The Race For Worst Pope
A mini-debate is raging as to whether Francis is the worst Pope in history. I would like to add my short take.
Other Popes in the past have certainly been quite as much scoundrels as Francis is. I also agree that some of the past Popes have been produced, and were in turn the product, in times of great corruption within the Church. But to me, this is not the point.
The point of Francis is that he is the apex (up to now) of period of unprecedented corruption within the Church. Corruption that is, we can safely say, one the one hand every bit as heretical as the Arian crisis and, on the other hand (and this makes it unique) encompassing every aspect of Church teaching from the death penalty to the doctrine of war, from homosexuality to adultery, from the understanding of the Sacraments to the very role of the Church.
Francis wins the title of worst Pope in history hands down because he sits at the very top of a pile of rot that has never been as high as today.
To this, we must obviously add the nature of today’s worldwide instant communication. However, it is not that Francis is a heretic only in what he says “off-the-cuff”. No, he plans his heresies accurately, as seen in the synods then transmogrified in Amoris Laetitia.
I grew up accustomed to read, in the touristic peregrinations to which I took part with my parents, of the sudden changes in the fortune of this or that Roman faction as the Pope, and thus the alliances and relationship of power, changed (stuff like “when such and such becomes Pope, family X occupied the castles of Y and Z”; we are talking here of the families who gave, or lost, Popes or had them in their pocket, abusing the vast coffers suddenly become available; the families of the Orsini and Colonna are still today in the popular lore for such antics).
Still, that corruption did not arrive at the very bone marrow of the Church. It was corruption of mores, not corruption of doctrine. It was the abuse of Church power to enrich individuals and families, not Her willed sabotage out of hatred for Her.
So yes, I think it can be safely said that Francis is, from what we can see, the worst Pope ever. The fact that his antics are instantly spread worldwide also add to his culpability, because he knows it and does it anyway.
Francis is a huge scoundrel sitting on top of a mountain of theological rot.
He wins this race hands down.