Oh, the Drama!
The Synod is Over — For Now
Thank goodness, the Synod in Rome is finally over: Two weeks of speculation, intrigue, accusations and denials, and pseudo-theological hysteria that culminated in the blasphemous and sacrilegious “beatification” of the False Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) are finally at an end. What was supposed to be an episcopal discussion group on theological matters turned out to be a wild soap opera of Hollywood proportions — and it’s far from over.
This assembly in Rome was merely the first, “extraordinary” part of a larger, two-synod event which will conclude in October 2015 with an “ordinary” synod at which the attendant Novus Ordo bishops will submit final recommendations to Francis with regard to the topics under discussion, after which the “Pope” will then release a so-called “post-synodal apostolic exhortation” as he did in 2013 with the heretical and turgid Evangelii Gaudium. Who knows, maybe at next year’s synod Francis will also declare Montini to be a “Saint”, as he did with Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII) and Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II) earlier this year.
So, let’s take a moment to recap and reflect on what happened these last 2-3 weeks. After über-liberals such as “Cardinal” Walter Kasper, “Cardinal” Lorenzo Baldisseri, and “Archbishop” Bruno Forte were placed in strategic positions to direct the synod’s proceedings and discussions in Francis’ clearly preferred direction, chaos ensued when on Oct. 13 the first draft document was released, the Relatio Post Disceptationem. The document was so bad that the secular press erupted in joy about the church’s apparent new-found “opennness” towards perverts of various stripes, while reaction among “conservative” and “traditionalist” members of the Novus Ordo Sect was mostly one of outrage and firm denunciation (see our coverage here).
“Cardinal” Gerhard Muller, the Modernist Vatican’s heretical chief “guardian of orthodoxy”, was said to have denounced the Synod’s first document as “shameful”, “undignified”, and “completely wrong”, something Vatican spokesman “Fr.” Federico Lombardi later claimed Muller denies having said, however.
Vienna’s back-stabbing “Cardinal-Archbishop” Christoph Schonborn, like Muller ironically a member of the Vatican’s department charged with overseeing and ensuring orthodoxy in doctrine, took the opportunity to point out how he personally knows a sodomite couple in the Austrian capital that contains elements (!) of “exemplary human behavior” that he classifies as “saintly”, while the traditionalist (by Novus Ordo standards) “Cardinal” Raymond Burke revealed that Francis had demoted him from being the church’s highest Supreme Court judge to the ecclesiastical equivalent of presiding over the monthly parochial Bingo night.
In the midst of all this, we found out that Francis had decided the Sistine Chapel was a fit venue for a Porsche corporate event, as long as the German automaker would fork over some cash to support the homeless in Rome. Even the secular press finds this extremely odd and is only happy to point out that this is “the first time in history” that the Sistine Chapel was used for such a purpose.
Oh, and then there was the controversy over “Cardinal” Walter Kasper’s remarks regarding African culture and homosexuality. In an unguarded moment, Kasper revealed to British journalist Edward Pentin that he thinks African bishops shouldn’t really have much say in the Synod on the topic of homosexuality since this is a taboo in their country and the Synod shouldn’t be held to African cultural standards. Though these words were unjustly labeled as “racist” by most bloggers — let’s be real: they were arrogant and wrong but not racist — the real story is that Kasper later denied making these remarks, only to have Pentin produce the audio recording proving that Kasper had been quoted accurately. Oops! (Kasper has since apologized to the Africans, see here.)
But it gets even wilder. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica revealed on October 19 that several “cardinals” had gone to see Benedict XVI (remember him?) to ask him to intervene and essentially “correct” or “criticize” Francis with regard to the issues being discussed at the synod. Benedict is quoted as having replied, “I am not the Pope; do not ask me”, something Francis could truthfully say of himself as well.
As we had pointed out just before the synod, there seems to be a schism in the making, and now more and more often we not only witness the kind of tensions that tend to create a schism but even hear the word “schism” used in connection with it. The secular French paper Le Figaro mentioned “schism” in connection with a “crisis in the Church”, and now even former U.S. presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan has weighed in with some criticism of Francis, going so far as to state openly that if Francis were to declare heresy, he would thereby demonstrate that he is “not a valid Pope and [that] the Chair of Peter is empty. We would then be reading about schismatics and sedevacantists.” Regardless of what one thinks about Buchanan’s position on Francis, it is highly significant that words like “schism” and “Sedevacantism” now keep coming up, even in secular publications.
Buchanan ought also to be given kudos for astutely pointing out that it was Pope Clement VII’s “hostile rigidity” towards King Henry VIII’s attempts to have a valid marriage declared null that caused the Anglican schism and made the Catholic Church lose essentially all of England. Does anyone seriously believe that Henry VIII couldn’t have gotten his “annulment” today from Novus Ordo authorities? There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell he would not have gotten one!
At the heart of the synod controversy was the curious “elements” theology, enunciated by “Abp.” Forte and lauded by “Cardinal” Schonborn, according to which there exist “elements of sanctification and truth” in gravely immoral situations (adultery, fornication, sodomy), such that the church should recognize these, emphasize them, and make use of them to draw the erring couple to the “ideal” form of living. We had already pointed out the outrageous absurdity of this theory in prior blog posts (see here and here) and will, in the very near future, publish another commentary on it. Not only did Francis himself, as “Cardinal” Bergoglio, essentially endorse the theory, it actually is but a logical application of Vatican II’s new doctrine on the nature of the church, according to which a little bit of the Catholic Church exists in every religion.
In his closing speech, Francis made a shrewd move. In a prepared text that sounded quite different from what we have been accustomed to hearing from him, and that was perhaps written by someone else, the Argentine antipope decided, all of a sudden, to present himself as the great “guarantor of orthodoxy” that protects the “deposit of faith” from false doctrines, as though it wasn’t he himself who had engineered and planned the synod beforehand, stacking the deck with super-liberals like Forte and Baldisseri, and especially Kasper, whose false theology he had endorsed explicitly earlier in the year (see here). Yet Francis still managed to include some of his pet liberal ideas, masking them under a veneer of orthodoxy.
Let’s look at a few excerpts from Francis’ speech:
…And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned:
– One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.
Ah yes… the “god of surprises!” Such foolish talk has never before been heard from a papal claimaint in the history of the church. Francis paints a picture of God as a jovial jack-in-the-box that you open with excitement and suspense, never quite knowing what you’re going to get. Should you disagree with this concept, Francis will denounce you as being “not docile to the Holy Spirit” and as resisting the divinely-willed “newness” that reflects the “scent of the people.” A poet he is; a theologian he ain’t.
Such tripe, of course, is carte blanche for imposing any novelty whatsoever on the faithful and then blasphemously ascribing it to the Holy Ghost. It is clear that Bergoglio’s “god of surprises” is not the God of Pope St. Pius X, who declared in his landmark encyclical against Modernism: “Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty!” (Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi, n. 49). In the same encyclical, the Pope quoted also his predecessor Leo XIII, who said:
It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new social vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilization, and many other things of the same kind.
(Pope Leo XIII, qtd. in Pope Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi, n. 55)
Apparently the “god of surprises” hadn’t come out of the box yet in the early twentieth century.
Francis continued his speech:
– The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”
This is very shrewd to say of Francis. Every liberal tries to make himself look like a “middle-of-the-roader”, steering the course between “rigidity” and “laxism”, but this is appearance more than reality. The last 19 months leave absolutely no doubt as to which side Bergoglio is on, nor do his years in Buenos Aires. This is mere smoke and mirrors, but by appearing to denounce both “traditionalists” and “liberals”, he gives an apparent victory to both, yet also enabling each side to claim that the other was criticized. This is perfect to create more confusion while also giving people sufficient hope so as not to cause any great trouble in the next 12 months.
– The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…
…And of course when you think “guarding the deposit of faith,” you think Jorge Bergoglio, right? No? Didn’t think so. His heresy on the Old Covenant, his heresy on faith and works, and his laughable denunciation of priests imposing Catholic morality in the confessional as “spiritual harassment” don’t make him a viable candidate for receiving a Credibility in Religion award.
In addition, consider that the amusingly ironic criticism of people who “say so many things and [yet] say nothing” comes from a man who wrote over 50,000 words in Evangelii Gaudium that contained such brilliant paragraphs as this one:
A constant tension exists between fullness and limitation. Fullness evokes the desire for complete possession, while limitation is a wall set before us. Broadly speaking, “time” has to do with fullness as an expression of the horizon which constantly opens before us, while each individual moment has to do with limitation as an expression of enclosure. People live poised between each individual moment and the greater, brighter horizon of the utopian future as the final cause which draws us to itself. Here we see a first principle for progress in building a people: time is greater than space.
(Francis, “Apostolic Exhortation” Evangelii Gaudium, n. 222)
Got it? Looks like the “god of surprises” struck again. By contrast — and this is very apropos — Pope St. Pius X denounced “evil and error” that are “presented in dynamic language” while “concealing vague notions and ambiguous expressions with emotional and high-sounding words” (St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Our Apostolic Mandate , par. 1). Oops. Needless to say, Francis hasn’t quoted St. Pius X lately, and in fact entirely ignored the 100th anniversary of the sainted pontiff’s death on August 20 of this year. But don’t worry: There is full continuity between the Catholic Church and the Novus Ordo Sect — Mark Shea guarantees it and is happy to share with you a snarky meme to prove it!
In an article in Libero on October 19, 2014, Antonio Socci, author of the new bestselling anti-Francis book Non E Francesco, anticipates the results of the synod in these words: “In the end, there is only one sure outcome: the split of the Church, and great confusion in her Magisterium” (source).
Yes, the outcome for now is simply more of what we’ve been seeing already: Chaos, confusion, no clear direction, making it appear as though Church teaching and/or pastoral practice were up for majority vote. You see, even though several paragraphs regarding homosexuality and communion for adulterers in the controversial Relatio document were not accepted by the required two-thirds majority of bishops, they nevertheless got more yea’s than nay’s, and in any case these texts remain in the document “for discussion purposes” (wink, wink). In other words, the damage done will be just the same, but with the convenient cop-out that “this isn’t approved” or “this isn’t official”, which you know conservative Novus Ordo apologists will harp on endlessly.
Already we are reading about alleged “setbacks” and “numerical defeats” Francis has supposedly suffered, but people tend to forget that a Pope — and such Francis claims to be — does not need a majority vote for anything, much less a two-thirds majority. The Church isn’t a democracy. It doesn’t matter how much “backing” Francis has for anything he may decide to do, though of course the more support he has for his revolution, the less trouble or interference there will be for him. Therefore, expect to see more personnel shuffles in the Vatican II Church — fewer people like “Cardinal” Burke and more people like “Cardinal” Wuerl, “Archbishop” Forte, and “Bishop” Cupich in positions of influence. In fact, we predict that Francis will make Forte, the author of the homo-friendly paragraphs in the scandalous Relatio document, a “cardinal” at the next consistory.
One very frightening aspect to all the drama of the last 2-3 weeks is that heretics like “Cardinals” Muller and Burke and former “Popes” Benedict XVI and John Paul II now look like arch-conservative, exemplarily-orthodox heroes. It is unfortunate but not surprising given the Novus Ordo Church’s decades-long brainwashing of souls that people nowadays tend to consider someone a Catholic not if he refuses to deny one dogma, but if he affirms just one dogma, especially on matters of sexual morality (abortion, divorce, marriage, contraception).
Yet to be a Catholic one must adhere to all dogmas, not merely to some. There are no “half-heretics” or “half-Catholics.” Catholicism does not exist in degrees — it is an all-or-nothing deal, as Pope Benedict XV emphasized in his inaugural encyclical: “Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected” (Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 24). Likewise it was Pope Leo XIII who, quoting an unnamed early Christian author, warned: “There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition” (Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 9).
In other words, it is those Vatican Modernists that appear “conservative” that are a much greater danger to souls than the open Christ-hating liberals like Kasper, Forte, Schonborn, etc., because the former disguise their rejection of Catholicism under a veneer of orthodoxy whereas the latter put it on display for all to see. Clearly the bottle of poison that has a warning label on it is a lot less dangerous than the bottle that says “fruit juice” on it.
So, chaos it has been, and chaos it will be. One “cardinal” put it in a humorous way when he commented on the endless confusion under Bergoglio thus: “I used to think there was a plan underneath the chaos … now I’m wondering if the chaos is the plan” (source). Echoing similar sentiments is “Bishop” Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island. In a recent blog post, he said: “Pope Francis is fond of ‘creating a mess.’ Mission accomplished” (source). Hey, we called him “Chaos Frank” from the beginning!
Unlike so many Novus Ordo pundits, bloggers, and loudmouths, The Week’s Damon Linker has figured Francis out. Analyzing the contradictory messages coming from the Synod, the columnist reaches the following spot-on conclusion:
I submit that there is only one way to make sense of the pope’s actions, and it goes like this:
Francis would like to liberalize church doctrine on marriage, the family, and homosexuality, but he knows that he lacks the support and institutional power to do it. So he’s decided on a course of stealth reform that involves sowing seeds of future doctrinal change by undermining the enforcement of doctrine today. The hope would be that a generation or two from now, the gap between official doctrine and the behavior that’s informally accepted in Catholic parishes across the world would grow so vast that a global grassroots movement in favor of liberalizing change would rise up at long last to sweep aside the old, musty, already-ignored rules.
If this is what Pope Francis is going for, I don’t blame conservatives for beginning to express serious misgivings. It’s a brilliant, clever, supremely Machiavellian strategy — one that promises to produce far-reaching reforms down the road while permitting the present pope both to claim plausible deniability (“I haven’t changed church doctrine!”) and to enjoy nearly constant effusive coverage in the secular press.
What’s happening in Rome isn’t yet “revolutionary change.” But it just may be what eventually prepares the way for exactly that.
(Damon Linker, “Pope Francis’ Machiavellian strategy to liberalize the Catholic Church”, The Week, Oct. 15, 2014)
All in all, then, nothing has really changed: It’s theological and pastoral mayhem on stilts in the Vatican II Church, with both “conservatives” and “progressives” having their supporters and cultivating the hope that their position will prevail before long, and thus it has ever been since the 1960s. It is, in fact, exactly what Francis needs to be able to get through the next 12 months before the ultimate Synod in October 2015.
And then watch out — Francis will pull out his “god of surprises” again, and then Heaven help us because it will be anyone’s guess as to what this “god” will produce. One thing is for sure: It won’t be Roman Catholicism.