Back in 2017, when I began planning this website, many of my fellow Pope Francis-supporting friends weren’t entirely enthusiastic about my idea. After all, why should I give any attention at all to the pope’s detractors? Doing so, they asserted, would give credence to their claims and conspiracy theories, as well as their faulty understanding of the Magisterium and papal primacy. Wouldn’t it be better to simply ignore them and let them fade away into obscurity?
More recently, especially with our pieces on the recent letter signed by Aidan Nichols and others (here and here), I was asked why we would give attention to such a ridiculous attempt to accuse the pope of heresy and to have him deposed. Even internally among the writers for this site, there were discussions about how we should respond to the letter, and whether it deserved any response at all.
My response, as it has been since we launched the site, has been that the task of responding to the many attacks on Pope Francis and his teachings is not for everyone, but someone has to do it. While there are many outstanding writers, theologians, and others who have done a tremendous job supporting and defending the Holy Father from time to time, there are very few websites dedicated to addressing the criticisms and attacks on him, especially from a position that strives to be orthodox and faithful to the magisterium.
So here we are.
Why do we address the attacks on Pope Francis? Because this is an issue that affects real, ordinary Catholics. Last week, DW Lafferty referred to a phenomenon he called the “Anti-Francis Vortex.” He writes:
“I say all this not as a call for an intensification of the culture war within the Church, but as a simple plea for sanity. Those who have entered the anti-Francis vortex are not stupid or irredeemable. I have studied conspiracy theory in an academic context, and I know that it can grip people of even great intelligence.”
Most of us know people in our families, parishes, and social circles who have bought into this intense, anti-Francis ideology. It’s even more extreme on social media, where the veneer of anonymity allows people to express their fear and hatred in the most outrageous ways.
Still, no one is irredeemable, as DW reminds us. Those who are seeking a well-reasoned, balanced, and faithful response to this papacy are welcomed here with open arms. And we’re committed to continue this work for as long as we can.
Those who follow the site closely have probably noticed that our level of content output has fluctuated at times over the last year and a half, as family, work, and personal responsibilities have impacted our writers’ schedules; we are all volunteers, and any donations we’ve collected have gone back into the maintenance and promotion of our website.
I can’t tell you how many times readers have emailed us, commented, or sent us messages thanking us for our work, describing us as an “oasis” in a Catholic world that seems like it’s been turned upside down. We are grateful to you; you let us know we are making a difference.
We’re also thankful for our new readers. In the past two months, our readership numbers have increased dramatically — another sign of the impact we’re having. We want this growth to continue.
On that note, we ask for your continued prayers for the success of this site.
Additionally, we are encouraging any talented writers who might be interested in contributing to the site to reach out to us via direct message on Facebook or Twitter or through our contact page. (For those of you who don’t already follow us on Facebook or Twitter, please do so by clicking on those links.)
Finally, we’d be appreciative if you could spread the word about us by telling friends and sharing our site on social media.
Let’s do what we can to support the Church and our Holy Father, Pope Francis.
May God bless him and keep him.
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Mike Lewis is the founding managing editor of Where Peter Is. He and Jeannie Gaffigan co-host Field Hospital, a U.S. Catholic podcast.