My darling wife Ellen is an editor for the Association of the United States Army, working closely with numerous senior officers, both active and retired, to help prepare their articles for publication. In the wake of President Biden’s recent choice regarding our position in Afghanistan, Ellie has remarked more than once on the tact and solidarity of her contributing authors (men of unassailed integrity and moral courage, not disposed to sycophancy) in discussing what a more neutral observer might call a misstep on the part of our Commander in Chief; and I, who have struggled to be a worthy soldier of Christ, feel impelled to follow their example in speaking of our Supreme Pontiff. By that very token, however, I note striking parallels between Joseph and Francis—the latter’s Chinese policy of radical appeasement, at the cost of torture and murder for the faithful there, springs to mind—and I’m haunted by the image of a Heaven-bound chariot ascending ever more swiftly as the clinging bodies of loyal supporters fall screaming from the wings.
I’ve just now read Fr. Wojciech Gołaski’s open letter to His Holiness, proclaiming that in the wake of Traditionis Custodes, his recourse must be the Society of St. Pius X, which exists in what he describes (rather mildly) as “a state of controversy.” I have the utmost sympathy and respect for the SSPX; I was brought to the Traditional Latin Mass by my wife, whose parents were married in the Society, and it was a sort of triumphal homecoming for both our families when my dad, the damp flotsam of preconciliar times (known here as Deacon Jim), and Ellie’s brother, Canon Turner ICKSP, blessed us with an unabashedly orthodox TLM wedding. But it terrifies me to hear in Fr. Gołaski’s words the initial rumble of what could all too easily become a geometrically accelerating tectonic fragmentation, shattering Simon Bar-Jonah’s Pangaea into one-man islands and gulag archipelagos.
The saint whose name our Pontiff bears would have been aghast if his most rabid followers, the Fraticelli, had successfully formed a splinter-church, and I think we have to believe Pope St. Pius X would feel the same. In any case, it’s all been done before: Martin Luther splintered away, and the splintering has never stopped. A mind-blasting 45,000 Protestant denominations now exist. God shield us from another such Deluge of endlessly ramifying diaspora! But what am I saying? God has shielded us, providing a supreme authority whose function is precisely to mediate the internal disputes that engender sectarian division and multiplication. The bitter irony, of course, is that Roman power was one of the very things that led to the break in the first place; and indeed, Fr. Golanski cites Francis’ tacit assumption of Papal omnipotence as one of his insuperable objections to the Motu Proprio of 16 July.
Unlike the current Vicar of Christ, however, the Popes of Luther’s time—Leo X, Adrian VI, Clement VII—were obliged to wield their powers in a largely military capacity, helping to defend Europe against the onslaught of Islamic hordes from the Ottoman Empire. If their influence stretched its rightful limits, it was in hopes of preserving the tradition of which they had been entrusted with custody. Pope Francis, on the other hand, has shown by perfectly clear signs—the honoring of heathen idols in the citadel of St. Peter, the Munich Pact-like “fraternity” document co-signed with the Muslim Grand Imam, the aforementioned Sino-Vatican collusion—that he prizes the camaraderie of openly anti-Catholic forces above the welfare of his own flock of souls, and his recent Apostolic Letter only serves to underscore the fact. From this, the difficult question arises: what, then, is his goal? To what end does he deploy the Petrine authority?
Dr. Kwasniewski, in his recent article “Clandestine Ordinations Against Church Law,” briefly mentions the novel A Windswept House. This tale of Church intrigue, geopolitics, and spiritual warfare was described by its author, Jesuit priest Malachi Martin, as 95% nonfiction, only nominally veiled. The book’s doggedly unidentified “Slavic Pope,” obviously St. John Paul II, is depicted as hideously enmeshed in the razor wire of plots by bishops and Cardinals consciously toiling to place the Church at the service of materialistic pundits and world leaders for whom Christ’s Mystical Body would be merely another useful tool. But, to a chosen few among the ecclesial hierarchy, the true objective (guided by the tenets and practices of Freemasonry) is to bring about the Reign of Antichrist on Earth. The late Fr. Martin, a highly experienced exorcist, did not speak lightly of these matters, and if the general public had comprehended his allegations, Windswept House would have been immeasurably more controversial than the tepid page-turners exuded by Dan Brown.
Back in March, I wrote an article (“Innominate Abomination”) in which I mentioned how discouraging it was to hear that Pope Francis was working to suppress the TLM. At the time, 1P5 edited my remark to the less accusatory phrase, “to hear rumors” that he was so employed. This was, of course, prior to his hand-tipping Motu Proprio, and it was the right decision to withhold judgment on a matter not yet settled. In the same spirit of doubt’s benefit, and in view of my already tenuous resolution to speak respectfully of the Fisherman’s office, I wish to make it clear that the following hypothesis is strictly conjectural, predicated on circumstantial evidence and extrapolations therefrom. That said—
In studying the Enemy’s rhetoric, the most consistent feature I’ve observed has been that of flat-out, barely concealed self-contradiction. Thus, for instance, the pro-choice rationale argues from the premise that the female body is sacrosanct and concludes that, for that exact reason, it should receive bloody surgery to mutilate one of the very foundations of its sanctity. Thus, on college campuses, Christians must be silenced and vilified for their intolerance toward viewpoints which differ from their own. Thus the bygone figure of the American slave-owner typifies the hatefulness of that same European religion that so brutally oppressed the indigenous Aztec culture and its religious practice of cutting out the hearts of slaves. Now observe the words of Pope Francis. As Fr. Gołaski points out, he claims to “withdraw the faculty granted by his predecessors” in the name of unity, while self-evidently annihilating that unity by his own decree. He claims to find ratification in the decisions of St. Pius V, whose criteria were precisely the opposite of his own. He claims in Laudato Si that the disappearance of a culture is graver than the extinction of a species, yet bends his will to eradicating the selfsame culture that forms the beating heart of his own Church.
St. Paul states explicitly that “when the pagans offer sacrifice, it is received by demons” (1 Cor. 10:20). In 2019, Pope Francis quite publicly and undisguisedly offered prayers to the pagan entity Pachamama, reverently processing through the Basilica to enthrone it on the altar of God. That he has been in communion with demonic beings is therefore simply a fact, a matter of public record, undisputed. And every back-bent word of his “A is not A” elocution declares that he speaks not with the Mind of Christ but with the forked, self-masticating tongue of the Father of Lies. I’ll say it more plainly yet: I believe Pope Francis to be in the possession of Satan. He has followed the road of the worst of popes before him—John XII, Julius II or Urban VIII.
Again, this view is my own. I offer it as the only solution to our generation’s darkest mystery—“Why is he doing this to us?!”—that seems to fit all the known data. On this hypothesis, the schismatic breakup of the One True Faith is exactly what he seeks, and he is going about it in exactly the right way.
What to do with this conviction, I do not know. I hope to look back someday on my silly, disproven paranoia and revel in the gentle mockery of my brethren in Christ. Or I hope that, if Providence substantiates my belief, wiser persons than myself will have been forewarned before the crisis reaches a boil. We can trust that God is in control, because just as John XII toasted Satan and trafficked in devils, yet God preserved His Church at that time, so too He will deliver us again in our own day.
It’s crucial to remember that Despair is the Enemy’s greatest weapon, closing us off from the aid of the Holy Ghost. We mustn’t (and needn’t!) lose hope for the Papacy, nor for the embattled individual who now holds it: our turning our backs on Francis and the Church is precisely what the Devil wants, but Christ has harrowed out those legions before and will again. This isn’t a theological clash but a family crisis; that misled shepherd on the Throne is our papa, and he needs us. I wish I had some powerful new deliverance prayer to offer, but I haven’t been given such a weapon. If you, friend, care to join me in my own frail personal devotion, it’s merely this: throughout the day, whenever I touch my keys, I’m reminded to offer up a prayer to St. Michael for the man who carries the Keys of the Most Precious Blood:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the Power of God cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.