Speaking in public for the second time since Argentina passed a bill permitting the slaughter of unborn babies, the pontiff maintained a stoic silence on the new law in his homeland.
Francis ended his Sunday Angelus by referencing something he read "in the newspapers that saddened [him] greatly."
"In one country, I forget which, more than 40 aircraft left, to enable people to flee from the lockdown and to enjoy the holidays," the pontiff fumed.
"But those people, good people, did they not think about those who stayed at home, about the economic problems faced by many people who have been floored by the lockdown, about the sick?" Francis asked.
"They thought only about taking a holiday for their own pleasure. This pained me greatly," the pope lamented, condemning "the temptation to take care only of our own interests" and "live hedonistically ... seeking only to satisfy our own pleasure."
Respondents on social media blasted the pontiff, pointing out that the people who went on vacation were not necessarily hedonists but may have been tired and overworked middle- and lower-income families.
Pope Francis was also reminded that his enthusiasm for lockdowns was impacting the tourism industry — which employs daily-wage earners, low-skilled cleaners, waiters, taxi-drivers and small businesses with little or no alternative source of livelihood.
One person tweeted:
So how about the people in those countries where there aren't any tourists anymore? And no income? How does the pope think these people are supposed to make a living at the moment? Just to be clear, I haven't been on holiday; but there are whole countries who live off tourism.
Lockdown supporters cheered the pontiff's scolding of the lockdown truants.
"It really is just unbelievable how people's first responses to this are about the economy and not about human life. Try some compassion and empathy before referencing the suffering economy," another social media user tweeted, in response to concerns about people facing the devastation of the tourism industry.
The pope's potshots at lockdown protestors concerned about the State's totalitarian assault on human rights and fundamental liberties come in the wake of the Court of Rome's Dec. 16 ruling blowing a hole in Italy's "illegitimate" and "unconstitutional" lockdown restrictions.
Italy's constitution does not permit the government to declare a state of emergency due to public health risks; it gives the state specific regulatory powers only in the case of a declaration of war, held Judge Alessio Liberati in a specific case of rent reduction, Church Militant reported.
Francis is facing a mounting tide of evidence-based opposition to his lockdown fanaticism, as experts dispute the effectiveness of putting entire nations under house arrest.
William M. Briggs, statistician and co-author of the recent bestseller The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic Into a Catastrophe explains that, far from being effective, lockdowns actually increase virus transmission.
"Quarantines can make sense; lockdowns never do," Briggs argues. "Lockdowns are not quarantines in the old-fashioned sense of that term, where infected people were isolated, kept separate in every way from the non-infected."
According to Briggs, "lockdowns are merely forced gatherings" where people are allowed to venture forth from their dwellings to do essential activities at "concentrated points," like "spending money at oligarch-run stores."
"Lockdowns will still spread the virus more quickly than liberty" because "lockdowns force people together," he reasons.
Briggs proposes "quarantine-liberty" where only "the ill are quarantined, kept entirely separate from the healthy, until they are dead or no longer communicable."
Pro-lifers slammed Pope Francis for his silence on Argentina's recent abortion-legalization bill, which passed Wednesday after the Senate voted on the law, with 38 in favor, 29 against (with one abstention).
In a Christmas message, the Argentinian bishops condemned the government for its "feverish obsession" with extending abortion rights in the midst of a pandemic.
Italian journalist and writer Andrea Cionci remarked sarcastically in his column for Libero, "Perhaps Francis did not know that [Argentinian President] Fernàndez, whom he has known for 45 years, describes himself as 'a Catholic who believes that abortion is not a sin.'"
"I hope Francis won't get mad at me because I'm a Catholic who thinks abortion is not a sin," President Fernàndez has repeatedly said since he presented the bill.
"So the faithful decide what is sin and what isn't. Great news," Cionci commented, noting "the Argentine president is a great friend of Bergoglio."
The columnist agreed that Francis had spoken on abortion before the law was passed in Argentina and had compared abortion to "hiring a hitman."
So "why support and pamper political leaders who legalize hiring hitmen?" Cionci asked.
In his new book, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, which records exchanges between the pope and his biographer Austen Ivereigh, Francis rebukes anti-lockdown protestors, calling them "victims only in their own imagination" who are "incapable of moving outside of their own little world of interests."