Catholic Apologetics

Entries in Pope Francis (2)


Just a few words about the Synod

I wrote the following to a friend of my mother's who had expressed some reservations about Pope Francis' recent actions:

Your sensus catholicus is telling you exactly what it should regarding Pope Francis' actions: he is a destroyer of the Faith.  He is a modernist in the truest sense of the word, for whom absolute truth either does not exist or is not relevant.  Of course, he sometimes says things that sound quite orthodox, as modernists do - that great encyclical on the subject (Pascendi) informs us of that. 

The pontiff referred to Cardinal Kasper's proposal to allow unrepentant adulterers to Holy Communion - something that is as direct a violation of immutable doctrine imaginable - as "beautiful and serene theology".  These men intend not to change doctrine - which they cannot do - but to cast it aside, ignore it, in favor of "pastoral solutions".

In reality, however, there is no such thing as a "pastoral" solution that contradicts or ignores doctrine, since a true pastor loves both truth, which is doctrine, and the souls he's been given charge of, and knows that he is better off being "thrown into the sea with a large millstone around his neck" than leading them into sin.  

Leading souls by the hand into sin is exactly, of course, what is being done here.  And the Apostle tells that he who receives the Eucharist unworthily - in grave sin, as the Church teaches - "eats and drinks judgement upon himself" (and, further, that this is the reason that some of the Corinthians he was writing to had died).  The Body of Christ invigorates body & soul for those who approach Him appropriately, but casts judgement upon one who dares to partake sacrilegiously. 

[Of course, Francis may not believe that the Eucharist is the Body of Christ to begin with.  According to a first-hand report, he said to the woman living in adultery whom he had just told to receive Holy Communion in contradiction to her priest's command that "a little bread and wine does no harm".  Poor Fr. Lombardi, Director of the Vatican Press Office, has declined to issue any denial of this statement, which would seem to make this pope a "serious" material heretic.] 

These churchmen are preaching the false compassion of the devil, not true charity, which is always concerned first and foremost with the salvation of souls.  They pander to the world with this false compassion, ignoring the Church's teachings that to admonish the sinner is a work of mercy and that one participates in another's sin via silence - much less active encouragement. 

Pope Francis has very little interest in wielding the authority of the Vicar of Christ, preferring instead to whittle away at the "pillar and foundation of the Truth" in a myriad of ways.  But, again, there is nothing to fear (though much to lament) for the faithful Catholic solid in his faith: Truth does not change, and no one, least of all the supreme pontiff, can bind anyone to hold any error or to lawfully command one to perform any immoral act (such as forcing a priest to give the Body of Christ to a soul who is living in unrepentant, public mortal sin). 

Every theologian who has ever pontificated on the subject agrees that popes can err (could there be any question there?) and that they must be resisted when they do, publicly, for the good of the Church.  The charism of infallibility, of course, must be invoked to be operative, and can apply only to formal statements of faith & morals intended to bind the entire universal Church.  

The post-conciliar pontiffs, with Francis being seemingly the post-conciliar pontiff par excellence, have no desire to bind the faithful to anything, nor are their novelties matter of doctrine precisely stated, nor do they have the power to coerce the Holy Ghost to endorse such un-Catholic novelties as false ecumenism, non-existent religious liberty, or the undermining of infallible moral teaching via praxis that flatly ignores it.

Of course, I cast no judgement on Francis' soul: I am entirely capable of knowing to what, if any, extent the man is culpable, which is why holistic judgement is forbidden - de internis ecclesia non judica.

We today are living through the greatest crisis in the history of the Church, that foretold by Our Lady of Fatima with startling accuracy - apparent even if the lament of the future Pope Pius XII is the only evidence considered.  In 1937 Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli stated

"I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in her liturgy, her theology and her soul.  I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past.

Indeed has the faith been "altered" in liturgy, theology, and soul, more radically than ever in the Church's history.

Our Lady ordered the Secret containing these warnings opened "by 1960".  1960 came and went, as John XXIII declared the Secret not of interest to his papacy, then opened Vatican Council II, the only "pastoral" ecumenical council in the history of the Church: the only council to proclaim no dogma and issue no anathemas.  (According to the promulgating pontiff himself, this council binds the faithful to no new teaching whatsoever.)

So, that, in a nutshell, is what is going on. :)



Brief commentary on:


It is interesting how popes before the conciliar age seem to have had no problems whatsoever being "misunderstood" in the way Pope Francis is.  This actually has very little do with the "communications age".  Popes gave newspaper interviews in times past - of course, they gave them *prudently*, referring to both whom they spoke to, how often, and what they said.  They simply never said the kinds of things this pope does.


We didn't have such problems of misunderstanding previously because until recent times a pope would not give a reply like "Who am I to judge?" to general questions about homosexual behavior, with no qualification.  Such a reply begs for clarification!  It most clearly requires clarification: are you talking about homosexual temptation or behavior?  As everyone knows, to the world, these two things are so closely related as to be the same topic.


Popes are bound to speak clearly about the truths of the faith.  Vatican I - in what is an actual, binding teaching made with precise language - defined the papal mandate thus: "For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.


Are we witnessing the truths of the faith "religiously guarded" and "faithfully expounded" here?


It is a fact that people - apparently in large numbers - are using the pope's words to justify grave sin (his "slogans" appear on the websites and t-shirts of pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups - again this is new ground from even previous post-conciliar pontiffs).  Whether or not he's been "misinterpreted, this ought to scare the heck out of the supreme pontiff.  I recall reading one story of a particular judgement rendered by a mystic-saint.  The subject was an artist who had painted one risque portrait; he was held accountable by God for every sin it induced.  How much more accountable is the holy father, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, Pastor of Souls, Head of the Universal Church?


"Mercy is what we give to people who have done something wrong" - indeed.  What is the point of this comment - and many of the others - other than to say what wasn't said, or rather to expound by inference if not by assumption?  Are we hearing Pope Francis's sermon (fervorino) or Fr. Z's?  (Or Jimmy Akin or any number of the other pundits that "explain" the pope's interviews and sermons for us?  The point of a sermon itself is to explain; it should not require an explanation of itself.)


"He says nothing that forms a part of his Ordinary Magisterium."  If that's true (it is, of course), why the Pollyannaic defense?  (Of course, it's debatable whether or not Evangelii Gaudium is part of the magisterium.  Cardinal Burke said 'no', more or less, but then he lost his job shortly afterward.  That encyclical enshrines the teaching that the Old Covenant is still salvific, despite the constant witness of the Church to the opposite position.)


Just as "reading in the small" (proof-texting) is a (Protestant) method of Scriptural exegesis that leads very often to error, one will rarely - or not as readily - spot modernism by examining individual statements.  As Pius IX stated in that great encyclical, "Hence in their books you find some things which might well be expressed by a Catholic, but in the next page you find other things which might have been dictated by a rationalist".


Now, of course, the neo-Catholics immediately bristle at the association of the supreme pontiff with modernism.  But such a reaction is simply nonsensical.  Like other post-conciliar popes, Pope Francis is clearly influenced by the modernist theologians who were suppressed by the Holy Office in the 1940s and 50s (yet in several cases went on to become the council periti).  Beyond that, the man who is widely-regarded as his principle advisor shocked the Catholic world (even the liberals) not long ago when he declared that Vatican II marked the end of the Church's fight against modernism.  (So much for Pascenci, the Syllabus, and in general the popes of the 19th & early 20th centuries.)


It is most curious that the dogma "don't criticize the pope" was born at the very time such criticism is most pressingly necessary.  (Necessary?  The 1983 Code of Canon law tells Catholic laymen that they have the duty to publicly correct wayward prelates.)  It is at this very time when neo-Catholic apologists have cultivated a cult-of-personality around the pope (not without assistance) and implicitly forbid any criticism of any statement or action (except perhaps by "saints in the making").


The whole thing makes even less sense when we see individuals who will criticize bishops in the sharpest manner possible but refuse to call the Bishop of Rome (as he prefers to be known, in the spirit of the novelty of congiality) on exactly the same issues.  As noted, the supreme pontiff has the greatest responsibility of all to maintain the faith & teach it clearly.


This is one of those oft-repeated traditionalist quotes, yet perhaps it is not repeated enough:


"Peter has no need for our lies or flattery.  Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the supreme pontiff are the very ones who do the most to undermine the authority of the Holy See - they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations." - Theologian of the Council of Trent Bishop Melchior Cano


We have now seen the Franciscans of the Immaculate brutally suppressed - that is really an appropriate word.  Due to a vague accusation of, more or less, not toeing the Vatican II line on the new orientation and the new Mass on the part of six priests, out of more than four hundred, all four hundred are now forbidden to offer the Mass of All Time, in a very direct violation of Summorum Pontificum, whilst, as usual, tens or hundreds of thousands of heterodox priests are left undisturbed.


Who's next?  In previous pontificates it was a sure bet that that ICK or FSSP would not be gutted because they were created to counter the Society of St. Pius X, and to suppress them would be to simply drive the faithful there, but in this new, perhaps final stage of said Revolution the powers that be may no longer care enough about the wants of "restorationists" or even the growing of the ranks of the Society to maintain the previous status quo.  This remains to be seen.


These traditional-minded folks (Latin Mass-goers, for this purpose) who remain blithely unaware of the dangers of this pontificate, and of the root causes of post-conciliar orientation in general, are like the proverbial frog in the pot.  The water is hot already.  You may be used to it, but it is hot.