HIDDEN IN THE AFTERMATH OF A TUMULTUOUS THEOLOGICAL TREMOR, a tremor intended to shake the pontificate of the Pope Francis, hidden in this aftermath can be found unsubstantiated volatile rumblings such as the following that give an indication what it is all about:
“On April 8th, Amoris Laetitia was published; a document wherein it would appear that the pope had declared that fornication and adultery are not necessarily mortal sins, and what’s more, Almighty God Himself occasionally asks us to persist in committing them! The point apparently being, to open the door to Holy Communion for the civilly divorced and remarried, cohabitators, and perhaps even those who persist in homo-deviant acts.”
Apparently, there are more than a few who have fallen into the cracks caused by this global convulsion. Either they are sincere members of the Body of Christ being confused by sincere but liberal bishops and equally sincere traditionalist cardinals or there is, as Pope Francis himself has noted, a cabal at work in the Church, a cabal that he is in the process of sweeping away. A cabal that Francis has identified as the “most serious problem he faces:
“The problem is not having this [homosexual] orientation. No, we must be brothers and sisters. The problem is lobbying for this orientation, or lobbies of greed, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the most serious problem for me” (CNS News).
This problem has grown so acute that it has apparently penetrated the hallowed ramparts of Malta leading Pope Francis to order a purge of Freemasons from the Knights of Malta.
For a long time, many on the right have been pleading for the popes to clean house; now that the cleaning has commenced many of the supplicants ravenous for a papal crackdown, are finding themselves on the bristles tips.
In the Holy Father’s own words:
“There are also cases of malicious resistance, which spring up in misguided minds and come to the fore when the devil inspires ill intentions (often cloaked in sheep’s clothing).”
“This last kind of resistance hides behind words of self-justification and often accusation,” he said. “It takes refuge in traditions, appearances, formalities, in the familiar, or else in a desire to make everything personal, failing to distinguish between the act, the actor and the action
By using words such as traditions, appearances and formalities, it is quite clear whom the pope is referring to. His words are similar to those of Cardinal Ratzinger when he headed the sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF):
“It is necessary to be strong in faith and to resist error even when it masquerades as piety.”
The culprit is then brought into stark relief when the sacred scriptures point their light on the theme or error, piety, tradition etc:
“And what I do I will continue to do, in order to end this pretext of those who seek a pretext for being regarded as we are in the mission of which they boast. For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, who masquerade as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not strange that his ministers also masquerade as ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11: 12-15).
Strangely, this could apply to “ministers” on the left and the right who have entered into an highly unusual alliance. Usually the two, left and right, are at each others throats, now in a strange set of circumstances they are either consciously or unconsciously working together to unseat the pope before he unseats them. Churchmen of the right are claiming that Amoris Laettia is unclear while those on the left are confirming their allegations by implementing specious diocesan guidelines that permit liturgical and sacramental abuses in the name of Amoris Laetita.
These obfuscating claims and divisive schema have prompted Cardinal Mueller to suggest that it is the bishops, not the pope, that are causing the confusion. Recently, to the chagrin of both the right and the left, Cardinal Mueller defended the doctrinal integrity of Amoris Laetitia. Those on the left (those who think the Magesterium has somehow opened the door for Holy Communion to unrepentant adulterers based on a private judgement of their own unformed conscience) are obviously in error – Cardinal Mueller has begun the process of addressing their error. But it is the Churchmen on the right who are unexpectedly sensing the heat. Following closely on the heels of this doctrinal pronouncement, intended to bring clarity, the Prefect for the CDF took measured aim at the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Mueller is in the process of revealing that it is not just liberals on the left that are causing confusion – those on the right are equally culpable. To do so he is using the issue of religious freedom.
According to Cardinal Mueller:
“Religious freedom as a fundamental human right and freedom to protect religion regarding the supernatural revelation in Jesus Christ are recognized by every Catholic without reservation.”
In response to this verity, some of the “faithful” composing the radical and schismatic far-right are acting like liberal protesters who have taken to the streets to vilify President Trump. Like them, they are engaged in a smear campaign involving false reporting, blatant disrespect, and sacrilege. Expletives such as the following are rolling off of their tongues:
“Müller not only made it clear that he is in no way to be taken seriously, he revealed his Catholic IQ; placing himself squarely in the category of functional idiot.
Is this how one should speak to the Prefect for the Sacred Congregation of Faith, the highest doctrinal authority in the Catholic Church? If not, this is a manifest instance of pride revealing what is hidden in the hearts of those who are impelled to speak this way:
“Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man” (Matt 15: 17-20).
A wise and well developed man does not revile his enemies – he opposes, but also respects. If the opposition happens to be with superiors, he prays for his superiors knowing that they will receive a stricter judgement and is careful not to offend in word esp. with words delivered to ears that have no business in the matter; that is, those who are not in a position to ameliorate:
“Be ye not many masters, my brethren, knowing that you receive the greater judgment. For in many things we all offend. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man. He is able also with a bridle to lead about the whole body….Even so the tongue is indeed a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how small a fire kindleth a great wood. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.
So how do we know that wisdom or words presented as wisdom are from the Holy Spirit, are from above? First, those who speak them are not in the business of daily reviling their superiors to an audience incapable of doing anything about it. Such men and women engage in controversies and apparent controversies like the Virgin Mary and like the just man, Joseph: Quietly and Privately; when they do so Loudly and Publicly, we begin to grow suspicious of their motives. When sarcasm and belittling are added to the mix, our initial suspicions are emboldened because love is not sarcastic. The Spirit of God is revealed in “good conversation”, “meekness of wisdom”, it avoid “contentions”, it is “chaste” and “peaceable” and “full of mercy.”
“Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew, by a good conversation, his work in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter zeal, and there be contentions in your hearts; glory not, and be not liars against the truth. For this is not wisdom, descending from above: but earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and contention is, there is inconstancy, and every evil work. But the wisdom, that is from above, first indeed is chaste, then peaceable, modest, easy to be persuaded, consenting to the good, FULL OF MERCY and good fruits (patience, kindness long suffering etc), without judging, without dissimulation. And the fruit of justice is sown in peace, to them that make peace.
Some members of extreme right groups such as the the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) wonder why they are having difficulties with the Vatican. When they speak in the following manner, as some of them do, it should not be too hard to figure out. According to some members of SSPX, both Pope Francis and Cardinal Mueller are “functional idiots” whose ideas are “laughable” because they are “clowns” and “fools”.
“Which brings me to Müller’s laughable suggestion that recognition of the Second Vatican Council is “not an unreasonably high hurdle” to overcome with respect to the regularization of the SSPX. Presumably, by “recognition” he means to say that the Council represents “an integral part of the tradition of the Church;” the prerequisite established by Benedict the Abdicator.”
“Remember, this Müller is the same German clown that just a few moments earlier said that it’s not acceptable to take one “key statement” of faith and reject others – as if the text of Vatican II doesn’t do exactly that on any number of points; most notably as it concerns the very matters he chose to highlight, religious freedom and ecumenism.”
By bringing up the issue of religious freedom, which he wants members of the SSPX to “unreservedly recognize” as a “human right”, and “an obligation to ecumenism”, Cardinal Mueller has placed them in an imbroglio. In an attempt to demonstrate their intellectual superiority, some radical members of the SSPX begin to sound like emotionally distraught liberals who believe their ideas to be so extremely sacrosanct that they can impose them on everyone; those who disagree with them in the hierarchy are accused of vile intent, a disorientation that must be combated:
“Rome has long been Satan’s playground, and only a fool ever imagined that Cardinal Müller may have somehow been spared the diabolical disorientation that has infected the overwhelming majority of those in the sacred hierarchy.”
As Jesus warned, a man’s worst enemies are from his own household (Matt 10:36). These are enemies detected by their sarcasm, contentiousness, reviling and sacrilegious audacity; like the Pharisees before them, who accused Jesus Christ of being possessed by demons, they are not afraid to fulfill scripture by saying the same about His apostolic successors:
“Do not we (Pharisees) say well that thou (Jesus) art a Samaritan, and hast a devil” (John 8:48)?
Addressing the issue further Jesus hinted that others would follow in the Pharisee footsteps and renounce the leaders of His Church the same way:
“It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! (Matt 10:25).”
Like their forefathers they will bring division into the Kingdom of God, which will be their undoing.
“This man drives out demons only by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.” But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand” (Matt 12:24-25).
Since the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against the Church, apparently, it is time to drive this divisive force out of the Kingdom of God- something these brash opponents fear more than anything else. Like nation’s around the world who have begun to see the pernicious errors of liberalism and have begun to set it aside – some like Poland have gone as far as declare Jesus Christ to be their King – Francis too has begun the long overdo and arduous chore of papal house cleaning.
On the issue of religious freedom, one adamant accuser who believes he is superior to the Prefect of the CDF speaks with sarcasm containing all the marks indicated above. Addressing Cardinal Mueller’s declaration of religious freedom as detailed in Dignitatis Humane he states:
“I say, there is no human right to freedom of religion when that religion is false.”
It is questionable of this critic of Vatican II ever read the document and if he did that he properly understood it. He is already engaging a straw man.
“So Mr Muller, do you believe these religions are as equally true as the Catholic faith founded by God in the flesh of Jesus Christ? If so,then you must at least tacitly support the above named practices no?”
“It seems to me, (and I do not have a degree in philosophy or theology, thank God,) that Catholicism and all the other mentioned “religions” cannot both be true. And, if you believe Catholicism is true, how can you then lend support the above named practices? especially when I really do not see Jesus as approving the above practices anywhere in Scripture.”
“I am seeing a conflict here buddy, because you say you are Catholic, but you seem to support the right of anybody to do anything in the name of “freedom of religion”
An outlandish presumption based on obnoxious ignorance, followed by disrespect, calling the Cardinal “buddy” and a silly deduction based on his own straw man argument. The fact is, he does not know what the cardinal thinks; if he does know, his sin is compounded because the cardinal does not believe anything remotely close to his distorted suppositions and conclusions.
Projecting his guilt and hiding behind a shield of feigned piety and sarcasm he then accuses cardinal Mueller of “Satanism” – enough is enough.
“Actually, your belief in “freedom of religion” sounds exactly like Satanism to me… do whatever you want whenever you want with no restrictions…but again I’m just an ignorant lay Catholic person…not a prince of the Catholic Church.”
Speaking of his reform of the Vatican Curia, Francis told the curates that his reforms, reforms he has just begun, would require more than surface ironing out; no he intends his reforms to be so deeply penetrating that they will remove ingrained stains, those that are most difficult to get out:
“Dear brothers, it’s not the wrinkles in the church that you should fear, but the stains!”
In his annual address to the Vatican Curia, he implied some of those engaged in “malicious resistance” to the reform are inspired by the devil. Resistance, he said is sometimes “open” and sometimes “hidden”, both of which can be constructive if conducted with proper intentions. However, he warned that
“There are also cases of malicious resistance, which spring up in misguided minds and come to the fore when the devil inspires ill intentions (often cloaked in sheep’s clothing).”
“This last kind of resistance hides behind words of self-justification and often accusation….It takes refuge in traditions, appearances, formalities, in the familiar, or else in a desire to make everything personal, failing to distinguish between the act, the actor and the action.”
Pope Francis means business and they know it. St. Peter ora pro nobis.
Religious freedom is not a fundamental right and never has been. Error is never a right. We have a right to the truth, and the truth is that the Catholic Church is Christ’s Church. They are one and the same. Other religions are all in error, although they may be tolerated. Adherents to other religions, in charity, need to be converted and saved from these errors. Always, God in his wisdom judges individuals’ culpability for the erroneous positions they hold. The case for invincible ignorance may never have been as strong as it is today, but objectively, salvation comes through Christ’s Church – the Catholic Church.
On the issue of religious there are at least four popes since the Enlightenment who have addressed the issue Popes Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Pius XII, and Leo XIII. It is addressed by Vatican Council II in Dignitatis Humanae.
These popes taught that non-Catholics should not have religious liberty to evangelize and disseminate their beliefs. However, it is sometimes necessary to permit proselytism to avoid a greater evil, evils like riots and civil violence.
Thus, according to Pope Leo XIII (Libertas Praestantissimum)
“Although in the extraordinary condition of these times the Church usually acquiesces in certain modern liberties, NOT because she prefers them in themselves, but because she judges it expedient to permit them, she would in happier times exercises her own liberty.”
Thus Pope Pius the XII (Ci Riesce) is able to point out:
“The duty to suppress moral and religious error CANNOT, therefore, be an ultimate norm of action. It MUST BE SUBORDINATED to (HIGHER and more general NORMS) which, (under certain circumstances), permit and may even make it appear that the best choice for promoting the greater good is the toleration of error.
Thus, although religious freedom is not an absolute universal right, and although irreligious error does NOT have a right to exist – even in a Catholic state it might be expedient to tolerate it for the public good – in which case religious freedom is a greater good than suppression of religious error because civic peace is a greater common good. Without peace the very purpose of society breaks down.
In the modern world connected as a community of nations the whole issue of religious freedom is broad and global in scope. If there is to be peace among nations then religious freedom (along with the possibility of fallacious choice) must be recognized – not only globally, but in pluralistic societies such as our own.
It is not the job of the states to force compliance – everyone has a right to freely choose the Catholic faith -it cannot be imposed by threat or force. It is the job of the Church however to evangelize and by love and works of mercy united to mastery of doctrine to make the faith attractive so that it will be freely chosen.
By being so black and white, you are making the same mistake as those who insist on dogmatic theology and do not know how to properly connect it to pastoral theology – which has been Pope Francis’ point all along!
The Catholic Church has high regard for the common good and civic peace both for independent nations and the universal family of nations.
When the modern popes and Vatican II documents speak of religious freedom they mean that all men and women should be free to choose, that is, not coerced. God Himself has given this right to every human being – an act of love requires freedom of choice or it is NOT love.
This is what the Council means by religious freedom; it must be protected and declared as a human right and promulgated in civil law.
Because this right is subordinated to higher norms, a person might use their freedom wrongly. If they choose wrongly, however, given the argument of the greater common good, then their wrong choice is protected, NOT BECAUSE OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT BUT BECAUSE OF THE HIGHER SOCIAL NORMS.
Dignitatis Humanae LIMITS religious freedom. IT EVEN USES THE EXPRESS WORDS “within due limits” and by “just (requirements of) public order.”
“Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.
We are NOT living in a Catholic country! That makes all the difference, you do not really expect that the President of the US will use executive force to advance the Catholic faith do you?
The just requirements of public order” differ from state to state and are based on history, tradition, culture etc. If a mixed society like the US can prohibit adultery, or has prohibited it in the past, that is because it is congruent with our norms and can be instituted without greatly effecting the public order. Thus a Catholic country, truly Catholic, CANNOT PROHIBIT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM – IT IS WRITTEN INTO HUMAN NATURE, it could have however prohibit the choice of some sect whose norms run contrary to the public order and Catholic conscience ingrained in its common law.
WE HOWEVER DO NOT LIVE IN SUCH A SOCIETY.
Nonetheless, Dignitatis Humane maintains the traditional Catholic teaching about religious freedom. In its own words:
” It leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”
In fact, if not for this right in the America Constitution, the Catholic Church might not even exist in America – we are beneficiaries of the right ourselves; the state could unjustly violate our Catholic conscience.
DH defends the traditional Catholic teaching in the context of the modern world subordinating religious freedom to higher norms in accord with man’s social nature as pointed out by Pope Pius XII, long before Vatican II or Pope Francis talked about religious freedom.
The Catholic Church has always taught that the world must be converted. The pre-conciliar popes you quote are all clear about this. They agree that the strategies to achieve this need to be prudent, but they NEVER adhere to Pope Francis’ indifferentism . Souls can certainly be saved despite their false religious beliefs, but not because of them. I stand with Jesus Christ and His Church, and Its unchanging doctrine, and against the spirit of the world that currently infects so many that currently hold positions of power within the juridical structure of the Church. I know that those few that oppose the modernism rampant today (Fellay, Schneider, Burke, and the relative handful of others) will prevail in the long term, despite the current predominance of “current thought”. The mind, sentiments and teachings of Vatican II and its ensuing 50 year aftermath are in opposition to the preceding 1900 plus years of Catholic teaching and thought.
Of course I agree with you in spirit, but for every rule there is also an application and a context in which it is applied.The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ with a universal mission to all nations, peoples, tribes and tongues.
There are however some questions that need serious scrutiny and consideration, such as
What did Jesus mean when he stated:
“Other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.”
Jesus probably means that the Church has a universal mission to all men, men who are not part of the Catholic Church, me that were not Jews, men such as Aristotle etc who were morally good and belonged to the Lord but had to become part of His Church, that is why He concludes the sentence with the phrase “there shall be one fold…”
That is my take, but many read this passage differently. – So far I agree with you.
Where I cannot agree is with your analysis of Vatican II.
Those documents are so artfully crafted as to maintain tradition truths while affording the Church more pastoral room to do its evangelical work.
In the discussion about religious freedom, I demonstrated how the post councilor church has maintained tradition while advancing religious freedom in the context of a pluralistic society according to higher social norms written into human nature. In other words, nothing changed, only a prudential judgement permitting other religions to commit their error while keeping the catholic Church in tact until a more opportune time. If you comprehend this, apply it to the entire V II Documents; they all preserves tradition (in one way or another) while at the same time giving the Church more room to work within a pluralistic culture and offering guidelines for pastoral theology?
At first view it looks like teachings were altered, but this is not true. I think that we could take every issue and do the same with it as was done with the religious freedom issue.
It might be a good time to read those documents again, but NOT with an eye looking to hang the council fathers for their guilt and theological error. Rather, I suggest reading with an eye of Charity trying to spot the wisdom of the Holy Spirit gently tucked away in the various pronouncements, in a way as to miss detection by liberal skeptics and ideologues but to reveal a way forward in a pagan anti-Christian society for the Church until such time that She can more boldly pronounce the Gospel.
Please remember also that according to Aristotle and Aquinas, fortitude or courage is the easiest part of moral virtue, the most difficult and most lacking, but most needed is PRUDENCE.
Even Christ gave a parable about shrinking from battle when the enemy was too numerous for a king – in which case Jesus saw it as normal that in such a situation, the king should seek peace.
The Church is not a peace with the world; the war continues – it is a highly spiritual phase because we no longer possess a temporal sword – this is something that appears to be changing. Poland is the first nation in the modern world to declare Jesus Christ as its King (https://newera.news/bishops-in-union-with-the-president-proclaim-christ-king-of-poland/)- I am confident others will follow
The way I read the Vat document of world religions is that they contain elements of the truth (perhaps some moral guidelines or something about the existence of God) – these are the elements that missionaries are to build on in order to bring them to the fullness of truth in the Catholic faith. The document does not excuse missionary efforts, does not say it is ok to remain in ignorance and error – but it does show us a way forward in dealing with ignorance and error: building bridges in friendship and by looking for and finding common threads which we can build upon. That is Vatican II to me and I am confident that this is correct as confident as you are that the Council is in error. One of us has to be at fault here, we both cannot be correct. My studies to this point have led me to the conclusion I just shared with you.
NOW Dave before getting upset with me for saying the following, realize it comes from a sincere heart as intent about loving the truth as I believe it can be – perhaps it will be perfected in Love in imitation of Christ who laid down His life for the truth, and more significantly for the salvation of horrible sinners in a Spirit of Love; nonetheless, it is with a sad continence that I have been forced to conclude based upon many observations, that those among the noble hearted traditionalists who keep finding fault and looking for it in Vat II (and heinously belittling-smearing-mocking Princes of the Church) are in grievous error compounded by a type of APPARENT arrogance by which they falsely make of themselves a type of magesterium.
Again, this is a sincere observation, I cannot imagine referring to leading traditionalists as “stupid buffoons” satanists etc. St. Michael the Archangel did not stoop to such lows even when rebuking Satan himself:
“When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of RAILING SPEECH, but said: The Lord command thee” (Jude 1:9).
If Michael dared not bring railing speech against the devil himself, how do some traditionalists think that they are going to get away with their railing and abusive speech about Prelates of the Church – this is sacrilege and it will reap a judgement, esp if they are in error – on top of negative judgement they will be “confounded.” Please be careful David.