Christ; and that Rome will again be punished, for he will depart from it; and the judgment of God will fall on the place from ‘which he once reigned over the nations of the world (p. 87).

"These are times of sifting. Our Divine Lord is standing in the Church: “ His fan is in  His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His floor. and He will gather the grain into His barn, and will burn up the chaft with unquenchable fire... those only shall be saved who are steadfast to the end."


Aproxima-se o momento (mais um)

Marco Tosatti, La Stampa, 17/12/2015:

"A febbraio, dicono voci ricorrenti in Vaticano, dovrebbe uscire l’esortazione post-sinodale del Papa sulla famiglia. Il prodotto naturale e consequenziale dei due Sinodi sulla famiglia- quello straordinario del 2014, e il suo seguito ordinario che si è svolto nell’ottobre scorso.

Sarà un documento di una certa ampiezza; che ribadirà l’immagine e il ruolo della famiglia formata da un uomo e da una donna come il nucleo centrale della società umana. Sui temi che hanno riscaldato entrambi i Sinodi, e cioè la posizione dei cattolici divorziati e risposati con matrimonio civile, e sull’acceso ai sacramenti chi ne parla non si aspetta una risposta chiara e tranciante a favore dell'ammissione dei divorziati-risposati all'eucaristia, come sostenuto dai vescovi tedeschi. E d’altronde non sarebbe stato possibile, visti i risultati del Sinodo 2015, e la forte resistenza di moltissimi padri sinodali a modificare la prassi e la dottrina della Chiesa.

Le voci parlano di un documento “magmatico”, con il consiglio e la possibilità ai vescovi di decidere caso per caso sulle singole situazioni. In sostanza una riproposizione della disciplina attuale sull’esame dei singoli casi, con una maggiore enfasi sul ruolo del vescovo.

Le stesso voci suggeriscono che l’impianto del documento non sia stato creato ex novo dopo la conclusione del Sinodo di ottobre scorso, ma che in realtà si fosse cominciato a lavorarci già prima di ottobre, probabilmente basandosi sugli elementi emersi dalla sessione sinodale del 2014. Naturalmente la secondo fase del Sinodo ha portato conferme ed elementi nuovi.

All’elaborazione, sempre in base alle stesse informazioni, avrebbero collaborato con il Pontefice oltre al direttore de La Civiltà Cattolica, padre Antonio Spadaro, mons. Pierangelo Sequeri, preside della facoltà Teologica dell’Italia Settentrionale, mons. Maurizio Gronchi, professore all’Urbaniana e braccio destro del Segretario generale del Sinodo, il card. Baldisseri, e il rettore dell’Università Cattolica di Buenos Aires, uomo di fiducia di papa Bergoglio, l’arcivescovo Víctor Manuel Fernández.


[UPDATED] Reading Francis through Benedict: “a radical refashioning of Christianity”

In “Jesus of Nazareth” (Chapter III, Vol. 1, pp. 53-54), Benedict XVI discusses a certain “secularist reinterpretation of the idea of the Kingdom” that has “gained considerable ground … in Catholic theology”.

He terms it “regnocentrism”, that is, the centrality of the Kingdom - a “radical refashioning” of “Christianity, religions and history” that will, it is claimed, “enable people to reappropriate Jesus’ supposed message”.

A new view of History: The earthly kingdom as the End of History

Benedict XVI’ explains what is at the core of “regnocentrism”:
Kingdom in this interpretation, is simply the name for a world governed by peace, justice, and the conservation of creation. It means no more than this."

This at last, we are told, is the heart of Jesus’ message, and it is also the right formula for finally harnessing mankind’s positive energies and directing them toward the world’s future."

It looks as if now, at long last, Jesus’ words have gained some practical content, because the establishment of the Kingdom has become a common task and is drawing nigh."
So we have a new (un)holy trinity: worldly peace, economic justice, and environmentalism.

A “radical refashioning” of Christianity: radical ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and beyond

The building of worldly peace involves ending division, building a community of religions and more:
In pre-Vatican II period “ecclesioncentrism” was the dominant position: The Church was represented as the center of Christianity. Then there was a shift to Christocentrism, to the doctrine that Christ is the center of everything. But it is not only the Church that is divisive… since Christ belongs exclusively to Christians. Hence the further step from Christocentrism to theocentrism. This has allegedly brought us closer to the community of religions, but our final goal continues to elude us, since even God can be a cause of division between religions and between people.
The only sin is, of course, divisive proselytism:
This sounds good; it seems like a way of finally enabling the whole world to appropriate Jesus’ message, but without requiring missionary evangelization of other religions.”

A new view of religions: irrelevant instruments at the service of political and social ideals

In this earthly “Kingdom”, the task reserved for religions is the following:
… to work together for the coming of the “Kingdom”. They are of course perfectly free to preserve their traditions and live according to their respective identities as well, but they must bring their different identities to bear on the common task of building the “Kingdom”, a world in other words, where peace, justice and respect for creation are the dominant values.”

… The respect for religious “traditions” claimed by this way of thinking is only apparent. The truth is that they are regarded as so many sets of customs, which people should be allowed to keep, even though they ultimately count for nothing. Faith and religions are now directed towards political goals. Only the organization of the world counts. Religion matters only insofar as it ca serve that objective.

A post-christian ideology: The end of God and exaltation of Man

The building of this earthly kingdom has no place for God. Man is the only actor and the main character:
…the main thing that leaps out is that God has disappeared; man is the only actor left on stage. This post-Christian vision is disturbingly close to Jesus’ third temptation […]”

In Chapter II of “Jesus of Nazareth”, Benedict XVI states that the contemporaneous form of the third temptation of Jesus in the desert is "the interpretation of Christianity as a recipe for progress and recognizing general welfare as the real objective of all religions including the christian religion":
"The tempter is not so crude as to suggest to us directly that we should worship the devil. He merely suggests that we opt for the reasonable decision, that, we choose to give priority to a planned and thoroughly organized world, where God may have its place as a private concern but must not interfere  in our essential purposes. Soloviev attributes to the Anti-Chirst the book 'The open way to World Peace and Welfare'. This book becomes something of a new Bible, whose real message is the worship of well-being and rational planning."
"To the tempter's lying divinization of power and prosperity, to his lying promise of a future that offers all things to all men through power and through wealth, [Jesus] responds with the fact that God is God, that God is man's true Good. To the invitation to worship power, the Lord answers with with a passage from Deuteronomy ... 'You will worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve'. The fundamental commandment of Israel is also the fundamental commandment for Christians: God alone is to be worshiped."

"No earthly kingdom is the Kingdom of God, the total condition of mankind's Salvation... anyone who claims to be able to  establish the perfect world is the willing dupe of satan Those who strive to build heaven on earth are doing the work of the devil and play this world right into his hands."

At this stage the similitude between “regnocentrism” and what the Catechism terms “pseudo-messianism” becomes obvious (see CCC n.ºs 675-676):
"675 … The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism."

Benedict XVI’s verdict

For Pope Benedict, this “regnocentric” approach is an utopian empty dream filled with secular partisan ideology:
On closer inspection, this whole project proves to be utopian dreaming without any real content, except insofar as its exponents tacitly presuppose some partisan doctrine as the content that all are required to accept…

Let us return, them, to the Gospel, to the real Jesus…

An interpretation of the Bergoglian pontificate in the light of “regnocentrism”

The “regnocentric” mindset doesn't care much about Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the previous Magisterium, the Church Fathers or the writings of the Saints because the Holy Spirit, after a 1950 years’ sabbatical, finally inspired the Church to “reappropriate” and recognize what is “at the heart of Jesus’ message”.

The center of Jesus‘s teaching is the earthly kingdom of peace, justice and the conservation of creation, and so one would expect to be preached about peace and war, economic justice, the environment.

In order to achieve worldly peace, an integral part of the “regnocentric” magisterium would be the building of the “community of religions” and the reaching out to atheists. So “ecumenical” and “inter-religious” gatherings, “dialogue” and “encounter”, promoting inclusiveness and fighting divisiveness would also be at the center of this pontificate.

Proselytism would be a mortal sin – it would “cause division between religions and between people”.

The building of peace and community at individual level would also involve downplaying conversion, repentance, judgement, condemnation, salvation and the other more divisive dogmas, doctrines and sins and focusing or giving priority to the ‘social’ sins against peace, justice and the environment. In the name of peace and inclusiveness the "regnocentric" magisterium preaches license masquerading as mercy, charity and outreach to the “peripheries”.

But beyond the bergoglian peripheries lie two groups of people. On the one hand, those that directly threaten peace, justice, the environment: the arms traders, the Mafiosi, the robber-baron capitalists, the corrupt. On the other hand, we have those who oppose the ”regnocentric” truth, that is, all those attached to churchcentric, exclusivist, divisive doctrines – dogmatic, rigid people (a.k.a. Catholics). These are all to be chastised, persecuted, silenced, excluded, … proselytized and converted.

Benedict rightly sees that the “regnocentric” community is content-free and so it will necessarily “tacitly presuppose some partisan doctrine”. This only compounds our misery. After decades of liberal, rationalistic, materialistic indoctrination – brought about by the media/entertainment-industrial complex - the default state of mind is anti-catholic, anti-christic - and so is the voice of (bad) conscience and the (un)holy spirit whispering in our hear.

We will then have the oxymoronic situation of a catholic church preaching ant-catholic dogma and trying to ditch the supernatural and all “unuseful” traditions in the name of the Kingdom of God.

And by parroting the worldly truths and embellishing them with a mystical aura, instead of "conflict with the prevailing opinions [and] a looming threat of ... persecution", the "regnocentric" pontificate will be very popular in all the wrong places.

In the end, as Pope Benedict states, all this leads to the exaltation of Man – the (socially) sinless, flexible, inclusive, relativistic builder of the Kingdom -, and the downplaying of God and religion, which are sources of division.

[UPDATE] A final word

Pope Bergoglio's pontificate has been interpreted in a variety of ways.

Some stress it's geographical/ideological origin - the pontificate of "a south american populist"; others prefer the psychological hypothesis - pontificate as ego trip; others still speak about it in terms of Church politics - the progressives got the upper hand; there is also a conspiratorial hermeneutics of the present pontificate - the team Bergoglio/St. Gallen Mafia/Friends of Cd. Martini's pontificate. There are also other less flattering opinions which I will refrain from mentioning here because of the many children that visit this blog.  And then there are the really negative interpretations - the one's along the lines of CCC 675-677.

All these hypotheses are all at least partially true. But "regnocentrism" seems to explain bergoglism's traits more thoroughly then any other single explanation. [/UPDATE]


The "death of the Church" - a long (un)holy saturday

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"677. The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world."
What will this "death of the Church" be like? The Catechism itself presents not a few hints (675-677): 
"The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh "(675-677).

On the other hand, does the death of Jesus shed light on the "death of the Church"?

The Catechism teaches that "Jesus did really die" (636), meaning His Soul was separated from His Body, and that during "Christ's period in the tomb, his divine person continued to assume both his soul and his body, although they were separated from each other by death. For this reason the dead Christ's body 'saw no corruption'⇒ Acts 13:37)" (630) ...

 ... food for thought or for meditation in front of the Blessed Sacrament, if the present crisis did not rob you of the ability to meditate.

Now, I do not know if we are going through what the Catechism calls the "Church's ultimate trial" -  probably not.

But even if this is just a (un)holy Saturday of the Magisterium there are more practical lessons to learn from Christ's stay in the tomb.

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, states that:
"188. Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. ... it is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that great Saturday on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord's resurrection... it is a sign that the 'Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church'"
The Apostles (except John), ran or tried to appease the world by abandoning or denying Jesus, but the Blessed Virgin Mary never lost the Faith.

We could do worse than spend the present looong (un)holy Saturday of the Church in the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For me this means praying the Rosary and practicing whatever Marian devotions God inspires me to pratice.

So, it's time to study Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort's "Treatise on the true devotion to the Blessed Virgin" (versão portuguesa).

I pray I won't have time to memorize the whole thing...


What I learned from #Synod15

  1. The latest eruption of the present crisis, AKA #Synod15, proved that we cannot trust many of those who are supposedly our shepherds:
    • Many members of the hierarchy fear, look up to, see the world through the lenses of the liberal media. They work to gain the approval of or to appease “public opinion”. Their Lord and Master and the faithful in the pews are an afterthought (or not even that).

      Some Cardinals and Bishops simply don’t have the Faith.

    • @HolySeePress office is thoroughly infiltrated and became a spin machine at the service of the Enemy.

    • Some supposed bastions of orthodoxy behaved shamefully. They bought their survival at the price of silence and subservience. They sacrificed Truth in the altar of their corporate worldly interests.

  2. Others, on the contrary, have shown their love for the Church:
    • Cardinals and bishops who paid the price for being Faithful: Cd. Burke, Cd. Erdo, Cd. Pell, … [At this point I wish to remember Bp. Liviéres (RIP)]

    • Faithful media and journalists: @Infocatolica, @EdwardPentin, …

    • The army of Davids who fought the heretical Golias when those entrusted with guarding the flock gave up or joined the wolves’ army: @ProtectthePope and many other anonymous individuals.

  3. BOTTOM LINE IS: We need a Pope that will confirm our Faith (Lk 22:32), laicize the heretic bishops and cardinals, suppress all heretic orders, proclaim the Truth to the world without fear and end the confusion (the trademark of the present pontificate). In the meantime I plan to stick with Tradition, live the Faith, teach it to my children and pray for all involved.


Sínodo sobre a legitimação do adultério e da homossexualidade: Entre S. Judas Tadeu e Judas Iscariotes

Este Papa é uma desgraça.

Desde a fatídica viagem de regresso do Brasil, todas as suas palavras, actos, nomeações, demissões, telefonemas, encontros privados, "gestos" e "sinais" apontam no mesmo sentido.

Depois da aprovação da farisaica reforma das declarações de nulidade matrimomial, que mantém a letra da indissolubilidade enquanto que ao mesmo tempo promove divórcio, e na ausência de intevenção Divina, o Papa vai permitir - por comissão, omissão ou confusão (que é a sua imagem de marca) -, que pecadores públicos, nomeadamente adúlteros e homossexuais praticantes e incontritos, recebam a absolvição e o corpo, sangue, alma e divindade de Jesus em comunhão.

É possível que, na prática, isto só venha a ocorrer naquelas (muitas) dioceses encabeçadas por bispos heréticos - os mesmos bispos que fazem parte do "Team Bergolgio" e da máfia de St. Gallen e que Francisco promoveu e/ou nomeou pessoalmente para o sínodo.

De qualquer forma, isto não é conciliável nem com a doutrina da Igreja

Despeço-me até ao dia 25 de Outubro, p.f., data em que, de uma maneira ou de outra, terminará este pesadelo.


Full transcript of Pope's in-flight interview from Cuba to US (Sept. 22, 2015)

 ... Rosa Flores, CNN: Good afternoon, Holy Father. I am Rosa Flores of CNN. We understand that more than 50 dissidents were arrested outside the nunciature [in Cuba] as they were trying to have a meeting with you. First, would you like to have a meeting with the dissidents, and if you had that meeting, what would you say?

Pope Francis: Look, I don’t have any news that that has happened. I don’t have any news. Some yes, yes, no, I don’t know. I don’t know, directly. The two questions are about reading the future. Would I like this to happen? … I like to meet with all people. I consider that all people are children of God and the law. And secondly, a relationship with another person always enriches. Even though it was soothsaying, that’s my reply. I would like to meet with everyone. If you want me to speak more about the dissidents, you can ask me something more concrete. For the nunciature, first, it was very clear that I was not going to give audiences because not only the dissidents asked for audiences, but also audiences (were requested) from other sectors, including from the chief of state. And, no, I am on a visit to a nation, and just that. I know that I hadn’t planned any audience with the dissidents or the others. And secondly from the nunciature, some people made some calls to some people who are in these groups of dissidents, where the responsibility was given to the nuncio to call them and tell them that I would greet them with pleasure outside the catedral for the meeting with the consecrated (religious). I would greet them when I was there, no? That did exist. Now, as no one identified themselves in their greetings, I don’t know if they were there. I said hello to the sick who were in wheelchairs. … Oops, I’m speaking Spanish. I greeted those who were in wheelchairs, but no one identified themselves as dissidents; but from the nunciature calls were made by some for a quick greeting.

(Follow up from Flores on what he would tell them if he met with them.)

Pope Francis: Oh, my daughter, I don’t know what I would say. (laughs) I would wish everyone well, but what one says comes in that moment and … You’ve got the Nobel Prize for being a reader of the future, eh? (laughs)

Silvia Poggioli, NPR: I would like to ask you, in the decades of the power of the state of Fidel Castro, the Church in Cuba has suffered much. In your meeting with Fidel, did you get the impression that [he] may be a bit regretful?

Pope Francis: Regret is a very intimate thing, and it’s a thing of conscience. I, in the meeting with Fidel, I spoke of the stories of known Jesuits, because in the meeting I brought a gift of a book, from Fr. Llorente, also a good friend of his, who is also a Jesuit. And also a CD with the conferences of Fr. Llorente and I also gave him two books from Fr. Pronzato [sic] which I’m sure he’ll also appreciate. And we talked about these things. We spoke a lot about the encyclical, Laudato si'. He’s very interested in the issue of ecology. It was a not-so-formal, rather spontaneous meeting. Also his family was present there. Also those who accompanied me, my driver, were present there. But, we were a bit separated from his wife. They couldn’t hear, but they were in the same place. But we spoke a lot on the encyclical because he is very concerned about this. About the past, we didn’t speak.

(inaudible question from Poggioli)

Pope Francis: Yes! About the past, the Jesuit college. And how the Jesuits were and how they made him work. All of that, yes.

Gian Guido Vecchi, Corriere della Sera: Holiness, your reflections, also your denouncements of the inequity of the world economic system, the risk of self-destruction of the planet are also very uncomfortable, in the sense that they touch the  powerful interests of arms trafficking, etc. Before this trip, there were some bizarre manifestations that came out. Also, very important world media picked them up and and sectors of North American society  were even asking themselves if the Pope was Catholic. There have already been discussions about a communist Pope, now there are event those who speak of a Pope who isn’t Catholic. In the face of these considerations, what do you think?

Pope Francis: A cardinal friend of mine told me that a very concerned woman, very Catholic, went to him. A bit rigid, but Catholic. And she asked him if it was true that in the Bible, they spoke of an antichrist, and she explained it to him. And also in the Apocalypse, no? And, then, if it was true that an anti-pope, who is the antichrist, the anti-Pope. But why is she asking me this question, this cardinal asked me? “Because I’m sure that Pope Francis is the anti-pope,” she said. And why does she ask this, why does she have this idea? “It’s because he doesn’t wear red shoes.” The reason for thinking if one is communist or isn’t communist. I’m sure that I haven't said anything more than what’s written in the social doctrine of the Church. On another flight, a colleague asked me if I had reached out a hand to the popular movements and asked me, “But is the Church going to follow you?” I told him, “I’m the one following the Church.” And in this it seems that I’m not wrong. I believe that I never said a thing that wasn’t the social doctrine of the Church. Things can be explained, possibly an explanation gave an impression of being a little “to the left”, but it would be an error of explanation. No, my doctrine on this, in Laudato si', on economic imperialism, all of this, is the social doctrine of the Church. And it if necessary, I’ll recite the creed. I am available to do that, eh.

Jean Louis de la Vaissiere, AFP: In the last trip to Latin America, you harshly criticized the capitalist liberal system. In Cuba, it appears that your critiques of the communist system weren’t very strong, but “soft.” Why these differences?

Pope Francis: In the speeches that I made in Cuba, I always put the accent on the social doctrine of the Church. But the things that must be corrected I said clearly, not “perfumed,” or soft. But, also the first part of your question, more than what I have written – and harshly – in the encyclical, also in Evangelii gaudium, about wild, liberal capitalism – I didn’t say it. All that is written there. I don’t remember having said anything more than that. If you remember, let me know. I’ve said what I’ve written, which is enough, enough.

Nelson Castro, Radio Continental: The question has to do with the dissidents, in two aspects. Why did you decide not to receive them? After having a prisoner come up to you, who was arrested. The question is, is there going to be a place for the Catholic Church in search an opening for political liberties, seeing the role that it played in the re-establishment of relations between Cuba and the United States? This theme of liberties is a problem for those who think differently in Cuba. Will this be a role that the Holy See is thinking of for the Catholic Church in Cuba?

Pope Francis: First the “them.” Not receiving “them.” No, I didn’t receive any private audience. That is for everyone, and there was a head of state; I told them “no.” And that I didn’t have anything to do with the dissidents. The contact with the dissidents was what I explained. The Church here, the Church in Cuba, made a list of (prisoners) for the pardon; more than three thousand were given the pardon, the president of the bishops' conference told me.

Fr. Federico Lombardi: There were more than 3,000...

Pope Francis: There were more than 3,000 and other cases are being studied. The Church here in Cuba is commited to this work of the pardons. And, for example, someone said to me, “It would be really good if there could be an end to life imprisonment. Speaking clearly, life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty, it is like being there dying every day, without the hope of liberation. But that is just one hypothesis: another hypothesis that they grant a general pardon of one or two years, but the Church is working, and has worked. I do not say that all those 3,000 who were released were taken from the lists of the Church. No. The Church made lists, I don't know how many, and it continues to do so.

Rogelio Mora-Tagle, Telemundo: [Explains that Popes have visited Cuba often in a short period of time.] Is Cuba suffering from something, Holy Father? Is it sick?

Pope Francis: No, no. First, John Paul II went on his historic visit, which was normal. He visited so many countries, including nations that were aggressive against the Church, but that wouldn’t be it. The second was that of Pope Benedict, as well. That would be within the norm. And mine was a bit by chance, because I thought of going to the US by way of Mexico in the beginning – that was the first idea. Ciudad Juarez, the border, no? But going through Mexico without going to Our Lady of Guadalupe would have been a slap (in the face). But this happened, it’s something that happened. So, it went ahead and this is what came out. And last December 17, it was announced that everything was more or less organized, a process of almost a year, and then I said, 'No, I’m going to the United States by way of Cuba'. And, I chose it for this reason; not because it has a particular sickness that other nations don’t have. I wouldn’t interpret the three visits, more so if there are some countries which the previous Popes have visited, including myself. Brazil, for example, and others have been visited more. John Paul II visited Brazil three or four times: it wasn’t particularly sick. I am happy for having met the Cuban people, the Cuban Christian communities. Today, the meeting with families was very nice, very beautiful. I am sorry if it came to me in Spanish. I hope that you have understood. Thank you very much.