Of course if you read what was written by fallen Catholics, heretics, and atheists, the "bad Popes" seem to be condemned because of sexual appetites, bizarre behavior, and lavish spending. But I imagine all these accounts were written by enemies of the Church who aim to dissuade the faithful. Now I know Popes are capable of sin. But heresy?
Now Pope Francis behaves like he's advocating a new religion. Every statement has to be twisted into some sort of orthodoxy.
My question, was there a Pope worse than Francis?
For Catholics who consider Francis a valid pope, many are prone to say that Pope Paul VI was worse, because he gave approval to Vatican II, which even John XXIII was reluctant to do (he got it started but was shocked to see it take off with a life of its own and wanted it stopped when he was about to die but his power brokers made sure his desires were not fulfilled at the time before they saw him die of stomach cancer).
It was Paul VI who stepped in and let the rotten council continue, and it was then Paul VI who rubber stamped its notorious innovations, and it was Paul VI who for the first time in Church history fenegled a twisted scheme to make it appear that the Mass of Tradition was abrogated (even though it in fact could never be abrogated, nor was it in fact abrogated, but he allowed it to APPEAR as though it had been abrogated), then forced the Novus Ordo Saeclorum (New World Order) mass
down everyone's throats by FIAT, not by rule of law or proper authority. He ruled with an iron fist (not unlike Communism which Vat.II ignored completely by prior arrangement - the Balamand Agreement or Pact of Metz) and ushered in the great crisis of the Church which endures today, half a century later.
Francis is just running on fumes, and would have none of this chaos in progress had it not been for Paul VI, and the future will see how they compare, but for now, Paul VI was far worse than Francis because of the traditions that he abolished:
- The Traditional Mass everywhere and always
- Various Papal traditions such as the beautiful crosier, Papal tiara and the sedia gestatoria
- The practice and safeguard of traditional Catholic music at Mass
- The traditional ordination form for priests and consecration form for bishops
- The traditional form for Extreme Unction
- The traditional practice of Papal blessings by way of Agnus Dei
- Allowing bishops to go utterly wild in their novelties and unorthodox theology and teachings
- Promotion of liberals and anti-conservatives to episcopal and cardinal positions
- Soft-pedaling the traditional Catholic teaching on contraception (even though Humanae Vitae
was at least a weak attempt to protect it, he did not ENFORCE the adherence to this doctrine; but even so, Humanae Vitae
contains a "time bomb" teaching that allows the relationship aspect of the marriage act to take equal prominence
with the procreational aspect, which had never been Catholic teaching before Humanae Vitae
- Allowing the continued spurn of John XXIII's official dissemination for all Catholic bishops (1961) prohibiting the admission into seminaries of applicants who in ANY WAY showed a proclivity toward homosexuality, which teaching should have garnered his most enthusiastic support, but he did not support it; he used his power and enthusiasm instead
to ATTACK the sacred Traditions of Holy Mother Church in so many ways it's hard to count them all. He was a REAL SCOUNDREL.
At the time, and I lived through this so I feel obliged to report on it, every traditionally-minded Catholic I knew or heard of repeated the same refrain again and again and again:
Pope Paul VI is absolutely the WORST POPE EVER.
It was true when it happened and it continues to be true half a century later, IMHO.