Pope Francis may be the supreme head of the largest Church on the planet, but when it comes to hearing criticism, he appears to have skin as thin as the papyrus St. Paul’s epistles were written on.
This week, His Holiness attended a Q & A with fellow Jesuits. One of the members of the small group of Slovakian priests began the exchange by nonchalantly asking the 84-year-old, “How are you?” His answer was… stunning.
“Still alive, even though some people wanted me to die,” the Pontiff dead-panned. “There were even meetings between prelates who thought the Pope’s condition was more serious than the official version. They were preparing for the conclave,” he said.
“Patience! Thank God I’m well,” he added.
In July, Francis underwent colon surgery, which resulted in the removal of a 13-inch portion of his large intestine. This is his first public appearance since the procedure to combat cancer.
The idea that Cardinals may have been “preparing for the conclave” (the meeting that would choose the Pope’s successor) is hardly extraordinary and is far from priests “wishing him dead.” When an 84-year-old Pope goes under the knife for major surgery, one would think the responsible thing to do would be to prepare for the worst-case scenario, just in case.
For the Pope to convey that “some people wanted me to die” displays a level of narcissism and self-obsession that conjures an angry man following his Twitter mentions to see who’s saying mean things about him. Suck it up, Your Holiness. You’re the Pope, for crying out loud. This is not a good look.
Especially considering that one of his very recent predecessors, Pope Saint John Paul the Great, had to endure an actual assassination attempt as several evil and powerful entities on this planet literally wanted him dead because he was championing such important moral ideas such as human dignity, freedom and… oh, yes, Christianity, remember that?
Considering JP2 had a bullet pass centimeters from his heart (the fact that the bullet missed was an act of divine intervention according to the late Pontiff) puts Pope Francis’ immature whining about certain critics within the Church into stark and embarrassing perspective.
But Francis wasn’t done with his whining. He went on to complain about journalists.
No, not the journalists on the back of his plane who constantly quote him out of context and blare headlines around the world that make it seem as though the Pope favors changing Church doctrine on same-sex marriage nor the journalists who misquoted him about his desire to change Church doctrine to allow divorced and remarried couples to receive communion nor did the Pope criticize the journalists who misquoted him about the very existence of Hell.
No… none of those journalists who constantly misquote him and take him out of context and make the world think that Pope Francis is single-handedly changing thousands of years of Catholic dogma ever seem to be the focus of the Pontiff’s anger or criticism.
Instead, Pope Francis decided to focus his attention on an American television network founded by a humble nun dedicated to spreading the Gospel, explaining Catholicism, reinforcing the teachings of the Vatican, and providing good, thoughtful Christian content for Catholics around the world. In Pope Francis’ eyes, the real problem in journalism today appears to be the great Catholic network EWTN.
“There is, for example, a large Catholic television channel that has no hesitation in continually speaking ill of the Pope.” He said: “I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the Church does not deserve them. They are the work of the devil. I have also said this to some of them.”
“They are the work of the devil.” Yes, Pope Francis thinks EWTN (or at least his critics on EWTN) is Satanic.
Are you kidding me?
One suspects Francis’ ire is directed at one show… no, actually, one segment on one show. Raymond Arroyo, the host of “The World Over,” has been with EWTN from the beginning. His weekly show features various stories at the crossroads of faith and politics, and he has a segment called “The Papal Posse” that highlights and dissects various issues surrounding this very untraditional papacy.
We Catholics are allowed to criticize Pope Francis, the man. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a man, and he, as a man, is fallible. Just look at those moments I cited above where he was imprecise with his language leading reporters to misquote him and lie to the world about such fundamental Catholic teachings as the existence of Hell.
Criticizing the Pope’s judgment, priorities, and the execution of his office is not the same as criticizing the Church and her teachings. For Francis to isolate EWTN, of all outlets, for his criticism is outrageous.
When we look across the broad expanse of electronic media, we see networks glorifying pedophilia and every manner of sexual deviance, degrading the dignity of life, and slandering Christ and His teachings. We even see multiple movies and streaming series literally idolizing Satan himself.
One would think that with this kind of garbage polluting the world’s airwaves, Pope Francis could direct his “work of the devil” criticism elsewhere rather than a little cable network out of Irondale, Alabama, that devotes part of its bandwidth to the ongoing adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
This Pope has seriously thin skin and has a consistent problem prioritizing what the real problems in this world appear to be.
One other observation… American journalists seemed pretty upset when President Donald Trump called certain media outlets “fake news” for printing completely fabricated lies about the Russian Collusion hoax. They didn’t like it when he said that fake news outlets were “the enemy of the American people.”
Well, the Pope just called their fellow journalists at EWTN Satanic for daring to criticize him and his papacy. Wouldn’t it be fair to characterize this as an attack on the free press and the First Amendment?
In general, American journalists tend to like this Pope and his policies because he’s a Marxist environmentalist and doesn’t spend too much time talking about abortion. It appears their affection for a “kinder, gentler” Pontiff is allowing them to look the other way as he slanders an American television network as “the work of the devil.”
Shockingly, there appears to be a double standard at play here.