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FRANCIS IN WONDERLAND
First Things ^ | 6/10/14 | Maureen Mullarky

Posted on 06/10/2014 5:53:09 PM PDT by ebb tide

‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. [Jeremiah 6:14]

There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. [Lord Acton]

The papacy is swaddled in sycophancy in the best of times. Add to that the exultant adulation induced by celebrity culture. It is a heady mix that can beguile a decent man into a grandiose conception of himself that blinds him to the limits of his office. And encourages conceit in his own sympathies.

Francis’ excursion into Middle East politics illustrated the danger of a pope assuming office as a saint-in-waiting. His incautious behavior ought to have received more scrutiny from the Catholic press than it did. Instead, the amen chorus crooned about peace, prayer, and fraternal dialogue, as if fine words pull the sting from the scorpion’s tail.

Any claim that this was a trip for religious purposes was disingenuous. Clearly it was not. Helicoptering directly into PA controlled Bethlehem from Jordan, bypassing the diplomatic route out of Jerusalem, was itself a political act. As Fr. Kamal Khader of the Latin patriarchate in Jerusalem told Agence France-Presse, “It’s a kind of sign of recognizing Palestine.” It was an opening move that lent credence to the earlier Israel National News report:

Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a member of the Argentinian parliament and close friend of Pope Francis…said that the pope intends to define himself as the “Che Guevara of the Palestinians” and support their ‘struggle and rights’ during his visit.

Doubtless, that was off-the-cuff hyperbole. Still, coming from an old friend, it indicates something worrisome about Francis’ affinities. And his ambitions. Possibly, Francis sees for himself a role similar to that of Karol Wojtila in Poland? But John Paul stood with the force of NATO behind him, in the persons of Thatcher and Reagan. The last thing needed in the Middle East is a grandstanding pope using the Petrine office as a platform for high-profile and misleading sanctimony.

Kissing the Israeli-built barrier as if it were the Wailing Wall at the very point where anti-Israel graffiti would show to Palestinian advantage? Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary, is a model of restraint:

But by stepping into the controversy over the security barrier, the pope left the realms of both religion and state protocol to lend his enormous international credibility and popularity to the Palestinian narrative about the fence. That he was led to a particular spot on it that was filled with English as well as Arabic graffiti was the perfect photo op for those who attempt to argue that its placement is a symbol of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. Israel’s foes have attempted to claim that the fence is a new version of a Nazi ghetto wall in which Palestinian victims are hemmed in and deprived of their rights. The truth is that it was built reluctantly by an Israeli government that did not wish to divide the land in this manner but had to do something to make it harder for Palestinian suicide bombers and other terrorists to cross into Israel to slaughter innocents. Rather than a tangible manifestation of Israeli colonialism, it is a monument to the bloodthirsty decision of Palestinian leaders to wage a terrorist war against the Jewish state when they could have instead had independence and peace.

Francis’ reckless empathy endangers the prospect for coexistence he seeks. Good intentions notwithstanding, all the hackneyed pieties of “Peace, peace!” obscure the unyielding fact that sometimes peace has to be imposed. And vigilantly guarded.

Caroline Glick wrote in The Jerusalem Post of a telling incident ignored by fawning media. During a public meeting with Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister mentioned innocuously that Jesus spoke Hebrew. Francis rudely interrupted his host to interject “Aramaic.” Flustered, Netanyahu responded, “Jesus spoke Aramaic but he knew Hebrew.”

Netanyahu was right the first time. Francis was both impolite and wrongheaded. Whether Jesus spoke Aramaic or Hebrew at table with family we will never know. We know only that as a Torah observant Jew, Jesus certainly spoke Hebrew. In the multi-lingual society of his time, Hebrew was, as it still is, the sacred language of Judaism. Luke tells us: “As was his custom, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read [the Torah and Haftarah].” The twelve year old Jesus could not have discussed the fine points of Torah in temple without speaking Hebrew. Nor could he have spoken readily with the Samaritan woman at the well since Samaritans spoke Hebrew, not Aramaic. A generous amount of textual evidence for Jesus’ knowledge of Hebrew exists.

Francis’ imprudent—and needless—discourtesy was surely not lost on the Palestinians.

Justice is not achieved by trying to split the difference between a terrorist state and a democratic one. God help us all if the West is as luckless in a pope as Americans are in a president.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Prayer
KEYWORDS: francis; heresy; pentecost
God help us all if the West is as luckless in a pope as Americans are in a president.
1 posted on 06/10/2014 5:53:09 PM PDT by ebb tide
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To: ebb tide

I hate to say it, but is Pope Francis auditioning for the part of the False Prophet in the “Last Days”?


2 posted on 06/10/2014 5:59:26 PM PDT by SubMareener (Save us from Quarterly Freepathons! Become a MONTHLY DONOR!)
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To: SubMareener

Reads that way, does it not?


3 posted on 06/10/2014 6:11:59 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: SubMareener

Pope Francis is, in many ways, a very foolish man. He’s a sort of 1980s type of guy, “give peace a chance” and all that, but well meaning and not a hard leftist, as many of them were.

However, now that the press has realized that what he really wants is publicity and to see his picture in the papers and to have them cooing about him, it’s gone to his head and he seems to do one silly stunt and say one silly thing after another. On reflection, he often does try to “walk it back” a bit, but the damage is already done.

I didn’t like JPII in many ways because he was a publicity hound, but I think Pope Francis has him beat.


4 posted on 06/10/2014 6:23:07 PM PDT by livius
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To: ebb tide

I must say that I expected the successor to Benedict to be at least as knowledgeable about current events and the Biblical ramifications of the Middle East as he was, but Pope Francis sometimes appears oblivious to it all. Is it because he is from South America or is it his Jesuit background that is to blame? Surely he must know the ticking time bomb simmering beneath the pseudo-cordial handshakes and smiles! Does he really expect a lasting peace in a region roiled by conflict for thousands of years can be brought about by ecumenical prayers in a rose garden?


5 posted on 06/10/2014 6:52:50 PM PDT by boatbums (Proud member of the Free Republic Bible Thumpers Brigade.)
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To: livius

Oh please...the man is a Jesuit, you don’t get more “hard core” Liberal than that.


6 posted on 06/10/2014 8:04:56 PM PDT by Shadowstrike (Be polite, Be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.)
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: ebb tide

A bull who caries his own china shop with him?


8 posted on 06/10/2014 9:37:46 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Conservatism is the political disposition of grown-ups.)
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To: Gamecock
The papacy is swaddled in sycophancy in the best of times. Add to that the exultant adulation induced by celebrity culture. It is a heady mix that can beguile a decent man into a grandiose conception of himself that blinds him to the limits of his office. And encourages conceit in his own sympathies. Francis’ excursion into Middle East politics illustrated the danger of a pope assuming office as a saint-in-waiting. His incautious behavior ought to have received more scrutiny from the Catholic press than it did. Instead, the amen chorus crooned about peace, prayer, and fraternal dialogue, as if fine words pull the sting from the scorpion’s tail.

Any claim that this was a trip for religious purposes was disingenuous. Clearly it was not. Helicoptering directly into PA controlled Bethlehem from Jordan, bypassing the diplomatic route out of Jerusalem, was itself a political act. As Fr. Kamal Khader of the Latin patriarchate in Jerusalem told Agence France-Presse, “It’s a kind of sign of recognizing Palestine.” It was an opening move that lent credence to the earlier Israel National News report: Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a member of the Argentinian parliament and close friend of Pope Francis…said that the pope intends to define himself as the “Che Guevara of the Palestinians” and support their ‘struggle and rights’ during his visit.

Ummmm..."Viva La Counter-Reformacion"?

9 posted on 06/11/2014 10:18:18 AM PDT by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: ebb tide

I’ll admit that Francis’ position regarding Palestine/Israel confuses me. I have a very hard time believing that he’s anti-Jewish State as that would be a Traditional Catholic perspective.


10 posted on 06/11/2014 1:10:09 PM PDT by piusv
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To: piusv; All; Phinneous; Jewbacca; wideawake
I’ll admit that Francis’ position regarding Palestine/Israel confuses me. I have a very hard time believing that he’s anti-Jewish State as that would be a Traditional Catholic perspective.

I ask all FReepers to pay very close attention to this quote from the poster piusv. Unfortunately, he's telling the truth.

Traditional, historical chrstianity is absolutely and totally bereft of any Biblical sentimentalism. It proclaims the Biblical order has been overthrown and replaced with something new (doesn't that sound kind of liberal?). The restoration of the Biblical polity is the ultimate sin. American chrstians are totally ignorant of "their own" religion.

Unlike Fundamentalist Protestants who possess a sentimental attachment to the Biblical world, historical chrstianity is adamantly opposed to any return of the Jews to Israel. Before the moslems built a mosque on the Temple Mount the chrstians built a church there for the same reason (and before that the pagan Romans built a temple to one of their false "gxds"). They regard Zionism, not as the secular nationalist movement it is, but as a "satanic" movement to bring about the reign of "antichrist." To them, the "true messiah" does not fulfill messianic prophecies literally, but rather figuratively. Their "messiah" is a "spiritual" king who rules a "spiritual" kingdom from Heaven (the "spiritual Jerusalem"). There is not the slightest regard for the literal interpretation of an actual king ruling an actual kingdom of ingathered Jews because "the letter kills." Any literal messiah to them will be of "Satan" (the chrstian "Satan," not the actual Satan). And most maddening of all, "Zionism" is held to be the cause of every evil under the sun. It's as if until '48 the world had a paradise.

Even Catholic FReepers simply do not understand the murderous level of this belief. It is practically dogma to right wing Catholics (and Orthodox) that "Zionism" is "the real power" behind Communism, Freemasonry, and the entire Left. I am not exaggerating. The "Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy" is a traditional Catholic dogma. The fact that the Left, especially internationally, has long been anti-Zionist means nothing to them. Their "Zionism as evil antichrist conspiracy" is as dear to them as six-day young earth creationism is to me.

All that being said, piusv, I assure you, however you feel yourself bound to believe otherwise, that "Zionism" dos not rule the world. It does not aspire to rule the world. It's a Hebrew-speaking Irish Republicanism. That's all it ever was. But if you regard Jews as "the Satanic race" you're going to project evil onto everything they do.

Yes, David Ben Gurion was a socialist, but he did not secretly give the Soviets or Chinese or Vietcong their orders (I hope you realize that Israel took in a number of anti-Communist Vietnamese refugees after the war?). The Communists supported the ARABS That is not a lie and it was not a ruse. True, the American Left continued to support Israel when the Left everywhere else did not, but this doesn't change the fact that the world Left really was against Israel. And as one who listened to short wave radio broadcasts back in the Seventies I can assure you that their government propaganda made no distinction between Israel and Rhodesia, South Africa, or Pinochet. It didn't. Dogmatic believers in the revolutionary overthrow of the Biblical order and Jew-haters never seemed to notice (and neither did liberal Jews), but everyone else did.

The Left is anti-Israel. The Left is pro-PLO. Deal with it, even if you have to call it a lie.

Now that I have challenged your dogma, feel free to challenge my belief in six day young earth creationism. I would be perfectly thrilled to have it associated in the public mind with support for the restoration of the Biblical order and its eventual covering of the entire earth. I'm serious. Link your "conservative" worldview with evolution and de-mythologization. Make my day.

11 posted on 06/11/2014 1:42:53 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (The Left: speaking power to truth since Shevirat HaKelim.)
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To: Zionist Conspirator

You certainly make a lot of assumptions about me.


12 posted on 06/11/2014 2:02:14 PM PDT by piusv
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To: Zionist Conspirator
ZC, you're clearly on one of the trajectories you sometimes get on and I will not stand in your way.

But

Before the moslems built a mosque on the Temple Mount the chrstians built a church there for the same reason

This is simply not true, ZC.

There was no Christian church on the Temple Mount before the mosque was built - designed by a Jewish convert to Islam, by the way.

There was also no Roman temple on the Temple Mount either. The Greeks desecrated the Second Temple, the Romans destroyed it, the Persians built on it.

The Romans actually gave the Jews of Jerusalem permission to build a Third Temple, but and earthquake wrecked the early stages of the building and it was considered a message.

The Christians took over the mosque from the Muslims temporarily and used it as a church until the Turks retook Jerusalem.

The "Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy" is a traditional Catholic dogma.

Simply false and slanderous.

I challenge you to find in Denziger - the famous compendium of all Catholic dogmatic statements from the Apostle's Creed until today - any such "dogma."

Have there been plenty of Catholic anti-Semites in history? Of course there have.

But you are repeating a distorted and simplistic narrative.

13 posted on 06/11/2014 2:02:20 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: wideawake

Yes it is false and slanderous and it’s only purpose is to represent Traditional Catholicism as anti-Semitic.


14 posted on 06/11/2014 2:09:30 PM PDT by piusv
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To: piusv

“es it is false and slanderous and it’s only purpose is to represent Traditional Catholicism as anti-Semitic.”

I hold no ill-will to Roman Catholics. Indeed, it is basic Judaism that each man is judged by his actions, not as a group. I’ve never had a problem with Roman Catholics as a group, except that too many tend to vote as Democrat (and like I can complain about that).

But can’t abide by revisionist history.

The traditional practice of Roman Catholics up until the late 1800s was to treat Jewish people pretty brutally.

Are things better now? Yes, indeed.

And now and the future is what I care about.


15 posted on 06/11/2014 3:32:19 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem)
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To: piusv
You certainly make a lot of assumptions about me.

Based on your ridiculous "confusion" about anti-Israel leftism--confusion that could only exist in the mind of someone who had never heard of the idea before.

16 posted on 06/11/2014 4:23:05 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (The Left: speaking power to truth since Shevirat HaKelim.)
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To: wideawake; piusv; All
ZC, you're clearly on one of the trajectories you sometimes get on and I will not stand in your way.

Indeed I am, and one reason I ping you to these is so you can keep me honest.

I apologize for my historical mistakes. I actually thought I had read somewhere that after the Bar Kokhba' revolt the Romans built a temple to Heylel Ben Shachar on the site. I had similarly thought when chrstian Rome destroyed this temple it replaced it with a church. I actually knew about the pre-islamic Persians invading Jerusalem but had forgotten about it.

Wideawake, if Denzinger doesn't contain this belief about a "Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy," then where does it come from and why is it nearly universal in conservative Catholicism? Even conservative Catholic web sites that are not primarily anti-Semitic assume it as a given.

It is certainly true that according to historical chrstianity the Jewish People are of absolutely no more significance whatsoever (and that's not counting all the "the once chosen people is now the accursed race" folks). To historical chrstianity the Land of Israel is merely a big international park to be administered by the Vatican or the UN, and the Jewish presence there is meaningless (other than as an attack on chrstianity). I'm sure you know far more about the stories of the fire burning the builder's of Julian's would-be "temple" than I do. This is commonly invoked as proof that any restoration of the Divine order before the Revolution provokes G-d to absolute fury.

American-style Fundamentalist Protestantism is simply a mongrel religion stretching itself to affirm two mutually exclusive religious claims. Its adherents need to recognize this and make a decision . . . hopefully, the right one.

17 posted on 06/11/2014 4:35:10 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (The Left: speaking power to truth since Shevirat HaKelim.)
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To: piusv
I doubt he's anti-Jewish state; he brought his puppeteer, Rabbi Skorka, along for the ride. He just wants to please all people, at all times, even if it's at the expense of a remnant few.

Did you notice his pectoral cross was hidden when meeting with the Chief Rabbi of Israel?

Is Pope Francis Hiding The Cross Before the Chief Rabbis? Inclination to Zionism

18 posted on 06/11/2014 6:57:17 PM PDT by ebb tide
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To: Zionist Conspirator

That was not the assumptions you made about me in that post. Your assumptions were based on my Traditional Catholic position.

You might be interested to know that I am a Jewish convert to Catholicism. So I don’t appreciate the insinuations you are making about me.


19 posted on 06/12/2014 2:21:30 AM PDT by piusv
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To: ebb tide

I sure did. At first I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but it’s pretty clear that he is choosing to hide Our Lord. Tell me what Catholic pope would ever do that?


20 posted on 06/12/2014 2:24:51 AM PDT by piusv
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To: piusv
I sure did. At first I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but it’s pretty clear that he is choosing to hide Our Lord.

Have you considered that perhaps the problem is related to his growing paunch (apparently he's put on a lot of weight)? The cross seems to slip behind his high-riding cummerbund.

21 posted on 06/12/2014 6:16:59 AM PDT by BlatherNaut
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To: BlatherNaut

Then why doesn’t that happen other times?


22 posted on 06/12/2014 6:19:31 AM PDT by piusv
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To: piusv
Then why doesn’t that happen other times?

I wouldn't know if it does or doesn't, because I'm trying to keep him mostly on ignore. If he is hiding it on purpose, then he's forgotten this warning:

"But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven."

23 posted on 06/12/2014 6:45:08 AM PDT by BlatherNaut
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