How To Argue Against the Francis Accusers

Consider the “papal accusers”. Here, I am not referring to those faithful Catholics who accept Francis as their Teacher and Pastor, but have some doubts or limited criticisms of his words and deeds. Rather, I’m referring to those who have clearly rejected Pope Francis per se as Roman Pontiff, those who behave as if Francis has zero authority over them. These papal accusers have made a myriad of accusations against the Roman Pontiff, usually with little or no explanation, let alone a theological argument. They speak with open malice against him, calling him heretical, apostate, idolater, monster, false prophet, and even “a pope for Satan” (from the book “Infiltration”). The number of accusations against Pope Francis is in the hundreds, at least.

Should we go through each accusation and defend the Pope on every point? I don’t think that approach will be useful. Some explanation is called for, when speaking to the faithful, who sincerely wish to understand doctrine and discipline. But in opposing the papal accusers, I believe the better argument is one from authority.

The basis for the Catholic Christian Faith is authority, the authority of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
[Luke 4:32] And they were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was spoken with authority.
We believe what the Church teaches because the Church is the body of Christ, with the Holy Spirit guiding Her decisions on doctrine and discipline. Only limited errors are possible. The Spirit does not allow the Popes or Councils to lead the Church or the faithful astray by grave errors on doctrine or discipline. And the Pope teaches through the Spirit with the authority of Christ.

So we must argue from authority. Otherwise, their own ideas and their own explanations will always seem shinier to them and to the weak in faith who follow them.

And we must argue from faith. It is not our place to judge each and every decision by each and every Pope and Council, as the papal accusers continue to do every day. See what happens in such a case? Each person finds very many decisions that they would have made differently, and in pride they assume that difference is an error by the Pope or Council. And then soon there are so many alleged errors (which are really only a result of a fallen sinner usurping the role of God over the Church) that the person loses faith and falls into heresy and schism (and perhaps eventually apostasy). If the Church can go so far astray as the papal accusers claim, why remain a member? Away from me, you evil-doers. I have never known you.

It has never been known that any Ecumenical Council’s teachings on faith or morals, once approved by the Pope, were ever reformed by a subsequent Council or Pope. A Council contains the whole Magisterium, as it is a gathering of the Pope and the body of Bishops, and so the Council cannot err on faith or morals. This includes all the teachings of the Second Vatican Council on faith or morals. As for decisions on discipline, these can never err gravely, neither when decided by a Council, nor when decided by the Roman Pontiff.

Have faith in the divine authority of the Church, for this is the duty of those who love the Lord Jesus and one another:

{14:15} If you love me, keep my commandments.

{14:21} Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them: it is he who loves me. And whoever loves me shall be loved by my Father. And I will love him, and I will manifest myself to him.”

{14:23} Jesus responded and said to him: “If anyone loves me, he shall keep my word. And my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and we will make our dwelling place with him.
{14:24} Whoever does not love me, does not keep not my words. And the word that you have heard is not of me, but it is of the Father who sent me.

{14:26} But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will suggest to you everything whatsoever that I have said to you.

Whoever rejects the authority of Popes and Councils, rejects the authority of God.

RLCJ

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