(ANTIMEDIA) I admit it. I’ve always been quick to poke fun at the Pope. I am usually the first to attack the Church by pointing out how it has been corrupted for centuries. Most of my family grew up Catholic, so I’ve grown up despising the religion for its insistence on blind faith in a man drowning in self-worship with unlimited wealth and global influence.
Believe me, I’m not a fan of the Vatican, so go ahead and call this an exercise for keeping an open mind.
Let’s take a look at the data.
1) Pope Francis believes that doing good is more important than being Catholic.
“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.”
In other words, even atheists can go to heaven if they do good deeds in this world. Since I was just a child, this concept of “believe our religion or sin and be damned to hell for all of time” has made little sense to me.
Yeah, but “what if you’re never even given a chance to discover the ‘right religion’? God banishes his beloved creation to eternal hell?”
Pope Francis confronted this problem directly. As expected, many Catholics now accuse him of “single-handedly destroying Catholicism” by making such “controversial” statements.
2) He has consistently attacked crony capitalism and revealed how greed has corrupted the global economy.
As recently as last week, Pope Francis urged world citizens to stand up against the corrupt global economic system by creating a “truly communitarian economy” based on distribution of goods among all.
“Do we realize that that system has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature?”
In a speech in Bolivia, he explained that “when capital becomes an idol,” it ruins society. When “greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system,” guiding individuals to make decisions, society is ruined. He stressed that state capitalism, which he referred to as “the dung of the devil,” breeds the greed which enslaves human beings and destroys fraternity.
“It is no utopia or chimera. It is an extremely realistic prospect. We can achieve it. Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy. It is a moral obligation,” he said.
“This system is by now intolerable. So let’s not be afraid to say it: we need change; we want change.”
3) Pope Francis is aligning himself against Israel by recognizing the “State of Palestine.”
The Jerusalem Post warned that such statements cannot go unanswered, calling the recognition of Palestine a “severe blow to Catholic- Jewish relations” and urging “Jewish people to protest in the strongest possible terms”—so Pope Francis realizes the damage he has done to Israel.
The Pope praised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as an “angel of peace,” and even declared Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Baouardy, two nuns from 19th century Ottoman Palestine who cared for the poor, the first Palestinian saints of modern times.
“Pope Francis needs to realize that by recognizing the fictitious ‘State of Palestine’ he is aligning himself against Israel, the Jewish people and the bible itself. And that is something we cannot forgive, nor soon forget,” says Michael Freund of The Jerusalem Post.
On the eve of elections earlier this year, Israeli President Netanyahu said a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch.
4) He believes the Internet is “something truly good, a gift from God” with “immense possibilities.”
“This is something truly good, a gift from God,” Pope Francis wrote.
He praised the Internet as having “immense possibilities” because it allows people from around the world with different backgrounds and perspectives to communicate instantaneously.
“To [have a] dialogue means to believe that the ‘other’ has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective,” Francis wrote. “Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the pretence that they alone are valid and absolute.”
5) He challenges Monsanto science and supports funding independent research to study the dangers of GMOs and pesticides.
Pope Francis believes the spread of genetically modified crops is destroying ecosystems and negatively affecting regional economies by forcing farmers to buy Monsanto seeds.
“GMOs must be approached with a sympathetic look at all its aspects, and this requires at least one more effort to finance several lines of independent and interdisciplinary research… as we have seen in this chapter, the technique is unlikely to be able to …self-limit its power,” he said.
In other words, he supports the financing of independent research to be conducted by scientists who are not funded by Monsanto and other biotech industry giants.
Pope Francis continues, “We get sick, for example, due to inhalation of large amounts of smoke produced by fuels used for cooking and heating. This is added to by….fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and toxic pesticides in general.”
“It creates a vicious circle in which the intervention of the human being to solve a problem often worsens the situation further.”
6) Pope Francis challenged global business leaders to “ensure humanity is served by wealth, not ruled by it.”
While addressing more than 2,500 participants at the World Economic Forum, Francis demanded that more be done to “promote the growth of equality.”
“I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it,” he said.
“The growth of equality demands something more than economic growth, even though it presupposes it. It demands first of all a transcendent vision of the person.”
He continued that “It also calls for decisions, mechanisms and processes directed to a better distribution of wealth, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.”
His comments followed a report released by Oxfam that revealed the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion.
7) Pope Francis is the first “Holy Father” to wash the feet of a woman.
The Church’s unbalanced male hierarchy and refusal to ordain women can be interpreted as a belief in the inferiority of women. Catholics believe a woman’s place on this Earth is only in the home. They’ve justified denial of women their right to vote by claiming the absence of politics protects their dignity.
It was refreshing to see Francis be the first Pope to wash the feet of a woman, and while I applaud his alleged desire to see a “greater role” for women in making “important decisions” in the Catholic Church, he still believes a woman should not be allowed to become a Priest. He also called abortion “horrific.”
Last July Pope Francis said women are “more important than bishops and priests.”
The world is waiting for a definitive statement from Francis regarding women’s suffrage.
8) He apologized to those sexually abused by Catholic priests and begged to be forgiven for crimes committed against Native Americans in the name of God.
Pope Francis pledged “not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not” promising that those guilty of sexual abuse “will be held accountable.”
“I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves,” said Francis. “This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk.”
Further, after attacking colonialism with sharp critiques of the global economic order and military industrial complex, he apologized for the church’s sins during Latin America’s colonial era.
“Some may rightly say, ‘When the pope speaks of colonialism, he overlooks certain actions of the church,’ ” Francis said. “I say this to you with regret: Many grave sins were committed against the native people of America in the name of God.”
“I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offense of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America,” he added.
9) He believes parents of gay children should stand by them and when asked about LGBT rights he responded, “Who am I to judge?”
This may not seem like a big deal to the youth of America, but for some perspective, his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI previously called homosexuality “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil” and an “objective disorder.”
“We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter,” Pope Francis said.
“We come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation.”
As Sergio Lo Giudice, an openly gay senator of the Democratic party, points out, the Catholic Church still has a long way to go. He has said that “there has been no opening on the doctrinal, so homosexuality remains for the Catholic church a sin as well as a moral disorder,” suggesting the rhetoric is merely a PR stunt to help the Pope’s image.
Whether or not acceptance of homosexuality is in the Church’s future, a dialogue that never existed before has begun thanks to Pope Francis.
10) Pope Francis labeled the military-industrial-complex the industry of death.
During a speech to children organized by the Peace Factory Foundation, Francis explained that every war has the arms industry behind it.
“Many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war,” the Pope said.
“This is serious. Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms and sell them to one country for them to use against another country.”
He labeled the military-industrial-complex “the industry of death, the greed that harms us all, the desire to have more money.”
Recognizing that wars “lose lives, health and education,” he stressed that today’s wars are waged to make even more profit. “The devil enters through greed and this is why they don’t want peace,” Pope Francis said. “There can be no peace without justice.”
He openly wondered “if this war here or there is really a war, or [if it is] a commercial war to sell these arms?”
In his April Easter address, he urged to end the absurd violence, bloodshed and persecution occurring around the world.
“We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq, that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations may be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries.”
He called for both sides of Ukraine’s civil war to respect the ceasefire, also praying for peace between Israelis and Palestinians “to end years of suffering and division.”
Additionally, Pope Francis sent a letter to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in December:
“Nuclear weapons are a global problem, affecting all nations, and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home… Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations… To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty,” he wrote.
If you are one of the people who thinks the Pope Francis is single-handedly destroying Catholicism by making “controversial” statements like these, it is unlikely your mind can be changed.
For those who feel like they are being teased by his words, maybe they should take real action to change the world instead of arguing over whether Pope Francis is a good guy, bad guy—or merely another pawn of the dark side attempting to sprout roots within the global political awakening itself.
Until I learned of the three great tasks Pope Francis urged the world to address, I never considered writing about the Vatican’s ruler. While it is refreshing to hear such rhetoric, we cannot forget that the Vatican has unlimited wealth and influence within the dark side he appears to be challenging.
Pope Francis should put his money where his mouth is and open up the Vatican’s limitless wealth to change the world he appears to detest.
Feed the poor.
What caught my attention was the similarity between his tasks and the unifying ideas of The Common Ground Movement.
The Pope’s first task: To create an economy centered around the ”service of peoples,” not at the “service of money,” as our world’s current economic system operates. Francis explains that he believes a “truly communitarian economy” based on distribution of goods among all will put the spotlight on service rather than profits, which in return will protect “Mother Earth.”
A unifying idea of The Common Ground Movement is that the people must hold the corrupt financial (and political) systems accountable for crimes they commit. While it does not provide a solution, the CGM is in agreement with what Pope Francis identifies as the problem—that the world’s current economic system is enslaving the majority of the human race by focusing strictly on the service of money and profit.
As The Common Ground Movement puts it—very few would disagree with the assertion that our current financial system has us headed for disaster. If left uninterrupted, the most likely outcome is, well, the eventual self-destruction of our planet.
The Pope’s second task: To unite the people on the “path of peace and justice” to defend their sovereignty against colonialism.
“The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain free trade treaties, and the imposition of measures of austerity which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor,” he has said.
Pope Francis says that “monopolizing communications” is another example of consumerism. He argues that this is the same “new colonialism” that ultimately denies countries the right to development.
A unifying idea of The Common Ground Movement is to end the global surveillance state the human race never signed up for. The Pope’s second task also touches upon another unifying CGM goal to hold the corrupt political systems accountable. Here, we find yet another shared goal of uniting the people on the path of peace and justice.
The Pope’s third task: To “defend Mother Earth,” by breaking down the current system, which ravishes the planet’s ecology.
Pope Francis condemned the world’s governments for what he refers to as “cowardice” by failing to protect the Earth, calling it “a grave sin.”
“We cannot allow certain interests – interests which are global but not universal – to take over, to dominate states and international organizations, and to continue destroying creation,” he said.
This sounds like an awful lot like the first unifying idea of The Common Ground Movement— that there be no more wars of aggression. Taking previous statements made by Pope Francis concerning the military-industrial-complex and “powerful people who do not want peace because they live off war,” it is safe to assume these are the same global interests “destroying creation” that cannot be allowed to take over and dominate countries and international organizations.
Wait… What Is The Common Ground Movement Again?
The Common Ground Movement can be simplified down to 3 unifying ideas:
- No more wars of aggression.
- End the surveillance state, and the militarization of the police.
- Hold the corrupt political and financial systems accountable.
If a decentralized, non-violent resistance movement with no leader—designed to unite activist groups from across all areas of the political, economic and social spectrum—sounds like music to your ears, I encourage you to get involved.
The Common Ground Movement believes there is not simply a revolving door between the Washington and Wall Street, but that the two entities have literally mutated into one organism—and it is imperative to come to terms with the reality that these problems are not going to be solved through elections or petitions.
The people are going to have to take their power back without asking for permission, but that will only be possible if they unify under common goals and set the rest aside.
This article (10 Things Pope Francis Said that May Signal the Dark Side’s Demise) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and theAntiMedia.org.