Even if we were to declare that the man is not the pope, this diagnosis would not change. As such, we are left with trying to discern the best ways to combat the evils that result from Francis’s occupation of the papacy.
As with any great evil in the Church or world, the proper Catholic response necessarily involves prayer and penance, as Our Lord told us:
“And when He was come into the house, His disciples secretly asked Him: Why could we not cast him out? And He said to them: This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:27-28)
Given the extreme nature of the crisis, we ought to hear more calls from the Church’s shepherds for Catholics to petition God’s grace through prayer and penance. However, as Sister Lucia told Fr. Agustin Fuentes in 1957, one aspect of the crisis involves the need for faithful Catholics to act even in absence of guidance from their shepherds:
“Father, we should not wait for an appeal to the world to come from Rome on the part of the Holy Father, to do penance. Nor should we wait for the call to penance to come from our bishops in our diocese, nor from the religious congregations. No! Our Lord has already very often used these means and the world has not paid attention. That is why now, it is necessary for each one of us to begin to reform himself spiritually. Each person must not only save his own soul but also the souls that God has placed in our path . . . The devil does all in his power to distract us and to take away from us the love for prayer; we shall be saved together or we shall be damned together” (Sister Lucy to Father A Fuentes).
So we must do what we can on a spiritual level even though our shepherds may not lead us; and the more we do to try to become saints, the more we can combat the evil from the Church’s enemies.
Francis has openly declared war on true Catholicism in many ways, ranging from Traditionis Custodes and the Synod on Synodality, to his frequent insults of those who adhere to what the Church has always taught.
In tandem with fighting the battle with the spiritual weapons God gave us, we must consider whether anything good can come from adopting a conciliatory approach with Francis. During the first few years of Francis’s occupation of the papacy one could make a potentially viable argument that there were certain circumstances in which it was best to keep silent on his affronts to Catholicism so long as he did not try to compel us to share his beliefs or change our practices. Perhaps, for instance, the pastor of a growing Latin Mass parish did not want to lose favor with the local bishop by denouncing Amoris Laetitia — one could see room for a prudential judgment that it was best to keep silent in such cases.
But circumstances have certainly changed at this point. We can no longer have any doubt about what Francis and his collaborators are attempting to do to the Catholic Church: they no longer hide the fact that they want to eliminate Catholic tradition and rid the Church of those who hold to it. Francis has openly declared war on true Catholicism in many ways, ranging from Traditionis Custodes and the Synod on Synodality, to his frequent insults of those who adhere to what the Church has always taught. He apparently wants to do all he can to persuade as many people as possible to abandon the path Catholic saints have taken for two-thousand years.
As such, even if there is some measure a particular shepherd could take to placate Francis for the sake of maintaining favor, that conciliatory effort generally abets Francis’s efforts to conduct his overall attack on the Church. Silence implies consent and signals to Catholics and non-Catholics alike either or both of two disastrous lies: that what Francis does is consistent with Church teaching, and that there are no real Catholics to oppose him.
Moreover, we have reached the point today at which silence tends to imitate the example of St. Peter denying Our Lord:
“And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were sitting about it, Peter was in the midst of them. Whom when a certain servant maid had seen sitting at the light, and had earnestly beheld him, she said: This man also was with him. But he denied him, saying: Woman, I know him not. And after a little while, another seeing him, said: Thou also art one of them. But Peter said: O man, I am not. And after the space, as it were of one hour, another certain man affirmed, saying: Of a truth, this man was also with him; for he is also a Galilean. And Peter said: Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, as he was yet speaking, the cock crew.” (Luke 22:55-60)
Keeping silent about Amoris Laetitia may not have signaled anything to those who were not familiar with Church teaching, but keeping silent about Francis’s current assaults on Our Lord and His Church — which continually grow in frequency and intensity — tells the world: I know Him not!
We can and must resist the globalist tyrants, but they control almost everything and are assisted by Satan. The only chink in our enemy’s armor is a complete inability to withstand the assaults of true Catholics fighting like saints.
Avoiding the sin of Peter’s denials does not, of course, require us to foolishly do more than duty requires. As with all exercise of virtue, prudence must dictate the way in which we oppose Francis, but it seems unlikely that there is ever any legitimate excuse for Catholics (especially shepherds) to refrain from clearly stating the unadulterated Catholic truth in opposition to the errors Francis spreads.
Bishop Strickland, for example, has recently provided perfect examples of charitable and prudent resistance to Francis’s agenda, including his August 22, 2023 pastoral letter to his flock:
“In the weeks and months ahead, many of these truths will be examined as part of the Synod on Synodality. We must hold fast to these truths and be wary of any attempts to present an alternative to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or to push for a faith that speaks of dialogue and brotherhood, while attempting to remove the fatherhood of God. When we seek to innovate upon what God in His great mercy has given us, we find ourselves upon treacherous ground. The surest footing we can find is to remain firmly upon the perennial teachings of the faith.”
He speaks like a man who realizes that no Catholic ever has anything to fear from giving faithful testimony to the truth that Our Lord entrusted to His Church. No matter what punishment Francis attempts to afflict on Bishop Strickland, Our Lord and all those who seek to follow Him will see that persecution as a blessing:
“Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake: be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Understandably, that persecution may frighten us. All of us are weak sinners in great need of God’s infinite mercy. Without Him, we can obviously do nothing of value. Through human weakness, we at times may lack the courage to stand up for the Faith the way we should — but we should not fool ourselves into believing that weakness has any resemblance to virtue. Our Lord did not assign any beatitude to fleeing the wolves in fear.
We can even see that God mercifully allows us to realize that fighting for the unadulterated Catholic Faith is the only possible way we can conquer our enemies today. As Michael Matt recently emphasized in his Remnant Underground, there is no political solution. We can and must resist the globalist tyrants, but they control almost everything and are assisted by Satan. The only chink in our enemy’s armor is a complete inability to withstand the assaults of true Catholics fighting like saints.
Francis’s primary (and perhaps only) role in this entire operation is to dissuade Catholics from fighting like saints. Those who support him to “buy a little time” are therefore helping our enemy gain more ground. We should not fear his insults, unjust censures, or even his excommunications — rather, we should fear giving anyone the impression that we are on Francis’s side in his war against God and His Church. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!