In the last month or so, various Catholic news outlets have asked me to research the veracity of various accusations made against Pope Francis while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Did he cover up wrongdoing? Was he involved in financial scandals? What was his level of collaboration, if any, with the corrupt Kirchner administration?
The German magazine Der Spiegel, one of Europe’s most prestigious publications and generally supportive of liberal positions, found reasons to believe that scores of abuse victims may have been kept from speaking with Cardinal Bergoglio. In addition, he seems to have taken a central role in defending at least one abuser, and perhaps others.
Der Spiegel made this claim – and several sharp complaints about ways that Pope Francis had divided the Church – in this week’s cover story, under the title: Du sollst nicht lügen, Der Papst und die Kirche in ihrer größten Krise (“Thou shalt not lie: The pope and the Church in their greatest crisis”).
If true, these charges could provoke a greater explosion than the 11-page Testimony by the former nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.
Many uncertainties, of course, surround such charges. Given the present state of affairs in Argentina, it is hard to find unbiased answers to questions. But one thing is certain: “there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” (Luke 8:17)
In fact, light is now shining on many once-hidden things.
The lack of official response and the vicious attacks on the reputation of Viganò have had a clarifying effect. Just this week Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, a figure very close to the pope and his sometimes ghostwriter, described Viganò as suffering from a delusional mental illness “marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur.” He did not seem to care whether Viganò’s allegations, even if the ravings of a madman, are true.
I have the impression that we are living days like those described by St Paul in 2Timothy. The Church – infiltrated by her enemies – is now being shaken in her very structure.
Pope Paul VI said in 1972: “the smoke of Satan has entered the Temple of God through some crack in the wall.” Through years of surreptitious action, seducers “made their way into the household” of God and began to hold sway over the weak. Homosexuality among the clergy has now “become plain to everyone,” as honest prelates, the media, and government investigators uncover the ugly truth.
As undeniable evidence piles up, it should not surprise us if evil is exposed even in the highest echelons of the hierarchy. We should not be confounded if “wicked people and impostors . . . go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived.” We’re at a point of no return.
Not content with having introduced false pastors among the clergy, the enemy is now trying to introduce a false religion. He wants to destroy the Church by destroying the faith. He needs to replace the Catholic religion with a counterfeit version.
The false spirit of that “counterfeit faith” produces many pseudo-commandments, interfaith gestures, ceremonies, and liturgical shows of unity. There’s plenty of praise for the disobedient and the heretic “holding to the outward form of godliness” but rejecting the doctrinal truth and the sacramental integrity of the true faith.
Holy Tradition, Holy Scripture, the Catechism, and even Natural Law are attacked:
You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them! (2 Timothy 3:1-9)
This is a very dangerous time because many souls may be lost. Many may walk away, disgusted by all that filth. That is why we have to reflect on the causes of the crisis, so we can counter that evil effectively. All the lies and half-truths taught to the faithful in this age of darkness are the result of bad Catholic formation.
The first part of the devil’s attack consisted in eliminating good catechesis. For the near future, the teaching of the true faith may have to rest with a handful of people remaining loyal to God. That is why we must be busy creating ways to develop a rapid, deep, and precise knowledge of the faith.
False pastors will not deceive well-formed Catholics. In fact, the folly of those false pastors will become evident as the light of the true faith shines on their wicked ways. It is true that “they will not make much progress” because they are the “wicked servants” of Jesus’ prophetic parable.
It is up to us to keep the faith by being “good servants” minding the counsel of Christ:
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. . . .But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, “My master is staying away a long time,” and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:45-51)
Are the accusations against Pope Francis while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires true? All I can say is that no one can stop God from revealing the truth. Wise men will work with God, lest they end up working for the father of lies.
Image: Last Judgment by Giotto (di Bondone), c. 1305 [Scrovegni Chapel, Padua]