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Friday, February 24, 2023

Is the Pope Catholic?: The Ambiguous World of Pope Francis

Remember the cliche response to questions with an obvious answer? Someone asks a football nut if he's going to watch the Super Bowl and he responds, "Is the pope Catholic?" don't hear that much these days for obvious reasons, but it really came home to me with two articles I happened to read this week. One was from the October 27th issue of The Wanderer by Raymond De Souza titled When Ambiguity Holds Sway in the Church. If anything marks this pontificate, ambiguity takes the premier position. And that reminds me of a comedy routine by Emo Philips when he ends a joke saying, "Ambiguity... the devil's volleyball."

And, indeed, it is. Confusion which is fostered by ambiguity always bears the stench of sulphur. But what's particularly interesting (Is that the right word?) is that Francis' ambiguity is often matched by actions and other words that absolutely reveal his meaning which is not ambiguous at all! Sad to say, that meaning is usually opposed to everything the Church taught in the millennia before Vatican II.

Here are a few of Francis' statements mentioned by DeSouza:

  • "It is a mistake for the Church to try to hold onto old traditions or to have clear answers for everything. [Instead, Jesus calls for the] courage of renunciation, a willingness to abandon traditions that are dear to us." [What exactly are the "old traditions" Francis is talking about?...drinking green beer on St. Patrick's Day? And which questions should the Church perhaps leave alone? Obviously not climate change, illegal immigration, or taking experimental vaccines that can kill you.]
  • "Jesus intentionally omitted telling His disciples many things so that the Church would learn to renounce the desire for clarity and order." [Goodness! Does the Church, desire obscurity and disorder? In view of Francis' nearly a decade of rule, that's exactly what the flock has been given!]
  • "In the end [the apostles] did not need a bunch of doctrines and traditions, but the simple announcement that God is love." [If Pope Francis were a St. Augustine who said, "Love God and do whatever you will," I could agree with him. But St. Augustine's full quote is, “Love God and do what you will: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.” And what does Jesus say? "If you love me you will keep my commandments," i.e. my doctrines! But to Francis it seems every doctrine is up for grabs!]
DeSouza goes on to  discuss Fr. Thomas Weinandy's 2014 letter to the Vatican's International Theological Commission listing five points showing the pope's "chronic confusion": intentional ambiguity, disdain for doctrine, naming heterodox bishops, sowing division in the Church, and vindictiveness toward those who criticize him.  Consider... this letter was written the year after Francis took his place on Peter's chair. The pope of "collegiality"  wasted no time launching a war, not against the world, but against his own orthodox clerics and faithful. Since then the battle has escalated to a nuclear attack.

What's DeSouza's prescription for Catholics? Know the faith as taught by popes before Francis and read the The Ratzinger Report and teachings of Pope John Paul II to see the difference with Francis' innovations.

St. Seraphim

The second article by Fr. Gerald Murray appeared on The Catholic Thing website:
Pope Francis Must Stop the Madness. It began with another Francis teaching undermining the Sacrament of Penance. Francis told the African bishops recently to “Always. Always forgive in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.” But wait, Your Holiness. Isn't the penitent required to be sorry for his sins? Is the unrepentant adulterer, embezzler, murderer, etc. to receive absolution despite making it unambiguously clear that he isn't sorry and has no intention of stopping? 

Here's a bit of what Fr. Murray wrote:

This intolerable wave of doctrinal error is sweeping over the Church while Pope Francis remains largely passive and silent.

The preparations for the October Synod on Synodality are being determined by the heterodox campaigning of those enjoying papal favor. Instead of discussing ways of defending the Church’s contested moral teachings, those teachings themselves are under assault in the discussions underway.

The hoped-for result of this relentless questioning of doctrines that have always been taught by the Church as unchangeable would be a gradually growing acceptance by the faithful of a supposed need to re-examine whether those teachings really are unchangeable, given the alleged “new world” in which we are living....
“Progress versus reactionary immobilism” is the discussion-ending mantra employed to stigmatize any and all resistance to changing the teachings handed down from the apostles....

Tolerance of doctrinal error is not part of the mandate given by Our Lord to St. Peter, and the apostles and their successors. If those successors fail in their duty, they inflict harm upon the faithful. Souls are put at risk by those shepherds who teach men to love sin and reject virtue.

It is completely beyond the power (ultra vires) of any pope, Cardinal or bishop to change the unchangeable moral and anthropological teachings of the Church. 

Is it any wonder we see the collapse of the faith in this environment of ambiguity and infidelity? 

So what should faithful Catholics do? 

Keep the faith and never lose hope. We absolutely must pray for the Church, for her leaders, for our priests and for our fellow Catholics. We must study the faith so we won't be misled by the ambiguity. When we see a "progressive" novelty that undermines the faith, we need to call it out. "Hey, Father, you are certainly an enthusiastic celebrant, but you're not allowed to omit the creed and rewrite the canon! And Sr. Sandy is not allowed to give the homily." 

Of course many of us don't have to worry about that, but, if you're at the Gong Show Mass, be brave enough to use the hook when you greet "the presider" outside. 

God is not mocked without serious repercussions for the mockers. It's good for renegade priests to be called out for the sake of their souls. 

And it's good Lenten almsgiving to "pray for your enemy and do good to those who hate you," even when they're men in roman collars wearing pectoral crosses.

Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us!


george normie said...

The Orthodox have been asking "Is the Pope even Catholic?" since 1066. Is the claim of an office called pope even Catholic? No. Its a sect that rejects Catholicity.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Well, George, that's a pointless comment without any context. Can you make a rational case for your opinion?

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the post. What happened to The denzinger-bergoglio site? Does the SSPX keep track of Bergoglio heresies?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I'm not familiar with that site, Anonymous. I just visited it and will take a look at the documents. I downloaded the PDF, but it's pretty extensive so I may not get to it for awhile. Occasionally the SSPX puts out a correction on something coming from the Vatican, but I'm not aware of a list. They have a number of podcasts on YouTube that are excellent. I'm watching The Crisis in the Church series at present and it's excellent. I'll be going through it for most of 2023 since there are 55 episodes and I'm trying to do one a week.