What Pope Francis gets wrong about religious freedom

Oct 1, 2015

Connor Dwyer

By Paul Fidalgo

In recent days, Pope Francis has talked a lot about tolerance and freedom of conscience. But he has failed to distinguish between those who truly suffer from persecution and discrimination and those who claim to be persecuted when told they may not discriminate.

True prisoners of conscience are even now suffering punishments grotesque and medieval for exercising their right to criticize religion. But during his visit to the United States last week, the Pope chose instead to focus his attention and sympathies on a government employee who decided that her faith trumped her legal obligations and the constitutional rights of others.

Pope Francis met secretly with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to sign off on marriage documents for same-sex couples, citing religious objections. Speaking to journalists on the plane back to Europe, Francis explicitly endorsed this kind of discrimination, calling it “conscientious objection” and a “duty.”

But what does the Pope have to say about atheists and secularists who have been jailed, attacked or killed for expressing their own conscientious objections to religion?

Nothing.


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source below.

27 comments on “What Pope Francis gets wrong about religious freedom

  • 1
    Miserablegit says:

    Of course Pope frankie’s idea of religious freedom is not going to bear any resemblance to what we would regard the phrase as. RCC always believes religious freedoms and tolerances begins and ends with them. They think that their way is not only right, but the only way. Unless they are stood up to and reminded that real persecution comes to those who criticise religion, then they will keep on playing the martyr because that is what xtianity does best.



    Report abuse

  • The pope has no clothes. Despite the best media spin doctors in the world, an unlimited budget and staged photo opportunities with speeches hinting at a liberalizing of RCC attitudes, when Papa Frank is stripped down to his Y Fronts, he meets a four time married, child out of wedlock fundamentalist who’s fellow travelers see the Pope as the enemy, and gives her the papal blessing. Damn those gay sinners to an eternity in hell.

    What you see (hear and read) is not what you are going to get.



    Report abuse

  • First, you’ve been duped by Fox News propaganda. Pope Francis did not have a super secret meeting with Ms. Davis. She got in line to see him, and the Pope formally stated he didn’t agree with her.
    Second, this whole article is a lie. If I may quote Pope Francis directly:
    “ ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy. The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”
    It is a pity that a foundation for science and reason would stoop to ignoring pertinent facts because they undercut a false narrative you’re trying to sell.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis
    Oct 2, 2015 at 9:24 am

    First, you’ve been duped by Fox News propaganda. Pope Francis did not have a super secret meeting with Ms. Davis.

    BTW: The link is to CNN not Fox news.

    Could specify any inaccuracies?

    She got in line to see him,

    Inside the Vatican embassy – out of public view.

    and the Pope formally stated he didn’t agree with her.

    On the subject of Gay marriage??? or on something else???

    It is a pity that a foundation for science and reason would stoop to ignoring pertinent facts because they undercut a false narrative you’re trying to sell.

    Did you have some “pertinent facts” to present?
    I am having difficulty in finding any facts in your long rambling post, which are of any relevance to gay marriage, or to Kim Davis wilfully defying of the law she has sworn on the bible to uphold!

    @OP – Speaking to journalists on the plane back to Europe, Francis explicitly endorsed this kind of discrimination, calling it “conscientious objection” and a “duty.”

    Did you have difficulty reading and understanding this section?



    Report abuse

  • My “long rambling post” was six sentences and a single direct quote. I apologize if that was too much for you. This post is only three sentences.



    Report abuse

  • It seems there are “faith-blinker-interpretations” involved in these stories – along with some vague mutterings of support followed by back-tracking!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34425450
    The Vatican has defended the Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis, a Kentucky official jailed for refusing to issue licences for same sex marriages.

    In a statement, it said the exchange should not be seen as an endorsement of her position.

    Mrs Davis opposes gay marriage and argued that her Christian faith should exempt her from issuing licences.

    She said the Pope told her to stay strong during a 15-minute meeting, which she said validated her actions.

    But a Vatican spokesman said the details of her situation were not discussed.

    Her lawyer Mat Staver told CBS News that she and her husband had been invited to meet the Pope following the media storm surrounding her stance.

    Pope Francis “thanked her for her courage” and told her to “stay strong”, Mr Staver said.

    Mrs Davis’s supporters said it showed the pontiff backed her cause.

    But the Vatican released a rare statement on Friday in an attempt to make clear he intended no such validation.

    it seems both parties were looking for a media gimmick to attract attention to themselves!



    Report abuse

  • Curtis
    Oct 2, 2015 at 11:19 am

    My “long rambling post” was six sentences and a single direct quote. I apologize if that was too much for you. This post is only three sentences.

    Neither post contains any “pertinent facts” relevant to the issues of same-sex marriage or compliance with legal duties!

    Did you have some to present or was the rambling semi-incoherent post just theological waffle which does nothing to support your claims?



    Report abuse

  • Roedy
    Oct 2, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Pope Francis has withdrawn his support for Kim Davis. He excused himself by saying he was not properly prepared.

    It’s what is known as “theocratic research”! – The faith-thinkers’ methodology!

    Invite fellow faith-thinkers for a discussion – make sympathetic noises – no need for preparation, clarity, or looking at real issues! – They’ll swallow that without question, and see whatever their faith-blinkers want to see!



    Report abuse

  • 12
    Curtis says:

    The original article ended with this:
    “But what does the Pope have to say about atheists and secularists who have been jailed, attacked or killed for expressing their own conscientious objections to religion?
    Nothing.”

    I quoted Pope Frances saying this:
    “ ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy. The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”

    That quote would seem to refute the assertion by Paul Fidalgo.



    Report abuse

  • 14
    Curtis says:

    “Faithhead”? I’m not sure what you mean by that. I’m agnostic.
    Perhaps you were making a Sweeping Generalization about me based on me not parroting out the standard talking point and coming to a different conclusion based on the facts I observed.
    Which part was not truthful? Was it the part where I noted that Pope Francis unambiguously denounced all harm to atheists despite the writer’s denial of that fact?



    Report abuse

  • To me the terms “religious freedom” and “libertarian imprisonment” mean the same thing. With the mind in the shackles of religious superstition, that mind is not “free” . Religion is one of the major obstacles holding back human knowledge of society and how to make it better. A reactionary force in every instance, a force that dwells in the mist enveloped lands of the human mind.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis
    Oct 2, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    “Faithhead”? I’m not sure what you mean by that.

    The term faithhead is used to denote those who use “faith-thinking” (belief on faith without evidence or proof).

    I’m agnostic.
    Perhaps you were making a Sweeping Generalization about me based on me not parroting out the standard talking point and coming to a different conclusion based on the facts I observed.

    I would have thought it was difficult to come to any rational conclusion from incoherent quote you posted!

    To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy. The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”

    Claiming atheists “have been redeemed by the blood of Christ”, is simply preaching patronising drivel!

    Which part was not truthful? Was it the part where I noted that Pope Francis unambiguously denounced all harm to atheists despite the writer’s denial of that fact?

    Unfortunately pronouncements of popes vary according to which way the political wind is blowing at the time and which audience they are addressing!

    Just a he expressed support and encouraged Kim Davis, only to disown the claim on the lame excuse that he “was unprepared”. ie. He had no idea what he was talking about but was encouraging team Xtian-bigots against others!

    That quote would seem to refute the assertion by Paul Fidalgo.

    To claim that that word-salad is “unambiguous” is somewhat of a stretch of credibility!

    BTW: you have still not addressed the point I raised about relevance to Kim Davis’ Homophobic defiance of the the law, and her oath to uphold the law!



    Report abuse

  • Alan4discussion
    Oct 2, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    In the formatting, my comment was merged with the quote above it.

    I would have thought it was difficult to come to any rational conclusion from incoherent quote you posted!

    Admittedly the pope’s quote said killing atheists in the name of god was wrong, but in its rambling preaching, said nothing about their right to criticise.
    The Inquisition and the RCC never had a problem with killing heretics in the past. Nor did it regard their killing as “blasphemy” – providing the killing was done by the RCC and not by some other religion making Catholic “martyrs”!



    Report abuse

  • In other words, Pope Frankie has failed to understand that those willing to practise a religion must have freedom OF religion, and those who do not want to practise a religion must have freedom FROM religion. In the case of the Kentucky official, no one is interfering with her beliefs, but she’s interfering with other people’s beliefs and rights. If her job offends her beliefs she’s free to get another job. This Pope may sound liberal but his mindset can’t grasp the concept of liberalism. Years and years of Roman Catholic “education” only leads to this concept: if people and institutions don’t do what I do, then my religion is being persecuted.



    Report abuse

  • I would never expect this Pope to be a champion of secularism or
    nonbelief. But I do hope he discovers his duty to his own conscience
    and becomes an ally on this critical issue.

    It seems that Paul Fidalgo is a very optimist person.

    If he is expecting that a Jesuit could be something different from a Jesuit he is expecting a miracle.

    If you don’t read carefully Francis’ encyclical letter “Laudato Si’” you can’t understand the man and his plan of expansion.

    Few example to reach a particular point.

    (see: papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si_en.pdf on VATICAN PRESS)

    (Bolds and italics in quotations are mine.)

    P. 9, §10. He says that he have chosen the name Frances because Saint Frances “is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians.” (That is: ecology = great territory of hunting.)

    P.12, §14. He says that “The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges.” (And obviously he likes to jump on that cart trying to save his own business.)

    P. 16, §20. He shows that he is aware that “Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths.” (So he can’t say: I didn’t know.)

    P. 27, §36. He says that “Caring for ecosystems demands far-sightedness, since no one looking for quick and easy profit is truly interested in their preservation.” (And who will that one be?)

    P. 35, §50. He states “Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate.” And quoting the ‘Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 483.’ he insists “[…] it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development” (Words of the prophets!)

    P. 39, §53. He states “Yet we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness.” (Creation and plans as usual.)

    P. 40, §54 He says “There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected.” (And here we are.)

    I interrupt here my examples and go to verify the difference between what Jesuits say (for the other) and what they do (for themselves).

    In my Italian city there is an oil company, a big refinery, the main stockholder of that company is known to be the Vatican finances.

    That oil company is responsible of great pollution. The rate of cancer in my city is three times higher than the national average. Certificated by the Italian Institute of Tumors.

    Do you think that Pope Francis has ordered to the Vatican finances to renounce part of the profits that come to them from that oil company because it needs to invest in new technologies to defend the health of the population of my city and outskirts?

    Mr. Bergoglio is a great Jesuit and he has a great team of experts in propaganda and disinformation. I suppose they will reach to carry for their noses a load of people.

    I newer will have such illusion and optimism to say “But I do hope he discovers his duty …”

    I do know that Mr. Bergoglio knows his duty and his “too many special interests, and economic interests”.

    I am not expecting that a Jesuit could be something different from a Jesuit. I am not expecting a miracle.

    So, laudato si’ brother Jesuit, because when you say something I know that you are thinking a complete different one.

    I have learned the lesson about half century ago. So now, with Dan Barker’s Stay Away Pope Polka, I sing: “Now here you come parading/ in your pompous royal clatter,/ Pretending that you govern the earth./ But a million mouths are hungry/ While the Church is growing fatter./ That tells us just how much you are worth.// Pope Pope stay away!/ Don’t come back some other day./ It’s worse than a sin that we have to pay/ To hear you preach against the [secular] way.”



    Report abuse

  • My particular thanks for digging this out-

    P. 35, §50. He states “Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate.” And quoting the ‘Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 483.’ he insists “[…] it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development” (Words of the prophets!)

    What? Any size of demographic growth is compatible with an integral and shared development? Is the planet infinite?



    Report abuse

  • Fiorenzo
    Oct 4, 2015 at 5:54 am

    P. 35, §50. He states “Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate.” And quoting the ‘Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 483.’ he insists “[…] it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development” (Words of the prophets!)

    So when it come to the science of ecology, rather than trying to ride a band-wagon, he has absolutely no idea, but instead demonstrates the cognitive dissonance of “acceptable self-contradiction”, implicit in “faith-thinking delusions”!



    Report abuse

  • Is the planet infinite?

    In a pedantic way I would say that “fully compatible” implies Fully Infinite, and not a “simple” infinite. A Fully Infinite is a kind of infinite Georg Cantor had never reached to imagine. Only the pope knows it! The Holy Fully Infinite, the secret math that governs the Sacred Theology, the mysterious alchemy that only popes can know.
    To be honest I have caught that secret by chance but I can’t reveal it because I risk to be killed by a lightning if I reveal it.
    Well, I want to run the risk.

    The secret is that Catholics are losing the race with Moslems to dominate the world by quantity. So the pope is trying to stimulate the productivity of the Catholic “breeding machines”. But, you can’t be successful on it if the Catholic “breeding machines” are convinced that “the world is over-crowded”. So he is doing what whatever good Jesuit have to do, that is, to try to convince them that “demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development” even though “it is true that an unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and a sustainable use of the environment”.
    “unequal distribution of the population”, that is: Moslems are grooving faster than Catholics, and in that case the fact that ‘certain’ “developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of ‘reproductive health’” is not considered too bad. Just don’t say that “the world is over-crowded” and that “a reduction in the birth rate” is a good thing, because it can confuse the Catholic “breeding machines”, while you have to try to convince them that babies are the grace of god.

    And what about the money needed to grow up babies in a decent way?
    I had an argument with a bishop in 2006.
    I was saying that, in Italy, to reach a balanced birth rate of 2.1, it was necessary to offer 300 euro a month, from zero to 18 years, only for the second baby.
    That bishop insisted that, instead, it was necessary to infuse in young women the spirit of sacrifice! And even nowadays those of the group of that bishop insist on that thesis of the sacrifice. And the pope insists on the thesis of “fully compatible”. Who can know the plan of god apart the pope?

    It is in his previous encyclical letter “Lumen Fidei” that Bergoglio insists in the role of the mediator and of the mediation between god and men.

    Lumen Fidei, p.17, §14 (what follows is only my circumlocution of the official Italian version.) In the faith of Israel emerges the figure of Moses, the mediator. People can’t see the visage of God; it is Moses to speak with YHWH on the mountain and to tell to all the people the will of the Lord. With this presence of the mediator, Israel has learned to walk united.

    In this paragraph the pope is trying to convince the Catholic to follow united his guide. He is the mediator, and mediation is a good practice for the success of the people. He is the mediator that knows the will of god!

    In reality the pope knows nothing. But he keeps it for himself. Do you imagine what tragedy if the populace discovers that the pope knows nothing and that the holy books contain only ancient fairytales?

    Can the modern world go on well under the guide of a man that tells to know something special that nobody else can verify?

    Can the modern world go on well following fairytales, some beautiful, some scaring wrong, some wise, some silly, some useful, some useless, nevertheless ancient fairytales?

    Can we do so in a world that requires to the humankind to evolve toward the practice of daily collective intelligence?

    And what consideration do we have to hold for the political leaders that hold, or seem to hold, in high consideration a pope and some fairytales?

    (I did it a little bit long, I am sorry.)



    Report abuse

  • Thanks again for these observations.

    I don’t think the RCC breeding program is much of a threat in Europe say, looking at birth rates in Catholic countries. In the USA 95% of married Catholic women have used contraceptive devices.

    The threat is always to the least privileged, least educated and those who most need honest openhanded advice and help. Africa’s population will quadruple in the next 85 years according to the UN 2015 predictions. Agricultural output per hectare is 54% of the first world figures and not notably improving, and being marginal is first in line to be hit by the chaotic weather patterns to come. The RCC is a malign cloud over that benighted continent.



    Report abuse

  • 26
    Cairsley says:

    Many thanks, Fiorenzo, for putting these findings and thoughts together so well. I had given up reading papal encyclicals, because I became quite allergic to them for years after I left the church, and just reading your summary of Laudato Sí and related comments started bringing back the dreaded symptoms, but I calmed down again with your concluding thoughts, which, though not about something positive, nevertheless soothed me with their good sense.

    It was not for some years after my apostasy that I started to recognize how the Roman Catholic Church is a harmful influence in the world. As Phil Rimmer mentions, Africa is in a particularly sorry state because of the RCC’s strong position there, thanks to poverty and people’s dependence on the RCC for much of their healthcare and education. I get so angry thinking about these troubling facts, that I have to put them out of my mind and forget about them if I am to be able to concentrate on the things I have to do. At least when Herr Ratzinger was pope, the true character of the church was much more evident to people, and the church was losing members at a significant rate. Now we have this Jesuit, who knows well how to pull the wool over people’s eyes — a skill that has become much more important in a pope in this modern, interconnected world. I did not think I would ever wish that Benedict XVI were back on the See of Peter; but I do!



    Report abuse

  • As rational secular legislation helps people effectively manage their lives, delusional ignorance remains obstructive as usual – acting as a mentally disabling force, causing delays from confused thinking in the indoctrinated!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34450058
    California has joined four other US states that allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives with a doctor’s supervision.

    State Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on Monday.

    The bill was partly inspired by the case of a terminally ill California woman who moved to Oregon to end her life.

    At least two dozen states introduced aid-in-dying legislation this year, but none has become law.

    The right-to-die movement gained support in California after Brittany Maynard, a cancer patient who lived in the state, moved to Oregon to legally end her life.

    Her family including her mother, Debbie Ziegler, spoke in support of the bill.

    .Religious groups had opposed the bill, saying assisted suicide was against God’s will. The Catholic Church had urged Governor Brown to veto it.

    Religious delusions before human rights as usual in faith-thinkers!!

    Advocates for people with disabilities also worried that terminally ill patients could be pressured into choosing death.

    .Governor Brown, a Catholic who once studied to become a priest, had taken weeks to decide whether to sign the bill.

    “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in face of my own death,” Governor Brown said.

    All credit to him for letting rationality over-rule his indoctrination, and for getting it right in the end!
    No credit to his indoctrination causing confusion and delay, and no credit to the god-deluded, seeking to interfere in other people’s right to make their own objective decisions about acceptable levels of suffering!

    “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the option afforded by this bill.”

    The law stipulates that two doctors must approve the use of the life-ending drugs and two witnesses must be present when the drugs are administered.

    The patient also must be physically capable of taking the drugs themselves.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.