A Dishonest Interpretation of Pope Francis’ Words

Note that the Pope has clarified that the diversity of religions is the permissive will of God:

Over at OnePeterFive.com, Adrian Hau presents to his readers an extremely dishonest interpretation of the document signed by Pope Francis on the diversity of religions. Hau’s article is this: When the Pope Shrugs His Shoulders at Witchcraft (March 6, 2019)

Here is the line at issue: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.” [Source]

There’s no mention of witchcraft in the document. Nor of religions that offer human sacrifice. Nor of Satanism. Does God will all of those evils? No. They are not religions, not in the sense that the document uses the word. Religions that offer nothing but evil are not religions.

See how the word “religion” is defined by usage in the document:

“The first and most important aim of religions is to believe in God, to honour Him and to invite all men and women to believe that this universe depends on a God who governs it.”

“Moreover, we resolutely declare that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood. These tragic realities are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings.”

Therefore, certain things called “religion” do not fit the definition of that word in the document, and therefore are not in any sense willed by God. They are permitted, as many other evils are also permitted. But they are not willed.

Witchcraft is obviously not included in what Pope Francis is referring to as a religion willed by God. Religion is a sincere search for God and truth, and must include love of neighbor. Therefore, religion turns away from hate, extremism, and evil. Anything evil in what is called “religion” is, as Pope Francis says, “a deviation from religious teachings”.

And since witchcraft is not found in the document at all, it is dishonest for OnePeterFive.com to publish an article with the click-bait title making it seems as if Pope Francis was indifferent toward the occult. Recall that the CCC condemns the occult (2117). Nothing has changed in the Church’s teaching toward various evils incorrectly called religion, such as occultism or the extremist version of Islam.

Now this accusation by Hau is patently false:

“During his recent trip to the United Arab Emirates, Pope Francis signed a document that gives, insofar as it is possible, license to all of the above on the grounds that they are willed by God — the orgies, the tarot cards, the spells, the witchcraft. This is a direct contradiction and challenge to the First Commandment.”

Pope Francis signed a document that gives license to orgies, tarot cards, spells, and witchcraft? Clearly, he did not do that. It is bearing false witness and it is contrary to the duty of charity toward one’s neighbor to give such a malicious interpretation to the words of the Roman Pontiff. He clearly defined religion as quoted above, honoring the Creator God and rejecting all that is evil. So Pope Francis did not violate the First Commandment, but Adrian Hau violated the Commandment not to bear false witness (the 8th).

That is a common hobby on the internet nowadays, to think up a new accusation against the Roman Pontiff. It’s contrary to the ancient faith of the Church, that the See of Peter has the gift of immunity from grave error, and the Roman Pontiff has the gift of a never failing faith.

Pope St Agatho “For Peter himself received from the Redeemer of all, by three commendations, the duty of feeding the spiritual sheep of the Church. Under his protecting shield, this Apostolic Church of his has never turned away from the path of truth in any direction of error.” [Letter to the 6th Ecumenical Council]

Pope St. Leo IX “As the hinge while remaining immovable opens and closes the door, so Peter and his successors have free judgment over all the Church, since no one should remove their status because ‘the highest See is judged by no one.’” Denzinger 353

Pope St. Leo IX [From the epistle “In terra pax hominibus” Sept 2, 1053] “By passing a preceding judgment on the great See, concerning which it is not permitted any man to pass judgment, you have received anathema from all the Fathers of all the venerable Councils….” Denzinger 352

Pope St. Nicholas I, Epistle “Proposueramus quidem” (AD 865) “Neither by Augustus [i.e. the emperor], nor by all the clergy, nor by religious, nor by the people will the judge be judged…. The First See will not be judged by anyone.” Denzinger 330

Pope St. Nicholas I “If anyone condemns dogmas, mandates, interdicts, sanctions, or decrees, promulgated by the one presiding in the Apostolic See, for the Catholic faith, for the correction of the faithful, for the emendation of criminals…let him be anathema.” Denzinger 326

Vatican I: “This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all….”

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian
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1 Response to A Dishonest Interpretation of Pope Francis’ Words

  1. franciscofigueroa1 says:

    Adrian Hau’s argument is also know as the straw man (fallacy).

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