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Friday, January 8, 2016

The Pope Francis Commercial: But What Is he Selling?


Watch the video below with the realization that most Catholics are so badly catechized since Vatican II that they don't believe in the Real Presence nor do they believe in many core doctrines like the sanctity of human life, the nature of marriage, the reality of sin, the existence of hell, the sinfulness of contraception, fornication, abortion, sodomy, etc.

Imagine you know very little about your faith. What message would you take from this video?

You would probably notice two big true statements that are lovely and comforting:
1) We are all children of God.
2) We are called to love one another regardless of our religious differences. 
Of course that's true and something to rejoice in. But what else is going on here? Is there any ambivalence in the video? Absolutely! And what is that ambivalence?

Let me answer that question within the context of  some definitions:
Context: the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed:
Connotation: an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning
The context of the video is the pope's monthly intention and this is just the first of what is expected to be regular monthly video productions. But the context decidedly does NOT set the message within Catholic doctrine, i.e., the doctrine about the nature and relationship of the Catholic faith to other faiths.  Does anyone watching this video "get" the message of Vatican II that: is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.
Does this video not rather present a context of the oneness of all religions -- especially the final scene showing the religious symbols (including a statue of Buddha) held out by the four participating faith representatives and the declaration of each participant that "I believe in love?" Does the repetition of that sentence not connote that love (undefined) is the universal law and all these religions in sharing love (again undefined) share unity? What is love to a Buddhist? What is love to a Muslim? Are all these people speaking the same language? Do a Buddhist, a Unitarian, a Muslim, a moral relativist mean the same thing when they speak of "love?"

That particular part of the video reminded me of Joseph Fletcher's book, Situation Ethics, which presented a "love" that could even be used to justify killing because the intention of love is what matters even if the action taken "for love" results in evil.

And then there is what the video implies.
Imply: to strongly suggest the truth or existence of something not expressly stated
I think it implies the same message as the bumper sticker above, a message of Syncretism.
Syncretism: the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths.
The unspoken message appears to be that there is an "underlying unity" between non-theistic religions like Buddhism, non-Trinitarian religions like Judaism and Islam, and, finally, Christianity. It is interesting that the representative Christian is a man in a roman collar who may be a Catholic priest, but could just as easily be an Episcopalian, Anglican, or other Protestant tradition whose ministers adopt the same clerical garb. The only explicitly Catholic figure is the pope himself.  Did the video deliberately imply syncretism, or is this just one more example of confusion which has become the hallmark of Pope Francis?

Many Catholics today already live in a faith world of religious indifferentism:
Indifferentism: in the Roman Catholic faith, is the belief held by some that no one religion or philosophy is superior to another.
No conversion is necessary to Catholicism. No religion, no church can be described as the "one, true Church" founded by Christ. Evangelization is unnecessary. We are all good people and God is too nice to send anyone to hell which probably doesn't exist anyway, so it doesn't matter a wit what your religion is or even what you do as long as you do it out of "love."

Good grief! Why did Jesus die on the cross?

I confess, I found this video one more baffling contribution to confusion. How does it contribute to the salvation of souls with its mushy message? And, it seems to me, that it also casts doubt on the actions of all the Catholic missionaries who died to spread the one, true faith and bring pagans and heretics to repentance. Were they all just rigid zealots, unmerciful and doctrinaire? Were St. Isaac Jogues and, St. Jean de Brebeuf too close-minded to see the beauty of the Indians' natural religion? Were St. Boniface and St. Peter Chanel and countless others just intolerant bigots who believed they had "absolute truth?" Why did they shed their blood when all they needed was "love" and a theology based on "I'm okay, you're okay?"

As I listened to this video I remembered my personal response as a young college student to a message like this -- a moral theology class that used Joseph Fletcher, Harvey Cox, and other voices of the world to teach students to "believe in love." I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker for a time, left the Church, and floundered around on my own until I realized what Edith Stein taught:
Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie.
Pray for the pope daily and pray for Holy Mother Church. We are in the time predicted by Our Lady at Akita when, "The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres...churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord." Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us."


Anonymous said...

There is a lovely book about St. Therese, entitled "I Believe in Love." So I was shocked to hear that phrase used in the Pope's video.

If people with such differing views of God declare they believe in "love." it would be sensible to investigate what "love" means to each.

This video gives the distinct view that all these speakers have equally valid views!

Thanks for your excellent post on this erroneous view from someone who, like yourself, witnessed it all in the 1960s and 1970s.

Barona said...

Very well articulated. Thank-you for this post.

To McFadden (Sr.) said...

When Pope Francis was elected my first reaction was "he's a Jesuit." I think that is something that has been overlooked by those expressing surprise and shock at some of his actions and pronouncements. In the 1980s there was written a non-fiction book called The Jesuits by Malachi Martin, S.J. This was a very thorough review of the disturbing trends that had turned the Jesuits upside down. It named names and hung out all of the heresy and disobedience. We saw this first hand, for example, in the person of 1970s era pro-abortion Congressman Robert Drinan. S.J. and the overall degeneration of the U.S. Jesuit universities. The rot within the Jesuits was chronicled also by James Hitchcock in his book,The Pope and the Jesuits. There is a review and an excerpt from that book published in 1984 in Crisis magazine here. Pope Francis was formed in the same era and there is no reason to believe he was an exception to the majority of the Jesuits. The Holy Spirit will protect the Church in the sense that Francis will never teach false doctrine or morals when exercising his Ordinary Magisterium but there is no such guarantee about what he will say or do in his none authoritative capacity.

Anonymous said...

Satan believes in love, too. He loves abortion,sodomy, and confusion.

Dymphna said...

I was nauseated when I first watched the video, now I'm just disgusted.

Frank Silva said...

Thank you for your well articulated comments. Jesus' answer to "COEXIST" was and continues to be: (Matthew 28:16-20)[16] And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [17] And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. [18] And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [19] Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

That is my "great commission" as a Catholic. It may start with "I believe in love" but it must always, always lead to the Nicene Creed and the Sacraments. I cannot and will not be content to "COEXIST".

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Me too, Dymphna. I think that's an appropriate reaction.

Thank you for your comment, Frank. I agree completely. Jesus said, "If you love me keep my commandments." How can you follow Buddha and keep the first commandment?

Anonymous said...

CCC 1213. CCC 1216. CCC 1243.
This video is so ban it is hard to find good points in it: Doesn't look like even one of the statements you are taking as true is even true! Are non-baptized persons children of God?
Please check it out.