Is Pope Francis the Worst Pope Ever?

Is the current occupier of The Papal Throne, the 266th Pope in the history of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, who has taken the name of ‘Francis’, Jorge Bergoglio, the worst Pope the Church has ever known? Certainly it has been six years of great shock and suffering for many Catholics since the totally different Pope Francis replaced the conservative Pope Benedict XVI, who surprisingly stepped down from the Papacy in 2013. In total contrast to the admiration and praise the secular Media pours upon Francis for his obsessive support of their worldly (and often anti-Christian causes), a large percentage of traditional-minded Catholics in the Church (mostly living in Western nations that are more under threat from the evils of Modernism) believe Pope Francis tops the chart of the “10 worst popes of the Catholic Church”. Appalled by his ambiguity and the confusion he spreads, his seemingly heretical statements and actions, twisting of Church teaching and scorn for traditional piety, flagrant destruction of orthodox religious orders, dislike of reverent pious Liturgy, demotion of good priests or bishops and the promotion of pro-gay modernists and dissenters — all weigh up in the opinion of very many Catholics to Pope Francis taking this shameful place as “worst of the very worst popes”. But is it true? 


The worst pope ever”?

(From Fr Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment blog)

So a correspondent wrote on one of my threads. It set me thinking.

I am convinced that PF is most certainly not the worst man ever to have been pope. OK; he has a short temper; he turns easily to abuse; he has either a very bad memory or a tendency to lie. But even striking characteristics like his propensity to accuse people of shit-eating betoken, probably, nothing more than a cultural back-ground a trifle different from our own. We middle-class British are so much more circumlocutory in our put-downs of those we dislike. “My dear fellow, with the utmost respect I’m not entirely sure that I completely agree with you” may be every bit as aggressively focussed as “You coprophagist!”. We must be humble enough to be open to semantic diversity.

Anybody who seriously thinks that PF is the worst man ever to have been pope should probably read rather more Church History. I do not only have in mind the ‘Marozia’ popes of the period called the Pornocracy; I would also nominate Urban VI, who precipitated the Western Schism by his ‘harshness and violence’; and Paul IV Caraffa, ‘of ferocious character’, whose malevolent hostility towards the English Catholic Church during the reign of Queen Mary made it so much easier for Elizabeth Tudor to reintroduce the Reformation to my country.

What might, much more plausibly, be argued is that PF is the worst pope in the single sense that the papal office has drastically changed under the influence of modernity, in a world of instant communications and rapid reporting and the possibility of minute-by-minute micromanagement. So this Ministry, when exercised by an impatient shoot-from-the-hip-especially-when-you’re-irritated individual like PF, is more dangerous now than any exercise of the Petrine office was in the past, even in the pontificates of very bad men, back in those happy days when the ordinary layman or cleric probably knew little about the current occupant of the Roman See, and had certainly not heard about the sillier things he said in his private chapel this morning or the proclivities of his nastier cronies.

What we need after PF’s death or abdication or deposition is not a better or more holy or more prayerful man. What we need is the papal office itself stripped down and cleansed from the idolatrous accretions of recent pontificates, so that it is again a Petrine Ministry which can without daily disaster be exercised by an ordinary sinful human being with ordinary human failings tempered by the Grace of God … just like the great majority of popes over two millennia, who were neither saints nor reprobates.

Above all, a new pope will need the self-discipline to … you thought I was going to write “Talk very much less”. But that does not quite get to the heart of the problem. Very soon after this pontificate began, I wrote in a blogpost that our new pope should not be allowed out without whatever he was to say having been carefully checked by those in the Curia whose responsibility it is to give a theological shape to a pontificate.

Papal authority is not personal in an individualistic or whimsical sort of way. The pope is supposed to say, not what he feels or wants, but what the judgement of the Roman Church is as a corporate and structured body mindful of its own Holy and immemorial Tradition. (When PF, after some off-the-cuff remarks about his own liturgical preferences, emphatically added “This is Magisterium!”, he thereby exemplified the main error which he entertains with regard to his own job-description.) [Our emphasis]

The first major exercise of papal authority, the letter called I Clement, has the form of something written as if by one member of the Roman Presbyterate. S Clement is not himself actually mentioned. The writer was very clearly an individual who expected to be obeyed. But he writes and judges and instructs in a corporate manner. That is why the Curia Romana has a doctrinal status and purpose. It is not meant to be a tedious bureaucracy which so sadly gets in the way of everybody being able to see what a splendid chap a pope is once he is able to shake off his staff. It is an integral part of the exercise of the Ministry which the Redeemer instituted in his Church, because an episkopos is meaningless without his presbyterium, his diakonia, his laos.  And this goes for Rome as much as for any other particular Church. The earliest witnesses of the Roman Primacy, SS Ignatius and Irenaeus, do not explicitly mention the Roman Bishop; they talk about the Roman Church.

Finally: this Next Pope will need to remember the apercu of Blessed John Henry Newman, that the Ministry of the Roman Church within the Oikoumene is to be a barrier, a remora, against the intrusion of erroneous novelty.

It is: to hand on the Great Tradition unadulterated.

(Do read the interesting comments of diverse opinions on Fr Hunwicke’s blog. )

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18 Responses to Is Pope Francis the Worst Pope Ever?

  1. Mary Salmond says:

    The current laity who are aware of papal discrepancies has taken up an admirable helm of sticking with tradition, the past, and excellent writings by past popes on blogs, YouTube, and email.
    The complicit libtards are oblivious to the understory of the scandal, abortion, ssm, and pastoral mishaps. Most are living in denial, resistance, and idealism.


  2. NEO says:

    It is quite interesting to watch. I, as an orthodox Lutheran, see traditionalist Catholics taking up the causes, and often even the arguments that we made, 500 years ago against a corrupted church. That is not a criticism, it is a compliment on how well you cleaned the stable, but now for both of us, it is again time to muck it out. It never fails to amaze me how little we actually disagree on. And so, I’m in the position of realizing that my churches old enemy is my best friend, and praying that you also see this. In a similar fashion to our politics, it is not a matter of party or church, so much as orthodox or heterodox,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Crow says:

    NEO, it is funny that you draw that analogy, as I frequently compare the corruption in the Vatican with that at the time of Luther. The Church has been through quite a few bad periods – a time of homosexual infiltration (St Peter Damian), Popes with mistresses, no popes, popes imprisoned, popes at Avignon etc. Although it is a divine institution and one which Our Lord will always look after, nevertheless Holy Mother Church is made up of flawed human beings and comprised of the cowardly and disloyal (the Peters), or the treacherous and dangerous (the Judas), as well as the saints. Christ said that he will separate the wheat from the Tares, but we need to take whatever steps we can to preserve Holy Mother Church. However, as Mary said, one of the ironies is that the modernism that these (elderly) people are advocating is directly responsible for an enlivening of the traditional values (and liturgy), particularly with the young. Of course Pope Francis hates that and tries to suppress the traditional orders. To quote the man himself (albeit in a context when he was trying to deflect attention away from his friends), the Church needs to undergo a ‘purification’. What he didn’t say was that his chums will need to be what is purified.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mary Salmond says:

    Now if we can get all to agree on Eucharist as Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity as the Real Presence of Jesus Christ (and yes, even some catholics don’t know or believe) we would be even closer. All the rest of the teachings would come naturally!
    Welcome aboard!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. NEO says:

    Ach, I’m hardly new. I’ve been doing other stuff, mostly on mine, but Kathleen and I are old friends, well 6 years or so, forever on the internet.

    And yes, I agree completely with you, but then I would.


  6. Mary Salmond says:


    Liked by 1 person

  7. kathleen says:

    Dear NEO, great to see you here again with your always-savvy comments 😀. Yes, indeed we are “old friends” who have enjoyed many interesting debates over the years.

    I think this above (^) article on the shenanigans of our headache Pope Francis and company (i.e. bad popes and bishops) deserves a re-posting of the wonderful short quote from Catholic author, Hilaire Belloc, that carries a load of sound common sense:

    “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”

    The Catholic Church is ‘holy and divine’ in Her teaching and mission, founded as it was by The Divine Saviour Himself…. But (and it’s a big “BUT”) She is full of sinful human beings* going right up to the top! It is only saved and made holy through the promise and grace of God, and protected from error in her Magisterium by the Holy Spirit.

    *like me

    P.S. You are dead right NEO – we shall just have to keep on trying to clean out those grubby “stables”, everyone in their own way through their station in life. But prayer and striving for holiness of life is a duty for all. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. NEO says:

    Hi there, Dear Friend! Indeed nice to drop in and be be remembered kindly! 🙂

    I’ve been writing an commenting mostly on Trump and Brexit, which can become rather all-consuming, and to be honest, my church, while almost as bad as the Episcopalians, is decentralized enough that it doesn’t matter all that much, the forms are there, it’s up to you to fill them correctly. On the other hand, it feels a bit unseemly to comment on this Pope, so easier to just do other things.

    But I look in here when a title looks interesting, because this a friendly place, and often has things that interest me, and is a stable point, holding to the unvarying truth, in an unstable world. as far too few do.

    That an apt quotation, for your church, for mine, and perhaps for our governments even. I’m often reminded lately of how correct Will Rogers was when he remarked, that we are lucky we don’t get all the government we pay for.

    Be well, dear friend, and God Bless you abundantly.


  9. kathleen says:

    Thank you for your very kind comment, NEO.

    Donald Trump, and to a much lesser degree, BREXIT, have also been discussed here at times within the context of where they touch on Christian principles. However, we have received criticism from a few readers for doing so (only a very few in fact) for touching on subjects they consider “unsuitable” for a Catholic blog!!
    I hope you haven’t found yourself in too much trouble and in heated discussions; they are two topics people appear to have very strong views on!

    Back to my earlier comment on our troubles in the Church today under Pope Francis… I think I was perhaps a bit negative and did not convey just how much we love our beloved Catholic Church and recognise Her holiness, beauty and achievements… despite the “knavish imbecility” (as Belloc amusingly describes it in his old-fashioned language) of many of her leaders. Crow puts it so well in her comment above, far better than me.

    The Catholic Church has always been the greatest thorn in the side of Her enemies, those who do not believe in God and everlasting life; it is the greatest stumbling block to those who want to establish a Masonic/Communist One World Order, a godless, worldly entity that they can control for their own greedy ends. They realised long ago that attacking the Church from the outside was useless – under threat from external enemies She only grew stronger – so they started to plot a macabre infiltration to get inside the Church. From there they could work their way up into positions of power within the hierarchy. No one understood it at the time, but Our Lady’s words at Fatima in 1917 when the Bolshevik Revolution broke out was a warning that the atheistic “errors” they promulgated would be spread around the world. Are we not seeing that today with our own eyes?

    Pope Francis and his cronies – perhaps some today who are totally unaware of it themselves – are really no more than the final products of a steady brainwashing of an evil horizontal ideology completely fixated on worldly matters that has infiltrated the Church’s seminaries, schools, universities, etc., and not only the Church.
    As you point out, our governments too, large Unions, and all forms of the media, are all saturated with left wing, secular, godlessness.

    Fighting against it, and trying to help our children to see the dangers for themselves, is no easy task.
    Sorry, I have rambled on for far too long…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mary Salmond says:

    Those were words from the heart!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. NEO says:

    The circles I move in strongly support both, and so I tend to have allies. But they also listen to me, as I do them. Is it appropriate to a Catholic blog. To a point, yes. As a Lutheran, I would point out that the Kingdom of the Left Hand (secular government) is also of God, although not as directly as the Kingdom of the Right hand. And so our governments on earth are also of concern to us. But while I straddle that fence, you, here, are more focussed. And, in truth, I don’t write much on the other blog for that reason as well, since I find my well pretty dry lately on church topics.

    I wouldn’t worry much about how you present your church and its leadership, anybody who has known you more than five minutes knows of your great love of the Church.

    I pretty much agree on the infiltration, and on Fatima as well, although I’m a comparative uninformed fool on such things.

    But yes, as we stick our heads above the parapet, that is exactly what we see,

    As I said to somebody recently, we’ve been fighting this battle since Cain picked up that jawbone, and it won’t end until He returns. We do what we can, and pray for strength to do more.

    You never do ramble on, now me, on the other hand. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. kathleen says:

    Great comment NEO! No sign of a “dry well” there, and definitely no rambling – in fact, quite the contrary 😉.

    You are right of course, God is neither right nor left as such, and far above our earthly political wrangling. Even so, there is no doubt that right wing policies tend to be more in accord with Christian principles and teachings than the pro-abort, ultra secular ideals of left leaning parties.

    On the other hand, God is with us in every nook and cranny of our lives on Earth. There is really nobody nor any issue that cannot take on a Catholic/Christian aspect, and therefore be discussed on a Catholic blog. (I’m referring to the topics of Trump and BREXIT which were mentioned above.)

    Our early morning post today – an essay from the outstanding Bishop Schneider on how to deal with a heterodox pope – ties in very well with the subject of this post here. His revision of Church history and deep insights must calm our anxieties over Pope Francis. Come what may, the Catholic Church will survive this troublesome Pontificate.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. NEO says:

    Why, Thank you, Ma’am!

    That is, I think, why our countries worked so well, for so long; they were operating in accordance with what John Adams called “a moral people”.

    They can be, and in some ways, like Cranmer, that is my brief, your vocation seems to be more specifically Catholicism, which is certainly valid, and connects, indeed overlaps with mine.

    It will, as it always has. I won’t say as you might, that it is the one true church, but it is certainly a true church, and most, perhaps all, true churches teach something very close to what Catholics do.

    I’ll get there eventually, although I may well have nothing to add. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. kathleen says:

    Good morning, NEO 😀

    ”That is, I think, why our countries worked so well, for so long; they were operating in accordance with what John Adams called “a moral people”.”

    What a fascinating remark! There was a time when our word was sufficient to make treaties and plans; firm bonds of a common Christian morality would have disallowed any breaking of one’s “word”. I have been thinking about the implications that now follow on from there…

    In a Western world where God has been mostly pushed aside, this can no longer be said to be the case. Distrust and suspicion of everyone else are now the order of the day. (Just look at the inner fighting and hypocrisy within the secular EU as an example!*) What has happened to loyalty and friendship between nations who share a common cause?
    It has all fallen by the wayside at the same time as we abandoned our commitment to Christ and our common Christian Faith.
    (Focusing on the troubles afflicting the Catholic Church in particular, Cardinal Sarah has written so wisely and insightfully on this, as can be seen in yesterday’s post published here.)

    [* Ed.: To be fair, I should have added: and within the British Parliament over the BREXIT deal …]

    There is only one remedy for the troubles afflicting our countries today: we must get back to our Christian roots, and live them. I believe that when we stand desolate on the brink of total destruction of the beautiful civilisation we built up, men will wake up to this reality, and the tide will begin to change. (We were given this prophecy by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima.) This must be our most fervent prayer, but each one of us can only fight the enemies of God by living our own little lives in accordance with the Divine Law.

    ”I’ll get there eventually…”

    You will indeed, my friend… and with plenty “to add”. You have already contributed so much in your online debates against the evils of our times.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. NEO says:

    Good Morning Kathleen.
    I couldn’t agree with any of that more, adding on the US Congress to the list.

    You seem to bring it out in me, you’ll note that I have one up today on AATW, as well, inspired by our conversation this week.

    Far too often, even with me, much more is said than done,


  16. alexhammond1974 says:

    Francis came along at a crucial time. A strong pope might have made an enormous difference. Rather, this man has taken all the problems that were present when he arrived….and made them all considerably worse. I might go so far as to say, IRRETRIEVABLY worse. So many average Catholics are so profoundly ignorant of what their church teaches…suffice it to say, Francis has not helped with that! And as for the devoted, faithful Catholics….these seem to be the only people Francis truly despises. What a wretched little man….he is simply too small for the position to which he has been entrusted.


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