December 26, 2016
HERESY: Vatican Archbishop Gänswein says “No Proof” for God’s Existence
Christmas week should be fairly quiet in the Vatican, as most employees are on vacation and so Francis is more or less forced to keep silent. However, if the past is any indication, this could be the time when various newspapers and periodicals will publish previously-conducted interviews with the Pope or other clerics in and outside the Vatican.
Such as… Archbishop Georg Ganswein, for example, who currently holds two important Vatican positions: He is Francis’ prefect of the papal household, and he is at the same time the private secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. As this double role means he is very close to both Francis and Benedict, he makes for the perfect Vatican insider, and thus he is a popular candidate for being interviewed.
Yesterday, on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, the Austrian media channel ORF released a lengthy interview with said Abp. Ganswein …
For the most part, what Ganswein relates is fairly mundane — anecdotes about daily life with Benedict XVI and Francis, and stories from his past personal life. However, just as one is tempted to toss the interview text aside as nothing special to report on, Ganswein sets off a heresy bomb at the very end: He denies the Catholic dogma, declared infallibly at the First Vatican Council, that the existence of God can be proved from reason alone. Here is the relevant part of the interview:
[Interviewer:] If someone were to ask you: Your Excellency, prove to me that God exists. What would you answer him?
[Ganswein:] There is neither proof that God exists, nor is there proof that God does not exist. Faith does not operate based on [rational] proof. Faith lives by witnesses and witnessing. If I am convinced by a witness and by what he says, then this sets [faith] ablaze. Everything else does not lead to faith but remains outside of faith. This is true also, and especially, in our times.
(Günther Madlberger, “Wie Benedikt Weihnachten feiert: Erzbischof Gänswein erzählt”, CNA, Dec. 25, 2016; our translation.)
This is heresy, unmistakable heresy. It is known as the heresy of Fideism and is very popular among various Protestant denominations and especially throughout the Novus Ordo Sect. That a Vatican prelate would utter it, is not surprising in the least.
Now let’s have a look at the Catholic Church’s condemnation of this heresy.
On June 15, 1855, Pope Pius IX approved a decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Index, which taught clearly:
Reason can prove with certitude the existence of God, the spirituality of the soul, the freedom of man. Faith is posterior to revelation, and hence it cannot be conveniently alleged to prove the existence of God to an atheist, or to prove the spirituality and the freedom of the rational soul against a follower of naturalism and fatalism.
The method which St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure and other scholastics after them used does not lead to rationalism, nor has it been the reason why philosophy in today’s schools is falling into naturalism and pantheism. Therefore, it is not lawful to charge as a reproach against these doctors and teachers that they made use of this method, especially since the Church approves, or at least keeps silent.
(Sacred Congregation of the Index, Decree against Augustine Bonnetty; Denz. 1650,1652)
The dogma that the existence of God can be proved by natural reason alone is also clearly taught in Sacred Scripture: “For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they [atheists] are inexcusable” (Rom 1:20).
Moreover, the First Vatican Council examined the relationship between faith and reason, teaching dogmatically:
If anyone shall have said that the one true God, our Creator and our Lord, cannot be known with certitude by those things which have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema.
If anyone shall have said that divine revelation cannot be made credible by external signs, and for this reason men ought to be moved to faith by the internal experience alone of each one, or by private inspiration: let him be anathema.
If anyone shall have said that miracles are not possible, and hence that all accounts of them, even those contained in Sacred Scripture, are to be banished among the fables and myths; or, that miracles can never be known with certitude, and that the divine origin of the Christian religion cannot be correctly proved by them: let him be anathema.
(Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Canons on Revelation and Faith; Denz. 1806,1812-1813)
The denial of the ability of human reason to prove the existence of God — which denial was famously refuted by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Five Ways or Five Proofs — is a bedrock principle of Modernism, which ultimately rests on the denial of the possibility of metaphysics, which itself goes back to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (d. 1804) and his book Critique of Pure Reason, which was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1827.
Lastly, Pope St. Pius X explained how the Modernist uses Fideism as the basis of his religion:
It may perhaps be asked how it is that this need of the divine which man experiences within himself resolves itself into religion? To this question the Modernist reply would be as follows: Science and history are confined within two boundaries, the one external, namely, the visible world, the other internal, which is consciousness. When one or other of these limits has been reached, there can be no further progress, for beyond is the unknowable. In presence of this unknowable, whether it is outside man and beyond the visible world of nature, or lies hidden within the subconsciousness, the need of the divine in a soul which is prone to religion excites — according to the principles of Fideism, without any previous advertence of the mind — a certain special sense, and this sense possesses, implied within itself both as its own object and as its intrinsic cause, the divine reality itself, and in a way unites man with God. It is this sense to which Modernists give the name of faith, and this is what they hold to be the beginning of religion.
(Pope Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi, n. 7)
It is not too difficult to see how this is, to a greater or lesser extent, also the basis on which Abp. Ganswein’s theology operates. Perhaps one ought to be grateful that, unlike his boss Francis, the pretend-bishop at least did not declare that “God does not exist”.
In any case, we can clearly see once more that today’s Vatican is a sewer of heresy, and its “authorities” are not Roman Catholics but Modernist usurpers who are entirely outside the Catholic Church, regardless of their occupation of Vatican City.
The only other slightly noteworthy comment in the interview is that Archbishop Ganswein says he does not understand why, on the one hand, Francis is so popular, and yet on the other hand, this popularity does not translate into an increase in interest in the “Catholic” faith nor boost church membership nor even attendance numbers.
We’re happy to help Abp. Ganswein out here: The reason for this is found in the reason why Francis is popular. He’s not popular because he is so Catholic because he is so not Catholic. Secular people — such as Barack Obama and Elton John — are enthusiastic about him because they are witnessing what is effectively an endorsement of their own rejection of Catholicism. “Finally, the Church is coming around to what I’ve been saying and thinking for years”, is probably what most such Francis cheerleaders are thinking. We’ve been saying this from the beginning, but few people were listening.