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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Gaudete et Exsultate: Demagogic Piety on the March

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Gaudete et Exsultate is exactly what we have come to expect from this drearily predictable pontificate. To quote Carl Olsen in Catholic World Report: “many good qualities and substantive passages… often overshadowed, or even undermined, by straw men, dubious arguments, and cheap shots.”

Bergoglian pronouncements in general are precisely vehicles for the delivery of straw men, dubious arguments and cheap shots, all invariably directed against orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Expressions of piety are wrapped around crass ecclesiastical demagoguery, a velvet glove for the clenched fist of militant humility so typical of the boorish cant of leftist Latin American clerics.

The document’s call for a living relationship with God animated by charity is belied by its repeated descent into the uncharitable caricature and outright calumny of those members of the faithful Bergoglio perceives as impediments to his maniacal designs. Herewith a sampling of the invective interwoven into the pious passages of the document:

1) Contemplative orders apart from the world are unhealthy:

“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.

2) The Church does not have all the answers and should not tell people how to live (unless it is Bergoglio speaking):

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…. So we cannot claim that our way of understanding this truth authorizes us to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives.

3) Catholic doctrine is subject to different interpretations depending on circumstances:

“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.’”

4) Catholic doctrine is not monolithic, but rather is open to doubt:

“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”…. [D]octrine, or better, our understanding and expression of it, ‘is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries…’”

5) Strong attachment to Catholic doctrine and discipline is Pelagianism:

“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 from the past.’” 

6) Those who resist change—i.e, whatever Francis wants—have succumbed to the forces of evil:

“This is all the more important when some novelty presents itself in our lives. Then we have to decide whether it is new wine brought by God or an illusion created by the spirit of this world or the spirit of the devil. At other times, the opposite can happen, when the forces of evil induce us not to change, to leave things as they are, to opt for a rigid resistance to change….”

7) Those who say all things are possible with grace are really Pelagians:

“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.”

8) Even with the aid of grace it is impossible for “the weak” to keep the moral law given their “concrete” limits; only gradual progress is possible (thus exalting the frailty of human will over grace in precisely the Pelagian manner Francis condemns):

“They [imaginary Pelagian Catholics] 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….”

“Grace, precisely because it builds on nature, does not make us superhuman all at once. That kind of thinking would show too much confidence in our own abilities. 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.”

9) Attachment to Catholic doctrine and discipline is Pelagian aridity that rejects “the Spirit”:

“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…. 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…

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.”

10) Observant Catholics are heartless Pelagian curators of a religious museum who reject “the Spirit”:

“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.”

11) Attempts to limit mass Muslim migration (primarily military-age males) are morally equivalent to murder in the womb:

“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….

“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.”

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12) Any public opposition by the faithful to Bergoglian designs is defamation inspired by the devil (whose dwelling place is unclear given the interviews with Scalfari):

“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….

“It is striking that at times, in claiming to uphold the other commandments, they [the defenders of orthodoxy against Bergoglio] 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).”

13) The defenders of orthodoxy are heartless judges who look down on others (says Bergoglio who constantly judges and looks down on others):

“It is not good when we look down on others like heartless judges, lording it over them and always trying to teach them lessons.”

14) God demands that we accept Bergoglio’s “magisterium” of “today” and see the Gospel in a new light rather than simply following what the Church (including all prior Popes) has always taught; all else is rigid dogmatism:

“Like the prophet Jonah, we are constantly tempted to flee to a safe haven. It can have many names: … the rejection of new ideas and approaches, dogmatism, nostalgia… hiding behind rules and regulations….

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.”

The media are of course delighted with this latest example of Bergoglian backstabbing of believing Catholics. Particularly delightful is his declaration of a moral equivalence between mass murder in the womb and attempts to limit the mass migration of Muslims, most of whom are military-age males with cellphones, ludicrously depicted as “helpless refugees.” CNN exulted over this “pointed rebuke to Catholic anti-abortion activists who focus on the issue to the exclusion of all others.”

But we have heard it all before—over and over again, incessantly, for the past five years. At this point, the matter has moved beyond an analysis of Bergoglian pronouncements in order to uncover the poison pills that are always there. There is no need to continue the exercise in verification of the problem when even an atheist like Marcello Pera can see that Bergoglio is “little or not at all interested in Christianity as doctrine, in its theological aspect,” that “[h]is statements appear to be based on Scripture, [but] actually they are strongly secularist,” and that his pontificate represents a “rupture with doctrine and tradition.”

Now the question being raised by the faithful, both clergy and laity, is whether there is any mechanism by which the Church can be freed from Bergoglio’s clutches before he inflicts still more damage upon her. Thus, we see commentary in this regard at major Catholic news sources under such titles as “Cardinals can declare that a heretical pope has ‘lost his office’: Church historian.” And even the retired Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas, René Henry Gracida, openly speculates in his blog on the prospect of an imperfect council of cardinals declaring Bergoglio’s election invalid and proceeding to a new conclave.

For starters, to quote Roberto de Mattei, “We need to have the courage to say: “Holy Father, you are the first one responsible for the confusion which exists today in the Church. Holy Father, you are the first one responsible for the heresies which are circulating in the Church today.’” But more than this, clergy and laity must unite wherever possible to do what Saint Robert Bellarmine said we must when confronted with the scenario—a hypothesis now become a reality—of a Pope who attempts to destroy the Church:

Therefore, just as it is lawful to resist a Pontiff invading a body, so it is lawful to resist him invading souls or disturbing a state, and much more if he should endeavor to destroy the Church. I say that it is lawful to resist him, by not doing what he commands and by blocking him lest he should carry out his will…[De Controversiis: On the Roman Pontiff, trans. Ryan Grant (Mediatrix Press: 2015), Book II, Chapter 29, p. 303.

Moving beyond a mere diagnosis of “this disastrous papacy,” which has already been confirmed a hundred times over, we must directly oppose its designs in every field of action open to us. Incredibly enough, the faithful must defend the Catholic Church against a “Dictator Pope” who would destroy her and rebuild her according to his own vision, as he himself has made clear in his hubristic manifesto Evangelii Gaudium:

More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe…

I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.

May the good God deliver His Holy Church from the Pope who now afflicts her. And may the Blessed Virgin intercede soon in fulfillment of the divine plan for the Church’s inevitable restoration and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

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Read 17740 times Last modified on Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Christopher A. Ferrara

Christopher A. Ferrara: President and lead counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Inc., Mr. Ferrara has been at the forefront of the legal defense of pro-lifers for the better part of a quarter century. Having served with the legal team for high profile victims of the culture of death such as Terri Schiavo, he has long since distinguished him a premier civil rights Catholic lawyer.  Mr. Ferrara has been a lead columnist for The Remnant since 2000 and has authored several books published by The Remnant Press, including the bestseller The Great Façade. Together with his children and wife, Wendy, he lives in Richmond, Virginia.

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