PopeWatch: Living as if God Did Not Exist



Pope Francis uttered a phrase that sums up the spiritual emptiness of much of the West:



In a historic encounter, Francis met in the Vatican with a delegation from the Conference of European Rabbis, the first time a pope has ever met with the Conference.

The Pope underscored that all Christians “must be firm in deploring all forms of anti-Semitism, and in showing their solidarity with the Jewish people.” He also remarked on the recent seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the concentration camp “which has come to be synonymous with the great tragedy of the Shoah.”

“The memory of what took place there, in the heart of Europe, is a warning to present and future generations,” he said.

“Acts of hatred and violence against Christians and the faithful of other religions must likewise be condemned everywhere,” he added.

Pope Francis also proposed that in the face of rampant secularism in Europe and other parts of the world, Jews and Christians have a co-responsibility to keep faith in God alive. Both Jews and Christians, he said, have “the blessing but also the responsibility to help preserve the religious sense of the men and women of today, and that of our society.”

European society, he said, is “increasingly marked by secularism and threatened by atheism,” and “we run the risk of living as if God did not exist.”

Go here to read the rest.  “Living as if God did not exist”, might well be the epitaph for our Age.

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  1. “All Christians must be firm in deploring all forms of anti-semitism, and in showing their solidarity with the Jewish people”

    That’s all fine and dandy.

    But excuse me whilst I weep for the Christians currently being murdered in the Middle East.

    Pope Francis, why are you wasting your time with this waffle, when your fellow brother in Christ is shedding his blood RIGHT NOW.

  2. Ezabelle,
    I think because it is easy, painless, and it garners favor among the carnals and worldlies.

  3. Ezabelle, we have had our disagreements in the past, but we’re both on the same page here. The Pope needs to pay more attention to the martyrs of our faith.

  4. I have to disagree with these comments.
    Pope Francis has spoken out frequently and even monthly on the subject of Christian persecution. He has even come extremely close to justifying military action to destroy the Islamic State. Anyone who says otherwise is not paying attention.

    The only valid criticism is that he has shown a reluctance to speak on individual cases where the people involved are still alive. For instance, he met with the family of Aasiya Noreen (aka Asia Bibi), the Pakistani woman convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 2009 at the Vatican on April 15, 2015; he gave his blessing to her husband and youngest daughter, but was not recorded as saying anything momentous to them. Likewise he lauded over Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag’s defense of the Faith when she arrived in Rome on July 24, 2014, but said nothing until her escape from Sudan, which the Vatican helped facilitate along with the Italian and U.S. governments.

    If we are going to criticize Pope Francis on this matter, we should remember that Pope Pius XII did the same with Christians in World War 2, and many people today maintain that Pius was justified in the face of Nazi ruthlessness. So my take is that Francis’ critics on this matter must either 1) tar Pius with the same brush, or 2) be prepared to explain in detail why the cases are sufficiently dissimilar to treat Francis differently than Pius (and the key word here is ‘sufficiently’ – of course there are surface dissimilarities). Any other tack is ignorant or hypocritical.

  5. We need to remember the Holocaust of the Jews in the last century precisely because both liberal progressive Democrats in the West and Islamic fanatic in the East will repeat that holocaust against Christians. The Devil hates the Jews because Christ came from the Jews and is a Jew. The Devil hates Christians because Christians are the Body of Christ, the inheritors of the Promise given to the Jews. It is the same hatred, whether Jew or Christian is the target of Liberal and Islamist.

  6. By meeting with the heads of the Jewish Faith, the Pope- the head of the Catholic Faith, is sending a message to Islam that we, Christians, despise you, Muslims. There is no greater hatred than that between Islam and Judaism- no greater is their scorn for each other. By meeting with Jewish heads, he is adding to the vulnerability of the defense less Middle Eastern Christians.

    The Pope needs to speak out to the point where he forces- FORCES- the west to intervene or put in place mechanisms of protection for the Arab Christians. This is his responsibility.

    Pope Pius was not responsible for protecting the Jews. I’m not saying he should t have protected them, but he was not the head of the Jewish Faith. His allegiance is to the Christians. Full stop.

    The Holy Father- “Father”- means a father should protect his own.

    The Pope needs to be relentless, unforgiving and constant about this until it stops.

    Not waffling up history of the Jews and the Armenians. That was in the past. This is NOW. Right now.

  7. Paul and Tom- maybe we should speak up to defend our Christian brothers.

    I wander that the energy and vigour you put into your comment to write a combined 53 line comment, could have been used to speak up for the murdered Christians in Kenya, Ethiopia, Syria, Iraq …. Rather than defend the Pope

    The silence of the West speaks volumes- from the top, to the individual.

    20 people are shot dead in a school massacre in the US and it generates outrage.

    Why is this different?!

    We’ll wake up again tomorrow and there’ll be more news of yet another Christian massacre. And it will be dubbed the targeting of minorities. “Minorities ‘? Is that what Christians are- mere “minorities”. Are we “minorities ” to the Holy Father.

    The Holy Father- head St PJPII’s example in Poland when he defeated communism. There is no one higher being than our Pope to influence and force power. Don’t get distracted along the way. The Chief Rabbi won’t utter a word in defence of these poor disciples of Christ. You must! And you must do it continually. Constantly.

  8. Secularism, atheism and living as if God doesn’t exist.

    Pretty apt and (repetitive) description of our western world. I hope it is not our epitaph.
    Ephesians 5:15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise,
    16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
    17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

  9. Sigh. Where to begin?
    “Not waffling up history of the Jews and the Armenians. That was in the past. This is NOW. Right now”
    Uh, did you notice that Armenian ARE Christian? Did you notice that the Armenian genocide of a century ago was not solitary, but rather part of a larger mass murder of Christians that included Pontic Greeks and Assyrians? And what Christians are getting killed today in Iraq ad Syria: Assyrians, Greeks and Armenians! It’s really the same conflict, only the veneer of Islamism has changed.

    “Pope Pius was not responsible for protecting the Jews.”
    Neither Paul Primavera nor I wrote anything to say so. But it is true that Jews (and yes, even Muslims) ARE our neighbors, as are people in foreign lands, and our putting our co-religious and countymen ahead of others does NOT mean we diminish our concern for others to nothingness. The parable of the Good Samaritan is quite clear on this.

    “By meeting with the heads of the Jewish Faith, the Pope- the head of the Catholic Faith, is sending a message to Islam that we, Christians, despise you, Muslims. There is no greater hatred than that between Islam and Judaism- no greater is their scorn for each other.”
    This is a rather ugly comment. It reeks of anti-Semitism and reminds one of Churchill’s maxim about feeding people to a crocodile in the hope that the feeder will be the last to be eaten. Really.

  10. “Paul and Tom- maybe we should speak up to defend our Christian brothers.
    I wander that the energy and vigour you put into your comment to write a combined 53 line comment, could have been used to speak up for the murdered Christians in Kenya, Ethiopia, Syria, Iraq”

    I have 6,000 pages of documentation that I have accumulated in the past few years. I will have a web site up and running in a few weeks based on this. I have already given public speeches on the subject to church groups.
    Please save your judgments for someone else.

  11. Sorry, should have typed “I have 6,000 pages of documentation on Christian persecution that I have accumulated in the past few years.”, just to be clear.

  12. Back to the original subject:
    Back in the 1990’s Maclin Horton wrote an article in the Catholic journal Caelum et Terra about our modern secular world called Nothing at the Center. Here is a pertinent excerpt:

    “Whether it is the bishops taking a liberal position on economics, or Pat Robertson taking a conservative position against feminism, the position is considered legitimate—not necessarily correct, but deserving a place in the debate, eligible for consideration and response—only insofar as it is framed in worldly terms. A position which is explicitly based on religion is simply thrown out—“inadmissible evidence,” as they say in law. Consider any moral question, such as sexual activity outside of marriage. Those who say that society ought to oppose it must prove that it makes people unhappy, or poor, or ill, or that it causes them to commit crimes. Try to imagine yourself appearing before the Senate and explaining that young people ought to be taught to discipline their sexual urges for the sake of their immortal souls. The idea is absurd; the government simply cannot listen to such a line of argument; it is, in a vague sort of way, prohibited by law from doing so.”

    The full article, which is logically almost unassailable, can be found at http://lightondarkwater.typepad.com/lodw/nothing-at-the-center.html

  13. Tom I wasn’t passing judgement. I only went by your comment here.

    I don’t appreciate your “sighs”.

    I am an Arab Christian. The Assyrians you refer to are both Catholic and non-Catholic. The Syrians, catholic and non.

    The Armenian genocide happened a long time ago. Why declare it a genocide now? Will the persecution of the Christians today be deemed a genocide in a 100years? What’s the point in 100 years time?

    This is happening now. If it was your family in the Middle East right now, you would feel outraged at the lack of protection they are receiving and the Pope’s sense of non-urgency about the situation.

    Why have cups of tea with Rabbis? To reiterate the holocaust decades ago?

    There is a holocaust occurring now.

    I don’t understand.

  14. I think the pope, (like me too) is growing rapidly in his faith and his understanding of the realities of the spiritual and physical warfare in this shrinking world, We don’t have the luxury of time to figure this out .
    It seems to me the pope came to his position with some ideas that he is being forced to re-think. Pray for him, he needs courage and wisdom. Stick together and understand each other’s good heart.

  15. “I don’t appreciate your “sighs”.”
    Thanks, I don’t appreciate your comments that prompted them. I’ve already written why.

    “I am an Arab Christian.”
    Actually, I suspected as much. There is a long history of Middle Eastern Christians who after centuries of living under Dhimmitde will gladly side with their Muslim oppressors against Jews as a means of survival I could name a current Patriarch of an eastern church who is a very good man in most ways but who has said some really bad anti-Semitic things. The most graphic example of this craven submission to oppression is Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy. No, we need to confront and reject this history. You need to be part of this ‘we’.

    “The Assyrians you refer to are both Catholic and non-Catholic. The Syrians, catholic and non.”
    Yes, I know. I have attended Divine Liturgies in most of them, and taken Communion in the Catholic ones. I know the difference between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox. I know who Patriarch Dinkha IV was and which church he led.
    And I agree with Pope Francis: the persecutors care nothing about these differences. We are all just Christians.

  16. Tom- I don’t side with the Muslims. It is they who are doing the killing. I didn’t need to state the obvious.

    Yes we are all Christians. Christians should defend Christians.

  17. “Ha! Pope Francis spoke on martyrdom just today. ”

    That’s not enough.

    He needs to mobilise enough support and power to oppose the Muslims.

    St JPJII, in 1978, addressed the UN Assembly, he embarked on a 9 day tour to Poland. He mobilised the heads of Church in the Soviet countries to oppose the Soviet rule. He put enough pressure in the correct places to overcome the oppression. He gave the Christians courage – “be not afraid”. He told them directly and personally. He was practical.

    Pope Francis talks about the Middle Eastern Christians in the third person. In a Homily. Where is the words of consolation or encouragement or advice? He calls the Church, the Church of Martyrs- as if to say- this problem is too difficult to tackle.

    Just lay down and die.

  18. Ezabelle,
    Simply coming from an observer, your comments about the Pope standing in solidarity the Jews do come across very bitterly. Like Christ with the Samaritan woman, or the Roman soldier and others, we are called to stand up for all the persecuted and in giving witness call them closer to Christ our Lord. This pope is puzzling to many of us, but we should applaud him when he stands up for the downtrodden – even if they are not Christians.

  19. I love Pope Francis. I love his approach and his open dialogue and pastoral approach. I’ve questioned criticisms of him on Pope Watch multiple times. I’ve defended his so-called “gaffes” and always give his approach the benefit of the doubt.

    The only thing that I have found difficult to swallow about his papacy is his weak approach in defending the Christians in the Middle East.

    Because of this, as I’ve said in numerous times above, the timing of standing in solidarity with the Jews right now when he should concentrate efforts on putting pressure helping the Christians he leads who are fighting for their very existence in the lands where Christianity was born makes me sad. The Jews don’t need his help RIGHT NOW- the Christians desperately do RIGHT NOW. We Christians call him Holy Father- a Father is meant to “look out” for the safety of his own children- Spiritually as well as Physically, is he not?

    Nobody is standing up for them or protecting them. Your own President sits by in silence does he not?

    My issue is the timing.

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