One of Pope Francis’ recent appointments offers conclusive proof that the pope is sabotaging apostolic teaching to promote his agenda.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, the archbishop of Luxembourg, became a member of Francis’ circle of closest advisors, the Council of Cardinals, March 7. Hollerich, a Jesuit like Francis, not only embraces the pope’s promotion of environmental sustainability and economic redistribution. He rejects the church’s teaching on homosexuality, as he revealed last year in an interview with a German Catholic news agency.
“I believe that this is wrong,” Hollerich said about the teaching that homosexual practice is sinful. “But I also believe that we are thinking ahead here in teaching. As the Pope has said in the past, this can lead to a doctrinal change. Because I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this doctrine is no longer correct. I believe that it is time for us to make a fundamental revision of doctrine.”
That statement exposes Francis’ strategy to subvert Catholic teaching in a gradual, subtle fashion. But the revision Hollerich wants would do more than bankrupt Catholic moral theology. It would place the church squarely on the side of LGBTQ activists who demand that children be exposed to their all-encompassing ideology, especially concerning transgender identity, regardless of parents’ concerns.
Gaslighting the Faithful
The catechism defines homosexual sex as “acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered,” and urges chastity. In Scripture, Leviticus included homosexuality among other sexual behaviors considered “detestable.” Jesus defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Paul, a former Pharisee, described homosexual acts as “shameful” and practicing homosexuals as unable to “inherit the Kingdom of God.”
But Francis knows using overt means to cancel that teaching would enrage the faithful. So he engages in a campaign of misdirection. His words, designed to placate the doubtful, say one thing. His behavior, however, says something entirely different.
Hollerich unmasked the strategy with these words: “But I also believe that we are thinking ahead here in teaching. As the Pope has said in the past, this can lead to a doctrinal change.”
Take abortion, as The Stream has reported. Though he equated getting an abortion to “hiring a hitman,” Francis hired Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs as his environmental advisor. Sachs, who wrote the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, wrote a book advocating abortion as worldwide birth control.
In 2021, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, head of the Vatican’s leading theological body, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, discouraged American bishops from withholding Communion from politicians who support abortion, despite canon law. Ladaria’s decision benefits two of Francis’ biggest allies: President Joe Biden and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House.
Francis takes the same approach with homosexuality, as The Stream also reported. The pope called gender theory “one of the most dangerous forms of ideological colonization” because “it goes beyond the sexual,” he said in an interview March 10 with the Argentine daily La Nacion. Francis also supported the CDF’s ruling in 2021 that prohibited German bishops from liturgically blessing same-sex unions.
Yet Francis promotes figures who contradict those positions.
One is the Rev. James Martin, another Jesuit and a papal communications advisor who uses his influence to promote LGBTQ ideology. Another is Cardinal Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Paglia commissioned a homoerotic painting for his cathedral that featured him embracing a semi-nude man.
San Diego Cardinal Robert McElroy, whom Francis promoted in August, stated the ultimate goal Jan. 25 in the Jesuit magazine America. McElroy demanded “radical inclusion” for all LGBTQ Catholics, regardless of whether they repent of their sexual behavior or adhere to Catholic teaching on homosexuality, as The Stream reported.
Denying Divine Inspiration
But the revisionist approach rejects Scripture’s divine inspiration. In one tweet, Martin admitted the Bible “clearly condemns” homosexual sex. “The issue,” he continued, “is precisely whether the biblical judgement is correct.”
“I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this doctrine is no longer correct,” he said. “What used to be condemned was sodomy. At that time, it was thought that the whole child was preserved in the man’s sperm. And that has simply been transferred to homosexual men. But there is no homosexuality in the New Testament. There is only talk of homosexual acts, which were partly pagan cult acts. That was, of course, forbidden.”
Yet Hollerich and Martin refuse to recognize that Scripture’s fundamental credibility goes beyond any “sociological-scientific foundation.” As Paul, the former Pharisee, wrote to his protégé, Timothy:
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction and for training in uprightness, so that the man of God may be proficient and equipped for good work of every kind. (2 Timothy 3: 16-17, New Catholic Bible).
Since the New Testament had yet to be completed, Paul was referring to the Old Testament, which contained injunctions against homosexuality. Moreover, the fact that Christians view Paul’s second letter to Timothy as divinely inspired implies the New Testament also condemns homosexuality. That nullifies Hollerich’s and Martin’s objections.
Jesus himself stated that he came not to destroy the Mosaic Law but to fulfill it. His statement indicates that the Law was flawless as a reflection of God’s character and his legitimate demands for humanity.
On a more basic level, Christians and Jews view God as the ultimate source of truth, wisdom and love. As such, God not only has the right but the prerogative to determine what constitutes moral behavior in his eyes. That belief demands that the revisionists confront the consequences of their activism.
Engaging in Child Sacrifice
One of those consequences involves redefining children ultimately by their sexual identity, thus making them subject to ideological whims and adult sexual preferences, and turning them into second-class citizens.
Martin personifies that attitude, as The Stream reported. In 2021, while responding to a pastoral letter condemning gender ideology from Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Va., Martin tweeted that “transgender people exist and are beloved children of God.”
In February 2022, Martin tweeted opposition to a legal opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who stated that hormone-blocking drugs and sex-change surgeries constituted child abuse under state law. One month later, Martin opposed a proposed Idaho law banning similar procedures on children.
In 2016, Paglia developed a sex-education course for teens that Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, a Catholic psychiatrist, called “the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth that I have seen over the past 40 years” because it featured “pornographic images … used by adult sexual predators of adolescents,” as The Stream reported.
Yet Francis appointed Paglia to his current position later that year.
Given the Catholic Church’s abysmal record on clerical sex-abuse, especially during Francis’ tenure, changing doctrine to embrace LGBTQ ideology would contain frightening implications.
Quo Vadis, Roma?
On March 10, three days after Hollerich’s appointment, German bishops who will participate in an international synod overwhelmingly approved a resolution to bless same-sex unions, despite the CDF’s ruling two years ago. The resolution passed 176-14 with 12 abstentions.
Regardless of whether Francis agrees, that resolution offers a direct challenge to papal authority. It also puts the pope in the awkward position of abandoning his campaign of subterfuge. Either Francis must discipline the German bishops publicly or agree with them publicly.
With the Catholic Church’s credibility at stake, papal duplicity no longer remains an option.
Joseph D’Hippolito has written commentaries for such outlets as the Jerusalem Post, the American Thinker and Front Page Magazine. He works as a free-lance writer.