On Atheists, Redemption, and Good Works
“Pope” Francis Preaches on “Doing Good” in Homily Filled with Theological Error
On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, Mr. Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”), head of the modernist Vatican II Sect, gave a brief homily to the people in attendance at his “Mass”, which is, thanks to the False “Pope” Paul VI, since 1969, nothing but a Protestant-Masonic liturgical happy meal. Coverage of the sermon with substantial excerpts can be found on the Vatican’s News site here, and it is on this text and coverage that we rely for what follows.
The sermon centered on the possibility of non-Catholics and non-Christians performing good works, or, as Francis put it, “doing good”. He used Mark 9:37-39 [Mark 9:38-40 in Novus Ordo Bibles] as the basis of his sermon, which, however, actually speaks of a man performing exorcisms in Christ’s name, not merely a man “doing good”, as Francis distorts the text. Obviously, a man who performs an exorcism in Christ’s name is a believer, not an unbeliever, and the traditional Catholic Haydock commentary on the passage explains that where St. John describes the man as one “who followeth not us”, he didn’t mean that he wasn’t a disciple of Christ but that he was not following Our Lord “in that special manner, as Christ’s apostles did”, an observation attributed to Robert Witham (d. 1738), president of Douai College, which published the revised Rheims New Testament in 1730 (Haydock Commentary on Mk 9:37).
Francis, of course, is entirely right in saying that non-Catholics, non-Christians, even atheists can perform good works. This is not disputed. But utterly absent from Francis’ sermon is the absolutely crucial distinction between good works done from a supernatural motive, which help us to attain salvation because they are performed under the auspices of sanctifying grace, freely given to us by God – and the works that are done from a merely natural motive, which, though naturally good, will not merit salvation for anyone because they are done outside of sanctifying grace, thanks to our fallen human condition due to original sin. This omission on Bergoglio’s part is scandalous in the highest degree and favors – if not outright teaches – the heresy of Pelagianism. Francis is thus exploiting the ambiguity in the term “doing good” – for it can be understood in more than one sense – and so confuses the faithful and makes it appear as though God’s grace were not needed for salvation, that the good works done by unbelievers are just as efficacious for them as those performed by Catholics in the state of grace are for them.
Whenever we speak to non-Catholics about “doing good”, we must be careful to clarify what we mean, lest they mistakenly be led to believe that sanctifying grace is not necessary for the performance of good works unto salvation; or else, that there is no difference between the natural and the supernatural, between nature and grace, that man can somehow “earn” his salvation simply by “doing good”.
Yet Bergoglio, in true modernist fashion, does not draw these distinctions. Lumping all good works together as one and not even mentioning grace and its relation to the fundamental purpose of human life – salvation and happiness with God – Francis instead focuses on the ultimate source of the possibility of choosing the good: our having been created with free will. By omitting to speak of the ultimate futility of good works outside of the realm of grace, however, Francis suggests a denial of original sin: “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation… The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him” (Francis Sermon of May 22).
Francis then continues his convoluted thesis and makes things worse by adding the Redemption into the mix. (Now would be a perfect time for him to finally introduce the distinction between the good that merits nothing supernatural, and that which merits eternal life – but no, Francis refuses.) He says: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good.”
Again, without introducing the necessary distinctions, Francis is doing great harm to the true Faith here, effectively undermining it because he is suggesting that the Redemption can be efficacious for us if we but “do good,” regardless of whether we are Catholics or atheists or followers of some other religion. This is false, heretical, scandalous, and offensive to pious ears. In fact, Holy Scripture is quite clear: “But without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Yes, the atheist is under an obligation to perform good works, but no less is he under an obligation to admit the existence of God, which can be known by reason alone (see First Vatican Council, Constitution Dei Filius, Ch. 4 & Canons; Denz. 1806), and to become a Roman Catholic. Unless he convert, his good works will proft him nothing. In fact, as far as God is concerned, unless they be done in sanctifying grace, his “good works” aren’t really good, that is, they aren’t pleasing to God!
By speaking of the Redemption and not mentioning how all the redeemed can profit from it (namely, by converting, and only by converting), Bergoglio puts an enormous spiritual stumbling block in the way of both believers and non-believers. In fact, not only does Bergoglio not mention the orthodox teaching about the Redemption, he actually distorts it by making it appear as though the mere fact of the Redemption were of itself sufficient to make all people into children of God by the Blood of Christ and put them on a path to salvation. This is the heresy of Universal Salvation! Instead of exhorting the good-willed non-believer to make his good deeds fruitful unto eternal life by converting to the true Faith, which alone can give him eternal life, Francis keeps him in the darkness of sin and error and puts a smiley face on his deplorable condition on the grounds that he can “do good.” Wow!
Francis’ half-truths are inexcusable. Yes, all are redeemed, but only those to whom the graces and merits of the Redemption are applied by Faith and works through grace, are actually able to benefit from it. Half-truths are extremely dangerous precisely because they contain some truth. Complete falsehoods are not nearly as dangerous as half-truths because they can just be dismissed as false. But when confronted with half-truths, we are drawn into error more easily because the true sounds familiar and appealing and opens us up to accepting the other parts that are erroneous. The true Popes of the Church have warned us about this manner of speech, favored by heretics, as our “Reality Check” below demonstrates.
Bergoglio continues his obfuscation and links it to an attainment of peace:
“And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
But what is “good”? Francis does not tell us. Does he not realize that many people do bad things thinking they are good? For example, a lot of people give money and support to organizations like UNICEF, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Girl Scouts, the March of Dimes, the Salvation Army, Masonic associations, etc., out of “charity”. Supporting bad causes and doing evil is often mistaken for “doing good” (some people actually believe performing an abortion is a work of charity to “help the woman”, and euthanasia is a work of mercy because it relieves suffering). Bergoglio’s refusal to define what is and isn’t good, even just superficially and in general, is just as irreponsible as his refusal to distinguish the natural from the supernatural (a frequent symptom of Modernism).
That Francis should use his tortuous “doing good” thoughts as a basis for genuine world peace only confirms how uncatholic, naturalistic, masonic, and flimsy his theology is. See our “Reality Check” below for the Catholic teaching on true peace, which is not possible without a recognition of God and Jesus Christ and the acknowledgment of His rule.
And then that curious comment about a “culture of encounter” – another made-up-off-the-cuff concept that is practically meaningless but sure makes for a great headline in countless Novus Ordo magazines, sites, and blogs. Can anyone seriously imagine St. Paul teaching the Corinthians about a “culture of encounter” as the way to peace? Could anyone imagine St. Thomas Aquinas discussing it in the Summa Theologica? “Q. 68, Art. 1 – Whether a Culture of Encounter pertains to the Contemplative Virtues?” Or perhaps we could picture it as an encyclical of Pope Pius XI – “On the Peace of Christ through a Culture of Encounter”? No? Sound ridiculous? Welcome to the New Church of Vatican II.
Bergoglio says that the Catholic and the non-believer, through that silly “culture of encounter”, must “meet one another doing good,” however that is actually supposed to be understood (vagueness and ambiguity are a favorite tactic for modernists because later they can always say, “That’s not what I meant”). But OK, fine, we’ll “meet one another there.” But…then what? What’s the point? What’s the punchline? Bergoglio doesn’t say. How convenient.
Francis wraps up his scandalous homily by ensuring that the errors he just spread will definitely not be misunderstood somehow in an orthodox sense. Speaking of St. Rita of Cascia, he says: “[L]et us ask of her this grace, this grace that all, all, all people would do good and that we would encounter one another in this work, which is a work of creation, like the creation of the Father. A work of the family, because we are all children of God, all of us, all of us! And God loves us, all of us! May Santa Rita grant us this grace, which seems almost impossible. Amen.”
Once again, this is theologically all over the place, and serves only to confuse the last good-willed Catholics in the Novus Ordo trying to hold on to the true Faith. While not saying one word about grace and its necessity for meritorious good works, now Francis finally starts to mention “grace”, but misuses it for an impious petition. He prays for the grace that all would do good and “encounter” each other “in this work”, which he claims is “a work of creation” similar to “the creation of the Father” (i.e. the work of Creation at the beginning of time). Huh?? An atheist working in a soup kitchen is a work of creation, similar to the creation of the world? Are we on Candid Camera? He then calls it a “work of the family” (how does that fit in now?) on the grounds that “we are all children of God” (yes, but only in the sense that we are His natural creation, not in the sense that we participate in the Redemption and are part of the Communion of Saints).
Whatever. Any Catholic dogmatic theology student would have received a failing grade for this heretical claptrap. It sounds like something you’d hear from a Jesuit educated in the 1960s…. Then again, that’s exactly what Francis is – duh!
While the media’s hype about “Pope says Atheists are Redeemed” showed their own ignorance of Catholicism, this wasn’t being helped by the content of Francis’ totally confusing sermon. Of course atheists are redeemed, as Christ’s Redemption is universal, for all without exception, for our Lord redeemed the human race as a whole, just as Adam’s sin had enslaved the entire human race (see subsection “Universality of Redemption” here). But what is the Redemption? Redemption is not salvation, it is merely making salvation possible, whereas it was impossible before Christ’s Death and Resurrection (see Limbo of the Fathers, “Limbus Patrum“, here). All are redeemed, but only some are saved. To say that Christ did not die for all (thus opening the gates of Heaven to all who desire salvation and die in the state of grace) but only for the elect, is the heresy of Jansenism.
Sadly, in Bergoglio’s sermon there is not one word about atheists and other non-Catholics needing conversion, or how their good works, sincere though they may be, will ultimately not avail them to anything because without God’s grace they are effectively worthless, for their sins, being infinite, will always be greater than their good deeds. It is only through the grace earned for us by Christ through His Redemption that we can obtain salvation, for which both Faith and works are necessary (cf. James 2:21-26), though both are possible only through Christ’s gratuitous grace.
Francis, were he a Catholic and a true Pope, could have preached such a beautiful sermon on the necessity of sanctifying grace for salvation, grace which makes supernaturally fruitful both Faith and works, grace of which atheists have no part for as long as they persist in their folly (cf. Psalm 13:1). What a perfect opportunity this sermon could have been to draw them to the light of Truth and righteousness – instead, he confirmed them in their errors, by saying their good works are just like those of Catholics, and that this is the way to peace. Not a word about the darkness they are in and from which they cannot be delivered unless they believe and embrace the true Faith.
Once more, by refusing to present the Catholic teaching on the matter, Francis is seriously misleading the faithful as well as unbelievers. He denies the necessity of the Redemption by distorting its nature and effects. By withholding the truth from his hearers on this most important subject matter, Francis shows that he does not love people, for he does not desire their salvation. If he did, he would preach the truth to them; he would be concerned about their salvation more than about anything else.
Reality Check: Catholic Teaching vs. Francis the Modernist
We have compiled the following quotes to show the true Catholic teaching on justification, good works, and the necessity of grace. None of these teachings were even so much as alluded to by “Pope” Francis but rather, implicitly or explicitly, denied.
The traditional Catholic Roman Catechism (a.k.a. The Catechism of the Council of Trent – buy here or read online here) sums up the orthodox Catholic teaching as follows (underlining added for emphasis):
“[Holy Scripture] also compares us to sick persons who, as long as their malady lasts, are incapable of fulfilling the duties and offices proper to persons of sound and vigorous health. In the same way neither can we, without the assistance of divine grace, undertake actions such as are acceptable to God. Even should we, while in this condition, succeed in doing anything good, it will be of little or no avail towards attaining the bliss of heaven. But to love and serve God as we ought is something too noble and too sublime for us to accomplish by human powers in our present lowly and feeble condition, unless we are assisted by the grace of God. […] “Not only this, but our folly and blindness are even greater than those of children; for they are merely destitute of human prudence which they can of themselves acquire in course of time; whereas, if not assisted by God’s help and grace, we can never aspire to that divine prudence which is so necessary to salvation. And if God’s assistance should fail us, we at once cast aside those things that are truly good and rush headlong to voluntary ruin.
(Catechism of the Council of Trent, McHugh/Callan translation, 1923 ed., pp. 530-531)
The following excerpts are taken from the glorious Council of Trent, Sessions V (on Original Sin) and VI (on Justification), promulgated under Pope Paul III in 1546-47.
“If anyone asserts that the transgression of Adam injured him alone and not his posterity, and that the holiness and justice which he received from God, which he lost, he lost for himself alone and not for us also; or that he, being defiled by the sin of disobedience, has transfused only death and the pains of the body into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul, let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session V, Ch. 2)
“The holy council declares first, that for a correct and clear understanding of the doctrine of justification, it is necessary that each one recognize and confess that since all men had lost innocence in the prevarication of Adam, having become unclean, and, as the Apostle says, by nature children of wrath, as has been set forth in the decree on original sin, they were so far the servants of sin and under the power of the devil and of death, that not only the Gentiles by the force of nature, but not even the Jews by the very letter of the law of Moses, were able to be liberated or to rise therefrom, though free will, weakened as it was in its powers and downward bent, was by no means extinguished in them. Whence it came to pass that the heavenly Father, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, when the blessed fullness of time was come, sent to men Jesus Christ, His own Son, who had both before the law and during the time of the law been announced and promised to many of the holy fathers, that he might redeem the Jews who were under the law, and that the Gentiles who followed not after justice might attain to justice, and that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him has God proposed as a propitiator through faith in his blood for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.” (Council of Trent, Session VI, Chs. 1, 2)
“But though [Christ] died for all, yet all do not receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated….” (Session VI, Ch. 3)
“For though no one can be just except he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet this takes place in that justification of the sinner, when by the merit of the most holy passion, the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Ghost in the hearts of those who are justified and inheres in them; whence man through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives in that justification, together with the remission of sins, all these infused at the same time, namely, faith, hope and charity.” (Session VI, Ch. 7)
“But when the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely, these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.” (Session VI, Ch. 8)
“For since Christ Jesus Himself, as the head into the members and the vine into the branches, continually infuses strength into those justified, which strength always precedes, accompanies and follows their good works, and without which they could not in any manner be pleasing and meritorious before God, we must believe that nothing further is wanting to those justified to prevent them from being considered to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life and to have truly merited eternal life, to be obtained in its [due] time, provided they depart [this life] in grace….” (Session VI, Ch. 16)
“If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.” (Session VI, Canon 1)
“If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and remains in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.” (Session VI, Canon 11)
All of this is basic dogmatic Catholic teaching on justification. Its denial constitutes heresy. It is not at all surprising, though, that Francis should deny it, for he is a Modernist, not a Catholic, and Modernists like to equate the supernatural with the natural and, in some way or another, deny original sin (such as Fr. Joseph Ratzinger a.k.a. Benedict XVI – see here).
As if responding to “Pope” Francis directly, the anti-modernist Pope Saint Pius X declared not only that natural goodness will not avail to salvation, but that it is a “counterfeit” of virtue:
“…merely naturally good acts are only a counterfeit of virtue since they are neither permanent nor sufficient for salvation.”
(Pope Pius X, Encyclical Editae Saepe (1910), n. 28)
The following excerpts from Pope Pius XI show the orthodox Catholic teaching on the attainment of true peace, which is only possible through Christ and through the conversion of individuals and nations to Him (not something you’ve heard from the Vatican lately, is it?). Note in particular the absence of any reference to a “culture of encounter” that supposedly arises from Catholics, non-Catholics, and atheists “doing good” as the key to peace.
“[T]rue peace, the peace of Christ, is impossible unless we are willing and ready to accept the fundamental principles of Christianity, unless we are willing to observe the teachings and obey the law of Christ, both in public and private life. If this were done, then society being placed at last on a sound foundation, the Church would be able, in the exercise of its divinely given ministry and by means of the teaching authority which results therefrom, to protect all the rights of God over men and nations.”
(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Ubi Arcano (1922), n. 47)
“In the first Encyclical Letter [Ubi Arcano], We referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do as far as lay in Our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire of Our Lord…. When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.”
(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Quas Primas (1925), nn. 1, 19)
Lastly, we remember the warnings the Popes gave us about the doctrines, strategies, and ways of speaking of the Modernists:
“In order not to shock the ears of Catholics, the innovators sought to hide the subtleties of their tortuous maneuvers by the use of seemingly innocuous words such as would allow them to insinuate error into souls in the most gentle manner. Once the truth had been compromised, they could, by means of slight changes or additions in phraseology, distort the confession of the faith that is necessary for our salvation, and lead the faithful by subtle errors to their eternal damnation…. [This] cannot be excused in the way that one sees it being done, under the erroneous pretext that the seemingly shocking affirmations in one place are further developed along orthodox lines in other places, and even in yet other places corrected; as if allowing for the possibility of either affirming or denying the statement, or of leaving it up to the personal inclinations of the individual – such has always been the fraudulent and daring method used by innovators to establish error. It allows for both the possibility of promoting error and of excusing it.”
(Pope Pius VI, Constitution Auctorem Fidei)
The heretic Nestorius “expressed himself in a plethora of words, mixing true things with others that were obscure; mixing at times one with the other in such a way that he was also able to confess those things which were denied while at the same time possessing a basis for denying those very sentences which he confessed.”
(Pope Pius VI, Constitution Auctorem Fidei)
“Our Apostolic Mandate requires from Us that We watch over the purity of the Faith and the integrity of Catholic discipline. It requires from Us that We protect the faithful from evil and error; especially so when evil and error are presented in dynamic language which, concealing vague notions and ambiguous expressions with emotional and high-sounding words, is likely to set ablaze the hearts of men in pursuit of ideals which, whilst attractive, are nonetheless nefarious.”
(Pope St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique)
“Although they express their astonishment that We should number them amongst the enemies of the Church, no one will be reasonably surprised that We should do so, if, leaving out of account the internal disposition of the soul, of which God alone is the Judge, he considers their tenets, their manner of speech, and their action. Nor indeed would he be wrong in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For, as We have said, they put into operation their designs for her undoing, not from without but from within. Hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain from the very fact that their knowledge of her is more intimate. Moreover, they lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers. And once having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to diffuse poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth which they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt.”
(Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, n. 3)
- Francis Do-Right: Tom Droleskey demolishes Bergoglio’s Sermon on “Doing Good”
- Answering an Objection: “Who are YOU to judge who is a heretic?”