The Gospel Truth

The Russian Pope | January 1, 2014

Of course I know that our new pope’s name is Francis and not Vladimir!

I also believe that while this pope has the heart of an Italian and the soul of a Latin, he also has the paradoxical intellect of a Russian.

Did not Winston Churchill refer to Russia as  a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma?

Pope Francis in March 2013.jpg

Intellect of a Russian

His multiple comments about homosexuality, abortion and his hope that mankind will eventually stop fighting and just get along sends mixed messages that the left has welcomed with open arms while the Church’s conservative faithful feel abandoned…at least to some degree.

Could his approach be a good thing or just a puffed-up false sense of hope?

The left sees his ideas as with a wink and a nod that imply Francis’ Church will not condemn any of its sordid behaviors and will look the other way when Catholic politicians, the so-called Cinos-Catholics in name only–promote abortion, gay marriage and the moral and even financial collapse of Western Civilization.

Pope Francis talks about poverty a lot.  He seems to believe that capitalism or what he calls unfettered capitalism is at the root of all poverty and maybe even all evil.

I don’t think anything could be further from the truth.

I stand that with those that believe work and capitalism is the best anti-poverty program humans have ever devised.

Give someone a job and watch him or her develop self-respect, learn valuable personal skills, self-discipline, self-reliance and pride in accomplishing a task.

The people the pope hangs with seem to want to give a man a fish every day instead of teaching him how to fish.


How come  there is never a word about the dangers of an all-encompassing government that threatens religious and economy liberty and then calls it love of humanity?

Has his Latin environment with its dictatorships and social democracy blinded him to these painful realities?

Does he not realize that freedom is necessary for salvation and that all else is slavery that harms the soul as well as the body?

The pope attacks the structural aspects of poverty without focusing on its behavioral causes, such as early sexual activity, illegitimacy, failure to complete one’s education, laziness and class envy to name but a few.

As for evil this pope does not seem to mention the E-word at all.

While the pope does recognize that there is a culture war throughout the whole world he sees it strictly in medical terms.

He sees the church metaphorically as healers, offering a kind of moral wellness to all the sick souls that have been victimized by this eternal battle.

What about its warriors?  Are we to lay down our verbal swords and our public witness and stand down?  Are we to silence and quell our passion for the truth and stopping our witness to evils that the other side had perpetrated?


Not my idea of a Cultural warrior

Does the pope believe that the other side will be seduced by his open arms and his therapeutic words?

Is the Pope Francis offering terms of a truce or is this an abject surrender?

Are we who recognize the evils of abortion, euthanasia and homosexual marriage to stifle our opposition in anticipation of a new approach?

Does the pope not recognize that this is an eternal struggle between good and the evil and that it will never go away while there is a mankind?

Does the pope not recognize that sin and evil are on th other side and though they have infected millions who do need his healing touch, without a dedicated opposition of the faithful their numbers will increase exponentially?

Does he not realize that preventive medicine is often the best kind of medicine?

Do not all people need an inoculation against the falsehoods of the left, the propaganda of the powerful and the sinister allurements of big government assistance?

Is he not aware that they seek, not the good of mankind, but absolute control over the minds, hearts and soul of all of God’s children?

Is it time to hang up our feelings for these issues?  Is it time to rest on the laurels St. Paul who urged us to fight the good fight?

And finally I don’t remember Pope Francis talking about eternal salvation which to my mind was the whole reason for Christ’s coming and the establishment of His Church on earth.

But then again who am I to judge this pope?

I am tired of the angry bickering, the on-edge readiness whenever I am in polite company to defend the truth and plea for the unborn. I have fought the good fight the last 28 years and it is not only time-consuming but exhausting.

Maybe it is time for more quiet reflection and prayer.

Soldier Returning Home Stock Photo - 5476415

Time for reflection and rest?

Maybe this pope’s papacy will give all cultural warriors a bit of a respite to evaluate where they have been and where we are going. Pope Francis seems like a good and holy man.  His words are perhaps more of style than substance.  As the 265th successor of Peter he will not radically change anything.  people will do what they will do.

More than any other pope in my lifetime and he is #7, no one has represented the mysterious and paradoxical nature of the Catholic Church and even Jesus Christ Himself more than Pope Francis.

Jesus also came to heal and to open the gates of Heaven to all of us.

One of His many appellations is Christ the Prince of Peace.

Jesus sits atop a mount, preaching to a crowd

War and Peace

Here in St. Louis there is a Catholic parish with that name that Catholics affectionately call C-POP.

Yet in his wake there have been 2000 years of religious, economic and cultural wars that have cost millions of lives and left the world in a divided state that really does need spiritual healing.

Pope Francis just might be what the eternal Doctor ordered.



  1. BB, I have similar thoughts and am just watching and waiting. BUT WE HAVE TO STICK WITH THE POPE OR WE WILL BE OUT OF THE CHURCH. Personally, I am pleased that the common folk have a chance to see and be with him whereas before, it was the royalty and hoi polio who gained access to his Holiness. Jesus walked among the multitudes. Pax

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — January 1, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

    • Remember Mary that the pope is not infallible in any of these pronouncements. His approach does not jell with many of his predecessors. We can agree to disagree with his approach as long as our views reflect our conscience. BB


      Comment by Bill Borst — January 1, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

  2. You have answered your own question, in saying
    “More than any other pope in my lifetime and he is #7, no one has represented the mysterious and paradoxical nature of the Catholic Church and even Jesus Christ Himself more than Pope Francis.”
    I agree, I also think that we have no right to judge any one . We are all sinners. We never know anyone’s history or why they choose to sin, but it usually has to do with how they are raised and nurtured. So if a same sexed couple want to be committed and marry , who am I to judge them? Jesus say’s if I judge my neighbor ,I will be judged.I think Papa Francis is wonderful! We make personal mental judgement’s (silent) all the time ,and I think that’s the best kind,and mind my own behavior and leave the judgement’s to each person and their confessor.

    Comment by Sharon Ellington — January 2, 2014 @ 6:36 am

  3. His comments are puzzling – seems his emphasis is
    not where it is most needed.


    Comment by Mary Fritz — January 2, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

  4. Where are we getting most, if not all of our “intel” on the Holy Father? The media, right? Aren’t we, Bill and your readers, for the most part, very skeptical of the information we are fed from this same media? See where I’m going? The media, for whatever reason, has chosen to show this Pope in a good light, in line, of course, with their pet issues. Upon some digging, one can easily see how so many of the things Francis says are taken out of context or not reported in full. I find it very interesting that so many of the unorthodox find Francis so appealing and so many of the orthodox are worried to death over Francis. Frankly, I find it comforting at how uncomfortable Francis can make me feel. I am challenged by his approach of putting a face (the face of Jesus, perhaps?) on the poor and marginalized. I think, the Holy Spirit, through Francis is challenging me to do more than write checks and sign petitions, maybe it is time for me to go out and get my hands a little bit

    Comment by Jeff Stoll — January 2, 2014 @ 6:24 pm

    • Dear Jeff:

      I agree with your first premise about the media. I have put an healthy dose of sodium on many of his comments. His quote about “who am I to judge” about the gays was taken out of context but all in all he still said it and should realize that that will happen and he has to word his statements less ambiguously. His emphasis on the poor and flirtation with social justice and liberation theology is way off traditional track. I am addressing the Mindszenty Chicago Conference on Liberation Theology in March and have learned that LT was Soviet directed from the get-go and has very little to do with the Gospels and the poor per se.

      His statements about “unfettered” capitalism would be risible if he were not serious about it. The pope has grown upo in nothing even remotely resembling capitalism. What he knows is all from without. Capitalism is the best think that has ever happened to the poor. Before it we had the Church and serfdom, a form of virtual slavery. It is his ideas like that that I disagree whole-hearted with and how come he is not opposed to the tyranny of government.. instead of some fictitious capitalistic tyranny? BB


      Comment by Bill Borst — January 2, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

      • Bill, I don’t think he ever uttered the term “unfettered capitalism.” I believe that was part of an editorial quote from a Reuters story about his interview with the atheist guy that was quickly attributed to Francis. I don’t think he said it. I did read the whole interview before the words were attrbuted to him and I don’t recall seeing them.

        Comment by John Kelly — January 6, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

      • Dear John:

        There are many articles on the Net that have attached the pope’s name to the term “unfettered capitalism” as the “New Tyranny.” he must have said something in his recent document or public statements that has led people on both sides to attribute this phrase which i had never heard before. I am convinced that he said or implied it somewhere in all of his diatribes on capitalism when it is big government that he should be attacking and not the engine that makes the world go. Sure there are people lost in its cracks but that is for philanthropic and charitable people to help…many of whom are the capitalists themselves. Has the pope said anything about the attack on religious people in this country who are treating the very people he blames business for hurting? His compassion is well-founded but mostly misdirected.


        Comment by Bill Borst — January 6, 2014 @ 5:10 pm

      • Bill, I don’t really disagree with you, but the clarity of the term “unfettered capitalism” seems unusual for Francis. I am of the opinion that he has never seen a good capitalism – only so-called “crony capitalism,” which is not capitalism at all. He rails against what I would call government grants of unearned privilege, the oldest curse in economics.
        He admits (claims?) he is “undisciplined” in his speech. This may be true, but Popes have handlers. He has, no doubt, seen the turmoil some of his remarks have generated. If he doesn’t clean up his verbal act, then I guess we’ll know …
        LT was a reaction, notwithstanding a misguided and finally an evil reaction, to the injustice of the economics practiced by most of the Latin American governments for most of their history. It’s true that he nominally opposes LT, but what are we to think when reading his “from the hip” comments?
        I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I am wary. It is a good idea to read what he has said, rather than letting the NY Times tell us, though.

        Comment by John Kelly — January 6, 2014 @ 5:29 pm

      • John:

        This pope has had too many foot-in-mouth episodes, whether of his own doing or the media putting words in his head. If he were savvy to the overall harm is is inflicting on his nascent papacy he would either learn to be more guarded his his speech or offer more revisions and clarifications as he did with abortion. I am coming to believe that his whole environment both in Latin America and Italy have poisoned his attitude to a free country such as ours…or like ours used to be. His replacement of Cardinal Burke was a symbol of accommodation and possible muting of the Catholic viewpoint on social issues. Like so many liberals he does not want any else to interfere with the spirit of his papacy and that is a never-ending quest to end poverty…which to be is quixotic at best and dangerous for a free people at worst. Thanks for your thought-provoking responses.


        Comment by Bill Borst — January 6, 2014 @ 7:13 pm

    • Bill,

      Regarding capitalism, I have read that his issue is, indeed, with “unfettered capitalism”. In other words, where people are viewed merely as instruments of production as opposed to God’s greatest creation, human beings. I’m not even close to being a historian, but I think that this position was taken by many “capitaliists” in our country in the early stages of the industrial revolution. As far as LT, I can’t recall where, but I have read that he is not on board at all with the LT BS so prevalent in South America. As a matter of fact, if I recall correctly, he even went so far as to chastise a South American cleric who was spewing the LT BS. Just sayin’.

      Comment by Jeff Stoll — January 2, 2014 @ 11:37 pm

      • Dear Jeff:

        It is not just history but semantics that we have to deal with. My understanding of “unfettered” is without restriction. Our businesses are fettered to the hilt. It is government that has shed its constitutional fetters under this president. He does pretty much what he wants. And I believe despite all the humanity rhetoric its is the socialists who treat people like things…much more than business which is beholden to government rules and regs. The pope should be attacking solidarity where the individual is sacrificed for the good of the whole. Capitalism is about individualism and it is run on talent, innovation, and initiative. Sure some fall between the cracks. That’s a legitimate role for charities, churches and philanthropists, many of who were capitalists who try to return their good fortune to the society that allowed them to prosper. When you entitle people to the wealth of others without any effort on their part you get a greedy mod of dependents and wards of the state. The pope seems to miss all of this and his derision is misplaced. Human nature is the name of the game and he seems to think too well of a world of sinners. BB


        Comment by Bill Borst — January 3, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

  5. A friend wrote:The pope is a master of ambiguity and “smoke and mirrors”. With all of your historical expertise, I am surprised that you are buying into his “Wall Street” rhetoric. It is more important to focus in on such statements as that made by Eugenio Scalfari on Sunday, Dec 27, 2013, in regard to sin. Scalfari stated that the pope believes that there is “no longer any sin” because of the mercy and forgiveness of God. This was then refuted by Msgr. Lombardi of the Vatican “marketing” office. This pope has made just too many explosive and “addle brained” comments to have not “set off warning bells”. His views of the selection of bishops by regional and local authorities is straight out of Teilhard de Chardin. OL of Fatima has warned that the final days will be seen with an apostacy at the top. Pope Francis is giving off vibes which appear to come from the very warnings in Portugal.


    If your first comment is correct why would he do that? The only purpose would be to confused the general Catholic population who have taken his words at face value. No I think he is a simply parish priest kind of man who does not see the consequences of his statements until it is too late. I have not bought into his rhetoric though I am glad you wrote that because I had to go back and see exactly what I had written—(I had purposely tried to mimic a little of the pope’s ambiguity as a means of satire) In re-reading it, which I hope you will, I found that I missed correcting a number of mistakes but that being said I was emphatically in opposing his nieve economic understanding. In my revision I put that in bold print. I also don’t agree about this pope and the end of times. This world has a long way to go before it implodes. That’s what our faith tells us and to think that its demise is predicted someplace in the Bible can be very misleading as well.


    Thank you for your humble response. I just do not think that Francis is a simple priest. You have a Jesuit education as do I. Their expertise is ambiguity to mask a hidden agenda. I did not think that you needed my permission for a comment. You have it if you need it. Since you are associated with the Mindzenty Institute, I would hope that you remain on guard for Marxist tendencies both in the American government and the infiltration of the Catholic Church. All of the recent political maneuvering in both is based on the movement toward a world socialist government and a merging of Church and state as per the writings of Malachi Martin. DP


    Good point! As for Mindszenty I will be making my first and probably last appearance at their Chicago Convention in March. My topic is Liberation Theology which has Soviet roots and origins. This pope has flirted with a non-violent kind of LT. Its Latin founders think he will open the way for them to be more influential.

    Comment by Bill Borst — January 2, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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