After Pope Francis tripled-down on his “Great Accuser” homilies, I finally got around to reading them for myself, and yep, they were as sad as reported. I never want to take reporting at face value without going to the source. I hate to say it, but after reading them, I get the feeling that Pope Francis thinks we are naïve, or maybe he’s just naïve himself. Either way, he picked the wrong bible verses to latch onto. Personally, I think it always a bad PR move to put yourself in the role of Jesus, Job, etc.
It also seems to me that Pope Francis also did what he was preaching to everyone else not to do. In our Church, an accusation doesn’t get any bigger than accusing someone of acting like satan. Not one, not two, but three “shoot the messenger” homilies have been lauded by a whole lot of people who have been quite legitimately outed for the clericalism of their compadres who want to normalize same-sex attraction.
So no, Holy Father, I don’t think this is a Job situation at all, or at least you have GREATLY miscast the characters. I think it’s more like a Paul and Timothy situation. I just can’t believe God nor Job would want the evil deeds of others hidden. Do you? Let’s look at Job. :
One day, when the heavenly powers stood waiting upon the Lord’s presence, and among them, man’s Enemy, the Lord asked him, where he had been? Roaming about the earth, said he, to and fro about the earth. Why then, the Lord said, thou hast seen a servant of mine called Job. Here is a true man, an honest man, none like him on earth; ever he fears his God, and keeps far from wrong-doing. Job fears his God, the Enemy answered, and loses nothing by it. Sheltered his life by thy protection, sheltered his home, his property; thy blessing on all he undertakes; worldly goods that still go on increasing; he loses nothing. One little touch of thy hand, assailing all that wealth of his! Then see how he will turn and blaspheme thee. Be it so, the Lord answered; with all his possessions do what thou wilt, so thou leave himself unharmed.
So here we’ve got satan telling God that Job only follows Him because he hasn’t faced any hardship. Yeah, that has everything to do with Archbishop Vigano. Sorry. If Archbishop Vigano didn’t rock the boat, he’s probably be leading a pretty cushy life right now. So the character assassination is way off base here. Talk about hardship, he’s in hiding.
Now let’s look at 1 Timothy. This one sounds a bit more familiar and applicable to the situation. Maybe it should be adopted by anyone who feels the least bit bad that THOUSANDS of people have been molested and raped at the hands of priests. The “worrying about my image” homilies really need to cease. My comments interjected:
There were some who needed to be warned against teaching strange doctrines (Sounds quite familiar these days!), against occupying their minds with legends and interminable pedigrees (Some are definitely legends in their own mind, like the ones who end in SJ), which breed controversy, instead of building up God’s house, as the faith does. (Breeding controversy is exactly what the likes of Cardinals Wuerl, Tobin, and Cupich, Bishop McElroy, and Frs. Martin, Rosica, and Reese do.) The end at which our warning aims is charity, based on purity of heart, on a good conscience and a sincere faith. (What? Paul and Timothy aren’t the “Great Accusers” but there warning is aimed in charity, purity of heart, good conscience, and sincere faith? Somebody else tell me they see the likeness to Vigano, not Cupich!) There are some who have missed this mark, branching off into vain speculations; who now claim to be expounding the law, without understanding the meaning of their own words, or the subject on which they pronounce so positively. (Do we not see that at EVERY turn with Cupich, Tobin, Kasper, Martin, Reese, Rosica, and a multitude of others???) The law? It is an excellent thing, where it is applied legitimately; (Yes, the Pontifical Secrets have their place but, as Archbishop Vigano points out, they were never meant to cover up for abusing priests, bishops, and cardinals!!!) but it must be remembered that the law is not meant for those who live innocent lives. It is meant for the lawless and the refractory; (Hmmm. Lawless and stubborn. That would appear to those charged in Archbishop Vigano’s testimony.) for the godless and the sinner, the unholy and the profane; for those who lay violent hands on father or mother, for murderers, for those who commit fornication or sin against nature, the slave-dealer, the liar, the perjurer. All this and much else is the very opposite of the sound doctrine (and which faction has been trying to promote same-sex attraction as normal and healthy?) contained in the gospel I have been entrusted with, that tells us of the blessed God and his glory. How I thank our Lord Christ Jesus, the source of all my strength, for shewing confidence in me by appointing me his minister, me, a blasphemer till then, a persecutor, a man of violence, author of outrage, and yet he had mercy on me, because I was acting in the ignorance of unbelief. The grace of the Lord came upon me in a full tide of faith and love, the love that is in Christ Jesus. How true is that saying, and what a welcome it deserves, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I was the worst of all, and yet I was pardoned, so that in me first of all Christ Jesus might give the extreme example of his patience; I was to be the pattern of all those who will ever believe in him, to win eternal life. Honour and glory through endless ages to the king of all the ages, the immortal, the invisible, who alone is God, Amen. This charge, then, I give into thy hands, my son Timothy, remembering how prophecy singled thee out, long ago. Serve, as it bade thee, in this honourable warfare, (And this is one of the reasons the charge of “civil war” doesn’t faze me. This is indeed a spiritual war for souls.) with faith and a good conscience to aid thee. Some, through refusing this duty, have made shipwreck of the faith; (Oh, yes, some definitely have done so.) among them, Hymenaeus and Alexander,(and Cupich, McElroy, Farrell, Wuerl, Kasper, etc., etc., etc.) whom I have made over to Satan, till they are cured of their blasphemy. (No accusing there!)
So, you can see between the two verses, there are valid accusations by St. Paul (I mean he even named names) and a supposition by satan. Why Pope Francis even tries to go there is beyond me. It’s like somebody whipped out a concordance and just looked up “accusations” then said, “Hey! There’s a verse that says satan is an accuser. Let’s go with that against Archbishop Vigano!”, but they never bothered to actually read the rest of the verse. To make matters worse, they then repeated it and will likely continue to do so. I’m not sure that betting the laity will take anything on face-value is the way to go these days anymore. Google makes it so easy to fact check these days, and people have messaged me saying “I was researching this scandal and came across you!” People are fact checking, as depressing as it is.
That said, there is exposing truth and there is promoting lies. These are obviously quite different. God is the author of Truth, and satan is the author of lies. To say that putting forth truth comes from the devil sounds like something an abuser would say, don’t you think? Fr. Rutler said it best in his interview with Raymond Arroyo:
Well, I’m a parish priest I am in no position to fault or correct the Pope who is the Vicar of Christ. I can only express what moral theologians would call admiration, that is astonishment, at attributing to the Pope, uh, repudiating to the Pope, imputing to the devil, an exposure of the truth. Now, I, the devil is the Prince of Lies the last thing he wants to do is to expose the truth so if the truth is being exposed. that is not the devil’s work. That is the Holy Spirit.
This is how most of us feel, especially the victims of abuse. We are utterly amazed that those exposing truth are being compared to satan, especially when the accusations have been corroborated time and again. Satan is the author of lies and tries to suppress the truth. His accusations are false and misleading.
Maybe the Vatican sound-bite creators might want to do some pondering on this verse:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness
And for heaven’s sake, can somebody in the PR department at the Vatican, at the very least, let the Holy Father know that the “I’m silent like Christ.” isn’t going over well here?