Pope says right-wing fundamentalists have an illness

Pope Francis has been particularly critical of right-wing Christian fundamentalism. Now he has spoken out again.

During a daily Mass, Pope Francis called ideological Christianity “an illness” that doesn’t serve Jesus Christ. Instead, it “frightens” people and pushes them away from religion.

He said:

“In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements. The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people. But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh?”



14 thoughts on “Pope says right-wing fundamentalists have an illness

  1. Do you know that this pope is becoming so popular that lapsed Catholics are actually talking about the possibility of them going back to church. That’s awesome!


  2. I wonder what Jesus would have done against priest marrying priest, given that the last book of the Bible talks about homosexuals not inheriting the earth. Bearing in mind that the book of Revelation is introduced as “the revelation of Jesus Christ”. This pope is actually going down the very slope that popes in the middle ages went down, ie condemn anyone that holds a Christian viewpoint different to whatever the flavour of the month catholic viewpoint is. First they are sick, then they send the men in the whitecoats, then they fully persecute people.


    • One has to ask themselves by what theological (or otherwise) standards does the current pope categorise someone as being sick? The question that should be asked is not whether the right wing fundamentalists are sick but whether they are following what the Bible actually says or not.

      The current pope would do well to remember that during his ministry, Jesus was claimed to be sick by those who would compromise heavenly doctrines in exchange for whatever was the flavour of the month theory within Judaism. Given the Catholic church’s behaviour regarding paedophile priests, we can also say that the Popes are sick! And we are doing this because we believe in the fundamental right of the child to be protected from paedophiles. But what has this pope done? He comes from Argentina where the age of consent is around 13. Whilst he condemns us fundamentalists as sick, he’s been largely silent on the fact that in Argentina one can have sexual relations with a 13 year old under some circumstances


    • I think the Pope is asking people to be more like Jesus. Jesus wasn’t a right-wing fundamentalist. Clearly, Pope Francis isn’t fond of the extreme ideals of the Christian Right. He says they have abandoned the true teachings of Jesus to pursue an extremist agenda. He supports helping the poor. He believes in economic fairness. He renounces hatred of people who are different.. He thinks the ideological fanaticism of right-wing Christians has damaged religion. And he is right to call them out.


    • Ah davinci,
      I dont know that I’d press the female age of consent too far. After all, the ‘Virgin’ Mary was most likely somewhere around the 13 to 15 year mark when she took up with Joseph.

      I must say too that I’m very grateful that I’m not hooked into taking as literal all the obscure and bizarre things that are offered in the Book of Revelation!

      (I guess more reason for you to shake your head in sorrow for my unsaved state.)


      • This was on the ABC news last night and I found it rather shocking. Back in my day 12 year old girls having sex was unheard of:

        Chlamydia epidemic may cause rise in infertility among young Australians, experts warn

        Health experts are warning that an epidemic of chlamydia may herald a wave of infertility among young Australians.

        Last year, nearly 83,000 Australians under age 24 tested positive for the common sexually transmitted infection.

        Alarmingly, a high rate of chlamydia has been found in girls aged as young as 12.

        Professor David Wilson from the Kirby Institute says the figures are the top of the iceberg.

        “We know that there are many more Australians out there who are undiagnosed,” he said.

        “We know that because we’ve gone out and tested people in rural, remote and urban settings in every state and territory, and we’ve found one in 20 young Australians have chlamydia.

        “We estimate about 500,000 young Australians have chlamydia right now.”

        Doctors say if chlamydia in any young person is not detected, then there is a significant risk of infertility and complications down the track.

        “To start with it’s often asymptomatic. They’re not aware of it,” Professor Wilson said.

        “But down the line what’s often likely to occur is that they might get pelvic inflammatory disease, that’s effectively pain in the pelvic region. Following that, what it can lead to is infertility.

        “So, many young women are likely to want to get pregnant in the future, and they might be precluded from doing that because they had chlamydia in the past.”

        Professor Wilson’s research colleague Carol el-Hayek has analysed data from five states over three years.

        She found 13 per cent of 12 to 15-year-old girls tested for sexually transmitted infections carried chlamydia.

        “Twelve to 15-year-olds are sexually active. The fact that they’re testing for STIs or that doctors are testing them for STIs means that they are practising sex, and they’re probably practising unsafe sex,” she said.

        Safe sex message falls off the radar

        Professor Wilson says there has been a substantial trend towards people having sex at a younger age.

        “I think our main messaging through schools, but more importantly through the home, through parents, and then through friends, the social media and other educational messages are not getting through most appropriately,” he said.

        Dr Anna McNulty from the Sydney Sexual Health Centre says chlamydia is easy to detect, easy to test for and easy to treat.

        “I would encourage all young people who are sexually active to either see their GP or find a service; Google sexual health and find their closest service and find their closest service and seek some testing,” she said.

        One of Sydney’s biggest fertility clinics, Sydney IVF, says the safe sex message has fallen from the public radar.

        The clinic says it is expecting fallopian tube-related infertility to steadily increase over the next few years as a result of increased chlamydia infections.”


      • Ah Rian,
        Always ignoring the facts.
        In ancient Jewish society there was no engagement and marriage as we know it today. Instead they had:
        – Betrothal (or Contract) which was to all intents and purpose marriage. Known as Ketubbah.
        – Consumation. This did not happen the night that the two people were married. It could happen as long as 7 years later. Thus Jacob married Leah and Rachel but waited some 14 years later until they consumated the marriage. The ancient historian Josephus tells us that Herod the Great had to wait 4 years till he consumated his marriage to Mariamne. In the case of Joseph and Mary we are told that he was her husband, but her pregnancy began before “he came to her” in other words before they consumated the marriage.
        – Wedding Celebration – Unlike today, ancient Jewish wedding celebration (such as the one at Cana) happened after consumation.

        There is Biblical proof to indicate that in the case of Mary, she would have been more mature than 12 or 13 years of age (Mary’s song is thought by biblical scholars to have been written by a mature adult not a teenager).

        Thus the shoe is on the other foot. I can use the age of consent against the Pope and Argentitinans because in Argentina, the age of consent means the age when people are allowed to have sex together (which is 14). In the case of Joseph and Mary it would have been longer than 14.

        This is also supported by the marriage practices in Islam today. We often hear of arranged marriages where they have girls that are less than 12 years old. Legally they can be married but the marriage cannot be consumated until they are of sexual maturity (which is around 16).


      • Actually Rian,
        “She took up with Joseph”? As what? In cohabiting with him perhaps? How about reading what the Bible actually says on the matter instead of making baseless comments.


      • Ah davinci,
        Well I must say that your little critique of my comment on the age of Mary the mother of Jesus was quite welcome. It spurred me on to do some double checking back on the subject. It was some forty odd years back that I started doing slide illustrated lectures on Christian topics; and a favourite topic, which inspired some six or more of my presentations, was on Mariology. Over the years, I acquired a moderately large and authoritative library about the subject, along with an accumulation of five hundred or more illustrations from famous art of the last 2000 years. These talks were given to Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches and groups, as well as some non-Christian societies.

        Anyway, my check-up confirmed just what I had written in the recent posting here, with of course many extra details about Jewish marriage customs and laws. It also covered the views that are held by the major Christian authorities of the last few centuries about the Testamental views on Mary. Again and again I read that the young Jewish girl of the Second Temple period was commonly regarded as ready for marriage from the age of twelve and a half. And a suitable husband was sought for at that stage. The appropriate young men were aged from about sixteen to twenty. Any unnecessarydelays in pregnancies and birth of boys were not the things that families would in any way appreciate in those days.

        I have always been aware that the Betrothal was a legally binding state and period, which commonly lasted for twelve months, – and normally concluded with the family rites and actual wedding performed at the home of the groom to be. By the conclusion of that year, the young groom was expected to have saved the amount of money for the ‘Bride Price’. It was taken for granted that the consummation of the marriage would not take place until the actual occasion and celebration of the wedding. It usually did! And the custom was frequently maintained of displaying the requisite blood stained sheet from the marriage bed to the guests; and this object was not uncommonly preserved from then on. I must say that any delaying of the consummation was rare. It was a rule you may not be aware of that if a newly married young man had to go in the army, such demand must be delayed for twelve months to allow the normal relationship of the newly weds to take place.

        I felt a bit dubious about your claim on the seven year wait for this wedding as it was not a matter that I had come across before. It was only when I checked a number of sites on the Internet that I found such a delay MIGHT occur on just odd occasions when the groom to be was battling to raise the suitable Bride price, and it harked back to OT stories. However, the Apocryphal story of Tobit didn’t give any time of delay at all. Again and again it was merely the one year that was quoted as normal.

        So when I went to check the details, I immediately pulled out 15 books from my collection. Top Catholic scholars like Henri Daniel-Rops; John McHugh (one of the authorities who worked on the Jerusalem Bible); Joseph Patsch; and Andrew Greeley. Another was the top Vatican Marian scholar of the 1950s Gabriele Roschini. Then there were some Protestant writers like the Lutheran Giovanni Miegge; as well as independent scholars like Geoffrey Ashe, Geoffrey Parrinder, Marcello Craveri, Tom Horner, Marina Warner, Uta Ranke-Heinemann and Gerd Ludemann. Finally there were a couple of relevant books by the great Jewish scholar Geza Vermes. My quick check of the Internet gave me as well, a few more commentaries to look up. The latest age that any of these authorities suggested for Mary as mother was sixteen, that only one or two quoted anyway. The claim that the Magnificat was of a kind or quality that only a much more mature young lady could compose, doesnt sit well in view of the fact that most modern authorities deny that she even ‘sang’ it at all. The passage is typical of the kinds of speeches or songs that old writers would put in the mouths of famous people. It is well known too that certain early copies of the Testament put the Magnificat into the mouth of Elizabeth instead. Probably more suitably too.

        I recall with amusement how our old mate the ‘Prophet HUP’ tossed at me that I claimed to be an ‘expert on all things Christian’! It was not so of course. What I had actually said that in the subjects covered by my lectures, I had a ‘certain expertise’. But – I DO know about Mariology – the history, the doctrines, the Scripture accounts and the legends. So dear boy, I stand by what I wrote. Just don’t jump to conclusions again in future.



  3. I must say that Pope Francis really gets me thinking, like no other pope before him could.

    The new religious fundamentalists? Millennial Christians.

    “An easy way to define Christian fundamentalism is adding rules to the Bible, or elevating things beyond how Scripture elevates them. It’s an attitude of pride. It gets in shouting matches (or tweeting matches) with anyone who disagrees. And in American Christian culture, I still see a lot of that.

    There is a weird subsection of young Christians today who are almost reverse fundamentalists, but they are still fundamentalists. They look at the older generation who say in good conscience Christians shouldn’t drink beer, and they respond, “We are definitely drinking beer. Freedom in Christ!” Or they see those Christians who say you have to dress up for church service, and they say, “We are only going to wear skinny jeans and v-neck T-shirts in church.” They are better defined by what they are against than by what they are for. They are doing the exact same thing as what they are defining themselves against. They are elevating behavior, clothing, and other secondary issues as requirements to gain access to heaven. It’s a sickness in all of us to put our righteousness and dependence in absolutely anything except Jesus, and if we think we aren’t doing that, it usually means it’s even worse.

    The fundamentalists of our parents’s generation are still around, but they are not nearly as prevalent today. Fundamentalists don’t always wear suits. Sometimes they wear skinny jeans. Sometimes they have a Macbook pro, a vanilla latte (soy of course), and wear that beanie on their head that barely looks like it’s hanging on. Sometimes they say you have to be able to drink beer to be a real Christian. Sometimes they only allow dirty grunge rock in their church service and make flannels mandatory to play in the worship band.

    Here’s a quick note though: if you care more about flaunting your Christian freedom than promoting Christian unity, you’re probably not free. You are actually a slave to your so-called freedom.

    True freedom is being able to give up all your rights for another out of love—and that’s what the church is supposed to be. A peculiar people who serve one another, give up possessions for each other, who love each other, and who depend whole-heartedly on each other. And if we are honest, my generation is not just repelled to some of those concepts, but we are actually terrified.

    To be frank, we need to get over ourselves. Now hear me say this loud and clear—if there’s hurt, if there’s shame, and there’s bruises from the church on you—I’m not talking to you. We owe you an apology. Jesus isn’t like that. You didn’t deserve that. You are more than what happened to you.

    But to those who would rather go to church behind a computer screen, rather than flesh and blood, person on person, we need to realize we are heading towards destruction. The beauty of the church is in the vulnerability of its people. And with our social media culture, where we are more cropped and edited than ever before, we have to try even harder to be intentional about this. If we aren’t, we might just become the thing we hate. Defining yourselves by what you’re against is like running in a circle. At first you think you’re running away but sooner or later you’ll be right back where the problem was in the first place.”


  4. I don’t actually think he said ‘right-wing’ fundamentalists.

    “Some are already using the Pope’s comments as ideological ammunition against the American right. One DailyKos contributor wrote in response that Jesus “was a passionate progressive,” and the Pope’s words make it appear “God is being revealed as a democrat.” Some headlines on the matter automatically add “right-wing” to the description of what the Pope has eschewed, despite his statements clearly denouncing political partisanship as a religious vehicle.”


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