Francis and Luther Appearing Jointly at the Vatican
Francis spent most of the audience wearing two scarfs, one yellow the other blue, knotted together to symbolize the “unity” between Lutherans and orthodox Catholics that exists only in his imagination. Or perhaps Francis had in view the unity that does indeed exist between Lutherans and the liberalized Catholic majority, who have effectively become Protestants thanks in large measure to the ruinous novelty of “ecumenism.” Today we witness what Pius XI feared when he condemned and forbade Catholic participation in the “ecumenical movement” that had originated in the Protestant sects:
Is it not right, it is often repeated, indeed, even consonant with duty, that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united in mutual charity? Who would dare to say that he loved Christ, unless he worked with all his might to carry out the desires of Him, Who asked His Father that His disciples might be “one”.…
This undertaking is so actively promoted as in many places to win for itself the adhesion of a number of citizens, and it even takes possession of the minds of very many Catholics and allures them with the hope of bringing about such a union as would be agreeable to the desires of Holy Mother Church, who has indeed nothing more at heart than to recall her erring sons and to lead them back to her bosom. But in reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.
Now a hyper-ecumenical Pope is personally engaged in destroying the foundations of the Catholic faith precisely in the name of ecumenism, carpet bombing the Church with cocky latitudinarian utterances, usually delivered with a sneer and a tone of indignant irritation at the orthodox Catholics who would differ with the crowd-pleasing bromides he appears to regard as authentic Catholic spirituality.
Indulging in his customary heretical blather in response to questions put to him by members of his Lutheran audience (the following are my translations, taken directly from the video), Francis declared that Catholics and Lutherans belong to the “one body of Christ.” Yet again Francis flatly contradicted the teaching of his predecessors regarding the members of the Mystical Body:
As Venerable Pius XII solemnly affirmed in conformity with all of Tradition:
Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. “For in one spirit” says the Apostle, “were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.” As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith.
As Pius XI, in the course of condemning the “ecumenical movement,” likewise insisted:
[S]ince the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.
But the teaching of his predecessors is of no moment to Francis, who revels in saying things that are “foolish and out place” while the world applauds his “humble revolution.” Further on in his ramblings, Francis addressed a question concerning a region in Germany where some eighty percent of the population professes no religion:
What must we say to convince them? Listen! The last thing we should do is say: You should live as a Christian—chosen, forgiven and growing in virtue [in cammino, fig.]. It is not right [lecito] to convince someone of your faith. Proselytism is the great poison against the path of ecumenism [applause].
You should give testimony of your Christian life—the testimony that is from the heart, the heart they can see. And from this inquietude is born the question: “Why does this man or this woman live this way?” And this will prepare the ground so that the Holy Spirit, who is the one who works in the heart, will do what He must do. But He must speak, not you!
It could not be clearer: Francis insists it is wrong to say anything to convince others of one’s faith. According to him, one must simply live as a Christian while God does all the talking through some sort of interior illumination in the people who will supposedly be led to conversion by the mere sight of Christian living. Francis was not speaking of proselytism in the “negative sense” suggested by the neo-Catholic excuse factory, but rather the very act of persuading people of the truth of the Catholic religion. Nor need Jimmy Akin and the other neo-Catholic artisans of cover-up waste time with the “bad translation” dodge. The Pope’s exact words in Italian are as follows: “Non é lecito [right or lawful] convincere della tua fede. Il proselitismo [his emphasis] é il velleno [poison, venom] piu forte contro il cammino ecumenico.”
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Here we encounter one of those glittering clichés of liberal Catholicism that sound good but are exposed as rubbish upon a moment’s reflection. Consider the reality of life in our modern secular and pluralist social order. In the vast impersonal arena of public life, including the workplace and places of recreation, the “silent” witness that is supposed to convert people is completely inoperative. Catholics do not walk around visibly radiating joy, with halos floating above their heads to signify that they occupy an exalted platform of peace and happiness to which everyone should aspire. There is no spiritual “inquietude” aroused by the mere presence of Catholics in society, prompting questions about why we “live this way.” Quite the contrary, the sight of a large Catholic family, for example, is more likely to elicit derision and revulsion from members of the dutifully contracepted populace.
At any rate, the people Catholics encounter outside their homes and parishes generally have no idea that Catholics “live this way” unless they tell them about their faith and what it means for their way of life. It is precisely the spoken witness of the faith that can move hearts and lead souls to conversion by the grace of God. Otherwise, Catholics are all but invisible in the immense crowd of contemporary civil society. The liberal Catholic cliché Francis constantly spouts is merely a recipe for the total silencing of the Church Militant, which in fact is the very outcome of “ecumenism” and the conciliar “opening to the world” in general.
Still worse, respecting this imaginary silent Christian witness Francis made no distinction between orthodox Catholics, who follow all the teachings of Christ, and Lutherans, who pick and choose from the Gospel as they practice contraception, divorce and even abortion, pretend to ordain women and practicing homosexuals as “priests” and “bishops,” and condone diabolical “marriages” between people of the same sex. Francis would have us believe that the Holy Spirit inspires conversion based on the “witness” of people who trample on the Gospel and whom even Luther would denounce as damnable heretics.
So much for the divine commission to “make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded thee.” And so much for the example of the first Pope, who, following that very commission, declared to a crowd of potential Jewish converts:
Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation (Acts 2:38-40).
Committing another of his innumerable bloopers, Francis next attributed to “medieval theology” the dictum “the Church is always reforming” or “must always be reformed,” rendered in Latin as ecclesia semper reformanda est. This Protestant catch phrase, which probably originated in the 1600s, is falsely attributed to Saint Augustine (who was not a medieval in any case) and was first made popular by the eclectic Protestant theologian Karl Barth after World War II.
That error was followed by the nonsensical claim that the “greatest reformers in the history of the Church, of our Churches… are the saints. That is, the men and women and women who follow the Word of the Lord and practice it… And in the Lutheran Church and in the Catholic Church there are, there have been, men and women of this sort… who follow the Gospel. These are the ones who reform the Church.”
In the Gospel According to Francis, the ultimate Catholic ecumenist, there are no crucial differences between Lutherans and Catholics. We are all Christians. We all follow the Gospel, including those who think the Gospel allows for divorce, contraception, sodomy and abortion in “difficult” situations. For Francis, the rank heresy and immorality promoted by Luther’s progeny, including the woman “bishop” Francis warmly greeted, are irrelevant. Catholics have their saints and Lutherans have theirs, including the degenerate maniac who founded their man-made religion, whose statue Francis dignified with his presence beside it.
Far from the mind of Francis is the reality that there is no “Lutheran Church” and never has been. Nor does he seem to notice that Lutheranism itself is fractured into numerous opposing sects whose corrupted doctrines more or less reject the infallible dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church on numerous points as well as precepts of the natural law written even on the hearts of faithless pagans, let alone people who profess to be Christians.
Francis’s performance on October 13 effectively denied the salvific necessity of the Church, a denial thematic of his entire pontificate. His hyper-ecumenism, of which the spectacle on October 13 is but the latest demonstration, also effectively denies the function of the Petrine office as the sine qua non of Christian unity.
The papal bully pulpit, however, is a most suitable vehicle for the worldwide promulgation of Bergoglianism, a religion Lutherans find entirely agreeable, as their delighted applause in the audience hall indicated. And Francis will confirm their delight when he travels to Sweden at the end of this month to commemorate the beginning of the Protestant rebellion and participate in a joint liturgy with Lutheran lay people masquerading in clerical costumes, thereby confirming them in all their abominable errors, none of which matter in the least to Francis.
And yet, as God infallibly draws good from evil, the very dreadfulness of this pontificate is finally awakening the faithful to the perils of papal positivism, reminding them that the Faith is objectively true, not true because the Pope says so, and that it is entirely possible that a Pope’s words and deeds can contradict that objective truth. Thus, for example, the day after the October 13th audience Jeffrey Mirus wrote:
The readers and writers of CatholicCulture.org, though they may be wrong at times, are not idiots. It is disingenuous to pretend that Pope Francis, when he says something that is received as new, different and unsettling, always really means [his emphasis] exactly what the Church has taught previously. By now, each one of Thomas Babington Macaulay’s famous schoolboys knows that this is not true. When the emperor’s wardrobe is depleted, it does not help anyone to pretend that he is well-dressed—unless it is preferable for us to doubt our sanity.
No, we are not insane. What is insane is this pontificate. As Antonio Socci observed following Francis’s love fest for Luther: “Bergoglio, instead of honouring Our Lady, honoured Martin Luther by taking part in an audience (in the Vatican) where a statue of the German heretic and schismatic was exposed as if he were one of the saints. For that matter, Bergoglio is the Pope who, for the first time in two thousand years, has wanted the profanation of the Sacraments! … [W]hat else is it going to take for the ingenuous to open their eyes?”
Only God knows how much longer the Church will be afflicted by this wretched Pope. But eyes are being opened at long last. For that, at least, we can give thanks as we hope and pray for the Church’s deliverance from Francis and all his works.