The Dictator Pope: The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy
By Marcantonio Colonna* (aka Henry Sire)
Regenery Publishing, 2018 Revised Edition, 232 pages
After cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to the papacy on March 13, 2013, many were immediately impressed by his seemingly humble, pastoral approach, which was a noticeable contrast to the rigorous doctrinalism of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. When pope Francis’ off-the-cuff, theologically liberal remarks began making headlines, conservative Catholics attributed them to media misrepresentation, but after a short span it became entirely clear that Francis did not share their agenda.
We’re now seeing a growing number of conservative Catholic critics publicly voicing their deep displeasure with Francis. In this updated version of his controversial 2017 bestseller, historian, Henry Sire, examines Bergoglio’s past and the most eyebrow-raising aspects of his papacy.
When the college of cardinals elected Bergoglio in 2013, few were aware of his liberal proclivities, but an influential, progressive cadre had groomed the Argentinian as their candidate several years previous.
Francis and his progressive allies saw the unbending doctrinal rigidity of JPII and Benedict XVI as impediments to the church’s survival, and they seek to move the church away from doctrinal emphasis to a more pragmatic, “pastoral” approach. Sire devotes much space to Francis’ engineering of the lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees via the 2014 and 2015 synods and his guileful 2016 Amoris Laetitia encyclical. Conservative prelates who oppose his “reforms” are swiftly divested of their positions or influence (hence, the title, “The Dictator Pope”). Religious orders that cling to the Latin mass or other forms of traditionalism are targeted for “correction.” This revised edition was published before Francis’ latest airplane-aisle press conference in which he declared that individual bishops could decide on the issue of intercommunion with Protestants in their diocese.
Francis and his allies will continue to advance such progressive causes such as ending the rule of celibacy for priests, affirming sexually active homosexuals and blessing same-sex unions, and ending the ban on non-abortifacient contraceptives. The author points out that, despite his reputation as a reformer, Francis has kept at arms-length such glaring problems as the much-needed reorganization of the entrenched Curia (the Vatican bureaucracy), the ongoing priest pedophile scandal, and the murky and teetering Vatican finances.
Catholic conservatives are hoping that Francis’ reign ends quickly, but in the meantime Francis is busy “stacking the deck” by appointing new cardinals who share his views to ensure his successor carries forward his progressive reforms.
It’s satisfying to see these critical exposés of Francis from Catholic sources. Catholics once boasted that their pope, under divine guidance, could never lead their church into doctrinal error, but Francis has “reformed” that claim as well.
Catholic friend, what should you do now that your foundation is crumbling? Repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Jesus is the only Foundation worth standing on. After you have accepted Christ, then ask Him to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise.
*Historian and Vatican expert, Henry Sire, sought to cloak his identity by using a nom de plume, Marcantonio Colonna, when the first edition of this book was published in November 2017. When his identity was later uncovered, his membership in the Knights of Malta, a Catholic lay religious order, was suspended.
Click on the links below to see my reviews of other books written by Catholic authors that are extremely critical of Francis: