The Next Pope is the Last Pope
By Professor Mark McIntire
Catholicism, history, faith
The last phase of the papacy
What's next after the massive systemic cover-up of clerical pedophilia by the Catholic hierarchy? The next Geo-political earthquake is the unavoidable abolition of the Papacy itself. The Roman Catholic Church created the Papacy, and the Roman Catholic Church can abolish it. And, it will. Soon. The next Pope after octogenarian Francis I will be the last Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, the word ‘Roman’ will be dropped from the brand name. Clerical offices of Cardinal, Archbishop and Bishop will also be extinguished. Local parish laity will choose their clerics who will be immediately accountable to them.  Clerical pedophilia will soon have no place to hide. That last Pope will be from Africa. His name is Robert Cardinal Sarah of Guinea. Once elected, Cardinal Sarah will take the name ‘Pope Linus II’ after Pope Linus I the very first Pope if you exclude Saint Peter from the calculus of Popes.
Reasons for termination
It was widely read laying out eight reasons why the Papacy will end and soon:
  1. There is no scriptural or canonical justification for the existence of the Papacy in the first place
  2. As a political invention, the modern Papacy is an artifact and an impediment to Faith
  3. Doctrinal divisions within the Roman Catholic Hierarchy are irreparable
  4. Moral hypocrisy at the root of clerical sexual abuse of children has weakened the Papacy to the point of unsustainable dysfunction.
  5. Orthodoxy among Catholics in Asia and Africa necessitate a break with central government in Rome
  6. Post Vatican Council II attempts to progressively liberalize Roman Catholicism have utterly failed to the point of doctrinal and dogmatic confusion and disorder
  7. European, American, and South American declining numbers of Catholic laity and priests are bankrupting the Vatican finances
  8. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who, in 1967 predicted the ‘contraction’ future of the Roman Catholic Church personally elevated Robert Sarah to the Cardinalate. This was Benedict’s Trump card for restoration of doctrinal orthodoxy after the dissolution of the Papacy and the decentralization of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Sarah’s coat of arms motto is: Sufficit tibi gratia mea. (My grace is sufficient for you) taken from 2 Corinthians 12:9 New International Version (NIV)
    1. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

When we examine the reasons for the abolition of the Papacy this becomes clear. If Simon Peter’s sole resume item for the job of first Pope is on the Matthew 16:18-19 passages “And I say unto you, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." then the Papacy case is thin to invisible.  But, scriptural vagary and ambiguity of translation is only the first crack in the case for an authentic Papacy.

That the Roman Catholic Church has entered its epoch of weakness and contraction is beyond serious question. That this epoch of weakness will spiral down to the dissolution of the Papacy is no longer in doubt. That the regionalization of the Catholic Church following the pattern of Protestant denominations is the only logical outcome.

Catholics believe that God will always be with the Church "even to the end of time". That may be true, but that does not mean the Church must be centralized in Rome under the rule of a single monarch of a city/state.  The Papacy is not the Church. The ways of the Divine are hidden and mysterious. They are embedded in the structure and function of Reality, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

The papacy, a brief history

The Papacy we know today began through a temporal power vacuum in Rome with the pontificate of Miltiades (311-314 A.D.). The Papacy was never officially voted by any Church Council, but rather, simply acknowledged by temporal princes, notably Emperor Constantine who gave the Lateran Palace to Miltiades then Bishop of Rome. Geography, politics, and the need for central administration of the early Catholic Church established the Papacy not scripture or even plenary councils. Hence, what was established by geography, politics and administrative need can be undone by those very same human forces. Since there is no further need for the geographical primacy of Rome, nor the political power of its bishop, nor the need for central administration in the digital age, then the Papacy should be abolished.

More to the point is the politics of ‘The Bishop of Rome’ incongruously evolving into ‘The Supreme Pontiff’ the global Catholic universe through political and economic intrigue among warring secular Princes, Kings, and Emperors. Saint Peter was hardly a ‘bishop’ of anything, let alone Rome. He spent most of his time hiding from the Emperors executioner’s until he was finally crucified, upside-down, so legend has it,  at a date and time still uncertain.   He was simply the leader of the first Christian sect, but certainly not a Pontifex Maximus as Popes later appropriated this ‘Chief-Priest’ title from pagan Roman religion.  His successor, officially listed as Pope Linus I (67-76 AD) by Church historians actually did some ‘episcopal’ things like ordain priests and designate 25 parishes in and around Rome itself. But he was merely an administrator not anointed with the dogmatic ‘infallibility’ later crypto-Popes claimed. It would take several centuries for the term ‘Pope’ to be used in anything like its modern context.

Not until around 232 AD did the term refer to a Bishop and it was not to the Bishop of Rome. The first appearance of the term in modern context was used to refer to a  Patriarch (Chief-Bishop), Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Heraclas of Alexandria. The term ‘Pope’  (Latin: papa from Greek: πάππας pappas, an endearing word for "father") also known as the pontiff,(bridge) is the Bishop of Rome, and therefore ex officio the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. It wasn’t until 325 AD at the First Council of Nicaea that its Sixth Canon hinted at the ‘special status’ of the Bishops of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch. Hardly a mandate for ‘Papal Infallibility’ on matters of faith and dogma. Not until the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 did a major potentate, Clovis I King of the Francs, ally himself with the Bishop of Rome thus conferring tenuous primacy on that prelate above the other Bishops of the Catholics.

Only three Popes, Leo the Great: AD 440-461, Gregory the Great: AD 590-604, and Gregory VII: AD1015-1085 expanded temporal and political papal power from the simple ‘Bishop of Rome’ into: His Holiness , Vicar of Jesus Christ, Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff, Primate of Italy , Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, and Servant of the servants of God. None of these vainglorious titles are consistent with the humble carpenter’s son from Nazareth named Jesus Christ.

Reexamining why the papacy should end
  1. There is no scriptural or canonical justification for the existence of the Papacy in the first place.
  2. That the continued existence of the Papacy is a scandal to the world and an impediment to the Faith of the faithful is hard to deny. True, Pope Francis sees the Pontifical monarchy as an anachronism whose time has long since passed, but even Pope Zig-Zag lacks the stones to call it a day and restructure the corporate flow chart of power. He knows that all centralized systems are fragmenting, but he can move the pieces on his chessboard fast enough to avoid checkmate. He can’t even hope for a stalemate, since that equals defeat as well. Not very impressive for the Vicar of Christ on Earth, eh?
  3. That doctrinal divides within the Curiae Hierarchy itself are irreparable is borne out by the dwindling Euro-Prelates up against the thriving Asian/African orthodox Prelates on dogma at the core of Faith. Either divorced Catholics and mothers aborting their children are barred from the Eucharist or they are not. There is no middle ground here, however much Francis I waxes poetic about the ‘Joy’, ‘Forgiveness’, ‘Mercy’ and ‘Reconciliation’. It-ain’t-the-happin-thing in global regions where the Catholics are in the ascendancy. Those bromides are only appreciated in the decayed Scandinavian dead dioceses presided over by postmodernist bishops.
  4. “Hide the children!”, literally. No less than the Vatican banker, Cardinal Pell is on trial in an Australian court for personal child diddlings, and hiding the child diddlings of other clerics up to and including Archbishops and Cardinals. Defrocked Theodore Cardinal McCarrick is the poster-cleric for this perfidy. Who in their right mind would give dollar one to these criminal apostates, let alone send their child to them for education?
  5. Your Holiness, you can’t have it both ways. Either you are the defender of the traditional dogmas and doctrines of the Faith or you are the dissembler of those dogmas and doctrines. Pick one and go with it. Tossing a bone to traditionalists one week and another bone to the relativists the next week does not a Pope make. Get real. The world knows that you are a clone of Marxist Liberation Theology you capitulated to in Argentina, so go with that if your conscience so dictates. This Pontius Pilot imitation you’re selling has no one buying. You can’t be Pope and wash your hands of doctrinal crucifixion at the same time.
  6. Listen you your Emeritus Brother Pope Benedict xvi. The Church must contract and rid itself of temporal, kingly pretenses or face extinction.
  7. Bankruptcy is just a matter of time. It’s going to be one hell of a garage sale when the treasures of the Vatican are sold off to pay for criminal money laundering and clerical pedophilia victim compensation that has yet to be adjudicated. Why do you think Benedict resigned and left you to clean up the mess on isle 5?
  8. Yes, Cardinal Sarah will be the last Pope and that will salvage the Catholic Faith from the ashes of a Vatican conflagration. Regional Catholic Churches with Patriarchs replacing the administrative office of the Papacy is the only way Christ’s promise to always be with His Church can be kept.
Mark McIntire 2021