Pope Francis and Caiaphas: A Tale of Two High Priests

By John Zmirak Published on March 29, 2024

One thing we know about Pope Francis: He has an unhealthy obsession with Judas. In his private apartments, a crude painting hangs which depicts the risen Jesus ministering to Judas’s body after his suicide. Francis has repeatedly mused that Judas might have been saved — in support of the suggestion that no one is finally damned. That’s a heresy the early Church condemned for turning the drama of our salvation into a farce with a forced happy ending.

You might think Francis is simply a little “too merciful.” Read my three-part analysis of the dark, perverse motivations that more likely lie behind his defense of the one human being whom the Church has always regarded as doomed — based on the words of Jesus.

Not Judas, But Caiaphas

Don’t expect here an essay comparing Francis to Judas, though. There’s a much closer parallel in salvation history: the high priest Caiaphas. No, not just because both he and the pope have served as high priests of the one true religion on earth; that would work with any pope. (So we Catholics believe, calling the bishop of Rome “pontifex maximus.”)

What called to mind Caiaphas in particular was a recent papal statement that Lifesitenews covered in detail, in which Francis tore into Christians who refused the COVID vaccine — especially those of us who rejected it as immoral because it relies on DNA from a kidney cut out of a baby being aborted, most likely while she was still alive, since otherwise such tissue is useless. (Yes, other medications depend on such research. That’s deplorable as well and we should avoid them. But none of those vaccines or medications have been forced on people by the government and their employers.)

Francis clearly feels strongly about the vaccine; he violated canon law to remove a fellow bishop for refusing to segregate the unvaccinated at Mass. Francis taught officially that Catholics weren’t just permitted to take this vaccine (which his own bishops had warned Donald Trump would be immoral); he said we were obliged to out of “love of neighbor.”

Francis told bishops not to support religious exemptions from taking the vaccine — thus undermining our religious freedom vis a vis the State. He issued a Vatican Euro coin celebrating the useless, harmful vaccination of children. He even sneered at his critic Cardinal Raymond Burke, who’d refused the vaccine and came down with COVID: “There were even a few anti-vaxxers among the bishops: some came close to death.”

As Lifesite reports:

Referring to the COVID-related lockdowns as a “grim scenario,” Francis stated that “[t]his grim scenario began to change with the arrival of the first vaccines,” failing to mention the multitude of side effects linked to the rollout of the experimental jabs, including upticks in heart, brain and blood diseases, among other issues.

Lies in Defense of Moral Compromise

Some unprincipled Catholics supported Francis’s position on the vaccine, impatiently dismissing the longtime pro-life objection to using abortion-derived medicines. One prominent Dominican priest and scientist supported that stance by spreading the falsehood that the origin of the fetal cells used in each of the COVID vaccines “might” have been a miscarriage. That priest knew better. We documented here at The Stream that the researcher who created the human embryonic kidney cell line involved testified under oath to the FDA that the “donor” had been a healthy child, killed by abortion. That child even has a name, given her by pro-lifers who wish to restore her humanity: Johanna Vera Alderliesten.

And of course, Johanna was not the only innocent whose death benefited COVID research. The Center for Medical Progress, among others, reported that dozens of abortions were coordinated with COVID researchers to provide still more fetal organs for the National Institutes of Health. The same COVID panic which justified massive lockdowns, lax ballot practices, and crushing media censorship was used to unleash “open season” on unborn kids and their body parts.

Blessing Organ Harvesting in China

And Pope Francis thinks all that was justified. He said nothing about the further abortions and organ harvesting. That’s not a surprise, since he sent his right-hand man, Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, to a conference in Communist China of that regime’s organ thieves — who (as Forbes reports) harvest hundreds of organs cut from the living bodies of Uyghurs and other prisoners of conscience. Sorondo addressed the conference and praised the attendees for their work.

That’s what brings us back to Caiaphas. In some ways, he’s even harder to understand than Judas. This is the man who, during Jesus’s ministry, was the highest religious authority on earth — the one man who could enter the Holy of Holies (just once a year) and speak the secret name of God. Did Caiaphas realize that Jesus was indeed the Messiah? Did he at least suspect it? Why else during Jesus’s trial did he bother to suborn perjured testimony, which failed to secure a conviction until Jesus at last announced His divine nature — giving Caiaphas the excuse for putting Him to death?

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Caiaphas knew on some level that Jesus’s death would prove redemptive, even if he interpreted that in a degraded, political sense. As St. John recounts in his gospel:

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” (John 11:49-50)

Did Pope Francis “understand” that it was “expedient” for Johanna, as well as untold numbers of other unborn babies vivisected for organs, to die in the name of COVID research so “that the whole nation should not perish”?  

Does that dark moral compromise on some level haunt the pontiff? That would explain why he is still fulminating against Christians who refused to accept that deal — even as medical authorities warned us that we were risking our own deaths. Did it outrage him that some of us don’t think life bought at such a price is worth the exchange?

Christ paid the price of our sins with His own life. But He did it willingly, as the culmination of His mission; indeed, it was the very reason He came into the world. That’s starkly, profoundly different from mothers offering their children to the high priests of Science. What our government did during COVID, and Pope Francis still defends, was a satanic parody of the Passion.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or coauthor of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. His upcoming book is No Second Amendment, No First.

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