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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pope Francis: A Pelagian Lutheran

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creepy hug pope"Then the poor child, commanded by Bergoglio to come up and whisper in his ear, was practically dragged up to the papal chair where, now crying, he was induced to hug the Pope like a department store Santa Claus."

Editor’s Note: Another issue of The Remnant brings you yet another diagnosis of what Pope Bergoglio has done this week to undermine the Faith. To readers who may wonder why we ought to continue this exercise we would answer: We have no choice in the matter. The current occupant of the Chair of Peter is mounting a determined assault an every aspect of Catholic teaching and practice he finds disagreeable, including the teaching of his own immediate predecessors on fundamental moral questions. In short, we have a Pope who is literally attacking the Church.

It would be a dereliction of duty not to express our continuing opposition to the radically Modernist program of “a dictator Pope” Catholics the world over now recognize "is engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches," a veritable “lost shepherd” who “is misleading his flock.” To ignore Pope Bergoglio when one is in a position to offer any form of effective opposition, even if it be only a salutary warning about his errors, is to ignore the common good of the Church in favor of personal tranquility. This we cannot do.

Even from a purely journalistic perspective, to ignore the story of the rise of Bergoglianism would be even more absurd than ignoring the story of World II while it was in progress. And the spiritual consequences of what Sister Lucia of Fatima called “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan,” now plainly underway, are infinitely weightier than the consequences of merely earthly warfare.

And so our coverage of this continuing disaster must continue. Until it is over.  MJM

Pope Francis, Pelagian Lutheran

Pope Bergoglio has spent the past five years condemning neo-Pelagianism, which he falsely describes in Evangelii Gaudium (EG) as “observ[ing] certain rules or remain[ing] intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past” or, in Gaudete et Exsultate, as “a punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige.” In other words, to the Modernist mind of Bergoglio, a strong attachment to Catholic doctrine and liturgy—indeed, a strong attachment to Catholicism as such—is Pelagianism.

Like so much of what Bergoglio says in matters theological, this is the opposite of the truth. The Pelagian, unlike the orthodox Catholic, denies the existence of original sin and holds that human effort alone (assisted by whatever divine grace is inherent in created nature) is capable of attaining final beatitude. The “quintessence of Pelagianism,” as the Catholic Encyclopedia observes, can be summarized in these propositions:

1) Even if Adam had not sinned, he would have died.

2) Adam's sin harmed only himself, not the human race.

3) Children just born are in the same state as Adam before his fall.

4) The whole human race neither dies through Adam's sin or death, nor rises again through the resurrection of Christ.

5) The (Mosaic Law) is as good a guide to heaven as the Gospel.

6) Even before the advent of Christ there were men who were without sin.

Considering these marks of Pelagianism, it should be obvious that it is actually Pope Bergoglio who has a Pelagian view of salvation and that, like so many of the accusations he hurls at others, this one applies first and foremost to him. The proofs of this have been abundant over the past five years of his pronouncements to the effect that being Catholic and having the grace of the sacraments makes no crucial difference for salvation because all “good people,” even atheists,  are saved no matter what they believe. 

Three recent examples, however, suffice to reinforce the point.

First, in Gaudium et Exsultate, we read the following remarkable propositions, for which the only cited authority in 2,000 years of Church history is Bergoglio’s own opinions:

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].” [citing EG]. 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….

Grace, precisely because it builds on nature, does not make us superhuman all at once.… 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.

Aside from his usual caricature of Catholic teaching—here reduced to the straw man that grace does not instantly make men into supermen—the cited passages are embedded with Pelagian thinking about the role of grace in the moral life. In order to explain this, I must first “unpack” Bergoglio’s treatment of moral weakness.  As we will see, what at first blush would appear to be an argument for the inadequacy of the human will alone to sustain moral virtue without grace, contra Pelagius, turns out to be, upon close examination, quite the opposite, although Bergoglio, given the incoherency of his theology, does not seem to realize that his views actually favor Pelagianism.

First of all, by “the weak” Bergoglio means those who habitually commit sins of the flesh, which his entire pontificate has been an exercise in accommodating, particularly in the case of the divorced and “remarried” and others living in what he calls “irregular situations.” In fact, the very title of the infamous Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia is “Accompanying, Discerning and Integrating Weakness.” To quote Bergoglio in his book-length interview Politique et Société (pp. 249-250)(translation mine):

The lightest sins are the sins of the flesh. The sins of the flesh are not necessarily the most serious. Because the flesh is weak. The most dangerous sins are those of the spirit. I spoke of angelism: pride, vanity are sins of angelism. I understood your question. The Church is the Church. Priests have had the temptation—not all, but many—to focus on the sins of sexuality. This is what I have already spoken to you about: what I call morality under the belt. The most serious sins are elsewhere.

[Les péchés les plus légers sont les péchés de la chair. Les péchés de la chair ne sont pas forcément les plus graves. Parce que la chair est faible. Les péchés les plus dangereux sont ceux de l’esprit. J’ai parlé d’angélisme : l’orgueil, la vanité sont des péchés d’angélisme. J’ai compris votre question. L’Église est l’Église. Les prêtres ont eu la tentation – pas tous, mais beaucoup – de se focaliser sur les péchés de la sexualité. C’est ce dont je vous ai déjà parlé : ce que j’appelle la morale sous la ceinture. Les péchés les plus graves sont ailleurs.]

Concerning what he views as “light” sins of flesh, Bergoglio fails to mention that habitual sins of  impurity darken the intellect, harden the heart, bury the voice of conscience, and lead ultimately to a loss of faith unless there is an amendment of life.

Further, mangling yet another theological concept to suit his rhetorical needs, Bergoglio equates angelism, which denies or minimizes concupiscence as if men were angels, with pride and vanity (apparently confusing the pride of the Devil and his angels with angelism as a theological error). He thereby excises from the true meaning of angelism the role of concupiscence, and thus Original Sin, in lust and sins of the flesh, which he deems “the lightest sins.” Blessed Jacinta of Fatima, directly informed by the Mother of God, begs to differ with Bergoglio of Buenos Aires: “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.… Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much. Woe to women lacking in modesty.”

With these two points in view, we can see how the indulgence of “weakness” in Bergoglian theology actually favors a Pelagian view of morality. For if “the weak,” even with the assistance of God’s grace, cannot be expected to  refrain from adultery and fornication , whereas “the strong,” also assisted by grace, are able to avoid these sins—as do so many of the faithful and, for that matter, even many non-Catholics —then what Bergoglio is really saying is that it is not grace but the particular strength of the individual human will that is the decisive factor in avoiding sins of the flesh. That is at least a semi-Pelagian view of human nature, minimizing the role of grace and exaggerating the role of the unassisted will while removing Original Sin from the picture along with the action of divine grace in overcoming post-baptismal concupiscence.

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Bringing utter disgrace on the Petrine office, Bergoglio holds “weak” Catholics, who have access to the grace of the Sacraments, to a lower standard of sexual morality than that exhibited by evangelical Protestants who are serious about following the Gospel as they understand it and who implore God’s grace as best they can without the helps of the Church, knowing that they will fall without it. For Bergoglio, absurdly enough, to whom much is given less is expected in terms of  sexual morality.

Second, in a clearly Pelagian manner, Bergoglio apparently denies the role of Baptism in translating fallen human nature, debilitated by Original Sin, into the state of sanctifying grace by which we are made children of God. He evidently believes that all men are already “children of God,” no matter what they believe or what they do, and that Baptism merely enhances the preexisting divine kinship in some vague manner. That is exactly what he has just told a group of impressionable children at a Roman parish during one of those events in which he uses staged questions posed by children to propagate Bergoglian theology, and then demands that the children express assent to his errors in the manner of a pep rally:

Carlotta: Hi Pope Francis! When we receive baptism, we become children of God. And people who are not baptized are not God’s children?

Pope Francis: Stay there. What’s your name?

Carlotta: Carlotta.

Pope Francis: Carlotta. Tell me Carlotta, asking back to you: what do you think? Are people who are not baptized, daughters of God or not daughters of God? What does your heart tell you?

Carolotta: Yes.

Pope Francis: Yes. Here, now she explains. She responded well, she has a Christian flair, this one! We are all children of God. Everyone, everyone. Even the unbaptized? Yes. Even those who believe in other religions, far away, who have idols? Yes, they are children of God. Are the mafia too God’s children? ... You are not sure ... Yes, even the mafiosi are children of God. They prefer to behave like children of the devil, but they are children of God. All, all are children of God, everyone.

But what is the difference [with Baptism]? God created everyone, loved everyone and put conscience in the heart to recognize good and distinguish it from evil. All men have this. They know, they perceive what is good and what is healthy; even people who do not know Jesus, who do not know Christianity, all have this in the soul, because this has been sown by God. But when you were baptized, in that conscience the Holy Spirit entered and strengthened your belonging to God and in that sense you have become more a daughter of God, because you are daughter of God like everyone, but also with the power of the Holy Spirit that has entered inside.

Pope Francis: Did you understand, Carlotta? I ask, everyone answer: All men are children of God?

Children: Yes!

Pope Francis: Good people, are daughters of God?

Children: Yes!

Pope Francis: Bad people, are daughters of God?

Children: Yes!

Pope Francis: Yes. Do people who do not know Jesus and have other distant religions, have idols, are daughters of God?

Children: Yes!

Pity the children who were cajoled into expressing their assent to this heretical nonsense. If all men, without exception, are children of God, then no one is under the dominion of Satan on account of Original Sin in which case the Redemption would be pointless. Nor can Bergoglio be defended on the ground that he was using the phrase “children of God” equivocally to mean “created by God” and that he was not denying the Church’s infallible teaching that Baptism confers the gift of divine adoption. On the contrary, he explicitly declares that all men are already adopted children of God and that Baptism merely makes one “more a daughter of God… but also with the power of the Holy Spirit”—whatever that means.

The notion that Baptism, in some vague way, makes one “more” a child of God than the other “children of God,” meaning all of humanity, is an absurd theological invention peculiar to Bergoglianism. What is more, Bergoglio neglected to instruct the children on the Catholic doctrine that Baptism and the state of sanctifying grace involve more than some vague “power of the Holy Spirit,” but rather the indwelling of the Holy Trinity and the consequent divinizing of the baptized (unless they subsequently fall into mortal sin), which is anything but a universal state among men. As the late, great Father John Hardon explains:

The Church commonly teaches distinguishing between God’s presence and his indwelling. The indwelling, unlike the omnipresence, is not natural but super - beyond natural. The indwelling is not universal but particular, very particular. The indwelling is not merely the presence of God in the world but it is the special way in which the Holy Trinity dwells in the souls of those who are in sanctifying grace. We see immediately how selective the indwelling is in contrast with the omnipresence….

How does the Church explain this indwelling? The Church tells us that the indwelling is unique; it exists only in the souls of believers who are in the friendship of God. This indwelling, we are told, comes to us through baptism…. That in the final analysis is what makes a person holy, why a child, just baptized and having received at baptism the divine indwelling, is holy….

The divine indwelling may be described as a special intimacy of God with the soul, producing an extraordinary knowledge and love of God. Only those who possess the divine indwelling are able to know God as God wants to be known; are able to love God as God wants to be loved.

Nowhere in the Bergoglian explanation of the effects of Baptism is there any indication that it remits Original Sin, infuses the supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity, makes the soul fit for the indwelling of Trinity, and is thereby the gateway to salvation. With Pelagius himself, Bergoglio would appear to deny that Baptism translates the soul from its fallen state into the state of divine adoption by which, if one “perseveres until the end (Matt 24:13)”, one is saved. Not for Bergoglio, apparently, is the teaching of Christ, whose Vicar he is supposed to be: “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who believes not shall be condemned…. Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  

It is reasonable to wonder whether Bergoglio even believes in the dogma of Original Sin or the Church’s infallible teaching on the nature and effects of Baptism. It does not seem so—at least not in the Catholic sense. But even if he does believe in what the Church teaches, he failed utterly in his duty to instruct those impressionable children about the divine privilege conferred upon the recipients of Baptism and only upon them as adopted children of God.

Third, leaving no doubt of his position, Bergoglio employed another child on the same occasion in order to make the point that Baptism is not necessary for the salvation of “good people,” even atheists. When a lad of six or seven named Emanuele was brought up to the microphone to pose his staged question, he was so frightened he could not speak, whereupon Francis vulgarly prompted him to play his part: “Dai! Dai! Dai! Dai!” (come on! come on! come on! come on!), to which little Emanuele replied: “I can’t do it” (Non ce lo faccio!). Then the poor child, commanded by Bergoglio to come up and whisper in his ear, was practically dragged up to the papal chair where, now crying, he was induced to hug the Pope like a department store Santa Claus. We are expected to believe that this six- or seven-year-old then engaged in the following discussion with Bergoglio, all while whispering in his ear, which Bergoglio recounted immediately afterward:

Maybe all of us, we could cry like Emanuele when we have a pain as he has in his heart. He cried for his father and had the courage to do it in front of us, because in his heart there is love for his father. [As the video shows, he was crying because he was mortified and terrified.]

I asked Emanuele permission to say the question in public and he said yes. This is why I will tell you [i.e., Bergoglio extracted “permission” from a traumatized child to reveal his embarrassing secret to the whole world]:

“A short time ago my father died. He was an atheist, but he had all four children baptized. He was a good man. Is Daddy in heaven?”

How nice that a son says of his dad: “He was good.” Beautiful testimony that man gave his children, because his children will be able to say: “He was a good man.”

It is a beautiful testimony of the son who inherited the strength of his father and, also, had the courage to cry in front of us all [in fact, they had reduced the child to tears by traumatizing him]. If that man was able to make children like that, it’s true, he was a good man. He was a good man.

That man did not have the gift of faith, he was not a believer, but he had his children baptized. He had a good heart. And he [Emanuele] has doubt that his father, who was not a believer, is in Heaven.

Next came Bergoglio’s demand for the children’s assent to his error:

Who says who goes to Heaven is God. But how is the heart of God before a father like that? How is it? How does it look to you? … The heart of Daddy! God has a father’s heart. And before a non-believing father, who was able to baptize his children and do that great thing [bravura] for his children, do you think that God would be able to leave him far away from Himself?

Do you think this? ... [soliciting answer from the children, but only eliciting a faint “no” from some] Strong, with courage!

Everyone: No!

Pope Francis: Does God abandon his children?

Everyone: No!

Pope Francis: Does God abandon his children who are good?

Everyone: No!

Pope Francis: Here, Emanuele, this is the answer. God surely was proud of your father, because it is easier to be a believer, to baptize children, than to baptize them as unbelievers. Surely this is so pleasing to God. Talk to your dad [pointing upward to heaven], pray to your dad. Thanks Emanuele for your courage.

Watch the encounter below: 

The notion that atheists who are “good people” can attain salvation without faith, baptism and the life of the Trinity within implicitly denies the necessity of supernatural virtue, not merely natural virtue, for salvation. Thus Our Lord Himself admonished those who called Him good in the natural sense: "And Jesus said to him, Why callest thou me good? None is good but one, that is God." (Mark 10:18) In fact, the hypothetical virtuous atheist is the rhetorical device by which the subversive polemic of Enlightenment propagandists attacked revealed religion in general and the necessity of the Catholic faith in particular. What need is there for the Catholic religion if one can be a “good person” and society can maintain a certain moral standard without it?  Bergoglio seems completely won over by this classic deception of modernity, which amounts to a practical elimination of the supernatural order.

It would have been one thing had Bergoglio told Emanuele he could have hope for his father, despite his apparent lack of faith, because God reads every heart and no one but He can know the final disposition of a soul, which is able to convert even at the moment of death in response to God’s grace. But it was quite another to use the boy as a prop for the promotion of Bergoglio’s notion of the universal salvation of all “good people” even if, as was the case with Emanuele’s father, they “did not have the gift of faith” but were “good people” (as Bergoglio simply presumes, as if he could read a stranger’s soul for a little boy who lost his father).

Also conspicuously absent from Bergoglio’s advice to the boy was even a hint that Purgatory might be involved in the eternal destiny of the boy’s father or indeed anyone else who has passed from this world into the next. I cannot think of single reference to the Catholic dogma on Purgatory in the many utterances of this Pope on the matter of salvation. It would seem that, for Francis, even atheists who are “good people” enter directly into beatitude—to adore a God in whom they never believed!

So much for the contrary teaching of the Church, reaffirmed so forcefully by Pope Gregory XVI in Mirari Vos:

Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained.  Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism” may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against Him,” and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.”

All in all, Bergoglio is a kind of hyper-Pelagian. For even Pelagius affirmed that Baptism confers divine adoption and thus is necessary for salvation and the remission of personal sins, although  he denied Original Sin. In refuting the errors of the Pelagians, Saint Augustine noted that they “do not deny that in that laver of regeneration they [the baptized] are adopted from the sons of men unto the sons of God,” although they had no sensible explanation of why the baptismal ceremony should confer the privilege of divine adoption if it did not remit  Original Sin, produce the state of sanctifying grace, infuse the supernatural virtues, and make possible the indwelling of the Trinity.

Moreover, even as to infants, the Pelagians allowed that Baptism was necessary for entrance into the eternal “Kingdom of God” upon death, but not for “eternal life” as such (i.e., without the pains of Hell). To quote the Catholic Encyclopedia: “As to infant baptism he [Pelagius] granted that it ought to be administered in the same form as in the case of adults, not in order to cleanse the children from a real original guilt, but to secure to them entrance into the ‘kingdom of God.’ Unbaptized children, he thought, would after their death be excluded from the ‘kingdom of God,’ but not from ‘eternal life.’”

Indeed, Pelagius essentially adapted for his system (such as it was) something like the Catholic doctrine on Limbo, which the heretical Synod of Pistoia later wrongly condemned as a “Pelagian fable” even though it was the common teaching of theologians. As Father Brian Harrison has noted on these pages, Pope Pius VI, reprobating the errors of the Synod, “rejected this Jansenist view of Limbo as a mere ‘Pelagian fable’ branding [that rejection] as ‘false, rash, and injurious to Catholic schools.’”  The exclusion of unbaptized infants from Heaven, writes Father Harrison, “was traditional Catholic doctrine not a mere hypothesis. No, it was never dogmatically defined. But the only question is whether the doctrine was infallible by virtue of the universal and ordinary magisterium, or merely ‘authentic.’”

Bergoglio, however, not only dispenses with Limbo (according to the novel thinking of the past fifty years) but also, going beyond even Pelagius, declares that all good people go to heaven with or without Baptism or the other Sacraments. He thus flirts with the anathema of the Council of Trent:

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification—though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual—let him be anathema.

Worse, Bergoglio goes beyond both Pelagius and Luther in declaring that even without faith “good people,” including atheists, can be saved just because they are “good people.” Here we see that Bergoglio manages to incorporate both Pelagian and Lutheran elements into his own peculiar theological blend.

As to Luther, in an exercise of his Airplane Magisterium Bergoglio has infamously declared that “today Lutherans and Catholics, Protestants, all of us agree on the doctrine of justification. On this point, which is very important, he [Luther] did not err.” So, according to Bergoglio, Luther was correct in holding that a Christian is justified by faith alone. But, according to the same Bergoglio, the non-Christian, including the atheist, is justified by being a “good person” with “a good heart” even if, as he said of Emanuele’s deceased father, “that man did not have the gift of faith, he was not a believer.” Thus we have in Bergoglio the incredible spectacle of Pelagian-Lutheran thought, depending upon which audience he is addressing at the moment.

Then again—who knows?—next week Bergoglio may utter something consistent with the doctrine and dogma he negated during his parish visit. But, whatever Bergoglio’s subjective intentions may be, his disordered and self-contradictory teaching exhibits precisely what St. Vincent de Paul condemned respecting Calvin and other innovators (courtesy of Antonio Socci, translation mine):

Calvin, who twenty times denied that God is author of sin, elsewhere made every effort to demonstrate this detestable maxim. All innovators act in the same way: in their books they plant contradictions, so that, when attacked on one point, they have an escape ready, stating that elsewhere they have sustained the contrary.

In sum, according to the theology of Bergoglianism: (1) the effects of Original Sin are of no account; (2) Baptism does not remit Original Sin and deliver a soul from the dominion of Satan into the state of divine adoption, but merely enhances an already existing universal divine adoption for anyone who happens to be baptized; (3) faith alone justifies the Christian, without need of the Church and her sacraments, but (4) being a “good person” suffices for the salvation of non-Christians and even atheists. In which case, what need does anyone, believer or non-believer, have for Pope Bergoglio or the religion he presents as authentic Catholicism?

As was noted at the outset of this piece, we cannot refrain from documenting the course of this disastrous papacy, unlike any in the entire history of the Church, including the pontificates of Paul VI and John Paul II. Nor can we ignore the obvious conclusion after five years of this insanity: that the Chair of Peter is currently occupied by a promoter of manifold heresy who has no respect for any teaching of the Church that contradicts his idiosyncratic mélange of populist piety and half-baked Modernism.

God alone, or perhaps a future Pope or Council, may someday judge whether Bergoglio fell from office on account of heresy or whether his election was valid in the first place. Meanwhile, we are left to cope with the ruinous effects of this pontificate while praying for its merciful termination, failing the conversion of a Pope who has become the eye of a neo-Modernist hurricane now bearing down on the household of the Faith.

This article appears in the next Print/E-edition of The Remnant. Subscribe today to get access to the rest!

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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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