With related thoughts on the present SSPX drama
by John Vennari
Archbishop Bruno Forte, confidant and collaborator of Pope Francis, revealed in a recent interview a statement from Francis that displays the cagey manner by which he manipulated the Synod toward a pre-determined heterodox outcome.
To quote the May 3 Zonalocale.it Italian news report provided in English by Steve Skojec:
“Archbishop Forte has revealed a ‘behind the scenes’ [moment] from the Synod: ‘If we speak explicitly about Communion for the divorced and remarried,’ said Archbishop Forte, reporting a ‘joke’ of Pope Francis, ‘you do not know what a terrible mess we will make. So we won’t speak plainly, [but] do it in a way that the premises are there, then I will draw out the conclusion’.” 1
Let’s take a look at what is here revealed:
1) Francis is determined to open the door for sacrilegious Communion via admission of divorced and remarried to the Blessed Sacrament;
2) He is aware that to speak openly of this aim would make a ‘terrible mess,’ in other words incite a healthy Catholic opposition;
3) He urges his collaborators not to speak plainly of this insidious aim but to lay the groundwork and prepare the structure;
4) “And I will draw out the conclusions,” that opens the door to sacrilegious Communion under the false pretext of tenderness and mercy.
Is anyone else long weary of dishonest tactics enacted by the one man on earth who has the greatest obligation to speak the truth?
We are well aware that what Forte describes as taking place behind the scenes is what occurred in broad daylight. We endured a riotous two year Synodal process, starting in February 2014 with Francis publicly backing Kasper’s proposal for Communion for the divorced and remarried, the forming and shaping of the Synodal documents, the speeches given by radical prelates during Synod press briefings, all leading to Amoris Laetitia which furtively opens the door to Communion for divorced and remarried. What we learned by means of Forte’s revelation is exactly what any clear-thinking observer had already surmised.
There is a fundamental principle of morality that one may never use a bad means to a good end. Francis, however, does not even employ a bad means for a praiseworthy end but a dishonest means for a sacrilegious end.
Yet Francis’ pontificate is marked by such dishonesty, which cannot help but call into question his trustworthiness on any issue.
We will content ourself with four more examples of Bergoglian caginess: the first from Francis’ book on Mercy and three from Amoris Laetitia.
“Who am I to Judge?”
In his recent book, The Name of God is Mercy, Francis was asked by interviewer Andrea Tornielli about his famous “Who am I to judge?” comment that occurred during the inflight interview during the Pope’s return trip from Rio de Janeiro.
Francis responded, “On that occasion, I said this: if a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge. I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and should not be marginalized.”2
This is a woefully incomplete response, and hence, a dishonest response.
Francis fails to acknowledge that homosexuals around the world latched on to his “Who am I to Judge?” phrase to publicly celebrate their homosexuality. Homosexuals now sport “Who am I to judge” t-shirts complete with Francis’ picture on display. Francis also does not acknowledge, neither in this book nor elsewhere, the vicious bullying of homosexual activists to impose public acceptance of their lifestyle (a bullying that includes the corruption of young children).
Further, Francis does not acknowledge the damage his “Who am I to judge” statement has caused in the political realm. To give but one example, in November 2013, two Catholic lawmakers, after claiming to be be undecided, cast their vote in favor of same-sex ‘marriage’ legalization in Illinois, due to Francis’ “Who am I to judge?” comment. We read in the November 5, 2013 Chicago Tribune, “As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the Pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people,” said Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, a Democrat from Aurora who voted for the bill after spending much of the summer undecided.
Likewise, Illinois House Michael Madigan also cited the Pope’s comments in explaining his same same-sex “marriage.” support. “For those that just happen to be gay — living in a very harmonious, productive relationship but illegal — who am I to judge that they should be illegal?” the speaker said.
Francis, given an opportunity in his book to publicly repair the harm of his statement, glides along defending his words as if they are blameless.
Finally, Francis claims he merely quotes the New Catechism and speaks of the alleged respect we should nurture for homosexuals. Again, this is not quite true. He fails to repeat the most important aspect of the Catechism’s teaching on this point: that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law.” #2357
In fact, Francis never seems to call homosexual acts or any immoral acts intrinsically disordered. And he effectively undermines natural law in Amoris Laititia wherein he presents natural law not as an objective reality that must be acknowledged and lived but only at the level of “inspiration” that one may take or leave as the individual works out his “deeply personal process” of deciding one’s moral behavior. (#305).
Keep in mind, his book on Mercy was not an off-the-cuff interview wherein he blurted his words even before he had time to think them through. Rather, the text was a book, the contents of which he had plenty of time to consider, re-write and fine-tune to the exact answer he wished to convey.
His response was inexcusably self-excusing as well as misleading, for he quoted only the ‘tenderness’ part of the Catechism, with no mention of the fact that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”
Amoris: No One Condemned Forever?
The final three examples of Francis’ less-than-honest approach are from Amoris Laetitia.
We read in Amoris Laetitia document one of the most bizarre claims yet to come from a post-Conciliar pontiff: “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the language of the Gospel.” (#297)
This is blatantly untrue. It is actually embarrassing to have to answer Francis on a point so fundamental.
As any sane Christian knows, Our Lord often spoke of the punishment of eternal hell and warned us of the judgment of those who will not be saved, “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41).
It appears that Francis, as is not unusual among modernist Jesuits, does not believe in eternal hell despite the obvious words of Our Lord and the teaching of Catholicism since its inception. In a La Republica interview published on March 15, 2015, Eugenio Scalfari relates that Francis believes the “condemned soul” is simply annihilated: “What happens to this lifeless soul? Will it be chastised? How? Francis’ response is exact and clear: there is no chastisement, rather, this soul is annihilated.”
Francis’ personal failure of Faith does not give him license to pervert the truth of Christ and mislead his flock especially in what appears to be a magisterial document (though as Father Nicholas Gruner would often observe, the Pope himself has no authority to teach an untruth, and if he does so, then what he says is not a magisterial statement.) Even Cardinal Burke noted that Amoris Laetitia is a “personal reflection of the Pope” that is “not [to be] confused with the binding faith owed to the exercise of the magisterium.”
Amoris: Misuse of Concilar Text
Speaking of divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics, Francis writes in Amoris Laetitia: “In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy [i.e., the ‘marital act’] are lacking ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers’ (Gaudium et spes, 51).” – AL fn. 329. Canonist Dr. Edward Peters calls this “a serious misuse of a conciliar teaching,” since “Gaudium et spes 51 was speaking about married couples observing periodic abstinence. Francis seems to compare that chaste sacrifice with the angst public adulterers experience when they cease engaging in illicit sexual intercourse.”
Amoris: Selective Silence
In an effort to excuse divorced and remarried Catholics, Francis quotes a passage from Familiaris Consortio of John Paul II which acknowledges that that there can be situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.”
Francis, however, quotes only the first part of the sentence and makes no mention of John Paul II’s conclusion which insists that such couples must “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.” Francis here displays the standard tactic of the modernist who will engage in “selective silence” and, in the words of the eminent Father Edward Hanahoe, will “pretend the magisterium has not spoken”
Deception and manipulation again!
I have not even bothered to recount Francis’ misuse of St. Thomas Aquinas in Amoris Laetitia (two references). Suffice to say that even EWTN’s Fr. Gerald Murray observed in a televised panel discussion critical of Amoris: “I can’t believe a good group of Thomists won’t have a response to that.”
“Because they have no love of the truth…”
In light of Francis’ ongoing deceptive tactics – there is no other term for them – I cannot help reflect that such caginess displays a desire to deceive as well as a contempt for the truth. There could be no more unacceptable behavior for a Pontiff and no greater danger for the Church at large.
The Church demands clear-thinking and holy leaders to teach doctrine with precision and fortitude, but Francis’ attempt to outfox the truth places himself and the Church in grave peril.
Sacred Scripture warns of the spiritual blindness that befalls those who harbor contempt for the truth. “For they have not received a love of the truth .… therefore God sends them a misleading influence that they may believe falsehood.” (2 Thes. 2:11).
As the modernist has no love of the truth, he is punished by a “deceiving influence” wherein he will actually believe his modernist delusions. A more apt description of many in today’s Church leadership could hardly be found.
SSPX and the Question of Trust
I close with two quick points.
First, it must be clear that I take no delight in relating deficiencies of those in high place. I would much rather have a doctrinal hero as Pontiff rather than one I must keep out of reach from my children. I find myself jealous of writers such as Father Denis Fahey who lived at time where he could show off his Popes’ encyclicals as a little boy shows off his dad’s trophies. Fahey could actually use papal encyclicals of his time to teach and build up the faith of his readers, rather than our grim task of warning the faithful of the distortions rife within the documents of our ecumenical Conciliar pontiffs.
Second, almost every time in conversation I point out the tragic dishonesty we find in Pope Francis, I am hit with the question, “So what about his present overtures toward the Society of St. Pius X?”
Francis’ dealings with the SSPX is unique in our post-conciliar history. He defends them as Catholic, claims he will not condemn them, recognizes their faculties to hear confessions throughout the Holy Year (apparently this will continue beyond 2016). He met with Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay on April 1 of this year.
Francis’ Vatican now claims the SSPX is no longer required to accept those aspects of Vatican II they always rightfully resisted. The Ecclesia Dei Commission tells the SSPX they are not required to ‘accept’ religious liberty, conciliar ecumenism or the New Mass. The Eccleisa Dei Commission also now appears to be friendly toward the SSPX and its concerns.
No denying, this is a monumental shift.
There is even talk that Francis may simply recognize the SSPX unilaterally, supposedly accepting the SSPX “as is.” Bishop Bernard Fellay is reportedly trying to detail with Rome the specifics of exactly what this “as is” means.
Granted, the Vatican recognizing the SSPX as genuinely Catholic is simply a matter of justice, for the SSPX is faithful to all that the Church has taught and practiced throughout the centuries including the inconvenient truths of Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors, Pius XI’s Quas Primas and other counter-revolutionary Papal texts.
marcel_lefebvre_cfn As DICI recently reported, SSPX Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta noted that a “‘de facto recognition [from Francis] would have a good, a beneficial effect: it is a rather extraordinary apostolic opening, and it would have an extraordinary effect.’ But he adds that there would then be two risks: that of creating an internal division and that of conditioning our preaching in certain circumstances. And he wondered: ‘It would take an extraordinary wisdom and prudence, a very great firmness and clarity. Are we capable of this?’”3
On these lines, National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin, writing on this topic, stated candidly, “In an interview with Zenit in February, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei which is charged with bringing regularizing the SSPX, said the Holy See wants ‘clarification’ on the Society’s criticisms of the Council, but these can also take place ‘even after full reconciliation.’ He said the SSPX must also move away from ‘polemical and antagonistic confrontation’. A Vatican source said the Society has already ‘toned down some of their literature, interviews and publications’.”4
Indeed, many outstanding questions endure. For example: If there is some sort of normalization, will the SSPX then be required to submit its writings to some other Church authority for an Imprimatur? It appears a number of these points are still being discussed.
Most importantly, can Pope Francis be trusted to guarantee the SSPX remain unmolested, continuing their work of anti-modernism, counter-revolution, counter-Vatican II, as well as the duty to be counter-Bergoglio as he advances a modernist ransacking of the Church that would thrill the heart of Cardinal Bernadin?
Given Francis’ humanistic bent, are we faced with the disordered spectacle of a Pontiff who cannot be trusted in the things pertaining to God, but can be trusted when he makes a pledge to his fellow man?
Under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Vatican sought doctrinal agreement on various points before any canonical recognition could be pursued. This, in a sense, was easy to deal with because all was clear and above board. What do we do with what appears to be an unconditional Papal hug from a man as reckless as Francis?
I am neither sedevacantist nor aligned with the so-called “Resistance.” I do not speak for the SSPX, though I have publicly defended the Fraternity throughout my entire 21+ years as CFN Editor. I know I am one of many who pray that SSPX leadership maintain their attitude of caution, persevere in the direct confrontation of neo-Modernism according to the sterling example of Archbishop Lefebvre, and dig ever more deeply into the counter-revolutionary principles that made them what they are.
In dealing with this new challenge Francis has dropped upon them, Bishop Fellay and SSPX leadership should not receive slings and arrows but are entitled to our prayers and our penances beseeching Heaven for their guidance and protection (for this intention I pray an extra decade of the Rosary each day).
Along with this, we increase our prayers and vigilance to maintain the Faith amidst the disorder and dishonesty now emanating from the highest echelons of the Church.
1 “Forte: Pope Did Not Want to Speak “Plainly” Of Communion for Remarried,” Steve Skojec, OnePeterFive, May 7, 2016.
2 It is true that in this short, soft response, Francis also says, “I prefer that they come to confession,” but he never mentions sin (especially mortal sin), the need for firm purpose of amendment, and, as mentioned above, fails to quote fully the Catechism in which it says, “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law.” #2357
3 “Bishop de Galarreta: ‘I think the Pope will lean towards a one-sided recognition’,” DICI, February 26, 2016.
4 “SSPX’s Bishop Fellay: Little by Little Rome Is Giving Us All We Need for Reconciliation,” Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, May 19, 2016.