Archive for April, 2018

from Novus Ordo Watch

A much-misused quotation explained…

St. Robert Bellarmine’s Teaching on Resisting a Pope

For decades the proponents of the recognize-and-resist position have been using a quotation from St. Robert Bellarmine, the celebrated Doctor of the Church canonized by Pope Pius XI, in defense of their position and in apparent contradiction to Sedevacantism. The quote in question is the following (the precise wording varies a bit depending on which translation is used):

Just as it is licit to resist a Pontiff who attacks the body, so also is it licit to resist him who attacks souls or destroys the civil order or above all, tries to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of his will. It is not licit, however, to judge him, to punish him, or to depose him, for these are acts proper to a superior.

(St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, Book II, Chapter 29)

The book from which this quote is taken, De Romano Pontifice (“On the Roman Pontiff”), has recently been translated into English by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. (available here) and also by Mr. Ryan Grant (available here).

As far back as 2004, the sedevacantist priest Fr. Anthony Cekada wrote an article explaining the context and meaning of this celebrated Bellarmine quote (italics given):

This passage, we have repeatedly been told, supports the notion that the traditionalist movement can “resist” the false doctrines, evil laws and sacrilegious worship that Paul VI and his successors promulgated, but still continue to “recognize” them as true Vicars of Christ. (This strange idea is also attributed to other theologians such as Cajetan.)

The same passage in Bellarmine — we have also been told — shoots down the principle behind sedevacantism (that a heretical pope automatically loses his office) because sedevacantists “judge” and “depose” the pope.

These conclusions, it turns out, are simply another example of how low intellectual standards in traditionalist polemics give birth to myths that quickly take on the aura of near-revealed truths.

Anyone who actually consults the original sources and who understands a few fundamental distinctions in canon law comes up with a completely different set of conclusions about what the famous “resistance” passage really means, to wit:

(1) Bellarmine is talking about a morally evil pope who gives morally evil commands — not one who, like the post-Vatican II popes, teaches doctrinal error or imposes evil laws.

(2) The context of the statement is a debate over the errors of Gallicanism, not the case of a heretical pope.

(3) Bellarmine is justifying “resistance” by kings and prelates, not by individual Catholics.

(4) Bellarmine teaches in the next chapter of his work (30) that a heretical pope automatically loses his authority.

In a word, the passage can neither be applied to the present crisis nor invoked against sedevacantism.

A brief comment on each of these four points is in order.

Fr. Cekada then proceeds to elaborate on each of these points. We will not reproduce the text here but simply link to the 3-page article:

Now that the entire De Romano Pontifice is available in English, people are able for themselves to see the full context in which Cardinal Bellarmine was speaking, and what he was and was not saying.

The reason we are bringing this topic up again at this time is that as of late, the Bellarmine resistance quote has been making the rounds again as the Bergoglian circus in the Vatican is reaching a fever pitch. In particular, the well-known recognize-and-resist polemicist Christopher Ferrara is fond of (mis)using the Bellarmine quote (latest case in point here), treating it as a blank check that allows him to blast Francis for anything he can while still maintaining that he is the Vicar of Christ — clearly the best of both worlds. Yet, why we should feel bound to accept the teaching of Cardinal Bellarmine while at the same time we are being asked to ignore and reject the teachings of a putative ecumenical council and a whole line of supposedly true Popes, is curiously never explained.

By the way, when it comes to other quotations by St. Robert Bellarmine, Ferrara & Co. are not quite so quick to share them with their readers; for example:

The Pope is the Teacher and Shepherd of the whole Church, thus, the whole Church is so bound to hear and follow him that if he would err, the whole Church would err.

Now our adversaries respond that the Church ought to hear him so long as he teaches correctly, for God must be heard more than men.

On the other hand, who will judge whether the Pope has taught rightly or not? For it is not for the sheep to judge whether the shepherd wanders off, not even and especially in those matters which are truly doubtful. Nor do Christian sheep have any greater judge or teacher to whom they might have recourse. As we showed above, from the whole Church one can appeal to the Pope yet, from him no one is able to appeal; therefore necessarily the whole Church will err if the Pontiff would err.

(De Romano Pontifice, Book IV, Chapter 3; Grant translation.)

Unfortunately, to our knowledge this quotation has never made it into the propaganda put out by the Society of St. Pius X, The Remnant, the Fatima Center, Catholic Family NewsThe Angelus, or any other of the self-appointed doctrinal babysitters of the supposed Holy See.

The following links are further important resources on what St. Robert Bellarmine taught and how it contradicts the recognize-and-resist position so popular among those who would be traditional Catholics but are strangely selective in what traditional teachings they accept:

Once again St. Robert Bellarmine has come to the defense of Sedevacantism. The reason for this is quite simply that Sedevacantism is nothing but Catholic principles applied to the strange times in which we live. That the Chair of St. Peter is vacant is simply a necessary conclusion at which we must ultimately arrive, given the incontrovertible empirical facts about the Modernist papal claimaints and the strange new church that has emerged since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
License: Public domain

from Novus Ordo Watch

Done with Francis…

Schism Ahead: Retired Novus Ordo Bishop René Gracida calls for New Conclave

On his blog Abyssus Abyssum Incovat (“Deep calls on deep”; cf. Ps 41:8), the 94-year-old retired “bishop” of Corpus Christi, Texas, Fr. René Henry Gracida, has published a post calling for all remaining “legitimate cardinals” to get together and elect a Pope. This news story is huge.

Although he bases his reasoning mostly on the (invalid) legislation regarding papal elections promulgated by “Pope” John Paul II in 1996 (the constitution Universi Dominici Gregis) and arrives at the invalidity of the papal election of Jorge Bergoglio on such grounds, the really significant point is that for the first time ever, a high-ranking member of the Novus Ordo hierarchy has announced his conviction that the current occupant of the papal throne is not in fact the true Roman Pontiff, and that a conclave must be called to elect one:

So, what happens if a group of Cardinals who undoubtedly did notparticipate in any acts of disobedience against Universi Dominici Gregis were to meet, confer and declare that, pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis, Monsignor Bergoglio is most certainly not a valid Roman Pontiff. Like any action on this matter, including the initial finding of invalidity, that would be left to the valid members of the college of cardinals. They could declare the Chair of Peter vacant and proceed to a new and proper conclave. They could meet with His Holiness, Benedict XVI, and discern whether His resignation and retirement was made under duress, or based on some mistake or fraud, or otherwise not done in a legally effective manner, which could invalidate that resignation. Given the demeanor of His Holiness, Benedict XVI, and the tenor of His few public statements since his departure from the Chair of Peter, this recognition of validity in Benedict XVI seems unlikely.

In fact, even before a righteous group of good and authentic cardinals can decide on the validity of the March 2013 supposed conclave, they must face what may be an even more complicated discernment and decide which men are most likely not valid cardinals. If a man was made a cardinal by the supposed Pope who is, in fact, not a Pope (but merely Monsignor Bergoglio), no such man is in reality a true member of the College of Cardinals. In addition, those men appointed by Pope John Paul II or by Pope Benedict XVI as cardinals, but who were latae sententiae excommunicated because of illegal acts or conduct causing the invalidation of the last attempted conclave, would no longer have voting rights in the College of Cardinals either. The actual valid members in the College of Cardinals may be quite smaller in number than those on the current official Vatican list of supposed cardinals.

In any event, the entire problem is above the level of anyone else in Holy Mother Church who is below the rank of Cardinal. So, we must pray that The Divine Will of The Most Holy Trinity, through the intercession of Our Lady as Mediatrix of All Graces and Saint Michael, Prince of Mercy, very soon rectifies the confusion in Holy Mother Church through action by those valid Cardinals who still comprise an authentic College of Electors. Only certainly valid Cardinals can address the open and notorious evidence which points to the probable invalidity of the last supposed conclave and only those cardinals can definitively answer the questions posed here. May only the good Cardinals unite and if they recognize an ongoing Interregnum, albeit dormant, may they end this Interregnum by activating perfectly a functioning Interregnum government of The Holy See and a renewed process for a true Conclave, one which is purely pious, private, sacramental, secret and deeply spiritual. If we do not have a real Pontiff, then may the good Cardinals, doing their appointed work “in view of the sacredness of the act of election” “accept the interior movements of the Holy Spirit” and provide Holy Mother Church with a real Vicar of Christ as the Successor of Saint Peter.

(“WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE, NOW THAT THE PRELATES WHO SPOKE AT THE ROME SYMPOSIUM OF 07 APRIL 18 HAVE CALLED FOR ACTION?”Abyssus Abyssum Invocat / Deep Calls to Deep, Apr. 7, 2018; special formatting in original.)

Although the author of the post, mentioned at the end, bears a pseudonym and is therefore essentially anonymous, it is clear that Fr. Gracida agrees with him since he has himself published the text (it is Gracida’s blog, after all).

We may surmise that the Novus Ordo news organs will try to ignore this as much as possible and simply hope that the almost-95-year-old will soon stop blogging for biological reasons. They have nothing to gain and much to lose by reporting on this.

In early September of 2017, “Bp.” Gracida had already hinted at not believing Francis to be a valid Pope: “Only God knows whether or not Francis is an Antipope”, he said at the time. Here is a link to our post covering this:

Just to avoid any doubt or misunderstanding: Yes, “Bishop” René Gracida is officially a part of the Vatican II Church, and he is in good standing to boot. You can find information about him on the diocesan web site here. We are not talking about some whacko whom the Novus Ordo Sect doesn’t recognize or approve of.

Gracida was ordained a priest for the Benedictine order on May 23, 1959, so he is definitely a valid priest. In 1971, “Pope” Paul VI appointed him bishop, and he received “episcopal consecration” in the invalid Novus Ordo rite on Jan. 25, 1972 (source). In September of 2017, Gracida welcomed the explosive (but now largely forgotten) “Filial Correction” of Francis and was among the first to ask publicly for his name to be added to it as a signatory.

As Bergoglio’s heterodoxy has become less and less deniable over the past years, more and more people have begun to speak out against this “Pope” in one way or another. For example, the Colombian TV personality, politician, and university president José Galat has publicly called attention to some of Francis’ heresies on national television and stated that he does not believe him to be a true Pope. More and more books critical of or downright hostile to Francis have been appearing (think Antonio SocciGeorge NeumayrPhil LawlerRoss Douthat, and Henry Sire, for example), and in October of 2017, a Novus Ordo priest admitted in a newspaper article that when it comes to Francis, “we can’t wait for him to die”.

For a few years now we have warned of an intra-NovusOrdo schism, a split within the Vatican II Sect, that would divide the pseudo-Catholic church into two camps: the open Modernists on the one hand, and the more obscure Modernists (who believe themselves to be conservative Catholics) on the other. The former would be officially united under Francis, whereas the latter either would have the “Pope Emeritus” on their side (Benedict XVI) or else choose someone like “Cardinal” Raymond Burke as their front man. Absent such a person, they would, in any case, claim to be the true heirs of the Magisterium of Benedict XVI and John Paul II.

While such a scenario would be good insofar as it would considerably weaken the Modernist Sect (cf. Lk 11:17-19), it would also be extremely dangerous to souls because it would give those who have seen though Francis’ deception the false assurance that, unlike the souls unhappily caught up in Bergoglio’s camp, they are clinging to true Catholicism when in fact they are only adhering to the less-open Modernism of Francis’ five infamous predecessors. Either way, what they are getting is Vatican II:

We have discussed the threat of a schism among the Modernists in several posts over the years, including the following:

Whether “Bp.” Gracida’s call for a conclave, which would obviously cause a schism, will go anywhere, is highly doubtful. However, that’s not even the point. The point is that never before since Francis usurped the papal throne in 2013 has a member of the Novus Ordo hierarchy gone so far as Fr. Gracida now has.

What will happen next? Let’s make popcorn and see.

Image source: own work (elements from lifesitenews.com / roadtrafficsigns.com / catholicnews.org.uk; modified)
License: Fair use and CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

from Novus Ordo Watch

We read the thing so you don’t have to…

Gaudete et Exsultate:
The Most Important Passages

In its English translation, the new infernal exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate counts just over 22,000 words. We have read the text in its entirety so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Whether “Pope” Francis has read the text yet or not, we are not sure — Vaticanist Sandro Magister suspects that the document was written mainly by Bergoglio’s bosom buddy “Fr.” Antonio Spadaro, the man of “ecumenism of hate” fame.

In any case, we have compiled what we believe to be the most important quotes from Gaudete et Exsultate in the bulleted list below, as a companion to our Gaudete info page here. The number at the beginning of each quote indicates the numbered paragraph in the text at which it can be found. Each bulleted item does not necessarily constitute the entirety of the numbered paragraph from which it is taken.

The following excerpts are taken verbatim from the English translation found on the Vatican web site — only footnote references have been removed:

  • [2] What follows is not meant to be a treatise on holiness, containing definitions and distinctions helpful for understanding this important subject, or a discussion of the various means of sanctification. My modest goal is to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities. For the Lord has chosen each one of us “to be holy and blameless before him in love” (Eph 1:4).
  • [6] We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people. That is why no one is saved alone, as an isolated individual. Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in a human community.
  • [7] I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them “the middle class of holiness”.
  • [9] Holiness is the most attractive face of the Church. But even outside the Catholic Church and in very different contexts, the Holy Spirit raises up “signs of his presence which help Christ’s followers”. Saint John Paul II reminded us that “the witness to Christ borne even to the shedding of blood has become a common inheritance of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Protestants”. In the moving ecumenical commemoration held in the Colosseum during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, he stated that the martyrs are “a heritage which speaks more powerfully than all the causes of division”.
  • [26] It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while disdaining service. Everything can be accepted and integrated into our life in this world, and become a part of our path to holiness. We are called to be contemplatives even in the midst of action, and to grow in holiness by responsibly and generously carrying out our proper mission.
  • [35] Here I would like to mention two false forms of holiness that can lead us astray: gnosticism and pelagianism. They are two heresies from early Christian times, yet they continue to plague us. In our times too, many Christians, perhaps without realizing it, can be seduced by these deceptive ideas, which reflect an anthropocentric immanentism disguised as Catholic truth. Let us take a look at these two forms of doctrinal or disciplinary security that give rise “to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyses and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others”.
  • [37] Thanks be to God, throughout the history of the Church it has always been clear that a person’s perfection is measured not by the information or knowledge they possess, but by the depth of their charity. “Gnostics” do not understand this, because they judge others based on their ability to understand the complexity of certain doctrines. They think of the intellect as separate from the flesh, and thus become incapable of touching Christ’s suffering flesh in others, locked up as they are in an encyclopaedia of abstractions. In the end, by disembodying the mystery, they prefer “a God without Christ, a Christ without the Church, a Church without her people”.
  • [39] Here we have to be careful. I am not referring to a rationalism inimical to Christian faith. It can be present within the Church, both among the laity in parishes and teachers of philosophy and theology in centres of formation. Gnostics think that their explanations can make the entirety of the faith and the Gospel perfectly comprehensible. They absolutize their own theories and force others to submit to their way of thinking. A healthy and humble use of reason in order to reflect on the theological and moral teaching of the Gospel is one thing. It is another to reduce Jesus’ teaching to a cold and harsh logic that seeks to dominate everything.
  • [41] When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road. They may well be false prophets, who use religion for their own purposes, to promote their own psychological or intellectual theories. God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises. We are not the ones to determine when and how we will encounter him; the exact times and places of that encounter are not up to us. Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence.
  • [43] It is not easy to grasp the truth that we have received from the Lord. And it is even more difficult to express it. So we cannot claim that our way of understanding this truth authorizes us to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives. Here I would note that in the Church there legitimately coexist different ways of interpreting many aspects of doctrine and Christian life; in their variety, they “help to express more clearly the immense riches of God’s word”. It is true that “for those who long for a monolithic body of doctrine guarded by all and leaving no room for nuance, this might appear as undesirable and leading to confusion”. Indeed, some currents of gnosticism scorned the concrete simplicity of the Gospel and attempted to replace the trinitarian and incarnate God with a superior Unity, wherein the rich diversity of our history disappeared.
  • [44] In effect, doctrine, or better, our understanding and expression of it, “is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries… The questions of our people, their suffering, their struggles, their dreams, their trials and their worries, all possess an interpretational value that we cannot ignore if we want to take the principle of the incarnation seriously. Their wondering helps us to wonder, their questions question us”.
  • [45] A dangerous confusion can arise. We can think that because we know something, or are able to explain it in certain terms, we are already saints, perfect and better than the “ignorant masses”. Saint John Paul II warned of the temptation on the part of those in the Church who are more highly educated “to feel somehow superior to other members of the faithful”.
  • [49] Those who yield to this pelagian or semi-pelagian mindset, even though they speak warmly of God’s grace, “ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style”. When some of them tell the weak that all things can be accomplished with God’s grace, deep down they tend to give the idea that all things are possible by the human will, as if it were something pure, perfect, all-powerful, to which grace is then added. They fail to realize that “not everyone can do everything”, and that in this life human weaknesses are not healed completely and once for all by grace. In every case, as Saint Augustine taught, God commands you to do what you can and to ask for what you cannot, and indeed to pray to him humbly: “Grant what you command, and command what you will”.
  • [50] Underneath our orthodoxy, our attitudes might not correspond to our talk about the need for grace, and in specific situations we can end up putting little trust in it. Unless we can acknowledge our concrete and limited situation, we will not be able to see the real and possible steps that the Lord demands of us at every moment, once we are attracted and empowered by his gift. Grace acts in history; ordinarily it takes hold of us and transforms us progressively. If we reject this historical and progressive reality, we can actually refuse and block grace, even as we extol it by our words.
  • [57] Still, some Christians insist on taking another path, that of justification by their own efforts, the worship of the human will and their own abilities. The result is a self-centred and elitist complacency, bereft of true love. This finds expression in a variety of apparently unconnected ways of thinking and acting: an obsession with the law, an absorption with social and political advantages, a punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige, a vanity about the ability to manage practical matters, and an excessive concern with programmes of self-help and personal fulfilment. Some Christians spend their time and energy on these things, rather than letting themselves be led by the Spirit in the way of love, rather than being passionate about communicating the beauty and the joy of the Gospel and seeking out the lost among the immense crowds that thirst for Christ.
  • [58] Not infrequently, contrary to the promptings of the Spirit, the life of the Church can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few. This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting. The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its simplicity, allure and savour. This may well be a subtle form of pelagianism, for it appears to subject the life of grace to certain human structures. It can affect groups, movements and communities, and it explains why so often they begin with an intense life in the Spirit, only to end up fossilized… or corrupt.
  • [59] Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channelled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace. Saint Thomas Aquinas reminded us that the precepts added to the Gospel by the Church should be imposed with moderation “lest the conduct of the faithful become burdensome”, for then our religion would become a form of servitude.
  • [61] In other words, amid the thicket of precepts and prescriptions, Jesus clears a way to seeing two faces, that of the Father and that of our brother. He does not give us two more formulas or two more commands. He gives us two faces, or better yet, one alone: the face of God reflected in so many other faces. For in every one of our brothers and sisters, especially the least, the most vulnerable, the defenceless and those in need, God’s very image is found.
  • [71] These are strong words in a world that from the beginning has been a place of conflict, disputes and enmity on all sides, where we constantly pigeonhole others on the basis of their ideas, their customs and even their way of speaking or dressing. Ultimately, it is the reign of pride and vanity, where each person thinks he or she has the right to dominate others.
  • [81] We need to think of ourselves as an army of the forgiven.
  • [101] The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.
  • [102] We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us, when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him (cf. Mt 25:35)?
  • [104] We may think that we give glory to God only by our worship and prayer, or simply by following certain ethical norms. It is true that the primacy belongs to our relationship with God, but we cannot forget that the ultimate criterion on which our lives will be judged is what we have done for others. Prayer is most precious, for it nourishes a daily commitment to love. Our worship becomes pleasing to God when we devote ourselves to living generously, and allow God’s gift, granted in prayer, to be shown in our concern for our brothers and sisters.
  • [115] Christians too can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication. Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned. The result is a dangerous dichotomy, since things can be said there that would be unacceptable in public discourse, and people look to compensate for their own discontent by lashing out at others. It is striking that at times, in claiming to uphold the other commandments, they completely ignore the eighth, which forbids bearing false witness or lying, and ruthlessly vilify others. Here we see how the unguarded tongue, set on fire by hell, sets all things ablaze (cf. Jas 3:6).
  • [117] It is not good when we look down on others like heartless judges, lording it over them and always trying to teach them lessons. That is itself a subtle form of violence.
  • [120] I am not saying that such humiliation is pleasant, for that would be masochism, but that it is a way of imitating Jesus and growing in union with him.
  • [126] Christian joy is usually accompanied by a sense of humour. We see this clearly, for example, in Saint Thomas More, Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Philip Neri. Ill humour is no sign of holiness. “Remove vexation from your mind” (Eccl 11:10). We receive so much from the Lord “for our enjoyment” (1 Tim 6:17), that sadness can be a sign of ingratitude. We can get so caught up in ourselves that we are unable to recognize God’s gifts.
  • [130] Blessed Paul VI, in referring to obstacles to evangelization, spoke of a lack of fervour (parrhesía) that is “all the more serious because it comes from within”. How often we are tempted to keep close to the shore! Yet the Lord calls us to put out into the deep and let down our nets (cf. Lk 5:4). He bids us spend our lives in his service. Clinging to him, we are inspired to put all our charisms at the service of others. May we always feel compelled by his love (2 Cor 5:14) and say with Saint Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16).
  • [134] Like the prophet Jonah, we are constantly tempted to flee to a safe haven. It can have many names: individualism, spiritualism, living in a little world, addiction, intransigence, the rejection of new ideas and approaches, dogmatism, nostalgia, pessimism, hiding behind rules and regulations. We can resist leaving behind a familiar and easy way of doing things. Yet the challenges involved can be like the storm, the whale, the worm that dried the gourd plant, or the wind and sun that burned Jonah’s head. For us, as for him, they can serve to bring us back to the God of tenderness, who invites us to set out ever anew on our journey.
  • [135] So if we dare to go to the fringes, we will find [God] there; indeed, he is already there. Jesus is already there, in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded flesh, in their troubles and in their profound desolation. He is already there.
  • [136] True enough, we need to open the door of our hearts to Jesus, who stands and knocks (cf. Rev 3:20). Sometimes I wonder, though, if perhaps Jesus is already inside us and knocking on the door for us to let him escape from our stale self-centredness.
  • [139] Let us ask the Lord for the grace not to hesitate when the Spirit calls us to take a step forward. Let us ask for the apostolic courage to share the Gospel with others and to stop trying to make our Christian life a museum of memories. In every situation, may the Holy Spirit cause us to contemplate history in the light of the risen Jesus. In this way, the Church will not stand still, but constantly welcome the Lord’s surprises.
  • [140] When we live apart from others, it is very difficult to fight against concupiscence, the snares and temptations of the devil and the selfishness of the world. Bombarded as we are by so many enticements, we can grow too isolated, lose our sense of reality and inner clarity, and easily succumb.
  • [151] We need to remember that “contemplation of the face of Jesus, died and risen, restores our humanity, even when it has been broken by the troubles of this life or marred by sin. We must not domesticate the power of the face of Christ”.
  • [155] If we realize that God exists, we cannot help but worship him, at times in quiet wonder, and praise him in festive song.
  • [160] True enough, the biblical authors had limited conceptual resources for expressing certain realities, and in Jesus’ time epilepsy, for example, could easily be confused with demonic possession. Yet this should not lead us to an oversimplification that would conclude that all the cases related in the Gospel had to do with psychological disorders and hence that the devil does not exist or is not at work. He is present in the very first pages of the Scriptures, which end with God’s victory over the devil.
  • [161] Hence, we should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea. This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable. The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice.
  • [165] Spiritual corruption is worse than the fall of a sinner, for it is a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness. Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centredness, for “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14).
  • [167] The gift of discernment has become all the more necessary today, since contemporary life offers immense possibilities for action and distraction, and the world presents all of them as valid and good. All of us, but especially the young, are immersed in a culture of zapping. We can navigate simultaneously on two or more screens and interact at the same time with two or three virtual scenarios. Without the wisdom of discernment, we can easily become prey to every passing trend.
  • [173] Naturally, this attitude of listening entails obedience to the Gospel as the ultimate standard, but also to the Magisterium that guards it, as we seek to find in the treasury of the Church whatever is most fruitful for the “today” of salvation. It is not a matter of applying rules or repeating what was done in the past, since the same solutions are not valid in all circumstances and what was useful in one context may not prove so in another. The discernment of spirits liberates us from rigidity, which has no place before the perennial “today” of the risen Lord. The Spirit alone can penetrate what is obscure and hidden in every situation, and grasp its every nuance, so that the newness of the Gospel can emerge in another light.
  • [175] Discernment, then, is not a solipsistic self-analysis or a form of egotistical introspection, but an authentic process of leaving ourselves behind in order to approach the mystery of God, who helps us to carry out the mission to which he has called us, for the good of our brothers and sisters.

Although we are not including footnotes here, there is one footnote we would like to quote because it is so … well, let’s just say it deserves special attention. It reads:

  • [Fn. 73] Detraction and calumny are acts of terrorism: a bomb is thrown, it explodes and the attacker walks away calm and contented. This is completely different from the nobility of those who speak to others face to face, serenely and frankly, out of genuine concern for their good.

For the purposes of this post, we will leave all these passages uncommented.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Antipope Francis

“Apostolic Exhortation” Gaudete et Exsultate
on the Call to Holiness in Today’s World

March 19, 2018

[LAST UPDATED: 28-APR-2018 00:29 UTC]

The Vatican’s endless word factory has just released another monster of a document: Jorge Bergoglio (a.k.a. “Pope Francis”) has released his third-so called Apostolic Exhortation, and just like the other two, it has a cognate of “joy” in its title: Gaudete and Exsultate (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), taken from the words of Christ in the Beatitudes (Mt 5:12) follows Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”) and Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”). We can assume that no document on the threat of damnation for unrepentant sinners, perhaps entitled Discedite a Me Maledicti (“Depart from me, you cursed”; Mt 25:41), will be forthcoming any time soon, at least not before the U.S. government pays off the national debt.

In its English version, Gaudete and Exsultate has 22,064 words. It contains five chapters that include a total of 177 numbered paragraphs and has 125 footnotes. The word “hell” appears exactly once, in n. 115, and not as the place of eternal punishment for the damned but as the origin of what Francis denounces as “verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication.”

The Vatican has made the text of Gaudete and Exsultate available in sundry languages, of which we make the following available via links:

We have gone through the entirety of the English text and put together what we believe to be the most important passages in the document:

The exhortation is officially dated Mar. 19, 2018, but it was not actually published by the Vatican until Apr. 9, 2018. Vatican News has put together a promo video clip for the document, which you can watch here:

A video of the press conference presenting the release of the exhortation has also been made available by Vatican News:

The following is a list of links with coverage, summaries, and commentary on Gaudete and Exsultate by various sites:

We have produced three brief podcasts reviewing Gaudete et Exsultate. They are worth a listen:

We have run the text of Gaudete et Exsultate through a word cloud generator, which counts how many times each word appears in a document. The more frequent the appearance, the larger the resulting word. The word cloud for Gaudete et Exsultate looks like this:

For more information about the man who falsely claims to be the Pope of the Catholic Church (“Pope Francis”), please see our topical page here.

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from Novus Ordo Watch

Another R&R error goes down in flames… 

The “St. Peter Denied Christ Three Times” Objection:

St. Robert Bellarmine Refutes another Recognize-and-Resist Error

Time and again we hear the objection, typically made by those who try to justify their pathological refusal to countenance Sedevacantism, that St. Peter denied Christ three times (see Mt 26:69-75) and didn’t thereby cease to be Pope. Ergo, so we are asked to believe, it is absurd to say that Francis is not the Pope just because he is not a Catholic and continually disseminates heresy.

To demonstrate that this objection is untenable, three main points must be kept in mind:

  1. The incident concerns St. Peter’s personal moral conduct, not his public teaching
  2. St. Peter didn’t deny any doctrine but denied that He was acquainted with Jesus of Nazareth, and he did so out of acute fear
  3. St. Peter was not yet Pope at the time of his denial

Although the first two points are important, it is the third that refutes the objection definitively, since the objection cannot have any merit against Sedevacantism whatsoever if Peter was not already Pope when he denied Christ during His Sacred Passion.

In his phenomenal work De Romano Pontifice (“On the Roman Pontiff”), the Doctor of the Papacy, St. Robert Bellarmine, defends dozens of true Popes from the charge of having erred in faith, including the very first one, St. Peter. Let us look, therefore, at what Bellarmine says about St. Peter’s denial, as well as his alleged “heresy” in Gal 2:11-14:

Let us now come to individual Popes, whom our adversaries contend have erred. The First is Peter. Nilus of Thessalonika, in his book, On the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff, writes that Peter erred not only once but twice concerning faith. Further, he even supposes that by this argumentation he has proven that the Roman Pontiffs can err in faith. Certainly no Roman Pontiff received greater privileges from God than Peter. Moreover, it is clear from Scripture that Peter erred twice, both when he denied Christ [see Mt 26] and when he compelled the Gentiles to Judaize [see Gal 2]. The Lutheran Centuriators of Magdeburg add, apart from these two errors, another thirteen falls of St. Peter, on which we wrote elsewhere. We respond: When St. Peter denied Christ, he had not yet begun to be the Supreme Pontiff, for it is certain that Ecclesiastical rule was handed to him by Christ in the last chapter of John, since the Lord said to him after the resurrection: “Simon, son of John, feed my sheep.” Therefore, that denial of Peter cannot be numbered among errors of the Roman Pontiffs. Besides, I add that Peter denied Christ with words, but not truly in his heart: hence Peter did not throw off the confession of faith, nor faith itself, as we showed previously. Now, on the other hand, when St. Peter compelled the Gentiles to Judaize, this was not an error of preaching but of conduct, as Tertullian suggests in his work de Praescriptionibus adversus haereticos. St. Peter did not ratify by some decree that they must Judaize, rather, he formally taught the contrary in Acts XV. Nevertheless, when he was still in Antioch, he separated himself from the dinner table of the Gentiles lest he would give offense to those recently converted to the faith from the Jews and by his example compelled them to Judaize in a certain measure, even Barnabas. But we do not deny that Popes can offer the occasion of erring through their own bad example, rather, we deny that they can prescribe the whole Church to follow some error ex cathedra. Moreover, the examples and doctrines of the Pontiffs are not equally pernicious to the Church, seeing that the Lord instructed them, saying: “Do what they say, but do not do what they do.”

(St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2, trans. by Ryan Grant [Mediatrix Press, 2016], Book IV, Ch. 8, pp. 175-176; italics given; underlining added.)

Lest anyone should impiously reject the clear teaching of this Doctor of the Church, we will also quote the First Vatican Council’s dogmatic constitution on the Petrine primacy:

So we teach and declare that according to the testimonies of the Gospel the primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church of God was promised and was conferred immediately and directly upon the blessed Apostle Peter by Christ the Lord. For the one Simon, to whom He had before said: “Thou shalt be called Cephas” [John 1:42], after he had given forth his confession with those words: “Thou art Christ, Son of the living God” [Matt. 16:16], the Lord spoke with these solemn words: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar Jona; because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it: and I shall give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven” [Matt. 16:17 ff.]. And upon Simon Peter alone Jesus after His resurrection conferred the jurisdiction of the highest pastor and rector over his entire fold, saying: “Feed my lambs,” “Feed my sheep” [John 21:15 ff.]. To this teaching of Sacred Scriptures, so manifest as it has been always understood by the Catholic Church, are opposed openly the vicious opinions of those who perversely deny that the form of government in His Church was established by Christ the Lord; that to Peter alone, before the other apostles, whether individually or all together, was confided the true and proper primacy of jurisdiction by Christ; or, of those who affirm that the same primacy was not immediately and directly bestowed upon the blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through this Church upon him as the minister of the Church herself.

(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 1; Denz. 1822; underlining added.)

It is a common misconception to think that Christ conferred the primacy on St. Peter in Mt 16:18. He did not; He merely announced that he would do so at some future point: “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” (Mt 16:18-19).

In fact, we can see that our Lord specifically did not enjoin upon Simon Peter the papal task of confirming his brethren (cf. Denz. 1836) until after his “conversion”, that is, not before he had repented of his denial: “And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren” (Lk 22:31-32).

To understand better the significance of our Lord’s promise of unfailing Faith to St. Peter and his task of confirming the others in that Faith, we turn to the Great Commentary on the Gospels by the 17th-century Jesuit biblical scholar Cornelius a Lapide, where we also find confirmation once more that the pontificate of St. Peter did not begin until after our Lord died on the Cross:

Another and a certain privilege was common to Peter with all his successors, that he and all the other bishops of Rome (for Peter, as Christ willed, founded and confirmed the Pontifical Church at Rome), should never openly fall from this faith, so as to teach the Church heresy, or any error, contrary to the faith. So S. Leo (serm. xxii), on Natalis of SS. Peter and Paul; S. Cyprian (Lib. i. ep. 3), to Cornelius; Lucius I., Felix I., Agatho, Nicolas I., Leo IX., Innocent III., Bernard and others, whom Bellarmine cites and follows (Lib. i. de Pontif. Roman).

For it was necessary that Christ, by His most wise providence, should provide for His Church, which is ever being sifted and tempted by the devil, and that not only in the time of Peter, but at all times henceforth, even to the end of the world, an oracle of the true faith which she might consult in every doubt, and by which she might be taught and confirmed in the faith, otherwise the Church might err in faith, quod absit [which God forbid]! For she is, as S. Paul said to Timothy, “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. iii. 15). This oracle of the Church then is Peter, and all successive bishops of Rome. This promise made to Peter and his successors, most especially applies to the time when Peter, as the successor of Christ, began to be the head of the Church, that is, after the death of Christ.

And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. “From the sifting of Satan, that is from his temptation and from the sin by which thou wilt deny Me; for by this thou wilt be turned aside from Me, and My grace and love.” So Euthymius, Theophylact, Jansen, F. Lucas, and others.

(The Great Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide: S. Luke’s Gospel, trans. by Thomas W. Mossman, 4th ed. [Edinburgh: John Grant, 1908], pp. 482-483; italics given; underlining added.)

Could it be any clearer that the only way that Francis is able to do what he does is because he is not the Pope of the Catholic Church and therefore does not possess the prerogatives and protections promised by Christ to St. Peter and his successors?

And thus we see that the objection that Sedevacantism must be rejected because St. Peter denied Christ three times and still remained Pope, is false.

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from Novus Ordo Watch

It’s always about temporal concerns…

A Naturalist Easter: Francis inverts Christ

After giving the world a Naturalist Lent, now that Lent is over, “Pope” Francis wasted no time in ushering in an equally Naturalist Easter: For his address at the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter Sunday, Apr. 1, the Jesuit Antipope used the occasion of the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ to focus everyone’s thoughts immediately on the temporal concerns of the world once again. In other words, it’s business as usual for Francis; it’s just that this time he is using Christ’s Resurrection to promote his Naturalism.

Here is the beginning of his remarks:

Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Easter!

Jesus is risen from the dead!

This message resounds in the Church the world over, along with the singing of the Alleluia: Jesus is Lord; the Father has raised him and he lives forever in our midst.

Jesus had foretold his death and resurrection using the image of the grain of wheat. He said: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). And this is precisely what happened: Jesus, the grain of wheat sowed by God in the furrows of the earth, died, killed by the sin of the world. He remained two days in the tomb; but his death contained God’s love in all its power, released and made manifest on the third day, the day we celebrate today: the Easter of Christ the Lord.

We Christians believe and know that Christ’s resurrection is the true hope of the world, the hope that does not disappoint. It is the power of the grain of wheat, the power of that love which humbles itself and gives itself to the very end, and thus truly renews the world. This power continues to bear fruit today in the furrows of our history, marked by so many acts of injustice and violence. It bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment, where there are migrants and refugees (so often rejected by today’s culture of waste), and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery.

Today we implore fruits of peace upon the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war. This Easter, may the light of the risen Christ illumine the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course, that humanitarian law may be respected and that provisions be made to facilitate access to the aid so urgently needed by our brothers and sisters, while also ensuring fitting conditions for the return of the displaced.

(Easter Message of Antipope FrancisZenit, Apr. 1, 2018; italics given.)

The message continues with more of the same, talking about conflicts, hunger, dialogue, solidarity, etc. — the same endless stuff you hear about from Francis constantly and ad nauseam.

And thus Jorge Bergoglio has once again confirmed our thesis, enunciated time and again on this blog, that for him the supernatural is only used as a stepping stone to promote the natural. In doing so, he does the exact opposite of the Lord Jesus Christ, who used worldly and natural cares as an impulse to raise souls to a higher plane and communicate a supernatural truth with the intent to save them from eternal punishment in hell. For example, we see our Lord acting this way in His feeding of the five thousand. He satisfies their natural hunger for the moment but uses the occasion to preach to them about the Bread of Life (see John 6).

Another example would be the conversation Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4). Her concern is a natural one: She is drawing water from the well so that she and her household will be able to drink. This concern is entirely legitimate of course — we all need to drink — but it is natural: It concerns the corruptible body, not the immortal soul. Even though she needs water to drink, the day will come when she will die, and no water in the world can prevent that day from approaching. If she dies without being reconciled to her Creator, she will be punished eternally for her guilt, and her entire natural life, with all its water, food, and other physical necessities and amenities, will have been in vain.

Our Lord takes the occasion of meeting her at the well to raise her to the level of the supernatural. He turns her yearning for natural water into a yearning for truth, for the Living Water of Eternal Life (cf. Jn 14:6). In St. John’s beautiful account we read:

There cometh a woman of Samaria, to draw water. Jesus saith to her: Give me to drink. For his disciples were gone into the city to buy meats. Then that Samaritan woman saith to him: How dost thou, being a Jew, ask of me to drink, who am a Samaritan woman? For the Jews do not communicate with the Samaritans. Jesus answered, and said to her: If thou didst know the gift of God, and who he is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith to him: Sir, thou hast nothing wherein to draw, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered, and said to her: Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst again; but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever: But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting. The woman saith to him: Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come hither to draw. Jesus saith to her: Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered, and said: I have no husband. Jesus said to her: Thou hast said well, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands: and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband. This thou hast said truly. The woman saith to him: Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say, that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore. Jesus saith to her: Woman, believe me, that the hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father. You adore that which you know not: we adore that which we know; for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him. God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith to him: I know that the Messias cometh (who is called Christ). Therefore, when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith to her: I am he, who am speaking with thee.

(John 4:7-26)

In this beautiful way, Our Lord approaches sinners and draws them to Him. Those who are preoccupied with the affairs of this world He lifts up to introduce them to a much greater and more significant reality: their eternal destinies. So, while temporal concerns can be quite legitimate, of course, they must ultimately yield to the greater and more important concerns of the soul.

Francis takes this approach and turns it on its head. In the example of his Easter message quoted above, he takes the Resurrection of Christ and uses it as an occasion to quickly focus everyone’s minds quickly on the concerns of the temporal world.

Yet Christ Jesus taught us: “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting” (Jn 6:27); and, “That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit” (Jn 3:6); and, “It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing” (Jn 6:64). He who remains focused on the natural, the mundane, the temporal, will ultimately only receive death: “For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting” (Gal 6:8).

Our Lord came to deliver us from the excessive preoccupation with the things of the world, teaching us that God will provide if we sincerely seek to serve Him, and that before long this world and all it contains must pass away anyway:

And he said to his disciples: Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat; nor for your body, what you shall put on. The life is more than the meat, and the body is more than the raiment. Consider the ravens, for they sow not, neither do they reap, neither have they storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them. How much are you more valuable than they? And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? If then ye be not able to do so much as the least thing, why are you solicitous for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these. Now if God clothe in this manner the grass that is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more you, O ye of little faith? And seek not you what you shall eat, or what you shall drink: and be not lifted up on high. For all these things do the nations of the world seek. But your Father knoweth that you have need of these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom. Sell what you possess and give alms. Make to yourselves bags which grow not old, a treasure in heaven which faileth not: where no thief approacheth, nor moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

(Luke 12:22-34; see also Apoc 21:1)

Here we again see Christ teaching supernatural truths by means of natural created things: ravens, lilies, moths, etc. Christ put the natural at the service of the supernatural, whereas Francis puts the supernatural at the service of the natural. Bergoglio inverts the Lord Jesus Christ and thereby preaches the anti-gospel of the Antichrist, whoever the latter will eventually turn out to be.

Keep in mind this important insight: Oftentimes Francis will deceive, not by stating heresies or other falsehoods clearly and directly — although he does that too on occasion — but by stating things that are true if taken in isolation but that, given the context, are causing a false impression in the hearer. By means of ambiguity, contradiction, carefully selective emphasis, omission of things he ought to say, excessive focus on a particular subject, etc., he communicates in such a way that although most of the things he says may not be false, or at least not clearly so, if considered in themselves, nevertheless his audience will take heresy or other error from what he says.

That is the most diabolical and wicked way to poison souls, and it explains why Francis rarely ever speaks clearly but instead loves to hide behind metaphors, ambiguity and vagueness, and a flood of words.

In 1794, Pope Pius VI exposed the deceitful and pernicious tactics of the innovators of his time, whom we might call Proto-Modernists:

[Our predecessors] knew the capacity of innovators in the art of deception. In order not to shock the ears of Catholics, the innovators sought to hide the subtleties of their tortuous maneuvers by the use of seemingly innocuous words such as would allow them to insinuate error into souls in the most gentle manner. Once the truth had been compromised, they could, by means of slight changes or additions in phraseology, distort the confession of the faith that is necessary for our salvation, and lead the faithful by subtle errors to their eternal damnation. This manner of dissimulating and lying is vicious, regardless of the circumstances under which it is used. For very good reasons it can never be tolerated in a synod of which the principal glory consists above all in teaching the truth with clarity and excluding all danger of error.

Moreover, if all this is sinful, it cannot be excused in the way that one sees it being done, under the erroneous pretext that the seemingly shocking affirmations in one place are further developed along orthodox lines in other places, and even in yet other places corrected; as if allowing for the possibility of either affirming or denying the statement, or of leaving it up the personal inclinations of the individual – such has always been the fraudulent and daring method used by innovators to establish error. It allows for both the possibility of promoting error and of excusing it.

It is as if the innovators pretended that they always intended to present the alternative passages, especially to those of simple faith who eventually come to know only some part of the conclusions of such discussions, which are published in the common language for everyone’s use. Or again, as if the same faithful had the ability on examining such documents to judge such matters for themselves without getting confused and avoiding all risk of error. It is a most reprehensible technique for the insinuation of doctrinal errors and one condemned long ago by our predecessor St. Celestine who found it used in the writings of Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, and which he exposed in order to condemn it with the greatest possible severity. Once these texts were examined carefully, the impostor was exposed and confounded, for he expressed himself in a plethora of words, mixing true things with others that were obscure; mixing at times one with the other in such a way that he was also able to confess those things which were denied while at the same time possessing a basis for denying those very sentences which he confessed.

In order to expose such snares, something which becomes necessary with a certain frequency in every century, no other method is required than the following: Whenever it becomes necessary to expose statements that disguise some suspected error or danger under the veil of ambiguity, one must denounce the perverse meaning under which the error opposed to Catholic truth is camouflaged.

(Pope Pius VI, Bull Auctorem Fidei, introd.; underlining added.)

One way in which Francis deceives souls and makes them imbibe heresy and error is by means of his excessive focus on the corporal works of mercy, almost to the complete exclusion of the spiritual works of mercy. Yet it is the spiritual works which are in themselves more excellent and important than the corporal works, as they have the good of the soul as their primary object (cf. Catholic Encyclopedia on the Works of Mercy).

Promoting the corporal works of mercy is not wrong; in fact, it is necessary (see Mt 25:31-46). But Francis does it to such an excessive extent and to the almost complete exclusion of the spiritual works that he gives the impression that the ultimate goal of the Catholic religion is the feeding of and caring for bodies, when the fact is that her mission is to save souls from hell (see Mk 16:15-16). Christ warned us: “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28).

Now we know why Pope St. Pius X instructed us to identify a Modernist not only by looking at what he says but also how he says it, in addition to what he does:

Although [the Modernists] express their astonishment that We should number them amongst the enemies of the Church, no one will be reasonably surprised that We should do so, if, leaving out of account the internal disposition of the soul, of which God alone is the Judge, he considers their tenets, their manner of speech, and their action. Nor indeed would he be wrong in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church.

(Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, n. 3)

Francis is popular with the world because, like them, he is of the world, not merely in it (cf. Jn 17:14-16). He is one of them. In fact, he is just like those false teachers denounced by St. John the Evangelist in his First Epistle: “They are of the world: therefore of the world they speak, and the world heareth them” (1 Jn 4:5).

Yes, Francis does talk about preaching the Gospel all the time, but he preaches a humanitarian gospel of man, not the Gospel of Christ (cf. Gal 1:8-9). When he must talk about a supernatural truth of the Gospel — for example, if the Gospel passage of the day’s liturgy plainly teaches a supernatural truth he cannot easily get around or distort — then he blasphemously misuses that supernatural truth as a gimmick to advance his false Naturalist gospel, as was evident this past Easter Sunday.

And, we might add, it was also evident today, Easter Monday. During his Regina Caeli address, the Jesuit apostate doubled down:

The Resurrection of Christ, the Pope said, has made the novelty of dialogue and of the relationship explode in the world, a novelty that has become “a responsibility for Christians”. He recalled Jesus telling that the world would come know they were his disciples from their love for one another. This is why, the Pope explained, we cannot close ourselves in our privacy, in our group, but we are called to take care of the common good, to take care of our brothers, especially the weakest and most marginalized. Only fraternity, the Pope stressed, can guarantee lasting peace, defeat poverty, extinguish tensions and wars, and can eradicate corruption and crime. The Pope concluded urging all to implore the Virgin Mary help all make fraternity and communion their lifestyle and the soul of their relationships.

(Robin Gomes, “Regina Coeli: Pope urges Christians to fraternity and sharing”, Vatican News, Apr. 2, 2018)

So there we go yet again: Without stating it explicitly, Francis continually causes the impression — by means of excessive focus and emphasis — that all supernatural truths — in this case, the Resurrection — are meant as an impetus for us to make this world a better place.

This is a message the “prince of this world” (Jn 14:30) does not have a problem with, because its goal is not the salvation of souls. By eclipsing and distorting the true Gospel, this false gospel will only lead souls to their eternal damnation.

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