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The Big Reveal

Yeah, and I'd have got away with it too if I were the pope... Oh wait...

Yeah, and I’d have got away with it too if I’d been the pope… Oh wait…

Do you know that movie cliché wherein after chasing the bad guys for half the movie, the team finally has him cornered only to have one of their own take their pointed gun and slowly turn it on our hero, dashing hopes that this stupid movie would be mercifully short? Even in the best-made movies that employ this story mechanism, it should have been obvious to anyone paying attention that the mole’s loyalties lay elsewhere, that perhaps he is even the story’s true antagonist.

This movie conceit is called the “big reveal.”

The problem is that most movie-makers are hacks and they give away the identity of the true villain when they think they are hiding it, a little too much information here or there that lets you know something is up.

If you love movies and moviemaking the way I do, you become quite adept at figuring out the little signals that show you the identity of the true villain. It can be quite frustrating as, many times, it ruins the story for you as your ability to suspend disbelief erodes under the force of the obvious manipulations of hack directors and writers.

At the beginning of the Pope Francis story, I was willing to suspend disbelief. I gave him copious benefit of the doubt that, like all popes should, he would try and protect the Church and her beliefs from a world that hates them. But over time, the signs just became too obvious. His speeches, his interviews, his phone calls, Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si, and in particular the Synod and all its appointments and machinations made abundantly clear to anyone paying attention the Pope’s true character and intentions.

For some time I have felt like a movie-goer who figured out the whole plot ten minutes into the show and is now just eating popcorn while waiting for the big reveal, so everyone else can catch up.

But it seems that the big reveal has happened, the big Scooby-Doo moment wherein the mask is pulled off and we see who is really behind it all.

In a series of speeches, at the beginning of the Synod, at its end, and then again yesterday, along with his recent Scalfari interview, his mask seems to be off and he is telling us exactly what he plans to do.  In other words, he is revealed as the villain in the story, and he is now monologuing, telling us his villainous plans, because that is what they do.

A few excerpts:

From his opening speech at the Synod.

“Finally, the synodal process culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, called upon to speak authoritatively as ‘Shepherd and Teacher of all Christians’: not on the basis of his personal beliefs, but as the supreme witness of the Faith of the whole Church, the guarantor of the Church’s conformity with and obedience to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ and the Tradition of the Church.”


* * *
Closing speech of the Synod.

It [the Synod] was also about laying closed hearts, which bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families… And – apart from dogmatic questions clearly defined by the Church’s Magisterium – we have also seen that what seems normal for a bishop on one continent, is considered strange and almost scandalous – almost! – for a bishop from another; what is considered a violation of a right in one society is an evident and inviolable rule in another; what for some is freedom of conscience is for others simply confusion.

“Cultures are in fact quite diverse, and every general principle – as I said, dogmatic questions clearly defined by the Church’s magisterium – every general principle needs to be inculturated, if it is to be respected and applied. The 1985 Synod, which celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, spoke of inculturation as “the intimate transformation of authentic cultural values through their integration in Christianity, and the taking root of Christianity in the various human cultures”. Inculturation does not weaken true values, but demonstrates their true strength and authenticity, since they adapt without changing; indeed they quietly and gradually transform the different cultures.”

* * *
Rorate translation of the Scalfari interview.

The diverse opinion of the bishops is part of this modernity of the Church and of the diverse societies in which she operated, but the goal is the same, and for that which regards the admission of the divorced to the Sacraments, [it] confirms that this principle has been accepted by the Synod. This is bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted.”

* * *
And just this week we have his November 10th speech to the national conference of the Italian church.

“Before the problems of the church it is not useful to search for solutions in conservatism or fundamentalism, in the restoration of obsolete conduct and forms that no longer have the capacity of being significant culturally,” the pontiff said at one point during his remarks.

“Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives – but is alive, knows being unsettled, enlivened,” said the pope. “It has a face that is not rigid, it has a body that moves and grows, it has a soft flesh: it is called Jesus Christ.”

“The reform of the church then, and the church is semper reformanda… does not end in the umpteenth plan to change structures,” he continued. “It means instead grafting yourself to and rooting yourself in Christ, leaving yourself to be guided by the Spirit – so that all will be possible with genius and creativity.”

* * *

The Pope has revealed himself and is telling us what he is going to do.
It is impossible not to see him for who he is and what he intends to do. Nobody has the luxury of feigning surprise at what comes next. The Pope is the hackneyed director and writer of his own story and he has given it all away.

In the movies, the mechanism of the “big reveal” serves two purposes. It serves the obvious purpose of letting the audience clearly know which side this key character is on. It also serves to let the story’s protagonist know that his cause is futile. He cannot possibly win.

It seems we might be at the point in this papacy where the Pope feels it necessary for everyone to know where he stands and to let the opposition know that they cannot possibly prevail.

There is one more common movie conceit I hope to see. Sometimes, after the big reveal, that character repents of his choices and chooses the side of good.

We must always and continuously pray for the Pope as we must also oppose him in his plans.

May God help His Church.


43 thoughts on “The Big Reveal”

  1. ChurchWeather says:

    I disagree Johnny. That the Pope’s words have needed clarification is one thing; that he is doing “grave damage” is a serious and divisive allegation that is quite unfounded. What doctrines has he changed? What “faith and morals” has the Pope altered? None. None! Moreover, he has challenged the faithful to start living the faith instead of just defending it. I would advise reading the homilies and full texts of the Pope’s teachings rather than getting them from the media. And read them in the context of the Catechism: that is the sure guard against naive assumptions.

  2. Johnny Midnyte says:

    The Church will exist even if there is only one validly ordained priest alive. What of it? To deny that this particular pontiff is doing grave damage to the Church with almost every one of his blithering statements indicates a naivete not becoming a Catholic.

  3. Brian McFadden says:

    no, he hasn’t. please site canon law and new revisions. you’re assuming.

  4. Brian McFadden says:

    Who ever said they get a free pass? They need to hear the word, and be in the presence of our Lord. If just one soul confesses and repents isn’t that a victory?

  5. ruralCatholic says:

    But, no Karen…remember the “YOU’RE EATING PEOPLE!!” In the denouement of Soylent Green, and nobody cared? I really don’t think most Catholics really care anymore, as they’re inured to heresy by their heretical priests they see every Sunday.

  6. Brian McFadden says:

    when and where was it said that no repentance was needed? who ever said “get in line and enjoy the wine?” I believe the intent is to show love and compassion AND show we’re all sinners who need His mercy.

  7. Lynda says:

    We pray for both.

  8. Orion says:

    Since this article was published, more news has helped fill in the details of what the article above calls the “big reveal”:

    1) Selective compassion: dangerous step Pope might take could lead to “nightmare scenario”:

    2) What will the Pope say? His friends tell us:

    3) The Synod Has Lost Its Way, But There’s the Jesuit’s Compass:

    4) Pope Francis stirs debate on Lutheran spouses of Catholics receiving Communion:

  9. Hugh says:

    Spot on. One is simply not a Catholic who vigorously recites all the articles of the Apostles’ Creed, yet ends with “… the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, life everlasting, and the Great Pumpkin on the planet Zog. Amen.”

  10. Carolyn C says:

    “it should have been obvious to anyone paying attention that the mole’s loyalties lay elsewhere” interesting….

  11. Orion says:

    My comment was sincere. I really didn’t get what the pope’s statements add up to. Thanks for your explanation, it is helpful.

  12. Orion says:

    Thank you very much for this concise, informative, and persuasive explanation. It’s just what I needed. It was hard for me to connect the dots of the various statements from the pope that I’ve heard. Often his words are so vague, I am simply left confused. I hope and pray that you are wrong about the pope’s intentions. But, tragically, your analysis is plausible. If your interpretation of Pope Francis is correct, I suppose it is an example of the diabolical disorientation that Sister Lucy warned about. I really hope you are wrong.

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  15. parishonerusa says:

    I love all much more than Pope Francis does. I really can empathize with a person separated from Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. I know that if I were separated from the true body and blood of Christ Jesus by sin and someone came along and tricked me into receiving unworthily and thereby eating and drinking judgement upon myself, I would feel betrayed and not loved by that person when I found out what I had done. When that separated person realizes that the Eucharist truly is the body and blood of Christ he or she will be very upset with the person who told him, “Whatever, get in line buddy, we love you and everyone, have some bread, drink some wine, cheers! Love, love, love, and accompany, woohoo!” Love and empathy have meaning and encouraging someone in mortal sin to receive Holy Communion is the opposite of love.

  16. MarcAlcan says:

    I’m assuming the author, Patrick, is either a Protestant, or a Catholic who does not know Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Because the “Big Reveal” will be this: no matter how good or bad a leader Francis is; no matter how moral or immoral his personal life; no matter now liberal or conservative, progressive or orthodox, left-leaning or right-leaning…. THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST THE CHURCH

    That is true. But Jesus never said that He will not allow Satan to do his darnest. Maybe what we are witnessing now in the Church is Satan in full force – his last hurrah where he concentrates all his cunning and all his subtlety to deceive. While he may not triumph, many souls will be in danger.

    What the Pope is saying simply, oh so simply, is that we aren’t evangelizing a bloody soul by being careerists, hiding behind pulpits, enclosed in gated diocesan offices, or casting stones at all those evil people out there

    Except that he said and did much, much more than that.

  17. MarcAlcan says:

    As I’ve said in another post, if doctrine is not touched, but practice that is contrary to doctrine is promoted, then the Pope is in fact saying that the new way of the Church is hypocrisy – that vice that Christ condemned in the Pharisees. Is hypocrisy now to the be the new virtue?

  18. What.Ever. says:

    If by “evangelizing” you mean completely undermining the 6th commandment, the Sacrament of Matrimony, and spitting on the Eucharist. So, is it “orthodox” to hand out communion like crackers at kindergarten circle time? Come on everybody, join in the community meal cuz it would be too careerist to point out that the Eucharist actually has meaning. Is it orthodox to kick the stool out from under the dude with the rope around his neck? Cuz that’s what you do when you say there’s no need for repentance. Awesome! I wish I could be that orthodox!

  19. What.Ever. says:


  20. What.Ever. says:

    Uh. So they “come back” because they know they get a free pass. No repentance needed. Just come on in. Don’t bother with changing your ways. Don’t worry about sin. Everyone gets to play tennis in heaven. “Are you saying he’s destroying the church?” In a word: yes.

  21. Aaron Baugher says:

    He intends to make Communion available to Catholics in adulterous and perverted relationships, and probably to baptized non-Catholics. That’s why he recently called the Eucharist “a school of inclusion, in which we learn to be attentive to the needs of everyone.” It’s why he’s been talking about an “ecumenism of blood,” misconstruing the doctrine of Baptism of Blood to further blur the lines between Catholics and other Christians. It’s why he’s been slamming people for caring about “outdated forms that even culturally aren’t able to be meaningful.” What “outdated forms” might those be?

    It all adds up to: the rules should be discarded in favor of niceness, there’s really nothing critical separating Catholics from non-Catholics, and Communion should be used as a tool of ecumenical outreach. Not in the proselytizing (another bad word in Francis-land) sense of, “You should convert so that you can receive the Body of Christ”; but in the marketing sense of, “Here, join us for our Communion meal, so that you can see how welcoming and kind we are, and maybe you’ll want to become one of us, but if you don’t, that’s totally cool too, just be a good person and God will be pleased.”

    Now, whether he’ll do that by fiat, I couldn’t guess. He was clearly upset that the synod didn’t give him as much cover as he wanted. He doesn’t want to cause a backlash. My guess is that he’ll release something that doesn’t clearly approve it, so conservatives will breathe a sigh of relief; but it will have enough vague and obfuscating language that bishops and priests who want to do it will feel like they have enough cover to go ahead. So it’ll happen first in the more liberal parishes and dioceses, and then spread as people get used to it, like so many other post-Vatican II innovations.

    It’s important to remember what Pope St. Pius X said about modernists: “It is one of the cleverest devices of the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement, in a scattered and disjointed manner, so as to make it appear as if their minds were in doubt or hesitation, whereas in reality they are quite fixed and steadfast.” You can’t read a few quotes and expect to find a smoking gun right away, because they rarely say what they intend that clearly (though Francis comes close). You have to look at everything they say and do — and especially what they don’t say and do — and judge it as a whole.

  22. Karen Hall says:

    Now we just need someone, anyone, yelling, “The pope is a friggin’ heretic!” at the top of his red-hatted lungs.

  23. Noah_Vaile says:

    Sometimes, just as the treacherous one is about to pull the trigger and kill our hero… a natural disaster (earhquake, avalanche, random cannon shell, heart attack) happens and he is killed, revealing the hero in a new light. That of being favored by God.
    Sometimes that happens.

  24. MAJohnson says:

    Ok. I’ll bite on this one since no one else has. The big reveal: Francis supports the Kaspar proposal and has all along. The Synod was a farce as he plans on promoting the proposal no matter the degree of opposition from the Bishops. The decision was made long ago. Plans: Allow unrepentant sinners access to Holy Communion in the name of mercy – but in actuality – this is a departure from the deposit of faith and is only an exercise in false mercy. It essentially establishes a whole new church. Apostasy starts at the top, and it will be up to individual Bishops to decide to follow or not. And if your intent, Orion, is to argue with me, don’t bother. I’m just answering your question and don’t want to discuss this further. I’m disgusted and disappointed enough in this pope as it is.

  25. Nick says:

    Food for thought:

    Pope Francis has appointed radically liberal, pro-homosexual Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe as a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

    Prominent Dominican publishes book claiming Thomas Aquinas said homosexuality is ‘natural’

    The dots seem to connect.

  26. Guest says:

    The gates of hell is the death dealing tongue of heretics. If Jorge is really the Rock then that means the Rock is now a gate of hell.

  27. Guest says:

    This man is known as a pope but he’s not even Catholic. At what point do we stop hoping the Roman pontiff will convert to Roman Catholicism and start begging God to save us from this apostate and his false religion?

  28. antigon says:

    In particular a prelate known as Benedict XVI who, invoking principles applied to annulments, should announce that as he did not have sufficient grasp of his action when he resigned, it was therefore invalid, as are all the acts undertaken from the Vatican since.
    The split of what folks would consider another dual papacy would have its difficulties to be sure, albeit none remotely as savage as the current assault on the Faith from the effectively apostate clericalists & their champion.
    And would very likely clarify the distinctions between that Faith, over against the half-century clericalist assault on Her this past half century, & counting.

  29. antigon says:

    And in a manner that, not to put too fine a point on it, effectively deletes all seriousness about matrimony, & thus the Sacrament itself, were there any validity to what those changed canons propose.

  30. Sanctus 3 says:

    One note: he already has changed Canon Law with respect to annulments.

  31. Johnny Midnyte says:

    The only pharisees in this equation are Francis and his lackeys. But unlike the pharisees, not only should we not do as they do, we should likewise not listen to anything they say either. The gates of hell will surely not prevail, but Our Lord never promised that hell wouldn’t make numerous successful incursions, as Church history and the present day prove all too well.

  32. ChurchWeather says:

    I’m assuming the author, Patrick, is either a Protestant, or a Catholic who does not know Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Because the “Big Reveal” will be this: no matter how good or bad a leader Francis is; no matter how moral or immoral his personal life; no matter now liberal or conservative, progressive or orthodox, left-leaning or right-leaning…. THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST THE CHURCH. That is, the faith and morals of the Church will remain in tact as they have for 2000 years. Either that, or Jesus lied when He said Peter is “rock”. What the Pope is saying simply, oh so simply, is that we aren’t evangelizing a bloody soul by being careerists, hiding behind pulpits, enclosed in gated diocesan offices, or casting stones at all those evil people out there. What this really is all about is vanity: orthodox Catholics wanting a Pope to tell them how orthodox they are, how well they’re keeping the rules, how terrible the culture of death is (because we’ve never heard that before). But not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I’m as orthodox as any Catholic out there… but without love, says Paul, I am nothing. No, the big reveal is that Pope Francis is exposing our sterility… and it’s ticking the pharisees off.

  33. 3221 says:

    When will someone is ecclesiastical authority stand up and state that we have an apostate pope? It is this naïve ‘hope’ that he will change that is so maddening. He will not. He is an apostate and he knows what he is doing. I pray for his soul, but I do not hold any hope that he will see the light of his errors. He is determined to destroy the Church. Are there no courageous prelates at all? Name it for what it is and who he is.

  34. TF says:

    So the people who should strike down the evil villain while he’s monologuing don’t do it real life either. Interesting . . .

  35. bosco49 says:

    Pat, you observe:

    “Sometimes, after the big reveal, that character repents of his choices and chooses the side of good.”

    Here’s a movie that ends perfectly (eventually) for you. Pat O’Brien and James Cagney (Bogey is in this too) “Angels with Dirty Faces” (1938)

  36. Brian McFadden says:

    that’s way too cerebral for me…I don’t get the big reveal. are you saying he’s destroying the church? are you saying he’s out to transform church doctrine, canon law? to me, it looks like he’s sticking to the law, but at the same time showing love and empathy for all. I definitely was more fond of papa benedict, however, francis has folks looking into our beautiful church…coming back to mother church, who may have never otherwise.

  37. Orion says:

    I am sorry, please forgive my thick-headedness, but it is not clear to me just what the pope’s plans are from the cited quotations. May I ask if you would please summarize from me the bottom-line takeaway from these quotes? Maybe in one sentence? What is the big reveal?

  38. Aaron Baugher says:

    Yes, his intentions are all there in black and white, repeated enough times that there’s no mistake. If he were a political leader, or the leader of any other church, there would be no question what he believes and what his intentions are. But because he sits on the See of Peter, people think, “No, it just can’t be what it looks like. The pope can’t intend that.” Well, maybe the pope can’t, but that’s another question. It’s clear what Francis intends. Whether he’ll be allowed to do it….that’s another question too.

    Since Vatican II, conservative Catholic prelates and commentators have become very good at parsing through documents and speeches and picking out sections that can be interpreted as orthodox and shrugging off the rest. With Francis, there may only be a couple such sentences in a speech, but they will still find one and run to Twitter with it: “See? This 140 character snippet sounds totally Catholic, doesn’t it?” Sorry, that’s not good enough. The entire document or sermon from a pope should sound Catholic — and an orthodox interpretation of it should be the easiest and most obvious interpretation, not just a possible one if you squint at it just right.

  39. Deacon_Augustine says:

    “Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives – but is alive, knows being unsettled, enlivened,….It has a face that is not rigid, it has a body that moves and grows, it has a soft flesh:”

    Funny how at the start of the synod he was saying that doctrine would not be touched – remember? Then he was saying it was all about pastoral “accompaniment.” Now its over, he’s giving us all this bullcrap about “flexible” doctrine as though the Jesus of yesterday will be different from the Jesus of today.

    Yes, the “big reveal” is in and it just shows what an untrustworthy character he is. But I guess those of us who have been paying attention knew that anyway. I just pray to God for his sake that this can all be put down to his senility and brain tumour. The alternative would mean that he is a very evil man.

  40. Two2trees says:

    If this “character” were not the Holy Father, I’d stop reading the gibbering gobbledygook doublespeak at paragraph 2.

    I do not want to poo-poo the Hope expressed, but i think Miss Barnhardt’s call to readiness against an impending assault by the enemy is probably prudent.

  41. Sarony says:

    I believe Francis is also referring back to Luther in the ‘always reforming itself’ meme. That figures.

  42. Inocencio Rangel says:

    Here is the quote that made it very clear to me that things were going to get much worse.

    “The world has changed and the Church cannot lock itself into alleged interpretations of dogma. We have to approach social conflicts, new and old, and try to give a hand of comfort, not to stigmatize and not to just impugn,”

    “alleged interpretations of dogma” = nothing is sacred

    We need to keep the faith that has been handed on to us specifically that which has been taught always, everywhere and to all (St. Vincent of Lerins) and strive to deepen our relationship with Christ so that our suffering may be redemptive.

    Take care and God bless,

  43. Maggie says:

    Oh, those nasty ones that hide behind the teachings of Christ! What good have they ever done? They must now be FORCED to bow to modernity in our diverse new world order.

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