Progressive Christians Want to Watch the Church Burn

By John Zmirak Published on June 29, 2023

This might sound disingenuous but I’m serious: I hate being right about stuff. That’s because I see the dark implications of seemingly innocent or only mildly alarming ideas and developments. I see them with all the vividness of a Gadarene swine plunging down the slope, who glimpses the sea.

I don’t think this is a virtue, or a sign of special insight. If it’s in fact a gift from God, I’d like to pack it in the original shipping materials and overnight it back. Those who remember The Iliad will know that Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy about future events … and cursed with the certainty that nobody would listen to her warnings.

Zmirak’s List

In chronological order, I predicted to any who’d listen:

  • In 1980, that Ronald Reagan’s choice of George H.W. Bush as his vice president would prove disastrous.
  • In 1982, that the Gay/Lesbian movement (as our Leviathan then was called) would prove to be more of a threat to Western civilization than Soviet Communism.
  • In 1992, that Ukraine’s decision to give up its inherited nuclear arsenal in return for an illegal promise of U.S. protection from Bill Clinton would backfire on everyone.
  • In 1994, that uncontrolled low skill immigration would make it almost impossible for Republicans to win nationally, and hence for our country to function.
  • In 1998, that efforts to impeach Bill Clinton would prove futile and counterproductive.
  • In 2000, that George W. Bush would prove a disastrous choice for president.
  • In 2003, that the Iraq War would unleash chaos and genocide against Christians, without producing a pro-Western democracy. Also, that our efforts to build such a regime in Afghanistan were doomed.
  • In 2006, that the Patriot Act would shred our constitutional protections, and make the Deep State a politicized weapon against dissenters. (I didn’t predict that it would go rogue and try to take out a sitting president. That was too dark even for me.)
  • In 2008, that John McCain would be a hopeless nominee for Republicans, and might even prove worse than Obama if he were elected — with all the same bad domestic policies, plus extra foreign wars.

Did I Cause the Blue State Nursing Home Genocide?

More recently, in 2016, I suspected from the beginning that the Russia Collusion probe was all just a made-up political hit job with absolutely no basis in facts. In March 2020, I wrote satirically that the Democrats might flood nursing homes with COVID patients — which they promptly did three weeks later. God forgive me, I think I might have given them the idea. And so on.

I know how Cassandra must have felt, toasting S’Mores on the burning ruins of Troy.

I Had Pope Francis’ Number. (Guess What It Is!)

It’s in light of all this that I look back to what I’ve written in the past about Pope Francis. As early as 2014, I was so alarmed by Francis’ attempts to politicize the papacy and turn the Catholic church into a left-wing pressure group, that I shocked timid fellow Catholics with this essay: “The Myth of Catholic Social Teaching.”  In it, I argued that the pope’s authority to preach on current politics … was mythical. As was any duty of Catholics to follow his lead on such subjects.

In 2016, I sounded the alarm that Pope Francis was trying to undermine Catholic teaching on marriage, in order to raze the barriers to accepting the LGBT agenda — and even to threaten the constitutional rights of Catholics who resisted that juggernaut. Today we see the Vatican using a gerrymandered, extra-legal church structure called “synods” (rigged meetings of cherry-picked lay Catholics) to twist the arms of faithful bishops into “welcoming” the LGBT agenda in their churches.

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Francis has also overturned the decision of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and issued a virtual ban on the celebration of the traditional Catholic Mass, which dates back more than 1500 years. He is persecuting and trying to grab the real estate of traditional Catholic religious orders.

Pope Francis has placed his own judgment above that of all his predecessors’ teachings and the words of the Book of Genesis, in fact the Covenant of Noah — the first moral code ever imposed by God Himself for the whole human race. On his own authority, Francis has declared that capital punishment is wrong and always has been. Presumably, including when God demanded it for murderers.

Judas High-Fiving the Soldiers as They Mocked Jesus

In January 2020, before the COVID lockdown, I warned that Pope Francis’ Vatican had signed a de facto alliance with China. Just a few months later, Pope Francis was endorsing total lockdowns, echoing Anthony Fauci’s party line about the COVID virus, and ordering Catholics to take a vaccine tainted by its origin in cells from aborted babies. The one bishop who backed pro-life Catholics refusing that vaccine … Pope Francis removed from office. That’s because the bishop wouldn’t segregate the unvaccinated Catholics at church at the height of the COVID panic.

This year, just one American bishop showed up to protest the blasphemous drag queen fake “nuns” honored by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the courageous Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas. Now Pope Francis has sent pro-LGBT leftist cronies to investigate Strickland, with a view to removing him, too.

Several years ago, Pope Francis publicly embraced and praised unrepentant abortionist and pro-abortion activist Emma Bonino. Just this month, he welcomed at the Vatican American artist Andre Serrano, also unrepentant, who displayed a crucifix immersed in urine, with a title too blasphemous for us to reprint here. But when persecuted Hong Kong dissident Cardinal Joseph Zen got the Chinese Communists to grant him a few days out of prison, so he could fly to Rome … Francis refused to see him.

The First Atheist Pope?

All these outrageous abuses of authority, and acts of apostasy against the Faith he was commissioned to pass on unchanged, confirm the suspicions I voiced three years ago. That’s when I published “The Second Catholic President Gets Congratulated by the First Atheist Pope.”

Sadly, I believe more than ever that this is the best explanation of Francis’ words and deeds. I think that he bears a special hatred for the traditional, orthodox Catholic faith — perhaps because of childhood experiences with harsh or judgmental clergy. (I don’t know, for certain. God grant that Francis repent and prove me wrong!) So he wants that Faith to be false, and he is in a unique position to try to prove it false.

If he can use his sheer institutional power, and considerable skill at manipulating public opinion, to force the church to embrace stances that flout the teaching of the Bible and the apostolic Church, that will “prove” in his mind that it was never true in the first place. That the God of judgment and accountability never existed. I think, in fact, such a subconscious agenda drives most progressive Christians, which is why they don’t worry about leaving behind them viable institutions or empty, deserted shells. Their real mission is … to watch the Church burn.

If I’m right, they’re eager to do that because on some deep, superstitious peasant level they’re afraid that our Faith might be true. But the Enemy stole their hope, convinced them that if God was real, then they were headed for hellfire. So every traditional prayer they can butcher, every convent they can shutter, and altar they can drape in the rainbow flag, is a cup of cold water to snuff out the brimstone that burns in their minds. 

I wrote a whole graphic novel imagining such a figure coming to power in the Vatican, way back in 1994. It’s available on Amazon.

I hate being right about stuff.



John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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