Written by Christopher A. Ferrara
For more than three years now, Francis has been torturing Catholic ears and disturbing Catholic minds with an endless series of heterodox sermons and twisted “meditations” on Scripture, most of them delivered in the chapel of his digs in the five-star hotel at Casa Santa Marta. The daily spectacle has become almost comical:
· Jesus only pretends to be angry with his disciples;
· the child Jesus “probably had to beg forgiveness” from Mary and Joseph for his “little escapade” at the Temple;
· Saint Paul declared “I boast only of my sins” (apparently confusing Saint Paul with Martin Luther);
· When Mary was at the foot of Cross “surely she wanted to say to the Angel: ‘Liar! I was deceived’”;
· when we go to confession “it isn’t that we say our sin and God forgives us. No, not that! We look for Jesus Christ and say: ‘This is your sin, and I will sin again’,”
· the Tower of Babel was a “wall” symbolizing xenophobia;
· when we appear before Him for judgment, God will not ask us if we went to Mass;
· priests should grant absolution even to people who are “afraid” to disclose their sins because the “language of gesture” suffices (thus encouraging invalid absolutions);
· Matthew resisted his calling by Christ and clung to his money—“No, not me! No, this money is mine”;
· the Gospel is merely a “reflection” on the “gestures” of Christ, because the Church “does not give lectures on love, on mercy” (that’s Francis’s job!);
· Christ’s miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes is “more than a multiplication, it is a sharing, animated by faith and prayer.”
It goes on forever. These are just a few examples off the top of my head, and in no particular order. Suffice it to say that given his addiction to saying whatever thinks, as opposed to what the Church teaches, Francis is the first Pope in Church history who is literally a font of error, and thus a dramatic continuing demonstration of why the First Vatican Council’s dogmatic definition of papal infallibility is so carefully hedged with qualifications that severely narrow its scope precisely to dogmatic definitions.
But this week we had something new, even for Francis. Behold the sermon at Casa Marta on June 9 (the translation from the Italian is quite accurate):
This (is the) healthy realism of the Catholic Church: the Church never teaches us ‘or this or that.’ That is not Catholic. The Church says to us: ‘this and that.’ ‘Strive for perfectionism: reconcile with your brother. Do not insult him. Love him. And if there is a problem, at the very least settle your differences so that war doesn’t break out.’
This (is) the healthy realism of Catholicism. It is not Catholic (to say) ‘or this or nothing:’ This is not Catholic, this is heretical. Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal. He frees us from the chains of the laws’ rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well. He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us.”
Well, of course this is total rubbish. But worse, the declarations that: (a) it is “heretical” for a Catholic to say “this or nothing” respecting the moral law, (b) the Church is “realistic” about the application of moral precepts, (c) Jesus gives us only “the ideal” toward which He merely “accompanies” one while requiring only obedience “up to the point you are capable,” and (d) this is God’s teaching, are—individually and taken together—themselves blatantly heretical.
As Rorate Caeli notes, in Veritatis Splendor John Paul II declared, contra Francis, that:
It would be a very serious errorto conclude… that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an ‘ideal’ which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man, according to a ‘balancing of the goods in question’… what is unacceptable is the attitude of one who makes his own weakness the criterion of the truth about the good, so that he can feel self-justified, without even the need to have recourse to God and his mercy.
An attitude of this sort corrupts the morality of society as a whole, since it encourages doubt about the objectivity of the moral law in general and a rejection of the absoluteness of moral prohibitions regarding specific human acts, and it ends up by confusing all judgments about values.
Oddly enough, in Amoris Laetitia Francis’s ghostwriter—the screwball Archbishop Victor (“Heal me with your mouth”) Fernandez, appears to have a linguistic addiction to the word “concrete” in the context of the moral law: “concrete situations” (26, 31), “concrete realities (31), “concrete concerns” (36), “concrete circumstances” (175), “concrete realities of family life” (203), “concrete concerns of families” (204), “concrete demands of life” (223), “concrete issues facing families” (229), “concrete situation” (301), “the concrete life of a human being” (304), and—in keeping with this week’s heterodox sermon from Francis: “the concrete complexity of one’s limits” (303).
Odder still, Amoris adopts precisely the criterion John Paul II rejected in line with all of Tradition: “one’s own weakness” in applying the moral law. Indeed, the infamous Chapter 8 of this shameful document is brazenly entitled: “ACCOMPANYING, DISCERNING AND INTEGRATING WEAKNESS.”
But look at the bright side: at least Francis still recognizes the concept of heresy. Now he need only apply it to actual heresy. The sermon of June 9 might make a good beginning.
Sorry for the flippancy. But really, is any other tone called for at this point? We have passed beyond the outrageous into the realm of the absurd. I can’t believe any honest Catholic still takes this pontificate seriously under any aspect other than the threat its very absurdity poses to the integrity of the Church’s mission.