The old Modernist Strategy is still working…
“Not Possible to Find Jesus Outside the Church”
Oh boy, this one’s going to get the semi-traditionalists and pseudo-conservatives in the Novus Ordo jumping for joy. “The Pope said that Christ cannot be found outside the Catholic Church, oh my gosh! Look at how conseeeeervative he is! Our Pope is Caaatholic!”
Sure enough, Mr. (“Fr.”) John Zuhlsdorf picked up on this story right away, and no doubt we won’t have to wait long for Michael Voris to cover it in The Vortex (known for its extremely selective reporting) as well. [Update: Voris covered it in his May 6 Vortex here.] Come on, if the “Pope” says something that sounds orthodox (and therefore anti-ecumenical), that really is newsworthy in the Novus Ordo religion — it doesn’t happen that often.
Mr. Zuhlsdorf introduces his post on the matter by commenting, “Dissenters and liberals are not going to like this.” What he fails to consider is that Francis himself is a dissenter and a liberal, even for Zuhlsdorf standards, as our “Pope” Francis page amply demonstrates beyond any shadow of a doubt. But the real question is not whether a Pope — a true Pope, that is — is conservative or liberal, but whether he is orthodox, that is, a Catholic. And Francis is not a Catholic, that’s for sure.
But what of the statement? Did Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) not say something really orthodox and anti-ecumenical?
As is typical for a Modernist, what Bergoglio said here is both vague and ambiguous. It is far from clear what he meant by the statement. The verb “find” in “find Christ” is not a theologically acceptable term because it is vague. What does “finding Christ” mean specifically? Does it mean hearing the Gospel preached? Does it mean coming to know or understand some things about Our Lord? Does it mean making an act of Faith?
Francis doesn’t specify. If he meant that one must be inside the Church to be able to come to know Christ, then the statement is plainly false, since one only enters the Church after having heard about Our Lord. If he meant that no graces of conversion are given ouside the Church, the statement is false also, because people cannot enter the Church unless they are first given grace outside her; besides, this idea — that no grace is granted outside the Church — is one of the errors of the Jansenists and was explicitly condemned as heretical by Pope Clement XI in 1713 (Dogmatic Constitution Unigenitus of Sep. 8, 1713, no. 29; Denz. 1379). If Bergoglio meant that one cannot make an act of supernatural Faith outside of the Church, then it is false also, because the act of Faith is merely the first step in the conversion process: “the act of faith is the beginning of divine life in us” (A. Tanquerey, Manual of Dogmatic Theology, vol. 1, par. 354).
Francis’ statement would only be true if he meant that Christ cannot be separated from the Church, which is His Mystical Body, and that you can only have Christ together with the Church, or not at all. There is no Christ apart from the Church, any more than there could be the Church apart from Christ. This would be true, but only within the context of orthodox Roman Catholic ecclesiology. Remember that Francis is speaking within the context of the Vatican II religion, and according to Vatican II doctrine, the Church does not exist as an integral whole, rather, it exists in degreesor elements in other Christian denominations as well, in virtue of a common baptism (that’s where “imperfect communion” and all this junk comes from). So even if Francis meant to say that one cannot separate Christ from the Church, nevertheless, he believes that there’s a little bit of the Catholic Church in every heretical sect, and every baptized person is a part of the Church; so what he said is really not anti-ecumenical at all. (On this subject, see The New Ecclesiology: An Overview by Bp. Donald Sanborn.)
To all those who jumped up and started to “have hope” again in Francis/Bergoglio, we must ask: Will you never learn it? It is the very strategy of the Modernists, who are but apostates in sheep’s clothing, to say both heterodox and orthodox things, to affirm in one sentence what they deny in another, and to remain vague and ambiguous, with the precise intent to make themselves look confused rather than pertinacious, and to allow for “plausible deniability” should someone ever try to catch them in a heresy. We were warned against this tactic by Popes Pius VI and Pius X:
Pope Pius VI, Constitution Auctorem Fidei (1794):
- “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.”
- 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. In order to expose such snares, something which becomes necessary with a certain frequency in every century, no other method is required than the following: Whenever it becomes necessary to expose statements that disguise some suspected error or danger under the veil of ambiguity, one must denounce the perverse meaning under which the error opposed to Catholic truth is camouflaged.”
Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907):
- “[N]one is more skillful, none more astute than they [the Modernists], in the employment of a thousand noxious devices; for they play the double part of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error….” (par. 3)
- “In their writings and addresses they seem not unfrequently to advocate doctrines which are contrary one to the other, so that one would be disposed to regard their attitude as double and doubtful. But this is done deliberately and advisedly, and the reason of it is to be found in their opinion as to the mutual separation of science and faith. Thus in their books one finds some things which might well be approved by a Catholic, but on turning over the page one is confronted by other things which might well have been dictated by a rationalist.” (par. 18)
Pope St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique (1910):
- “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.”
Further, Pope Pius IX absolutely condemned the idea that Protestant communities, sects, or “churches” could in any way be considered part of the Catholic Church:
Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Iam Vos Omnes (1868):
- “[I]n none of these [Protestant] societies, and not even in all of them taken together, can in some way be seen the one and Catholic Church which Christ the Lord built, constituted, and willed to exist. Neither will it ever be able to be said that they are members and part of that Church as long as they remain visibly separated from Catholic unity. It follows that such societies, lacking that living authority established by God, which instructs men in the things of the faith and in the discipline of the customs, directing and governing them in all that concerns eternal salvation, they continuously mutate in their doctrines without that mobility and the instability they find one end. Everyone therefore can easily comprehend and fully reckon that this is absolutely in contrast with the Church instituted by Christ the Lord, in which the truth must always remain constant and never subject to change whatsoever, deposited as if it were into a warehouse, entrusted to be guarded perfectly whole. To this purpose, it has received the promise of the perpetual presence and the aid of the Holy Spirit. No one then ignores that from these dissentions [disagreements] in doctrines and opinions derive social divisions, which find their origin in these innumerable communions and which are always and increasingly diffused with grave damage[s] to the Christian and civil society.”
Ah, no rupture with the past, right? It’s all just in your head….
People today act as though affirming even one dogma was sufficient to make one a Catholic. In order to be a Catholic, one must profess the Catholic Faith whole and entire. Doubting or denying even one dogma excludes one from the Church. Being a Catholic is an all-or-nothing proposition. You either hold the entire Faith or nothing at all. Anything in between — picking and choosing — is literally heresy, from the Greek word haireisthai, “to choose”. The reason is simple: We must believe God’s truth because He has revealed it. But He has revealed the entire Faith, not just parts of it. Therefore, those who believe all, believe God – and they have the Faith; those who believe only what they like, believe themselves, and have no true Faith at all.