The Popessa Meets the Pope

The Church is in a bad way when her pope alienates faithful Catholics while bonding with her detractors.

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Whoopi Goldberg is rich and famous. Her estimated worth is $90 million. Currently, she is making roughly $13 million per annum. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award. Her debut as moderator and co-host of the TV program The View drew an audience of 3.4 million.

That she is rich and famous is beyond dispute. However, wealth and fame do not guarantee that third factor: moral wisdom; although it is often presumed that they do. In Ms. Goldberg’s case, that third factor may have eluded her.

She was born in New York City in the year 1955 and named Caryn Elaine Johnson. The whoopee cushion, of all things, was the inspiration for changing her first name. Her surname was adopted from an alleged Jewish ancestor who did not exist. 

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

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She did not graduate from high school, but she did attend a local Catholic high school, St. Columba’s. She falsely claimed that her family is Jewish, Buddhist, Baptist, and Catholic, “none of which I subscribe to, by the way, as I don’t believe in man-made religions,” she has stated. 

After being married three times, she vowed never to marry again. “Some people are not meant to be married,” she said, “and I am not meant to.” In a book entitled The Choices We Made, she revealed having had six or seven abortions by the time she was 25 and admitted that birth control pills failed to stop several of her pregnancies. She contended, despite disavowing man-made religions, that the woman’s choice to abort is a private “choice between her and her God.” 

But is her God a God for anyone else? After the Kansas referendum on abortion in 2022, Goldberg claimed that God would support abortion since He gave women freedom of choice. Men, however, according to her, should not be allowed the freedom to oppose abortion, simply because they are men. God, apparently, is selective in doling out freedom.

In October 2023, Whoopi Goldberg unexpectedly left The View to fly to Rome and meet with Pope Francis. In an interview published by Vatican News, she stated that she had waited for years to thank Pope Francis for his message, particularly on blessing homosexual marriages and giving Communion to the divorced and remarried. She was overjoyed when she heard the pontiff state that “we have to love everybody.” She concluded that Francis’ position is that a person’s sexual behavior is, “quite frankly,” “none of your business.”

Having attended a Catholic high school, Ms. Goldberg must have heard more than a hundred times that God loves everyone. Yet, the pope’s declaration seemed to be news to her. She gushed over it. It may very well be contested, however, that “everyone” includes unborn human beings. How can one love everyone while approving and promoting indiscriminate abortion? 

For Whoopi, love is pure sentimentality. One feels good when announcing to the world that we should love everyone. But sentimental feeling is in one’s mind and not for the good of another. Love is the will to promote the good of others. It is distinguishable from approval in which we whitewash whatever another person does. Goldberg confesses that for a certain amount of time in the past, she was “addicted to drugs.” At that time, she needed love to help her kick the habit. Love wants the best for the loved one and cannot tolerate what is harmful to that person.

Allowing one’s self to be loved is more difficult than loving. To be loved is to be open to reform. This requires giving up one’s illusions. The world suffers more from the refusal to be loved than from the lack of love. To love another is futile if that other person will not accept love. Yes, we should love everyone, but everyone should be willing to accept love.

Goldberg has a history of attacking the Catholic Church for her condemnation of abortion. She does not tolerate the Church’s love for the unborn. In 2022, after Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco banned Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi from receiving Communion because of her public promotion of abortion, Goldberg was outraged. She used The View to slam the archbishop, stating that it is “not” his “job” to make such decisions. “This is not your job, dude…that is not up to you to make that decision.” Whoopi Goldberg has a history of attacking the Catholic Church for her condemnation of abortion.Tweet This

Is it, we may ask, Whoopi Goldberg’s place to tell bishops not to use their legitimate (and God-given) prerogatives to excommunicate people who persistently, knowingly, and willfully violate Church teaching on important matters? Is it her place to tell the Church not to be herself? Is it her place to “pontificate”?

While Pope Francis is receiving severe and reasonable criticisms from various and faithful members of the Church, he is winning plaudits from Whoopi Goldberg. She and Pope Francis have a common bond with relation to issues that the Church has consistently condemned. She has become the popessa who, despite vilifying the Church, praises it on a presumed higher level.

Can we credit Ms. Goldberg with loving everyone, or at least approving the notion that we should love everyone? In 2016, Goldberg celebrated the indictment of pro-life investigators in Texas who were attempting to expose the barbaric practices of abortion performed by Planned Parenthood, saying she was “thrilled” they were “getting their behind[s] handed to them.”

The Church is in a bad way when her pope alienates faithful Catholics while bonding with her detractors. What does Whoopi Goldberg have in mind for the ideal pontiff? It is one who simply does nothing other than spout platitudes. Ignorance is to be preferred to knowledge, weakness is superior to strength, doubt is better than faith! Anyone could fill such an undemanding position, one that is totally devoid of qualifications. In fact, Whoopi Goldberg herself could fill the shoes of the fisherman as the popessa.


  • Donald DeMarco

    Donald DeMarco is professor emeritus of Saint Jerome’s University and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He is a regular columnist for the Saint Austin Review and the author, most recently, of Reflections on the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Search for Understanding.

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