From a Christian perspective; Pope Francis is either an irrelevance, or the single most dangerous and damaging person in the world.
Which, depends on one's assumptions about what is the best future for the Roman Catholic Church.
Francis leads the largest Christian denomination, and the only one with a centralised world-leader (the second and third largest - Orthodox and Anglican, have national level leadership). And he is leading them into greater confromity with the Globalist secular (and leftist) agenda.
Insofar as Roman Catholics are led by Francis; that is their primary, overall direction - towards world government along the lines of The Great Reset and UN Agenda 2030.
Towards a world in which CO2 Climate Change dominates the economy; a world of mass and unrestricted first-world immigration, third-world migrations sustained by core antiracism; of (gradually, with increasinly fast) embracing of the sexual revolution as a positive moral gain; and (as of 2020) the birdemic regarded as a great plague compelling the above restructuring.
In total, Francis's strategy could be seen as based on the assumption that the mass majority of self-identified Roman Catholics (both ordained and lay) are correct in their de facto embrace of the above process of secularisation and liberalisation; and therefore the best way forward is for the Pope and Magisterium, the bishops and priests, to conform to that mass-majority.
In another phrasing; for Francis the short-term tactical expediency of confroming to the Global socio-political trends is also the best long-term strategy for the RCC survival and thriving. Presumably; Francis sees the best future as one in which the RCC has 'a seat at the table' of the other great movers-and-shakers of the world.
And indeed that has been happening. Francis personally is certainly given much greater approval, publicity and backing from the mass media and major political actors.
Presumably the strategy is that this would extend through the hierarchy of Cardinals, Bishops and Priests to the laity - who could then lend a Catholic influence to the mainstream.
But the view of the other, still living - Emeritus - Pope Benedict XVI - is the opposite.
Benedicts view is that the future of the Roman Catholic Church lies in reforming itself around the most devout of its members - what he called a Creative Minority.
In other words, Benedict was a kind of elitist - on religious grounds. He apparenty felt that the mass of Roman Catholics were leading the church astray, and into assimilation with secularising socio-political trends.
For Benedict; the way ahead was a tough path; where things got worse before they got better; a path that could only be tackled with considerable faith.
Because Benedict envisaged, and argued in favour of, a reduction in size of the RCC, a shedding of lax and secular ('corrupted') members - who would, presumably, leave voluntarily when the reformed church demanded from them more, and different, than was compatible with social expedience.
(And if they were priests who would not join the Creative Minority agenda, they would ultimately need to be expelled from Holy Orders, even against their will; if laity, they would be excommunicated.)
So, en route to a future of RCC survival and thriving; for Benedict there must and would be a period of shrinking, contraction - and concentration of members into a coherent and purposive Creative Minority.
This much smaller, but more devout and correct, RCC would then be a seed for a renewal of growth in the future'; and this future would be one of renewed differentness-from, distinction-from, the secular world.
I think Benedict saw the best future as a smaller but more-coherent and more-different church; acting as a countervailing power; mostly pushing against the mainstream of dominant socio-political power (such as the bureaucracy, multinational corporations and the mass media).
Against, that is, the prevalent focus of The World which makes sexuality, healthism, envirnmentalism, race &c - into the prime value-issues of the world. By contrast, Benedict was in favour of maintaining the ancient idea of the Church as a (Holy) City of God; as much as possible distinct from the City of Man - or, indeed, a future unified Megalopolis of Man.
Thus (by my understanding) the two living Popes have almost exactly opposite strategies from each other.
And if, as I do, you approve Benedict's strategy; then you cannot (consistently) approve Francis's strategy; and would regard Francis's path as leading - not to church renewal but to church assimilation-into the Global Bureaucracy.
...Not for the church to be a distinct voice from the tech and finance multi-billionnaires and global media, but to speak with exactly the same voice - at least when it comes to speaking about the core (i.e. socio-political, secular) issues of our time - and making them the tactical priority.
So what accounts for Benedicts' recusal from office? Did he get pushed out by the college of Cardinals, informed that his agenda would never come to fruition? Or maybe he realized he was too old/weak and would not be able to enact his reforms. Maybe he wanted to avoid being Epsteined? For the last 20 years i have believed that the RCC should retrench into a smaller devout group but I think money and prestige are playing a role here.
Benedict is Pope. Bergoglio AntiPope. If canon law means anything (which it does - its where the faith & reason, physical & metaphysical rubber meets the church militant road) then it is PROFOUNDLY significant that Benedict resigned not the Papal munus (spiritual mandate bestowed by Christ) BUT the ministerium (day to day governance). Since no one, least of all a Pope can change the nature of the papacy in this way, either Benedict outwitted the colour revolution inspired Sankt Gallen mafia or mistakenly attempted to bifurcate the papacy. Much as with Covid and the secular PTB the ecclesiastical PTB are in the room and exposed. Thank God! Benedict's vision will prevail and the apostate "church" will fold faster than a soggy pack of cards.
@ag and MM
Well, these are separate issue from what I discuss in the post.
Why did Benedict step down? I believe his statement that he felt too ill to do the job - and I assume he did so because he had witnessed close up the problems that arose from the previous Pope being too ill to do the job.
Since I am not myself a Catholic, but view this from a perspective as a generic Christian who wishes the RCC well (because so many of the best Christians have been and still are Roman Catholics); I can't give an opinion on this matter of whether Benedict is still the real Pope - although I would like it to be true!
The main issue that I perceive is that serious Roman Catholics now have to regard the acting Pope differently than under Benedict; and must now consciously take a greater personal responsibility of discernment - or else they will be led away from Christianity.
When has any church increased its membership by becoming more "inclusive"? When has any church not suffered a catastrophic decline in membership after kowtowing to progressivism? What's the goal anyway, to win praise from people who've never set foot in a church in their lives?
Both popes address the world from the mouth of a serpent, in front of a very disturbing graven image of a Christ/ antichrist figure rising from an abyss. Wouldn’t trust either of them. Also have a very confusing idea concerning the identity of Lucifer who I think we can agree the vast majority of mankind consider to be much more than a planet. A church rife with homosexuality and pedastery. Call no man father.
@D - I agree 100% - but I was stating each man's case in terms He might himself have agreed with.
@SF - Truem but also true of all large powerful churches to the extent that all are 'converged' on the key issues and therefore overall/net on teh side of Satan.
But some of the best, most serious Christians I know of (personally, and in the public sphere - past and present) have been and are staunchly Roman Catholic.
Without breaking a sweat I could mention Chesterton and Tolkien; Peter Kreeft (perhaps the best Christian apologist of the past generation?); Joseph Pearce and John C Wright; the bloggers at the Orthosphere or Throne & Altar - I just mention this sample to emphasise how wrong it would be to write-off the RCC.
I have read quite a bit written by Benedict XVI/ Joseph Ratzinger - and was not in any doubt that he is a real and good Christian. His founding of the Anglican Ordinariate was an astonishing and bold positive step in the face of 400 years of suspicion and hostility; although it has not met with the success it deserves, due to the dire and worsening state of Christianity in Britain.
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