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Pope Francis

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"It seems that my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world to get [me]."[1]
His [Pope Francis] is a decidedly different persona from his immediate predecessor[']s. His tone is deeply pastoral, kind, and merciful. But that is all it is: tone. Nothing has changed in terms of the teaching and policies of his Church.
—Former Episcopal Bishop, Gene Robinson[2]
Are you seeing the pattern yet? Pope Francis didn’t "shake up the Catholic world." He didn’t "widen the church's mercy." All he did was repeat the fact that if you are a sinner — which you definitely are — you can be forgiven by acknowledging and confessing your sins to priests. And hopefully giving them money. That is essential Catholic doctrine, and has been for many centuries. Come on!
—Russell Glasser[3]
Christ died for
our articles about

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Devil's in the details

Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1936) was elected the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13, 2013. He took the name Francis to honor Saint Francis of Assisi.Wikipedia[4]

As an Argentine, Pope Francis is the first Pope from the Americas; his parents were Italian immigrants. He is also the first Jesuit Pope in the history of the Catholic Church.

As Pope Francis, he has cultivated an extremely successful, positive image with his pastoral style. To his credit, he has prioritized economic justice and sustainability from his pulpit in a way that few modern popes have.


Before joining the priesthood, Bergoglio was a chemical technician.[5] He later took degrees in philosophy and theology after joining the order.[6][7]

Public image and PR[edit]

Pope Francis has successfully crafted an image based in part on truth, in part on rumour and in part on his agreeable pastoral style. Under his reign the Catholic Church has made few changes. However, based on his communication style people believe the Catholic Church has changed its doctrines, or believe that Francis himself holds progressive positions he does not actually hold. (See section on views below.) Not only was the Pope listed as Time's Person of the Year, but the name Super-Pope began to catch on among some circles.[8]

However, many credit former Fox News journalist Greg Burke with crafting the Pope's image since he became the Vatican's Secretariat of State in June of 2012.[9] This in combination with the way Pope Francis makes Catholic doctrine and bigotry sound acceptable[10] through his agreeable pastoral style.[11]

Francis vs. traditionalist Catholics[edit]

While it is incorrect to say that Francis changed nothing, many of his changes to the church were largely rhetorical or a re-balancing of focus. As examples, Francis offered more verbal critiques of inequality and capitalism excess than previous Popes. Despite the change in rhetoric, such was not out of line with Gospel doctrine on wealth as well as Catholic Catechism.Wikipedia[12] Francis also tried to slightly shift church practice towards welcoming "sinners" like homosexuals and divorcees who re-married into the church, even though the doctrines of sin for such remained firmly on the Catholic books.

These small changes have nonetheless hugely upset traditionalist Catholics, the type that frequently are still miffed over the changes wrought by Vatican II.[13][14]

In particular, a "schism" of sorts developed during his papacy between his followers and followers of the previous Pope, Benedict XVI. Followers of Benedict preferred the former Pope's perceived ardent orthodoxy to Benedict's perceived humanism, and thus criticized Francis over things like being "soft on the homosexuals".[15] Prominent critics of Francis include the late cardinal George Pell,Wikipedia archbishop Carlo Maria ViganòWikipedia (who later became discredited in 2020 due to spouting baseless conspiracy theories on COVID-19 and the World Economic Forum),[16] and cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller.Wikipedia[17] In response to to the traditionalist opposition and their heavy obsession with issues like abortion and homosexuality over issues like poverty, Francis has countered with an advocacy that the church should be open and welcome (e.g. not a "closed caste"), even to sinners, and Francis has emphasized that, in his view, helping the poor is as important as taking a stance against abortion.[18][19]

Traditionalist Catholics in America, whom in a manner similar to the Religious Right often integrated Republican politics into their spiels (to the point where the American Catholic cable channel EWTNWikipedia obtained the nickname "the Catholic Fox News"),[20] seemed to irk Francis in particular. In September 2021, Francis denounced EWTN as "the work of the devil" for going beyond criticism of Francis and actually attacking the Catholic Church itself.[21] In August 2023, Francis blasted the "backwardness" of some conservatives in the US Catholic Church, saying that they had replaced faith with ideology.[22]

Removal of Joseph Strickland[edit]

On November 11 2023, in a rare move, Francis removed Texas bishop Joseph StricklandWikipedia from his post after an investigation concluded that year, sparked by his social media posts and issues with his diocesan management.[23][24] Strickland, who in April 2019 had self-described himself as a "red-pilled" bishop,[25] was both an outspoken critic of Francis as well as a hardline political partisan and conspiracy theorist.

In recent years, much of Strickland's rhetoric was more political than clerical, fueled by an obsession with the culture war. Strickland had called Joe Biden an "evil president" for supporting abortion rights, and endorsed Donald Trump's Big Lie concerning supposed election fraud in the 2020 election. In 2020 Strickland endorsed a video by reactionary priest James AltmanWikipedia which declared that one could not be both a Catholic and a Democrat. Strickland later stood by Altman when his rhetoric in subsequent videos descended into outright racism, homophobia, and sexism (as well as including COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies).[26][27][28]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Strickland had also spread anti-vaccination messages on social media. The vaccine had raised some ethical concerns among even non-firebrand Catholics (who nonetheless often lean towards a pro-life position), as an immortalized cell line taken from a fetus of unknown origin (HEK 293 cellsWikipedia) was used in testing (as is the case for many other medicines). However, Strickland believed in a conspiratorial, wildly exaggerated scenario ("unborn children died in abortions and their bodies were used as 'laboratory specimans'") and thus believed, in contrast to the general conclusion of others in Catholic leadership, that the vaccine was "not morally produced". [29] Strickland even flirted with QAnon on social media by re-tweeting a speech entitled "The Storm Is Upon Us" from The Passion of the Christ actor Jim CaviezelWikipedia that was made at a QAnon convention.[30]

Strickland had also criticized Francis' mild efforts to make the church more welcome to LGBTQ, been steadfast in insisting that only celibate men "can be ordained to Holy Orders", had suggested that other Vatican officials have veered so far from church teaching that they were no longer Catholic, and on social media once shared a video calling Francis a "diabolically disoriented clown".[31][32][33]

In June 15 2023, Strickland led a protest against the pro-LGBTQ satirist group Sisters of Perpetual IndulgenceWikipedia before they were honored at a Los Angeles DodgersWikipedia baseball game for their charity work. Reportedly Strickland and other "traditional Catholics" was triggered by this group's satirical events, which often mocked uptight Christian views on sexuality as well as Catholic symbols and rituals.[34]


One truthful kernel at the centre of the Pope's public image is his rejection of ostentation. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was known for having taken his Jesuit vow of poverty extremely seriously. He refused to stay in the archbishop’s palace and to use a chauffeured limousine, instead living in an apartment, cooking his own meals and riding public transportation.[35]

When chosen as pope, he asked his fellow Argentines not to come to Rome with him, but to donate the money they would have spent on airfare to the poor, in marked contrast to other BishopsWikipedia.[36]

As pope, Francis has rejected luxurious papal apartments, choosing instead a small two-room suite customarily regarded as suitable for visiting cardinals.[37] Francis also toned down the ostentation of his robes,[38] his ring and the like, generally adopting a more 'humble' papal style.


Early on rumours began to circulate that the Pope used to sneak out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to minister to the poor or homeless—a report the Vatican denied.[39]


The pope in Brazil.
There is a carefully cultivated ambiguity about the man who is the 266th successor to St Peter. And it is producing a war of words between conservatives and liberals, inside and outside the Catholic church, with each trying to claim the pontiff for their side in a religious culture war.
The Guardian[40]
This is a balancing act. They have to hold together two increasingly divergent constituencies. The church has lost its ability to dictate what people do. Right now, the less-developed world is staying true to the old world values, but it’s gradually eroding even there. [Pope Francis] doesn’t want to lose the legitimacy of the more educated people.
—Ronald Inglehart, writing in the Washington Post[41]

On gender, sex and sexuality[edit]

Of course, as the leader of a religion that opposes gay marriage, contraception and abortion, Pope Francis takes a conservative stance on these issues. As with most issues, he has said things in a way that leads to easy misunderstanding: wrapping up Catholic doctrine in easy-to-sell sound bites. Pope Francis thinks that the Church must not be obsessed with gender, sex and sexuality.[42] Many believed this was a sign of changing the Catholic view on LGBTQ rights. Instead, Pope Francis was merely saying that the Church should obsess over other, "bigger" issues.

On condom use and childbearing[edit]

Still, Francis may have introduced some marginal ambiguity by making some vague comments which might arguably be interpreted as conceivably condoning the hypothetical use of condoms to prevent the spread of diseases like AIDS.[43]

In a case where Bergoglio may have been sorry that he spoke impromptu, he said in the Philippines that good Catholics did not have to "breed like rabbits" and instead implied that they could breed like gambling rabbits by playing Vatican roulette.[44]

On transgender people[edit]

The Pope, being incredibly transphobic, like his predecessors, has advised against sex-reassignment surgery, saying that transgender people should just "accept the body God gave you". He has attacked gender theory, saying that trans individuals "are actually just struggling with same sex attraction".[45]

The Pope has also compared transgender people to nuclear weapons, saying that both are equally destructive.[46]

On homosexuality[edit]

Pope Francis' 2013 inauguration.
We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards.
—Pope Francis[47]

Causing much misunderstanding, Pope Francis said that the Catholic Church focuses too much on sexuality.[42] Many believed this was a sign of changing the Catholic view on LGBTQ rights. Instead, Pope Francis was merely saying that he believes the Church needs to shift its focus as to which sins it obsesses over. Francis talks about not judging gays and apologizing to gays but his actions and the actions of the Church under him are about limiting gay rights where they can.[48] The Pope is and always has been opposed to homosexuality; in his book, "The Name of God is Mercy", he urged homosexuals to go to confession.

On same-sex marriage[edit]

[Marriage equality] is not a political struggle; it is the destructive attempt toward God’s plan.
Pope Francis[49]

In 2010, Bergoglio stated that an Argentine bill that would allow gay marriage was "a real and dire anthropological throwback", and further a "‘move’ of the Father of Lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God."[50] Francis espoused the idea of civil unions as a "compromise".[51]

[The push for marriage equality is] the envy of the Devil, by which sin entered the world, which cunningly seeks to destroy the image of God.
Pope Francis[49]

In July 2013, the Pope issued an easily misunderstood comment about homosexuals: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"[52] Although the idea of God reserving all judgement and the Catholic Church existing to bring people to God is well known, people again thought this was a change in doctrine. His handlers immediately went into damage control, insisting the Pope was not changing the Church's view on homosexuality, and that gay sex is still a sin:

Pope Francis' remarks reiterate Catholic teaching that the Church is open to all people, including those with same-sex attractions, but homosexual activity is contrary to the Gospel of Christ — just as all sexual activity outside of marriage would be. A priest must be able to live a healthy, celibate lifestyle, whether or not he has ever experienced same-sex attractions.[52]

Francis spoke out against any type of union other than God's design (heterosexual marriage) a week before an Italian parliamentary vote on legalising same-sex civil unions.[53]

His view seems to have softened on civil unions, voicing support for them in the documentary "Francesco".[54]

On adoption in general[edit]

On January 5, 2022, Pope Francis stated, “The other day, I spoke about the demographic winter there is nowadays, in which we see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more. And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one – but they have two dogs, two cats… Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children. Yes, it’s funny, I understand, but it is the reality. And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity. And in this way civilization becomes aged and without humanity, because it loses the richness of fatherhood and motherhood.”[55]

These statements were interpreted by many as saying that adopting pets rather than human children is selfish.[56][57]

“In sum, Francis urged the world to consider adoption. During one part of the remarks, he explained that he believed there to be a “selfishness” from people who do not want to have children or from those who only have one child. In the same portion of the remarks, he also mentioned his disagreement with people who choose pets over adopting kids.”[58]

On same-sex couple adoption[edit]

"The Church doesn't hate gays, but it's important to remember that they're all doomed to Hell by our merciful God."
What is at stake here is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother, and children. At stake are the lives of so many children who will be discriminated against in advance, depriving them of the human maturation that God wanted to be given with a father and a mother.
Pope Francis[49]

Francis strongly opposes gay adoption.[59] Child welfare is allegedly the highest priority, but the hurt to gay children and to children with gay parents when gays are branded “intrinsically disordered” is disregarded.[2]

"Gender ideology"[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Gender ideology

Francis has heavily promoted the moral panic of the gender ideology, which is a catch-all straw man argument for most sexuality and gender-related issues the Church doesn't like, including, but not limited to:

This straw man is also promoted and inflated by many Catholic anti-LGBT associations and Catholic newspapers:

  • Forcing male children to wear lipstick at school[64]
  • Teaching children how to masturbate at school[65] (As if most kids don't figure that one out for themselves.)

2015 visit to the United States[edit]

The pope delivers remarks from the US Capitol, 2015.

Pope Francis addressed the US Congress during his 2015 visit to the United States. In this address he implicitly said that same-sex marriage was a threat to the family. In an example of dog-whistle politics, he used the code phrase of a threat to family:

I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.[66]

Some people did not see this as condemning same-sex marriage or LGBTQ issues. However, the Pope clarified his position on the following weekend: the Pope was displeased that a secular government would allow same-sex marriage while not permitting government workers to "conscientiously object" to performing the duties their voluntary positions require, such as issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples.[67] This seems to have been direct but implicit support of the recent Kim Davis controversy. Specifically, the Pope said that "conscientious objection is a right",[67] without seeming to realize that in optional jobs that is called a resignation.

The Vatican and Pope Francis found themselves in an uncomfortable situation. After the Pope implicitly endorsed Kim Davis's breaking of the law by not allowing same-sex couples to marry, the Christian group Liberty Counsel released the fact that the Pope had met with Kim Davis.[68] Now that the Pope had been publicly entangled with a government official who was breaking US law, the Vatican went into damage control. First, they downplayed how important the meeting was, pointing out that it wasn't a private meeting.[69] Second, they accused her of exploiting her meeting with the Pope for her own political gain, denying that this was unusual or support for the "complicated" situation of Kim Davis' refusal to issue marriage licenses.[70] However, none of this absolves the Pope of having previously voiced support for government workers who choose not to fulfil their duties according to law.

The day before his meeting with Davis, Francis met alone with a former student, Yayo Grassi, and his partner; Grassi and his partner have been openly in a same-sex relationship for 19 years. Francis and Grassi have maintained their friendship over the years and the three men embraced at their meeting, the only private one Francis had had at the time during his U.S. visit. Grassi denied that Francis has animus against gay people and stated: "Obviously he is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church's teachings... But as a human being he understands all kinds of situations, and he is open to all kinds of people, including those with different sexual characteristics."[71] It is understandable why some people would be confused about his position if they don't understand Church doctrine. Just because the Pope believes that same-sex sexual activity is sinful doesn't mean the Pope, or the Catholic Church, will reject LGBTQ people. Being a sinner is not a reason to be rejected or hated, because all sin. So, while Francis in many ways seems like a 21st-century leader he does hold that gay sex is sinful, that same-sex couples should not be married and that they should not be allowed to adopt. Further, he holds that the rights of same-sex couples should be at the discretion of the beliefs of government officials. So that's clear.

On capitalism and poverty[edit]

The pope with Raul Castro in Cuba.
He says wonderful things but he doesn’t put them together all the time, so you’re left at times puzzling over what his intention is. What he says is clear enough, but what does he want us to do?
—Cardinal Francis George, formerly of Chicago[72]

Francis solidly supports social-justice programs, stating publicly he wants "a poor Church, for the poor".[73] His policies on treatment of the poor are much more socially minded than those of his precedessors. He has ties with liberation theology[74] though he formerly opposed the movement.[75] The Society of St. Pius X, a traditionalist Catholic group, has criticized Francis's stance on poverty as it indicates a focus on "man-centered philanthropy" as opposed to "religious leadership".[76]

Pope Francis urged world leaders to prevent excessive respect for money, and claims human beings are sacrificed to the idol of money.[77] Francis further urged world leaders to help poor people more.[78] Dealing with the financial crisis, the Pope criticised unbridled capitalism and claimed it is a "tyranny" that judged human beings purely by their ability to consume goods, and that the "cult of money" was making people miserable.[79][80]

Opposition to contraception, however, will make it harder to fight poverty and overpopulation.

On immigration and Trump[edit]

With President Trump and the First Lady, 2017.

Francis said of Donald Trump, "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel." Trump called that comment disgraceful and argued that a religious leader should not question another person's faith.[81] Francis did not question Trump's faith, only whether Trump acts as a Christian.[82]

On atheism[edit]

Equally, Pope Francis's views on atheism and atheists are confusing to most people. As a committed Catholic, Pope Francis opposes atheism on principle and ideology. More specifically he believes that the “attempt to eliminate God and the Divine from the horizon of humanity” is disastrous.[83] While opposed to atheism, he does not oppose atheists any more than other people he disagrees with. He has said that the Church should work with allies who agree on specific areas like environmental protection. Such allies could include people of other faiths and or of no faith, explicitly including atheists.[83]

Praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Continuing his manner of speaking in a way that repackages Catholic doctrine such that it seems new and inviting, the Pope said that atheists are like anyone else: Jesus died for them, too. And they, too, are able to get his reward:

The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all!
—Pope Francis[84]

However, this is established Catholic doctrine, as pointed out by's Brian Kelly:

[T]he Pope was simply reminded [sic] the faithful that there can be, and is, goodness, or natural virtue, outside the Church. And that Christ’s death on the Cross redeemed all men. He paid the price so that every man could come to God and be saved. If Catholic Online is insinuating that Pope Francis has “reformed” the irreformable dogma, outside the Church there is no salvation, then that is shameful and disingenuous.[85]

For Francis atheists are at least better than criminals:

And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others. How many times have we heard — all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere — "but to be a Catholic like that, it's better to be an atheist." It is that, scandal. You destroy. You beat down.
—Pope Francis[86]

Jerry Coyne feels comparing atheists to bad Catholics insults atheists.[87]

Conversely, there is no consensus view among atheists on Pope Francis. Atheist views on Pope Francis vary from cynicism over excessive hype or complete indifference through to hopes that he can have a positive influence on his church.


The pope visits Bethlehem, Palestine.

Francis claims science has its own "autonomy" but should keep away from the "transcendent".[88]


Francis believes that God did evolution; Francis also believes God did the Big Bang.[89] God did both and more: this is consistent with Roman Catholic teaching on science but Ken Ham, Michael T. Snyder and other creationists strongly disagree.(What did you expect?)[90]

Global warming[edit]

...a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun's rays reflected by the Earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system.
—Pope Francis on global warming fossil fuels, being mostly right for once.[91]

Pope Francis has blamed "human selfishness" and greed for global warming,[92] has called it a threat to humankind,[93] and has blasted global-warming deniers,[94] saying that "the poor and the Earth are shouting".[95]

All this has inevitably received praise from some environmentalist groups, and annoyed some conservatives in the United States, particularly in the U.S. Republican Party.[92]

However, 71% of Catholics in the United States agree with the Pope's view on climate change. Although Republicans are more likely to be in denial about climate change than Democrats, this divide is less amongst Catholics – even the majority of Catholic Republicans believe global warming occurs![note 1][96]

Role of women[edit]

A few initial moves, notably washing the feet of women on Maundy ThursdayWikipedia 2013, suggested possible openness over the relationship between women and the Catholic Church.[note 2] This made Church members anxious that Francis may intend to allow the ordination of women, although Francis has indicated that he would oppose that.[97] Leading female Roman Catholics such as scholar Carolyn Osiek hoped Francis would allow women some religious leadership,[98] as he has also stated that women play an important role in the Church and that the Church was wrong to downplay that role.[99] For Francis, without women the Church "would be missing maternity, affection, tenderness". While that reflects the patriarchal nature of the Church—the idea of special roles for each gender—it's an improvement on some of the more blatant sexism that the Church has engaged in.

On July 29, 2013, Francis said the church must develop a more profound role for women in the church, but “the door is closed” to ordaining women to the priesthood.[100] Women cardinals have also been ruled out, though a cardinal does not need to be an ordained priest. Francis said, "Women in the Church must be valued not 'clericalised'".[101][102]

The look and feel of the papacy may be changing under Francis, but the fundamental understanding magisterium's authority and the requirement that the women obey the men … will continue to stay the same.
—Jamie Manson[103]

Erin Saiz Hanna of the Women's Ordination Conference notes that Francis selects precedents he personally likes and ignores those he dislikes. John Paul II is taken as authoritative over female ordination because JP was against women priests, while Benedict XVI's refusal to accept gay priests is disregarded:

[Francis] could have quoted the Vatican's own the Pontifical Biblical Commission that concluded in 1976 that there is no valid scriptural or theological reason for denying ordination to women.[104]

The LCWR situation has not changed under Francis, who demands that they accept the authority of the MagisteriumWikipedia.[103] In 2014 the LCWR planned to honor feminist theologian Elizabeth Johnson at their annual conference. Someone decided that LCWR conference programs in the future will need Vatican approval - and Francis did nothing to prevent this.[105] People question how far Francis actually will modernise the Roman Catholic Church.[106]

Abortion and euthanasia[edit]

Causing much consternation or pleased surprise (depending on one's viewpoint), Pope Francis said that he believed the church obsessed too much over abortion.[42] He declared that the Church focused too much on those sins at the expense of others. Francis does, however, completely believe that abortion and euthanasia are both sinful.[107]

The Pope caused a lot of confusion when he said priests will be allowed to forgive abortions around the world. Previously, only priests in the United States had this authority. Also, repenting and being forgiven is an ancient Catholic practice. But people felt it was new for no good reason when the change was announced:

Pope Francis shook up the Catholic world — again — on Tuesday by announcing that priests around the world will be authorized to forgive the “sin of abortion” when the church begins a "Year of Mercy" this December.

“The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented,” the Pope said, adding that he has met “many women” scarred by the “agonizing and painful” decision to have an abortion.

Francis' announcement will give all priests full authority to absolve Catholics contrite about their role in a procedure that the church considers a grave "moral evil". In the United States, many priests already have that power, but Vatican officials portrayed Tuesday’s announcement as “a widening of the church’s mercy.”[108]

Previously, abortions could be forgiven, but at a higher level than that of the priest. Now that authority has been marginally decentralized in the Catholic hierarchy. Despite people thinking that this was a change that "shook up the Catholic world", this was a very minor change. Unlike other reports, this is an actual change in the rules, however.


Pope Francis strongly favours the practice of exorcism.[109][110] Seriously, he does.


Francis has chosen several new cardinals, most of whom are from the Third World. This reflects the shifting demographics of the Church, as most believers now live outside of the industrialized nations.[111][112]

Child abuse[edit]

See also: Child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church

As Pope, Francis is head of an organization mired in a massive child abuse scandal. The Catholic Church in Latin America has been slower than North America and Europe to face its problems in this area, perhaps because of its close relationship with the state (until 1994, only Catholics could become president in Argentina). Francis, sometime after the Grassi affair, took a more proactive role than many of his fellow cardinals, and ordered his bishops to report all abuse allegations to the police.

Soon after assuming the papacy, Francis ordered Vatican officials in charge of dealing with abusive clergy to "act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty"[92] and stated further that the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church was at risk. A leading sex abuse survivors' group has responded with skepticism, saying "actions speak louder than words."[113]

Hate the sin, love the sinner[edit]

Recently it was discovered that in 2015, Francis received a sex abuse victim's letter that detailed both the offenses and the coverup of a sex abuse fiasco by Chilean church authorities. It was previously known that he had defended the Chilean priest who orchestrated the coverup, Bishop Juan Barros, saying that accusations that he did nothing and helped keep the abuse going by senior priests were, without proof, nothing but slander. Francis dismissed reporters' claims that there were sex abuse victims because he apparently believed that no survivors had come forward. Making matters worse is that a number of priests on the sex abuse commission had voiced their qualms with Francis appointing someone like Barros to a high position. The nail in the coffin is that the priest who received the letter and entrusted it to Francis, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, had reported to the press during the scandal around Barros, that the Pope's words using the lack of survivors coming forward as an attack on the accusations of the coverup had been a source of great pain for all survivors of sexual abuse.[114] The Pope has no robes indeed.

Conspiracy theorists[edit]

Conspiracy theorists are usually divided on Francis's role in their investigations. One side believes he's the false prophet in Revelation for the Antichrist, Barack Obama, and will therefore establish a National Sunday law. Others will say he's the Antichrist outright. It's not like any previous popes were accused of this but no previous pope could be accused of being Petrus Romanus.


  1. 51% mind, so it's not too much. Also, only 24% believe that humans are actually to blame. But I guess it's a start...
  2. What's wrong with a little harmless paedopodophilia?


  1. David Batty, et al. Cardinal Bergoglio elected Pope Francis after two days of conclave - live, The Guardian. 2013 March 13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pope Francis Pushes the Church Another Step Further on Gays
  3. Stop being surprised that the pope is not your friend]. The Atheist Experience, 2015 October 1.
  4. Pope named after Francis of Assisi heralded by gull atop Sistine chimney, The Guardian, 2013 March 13
  9. The PR Guru Behind the Pope Who Is Charming the World
  10. Stop being surprised that the pope is not your friend
  11. Stop calling Pope Francis progressive: You might love his pastoral style, but don’t fool yourself on Vatican substance
  12. "Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, Part Three Section One Chapter One Article 2 - Our Vocation to Beatitude", reprinted on the website of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Picayune, MS
  13. "What a debate about Pope Francis’s supposed liberalism says about the future of Catholicism" by Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, 2018 February 8
  14. "Pope Francis’s divisive papacy, explained in 5 moments" by Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, 2018 March 13
  15. "Pope vs. Pope: How Francis and Benedict’s Simmering Conflict Could Split the Catholic Church" by John Cornwell, Vanity Fair, 2018 October 31
  16. "As Francis marks 10 years as Pope, conservatives confront post-Benedict era" by Philip Pullella, Reuters, 2023 March 8
  17. "Pope Francis Ousts Powerful Conservative Cardinal" by Jason Horowitz, New York Times, 2017 July 1
  18. "Pope Francis to church: Don’t be a closed caste or afraid of outcasts" by David Gibson, Religious News Service, 2015 February 15
  19. "Pope Francis says helping the poor and migrants is as important as opposing abortion" by Delia Gallagher, CNN, 2018 April 9
  20. "An Unholy Alliance" by Molly Olmstead, Slate, 2022 June 7
  21. "Pope Francis issues thinly veiled criticism of EWTN, comments on gender ideology" by Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter, 2021 September 21
  22. "Pope Francis denounces ‘backward’ attitudes of conservatives in U.S. Catholic Church" by Associated Press, 2023 August 28
  23. "Pope removes outspoken conservative Texas bishop after investigation" by Raja Razek, cNN, 2023 November 11
  24. "East Texas Bishop investigated by Vatican for social media posts, diocesan management" by Lydia Herrera, CBS News 19, 2023 June 26
  25. "Meet the ‘Red-Pilled’ Shepherd" by Matthew Bunson, National Catholic Register, 2019 April 23
  26. "Vatican launches investigation of firebrand Texas Bishop Strickland, diocese confirms" by Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter, 2023 June 26
  27. "The renegade Catholic clerics who shamefully backed Trump’s Big Lie" by Paul Moses, CNN, 2021 January 19
  28. "Controversial La Crosse Priest Father Altman to Challenge Bishop's Request to Resign" by Matt Hadro, National Catholic Register, 2021 May 25
  29. "Use Of Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines Is Morally Acceptable, Say Bishops", Diocese of Scranton, 2020 November 23
  30. "The Catholic Bishop Tweeting About a QAnon Convention" by Molly Olmstead, Slate, 2021 October 27
  31. "Pope Francis Ousts Conservative Texas Bishop After Frequent Attacks" by William Skipworth, Forbes, 2023 November 11
  32. ‘Two Trains Charging at Each Other’: A Texas Bishop Takes On the Pope by Ruth Graham, New York Times, 2023 October 3
  33. "Let us pray for all at the Synod, all ARE included in God’s call to turn from sin & live the Way of Christ, only MEN can be ordained to Holy Orders, & celibacy is a DISCIPLINE that can be changed but should not be. Synod, stay on the plumb line of Truth." by Bishop J. Strickland, @BishStrickland, Twitter, 2023 October 4, archived on 2023 11 Nov
  34. "Firebrand Texas Bishop Strickland to lead procession to protest LA Dodgers" by Brian Fraga, Nathional Catholic Register, 2023 June 15
  36. David Batty, et al. Cardinal Bergoglio elected Pope Francis after two days of conclave - live, The Guardian. 2013 March 13.
  37. Pope Francis shuns grand apartment for two rooms
  38. Pope Francis' first moves hint at break with past
  39. Report: Disguised Pope Francis sneaks out of Vatican for night charity patrols
  40. Pope Francis: has his revolution even started?
  41. Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine, global poll of Catholics finds
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 [, Cool Pope Francis: Church Is “Obsessed” With Abortion and Gay Marriage]
  43. Pope Francis' View on Contraception Could Impact AIDS Work
  44. Pope change his mind on breeding "like rabbits"?
  45. The Pope's advice to trans people Pink News
  47. Pope Francis: Church too focused on gays and abortion, BBC
  48. Pope Francis Says Gay People Deserve an Apology, but His Actions Show Otherwise
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 [ Same-sex Marriage: The Letter from Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J. to the Carmelite Nuns of Buenos Aires]
  50. Tim Padgett. The Vatican and Women: Casting the First Stone, Time. 2010 July 19.
  51. Pope Francis Supported Civil Unions as Cardinal
  52. 52.0 52.1 Statement of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted reflecting on Pope Francis' message of love and truth
  53. Pope Francis enters debate over Italy’s same-sex unions Bill
  55. Catechesis on Saint Joseph, The Holy See
  56. Pope Francis says choosing pets over kids is selfish, BBC News, January 5, 2022
  57. Opting for pets over children is selfish and 'takes away our humanity,' says Pope Francis, Joshua Berlinger, CNN, January 5, 2022
  58. Pope Francis on Pets Over Kids: Full Transcript and Video, Jordan Liles, Snopes, January 6, 2022
  59. Pope Francis 'shocked' by gay adoption says Bishop of Malta
  60. Amoris Laetitia § 56
  66. Expresses “Concern for the Family” Before Congress in Allusion to Same-Sex Marriage
  67. 67.0 67.1 Govt workers have right to refuse gay marriage licenses -pope
  68. Kim Davis And Pope Francis Had A Private Meeting In D.C.
  69. Vatican: pope did not show support for Kim Davis
  70. Vatican Says Kim Davis 'Exploited' the Pope
  72. Pope Francis: Epic Innovator
  73. Pope Francis wants 'poor Church for the poor'
  74. CDF head: 'Pope Francis has close ties with liberation theology'
  75. Pope Francis in plea for poor as inauguration Mass held
  76. Society Of St. Pius X (SSPX) Criticizes Pope Francis
  77. Pope Francis claims global economy is close to collapse and describes youth unemployment rates as an ‘atrocity’
  78. Pope Francis hits out at global 'cult of money'
  79. Squires, Nick (18 May 2013). Pope blames tyranny of capitalism for making people miserable
  80. Pope Francis attacks 'cult of money' in reform call
  81. Pope suggests Trump 'is not Christian'
  82. Backlash Over Pope Francis’ Wall Comments Shows GOP Hypocrisy "The Pope's comments referenced Trump's practice of his faith; whether he “walks the walk,” so to speak. He didn't say Trump isn't *a* Christian. He said people who behave as he does are not Christian. It's about behavior, not faith."
  83. 83.0 83.1 Pope Francis says atheists can be 'allies' for the church
  84. “ ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists.”
  85. Dreadful Misleading Headline of Catholic Online Pins Heresy on Pope
  86. We’ve taken the first step in deconverting the Pope
  87. Pope insults atheists, comparing them to bad Catholics
  88. Must Read Quotes
  89. Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are right and God isn't 'a magician with a magic wand'
  90. Creationists Criticise Pope Francis' Backing Of Big Bang And Evolution Theories
  91. An extract from Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change, the environment and inequality, courtesy of The Guardian. Published Thursday 18 June 2015 11.41 BST.
  92. 92.0 92.1 92.2 Pope Francis blames 'human selfishness' for global warming. BBC News. 18 June 2015.
  93. Pope Francis: Global warming is a threat to humanity, Mashable.
  94. Pope blasts global warming deniers, The Sydney Morning Herald.
  95. Pope Francis blasts global warming deniers in leaked draft of encyclical, The Washington Post.
  96. Read more: U.S. Catholics weigh in on global warming, Pope Francis in Pew survey, The Catholic Sun.
  97. Pope Francis: papal feet washing sparks fears over women priests
  98. With New Pope, Catholic Women Hope To Regain Church Leadership Roles
  99. Pope Francis Stresses "Fundamental" Importance Of Women In Church
  101. I won't create female cardinals, says Pope Francis
  102. Pope Francis: There Will Be No Women Cardinals
  103. 103.0 103.1 For LCWR, the more the papacy changes, the more it stays the same
  104. Pope Francis slams door on women's ordination
  105. Vatican crackdown on U.S. nuns echoes of a modern day witch hunt
  106. It's time to judge Pope Francis
  107. Pope denounces euthanasia as 'sin against God and creation'
  108. Pope Francis says all priests can forgive women who've had abortions. CNN, 2015 September 01.
  109. Pope Francis makes exorcisms official Catholic practice
  110. Vatican gives official backing to exorcists
  111. Francis Looks to the Developing World in Appointing New Cardinals
  112. Pope Francis is poised to change Catholicism forever
  113. Pope Francis calls for action on clerical sex abuse
  114. "Pope Francis' Advisors Say He Knew About Sexual Abuse by a Chilean Reverend" Nicole Winfield and Eva Vergara, Time Magazine February 5, 2018