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What's that? Is Pope Francis a Pandeist? A renegade priest of sorts who styles himself "Father Paul Kramer" has penned this essay claiming exactly that -- unsubtly titled:


(His all-caps, not mine!!) -- and this is just his essay title!! The Pope's birth name is Jorge Bergoglio, and this priest calls him by that name out of refusal to accept the legitimacy of this Pope's papacy. Father Kramer's first section title (again, his all-caps) throws in a bit more, even:


And note by the way that this essay is but one of many posted by various authors to a whole website itself named:

Biblical False Prophet: Cardinal Bergoglio - "Pope Francis"

There's all sorts of stuff there about the Pope being too lenient on gays and Muslims and "the shredding of the fabric of Christendom" -- so you can see immediately that these authors have an opinion of Pope Francis, which they would think this Papal Pandeism claim fits into. Father Kramer goes on to explain with precision:

Bergoglio is an infidel. He is a pandeist who does not believe in the transcendent God and Creator of Catholicism, but in the immanent ‘divine principle’ of Paganism, the life giving world soul (anima mundi) within the Universe. His creed is remarkably like a synthesis of the belief systems of Lord Shaftsbury (sic), Friedrich Schleiermacher, Benedict Spinoza, Auguste Compte, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
Further on, under yet another heading claiming the Pope's true religion is "NATURALISM, RATIONALISM, PANDEISM" (again, his all-caps), Father Kramer expands further:
Bergoglio’s religion is a pandeistic form of Gnosticism, expressed in terms of the perfidiousliberal theology” which had sprung forth from the faithless Enlightenment in the doctrine of Friedrich Schleiermacher, and his moral doctrine likewise is the vague Enlightenment belief in the “Moral Sense”, as professed by the infidel Lord Shaftsbury.
This essay has quickly spread far and wide in tweets and reblogs within its targeted chatter-group. Some enterprising fellow has even translated it into Polish (Poland being another country where Pope Francis is quixotically unpopular), though this translator has sadly lost all of Kramer's original nuance distinguishing between Pandeism and Pantheism. And, incidentally, the accusatory reference to Pandeism is somewhat reminiscent, in both tenor and tone, to pundit Mark Finkelstein's much more concisely put 2009 claim that Barack Obama and Al Gore were secret Pandeists, based on their affinity for environmentalism.

So what are actual Pandeists to make of this "accusation"? There's certainly always a possibility that Pope Francis is indeed a close-to-the-vest Pandeist -- he is an educated theologian, and so might know of Pandeism and the logical argumentation made in support of it, and perhaps he sees value in pandeistic ideas. The criticisms of positions adopted by Pope Francis are the critic's de facto criticisms of Pandeism itself. But the names rattled off by Father Kramer as patrons of Pandeism -- Spinoza, Comte, Teilhard de Chardin, Schleiermacher -- reflect an extraordinary collection of minds, a group one ought to feel lauded, not diminished, to be associated with. It is quite true and correct that Pandeism proposes our Universe to exist anima mundi, as a product of creation ex materia (creation from its own material) instead of the traditional theistic claim of creation ex nihilo (creation from nothing). Some additional specifics of what supposedly makes the Pope pandeistic include:
Bergoglio teaches that even those without faith, which is to say, infidels, can be saved — and that there is no need to obey God’s commandments. Obedience to one’s own faithless conscience suffices for salvation, according to Bergoglio.
A Pandeist would have no hesitation in agreeing with these principles -- that there is not "one true path to salvation" which happens to have only been revealed to some small number of people, at some ancient time coincidentally steeped in superstition and false paths, and which has yet to even reach all mankind, much less persuade any majority of it. The inherent idea in opposition to that is that there is one such true path, and it just so happens to be the one which the critic himself has lucked upon. As to the claim of "God’s commandments" -- well, every theistic belief system has its own peculiar set of those, and none are so apparently true as against all others as to persuade the whole world of their truth (and, moreover, virtually all are traceable to antecedents in previous faiths, otherwise since discarded as myth.) Father Kramer further blasts Pope Francis for daring suggest that even divorce will not bar people from salvation, contrary to certain of the words of his preferred book. Before coming to the ultimate conclusion that Pope Benedict XVI never really properly resigned his office in the first place (and so is still the "real" Pope), Father Kramer concludes as to Pope Francis:
I can say with absolute certitude that Bergoglio is a formal heretic on the basis of the considerations that it is impossible that he is inculpable for denying the most basic revealed truth of the necessity of faith for salvation.
And to this, the Pandeist would answer that "the most basic revealed truth" is what is revealed by science, in the study of the laws of mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology. These are truths revealed to anybody, anywhere in the Universe, who undertakes to look, without having to await receipt of any other revelation, or the claim of one carried by an evangelist for some faith. And far be it for Pandeists to criticize those who find this as their path to wisdom, whether they be Popes or peasants. So while men like Father Kramer may salivate over the chance to rhetorically do in an adjudgedly wayward Pope, the Pandeist responds to the charge of a Pandeist Pope, "We hope!! We hope!!"

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