Tag: Pope Francis

Refined Hypocrisy

Refined Hypocrisy posted in Eleison Comments on June 10, 2017

Let us assume then, with Fr Gleize’s first article here six weeks ago (EC 511), that it is not certain that a Pope cannot fall into heresy. To save souls from Luther down to today, God may have given to the authorities of His Church of the decadent Fifth Age special graces to resist that decadence, but that Age came virtually to an end with Vatican II. Conciliar Popes have been the death of the Church. But are they formal heretics? The interest of Fr Gleize’s second article is its highlighting of just how these Popes have managed to kill the Church by subverting Catholic doctrine while seeming to remain Catholic. What is their technique? Fr Gleize examines the case of the five “dubia” or doubtful points raised by the four Cardinals against the text of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia ( AL ): do these points make him a conscious and wilful denier of defined Church doctrine? Seemingly, no, says Fr Gleize, but in effect, yes.

Seemingly, no, because on each of the five points Pope Francis does not directly deny Church doctrine, rather he leaves it ambiguous, or leaves it out. The first of the five points is an example of ambiguity: the Pope does not say, “Divorcees may receive Communion,” but, “In certain cases divorcees may receive Communion.” Here the “in certain cases” is open to a broad or narrow interpretation. It is ambiguous, and that ambiguity is apt to undermine Church Law, because there are many divorcees and all too many priests and prelates who will be happy to take the broad interpretation.

In all four remaining points the Pope undermines Catholic doctrine not by denial, but by omission. For instance (fourth point), he does not say, “There is no such thing as an objectively sinful act,” because the Church has always named a series of objectively sinful acts, starting with God’s Ten Commandments. Rather the Pope says, “Objective sinfulness does not necessarily mean subjective guilt.” Now of course the Church has never denied that there can be circumstances for this or that act which take away its guilt, but to put the subjective excuse in the foreground is to put the objective sin in the background. Sinners will love it!Yet the Catholic Church has always ranked the objective nature and moral rightness or wrongness of acts above the subjective blameworthiness of this or that person performing the act. “The exception proves the rule,” says one proverb, and another, “Hard cases make bad law.” On the contrary the subjectivism of Pope Francis undermines Church law (and common sense) with hard cases, even while he avoids directly contradicting Church law. Fr Gleize concludes that the four Cardinals’ five doubts are fully justified.

However, the Pope is covering his tracks by not making dogmatic or anti-dogmatic statements. He himself writes in AL that its purpose is to “collect in-put from the two Synods on the family, together with further considerations capable of guiding thought or dialogue or pastoral practice.” This is professedly not a dogmatic purpose. Therefore it is difficult to pin on Pope Francis the ticket of “formal heretic.” But just as Vatican II professed to be merely a “pastoral,” i.e. non-doctrinal, Council, and yet it blew Catholic doctrine and the Church sky-high, so Pope Francis is in AF not professing that he is teaching doctrine, and yet he is blowing Catholic morals and the family sky-high. It is the classic Communist or Neo-modernist means of subversion, using practicalities to undermine truth, not in principle but in practice. Compare Rome to Bishop Fellay: “Get practical recognition first, we’ll talk about doctrine afterwards.” Compare Bishop Fellay to the SSPX: “We are not changing doctrine,” while he himself is hardly breathing a word of criticism any more of Pope Francis’ destruction of the Church. Would Archbishop Lefebvre have kept silent? To ask the question is to answer it.

Fr Gleize concludes that Pope Francis may not be a “formal heretic,” but he is certainly “favouring heresy.” “Formal heretic” should be the worse of the two tickets, but not at this wrong end of the Church’s Fifth Age, when the hypocrisy of the Church’s enemies is more refined than ever. Heaven help us more than ever! Pray the Fifteen Mystery Rosary every day!

Kyrie eleison.

Five “Dubia”

Five “Dubia” posted in Eleison Comments on November 26, 2016

In a scandal of a gravity unprecedented even in Pope Francis’ scandal-ridden reign as Catholic Pope since 2013, when challenged by four honourable Cardinals on his seeming denial of the very basis of the Church’s teaching on morals, he has just given answers in public which virtually affirm the freedom of man from the moral law of Almighty God. With this papal affirmation of the Conciliar religion of man as opposed to the Catholic religion of God, a schism in the Universal Church draws that much closer. For half a century since Vatican II, the Conciliar Popes have managed to remain in a way the one head of two opposing religions, but that contradiction could not last indefinitely, and it must soon result in a split.

In 2014 and 2015 Francis held Synods in Rome to consult the world’s bishops on questions concerning the human family. On March 19 of this year he published his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation on “Love in the Family,” the eighth of whose nine chapters raised controversy from the very start. On September 15 four Cardinals in particular sent to the Pope a private and perfectly respectful letter in which they asked him as Supreme Pontiff to clear up five “dubia” or doubtful points of doctrine, left unclear in the Exhortation. Here is the essence of the five points:—

1 From the Exhortation’s #305, can a married person living like husband and wife with a person not their lawful spouse from now on be given sacramental Absolution and Communion while they continue to live in their quasi-married state?

2 From #304, need one still believe that there are absolute moral norms which prohibit intrinsically evil acts, and which are binding without exception?

3 From #301, can one still say that a person living in violation of one of God’s commandments, e.g. in adultery, is in an objective state of grave habitual sin?

4 From #302, can one still say that the circumstances or intentions surrounding an act intrinsically evil by its object can never change it into being subjectively good, or acceptable as a choice?

5 From #303, must we still exclude any creative role of conscience, so that conscience may still never authorize exceptions to absolute moral norms which forbid acts intrinsically evil by their object?

To these five designedly yes-or-no questions the answer of the Catholic Church from Our Divine Lord onwards has always been clear, and has never changed: Communion may not be given to adulterers; there are absolute moral norms; there is such a thing as “grave habitual sin”; good intentions cannot make evil acts good; conscience cannot make evil acts lawful. In other words, to the five yes-or-no, black-or-white questions, the Church’s answer has always been, 1 No, 2 Yes, 3 Yes, 4 Yes, 5 Yes.

On November 16, just ten days ago, the four Cardinals made their letter public (cf. Mt.XVIII, 15–17). On Nov. 18, in an interview given to the italian newspaper Avvenire, Pope Francis gave the exact opposite yes-or-no answers: 1 Yes, 2 No, 3 No, 4 No, 5 No. (He did affirm each time that “Such things are not black-or-white, we are called to discern,” but he was merely attempting thereby to confuse the unmoving questions of principle with moving questions of application of principle, which come after the questions of principle.)

All credit to the four Cardinals for obtaining light and truth for many confused sheep that wish to get to Heaven: Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra and Meisner. They may be immersed in the Novus Ordo, but they have obviously not lost all courage or sense of their duty. There can be no question of their having acted out of any but the best of motives in pressing the Pope to make himself clear. And where does that clarity leave the Church? It must be on the brink of schism.

Kyrie eleison.

Emotional Arguing

Emotional Arguing posted in Eleison Comments on March 21, 2015

An old-fashioned comparison has the advantage of being very clear: on the back of a mule a heavy pack can be difficult to balance. If it shifts to the left, one must push it to the right. If it tilts to the right, it must be pushed to the left. But such double pushing is not contrary – it has the single purpose of keeping the pack balanced. Similarly, for these “Comments” to argue repeatedly against sedevacantism is not to push towards liberalism, nor is it to suggest that sedevacantism is as bad as liberalism. It is merely to recognize that the outrageous words and deeds of the present occupant of the Holy See are tempting many good Catholics to renounce their reason and to judge of reality by their emotions. That is a common practice today, but it is not Catholic.

For instance sedevacantist arguments are, upon examination, never as strong as they can seem. Let us look at two that have crossed my desk recently, both from devout Catholics, strong in the Faith. Here is the first: Conciliar Popes, especially Francis, have not confirmed their brethren in the Faith. But it is of the essence of a Pope to do that. Therefore the Conciliar Popes are not essentially Popes. In reply one must distinguish a Pope in his being from a Pope in his action. A Pope becomes essentially Pope in his being by his valid election in a Conclave of Cardinals, or by his election, if it was invalid in itself, being convalidated by his subsequent acceptance as Pope by the Universal Church (which may have been the case for more than one Conciliar Pope, God knows). On the contrary, by confirming his brethren in the Faith a Pope is essentially Pope in his action. The two things are different and can be separated. Therefore a Pope can fail in action without necessarily ceasing to be a Pope in his being. That is surely the case of several, if not all, the Conciliar Popes.

And here is the second argument: for the individual and fallible Catholic to set himself up as judge of error by the Church’s infallible Magisterium is ridiculous. Faced then by obvious error (e.g. Conciliarism) by that Magisterium (e.g. the Conciliar Popes), he can only conclude that they have not been true Popes. But, in reply, the Pope is not necessarily the Church’s infallible Magisterium. If he neither engages all four strict conditions of the Extraordinary Magisterium, nor teaches in accordance with the Church’s Ordinary Magisterium, then he is fallible, and if he contradicts that Ordinary Magisterium then he is certainly in error, and can be judged to be such by any Catholic (or non-Catholic!) making the right use of his God-given mind. Otherwise how could Our Lord have warned us to beware of false prophets and of wolves in sheeps’ clothing (Mt. VII, 15–20)?

In fact both arguments can come from an emotional rejection of the Conciliar Popes: “They have so maltreated the Church that I simply cannot accept that they were Popes!” But what if I had been a bystander watching the original Way of the Cross? – “This is such maltreatment of Jesus that I simply cannot accept any longer that he is the Son of God!” Would not my emotional rejection of the maltreatment have been right, and yet my conclusion wrong? There is a mystery involved in the Conciliar Popes which sedevacantism passes by.

Now it may be, when the Church one day comes back to her senses, that the alone competent authority will declare that the Conciliar Popes were not Popes, but between now and then the arguments so far brought forward to prove the See of Rome to be vacant are not as conclusive as they can be made to appear.

Kyrie eleison.

Agreement Here

Agreement Here posted in Eleison Comments on July 12, 2014

On December 13 of last year, in St Martha’s House in Rome where the Pope is currently living, the Pope met briefly with Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St Pius X. The Society officially denies that the meeting had any significance, but an Italian commentator having some familiarity with how Rome operates, one Giacomo Devoto (G.D.), argues that the meeting was proof that a Rome-SSPX agreement has been reached. See http://​www.​unavox.​it/​ArtDiversi/​DIV812_​Devoto_​Notizia_​intrigante.​html. In brief:—

On the morning of the 13th Bishop Fellay and his two Assistants at the head of the SSPX met in the Vatican with the heads of the Ecclesia Dei Commission at the invitation of Monsignor Guido Pozzo, restored to the Commission by Pope Francis to deal with the problematic relations between Rome and the SSPX. An official publication of the SSPX, DICI , claims that this meeting was merely “informal,” but G.D. says that even being informal it cannot have taken place without there having been beforehand a series of discreet contacts to repair the public breach of relations in June of 2012. Also, says G.D., such a meeting is the necessary preliminary to any “formal” meeting.

In any case after that meeting Msgr. Pozzo, Msgr. di Noia and the three heads of the SSPX repaired to St Martha’s House where the Pope also happened to be lunching. When the Pope stood up after the meal to leave, Bishop Fellay went over to him, they exchanged a few words in public view and the Bishop kissed the Pope’s ring (or knelt down for his blessing, according to Rome’s Vatican Insider ). DICI again minimised the encounter as nothing more than a chance meeting with a spontaneous exchange of courtesies. On the contrary G.D. reasonably maintains that even such a “chance” encounter cannot have taken place without the Pope’s previous knowledge and approval.

Moreover, says G.D., in the art of diplomacy such a meeting is a finely calculated ice-breaker, of elastic interpretation, designed to mean as much or as little as one wants. On the one hand the courteous contact was there for all to see in a public place frequented by important Newchurch officials, and it could be seen as papal support of whatever had gone on at the morning’s meeting with the Commission. On the other hand both Rome and the SSPX could plausibly deny that the encounter had any real significance beyond an exchange of courtesies.

Thus when rumours began to circulate in the new year, for months the SSPX denied that there was any question of a Rome-SSPX agreement. Only on May 10 did DICI admit that there had been any contact at all between the Pope and Bishop Fellay, and then DICI so minimised the event that G.D. takes it as a sure sign that an agreement has been reached in private. (In modern politics, as the cynical saying goes, nothing can be taken as true until it is officially denied.)

In fact the main problem, for Pope Francis as for Bishop Fellay, is not how to come to an agreement which they both want, but how to get their left and right wings respectively to accept an agreement. However, the problem is being solved for them day by day as the Society, once glorious for its defence of the Faith, becomes the inglorious Newsociety. For indeed how many Newchurch bishops can still be fearing the Newsociety as a threat to their Newchurch? And how many SSPX priests are still convinced that any agreement with Rome would be a disaster, especially if they are promised that “they will need to change nothing”? Such an agreement will hardly need to be announced. In many minds and hearts it is already here.

Kyrie eleison.

Sedevacantist Anxiety – I

Sedevacantist Anxiety – I posted in Eleison Comments on January 25, 2014

The words and deeds of Pope Francis since his election earlier last year have been so little Catholic and so outrageous, that the idea that recent popes have not really been Popes (“sedevacantism”) has been given a new lease of life. Notice that Pope Francis merely expresses more blatantly than his five predecessors the madness of Vatican II. The question remains whether any of the six Conciliar Popes (with the possible exception of John-Paul I) can really have been Vicars of Christ.

The question is not of prime importance. If they have not been Popes, still the Catholic Faith and morals by which I must “work out my salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil. II, 12) have not changed one iota. And if they have been Popes, still I cannot obey them whenever they have departed from that Faith and those morals, because “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts, V, 29). However I believe in offering answers to some of the sedevacantists’ arguments, because there are sedevacantists who seem to wish to make the vacant See of Rome into a dogma which Catholics must believe. In my opinion it is no such thing. “In things doubtful, liberty” (Augustine).

I think that the key to the problem of which sedevacantism is merely one expression is that Vatican II was a disaster without precedent in all the history of the Church of Jesus Christ, while at the same time it was the logical conclusion of a long decadence of the Catholic churchmen reaching back to the late Middle Ages. On the one hand the divine nature of the Catholic Church and the principles governing any of its crises, including the Conciliar crisis, cannot change. On the other hand the application of those principles must take into account the ever changing human circumstances within which those principles operate. The degree of human corruption today has no precedent.

Now two of the unchanging principles are that on the one hand the Church is indefectible because Our Lord promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (Mt.XVI, 18). On the other hand Our Lord also asked if he would find faith on earth at his Second Coming (Lk. XVIII, 8), an important quotation because it clearly suggests that the Church will almost completely have defected at the end of the world, just as it seems to be almost completely defecting in 2014. For indeed if we are not today living through the end of the world, we are surely living through the dress rehearsal for that end of the world, as Our Lady of La Salette, the Venerable Holzhauser and Cardinal Billot all suggest.

Therefore today, as at world’s end, the defection can go very far. It cannot reach beyond the power of Almighty God to guarantee that his Church will never altogether disappear or fail, but it can reach as far as God will allow, in other words nothing need stop his Church from defecting almost completely. And just how far is that “almost completely”? God alone knows, and so time alone can tell, because none of us men are in the mind of God, and only the facts can reveal to us after the event the contents of the divine mind. But God does partly reveal his mind in Scripture.

Now as to the end of the world, many interpreters of Chapter XIII, 11–17 of the Apocalypsethink that the lamb-like Second Beast serving the Antichrist is the authorities of the Church, because if those authorities resisted the Antichrist he could never prevail, as Scripture says he will. Then is it so extraordinary if in the dress rehearsal for the end of the world the Vicars of Christ talk and behave like enemies of Christ? Against this necessary background, next week’s “Comments” will propose answers to some of the sedevacantists’ main arguments.

Kyrie eleison.

Francis Godless

Francis Godless posted in Eleison Comments on October 19, 2013

Catholics who retain any real sense of their faith are being scandalized by the words and deeds of the man presently seated on the Chair of Peter. One almost wonders if he was put there to destroy what remains of the Catholic Church. Like a true child of Vatican II, he is turning away from God towards man. Here for example are the first nine of eleven key quotes extracted (not by me) from an interview given by Francis on September 24 to the atheist editor of an Italian newspaper.

Quotes 2 to 5 concern the Church (I summarize): 2 The Church administration must be more horizontal, less vertical. 3 The Roman Curia is too self-serving. It must go out to the people. 4 The Pope must no longer be a king surrounded by flattering courtiers. 5 Too many priests are self-serving, and obstacles to Christianity. Now quotes like these will obviously please a modern democratic public that has never liked being told by the official Church what to do, but are these quotes fair or just towards the countless Popes, Curias, Administrations and Priests that went before Francis for 1900 years to maintain the structure of the Church for the salvation of souls? Will Francis on the contrary leave any structure still standing, any souls saved, behind him?

Quotes 1 and 6 concern the world: 1 On my watch the Church will stay out of politics. To leave democratic men to throw themselves into Hell? 6 The world’s two worst problems today are the unemployment of the young and the loneliness of the old. Now these are two real human problems of today, but why? Is it not because churchmen like Francis leave, precisely, politics to the politicians, putting money in front of young people? And because churchmen like him refuse to enforce those Church laws which, by holding the family together, help it to look after old people?

Quotes 7 to 9 concern religion: 9 Jesus gave us only one way of salvation, love of one another. But love of neighbour without love of God coming first turns into hatred of neighbour, for example Communism. 7a Converting people makes no sense. It makes the greatest of sense, if, as is the case, nobody can get to Heaven without believing in God and in his Divine Son, Jesus Christ! 7b We must all mix together and move one another to the Good. But we must all move one another towards God. What else is the Good? If Francis will not mention God, who will believe in God?

Quote 8 is the gravest of all: 8a “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God.” This is gravely misleading. True, God is the God of all men, but he instituted for all men one religion, and one religion only, and that is the Catholic religion. Thus the God of Catholicism is the one and only true God. 8b “Jesus is his incarnation, my teacher and my pastor, but God the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator.” Also gravely misleading. Does not that “but” suggest that Jesus is not the Creator? Does Francis believe that Jesus is anything more than just a man? 8c “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.” This is not misleading at all. This is the denial of all objective morality, the denial of all principles of Catholic morality. This is an invitation to all men to do as they like. Coming from the man who is to all appearances the Catholic Pope, it is sheer insanity.

Pope Francis may plead that he is trying to get through to modern man, but to get through to him without God is just like jumping into a dangerous river to help a drowning man without a rope tied to the bank. One will only drown with him. Your Holiness, you are not helping but drowning!

Kyrie eleison.

N.B. Error in the American address last week – not 6051 Watson Street, but 9051. Apologies.