"This is the generation of the great LEVIATHAN, or rather, to speak more reverently of that mortal god, to which we own under the immortal God, our peace and defense." -Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan
There are questions raised by the devil to destroy the Church of Christ. To achieve this he may use as his mouth piece not only ambitious professors of theology, his favorite tools, but also simple, pious souls.
-From ‘Ordination of Women?’ in The Ordination of Women in Biblical Lutheran Perspective, edited by Matthew C. Harrison and John T. Pless (St. Louis: CPH, 2008) 265-266.
With the Pope’s speech declaring that it is possible to be good to God without faith in Christ, there is no doubt that the Spirit of the Antichrist is well and alive in the Papal Seat. This is compounded further by both the gravity of the claims of the Papacy and the appearance of godliness and holiness of the current Pope, whereby coming from the position of both an authority on the Christian faith and legitimacy with world with his worldly righteousness and humility, the Papal seat has promptly subverted the faith of Christ before world. The world now on “good authority” takes this as a license for disbelief and denial of Christ.
It maybe protested that the Pope did not mean to say this, and that no such antichrist malice dwells in his heart, etc. That maybe so, but as Hermann Sasse once puts it, the devil can use, not only notorious or wicked man, but also simple pious souls. That is simply because it is the Seat of the Papacy, and not really the person occupying it, which is the creation of the devil and the true locus of the action of the Spirit of the Antichrist itself. It does not matter who occupies this sacrilegious and illegitimate seat as long as it is occupied the Spirit of the Antichrist can do its nefarious work.
The Spirit of the Antichrist is not choosy in his vessels for subverting the Gospel of Christ. He is more than happy to use “simple, pious souls”, “godly man” with both authority within the Church and moral legitimacy, to destroy the faith of Christ, confirming the words of St Paul, “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim 3:5), which is precisely what this Pope has, having the appearance of humility and godliness, yet denying the power of Christian faith necessary for the practice of true goodness. Goodness is not cumulative or additive, it is multiplicative. It does not matter how much “righteousness” or “goodness” one accumulates, by a multiplication by a single negative, the large “positive” becomes a large negative. The worldly righteousness and humility of the Pope would be a marvelous Christian witness to the Gospel, unfortunately the Antichrist has used this moral legitimacy to undermine the Gospel instead, and gave the world cause for maintaining their rebellious disbelief. The Vatican has tried to clarify the Pope’s remarks, but it is too late, the damage has been done.
The point is not what Francis “truly intended” in his heart or what he was really trying to say or whatever. The Pope may himself be a truly genuinely godly man who loves Christ and God, etc. The point is that the Spirit of the Antichrist is concerned about the objective effects of the actions of the pope, and there is no doubt at all that, not withstanding the private intentions or genuine intentions of the Pope, the Spirit of the Antichrist can, and has, used an illegitimate office, grounded upon no word of Scripture or Catholic tradition, to maximise the subversion of the Gospel to the world. No matter who takes the office, whether it be an ambitious Borgia or a humble bumbling Francis, the Spirit of the Antichrist can nevertheless use both to unhappy effect by virtue of the presumptuous and sacrilegious office itself.
So now not only for Roman Catholics but for all Christians everywhere has the work of the Gospel been made harder by the Pope, for we are all now burden with the need to contend not only against their disbelief but now we have to contend against the Pope himself, where before he was an irrelevance to the ground witness. There is little doubt that all of hell and its denizens celebrated the propagation of the Pope’s words through all the world and the hardening of disbelief against Christ which it has caused.
As Protestants, perhaps this is the time to revive once more that old polemic of the Papacy as the Seat of the Antichrist, and sever ourselves from that old seat and font of apostasy.