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by Christopher A. Ferrara
July 17, 2015

It does no good to deny or attempt to hide the obvious: everywhere Francis goes, scandal is sure to follow. And in the wake of the latest scandal the “firemen” of the neo-Catholic blogosphere are always ready to douse the flames with a frantic deployment of rhetorical fire extinguishers:  it was a bad translation; the Pope didn’t say that; the Pope didn’t mean that; the statement/gesture was taken out of context; it was an anomalous incident, etc., etc. ad infinitum.

This time, however, the flames cannot be contained.  In the midst of his whirlwind “Liberation Theology Tour,” Francis gratefully accepted from Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, a notoriously anti-Catholic socialist autocrat and demagogue, a grotesque, utterly blasphemous hammer-and-sickle-shaped crucifix bearing the Corpus of Our Lord.  This, as others have noted, will be the defining image of an increasingly bizarre pontificate:

The neo-Catholic fireman desperately attempted to mistranslate the garbled audio track of this obscene event to have the Pope say “that’s not right!”  In fact, as he smilingly accepted this horrific “gift” the Pope said: “I didn’t know that” — meaning he didn’t know that it was modeled after the “communist crucifix” devised by Father Luis Espinal Camps. Espinal Camps was a Marxist priest-agitator, who EWTN’s National Catholic Register laughably describes as “a missionary in Bolivia, who was killed in 1980 during the Bolivian dictatorship.”  A missionary?  Please!  Espinal Camps was a Spanish-born Jesuit radical whose priestly career was given over to liberation theology, political activism, screenwriting and yellow journalism promoting Marxist ideology.

What a disaster for the desperate firemen when Francis blithely confirmed on the flight  back to Rome that he had no problem accepting a blasphemous “crucifix” modeled on the symbol of an ideology whose proponents have butchered scores of millions of Christians and continue to oppress them in China, Cuba and elsewhere.  Said the Pope in yet another of his rambling press conferences:

I would qualify it as protest art, which in some cases can be offensive, in some cases. [I]n this concrete case, Fr. Espinal was killed in 1980. It was a time when liberation theology had many different branches. One of the branches was with Marxist analysis of reality. Fr. Espinal belonged to this…. [I]n 1984, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the first small volume, the first declaration on liberation theology that criticizes this. Then comes the second, which opens to a more Christian perspective.
I’m simplifying, no? Let’s do the hermeneutic of that time: Espinal was an enthusiast of this Marxist analysis of the reality, but also of theology using Marxism. From this, he came up with this work. Also the poetry of Espinal was of this kind of protest. But, it was his life, it was his thought. He was a special man, with so much human geniality, who fought in good faith, no?
Making a hermeneutic like this, I understand this work. For me it wasn’t an offense, but I had to do this hermeneutic, and I say it to you so that there aren't any wrong opinions.

Asked if he had left the blasphemous item in Bolivia, the Pope admitted: “No, it’s traveling with me.”

Note well: We have a Pope who says he is not offended by the juxtaposition of the sacred image of the Christ whose Vicar he is supposed to be with the symbol of a diabolical ideology whose aim was to eliminate Christianity from the face of the earth. As Pat Buchanan observed today (July 14): “Had Pope John Paul II been handed that crucifix, he might have cracked it over Evo’s head. For John Paul II had seen up close what communism did — to his country, his church and his people in 45 years of Bolshevik rule.”

Worse, the Pope admits that Marxism motivated Espinal’s “protest art” and praises Espinal for his “human geniality” (after praying at the site where he was killed). Francis even suggests that the “Marxist analysis of reality” Espinal espoused received a more sympathetic treatment by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1984 than it did in CDF’s 1981 condemnation of “liberation theology.”  That is false. It was precisely “Marxist analysis” of social injustice the CDF emphatically rejected in the 1984 condemnation of “theologies of liberation” which, the CDF observed:

go on to a disastrous confusion between the ‘poor’ of the Scripture and the ‘proletariat’ of Marx. In this way they pervert the Christian meaning of the poor, and they transform the fight for the rights of the poor into a class fight within the ideological perspective of the class struggle. For them the “Church of the poor” signifies the Church of the class which has become aware of the requirements of the revolutionary struggle as a step toward liberation and which celebrates this liberation in its liturgy.

And yet Francis has accepted and defended as legitimate “protest art” a blasphemous “icon” suitable for the “liturgy” of “liberation theology.”

This time there is no escape for the defenders of the indefensible. Scandalizing the Church yet again, Francis has endorsed blasphemy and made a mockery of the mission of Our Lady of Fatima and Her heavenly warning against “the errors of Russia.”  Today, the Pope himself accepts and defends the very symbol of those errors, hideously conjoined to the sacred Body of Our Lord.

Is there no end to the disgrace of this pontificate?  What have we done to deserve this?  May Our Lady of Fatima deliver us from this madness.