Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from my friend, Wes Hardin. He has a Masters in Theological Studies from Ave Maria University’s Insitute of Pastoral Theology. He originally posted this on his Facebook wall and I was impressed with the quality and precision of his thoughts on the state of the Church in relation to the papacy of Pope Francis. While many of my critics will look at this as “another bash Francis post”, it is important to recognize what Catholicism is and if each and every single Catholic is responsible for living a good and holy life, then that too extends to the Holy Father. The faith is not decided by the Pope, but he is given the keys of the Church, to safeguard her treasures and her teachings, not to drive it around as if it were daddy’s shiny corvette around town, trying to impress all those he passes.
Without further ado, here is the article.
So, there’s been [yet another – will it ever end?] media kerfuffle involving Pope Francis…surprise, surprise. Those who dismiss the criticism and hide behind so-called “translation errors” and “context/off-the-cuff/subtext” are just kidding themselves. Those who dismiss Pope Francis’ legitimacy as the Vicar of Christ on Earth (God help us!) are kidding themselves as well. The fact of the matter is: We have a bad Pope; that is, we have a Pope who hardly even popes, and when he does, he maliciously calumnies those who have merely been faithful to Catholicism in both the big and small things.
The thing that troubles me so regarding the current and deplorable state of the Catholic Church isn’t so much that we have a bad Pope (if you disagree, I suggest you take a big dose of reality), but that he is simply a realistic representation of the current state of Catholic clergy. Seriously, there are too few priests and bishops whom I have met (and I have met and worked closely with many…as in a lot) in my time with Catholicism (which predates my Confirmation and First Communion in 2011 by quite a bit) who think, speak, act, lead, pray, believe, confess in the same manner as His Holiness, Pope Francis does. In the end, he is a typical *modern* Jesuit, which makes him a typical *modern* cleric, which makes the current situation that Catholicism finds itself in to be nothing more than total and utter shambles. “A city half in ruins, half trembling,” as some might say.
For those of you who would like to debate about how I’ve “abandoned all hope,” and don’t truly believe that “the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church,” I’ll save you the trouble: that’s not what I’m saying here at all…Take a deep breath, and think…just exactly is the Church (non-Catholics need not chime in on this particular note, not interested in that rabbit-hole right now)? What exactly needs to concretely exist for there to be a Church? How many were there at the beginning? How many are there really now. Seriously…think, think, think.
All this being said Pope Francis still remains the Vicar of Christ on Earth, and he has every respect from me that is due him as a brother in the Image of God, the Holy Father, and public figure. I’m just saying that he’s bad at being those things, and I lament that fact. I pray for him daily…for his intentions (though I dare not mention them specifically, because, well…material heresy…), his conversion, and for an end to the madness. I exhort you, in the name of Christian Charity, to do the same.