Last Friday was the Feast Day of the Chair of Saint Peter.  Consider a re-reading of Matthew Chapter 16, 13-20 to see what may have been if Jorge Bergoglio had been around.  It does not take too much imagination to envision a very different germination for the nascent church.  – Lord forgive this writer for the liberty he takes with the Gospel.    

And Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: ‘Whom do men say that the Son of man is?’ But they said: ‘Some John the Baptist, and some others Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’  Jesus saith to them: ‘But whom do you say that I am?’

Remove Simon Peter replying “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.” 

Replace it with Pope Francis: “Thou art Jesus, You’re a really cool guy to hang out with.  You always hang out with sinners, in a very non-preachy and loving way.  You really get us.”

After that, IF the Lord, perhaps taken aback, had gone any further, and if He had told Jorge Bergoglio, that he is Francis, and upon him Jesus would build His church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And that he wanted to give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And that whatsoever he bound upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. 

Francis’ reply may have very legitimately shook even the Lord. 

“Easy big fella, You don’t mean build my church, right?  You mean churches?  Plural, right?  You sound kind of judgy.  Very rigid when you use absolutes. 

“And while we are on the subject, ‘gates of hell’?  Who talks like that?  What does that even mean?  Hell, if it even exists, is empty.  But we all know that people just cease to exist after death if we don’t make it to heaven, right?  Right, Lord? 

“Oh, and Keys?  You don’t need keys if all doors and borders are open.  So, we’ll do away with those, ok?  Just fling the pearly gates wide open.  And I’m not sure I like this title you want to give me, ‘Vicar of Christ’?  Nah, I’ll pass, thank you very much.  Afterall who am I to judge?

“Lastly, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, ‘bound on earth and bound in heaven’?  Ouch, not very Pastoral, Lord.  But you piqued my interested with the loosing thing.  I like that.  We can loose all sorts of things, right fellas?” he would say to the others around the fire.  “No reason to get all hypocritical and clerical.”

What is still known about Caesarea Philippi is that During the Old Testament era, Caesarea Philippi was a center for worship of the pagan god, Baal. Later it became a site for the worship of fertility gods. From the 3rd-century BC to the 4th or 5th century AD, pagan worshipers at Caesarea Philippi had shrines and altars dedicated to the Greco-Roman god Pan/Faunus.  Further, Herod the Great was given the area of Caesarea Philippi by Caesar Augustus in 20 BC. In honor of Augustus’ visit to the area, Herod the Great built three temples to Augustus.

Knowing what surrounded them, perhaps the newly empowered Francis would have suggested that the Apostles go into those shrines and try to find some common ground.  To really go in and not evangelize – heaven forbid, but to get to know the smell of the people who were engaged in the temples.  To see if there were any local customs that the infant church of Christ needed to adopt and work into future ceremonies.  Francis may have even found a cool statue, an idol perhaps, which they could have placed on the table in the upper room.

In logic, reductio ad absurdum, is a form of argument that shows an odd scenario leading to absurdity and contradiction.  These, however, are direct examples taken from the Pontificate of Francis.  When juxtaposed against the longstanding history and tradition of the Church it is absurd to consider how he has stained the pages of Catholic history.   



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