Bergoglian Magisterium Update: Bribery, no. Adultery, si.
Written by Christopher A. Ferrara
As the incredible tragicomedy of this pontificate continues to unfold, I keep coming back to that dire piece at Rorate Caeli, whose author warned us at the very hour of Cardinal Bergoglio’s election that as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires he was “famous for his inconsistency” and that “faith and morals seem to have been irrelevant to him.” What seemed an intolerably rash assessment of a newly elected Pope turns out to have been a soberly realistic assessment of what the Church was about to endure: “the future terrifies us,” he wrote.
That future is now. And the man who was famous for his inconsistency as Archbishop has taken that trait to a whole new level as Pope. Just the other day, during one of his impromptu daily meditations at Casa Santa Marta, Francis inveighed against hypocritical Christians—his favorite theme—under the title “Without Compromises.” He cited the Old Testament account of Eleazar, who suffered martyrdom when he refused to eat pork under the command of Antiochus, declining to avoid punishment by feigning to eat “the flesh of the sacrifice” while actually consuming some other kind of meat. Rather than stoop to such dissimulation, Eleazar went to his death because, as he declared for all posterity: “though, for the present time, I should be delivered from the punishments of men, yet I should not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither alive nor dead.” (2 Macc. 6:26).
Turning to the present day, Francis—as he routinely does—ridiculed hypothetical Catholics who boast “I am very Catholic, Father, I go to Mass every Sunday” but then “in daily life or in work are incapable of coherence” with their faith. These faux Catholics, said Francis, succumb to “spiritual worldliness” and live “a double life of what appears to be and what is true, which leads you away from God and destroys your Christian identity.”
In response to the objection: “It’s not easy, Father, to live in this world where there are so many temptations and we are lured by the attractions of a double life every single day!’” Francis replied: “For us it is impossible… and only God can help us avoid such worldliness, which is why we pray in the Psalms, ‘The Lord upholds me.’ He is our support against that spirit which destroys our Christian identity.”
All perfectly true, of course, even though one wonders why it is always regular Mass goers whose interior lives Francis is so quick to judge. That aside, however, consider the example of incoherence between faith and life that came to Francis’s mind: “the things we do at work, such as offering or receiving bribes, for example.”
Taking a bribe at work? That’s it? In a world mired in abysmal sexual immorality involving fornication, adultery, contraception and the destruction of human life in utero, all condoned by pew-sitters, politicians, theologians and even clerics who pretend to be practicing Catholics, the only example of Christian hypocrisy Francis can adduce is a minor economic crime that in many economies is actually considered a legitimate business practice?
What about this example of hypocrisy: Catholics who abandon the spouses they married in the Church, leaving behind devastated children, purport to marry someone else civilly, and then, while living in a continuous state of adultery, have the audacity to serve as lectors at the Novus Ordo Mass every Sunday, or as a godparents, or as a religion instructors, proclaiming themselves members of the Church in good standing and even receiving Holy Communion? Does this not involve “a double life of what appears to be and what is true, which leads you away from God and destroys your Christian identity”?
Oh wait. Francis wishes to accommodate these people by “integrating” them into parish life—precisely as lectors, godparents and religion instructors, as he insisted in his infamous interview in La Nacion. In fact, that was the whole point of his stage-managed Synod “on the Family” (cf. paragraphs 84-85 of the Final Relatio). As Francis thundered at his conservative opposition during his final address to the gathering, the Synod was “also about laying bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.”
Difficult cases? But did Francis not just say in his meditation the other day that when faced with seemingly irresistible temptations “The Lord, upholds me” and “He is our support against that spirit which destroys our Christian identity.” Is there no divine assistance for those who strive to live up to their marriage vows or who, in keeping with the constant teaching of the Church, commit to live chastely when circumstances prevent termination of an invalid “second marriage”?
So, as Francis would have it, bribe-takers must implore God to help them resist temptation, whereas public adulterers must be “integrated” into parish life without renouncing their adulterous sexual relations. The Bergoglian Magisterium marches on. And the world applauds, while laughing at Catholics who attempt to defend the teaching of their Church against the whims of a wayward Pope the likes of whom the Church has never seen.
As Antonio Socci has just written about this absurd pontificate: “one does not know whether to laugh or to cry.”