Pope Condemns Princes of the Church

The headline in CRUX reads, “Pastors who become princes are far from Jesus’ spirit, pope says.” Pope Francis said, “It is awful for the church when pastors become princes, far from the people, far from the poorest people. That is not the spirit of Jesus.”

This is true. Jesus had little use for Rome and its princes. But traditionally, bishops were known as princes of the Church (now cardinals have this honor). Furthermore, the pope was king, and literally lived in a palace- the Vatican - donated by emperor Constantine. And during most of the papacy’s existence, the pope was king of the Papal States.

Not only did the people of the papal states feel distant from the pope, they wanted to increase that distance, and repeatedly rebelled. Popes were awful rulers. They were corrupt and they grossly mismanaged the economy. Their primary relation to the people was one of exploitation. Popes invented the ghetto and mistreated the masses. Historians have largely ignored this subject, while the Vatican attempts to revise its history.

Pope Francis said that people should “discover the will of God” through Jesus. The pope rejected the “frigid laws and prescriptions that Jesus himself condemned.” Pope Francis forgot his Scripture. In fact, Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to come to an end than for one letter of the Law to lose its force” (Luke 16:17). Far from condemning the Law, Jesus said: “Anyone who sets aside even the least of the Law’s demands, and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven, whereas anyone who keeps the Law, and teaches others to do so, will rank high in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19). Jesus said, “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). Pope Francis, like many before him, confused Jesus with Paul’s resurrected Christ, who repeatedly condemned the Law.

Pope Francis was quite right about Jesus blessing and favoring the poor. Perhaps he will divert Church funds from its massive bureaucracy and channel more to the poor. The Vatican has always refused to provide any accounting of what it does with all its money. But if any charitable organization were known to have the overhead costs of the Catholic Church, it would be roundly condemned. To date, the pope has actually increased the bureaucracy. Let’s see if he will practice what he preaches. With God’s help, he might even achieve the transparency of a bankster.