The Bible is replete with stories of people who suffer chastisements for placing strange Gods before the true God. But for Pope Francis, who this last week participated in a “multi-faith” prayer event, the chastisement of coronavirus could lift if we all just pray to the strange Gods of our choice. “I would like to remind you that on May 14, believers of every religion are invited to unite themselves spiritually in a day of prayer, fasting and works of charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic,” he said last Tuesday.
How exactly do “believers of every religion,” which means believers of contradictory religions, those who accept Jesus Christ and those who reject him, unite themselves “spiritually”? The pope didn’t bother to explain. Past popes would have regarded such an instruction as jaw-droppingly scandalous. But for Pope Francis, “human fraternity” is more important than orthodoxy.
Like his fellow modernist Jesuits, Francis exudes a great deal of enthusiasm for religion as long as it is not his own.
The prayer event came out of an Orwellian-sounding group called the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity that formed after the pope signed the Abu Dhabi declaration in 2019. That declaration contained the line, “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom.” No pope, besides this one, would have ever signed such a declaration.
Out of it has come a great deal of syncretistic mumbo-jumbo — the sort of “cultural respect” for the worship of strange Gods one expects from PBS, not the papacy. Then again, it is exactly what Catholics have come to expect from the papacy’s first Jesuit, who goes around saying, “I don’t want to convert you.” Like his fellow modernist Jesuits, Francis exudes a great deal of enthusiasm for religion as long as it is not his own. Catholicism leaves him cold.
He is the perfect pope for a post-Christian age, happily peddling its lowest-common denominator culture in which Christianity means less and less. This is why the media delights in him. He can always be counted on to reaffirm its relativism.
Typical of our post-Christian age is the notion, which the pope is promoting, that “human fraternity” takes precedence over a proper relationship with God. Never mind that the more the culture grows relativistic, the less real human fraternity actually exists. For the pope, whether one believes or not is less important than whether one engages in “social justice.” Recall his words of praise for atheists and his commitment to avoid evangelizing them:
When I speak with atheists, I will sometimes discuss social concerns, but I do not propose the problem of God as a starting point, except in the case that they propose it to me. I do not approach the relationship in order to proselytize, or convert the atheist: I respect him and I show myself as I am. Where there is knowledge, there begins to appear esteem, affection, and friendship. I do not have any type of reluctance, nor would I say that his life is condemned because I am convinced that I do not have the right make a judgment about the honesty of that person; even less, if he shows those human virtues that exalt others and do me good.
One of the pope’s favorite journalists is an atheistic ex-Catholic named Eugenio Scalfari, to whom the pope has said that he should ignore the “solemn nonsense” of Catholic evangelists. Scalfari has said, “The most surprising thing he told me was: ‘God is not Catholic.’ ”
It is a small step from dabbling in such outré theology to the Abu Dhabi declaration. And it explains why this pope is so blasé about the dangers of religious relativism. He is willing to mix strange Gods with the real one, in the name of “brotherhood.”
It is also telling that he has spent the coronavirus crisis not calling for the reopening of Catholic churches but opining on environmentalism and other dilettantish topics. He sounds less like a pope than a United Nations mandarin, fretting not over disobedience to God through false worship but disobedience to “nature.” Where past popes sought atonement by tearing down UN-style towers of Babel, this one seeks it through the construction of them.