Matt C. Abbott
Pope Francis
By Matt C. Abbott
March 14, 2013

    'My Jesus, by the compassion which You felt for Your Mother, have compassion on me, and permit me to share in her intercession with You. O Mary, afflicted Mother, intercede for me with your Son, that by His sufferings I may be saved from the wrath which is to come.'

    – A prayer from Way of the Cross, by Marian Press

In case you haven't heard by now – ahem – we have a new pope: Francis, the now-former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina. (Thank God it wasn't Cardinal Roger Mahony!)

He'll have his work cut out for him, that's for sure. My initial reaction is that he appears to be cast in the same mold as Blessed John Paul II.

An advocate for the poor, Pope Francis is also strongly pro-life and pro-family, writing the following letter to the Carmelite Nuns of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires in 2010:
    Dear Sisters,

    I write this letter to each one of you in the four Monasteries of Buenos Aires. The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same gender.

    The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. A clear rejection of the law of God, engraved in our hearts, is in jeopardy.

    I recall words of Saint Thérèse when she speaks of the infirmity of her childhood. She says that the envy of the Devil tried to extort her family after her older sister joined the Carmel. Here, the envy of the Devil, through which sin entered the world, is also present, and deceitfully intends to destroy the image of God: man and woman, who receive the mandate to grow, multiply, and conquer the earth.

    Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a 'move' of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.

    Jesus tells us that, in order to defend us from this lying accuser, he will send us the Spirit of Truth. Today, the Nation [patria], before this situation, needs the special assistance of the Holy Ghost that may place the light of Truth amid the shadows of error; it needs this Advocate who may defend us from the enchantment of so many sophisms with which this bill is being justified, and which confuse and deceive even people of good will.

    That is why I turn to you and ask from you prayer and sacrifice, the two invincible weapons which Saint Thérèse confessed to have. Cry out to the Lord that he may send his Spirit to the Senators who are to place their votes. That they may not do it moved by error or by circumstantial matters, but rather according to what the natural law and the law of God tell them. Pray for them, for their families; that the Lord may visit, strengthen, and console them. Pray that they may do great good for the Nation.

    This bill will be discussed in the Senate after July 13. Let us look towards Saint Joseph, to Mary, the Child, and let us ask with fervor that they will defend the Argentine family in this moment. Let us recall what God himself told his people in a time of great anguish: 'this war is not yours, but God's'. That they may succour, defend, and accompany us in this war of God.

    Thank you for what you will do in this struggle for the Nation. And, please, I beg you, pray for me also. May Jesus bless you, and may the Blessed Virgin protect you. [Source]
In 2007, Cardinal Bergoglio rebuked pro-abortion politicians in Argentina.

From (excerpted; click here for the full article):
    In the wake of a clandestine abortion performed on a retarded woman with the help of the nation's health minister, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and other Catholic authorities have let loose a torrent of criticism against the promoters of the 'death sentence' for unborn children in Argentina, as well as other anti-life policies and customs.

    In a speech given to a gathering of priests and laity on October 2 [2007], the cardinal pointed out that people say that 'we aren't in agreement with the death penalty,' but 'in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.'

    The cardinal made the remarks while presenting the final version of the 'Aparecida Document,' a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America regarding the situation of the Church in their countries. The document, approved by Pope Benedict XVI in July of this year, makes a very clear statement regarding the consequences of supporting abortion, disallowing Holy Communion for anyone who facilitates an abortion, including politicians.

    The text states in paragraph 436 that 'we should commit ourselves to 'Eucharistic coherence,' that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals'.....
Because Pope Francis is a Jesuit, I asked Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., one of the – dare I say? – relatively few orthodox Jesuits living today, how he would respond to Catholics who may be expressing concern about the new pope's orthodoxy.

"There are Jesuits and Jesuits," said Father Fessio in an email. "He is a loyal, articulate, courageous defender of the Magisterium. He also has a great love and concern for the poor – which causes some to classify him as 'liberal.' Well, he's just as liberal as John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but he's had the experience of living [in] poverty for many years."

Some traditionalists are very concerned about reports that Pope Francis is, to quote Dr. Robert Moynihan, founder and editor-in-chief of Inside the Vatican magazine, "hostile toward the Traditional Mass." (LifeSiteNews reports this item: "The Remnant newspaper noted that, while it is not certain of his disposition toward the Traditional Latin Mass, 'the Institute of the Good Shepherd has a house in his diocese.'")

If true, I share that concern, although I attend both the Novus Ordo Mass and the Traditional Mass.

It'll be interesting to see how everything plays out. God is, of course, in complete control, but it could be an extremely bumpy ride – or worse – in the months and years to come.

Oh, lest I forget ... there's even a Pope Francis coffee mug for sale. Check it out.

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)


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