En passant, it is noteworthy that someone who tries to appear as perfectly accessible to all – as a pastor who uses a telephone in order to reply to those who write to him, who devotes more time to greetings than to instruction when he meets pilgrims – prefers to keep one of the primary aspects of his doctrine shrouded in a nebulous mystery…. For what reason?
We have our own theory as to why that is, having everything to do with the great apostasy infecting the Catholic Church under this most disastrous pontificate. But rather than delve into the obvious contradictions, let us simply juxtapose the words of Pope Francis with those of the great Louis-Édouard-François-Desiré Pie, also knowns, simply, as Cardinal Pie—the French Catholic bishop of Poitiers--famous for his massive defence of the social reign of Christ the King. As the Catholic voice of Cardinal Pie answers the myriad errors of Pope Francis, let us pray for his intercession on behalf of our beloved Church in unprecedented crisis.
And as for our Protestant friends, let us recall that Christian can only be understood as Catholic. As St. Thomas says, we only call the "separated brethren" or the heretics and schismatics "Christian" out of politeness. They are not "Christian" simpliciter loquendo, but only in a qualified sense, secundum quid. So Christian unity can only be accomplished, as Pope Pius XI teaches in Mortalium Animos, by a return to the fold, to the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church--a prescription Pope Francis seems to reject. Again, contrast the words of Pope Francis at Assisi 2016 with those of his predecessor, Pope Pius XI:
So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.
Cardinal Pie on unity…
Is God too proud when he acknowledges only those who acknowledge Him, and denies those who deny Him? Jesus Christ did not care about those who found it to be too much; He expressed it in such a way as to leave no doubt on the point. As three of the evangelists testify, He will recognize before His Father and before the whole heavenly court whoever will have recognized and confessed Him before human beings, but if, in the face of this corrupt and sinful generation, someone were ashamed of our Lord, either in His Person or in His teachings, for His part our Lord, when He appears in the glory of His Father, escorted by the holy angels, will be ashamed of that person.
The Apostle concludes from this: "A faithful saying: if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, he will also deny us." St. Hilary (2) says that insofar as we have been witnesses of His Name, to that extent will our Lord testify for us before God His Father.
May we never forget that our being Christian (3) obliges us, not only to believe from the bottom of our heart, but also to confess our belief with our mouth: outside of this there is no salvation: "for with the heart we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation" (Rm 10:10). Whoever has not offered to Jesus Christ the supreme testimony of blood, which makes one a "martyr", will only have access to heaven with the title of "confessor"(4). We will be allowed in only at the price of the public profession we have made of our faith, as much by our works as by our words.
II. The open practice of Christianity sometimes demands great courage. Maybe you think that God prepared His Heaven for the timid or for the cowardly? On the contrary, has not the Master said that "the Kingdom of God suffers violence", and that "the violent bear it away". And John, the beloved disciple, the apostle of charity, does he not straightforwardly declare that "the fearful", who do not dare to avow their faith, will be accounted the same as those who do not believe, and whose part will be the lake of fire: "But the fearful, and unbelieving... shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire" (Apoc. 21:8).
Do not object to me either that the accomplishment of religious duty can bring trouble, discomfort in your relations, or even prejudice your interests. The Gospel has dealt justly in advance with these vain excuses.
Ah! if it is a question of the peace which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, of the peace which proceeds from the reign of truth and virtue, incontestably, Jesus is the God of peace; He is the author of peace. But His peace is not peace such as the world gives, the peace of falsehood and sin. As for that peace, the Lord says, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth; I came not to bring peace, but the sword" (Mt 10:34). And this sword of separation will enter all the way into the most cherished relations of the home, of the family. The one who places his domestic affections above the affection that he owes Me, "is not worthy of Me," says the Lord.
"What is this division?", writes St. Hilary. "Among the first precepts of the law, we have received this one: Honour thy father and thy mother (Ex. 20:12). And the Lord Himself said: I give you my peace, my peace I leave with you (Jn 14:27). After this, what can this sword sent to the world mean, these children separated from parents and this enmity over the domestic roof? Behold, then, impiety erected into a principle from now and held in honour; there are hatreds everywhere, wars everywhere, and the sword of the Lord drawn between the sons and the authors of their days. What is this sword sent to earth? That is something to know."
"The sword", responds our holy pontiff, "is the sharpest, the most cutting of all weapons, it is the most penetrating of all the strokes. The scriptures often call the preaching of the new Gospel by this name. So it is the word of God which is meant by the sword sent to earth. It is the evangelical doctrine penetrating into the hearts of men, and reaching all the way to the conditions of their corporeal and earthly life.
So there is no doubt that when we take on a new life in the cleansing waters of baptism, we are separated by the power of the Word from the stains and the authors of our first origin: we are cut and detached by the slicing of the sword of God, we are in disagreement with the feelings of those who remain in the bonds of infidelity. And when the struggle begins between our new life and our old life, if we do not know how to give the preference to God, if we place love for our family and of the flesh above the love of Him who has divinely adopted us, we become unworthy of the heritage of future goods."
III. "But, beyond domestic life, there is public life. Rightly or wrongly, no doubt wrongly, the sphere in which I am forcibly placed is not a Christian sphere. For me to pose as a Christian would be a singularity and a contrast. Sometimes it would even be a provocation to sarcasm and to blasphemy. You have to bend to the demands of the times and to the necessities of situations." Thus speaks worldly wisdom.
So, brother, because Jesus Christ is not recognized by many of your contemporaries, you believe yourself authorized to disregard Him? Because an irreligious and evil wind has passed over the present generation, you claim the right to participate in the contagion? Wonderful! Know this: the general infidelity that you invoke as an excuse is a circumstance that increases your guilt rather than lessening it.
In the face of this apostasy of the greater number, you are bound to declare your faith more openly, and so to become an example and a protest. Have you driven from your heart the solemn affirmation of your Saviour? Have you forgotten His words? "Whoever will be ashamed of Me and of My gospel before this corrupt and sinful generation, I will be ashamed of, for My part, when I appear in the glory of My Father, and in the company of my angels."
What! Brother, you will be made vile in your own eyes, you will have lost the right to have a good opinion of yourself, if you have the cowardice to seem to not recognize a friend in the day of his disgrace; because the God of heaven and earth, the God of your soul and of your Baptism, has become unpopular, because you risk sharing with Him the disfavour of a debased generation, worthy of scorn, you believe yourself to be free of your duties towards Him! No, No, it is the law both of order and of justice which demands it: we shall be treated by Jesus Christ as we have treated Him. If we remain faithful to Him, we will reign with Him; but if we deny Him, He will deny us.
Honour, therefore, to you, Christians who are consistent with yourselves; honour to you who believe and who do not at all blush for your belief (I Peter 2:7). The One whom you confess before men, without showing off, with boastfulness, but also without human respect, without false shame, will confess you before His Father and before His angels.
(Translated for The Remnant by J. Martin)
1. Excerpted from the Pastoral Instruction on the obligation of publicly confessing the Christian faith, Lent, 1874, a pastoral letter of Cardinal Pie of Poitiers, France.
2. As one can reasonably expect, the successor of St Hilary likes very much to quote the great Father and Doctor of the Church.
3. Christian of course means Catholic. As St. Thomas somewhere says, we only call the "separated brethren" or the heretics and schismatics "Christian" out of politeness. They are not "Christian" simpliciter loquendo, but only in a qualified sense, secundum quid.
4. And so it is in the traditional Roman Rite, where, in the cycle of the feast days of the saints, men are listed either as martyrs or confessors.