Pope Francis has been criticized by conservatives in his own church for saying that there was no Hell and for blaming God for homosexuality. Earlier this year (2018) he actually admitted to a group of Jesuits that some in the church were calling him a heretic. From Politico:
ROME — “They call me a heretic.”
Not the words you’d expect to hear from the head of the Roman Catholic Church. But that’s what Pope Francis told a group of fellow Jesuits in Chile earlier this year, acknowledging the fierce pushback from arch-conservatives in the Vatican.
Celebrated by progressives around the world for his push to update and liberalize aspects of church doctrine, Francis is facing fierce blowback from traditionalists…Opposition has become so heated that some advisers are warning him to tread carefully to avoid a “schism” in the church.
Father Thomas Weinandy, a former chief of staff for the U.S. bishops’ committee on doctrine, has accused Francis of causing “theological anarchy.” …Last fall, more than 200 scholars and priests signed a letter accusing Francis of spreading heresy. …
And last week, in his most explicit acceptance of homosexuality yet, he told a gay Catholic that God had made him that way and that his sexuality “does not matter.”
Response: None of this is surprising since Francis came from the ‘Liberation Theology’ wing of the South American Catholic church. I wonder what former Pope Benedict, a Catholic conservative, now thinks about his decision to ‘retire’ which ended up paving the way for the reign of Pope Francis?
This is what happens when church leaders depart from ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’ given to us in the Bible and substitute it for human philosophy along with scientific and political theory and ‘cultural relevance.’
The most telling statement of where this Pope really stands was the official ‘ENCYCLICAL LETTER’ issued by Francis naming ‘climate change’ as the most important and pressing issue facing humanity. In light of that, some have also been critical of this pope’s lack of emphasis on spreading the ‘Gospel’ of Jesus Christ and his validation of other religions like Islam.
He did early on (2013) issue his ‘EVANGELII GAUDIUM’ ON THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL IN TODAY’S WORLD and it did call for taking the good news and joy of Jesus Christ to the whole world. However the vast majority of the 51,000 word document was spent on church administration and the calling for a change in the world economy and in particular a condemnation of capitalism (which one would expect coming from a proponent of Marxist Liberation Theology).
Even more problematic for me is this Pope’s accommodation of Muslim leaders in the midst of the greatest persecution against Christians since the first century and the campaigns of the Muslim conqueror Muhammad.
On one hand I really do personally like the man and his loving approach to all people, but so much of his personal belief system seems to be rooted in popular philosophy rather than the Bible. Those calling him a ‘heretic’ do have a point and ‘last days’ prophetic folks are having a field day with his departures from the scriptures and looking for parallels with the end-time world religion represented in the Book of Revelation.
Meanwhile, don’t look for him to get into any kind of ‘official’ trouble with his church. The Vatican officials continue to cover for this pope by claiming that he was misquoted or speaking as an individual and not ‘officially’ as the leader of one billion Christians. Pope Francis will continue to be an interesting world religious figure regardless.