Why God specifically chose Pope Francis to lead the Church


Previously, I wrote that The Catholic Church has a serious Heresy Problem. I have written on this topic many times. I have specifically pointed out teachings and teachers who were leading the faithful astray by various grave errors on faith, morals, and salvation. But the very worst thing about this problem is that these teachers of heresy are popular within the Church. They rarely receive correction from the Holy See or from the Bishops or Bishops’ conferences. They have ample support from the faithful, and some support from the hierarchy.

Example: Bishop Robert Barron, when he was a priest, used his “Word on Fire” ministry to teach a severe heresy, namely, the idea that we may “reasonably hope” that “perhaps” all human persons are saved. To phrase this idea another way, he claims that perhaps all human persons eventually end up in Heaven, and none are ever sent to Hell. This claim clearly contradicts the infallible teachings of several different Ecumenical Councils. It is a heresy plainly contradicted by very many Bible passages, by Sacred Tradition, and by the constant teaching of the Church. And yet, after teaching this heresy very publicly, Father Robert Barron was promoted to the episcopate.

See my posts on Bishop Barron and salvation theology.

And there is no evidence at all that he has repented from teaching and believing this severe heresy. He could remove the materials promoting this heresy. He could publicly speak or write against the error, and teach the truth instead. In fact, as a Bishop, he is morally obligated to do so, under penalty of mortal sin. His teaching of this heresy is a very grave objective mortal sin, which is still harming the Church and the faithful.

What is even more disturbing about this situation is that most Catholics do not seem to mind. They don’t care if their teachers, or even their priests and Bishops, teach false doctrine. The faithful of the diocese of Los Angeles are not crying out to the other Bishops or to the Holy See about a heretic being appointed over them. And his publications, supposedly teaching the Catholic faith (by DVD, online video, books, and articles), remain very popular.

Now it is certainly true about every heretic that he retains something of the true faith — otherwise he would be an apostate, not merely a heretic. But even when heretical Bishop Robert Barron teaches correctly, why accept him as teacher? He might at any time add another grave error to his false teaching on salvation. And how is it that he is not only permitted to receive Communion, but is permitted to consecrate the Eucharist and minister the other Sacraments, including ordaining deacons and priests?

There is a terrible outcry against the divorced and remarried receiving Communion, yet teachers of heresy, including priests, theologians, and popular authors, are not corrected at all. No one points out that they are prohibited from Communion by Divine Law for their sins of heresy (and most recently schism). And they continue to enjoy much support from the faithful, despite teaching many errors on faith, morals, and salvation.

Why is this happening? It is because most Mass-going Communion-receiving Catholics are themselves in a state of at least material heresy. In many cases, too, they know well what the teaching of the Church is, and they knowingly decide to reject it: on sexual ethics, on contraception, and on other issues as well. Most Catholics have fallen away and are not faithful to Christ and His Church — most traditionalists, most conservatives, most liberals — perhaps even most priests. They do not accept the teaching of the Magisterium as the teaching of Christ. They ignore any teaching they dislike, or they radically reinterpret it, or they openly proclaim the contrary.

Among the entire group of conservative Catholics who complain about the divorced and remarried receiving Communion, there are only a minority of persons who are faithful to magisterial teaching and who avoid objective mortal sin themselves. Most commit various objective mortal sins, at the same time that they are loudly proclaiming that the divorced and remarried absolutely must not receive Communion, because of their objective mortal sins, regardless of their consciences. This hypocrisy is very offensive to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.


Now I was going to write a post titled: “How Can We Solve the Heresy Problem?” But then I was also going to write a post titled: “Why God specifically chose Pope Francis to lead the Church” (which is the title of this post). Then I realized that those posts would be exactly the same. God specifically chose Pope Francis to lead the Church as the beginning of God’s plan to solve the Heresy Problem. Those conservative Catholics who are railing against the Vicar of Christ are really railing against Christ Himself and His holy plan.

Pope Francis has his faults, but no more so than most other Popes, and much less so than most of his critics. God is using those faults to put conservative Catholics to the test. And they are flunking that test big time. Pope Francis is a liberal Pope (which is not itself a fault, by the way), and he is holy and faithful. I truly believe that Pope Francis will one day be canonized by the Church. Recall that Pope Celestine V was particularly bad at making administrative decisions, yet he is a canonized Saint. So, just because Pope Francis has made some errors in the way he runs the Church, does not imply that he is a great sinner. He may well be a great Saint. I certainly think so.

I also think that his very conservative successor will also have faults, and yet will also be a great Saint.

God chose this particular man, Pope Francis, to be the successor of Peter. God preserves him, just as God preserves every valid Pope without exception, from teaching or holding to any heresy. So whatever might be the valid criticisms of this valid Pope, he is certainly not guilty of any form of apostasy, heresy, or schism. No Pope can ever hold heresy, not even in the hidden recesses of his heart and mind, and no Pope can ever teach heresy, neither as an act of the infallible Magisterium nor as an act of the non-infallible Magisterium, nor even as a personal theological opinion. The prevenient grace of God prevents it, for the sake of the Church and the salvation of souls.

But conservative Catholics and the conservative Catholic subculture and traditionalist Catholics and the traditionalist Catholic subculture are NOT prevented by God from holding or teaching any error, not even heretical or schismatic errors. If it seems to you that any Pope has taught or held heresy, then YOU are the one who is in error. To a heretic, a faithful teacher will always look like a heretic. For when the heretic compares the true teachings of the Magisterium to his own understanding, they conflict. Then, in his pride, the heretic assumes that the true teachings and the true teacher must be in error. But if any heretic were not filled with pride to a great extent, but instead practiced the virtue of humility, he would accept correction from the Pope and the Magisterium, and so be freed from material heresy.

Pope Francis is liberal, and his papacy is challenging the conservative Catholics, to see if they truly are — as they have been claiming for many years now — faithful to the Magisterium. God is giving them a Pope who teaches truth, but from a liberal point of view, emphasizing some liberal concerns, and imposing a more liberal version of discipline. But there is nothing in his decisions on doctrine and discipline that should cause any faithful Catholic to reject the Vicar of Christ. The problem is that most conservative Catholics, for many years before Pope Francis was elected, were adhering NOT to the teaching of the Magisterium, but to their own opinions, misunderstandings, and radical reinterpretations of Catholic teaching. They have departed from faithfulness to the Magisterium, while still claiming to be faithful to the Magisterium. And they have refused all correction.

So God has put them to the test, to reveal their unfaithfulness. And it is beginning to be revealed even now. Already, a number of prominent Catholic authors and online commentators have spoken about the Roman Pontiff with denigration, ridicule, calumny, and outright rejection of his authority over doctrine and discipline. Some are already in a state of formal schism. AND IT IS GOING TO GET VERY MUCH WORSE!!! Pope Francis will fulfill the plan of God, to teach truths that are contrary to the misunderstandings of the conservative Catholic subculture — a subculture which has been speaking as if it runs the Church, as if it alone is faithful to the Gospel, as if it has an authority higher than the Vicar of Christ and the entire Magisterium. And the unfaithful pride-filled conservatives will fall away, like a dead branch falling away from an otherwise healthy living tree.

The grace of God influenced Pope Francis to choose to permit the divorced and remarried to receive Communion, based on their decision of conscience that they are not in a state of actual mortal sin, despite their objective mortal sin. This is permissible under Divine Law, when the person is still in a state of grace, and their conscience is sincere but mistaken. The reason God permitted or even inspired this change in discipline was to ridicule the conservatives who receive Communion themselves, despite committing the objective mortal sin of teaching or believing heresy, despite committing many grave sins themselves.

Catholics who teach heresy are complaining that the divorced and remarried should not receive Communion. Catholics who publicly approve of abortifacient contraception, despite the deaths of prenatals, and especially those who teach others to do the same, should not receive Communion. Catholics who commit any grave sexual sin, including married Catholics who commit unnatural sexual acts within marriage, offend God very gravely. And yet the conservative Catholic teachers, the vast majority of them, approve of those grave sins. These false teachers are like the bad thief on the cross, for they know Jesus up close and personal, and yet they reject all repentance and continue to cling to very grave sins, especially teaching others grave errors on faith, morals, and salvation.

Did you think that God was going to approve of the idea that the divorced and remarried should be forbidden from Communion, and then ignore all the other very grave sins that Mass-going Communion-receiving Catholics commit without repentance or Confession? Did Moses receive only one Commandment, You shall not commit the type of adultery found in some of the divorced and remarried? And when did Jesus decide to take the authority of Saint Peter away from each successive Roman Pontiff, and give it to the conservative or traditionalist Catholic subculture?

Many sins are committed across the face of the earth. For example, robbery has been committed innumerable times in the history of humanity. But the sins of conservative Catholics, who know or should know the teaching of the Magisterium well, especially those who have chosen to be teachers and leaders of the faithful, well that is like robbing a police station or a judge. They are robbing the Church of her treasures, especially the teachings of Christ. They are robbing the Church of her authority, speaking as if they rule over Popes and Councils, and as if the Magisterium were subject to their will and whim. So do you think that the father of the family, knowing when the robbers would assail his house, would have made no preparations and would take no action against them? These arrogant teachers and leaders behave as if there were no God as judge over them. I would not want to be in their shoes on the day of Judgment.

Pope Francis is going to continue issuing decisions on doctrine and discipline, decisions from the grace of God. And the pride-filled conservatives and traditionalists will either repent and humble themselves before the teaching of Christ, or depart from the one true Church. A great schism is unfolding NOW. Do not be led astray.

{2:5} And so, call to mind the place from which you have fallen, and do penance, and do the first works. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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4 Responses to Why God specifically chose Pope Francis to lead the Church

  1. Ron D. says:

    There are strong parallels between these latest objections of the schismatics today and the Novatian heresy of the early third century. Pope Francis would be the modern equivalent of Pope Callixtus I. It’s sad how blind the sedevacantists truly are. Hopefully after the SSPX is regularized, the most extreme schismatics will wither on the vine, exposed as the financial opportunists and yellow journalists they truly are.

    • Ron Conte says:

      The SSPX is in a state of abject heresy and schism. It doesn’t matter what is done, juridically. They are heretics and schismatics before the eternal moral law.

  2. Mark P. says:

    I think Pope Francis really challenges all of us to be better Catholics. For Catholics who are already “liberal,” the Holy Father provides ample reference to Scripture when speaking about mercy towards the poor and migrants, for example. So, he ties his “liberal” thoughts to orthodoxy through Scripture. Furthermore, the Pope makes frequent remarks to sin and the devil. So for those of a “liberal” interpretation of Catholicism, these references to Scripture by the Holy Father reinforce the point that certain works of mercy are not the same thing as liberal charity as viewed through the lens of Western political liberalism. And I think his Lenten emphasis on Confession (which is to be expected) is important for liberal Catholics to hear because many of them seem to think there is no such thing as real sin, and that only works of charity are the hallmark of a good Catholic. Indeed, Western secular culture (as Ron has stated in a recent post) has its own dogmas, and one of the most obvious of Western-style liberalism is that there is no greater “sin” than offending somebody or making them feel guilty. Now on the other hand, Pope Francis has challenged conservative Catholics to be more compassionate and merciful toward others, but within the context of Sacred Scripture, of course. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, but he also said that anyone leading another into sin and away from God would be better off to wade into the sea with a millstone around their neck. There are many aspects of Jesus’s teachings, and we are all called to fulfill these many aspects, which is certainly challenging.

  3. Matt z. says:

    The problem is that people not only do not have a sense of sin but they no longer have a hatred of sin. Sin is no big deal. People say, “hey it’s no big deal if it’s a venial sin, hey it’s only a objective mortal sin, no biggie.” Does not all sin wounds the Body of Christ? Or there are others who would rather be ignorant of the faith and sin rather than find the truth because living with Christ is too bitter for them. They would rather please the world and their own senses.

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