Apostates, heretics and schismatics: Rejoice!

Francis: “All the Baptized are Members of the Church!”

Apparently the god of surprises is rearing its ugly head in the Vatican again, speaking through its favorite oracle, Mr. Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope” Francis). On November 4, the latter proclaimed more unmistakable heresy in a message to the ecumenical “Global Christian Forum”, which was holding a three-day conference in Tirana, the capital of Albania. Here are Bergoglio’s words in full and verbatim:

I extend greetings to you and all those participating in the Global Christian Forum Consultation, to be held in Tirana from 2 to 4 November 2015, as you reflect on the theme “Discrimination, persecution, martyrdom: following Christ together”. In a particular way, I wish to greet our brothers and sisters of different Christian traditions who represent communities suffering for their profession of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere throughout the world. Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters. In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and Ecclesial Communities. The communio martyrum is the greatest sign of our journeying together. At the same time, your gathering will give voice to the victims of such injustice and violence, and seek to show the path that will lead the human family out of this tragic situation. With these sentiments, I assure you of my spiritual closeness. May the martyrs of today, belonging to many Christian traditions, help us to understand that all the baptised are members of the same Body of Christ, his Church (cf. I Cor 12:12-30). Let us see this profound truth as a call to persevere on our ecumenical journey towards full and visible communion, growing more and more in love and mutual understanding.

(“Message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the Occasion of the Global Christian Forum”Vatican.va, Nov. 4, 2015; underlining added.)

To Novus Ordo ears, these words are no big deal. To Catholic ears, they are heretical, favorable to heresy, erroneous, impious, and offensive. An explanation may be in order.

There are four salient points in Francis’ message that are at odds with various levels of Catholic teaching. Actually, there are more, but let’s just focus on the following four:

  • Non-Catholics who die for their faith in Christ are genuine Christian martyrs
  • This communio martyrum (“communion of martyrdom”) is a true communion that unites “Catholics” and Protestants
  • All the baptized are members of the one Church, the one Body of Christ
  • Although all the baptized are in communion with one another and part of the same true Church, nevertheless this unity is not visible (yet) — this visible communion must still be achieved

Oh my, where to start…

Let’s start at the beginning: First, to say that non-Catholics who die for their faith in Christ are, objectively speaking, real martyrs for the Faith, is heresy. This is one of Francis’ pet doctrines, which he has termed the “ecumenism of blood”. Earlier this year we published an extensive refutation of this heresy, which we encourage everyone to review. Bergoglio’s “ecumenism of blood” nonsense is in direct contradiction to the infallible teaching of the 15th-century Council of Florence, among other things:

A few months after debuting his “ecumenism of blood” heresy, Francis sent a video message to an ecumenical conference taking place in Phoenix, United States, in which he repeated it, but this time with the very candid admission, “This may perhaps be a heresy”! Yes, he really did say that — you can’t make this stuff up! Here are our three posts on Bergoglio’s frank revelation and the podcast we made about it:

As Francis’ own words and our commentary show, he will teach his own peculiar doctrine regardless of whether it is heretical or not — he simply does not care. This suffices to reveal his heretical depravity. If need be, he may roll in the “god of surprises” for support or perhaps claim to be “listening to the spirit” — but it is heresy nonetheless and he is determined to have his doctrine, no matter what.

Second, since there is no such thing as a genuine martyrdom outside the Catholic Church, then it follows also that there can be no “communion of martyrdom” between those inside and those outside the true Church. In fact, the idea that there could be any sort of spiritual unity between Catholics and non-Catholics is definitively ruled out by Catholic teaching:

Wherefore, since outside the Catholic Church there is nothing undefiled, the Apostle declaring that “all that is not of faith is sin,” we are in no way likened with those who are divided from the unity of the Body of Christ; we are joined in no communion.

(Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermon 129; qtd. in Bp. Donald Sanborn, The New Ecclesiology: Documentation [PDF], p. 12; underlining added.)

Now, whoever will carefully examine and reflect upon the condition of the various religious societies, divided among themselves, and separated from the Catholic Church, which, from the days of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles has never ceased to exercise, by its lawful pastors, and still continues to exercise, the divine power committed to it by this same Lord; cannot fail to satisfy himself that neither any one of these societies by itself, nor all of them together, can in any manner constitute and be that One Catholic Church which Christ our Lord built, and established, and willed should continue; and that they cannot in any way be said to be branches or parts of that Church, since they are visibly cut off from Catholic unity.

(Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Iam Vos Omnes; underlining added.)

They [the Ecumenists] add that the Church in itself, or of its nature, is divided into sections; that is to say, that it is made up of several churches or distinct communities, which still remain separate, and although having certain articles of doctrine in common, nevertheless disagree concerning the remainder; that these all enjoy the same rights; and that the Church was one and unique from, at the most, the apostolic age until the first Ecumenical Councils. Controversies therefore, they say, and longstanding differences of opinion which keep asunder till the present day the members of the Christian family, must be entirely put aside, and from the remaining doctrines a common form of faith drawn up and proposed for belief, and in the profession of which all may not only know but feel that they are brothers. The manifold churches or communities, if united in some kind of universal federation, would then be in a position to oppose strongly and with success the progress of irreligion.

(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos, n. 7; underlining added.)

It also won’t do to say that all who profess faith in Christ and die for Him are somehow part of the Catholic Church, which is precisely what Francis claims later on in his message. This is the third point we must now examine.

Is it true, as Francis asserts, that baptism alone suffices to make one a member of the Church, regardless of profession of faith? Far from it! The First Vatican Council taught that Christ constituted His Church such that “all the faithful might be contained by the bond of one faith and charity” (Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus; Denz. 1821). Pope Leo XIII described “the constitution of the Christian commonwealth” as being “one in faith, in government, and in communion” (Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 15). In addition, in his beautiful 1943 encyclical on the Church, Pope Pius XII clearly laid out the essential conditions for membership in the Mystical Body of Christ:

Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, n. 22)

Thus, while baptism is necessary to be a member of the Church, it is by no means sufficient. Other conditions, too, have to be fulfilled: one must profess the true Faith, and one must be in communion with the Roman Pontiff and the other members of the Church. Duh!

But not, of course, for Francis — according to him, and based on the Vatican II doctrine of “partial communion” (aka “Frankenchurch” or “Patchwork Ecclesiology”), all who have received a valid baptism are now members of the true Church of Christ, which is His Body. That would include most Protestants, the Eastern Schismatics, and all apostates (for apostates are, by definition, the baptized who have fallen away), whether they now be Jews, Muslims, polytheists, satanists, atheists, agnostics, or anything else. As long as they were once validly baptized, Francis believes this motley crew makes up the true Church. A “Frankenchurch” indeed!

A quick word of clarification: Some people believe, falsely, that Protestants are members of the Church as long as they are sincere and without guilt in their errors, but this is not true. While it is possible for individuals who outwardly profess heresy to nevertheless retain the virtue of Faith internally and, combined with hope and charity, to reside inside the Catholic Church through a genuine votum Ecclesiae (desire to be united to the true Church — please see our TRADCAST 004 for a detailed explanation), it is wholly impossible for them to be members of the Church, for, as Pope Pius XII made clear, profession of the true Faith is necessary for membership. But profession is an external act and quite independent of guilt or innocence, hence it really doesn’t matter, as far as Church membership is concerned, whether a Protestant is in good faith or not.

Fr. Ludwig Ott’s handbook Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma explains:

Public heretics, even those who err in good faith (material heretics), do not belong to the body of the Church, that is to the legal commonwealth of the Church. However, this does not prevent them from belonging spiritually to the Church by their desire to belong to the Church (votum Ecclesiae) and through this, achieving justification and salvation.

Although public apostates and heretics, schismatics and excommunicati vitandi are outside the legal organisation of the Church, still their relationship to the Church is essentially different from that of the unbaptised…. As the baptismal character which effects incorporation in the Church is indestructible, the baptised person, in spite of his ceasing to be a member of the Church, cannot cut himself off so completely from the Church, that every bond with the Church is dissolved.

(Fr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, trans. by James Bastible [original 1954; reprint by TAN Books, 1974], p. 311)

Catholic teaching on the matter is simple and straightforward: All who are baptized but do not profess the true Faith, or do not remain in communion with the Church, are not members of the Church, regardless of any other consideration, such as invincible ignorance. Period.

Fourth, Francis asserts that although there is a real communion between “Catholics” and Protestants that unites them both to the Body of Christ, the Church, nevertheless he says it is not a visible communion, which must still be achieved. Right there the Argentinian apostate commits another theological blunder of staggering proportions, for the idea that the true Church is invisible is Protestant in essence and not compatible with the Catholic doctrine that holds that there is only one Church, and this one Church is necessarily visible.

The following magisterial evidence leaves no doubt as to the Church’s visible nature, and this visibility is found precisely in the outward profession of Faith and the outward communion between the members of the Church and the Supreme Pontiff, both of which are obviously lacking in Protestants — any “martyrdom” notwithstanding:

If we consider the chief end of His Church and the proximate efficient causes of salvation, it is undoubtedly spiritual; but in regard to those who constitute it, and to the things which lead to these spiritual gifts, it is external and necessarily visible. The Apostles received a mission to teach by visible and audible signs, and they discharged their mission only by words and acts which certainly appealed to the senses. So that their voices falling upon the ears of those who heard them begot faith in souls – “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the words of Christ” (Rom. x., 17). And faith itself – that is assent given to the first and supreme truth – though residing essentially in the intellect, must be manifested by outward profession – “For with the heart we believe unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. x., 10). …For this reason the Church is so often called in Holy Writ a body, and even the body of Christ – “Now you are the body of Christ” (I Cor. xii., 27) – and precisely because it is a body is the Church visible: and because it is the body of Christ is it living and energizing, because by the infusion of His power Christ guards and sustains it, just as the vine gives nourishment and renders fruitful the branches united to it. And as in animals the vital principle is unseen and invisible, and is evidenced and manifested by the movements and action of the members, so the principle of supernatural life in the Church is clearly shown in that which is done by it. From this it follows that those who arbitrarily conjure up and picture to themselves a hidden and invisible Church are in grievous and pernicious error….

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 3; underlining added.)

Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. “For in one spirit” says the Apostle, “were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.” As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him be considered — so the Lord commands — as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those [who] are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.

Now since its Founder willed this social body of Christ to be visible, the cooperation of all its members must also be externally manifest through their profession the same faith and their sharing the same sacred rites, through participation in the same Sacrifice, and the practical observance of the same laws. Above all, it is absolutely necessary that the Supreme Head, that is, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, be visible to the eyes of all, since it is He who gives effective direction to the work which all do in common in a mutually helpful way towards the attainment of the proposed end. As the Divine Redeemer sent the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, who in His name should govern the Church in an invisible way, so, in the same manner, He commissioned Peter and his successors to be His personal representatives on earth and to assume the visible government of the Christian community.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, nn. 22, 69; underlining added.)

Obviously, it is impossible to fit Francis’ idea of an invisible church into this, a church that unites Catholics and Protestants even though they are divided in faith and government. So, if Mr. Bergoglio says that there is an invisible church that he and Protestants belong to, it is clear that this church he is talking about is not and cannot be the Catholic Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not that we needed any more proof that he’s the member of a false church, but it doesn’t hurt.

Having thus critically examined the four salient points of Francis’ message to his fellow-Protestants, let us briefly recall an incident from the early days of Francis’ sham pontificate. In late April 2013, about six weeks after his election, he said in a sermon: “…it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church” (source). Some conservative Novus Ordo pundits immediately sprang into action and seized the opportunity to declare what a rock-solid Catholic Francis was! “Fr.” John Zuhlsdorf wasted no time in happily reporting the news, and Michael Voris incorporated the quote into his infamous “BAM!” Vortex of May 6, 2013.

At the time, Novus Ordo Watch and other sedevacantists were the lone voice in the cyber-wilderness warning that things were not quite as they seemed. Here’s what we said in our post covering Francis’ allegedly anti-Protestant pronouncement:

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 degrees or 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.

(Novus Ordo Watch, “‘Pope’ Francis: ‘Not Possible to Find Jesus Outside the Church’”, Apr. 24, 2013)

So… were we right, or were we right? While Francis was making people think that he believes one can find Christ and salvation only inside the Catholic Church, after two-and-a-half years he has now lifted the veil on part 2 of that story: Everyone is a member of the Church! While most people fell for Francis’ conservative-sounding hogwash, we did not. You follow people like Voris, Zuhlsdorf, Haines, and Madrid at your own risk, folks.

There is one more thing we must examine in Francis’ anti-Catholic message to the ecumenical Global Christian Forum. Notice exactly what Francis says, as already quoted:

In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and Ecclesial Communities.

(“Message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the Occasion of the Global Christian Forum”Vatican.va, Nov. 4, 2015; underlining added.)

Notice he uses the word “experience”. As for any Modernist, so too for Francis, Faith is an experience that, although it may differ in accidentals, is shared by all believers and binds them together, surpassing any differences in belief or the confession of faith. In fact, the Argentinian antipope routinely refers to Faith as an “encounter”, and an encounter is, essentially, an experience. By contrast, the Catholic notion of Faith is defined as a “theological virtue by which our intellect is disposed to assent firmly to all the truths revealed by God, because of the infinite truth and wisdom of God who can neither deceive or be deceived” (Donald Attwater, ed., A Catholic Dictionary, 3rd ed., s.v. “Faith”, ii.).

Let’s have a look at how Pope Saint Pius X slammed the Modernists for their false concept of faith-as-experience, and what follows from it:

For the Modernist believer [as opposed to the Modernist philosopher], on the contrary, it is an established and certain fact that the reality of the divine does really exist in itself and quite independently of the person who believes in it. If you ask on what foundation this assertion of the believer rests, he answers: In the personal experience of the individual. On this head the Modernists differ from the Rationalists only to fall into the views of the Protestants and pseudo-mystics…. They assert … the existence of a real experience, and one of a kind that surpasses all rational experience. If this experience is denied by some, like the Rationalists, they say that this arises from the fact that such persons are unwilling to put themselves in the moral state necessary to produce it. It is this experience which makes the person who acquires it to be properly and truly a believer.

How far this position is removed from that of Catholic teaching! We have already seen how its fallacies have been condemned by the Vatican Council. Later on, we shall see how these errors, combined with those which we have already mentioned, open wide the way to Atheism. Here it is well to note at once that, given this doctrine of experience united with that of symbolism, every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be true. What is to prevent such experiences from being found in any religion? In fact, that they are so is maintained by not a few. On what grounds can Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam? Will they claim a monopoly of true experiences for Catholics alone? Indeed, Modernists do not deny, but actually maintain, some confusedly, others frankly, that all religions are true. That they cannot feel otherwise is obvious. For on what ground, according to their theories, could falsity be predicated of any religion whatsoever? Certainly it would be either on account of the falsity of the religious sense or on account of the falsity of the formula pronounced by the mind. Now the religious sense, although it maybe more perfect or less perfect, is always one and the same; and the intellectual formula, in order to be true, has but to respond to the religious sense and to the believer, whatever be the intellectual capacity of the latter. In the conflict between different religions, the most that Modernists can maintain is that the Catholic has more truth because it is more vivid, and that it deserves with more reason the name of Christian because it corresponds more fully with the origins of Christianity.

(Pope Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, n. 14; underlining added.)

Does this not sound familiar? Here we have the evidence that the Vatican II junk about “partial communion”, about “we reject nothing that is good and holy in other religions” and “there are elements of truth in other religions” is ultimately of Modernist origin, condemned by the Church in the severest of terms. It is but a restatement, in slightly adjusted terms and ideas, of the Modernist rejection of the objectivity and exclusivity of truth.

Further evidence regarding Francis’ adherence to the Modernist notion of faith and making everything about experience/encounter rather than truth, can be found here:

As an important reminder, here is what Pope Gregory XVI taught on the question of religious indifferentism, which Francis and the Vatican II Sect have clearly been promoting, in word and especially in action:

Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism” [Eph 4:5] may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against Him,” [Lk 11:23] and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate” [Athanasian Creed]. Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: “He who is for the See of Peter is for me.” A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?”

(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari Vos, n. 13; underlining added.)

Yeah, not exactly Francis doctrine, eh?

Before we conclude, there is one more thing we must mention. Alas, the idea that profession of the true Faith is not necessary for membership in the Catholic Church, as Francis asserts in his Nov. 4 message to the Global Christian Forum, is also being swallowed more and more, de facto, by people who call themselves Traditional Catholics. In their stubborn refusal to consider the reality of Sedevacantism as even so much as a possibility, they are entangling themselves further and further not only in outright absurdities, but what is much worse, also in heresy.

For example, they routinely refer to certain bad guys in the Novus Ordo Sect as “heresiarchs” and “heretics”, such as “Cardinals” Walter Kasper and Carlo Martini, “Archbishop” Blase Cupich, “Bishop” Johan Bonny, Fr. Hans Kung, and other similar characters, even the “Pope” himself! Yet, at the same time they maintain that these men, although obvious public heretics, are nevertheless members of the Catholic Church and hold their putative offices validly.

Here are some examples:

This is a disease! These pundits’ reluctance to draw the only valid and necessary conclusion, namely, that if the clerics they denounce are public non-Catholics, then they cannot validly hold office in the Church, leads to a complete disfiguring — and thus rejection — of the Catholic dogma that the Church possesses unity in Faith.

This is no small matter. To say that the Church does not have only one single Faith is to deny the visibility of the Church and also her unity, which is exactly what Francis does: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:5); “…the faith which all are bound to believe and to profess is one” (Roman Catechism, “The Creed”, Article 9); “I believe inone, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” (Nicene Creed). These Semi-Traditionalists (see, there is a reason why we call them “semi-”, “pseudo-”, and “neo-traditionalists”!) ignore Pope Pius’ teaching that profession of the True Faith is necessary for Church membership. If Kasper, Cupich, etc., are heretics, that is because they do not profess that true Faith! It will not do to say that the heresy isn’t manifest, for if it weren’t manifest, that is, public, then none of the bloggers and commentators would know about it. Neither will it work to say that we must wait for a Church declaration to consider them heretics, because the pundits in question have not waited for such a judgment before correctly labeling the culprits “heretics”; and besides, per Pius XII’s teaching, which says nothing of a declaration, the mere fact that one externally professes a different Faith suffices to lose membership in the Church, even regardless of personal culpability. In 1208, Pope Innocent III, writing to the Archbishop of Terraco, declared: “By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic (Church) outside which we believe that no one is saved” (Apostolic Letter Eius ExemploDenz. 423).

And so we find that the Neo-Traditionalists are in fact embracing the same heresy as Francis, that membership in the Church is not severed by the public profession of heresy — and this is the consequence of their stubborn refusal to accept Sedevacantism.

Oh, the irony in it all! The Semi-Trads want to combat heresy with more (or even the same) heresy; they want to be traditional by adhering to non-traditional ideas. Oh, what a contorted picture of Catholic doctrine and dogma the non-sedevacantists have painted, and all because, for one reason or another, they do not wish to say that Francis and his five predecessors have been antipopes!

We will end this post by encouraging you to view, perhaps not for the first time, this interesting conference given by Bp. Donald Sanborn on the Modernist ecclesiology of the Vatican II Church:

This conference was given by Bp. Sanborn in 2004, following the fiery debate His Excellency had with Dr. Robert Fastiggi, a theologian of the Novus Ordo Sect, on the same topic. You can view this debate here.

The vacancy of the Apostolic See is staring us all in the face. Closing our eyes and pretending it weren’t so, will not change that.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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