Pope truthers!


Catholic and other conservatives are not happy with pope Francis’s moves to put a kinder, gentler face on the church’s policies, even while preserving its essential doctrines. But the dissatisfaction has extended to the point where we now have truthers who are challenging his very legitimacy as pope, using some statements in a new book about him and his election.

Was there a secret plot to elect Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the papal conclave last year?

Did Bergoglio — who became Pope Francis at that conclave — give the go-ahead to such a plan?

And does that campaign call his election, and his papacy, into question?

Such questions might sound like plot twists to a new Vatican thriller by Dan Brown, but they are actually the latest talking points promoted by some Catholic conservatives upset with the direction that Francis is leading the church.

The furor stems from a behind-the-scenes account of the March 2013 conclave, presented in a new book about Francis titled “The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.”

Some fringe elements in the Catholic Church have proposed various theories they claim might either invalidate the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in February 2013 or the election of Francis the following month.

My go-to website for Catholic wingnuterry The Thinking Housewife favorably links to an article that suggests that not only may Francis’s papacy be an illegitimate one, he may be a psychopath and a precursor of the anti-Christ to boot.

The craziness of this campaign is weirdly reminiscent of the campaign to deny legitimacy to Barack Obama’s presidency, minus the racism.

Comments

  1. says

    The furor stems from a behind-the-scenes account of the March 2013 conclave, presented in a new book about Francis titled “The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.”

    Francis is “radical?” If you think that, you really are in Dan-Brown-novel territory; and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that people who think that also entertain paranoid delusions about him.

    The craziness of this campaign is weirdly reminiscent of the campaign to deny legitimacy to Barack Obama’s presidency, minus the racism.

    The forces of backwardness, authoritarianism and obscurantism are pretty much the same all over the planet.

  2. says

    “Was there a secret plot to elect Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the papal conclave last year?”

    And if it were, then it would have been different from any other conclave…how?

  3. Crimson Clupeidae says

    preaplum: Yeah, I thought that was more or less the point of the conclave.

    Maybe we didn’t get the memo about the new free and open election system of catholics worldwide to elect the new pope…..

  4. lpetrich says

    That reminds me of Sedevacantism – Wikipedia. From sede vacante (Latin “with the seat vacant”, referring to there being no Pope), it’s the belief that the most recent popes are illegitimate, though sedevacantists disagree on who the last legitimate pope was.

  5. dmcclean says

    The craziness of this campaign is weirdly reminiscent of the campaign to deny legitimacy to Barack Obama’s presidency, minus the racism.

    That seems a bit generous. He is the first non-European pope since 741. (Not a typo, I don’t mean 1741.)

  6. dean says

    Francis is “radical?”

    I don’t often agree with Raging Bee (no intent of saying you are crazy meant) but this is one instance in which I do. I have long believed, and stated, that the current pope is merely better at P.R. than the previous two – although it is not big deal to be better at it than the Nazi pope. He hasn’t suggested a change in the position regarding gays and lesbians – he’s said that they should be welcomed into the church first and then politely told why what they do is a sin- simply reversing the order of the current procedure. His view on women in the church still boil down to “OF course women are important – as long as they are quiet baby producers and don’t think they have any right to discuss important stuff with men.”

    He may be sincere about being disgusted by child abuse – if so, that would make him a great deal different than jpII and the nazi pope – but we’ll have to see on that.

    But being the anti – pope? As others have said, if he is, I hope he never meats the real pope since it would result in one hell of an explosion – it certainly wouldn’t be massless.

  7. Vicki says

    It’s an elective monarchy–of course people try to influence the election in various ways. Look up Florentine history if you think this is anything new.

  8. GuineaPigDan . says

    It’s not the first time I’ve seen “rad trad” Catholics and sedevacantists propose crazy conspiracies about papal elections they’re unhappy with. Another popular one is the Siri Thesis, which says Pope John XXIII’s election in 1958 only came about because the Freemasons/communists/Jews (take your pick) suppressed the election of the real pope, Cardinal Giuseppe Siri. Is it just me, or does it seem like radical traditional Catholicism and nutty conspiracy theories about their own church seem to go hand in hand?

    Also, I looked at your link at TheThinkingHousewife and saw the article she’s linking to comes from the sedevacantist website Tradition-In-Action. She has to be really unhinged to think TIA is a reliable resource for anything. The Southern Poverty Law Center actually labeled that website as a hate group. Still, I’d say they’re good for a laugh occasionally, especially when they get up in arms about things like clown masses in churches.

  9. says

    dean: Thanks for the support, but please stop calling Pope Palpadict a Nazi. A mediocre soldier at first, then a vindictive, pathologically dishonest authoritarian sophist whose response to bigoted authoritarian abuses is to embrace a different set of bigoted authoritarian abusers, yes; but not an actual Nazi.

  10. dean says

    RB: it may be a bit much, but let me lay out my reasons and then I will cease.
    His claims about his history with the nazi youth simply don’t hold water. Families with children engaged in “sincere religious studies” were often given release from having to serve if they appealed. His family didn’t. His “desertion” from duty that is attributed to him as an act of bravery (he finally left and went home) has, when written about, been associated with two different dates – both of which were after the German military high command issued an order releasing the civilian “soldiers” who were mustered to defend Berlin from the Russians (bettered: ordered to serve as canon fodder) and disbanding the youth core were given: there was no great rush of bravery for him to leave.

    But again: apologies for the term. It won’t happen again – and as well, no personal offense intended to you in my first post.

  11. says

    No problem, dean, and no offense taken from your original comment. I do not contest any of the facts you cite; I just don’t want to judge people disproportionately for the relatively inconsequential things they did in their youth. Especially when we can judge them for the far worse shit they did when they got more power.

  12. doublereed says

    please stop calling Pope Palpadict a Nazi. A mediocre soldier at first, then a vindictive, pathologically dishonest authoritarian sophist whose response to bigoted authoritarian abuses is to embrace a different set of bigoted authoritarian abusers, yes; but not an actual Nazi.

    I want this above my mantle.

  13. Pierce R. Butler says

    Raging Bee @ # 10: A mediocre soldier at first…

    That’s a bit harsh on someone who had just barely turned 18 when his unit/army/Reich dissolved around him.

    dean @ # 11: Families with children engaged in “sincere religious studies” were often given release from having to serve if they appealed. His family didn’t.

    The SS offered scholarships to those who succeeded in the Hitlerjugende – apparently motivating young Josef as his best opportunity to attend a seminary. Also, Daddy Ratzinger was a cop, and having his kid attempt to evade a patriotic obligation probably wouldn’t’ve looked too good on his record. (Otoh, the Rhineland was the strong point of the youth resistance movement – look up “Edelweiss Pirates” some time – so little Joe did have a serious alternative, but he then would have had to consort on an equal basis with girls: an intolerable alternative!)

    I prefer to remember Ratzinger as the first, and so far only, pope known to have fired on US and British troops (though as a junior member of his anti-aircraft battery, he probably only carried and loaded ammo and never got a chance to pull the trigger – or push the button or however one fires such artillery).

  14. Matt G says

    The pope is chosen by God, so Fluffy must be legit. All that praying about whom to vote for can’t all be for nought, can it?

  15. Nick Gotts says

    the Making of a Radical Pope

    I must have missed the speech where he called for the mighty to be cast down from their seats so that the meek could inherit the earth.

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