CAUTION! Francis Speaks!
Francis’ Subtle Heresy: Who is a True Christian?
We all know that Francis likes to talk a lot, and he especially likes to point out what, in his view, is required to be a “true” Christian: You must be this way or that way, and you cannot do this or that. For example, you must always “include”, you must welcome everyone without distinction, you cannot be a [insert Bergoglian insult of your choice], you cannot have a funeral face, you cannot have a flight-attendant smile, you cannot be “closed in on yourself”, etc., ad nauseam. On an almost daily basis, we keep hearing the same Modernist blather from a pseudo-theological mind stuck in the 1960s.
What a lot of people seem to miss, however, is that when Francis says that unless you do this or that, or stop doing this or that, you are not a “true Christian”, he is actually uttering heresy. It is Catholic dogma that what makes you a true Christian is supernatural Faith, and true Faith can exist even without Charity. A Faith without this Charity would not be a saving Faith, it is true, meaning that it would not lead you to Heaven if Charity not be added, but would nevertheless be a true, supernatural Faith, and it would make you a true Christian, a true Catholic.
So, on January 28, 2016, Francis preached a homily in which he once again promoted his “all are welcome” dogma, in the face of a Europe currently being invaded by hordes of anti-Christian Muslims, most of whom are precisely not refugees but mere migrants — not starving families with little children but mostly well-fed, strong, young, testosterone-filled men. Here is what the papal impostor had to say:
And this is one of the traits of a Christian who has received the light in Baptism and must give it. That is, the Christian is a witness. Testimony. One of the peculiarities of Christian behavior. A Christian who brings this light, must show it because he is a witness. When a Christian would prefer not to show the light of God but prefers his own darkness, this enters his heart because he is afraid of the light. And the idols, which are dark, he likes best. So he lacks: he’s missing something and is not a true Christian. Witness: a Christian is a witness. Of Jesus Christ, the Light of God. He has to put that light on the lampstand of his life.
(“Pope: The Christian has a big heart that welcomes all”, News.va, Jan. 28, 2016; underlining added.)
Aside from the fact that Francis only rolls out the “idolatry” accusation against Catholics, never against actual idolaters, and disregarding for the moment that the “Pope” here is being completely hypocritical in his exhortation to be a witness to Christ — we need only recall, for example, his obsessive desire to hide the cross or crucifix, his stubborn refusal to ever preach Christ to Muslims or Jews, instead reaffirming them in their errors — what Francis uttered here is a Protestant heresy, condemned by the Council of Trent. It is the heresy that Faith without works (“Charity”) is not a true Faith:
Reality Check: “If any one saith, that, grace being lost through sin, faith also is always lost with it; or, that the faith which remains, though it be not a lively faith, is not a true faith; or, that he, who has faith without charity, is not a Christian; let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Session VI, Canon 28; underlining added).
Of course, when a man who does not himself possess or profess the true Faith, presumes to lecture the world on what constitutes true Faith, it is not exactly surprising that he should get it wrong.
Lest we be misunderstood, it is necessary to draw some distinctions here so we are clear about what we are saying: Faith without works, that is, the virtue of Faith without the virtue of Charity, will not justify, will not lead to salvation. In this sense it is therefore a dead Faith, as St. James says: “For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead” (Jas 2:26). However, it is nevertheless a true Faith, albeit dead, as the Council of Trent defined infallibly.
How profoundly important this is can be seen when we consider the implications of Francis’ heresy. If Faith without works were not a true Faith, then this would mean that everytime a Catholic loses Charity, i.e. is in mortal sin, every time a Catholic “doesn’t welcome all” or is “closed in on himself”, etc., he is no longer a Christian, no longer a Catholic. It would mean that any and all mortal sin would expel one from Church membership. And this in turn would mean that, since we cannot know who is or isn’t in the state of grace at any particular point in time, we could never know who is actually a Catholic, who is a member of the Church. The visibility of the Church would vanish, and it is no coincidence that Protestants deny precisely this visibility.
Even more so, since those who are not members of the Church logically also cannot hold a position of authority in the Church (cf. Canon 188 §4), it would then follow that when a pastor, a bishop, or even a Pope commits a mortal sin and thus loses the virtue of charity (sanctifying grace in the soul), he would at once cease being a valid pastor, local bishop, or Pope. So one could never know who one’s legitimate shepherds are who have the valid authority to rule, teach, and sanctify them. Chaos would result, and the Church could not seriously claim to be the only Ark of Salvation, since one would not even be so much as able to identify the Church at any point in history.
In contrast to the Protestant heresy subtly endorsed by Bergoglio, Pope Pius XII taught in his beautiful encyclical on the Church:
Nor must one imagine that the Body of the Church, just because it bears the name of Christ, is made up during the days of its earthly pilgrimage only of members conspicuous for their holiness, or that it consists only of those whom God has predestined to eternal happiness. It is owing to the Savior’s infinite mercy that place is allowed in His Mystical Body here below for those whom, of old, He did not exclude from the banquet. For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy. Men may lose charity and divine grace through sin, thus becoming incapable of supernatural merit, and yet not be deprived of all life if they hold fast to faith and Christian hope, and if, illumined from above, they are spurred on by the interior promptings of the Holy Spirit to salutary fear and are moved to prayer and penance for their sins.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 23; underlining added.)
Catholic teaching is very clear. It is necessary to have Faith as well as Charity (“works”) to save one’s soul, and it is Charity that gives life to Faith and makes it fruitful. With every mortal sin, Charity is lost and so we no longer possess the supernatural life of grace. However, Faith is not lost, unless, of course the sin was one against Faith itself, such as heresy or apostasy.
The Council of Trent beautifully elaborated on this point:
That, by every mortal sin, grace is lost, but not faith.
In opposition also to the subtle wits of certain men, who, by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent, it is to be maintained, that the received grace of Justification is lost, not only by infidelity whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin whatever, though faith be not lost; thus defending the doctrine of the divine law, which excludes from the kingdom of God not only the unbelieving, but the faithful also (who are) fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liers with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners, and all others who commit deadly sins; from which, with the help of divine grace, they can refrain, and on account of which they are separated from the grace of Christ.
(Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter 15; underlining added.)
So we see that it is not simply an academic question of terminology, as in, “Oh well — he says dead faith, you say false faith; what’s the difference?” The difference is enormous. It ultimately impacts whether or not we can know who is and isn’t a Catholic. That’s particularly important in our day, when so many people claim to be Catholics but in fact are not.
How, then, do we determine who is a member of the Church? Pius XII addressed this question in the encyclical already quoted, making the matter very easy to understand:
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.”
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 22; underlining added.)
So, to be a member of the Church, to be a Catholic, you must (1) be validly baptized; (2) profess the true Catholic Faith; (3) not be in schism; and (4) not be under excommunication (here canonists and moralists draw some more distinctions, but these need not concern us here).
Note in particular point no. 2: You must profess the True Faith. Pius XII does not say you need only to believe it, regardless of what you profess. This distinction, again, is crucial because it directly impacts the visibility of the Church: While it is possible, through invincible ignorance, to mistakenly assent to a heresy and yet retain the virtue of Faith, if you outwardly profess your adherence to this heresy, you cease to be a member of the Church. (This contradicts Francis’ other error, this time an error of excess contrary to his error of defect being exposed here, according to which all the baptized are members of the Church, regardless of what Faith they profess. This too is heresy.)
For this reason, the Catholic Church cannot regard individual members of heretical sects as Catholics even if they are not culpable with regard to their heresies and perhaps even possess the virtue of Faith. (The rejection of this all-important consideration is one of the fundamental errors of the False Ecclesiology of Vatican II, which grants “partial communion” to heretics on account of a valid baptism. Please also listen to our podcast on this question.)
For the same reason, the 1917 Code of Canon Law, compiled under Pope St. Pius X and solemnly promulgated by His Holiness Pope Benedict XV, legislates that any public defection from the Faith results in an immediate and automaticloss of office for all clerics, without the need for a declaration: “Any office becomes vacant upon the fact and without any declaration by tacit resignation recognized by the law itself if a cleric: … 4.° Publicly defects from the Catholic faith” (Canon 188 §4). This loss of authority is not a punishment imposed by the Church but simply the necessary and therefore automatic consequence of ceasing to be a member of the Church due to public profession of heresy. (On this, please see also “The Chair Is Still Empty” and “Public Heretics and Loss of Office”.)
Defection from the Faith — heresy and apostasy — are simply incompatible, by their very nature, with being a member of the Catholic Church, which is essentially visible according to the divine constitution of her Founder, our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ. (The same goes for schism, which, however, is a sin against charity, not against Faith.)
So, if we take a good look at all of this, what do we conclude? We conclude that there is a delightful irony here: Francis himself is not a true Christian, and he shows this, among many other things, in his teaching about what is necessary to be a true Christian! But not being a true Christian but a heretic, nay an apostate, he is not a member of the Catholic Church and cannot hold any position of authority in her. He is not the Pope and has no right to teach anyone, least of all Catholics, on matters of religion. His “faith” is not only a “dead” faith, it is much worse: it is non-existent. He has nofaith, none whatsoever! For the Faith cannot be had in degrees but only as a whole or not at all:
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: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved” (Athanasian Creed).
(Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 24)
Now don’t let yourself be deceived by the two or three “Catholic” things Francis says on occasion, and which the Modernist “conservative” apologists love to harp on, for as Pope Leo XIII pointed out:
“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.” The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium.
(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, n. 9)
Not looking too good for Bergoglio and his Modernist gang, huh? Just as a liar does not cease to be a liar just because he tells the truth on rare occasion, so neither does Francis cease to be a heretic just because he says a few little things compatible with Catholicism now and again. Even a broken clock is right twice a day — by accident.
But for all those Ratzinger fans who are now thinking, “Oh, if only Benedict XVI hadn’t resigned! If only we still had him! Benedict, Benedict!” — we have a little nostalgia stopper: Some years ago, Fr. Ratzinger uttered the exact same Protestant heresy as Mr. Bergoglio: “[F]aith, if it is true, if it is real, becomes love, becomes charity, is expressed in charity. A faith without charity, without this fruit, would not be true faith. It would be a dead faith” (Benedict XVI, General Audience, Nov. 26, 2008). So says Benedict XVI. Who is right? Ratzinger, already under suspicion of heresy in the 1950s, or the infallible Council of Trent?
“Hermeneutic of continuity,” anyone?