A Follow-Up on Francis’ Candid Remark…
Spanish Original shows Francis admitted his Teaching is “perhaps a Heresy, I don’t know”
The times we live in are so absurd, they make the television show Twilight Zone look like reality TV by comparison. Two days ago we reported on “Pope” Francis’ video message to the ecumenical John 17 Movement in the United States, which he released on May 23, 2015. As the full video had not yet been released at the time of our posting, nor a full transcript in the original Spanish, we relied on the English translation provided by Vatican Radio. If you have not yet seen our post, you can read it here:
Now that the Vatican web site has released full transcripts of the video message in the original Spanish and the video itself has appeared online in its entirety, we can have a fuller look at Francis’ words. First, a link to the Vatican’s transcript of the original text in Spanish:
- Spanish Original Transcript: Videomensaje del Santo Padre Francisco con ocasion de la Jornada de Unidad Cristiana (Vatican.va)
The full video, in Spanish, can be viewed below. But be careful — the English subtitles provided are not a verbatim translation:
The original Spanish text that is the subject of all the controversy is the following sentence (in the video above beginning at the 4:11 mark): “Y me viene a la mente decir algo que puede ser una insensatez, o quizás una herejía, no sé.” The Vatican’s official translation renders this incorrectly as follows: “I feel like saying something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps.” In our post from two days ago, we took this translation at face value (and if he had said this, it would have been bad enough!), but the actual words literally translated are even worse. The following is an accurate translation from the Spanish (which can be verified by anyone competent in the language):
“And it comes to my mind to say something that may be foolish or perhaps a heresy, I don’t know.”
This is what Francis said. Note that, in contrast to the Vatican’s English translation, Francis did not say that it may perhaps “sound” like a heresy, but that it may perhaps “be” a heresy! The candidness of this admission is beyond stunning. Not even we at Novus Ordo Watch would have ever imagined that a Vatican II Antipope would ever be so bold and preface a heresy with the declaration, “This is perhaps a heresy”!
Really, the Francis “pontificate” is Sedevacantism for Dummies. He’s now telling his adherents to their face that he is a heretic! No, not simply a heretic “perhaps” but for sure, not only because what he said after this prefatory remark was indeed frightening heresy (his “ecumenism of blood” and “Protestants and Catholics are one” heresies — see our original post), but also because he expressed very clearly that he is absolutely willing to adhere to and teach heresy, even though — thus he claimed — he “does not know” whether this particular idea is heretical or not. Even if he doesn’t know, the fact that he is willing to teach and adhere to it regardless shows his heretical depravity. An analogy will help: A deer hunter who sees a creature move in the forest but cannot tell whether it is a deer or a human being but shoots nonetheless is morally (though not legally) guilty of murder, because sin exists in the will, and he is clearly showing himself to be willing to shoot a human being if that’s what it should turn out to be. Similarly, here in Francis we have someone who, claiming ignorance, is perfectly willing to preach heresy to the world, because by his own admission what he is saying may very well be a heresy and this does not deter him.
As we explained in our original post, Francis claims to hold the office of the papacy, and therefore he has no excuse whatsoever for his words. Assuming for a minute for the sake of argument that Francis were a true and valid Pope, we can say that it is his duty — his more than anyone else’s in the entire world — to know whether what he teaches to others is heresy or not. The fact that he so casually quips, “I don’t know”, only underscores the perverse will of this man, who does not care whether he teaches heresy in place of the Gospel. Sorry, but a nonchalant “I don’t know” doesn’t cut it if you’re the “Pope”. Why does he not know? It is his job to know, if he’s the Pope! And if he truly doesn’t know, why doesn’t he go find out before he contradicts revealed truth for which the Apostles and so many martyrs over the centuries gave their lives (not to mention our Blessed Lord Himself)?
He does not care. Whether his teaching is heretical or not, he will hold it either way and he wants you to embrace it — this is the message he is sending. If he is truly ignorant on the matter, then his ignorance is 100% culpable. A man who is entirely capable of discovering the truth and whose strict obligation is to know the truth on a given point of doctrine, but nevertheless chooses not to educate himself on the matter and yet presumes to teach others, is so gravely culpable for his ignorance that morally and legally (i.e. in terms of both sin and Church law) he is clearly pertinacious in his heresy (cf. Canon 2229). All this jibes entirely with everything we’ve been saying about the man from day one. Just remember, you heard it here first.
Meanwhile… We predicted in our original post that the Novus Ordo Sect’s apologists would now rush to Francis’ defense to “explain” to us what he “really” said or meant. And sure enough, it did not take long for Jimmy Akin, Francis’ de facto staff verbal acrobat, to chime in and post “9 Things to Know and Share” in his umpteenth “Did Pope Francis really…?” post.
Unfortunately, Akin’s post is mostly focused on a particular flawed story on this published by the Novus Ordo Zenit news agency (see here). Akin spends most of his time explaining — quite correctly — that the Zenit story is wrong in asserting that Francis said Jesus Christ does not care what kind of Christian you are. Even though Francis no doubt holds this heresy too, this is not what he said in his “Pontifical Message” to the John 17 Movement we have been discussing, so on this score Akin is correct.
However, as part of his 9-point post, Akin the Acrobat does at some point address the sentence in which Francis admits he is perhaps uttering heresy. Pay close attention especially to the words we have colored blue:
5) Why does the pope describe his remark as something “that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps”?
Presumably because it’s an unfamiliar thought for many.
The idea that the devil stirs up persecution of Christians without respect to their particular affiliation, precisely because he knows that they are all Christians, is not something that one commonly hears—particularly in an age when many people aren’t even comfortable talking about the devil.
I can imagine any number of modernist theologians taking exception to this thought. That, of itself, could result in it sounding controversial.
6) Why did he say it might sound “even heretical, perhaps”?
The most likely explanation is that this is a touch of hyperbole, or exaggeration to make a point.
The pope is speaking informally, and his words have to be understood accordingly.
In Catholic theology, the term “heresy” has a precise, technical meaning: The obstinate post-baptismal doubt or denial of a truth that must be believed with divine faith (i.e., God has revealed it) and with Catholic faith (i.e., because the Church has infallibly defined it as such).
Since he is speaking to an ecumenical group that consists largely or principally of non-Catholics, he cannot expect them to interpret the word “heretical” in the technical, Catholic sense.
This is further confirmed by the fact that there would be no grounds on which to criticize his main proposition–that the devil stirs up persecution against Christians because they are Christians–as heretical in the technical sense. God has not revealed that the devil does not persecute Christians of all stripes because they are Christians, and the Church has not infallibly defined that God has revealed this.
As a result, the pope isn’t using the term “heretical” in its technical sense. He’s speaking informally and hyperbolically.
Properly speaking, his proposal not only isn’t heretical, it doesn’t even sound heretical.
In rhetorical terms, the function of including the statement is to draw a line under what he is about to say, to call attention to it and invite people to think about it rather than passing over it quickly.
(“Did Pope Francis say it doesn’t matter what kind of Christian you are? 9 things to know and share”, JimmyAkin.com, May 26, 2015; bold and italics in original; blue font added for emphasis. The same post is also available at this alternate link, where many more comments are posted.)
For this impressive hermeneutical stunt alone, Jimmy Akin deserves to have his salary raised to 30 pieces of silver a day. This is what we call spin, as opposed to interpretation. But then again, what can you expect from a man who argued that when Francis called Christ’s Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves a “parable”, he didn’t mean “parable”, and that when Francis told Eugenio Scalfari that he does not want to convert him, he really meant that he does want to convert him?
Let’s examine what Akin says.
His first assertion that Francis used the term “heretical” (as well as “controversial”) to refer to his own claptrap “presumably because it’s an unfamiliar thought to many” is beyond laughable. Whether something is unfamiliar or not has nothing to do with it being truth or heresy. Besides, Francis did not use the term “controversial” at all, but rather “foolishness” or “senselessness” (insensatez), something that doesn’t help Akin’s case. Neither did Francis use the phrase “sound controversial/heretical” but “be controversial/heretical”.
Which brings us to an important point: Somehow in this post, Jimmy Akin did not bother to look at the original Spanish text as read by Francis and published on the Vatican web site. This is something Akin habitually does for other posts, and you’d think he would do it for sure when a word as serious as “heretical” is being used. But not in this case. Gee, we wonder why! True, at first the text was not available in the original Spanish, but why did Akin not delay his post or at least state, “It will be necessary to examine closely the original Spanish first once it is released”? Novus Ordo apologists are usually the first to point to alleged faulty translations when someone accuses Francis of having said something erroneous. Why not here?
What Akin thinks of his audience’s intelligence is revealed in what he says next, where he has the boldness to assert that when Francis calls his own teaching “maybe a heresy”, he is merely using “hyperbole” in order “to make a point” and “underscore” what he is saying! Just how much dumber can it get? Does Akin think his readers are all a bunch of nitwits?! Could you imagine a true Pope addressing a group of Protestants, teaching them the Faith (which a real Pope would do), and then saying, “This could be a heresy, I don’t know” — in order to emphasize his point?! Hello? Is anybody home??
Calling your own thoughts “possibly heretical” doesn’t emphasize them, it negates them, it renders them, at best, weak, unimportant, and deserving of scorn. It means you yourself are not certain that what you’re saying is valid and correct or diametrically opposed to divine truth. Hardly the way for a “Pope” to “make a point” so that people “think about” it and not simply “pass over” it. Sorry, Jimmy, you scored an own-goal here.
Oh, but then Akin the Acrobat assures us that Francis wasn’t using the label “heretical” in its “technical sense”! Thatsaves the day, right?! He was only speaking “informally”!
Actually, no, he wasn’t. His message was not an informal, off-the-top-of-your-head thing, it was a formal “Pontifical Message” (according to the Vatican web site), scripted and pre-recorded on video (i.e. not broadcast live), read by the “Pope” himself. There was no element of surprise, and the whole thing could have been edited, should Francis have seen the need after the fact. No, blaming the mess he made on “informality” isn’t going to help either.
We will gloss over Akin’s convenient claim that what Francis said “not only isn’t heretical, it doesn’t even sound heretical” because we have proved in our original post that his “ecumenism of blood” is heresy indeed, contradicting the infallible definition of the Council of Florence in the fifteenth century that no one can be saved who dies outside the Catholic Church, even if he spill his blood for Christ.
So, let’s summarize. In Francis we have someone who, for decades, has preached and practiced heresy and other doctrinal error ad nauseam, who even as “Pope” has made clear that he is not concerned about orthodoxy in the Church, that he does not care if “cardinals” complain that his favorite theologian (Walter Kasper) is a heretic, that he does not believe in a Catholic God, that he believes the Blessed Virgin Mary might have blasphemed at Calvary, that the souls in hell do not suffer eternal punishment but are instead annihilated, that he does not care if a child is raised Catholic or any other religion, that the Jews have their own valid covenant with God, that Muslims can find hope and solace in the Koran and in their “Faith”, that the observance of the Muslim Ramadan can bring “abundant spiritual fruit”, that Faith without charity is not a true Faith, that all who profess belief in Christ are united in a common martyrdom that renders them “one”, etc.; and now this bold heretic even himself admits that his teaching is “possibly heretical” — and the Novus Ordo response is, essentially, “He’s just kidding”? “He didn’t mean it”? “He’s merely exaggerating”? “He’s just trying to underscore an entirely orthodox point”?!!
Who would have ever thought that these people can stoop this low to defend a public apostate? Have they no shame? No fear of God? No respect for their readers? As we said at the beginning, this is the Twilight Zone!
But then again, what could we expect? Did anyone really think Jimmy Akin would say, “This is an outrageous thing to say for a Pope. It is clearly heretical, and he even concedes that it might be”? Obviously, this wasn’t going to happen, no matter what the evidence.
This is a crucial point: For these people, who are happily drawing large salaries keeping people trapped inside the Vatican II Sect, evidence is not the deciding factor. If Francis weren’t now “Pope” but still “Cardinal” Bergoglio, they would have long blasted him as they have done with Roger Mahony, Rembert Weakland, Richard McBrien, Thomas Gumbleton and others. In his post defending Francis, Akin acts as though what Francis said shouldn’t even trouble us, as though it were the most normal thing in the world for a (supposed) Pope to preface his remarks by pointing out that they might contain heresy, quipping that he “does not know.” At the very least, Akin could have conceded that these remarks are the epitome of disgrace and recklessness for a man who is (putatively) charged with overseeing the purity of the Catholic Faith and defending it against all enemies, and who has ultimate care over a billion souls around the globe and will one day have to render an account for all he has said and done (see Mt 12:36; cf. Heb 13:17). Akin did not even concede this much, and this tells you all you need to know. He is not concerned about defending the truth — his job is merely to defend Jorge Bergoglio.
Looking at the actual argument Francis makes about Satan and martyrdom, his reasoning is not very bright. If the devil doesn’t care what type of Christian you are, then why does he, as Francis asserts, cause division among Christians? If they’re all going to Heaven by their “one blood”, and the differences are ultimately of no genuine concern, then the division would be pointless.
But if, as our Lord taught, the truth will make us free (see Jn 8:32), what does that say about heresy, the very opposite of truth? “Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn 9).
In our day and age, people no longer realize how serious and how vile a crime heresy is, and how hateful it is to God. Heresy essentially calls God a liar, and has the potential to send countless souls to hell. This is why it was often punished with death in Catholic nations. The death of the body is not nearly as serious as the death of the soul in hell, which is where heresy leads: “Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will shew you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear him” (Lk 12:4-5).
Decades ago the Novus Ordo Church’s apologists bent over backwards to convince us that none of their false popes ever uttered a heresy. At this point, we are so far along in the apostasy that even the Vicar of Judas himself is telling us that his teaching is heretical, or at least could be — he doesn’t care. What do his blind, brain-dead lemmings do? They go to Jimmy Akin’s blog to be reassured that all is well. You can’t parody this anymore.
Other than Jimmy Akin’s ridiculous post, there haven’t been too many contributions by the usual suspects as far as we’ve seen up until this point. Pat Archbold basically just said, “Whatever”; Michael Voris, of course, ignored the story (that’s why we call his show The Ignortex); Mundabor used the occasion to reassert his opposition to Sedevacantism (which, we know, is the first premise in all of his arguments); “Fr.” Zuhlsdorf is presumably too busy posting dinner photos on his blog; and Louie Verrecchio quickly put up a link to Robert Siscoe’s attempt to debunk Sedevacantism, which we have not yet had a chance to answer at length but which we have briefly addressed here (we recommend people read St. Robert Bellarmine and the First Vatican Council rather than Robert Siscoe on the question of a heretical Pope).
Two posts by non-sedevacantists that deal with the subject matter seriously and also reject Jimmy Akin’s ridiculous spin are the following:
- “On the aiding and abetting of schism and theological bafflegab…” by Elliot Bougis
- “Piarum Aurium Haeresi Proxima?” by The Radical Catholic
Are we hoping for mass conversions now to Sedevacantism? Among “regular folk”, yes, certainly — our “Now What?” page can help you get started. Among the “rich and famous” semi-traditionalists, however, we are not holding our breath. Instead, we suspect there will be two main reactions: (1) a gradual defection into Resignationism, the idea that Benedict XVI is in fact the true Pope “still” because of an invalid resignation (which will allow one to have the delightful benefit of getting rid of Francis and yet also avoiding Sedevacantism); (2) a rise in the popularity of the heresy (!) that cardinals can judge the Pope or subject him to a trial and, if necessary, depose him (this would be the heresy of Gallicanism, essentially).
It’s rather humorous that Francis’ self-confessed heretical message is published on the Vatican web site under the solemn rubric of “Pontifical Messages”. Sounding at first all dignified and authoritative, what the reader then gets is a cavalier, “Maybe this is a heresy — heck, I don’t know!” kind of a message. It’s Francis at his best, simply saying what he thinks.
We call him “Chaos Frank” for a reason.
[UPDATE: We have now published a free podcast on this topic: TRADCAST 005: Francis & the Twilight Zone]
Image sources: youtube.com (screenshot) / jimmyakin.com (screenshot) / shutterstock.com / unknown
Licenses: fair use / fair use / paid / fair use