Bad Popes and the ‘Anti-Church’

With the kind permission of Mr. Ryan Grant, we publish below a brief but enlightening comment that he posted on Facebook. The history of the Church and the papacy is not simply one long hagiography until 1965. In these days when shocking scandal emanates from the its highest offices, we must recall that the Church’s essential mark of holiness is not and cannot be lost. Those who are confronted by non-Catholic sectarians throwing these scandals at them as if they refuted the Catholic Church’s claims may care to read the apologetical article, “The BIG BAD Catholic Church.”

The Church is found where you have those members that visibly 1) profess right faith; 2) have the same communion of the sacraments; 3) are in union with the center of unity.

Evil members, the tares in the wheat, can maintain all three marks whereby we discern a member of the Church and therefore the presence of the same Church. Evil men in the Church do not make the Church an anti-Church.

What would you say if the Pope were known to regularly order assasinations (Pope Sixtus IV), have bisexual relations (John XII), commit pederasty with a 14-year old and make him a Cardinal (Julius III), throw wild parties and have the common rumor that you father children (Alexander VI), or violated the Canons of Trent by entrusting the courts of the Papal states to his nephew, whom he knew was homosexual, and knew was accumulating benefices for dioceses he did not reside in (Pope Paul V, for his nephew Scipione Borghese), or turned a blind eye to homosexuality in the clergy when a priest (later St. Peter Damian) writes a whole book on it and delivers it to you in Rome demanding you do something? (Pope Leo IX).

This is the first time we have seen such things WITH an international media, and for several hundred years after having mediocre to good and even great Popes, but no gravely scandalous ones, it looks positively horrendous.

I do not say Francis should not resign if current allegations turn out to be true, combined with what he has already done), but that this does not constitute an “anti-Church” but evil men that disgrace their office in the Church of Christ.

The Whore of Babylon. Apocalypse of Charles the Bold; Belgium, Bruges, circa 1470. Pierpont Morgan MS M.68 (source).