It has been three years since Pope Francis took the Petrine office. Three long years. His papacy has been nothing but disastrous for the Catholic faith, with Papal audiences shrinking in size. He has caused an enormous amount of confusion not only to the faithful but the entire world as to what Catholicism is and what it means. He has given the impression that Catholicism can change depending on who is the current Pope.
From the beginning of his papacy, he has been manipulating the liturgy to allow for women (and especially non-Catholic women) to have their feet washed during the Holy Thursday liturgy. But Pope Francis had been doing this for many years prior. The difference though was when Pope Francis was only a Cardinal Archbishop he was abusing the liturgy by doing this. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had both washed the feet of men, the latter washing the feet of priests. It was a beautiful representation of the Vicar of Christ washing the feet of his priests, much like Jesus washed the feet of his priests that night. It was a moment in which we transported back in time.
However, Pope Francis continued his abuse of the foot washing as he became Pope. His defenders said the Pope can change the liturgy though he didn’t. In fact, it wasn’t until January that he changed the liturgy. So really, what has happened is an abuse for the last 2,000 years has just been made permissible by the Holy Father. But the message we hear is how this is more inclusive and more “Catholic”, and those who disagree are not Catholic.
There is a parable that Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew 25 of the shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats. The shepherd will take the sheep with him, and the goats will be taken away. It seems the purpose of this papacy is to do exactly that. Those who adhere to Jesus’ teaching and that of the Church are the sheep, and those who adhere to this Pope’s teachings and ignore the Church’s teachings and traditions are the goats, along with all non-Catholics.
However, the difference though is Pope Francis actively tells the goats that they are good sheep and lavishes them with praise. Meanwhile, he berates the sheep and accuses them of being poor sheep and goat-like, making them think they are not good.
Even more disturbing are those otherwise faithful Catholics who seem to be enjoying his beatings. Pope Francis supporters are every day becoming more masochistic, enjoying the fact that the current Pope berates them for being Catholic. In today’s world, it is Catholic not to be Catholic. When Pope Francis harps about an attitude from the Catholic perspective, these Catholics will nod their head and praise “the spirit” for sending us a Pope, who is looking to change things (and not for the better). There is quite the difference in encouraging Catholics to be more Catholic by examining their faults and lambasting Catholics for being Catholic.
This papacy, God-willing, will not last for much longer, as I’m not sure how much more the Church will be able to bear. Remember, when Pope Benedict XVI abdicated the throne, that very night lightning struck the top of St. Peter’s. Many thought it was an ominous sight.
Looking back, we can confidently say that that was a warning shot from God letting us know that He was not pleased. These last three years have done no good for Catholicism, with the only benefit being how many more people have rediscovered authentic Catholicism. Continue to pray and fast for the Church and this Pope, and pray that his successor will uphold authentic Catholic values.