Things The Pope Thinks…

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93 Responses

  1. Em says:

    Hate to be first here but I don’t much care what this present Pope thinks – I sense that he lacks humility before God – no fear?
    BUT…. I could be wrong 🙆

  2. Xenia says:

    I sense that he lacks humility before God<<<

    What has he done or said that causes you to think this?

  3. Jean says:

    I agree.

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Highly recommend on Netflix:
    ‘Pope Francis: A Man of His Word’

  5. Steve says:

    Em and Jean, I agree as well. Em, I don’t think you are wrong.

  6. Xenia says:

    I am just wondering if you dislike Francis himself of if it’s the whole idea of a papacy that you disagree with.

  7. Jean says:

    I can’t speak for Em, but I think anyone who would re-write the Beatitudes or construct a new set of Beatitudes cannot be imbued with humility. There is also something else implied in the Pope’s Beatitudes that not everyone may pick up on. In the RCC tradition, the “religious” have a different and higher form of spirituality. Therefore, the Pope can construct a set of Beatitudes specifically for the Bishops. I think the Beatitudes in the Gospels are just fine the way they are and apply to all disciples of Jesus.

  8. Em says:

    Xenia, the Pope’s demeanor as he meets and greets …. Pope John Paul II was someone 180 degrees different ….. IMHO
    Not saying I have a gift of discernment, just my impression….
    A people pleaser rather than standing for Truth as God gives – or doesn’t – him wisdom

  9. Steve says:

    Xenia, Don’t know enough about the papacy to be 100% sure, but I’m leaning in the direction that I don’t think the papacy is a good thing at all. Agreeing with Jean on this one.

  10. Michael says:

    What nonsense.
    If I would have changed the name of the writer to a random evangelical leader we would be dealing with the actual content…which is superb.

    My God…I can’t believe I just signed up for another year of this…

  11. Xenia says:

    The content is very good, and it’s the very kind of attitude we’ve been wishing evangelical leaders would adopt for the 20 years of this blog.

  12. Duane Arnold says:


    Agreed on all counts…

  13. Michael says:



  14. Michael says:

    The site will be having intermittent issues as it’s being moved from one host to another…by the way.

  15. Jean says:

    I have some feedback on the Pope’s first beatitude.

    “1. Blessed is the bishop who makes poverty and sharing his lifestyle because with his witness he is building the kingdom of heaven.”

    Were the Patriarchs, David and Solomon, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, to name a few, blessed? Aside from one instance where Jesus told a particular rich man to sell all his possessions, does Jesus anywhere promise blessedness to anyone who makes poverty his lifestyle? If every Christian made himself poor, who would feed them? Would a body of Christ all dependent on welfare be a good Christian witness?

    How does a Christian lifestyle of poverty and sharing build the kingdom of heaven? Is the seed that the sower sows his lifestyle or is it something else?

  16. Michael says:


    Read slowly…

    The Pope is suggesting that religious leaders in his order set an example of Christlike humility and live the simple lives that most of the parishioners outside the U.S. live.
    He doesn’t say this to the congregations, but to the leaders…

  17. Em says:

    If the Pope declares you ‘blessed,” are you ? ? ?

  18. Jean says:


    True but you wrote, “I think these provide a template for the whole church and its leaders in the 21st century.” I was commenting on the beatitude in the context of a template for the whole church.

    However, aside from the welfare reliance on others piece, with respect to the Bishops, how does them making poverty their lifestyle result in their blessedness and how does that build the kingdom? Is self-chosen poverty a mark of blessedness?

  19. Xenia says:

    There is a blessedness to poverty, if one can embrace it.

    I think wealth is often a curse.

    But God can even use a wealthy man.

    Almost everything Jesus says is counter-cultural.

  20. Xenia says:

    The Roman Catholic Church is corrupt from snout to tail, with pockets of Paradise. I am glad the Pope is writing things like this to his bishops.

  21. Michael says:

    Throughout the Christian centuries leaders and others have chosen poverty to display Christ to those in their charge.
    If they were led by Christ to do so, then there is no doubt that they were blessed for their efforts.

    I doubt that the mega church pastors making six figures or more receive such.

    Now, a template is just that…an outline of possible ways to approach a task.

    Do I suggest all pastors and priests take a vow of poverty?

    Not necessarily…but it couldn’t hurt if God calls them to do so.

  22. Em says:

    A teacher that I have great respect for would have labeled these “blesseds” evil human good.
    My question to this pope would be, “Are you describing human performance or the result of of Christian character?” It sounds like the former to me

  23. Xenia says:

    If I wasn’t married and didn’t have children that needed financial help now and then– in other words, if it were just me- I personally would choose a life of poverty.

  24. Em says:

    P.S. I’ve never heard of a R.C. priest or bishop going without food or shelter ? ? ?

  25. Michael says:


    I truly do not understand how you can say such a thing.
    If I chose to, I could back each and every one of the items on this list with scripture references that would be overwhelming.
    I simply am stunned that anyone would find this objectionable for any other reason than the source…

  26. Em says:

    Xenia, are you saying your children can’t handle privation?

  27. Michael says:

    I have lived below the poverty level for the last nine years.

    It hasn’t been easy…but there are blessings to be found.

    If anyone ever asks me again why abuse flourishes in the American church, I’ll simply show them this thread…

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    My dearest friend gave up a fortune to live an enclosed religious life IN POVERTY… She is one of the most Christ-like people I have ever encountered…

  29. Xenia says:

    Em, I am saying that 45 years ago I chose to have familial responsibilities.

    I don’t actually understand much of what you’ve said in this thread. I can understand not being a fan of Francis or any other pope because well, Protestants are gonna protest. But I can’t understand anyone not agreeing with what he believes should be the attitude of the leadership of his church. You (and me, too) would roundly criticize a bishop living in luxury.

  30. Em says:

    Michael, the source IS the problem … 🙆 for me, anyway
    God keep

  31. Xenia says:

    Odd that some can embrace Trump but not Pope Francis.

  32. Em says:

    Xenia, that is a human viewpoint. 😇
    Pope Francis should answer to God, Trump is a businessman with secular goals…
    As I see it – dunno, though, do i?

  33. Michael says:

    I simply don’t understand how this content could possibly be anymore biblical and in line with both the Gospel and tradition.
    This is sad…

  34. Xenia says:

    Em, the Orthodox were the first to reject the institution of the Papacy, so I am not a fan of that office. Various holders of that office have run the spectrum from Saintly to devilish. Francis himself has done things both good and … ambiguous, IMO. But I like his version of the Beatitudes for the people over which he has responsibility. If I may, I think you are reading it in the worst possible light.

  35. Xenia says:

    Seriously, some people could be in a burning house and the Pope of Rome could shout “Everybody out!” and they’d stay and burn just to prove they didn’t have to pay attention to anything a Pope of Rome said.

  36. Steve says:

    Xenia, I don’t have an objection to what was written, however to interpret what Pope Francis wrote would by necessity require the Catholic church and the pope to exegete these beatitudes. Are they fallable or infallible?
    The last one (8) caught my eye with the mention of the gospel. What does the gospel mean to pope Francis? How does Pope Francis understand the counsel of Trent?

  37. Xenia says:

    I suspect the RC “interprets” the Beatitudes the same way the Orthodox do, not that they need any “interpreting.” In my evangelical days, they were pretty much “interpreted” into meaninglessness.

  38. Michael says:

    Such nonsense…any tradition could “exegete’ what was written and understand clearly the intent and heart of what was written.

    If I’d replaced Francis name with some hillbilly evangelical your hands would be sore from applauding.

  39. Duane Arnold says:


    1) He’s not speaking ex-cathedra…
    2) His closest friends in Argentina were evangelical (and charismatic) pastors.
    3) He is wholly a Vatican II bishop (not Trent)

  40. bob1 says:

    If I’d replaced Francis name with some hillbilly evangelical your hands would be sore from applauding.

    Yes, prejudice and animus die hard.

    I’m not RC, but I love this Pope and what he stands for.

  41. Duane Arnold says:

    “Here is a first test: what is faith for me? If it is mainly a duty or a bargaining chip, we are off track, because salvation is a gift and not a duty, it is free and cannot be bought…”

    Pope Francis

  42. bob1 says:

    In my evangelical days, they were pretty much “interpreted” into meaninglessness.

    Sad and true.

    I’m reading Philip Yancey’s book “Where the Light Fell.” He was raised in southern fundamentalism and goes into how his church was very big on Paul. What Jesus said, well, close to not having any meaning or focus.

  43. Steve says:

    Duane,. Thanks Duane I’ll give it a read. What is a Vatican II bishop? Did they just start over and nullify everything including Trent?

  44. Michael says:


    It’s incredibly discouraging that this sort of message is ignored, but if I was quoting some Trump loving, Christian nationalist, end times spouting heretic it would be shared among the masses.

    I wonder why we bother to try…

  45. Duane Arnold says:


    It was a reforming council that dealt with most of the counter-reformation tendencies of Trent. You should read up on it…

  46. Duane Arnold says:


    We try because truth matters…

  47. Jean says:


    “Did they just start over and nullify everything including Trent?”

    No they didn’t. That would involve admitting error. How could the a Papist council err?

  48. josh hamrick says:

    The responses to this thread have been weird, but this site blasts evangelicals more than anyone.

  49. Em says:

    For the record, I am not a “Trump lover.” He does have, however, more bona fides for the office of US. President than does Biden… IMNSHO. 😇

  50. Steve says:

    Jean, exactly. That’s the problem. I thought Vatican II was just a cosmetic face lift but they still affirmed all the ancient councils without ever admitting error.

  51. Michael says:

    This is ludicrous.
    Can anyone here address content or is the hatred of anything Catholic such that we can’t even acknowledge truth when we see it?

    If this became the standard for the RCC …and other churches…how helpful would that be in restoring faith in the institution?

  52. josh hamrick says:

    I don’t have any major problem with what he said (despite not believing in Popes or Bishops) and I’m usually the only evangelical here.

  53. Jean says:

    “Can anyone here address content or is the hatred of anything Catholic such that we can’t even acknowledge truth when we see it?”

    I did. I am still waiting for a response.

    I have no hatred of Francis and haven’t mentioned his name until now. I was told to “read slowly.” Your other comments have been to call other comments “nonsense” and “ludicrous.” You’ve said this thread is an example of why abuse in the church thrives. This BS takes the cake (not from you): “We try because truth matters…” How do you expect anyone to address the comments when, unless they agree with you, they will be told their comments are nonsense?

    If you want people to address the content, then don’t judge them when they do; respond with grace.

    I do read, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. I have leveled some serious critiques of the first Francis beatitude. You don’t have to respond to me or agree with me. But telling me to read slowly is nothing but an insult and a signal to others that opposing viewpoints are unwelcome.

  54. Kevin H says:

    Michael, you should have just titled it, “Things That Mickey Mouse Thinks”. Probably would have been received much better.

  55. Michael says:


    The comments have been ludicrous.
    The content has not been addressed, just side blows to Roman Catholicism.

  56. Kevin H says:

    Josh, you’re not alone. I just don’t mix it up here as much as you do. 🙂

  57. Michael says:


    Things Jack Hibbs Thinks…

  58. Michael says:

    Most of our lurkers are evangelicals…or were.

    Most just identify as Christians at this point…

  59. Jean says:

    I’m from the tradition of the original evangelicals.

    The biggest problem with the Papacy, as evidenced in the current Pope’s beatitudes (as if he had that authority) is the lack of the Gospel. There is a view that the Gospel is the message from and about Jesus the Christ. That is the Gospel that I proclaim (as if there is another).

  60. Kevin H says:

    If it were Things Jack Hibbs Thinks, the content would probably be a bit different:

    Blessed are the freedom fighters….. Blessed are the Biden haters…..

  61. Em says:

    Again, I do not hate the Roman Catholic church. My mother lived next door to the parish house and I count many nuns priests and bishops among my friends…
    Do I subscribe to their doctrines straight down the line? No but I have no doubt that many of these men are most definitely in The Family.

  62. Steve says:

    Michael, I didn’t have a visceral response one way or another to the content other than I wasn’t sure what the gospel meant in the beatitude #8. Duane graciously pointed me to a link that I haven’t had time to read yet. I have no hatred towards any Catholics.

  63. Duane Arnold says:


    Once again, you do not know what you are talking about…

  64. Michael says:

    All I know is that if the head of any Anglican or evangelical sect came out with this, I’d sign up and be thrilled.

    This has been a very informative thread for me and I know for my own sanity I need to make some changes here and offline.
    I’ve spent most of the day on hold trying to get the site moved to another hosting company…time to make a fresh start on a number of fronts.

  65. Jean says:

    There are two ways to assess any relationship: (1) By what you agree with; or (2) By what you disagree with.

    I feel that we, Michael and myself, agree on many things, probably the majority of things. However, we also disagree on a few things. We can define or relationship, and dwell on, one or the other, but not both. I would prefer to define our relationship and rejoice in our areas of agreement, while respecting our areas of disagreement and looking forward to the day when all our differences will be reconciled in Christ.

  66. Michael says:


    At this juncture I think we disagree on so much that this is now basically an antagonistic relationship.

    We disagree theologically and on the methodology for doing theology in the first place.

    You are the place where my ecumenicism has met its limits.

    I will attempt to maintain civility.

  67. bob1 says:

    Some of the anti-Catholicism is about as subtle as a Chick tract…

  68. Jean says:

    So will I Michael.

    Keep in mind that Pope Francis is neither my Pope nor yours. Thus, whatever our thoughts are on him or the Papacy or whatever he writes, none of that is personal between you and me.

    If any Protestant blog (and I don’t consider myself a Protestant) posted beatitudes from Pope Francis, one would expect significant pushback for a variety of reasons. Your blog has not responded in any way out of the norm of what one would expect. For that reason, you, in my opinion, should not feel sad at all.

  69. Michael says:


    I feel not only sad, but defeated.
    The lack of reasoned interaction over a substantial writing that addresses the very things that this site has championed is more than discouraging.
    The lack of historical knowledge to address the RC as an institution is also discouraging…this is 2021, not 1517.

    I regret that in a fit of pique I signed up for another year of this…it’s no longer worth my time in its current state.
    Thus, either I will have to change or the site will…

  70. Jean says:


    I don’t want to be accused of lecturing, but may I provide an insight for your consideration?

    You wrote above: “Most of our lurkers are evangelicals…or were.
    Most just identify as Christians at this point…:

    If you want to reach them/us, then doing with with the Pope is not going to resonate with many. Why not champion your issues through biblical theology and exegesis that your readership is used to?

    I recall a month or so ago, someone said that the Bible did not prohibit the type of slave trade that America engaged in. You responded with biblical truth that corrected that belief in a matter of seconds.

    If you feel that there are other issues that Christians are neglecting (or are misinformed about) that merit correct, write on them with the truth of the Scriptures and the sword of the Spirit as your tools. Then, if someone rejects God’s Word, it is not you they are rejecting but the Lord. Then you can shake the dust off your sandals in peace.

  71. Em says:

    Michael, sad and defeated? ? ? May it never be ! ! !
    Hope everyone here has him in our prayers as this site does – IMO – more good sorting out our Christian dilemmas honestly than any other site
    Father, give our Michael strength of mind and body, give him wisdom and discernment that is beyond our human scope….. 🙏

  72. Not a bad list. You should have posted it anonymously at first. Betcha wouldn’t have received all the blowback.

    The other day I was skimming the radio dial and I heard a teaching on a Catholic radio station about approaching Mass in the right way. Now I’m not Catholic and don’t do Mass, but the message was just as applicable to how one should approach a worship service. In fact, compared to much of the preaching I hear on Christian radio, what with all the pseudo-psychology and prosperity teaching, it was better than most. Truth is always truth. Even I don’t fully align with the source.

  73. Captain Kevin says:

    Em, Amen!!

  74. Michael says:


    I’ll know better from here on out…

  75. Muff Potter says:

    Good stuff is good stuff, and it don’t matter who it’s written by, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or Jain.
    And the eight points up-top is good stuff.
    Lofty and high sentiment.
    Some of the best stuff I’ve ever read was written by Jesuits.

  76. Pineapple Head says:

    I’m currently reading Gavin Ortlund’s THEOLOGIC RETRIEVAL FOR EVANGELICALS, a book about learning to draw on all of church history. Some of what he writes about reminds me of some of the reactions here.

  77. Bob Sweat says:

    Good post.

  78. Michael says:


    Don’t you know that reading rots the mind?
    Especially church history…

    Some folks don’t understand the impact that the medieval “Catholics”and early church fathers had on the Reformers…

    I do…but all I needed to know was that Henri Nouwen and Brennan Manning were Roman Catholic…

  79. Xenia says:

    And JRR Tolkien.

  80. Michael says:

    I know we’re missing some comments…hopefully they’ll catch up.

  81. Filistine says:

    Pope’s words to bishops illustrate how the beatitudes and all of scripture can speak to different needs and recipients at varying times. They have been my focus of late and are kicking my butt. Thanks for sharing the company.

  82. pstrmike says:

    Very late to the party here, I doubt it will be read much, so I’ll keep this shorter than I had planned.
    The reactions in this thread are as much about how we process information.

    Xenia said:
    “The Roman Catholic Church is corrupt from snout to tail, with pockets of Paradise. ”

    I agree. I have always been uneasy with the Roman Catholic church, although I did venture out and read Augustine, Benedict, Francis, Aquinas, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Ignatius, Teresa of Calcutta, Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning…….. to name a few. I have been enriched by their writings without requiring them or myself to be in complete agreement with them on all things.

    “Protestants are gonna protest”

    Yes we are. It is in our heritage, and passed on to us in our cultural DNA. It’s what I’ve heard most of my life growing up in Protestant/Evangelical churches.

    How much chaff can we accept in our serving of wheat? To me, that has always been the question. Those who can’t accept any form of pluralism, either personal, theological, or ideological, splitter off, forge their identity around a central ideal, poke the beast in the eye, eventually institutionalize, and their framework becomes similar to what they protested against. And then they often become the beast.

    I think that is part of what Dostoevsky was getting at when he wrote the “The Grand Inquisitor” in his masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov.

    As to the Beatitudes themselves, perhaps another time.

  83. Michael says:

    “And then they often become the beast.”

    Yes, they do…

  84. bob1 says:

    Yes, I’m glad to be Protestant.

    But there’s a down side, as is pointed out on here sometimes:

    30,000 denominations.

    Good grief.

  85. Michael says:


    It’s a feature, not a bug… 🙂

  86. Jean says:

    This is a good point:

    “Those who can’t accept any form of pluralism, either personal, theological, or ideological, splitter off, forge their identity around a central ideal, poke the beast in the eye, eventually institutionalize, and their framework becomes similar to what they protested against. And then they often become the beast.”

    The question, however, is who is splintering off? The Reformers (rightly in my opinion) argued that it was the Papacy that splintered off. Teachings, such as transubstantiation, preventing the laity from receiving the wine in Communion, the use of indulgences, the rule preventing priests from marrying, the supremacy and infallibility of the Pope, the allowing of debauchery among the leadership, the buying and selling of clerical offices, and other things (not to mention inquisitions), were the ways in which the Reformers believed the Roman church splintered off from the universal faith once delivered.

  87. Em says:

    The Church in Rome became enmeshed in politics…. Dangerous sldetrack

  88. Duane Arnold says:


    I’ve been comfortable with the Roman Church for the most part, but it is owing to the people I have known and those whom I have read (including all on your list and many more). Also, to be honest, the RCC has as many “protestants” within its ranks as the whole of Protestantism put together! It is a very large tent…

  89. Xenia says:

    The Church in Rome became enmeshed in politics…. Dangerous sldetrack<<

    A big swath of the church in America, likewise.

  90. Em says:

    Good observation, Xenia. Sadly true in many instances

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