Pope Francis was elected on March 13, 2013 ascending to the throne of Peter on the day of the Feast of St Joseph a few days later. According to his own witness, he was called to the priesthood while making his confession at the Basilica of San José de Flores, located very close to the physical center of Buenos Aires. The neighborhood surrounding the Basilica was once a posh part of the city, crossed by lovely streets with old sycamores and elms. It looked pretty much like certain parts of Paris or Stockholm with a distinguished South American flair. Jorge Bergoglio grew up in those gentle days. Eventually, Juan Perón changed all that. The gentle Buenos Aires—that was already dying or almost dead when I was a small boy— is now a thing of the past. Well dressed couples holding hands no longer stroll the wide sidewalks of Rivadavia Avenue. The place is now a veritable inferno shared by streetwalkers, whore-mongers, petty thieves, street political activists, and the poor, these last piled up in clandestine dumps euphemistically called “hotels”. Those houses are the old mansions where good families used to live before the hordes of working poor invaded the city, invited by the various political administrations. You can still see traces of the old splendor, but for the most part the neighborhood around the Basilica is in ruins. That is a living metaphor of what the whole country has become since the first Progressives climbed to power in 1916.
Our present Pope belongs to the generation that caught the last glimpse of the free and prosperous Argentina, that was already declining when he was born and then kept on declining throughout his whole life. All the while the same policies of “social justice” and “protection of the local industries” were applied, leaving behind half the population in poverty, about one third living in squalor, and the other half struggling to survive in a backward economy. Today the government is discussing how to design an abortion law that will further devastate a country that once held the 5th per capita income in the world.
One hopes that the same policies that desolated Argentina—authoritarian rule coupled with vague and arbitrary law—are never applied to the governance of the Catholic Church. If that would ever happen, one could expect that the ever-vigilant eye of God will bring swift and unfailing divine intervention. In the world, the disorder brought about by Liberalism in its many flavors, is getting older. Humanity is groaning under the rule of the masters that still keep shouting: “We have no King but Caesar!”
Back then, when the tortured body of Christ stood in front of the unmerciful crowd, Pontius Pilate shouted “Here’s the man!” Jesus stood there apparently unable to do a thing. In reality he was separating the sheep from the goats. Christ was beginning his conquest of the world through love and sacrifice. His enemies were beginning their own attempt to conquer the world through treason, usury, depravity, and greed. I sense the same separation is taking place today but the forces involved now extend all over the world.
So, who is our King? Jesus is. Who is this Pope? In the mystery of Divine Providence, Francis is the Pope that God chose to lead us in these troubled times. March—the month when Francis’ will celebrate his fifth anniversary as a Pope—promises to be a very interesting month. Let us use our time well and pray for the Church, for our Pope, and our Bishops. Let us hope they choose to follow Christ no matter where he goes in this valley of tears, as the years of our life go by. Let us pray that they will not be bamboozled into following the latest ideology, remembering that the arrival of Christ is one day closer than it was yesterday.
Revelation 14: 1-5 — Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from humankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found; they are blameless.
Amos 8:11 — “Behold the days come, said the Lord, and I will send forth a famine into the land: not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord.”
Luke 19: 39-40 — “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’ ”
Matthew 28:16-20 — “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 24:45-51 — “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Please remember to pray for (and if possible donate to) this ministry during Lent season.