Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Insufferable drivel under the guise of Catholicism

A Naturalist Lent:
Dissecting Francis’ Ash Wednesday Sermon

Granted, we’re a bit late in covering this, but so much is happening with the Francis Show these days that it’s hard to give everything a thorough treatment in a timely fashion. At least we’re getting around to this before Lent is entirely over.

On Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, “Pope” Francis inaugurated the Lenten season with another one of those extraordinary sermons only he can give. The Novus Ordo news service Zenit has provided an English translation:

People who would like to do some extra Lenten penance can do so by watching the video here.

This doozy of a Lenten homily is such a prime example of Francis’ Naturalism that we want to dissect it and show how Francis continually drags the supernatural down to the level of the natural and only uses God and a few other supernatural concepts as a veneer to make his Naturalism seem Christian.

So let’s proceed now and dissect his Ash Wednesday sermon:

The season of Lent is a favourable time to remedy the dissonant chords of our Christian life and to receive the ever new, joyful and hope-filled proclamation of the Lord’s Passover. The Church in her maternal wisdom invites us to pay special attention to anything that could dampen or even corrode our believing heart.

We are subject to numerous temptations. Each of us knows the difficulties we have to face. And it is sad to note that, when faced with the ever-varying circumstances of our daily lives, there are voices raised that take advantage of pain and uncertainty; the only thing they aim to do is sow distrust. If the fruit of faith is charity – as Mother Teresa often used to say – then the fruit of distrust is apathy and resignation. Distrust, apathy and resignation: these are demons that deaden and paralyze the soul of a believing people.

Already this is quite an odd way to begin a Lenten sermon. He speaks of “dissonant chords” that may “dampen” and “corrode” our “hearts”. Could it be any more vague? Francis continually uses poetic language filled with metaphors — and usually rather boorish ones — for three reasons: because (a) they require no theology; (b) they make for great headlines; and (c) they allow for multiple interpretations so that no clear meaning is discernible — which has the distinct advantage for him that he can cause chaos and confusion among the masses without anyone being able to pin him down on any particular error.

Then the Jesuit apostate brings up temptations but only mentions such vague concepts as “distrust”, “apathy”, and “resignation” — concerning what? We are not told. We are only told that they are “demons that deaden and paralyze” our souls. But this is not true of these three concepts per se; it really depends on their object. For example, distrust in the promises of this world, apathy regarding whether we be praised or rebuked for a good work, and resignation to the will of God are very noble and laudable things. The impression that distrust, apathy, and resignation are bad in themselves that Francis gives by refusing to be specific, then, is false.

What may qualify as a “dampening” or “corroding” of our hearts, is anyone’s guess.

The pseudo-pope continues:

Lent is the ideal time to unmask these and other temptations, to allow our hearts to beat once more in tune with the vibrant heart of Jesus. The whole of the Lenten season is imbued with this conviction, which we could say is echoed by three words offered to us in order to rekindle the heart of the believer: pausesee and return.

In his homilies, Francis likes to enumerate various (usually off-the-wall) concepts that he then proceeds to elaborate on. That’s his style. This sermon here is no exception. “Pause, see, and return”? Whatever. He made it up.

But now comes the most interesting part. Francis starts giving us his ideas about pausing, seeing, and returning, and it is here that we clearly see his penchant for Naturalism, always keeping the focus on the temporal, the mundane, the natural:

Pause a little, leave behind the unrest and commotion that fill the soul with bitter feelings which never get us anywhere. Pause from this compulsion to a fast-paced life that scatters, divides and ultimately destroys time with family, with friends, with children, with grandparents, and time as a gift… time with God.

Anyone who, like yours truly, has to deal with the Vatican II Sect under Francis on a daily basis, knows that no one is more successful at ensuring that life is fast-paced and scatters, divides, and ultimately destroys time with others than “Pope” Francis himself. The last 5 years have been a veritable deluge of news and events involving Francis. No one keeps journalists, bloggers, and commentators busier than Jorge Mario Bergoglio. “If a wise man contend with a fool, whether he be angry or laugh, he shall find no rest”, says Sacred Scripture (Prov 29:9).

Notice that in the above quote Francis does mention God, although only at the very end. By itself this need not indicate anything, but in the case of Francis, it is a symptom emblematic of his entire theology and philosophy: man first, and, if there is need, maybe also God, but only secondarily and only at the service of man. We recall that when Francis shared his 10 tips for a happy life with the world a few years ago, God did not make an appearance at all. Apparently God is not needed for a happy life according to Mr. Bergoglio — when of course the truth is that only God can give us a life that is truly happy and that will culminate in eternal happiness in Heaven.

Francis continues:

Pause for a little while, refrain from the need to show off and be seen by all, to continually appear on the “noticeboard” that makes us forget the value of intimacy and recollection.

Pause for a little while, refrain from haughty looks, from fleeting and pejorative comments that arise from forgetting tenderness, compassion and reverence for the encounter with others, particularly those who are vulnerable, hurt and even immersed in sin and error.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the urge to want to control everything, know everything, destroy everything; this comes from overlooking gratitude for the gift of life and all the good we receive.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the deafening noise that weakens and confuses our hearing, that makes us forget the fruitful and creative power of silence.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the attitude which promotes sterile and unproductive thoughts that arise from isolation and self-pity, and that cause us to forget going out to encounter others to share their burdens and suffering.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the emptiness of everything that is instantaneous, momentary and fleeting, that deprives us of our roots, our ties, of the value of continuity and the awareness of our ongoing journey.

Pause in order to look and contemplate!

At least the first four of these are a perfect description of Francis’ own public vices: The biggest narcissist of Vatican City, who goes to confession in public and can suddenly kneel to do so, counsels us not to want to be seen by all. The man who refuses to meet with the authors of the Dubia in a private audience and hurls insults left and right, advises against the use of pejoratives and wants tenderness in encounters. The “Dicator Pope” who is a control freak obsessed with knowing everything that is going on behind his back tells his sheeple not to give in to the urge to control everything. The man who will not stop talking now tells us about the importance of silence. There is no need for comedians any longer — the world now has “Pope” Francis.

But that’s not even the point here. The point is something else: Did you notice that every single one of these sins, these failings he mentions, bears relation to other people? Everything he enumerates here is horizontal, pertaining to our fellow-man. He does not mention a single vice that has God for its object. For example, he could have talked about the need to refrain from our ingratitude towards God, our indifference towards God, any hatred we may harbor for God that may manifest itself in murmuring, etc., our superstitions that offend God, our misuse of His holy Name, our breaking of the Lord’s day, our distrust in God’s promises, our lackluster use of His graces, etc.

What does the “Pope” do instead? He talks about politically-correct, interreligiously-acceptable, and content-less concepts such as “sterile and unproductive thoughts”, unspecified things that “deprive us of our roots” and of the “value of continuity”. Whatever! It’s all stuff the Dalai Lama couldn’t disagree with, and that’s by design.

Sure, Francis does mention gratitude for the gift of life, but he does not specify who gave it to us. Parents? God? Society? Hardly anyone denies that gratitude is good and important, and even atheists will typically be grateful, but theirs is a gratitude not directed at any being in particular, just a general sense of “oh well, I’m so glad I can enjoy this.”

We are always told that Francis speaks the way he does because he “speaks the language of the people” — yeah, right! If that were true, there would be no question about what he means. Instead, the Vatican II Sect needs professional Francis explainers like Jimmy Akin who have published entire books, such as the newly-released Pope Francis Lexicon and Tom Hoopes’ What Pope Francis Really Said.

After having been treated to the Bergoglian thoughts on pausing, we are next subjected to his ideas on seeing:

See the gestures that prevent the extinguishing of charity, that keep the flame of faith and hope alive. Look at faces alive with God’s tenderness and goodness working in our midst.

And there we go again: Francis speaks of undefined “gestures” that he relates to charity, by which he means the corporal works of mercy, “God’s tenderness and goodness working in our midst.” Amazingly, Francis does mention faith and hope, but these two virtues are only mentioned in passing, and their significance is distorted and drowned out by the excessive focus on improving natural life in this world, as the following lines make clear:

See the face of our families who continue striving, day by day, with great effort, in order to move forward in life, and who, despite many concerns and much hardship, are committed to making their homes a school of love.

See the faces of our children and young people filled with yearning for the future and hope, filled with “tomorrows” and opportunities that demand dedication and protection. Living shoots of love and life that always open up a path in the midst of our selfish and meagre calculations.

See our elderly whose faces are marked by the passage of time, faces that reveal the living memory of our people. Faces that reflect God’s wisdom at work.

We interrupt here briefly to call special attention to the brief mention of God that Francis managed to squeeze into the last sentence.

And he fails to surprise: The Argentinian antipope appropriates the Most Holy Trinity for support of his Naturalistic babble about the elderly. Having long sidelined the true and ultimate end of man — the attainment of the Beatific Vision through supernatural faith, hope, and charity, aided by grace — Bergoglio substitutes a merely natural purpose for man; and to the elderly in particular he assigns the grandiose task of being the “living memory” that can share its wisdom with the young. What happens to their purpose when the elderly are no longer able to remember, or to communicate, or to be of any other “use” to the rest of the world — well, that’s a conclusion Francis’ Naturalism is not yet willing to draw, but eventually it will because the premises are in place. That is what happens when you substitute the supernatural purpose of our lives with some natural counterfeit. Ideas have consequences.

The spiritually blind Jesuit apostate continues to (mis)lead the blind — about seeing:

See the faces of our sick people and the many who take care of them; faces which in their vulnerability and service remind us that the value of each person can never be reduced to a question of calculation or utility.

This sounds very nice and compassionate but is fallacious. Of course for the time being Francis has to put up some kind of defense against the conclusions that will inevitably follow from his Naturalist worldview. Therefore, he quickly presents an appeal to emotion which, however, will not stand up to the logical scrutiny of those who, either now or later, will not be afraid to think his Naturalism through to its logical conclusion. Whereas he gratuitously asserts that the faces of the sick and those who care for them remind us of the value of each person, someone else can assert, just as gratuitously, that they do not — that, in fact, they remind us that there is no point to prolonged suffering, especially with no hope of recovery, and that those who insist on being served in their neediness are putting an undue burden on those who serve them.

Of course, to take such a position would be utterly wrong and criminal — that’s clear. But the point is that there is nothing in Bergoglio’s logic here that would prevent such a conclusion from being drawn, and eventually people will draw it. That is the frightening reality. Francis can say all sorts of nice things about the elderly, but unless he has sound theology to back it up, his words have no foundation.

The evil of euthanasia is one of the greatest moral threats of our time, and no one, when faced with a heavy burden of service unaided by grace (cf. Mt 11:30), will be swayed by Bergoglio’s Naturalist appeal to the “living memory of the people” that is supposedly “revealed” in old people’s faces. This kind of sentimental phenomenological hot air will not be able to withstand the ever-growing pressure of secular society to rid itself of those who are ill, suffering, or considered burdensome. When faced with the hardship that the caring for a loved one who has no real hope of recovery can present, a lot of people will quickly decide that maybe that living memory of the people isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and decide in favor of creating their very own — happy — memories instead.

That is what Francis’ Naturalism will lead to, or, at the very least, will fail to prevent. Only the genuine and traditional Roman Catholic religion will be able to definitively refute the errors and sophisms of the culture of death. The elderly have value and dignity, not because they share wisdom with their progeny, but because they were created in the image and likeness of God (see Gen 1:26-27), redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ (see Rom 5:9; Heb 9:12), and have been (or have the potential to be) sanctified through divine grace (see Rom 15:16; 1 Cor 6:11). Their ultimate purpose is the same as that of anyone else: to see God face to face one day in Eternal Bliss (see 1 Cor 13:12), and therefore in this life to bear their Cross and follow Christ (see Lk 9:23), who alone is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6).

We continue with Mr. Bergoglio:

See the remorseful faces of so many who try to repair their errors and mistakes, and who from their misfortune and suffering fight to transform their situations and move forward.

It was clear that although we might not hear a single mention of supernatural grace in Francis’ Ash Wednesday sermon, we were definitely going to be told about someone moving forward.

Here the papal pretender had an opportunity to speak of supernatural contrition, yet instead he speaks about mere undefined “remorse”. The context in which Francis speaks is Naturalist: “errors and mistakes” that have resulted in “misfortune and suffering”. There is not the slightest indication here of a supernatural motive. Sincere though remorse may be, if it is not supernatural contrition, then it will avail nothing to salvation. Judas Iscariot certainly had remorse for his betrayal of Christ (see Mt 27:3) but he did not have contrition, and for this reason he despaired, killed himself, and went “to his own place” (Acts 1:25; cf. Mk 14:21; Jn 17:12; Mt 27:5). Those who think that the point of life consists in continually moving forward will one day come to find out that there is only one more place left for them to move forward to: the abyss of hell.

Next, Francis hints at the Lord Jesus Christ:

See and contemplate the face of Crucified Love, who today from the cross continues to bring us hope, his hand held out to those who feel crucified, who experience in their lives the burden of failure, disappointment and heartbreak.

Alas, Francis again serves the Naturalist agenda: Christ is referred to, yes, but not as the Redeemer whose Passion and Cross atones for our sins, enables our souls to be reborn in sanctifying grace, and gives us supernatural hope for a happy eternity if we but persevere. Rather, Bergoglio acts as though Christ had suffered and died for us simply to show solidarity with our physical human condition and our temporal misery. That, in fact, is the heresy of Zollitschism, as long-time readers of this blog may recall.

Wrapping up his profound insights on seeing, Francis preaches:

See and contemplate the real face of Christ crucified out of love for everyone, without exception. For everyone? Yes, for everyone. To see his face is an invitation filled with hope for this Lenten time, in order to defeat the demons of distrust, apathy and resignation. The face that invites us to cry out: “The Kingdom of God is possible!”.

It is just more of the same. He brings up the Crucified Christ, this time explicitly, but again only in the service of Naturalism. He talks about hope, but hope in regard to what? The theological virtue of hope is the assurance we have of God keeping His promises, coming to our aid with His grace, forgiving our sins, and leading us to Eternal Life — based on the infinite divine goodness and the merits of Jesus Christ. Is this the hope Francis wants us to draw from seeing and contemplating the Face of the Crucified? No, of course not. He wants a natural hope to “defeat the demons of distrust, apathy, and resignation.” And this, so he makes his hapless adherents believe, is somehow the “Kingdom of God.”

Lastly, we come to the third of the three Bergoglian nuggets: “return.”

Pause, see and return. Return to the house of your Father. Return without fear to those outstretched, eager arms of your Father, who is rich in mercy (cf. Eph 2:4), who awaits you.

Return without fear, for this is the favourable time to come home, to the home of my Father and your Father (cf. Jn 20:17). It is the time for allowing one’s heart to be touched… Persisting on the path of evil only gives rise to disappointment and sadness. True life is something quite distinct and our heart indeed knows this. God does not tire, nor will he tire, of holding out his hand (cf. Misericordiae Vultus, 19).

Return without fear, to join in the celebration of those who are forgiven.

Considering everything else Francis has said in his sermon, this portion isn’t too bad.

Indeed we must turn from sin and return to God: “Return to the Lord, and turn away from thy injustice, and greatly hate abomination” (Ecclus 17:23). It is always God who must take the first step, by providing the grace for conversion: “Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted: renew our days, as from the beginning” (Lam 5:21).

Once more, however, Francis misses a great opportunity for preaching the true Gospel. He asserts: “Persisting on the path of evil only gives rise to disappointment and sadness”. There are as many as three things wrong with this claim: (1) it is made gratuitously, that is, without evidence; (2) it is Naturalist because the motive offered for turning away from sin is a natural motive only, not a supernatural one (such as fear of hell or the love of God); (3) in its Naturalist context, it is not even true, at least not necessarily, as Holy Scripture itself testifies in abundance:

Why then do the wicked live, are they advanced, and strengthened with riches? Their seed continueth before them, a multitude of kinsmen, and of children’s children in their sight. Their houses are secure and peaceable, and the rod of God is not upon them. Their cattle have conceived, and failed not: their cow has calved, and is not deprived of her fruit. Their little ones go out like a flock, and their children dance and play. They take the timbrel, and the harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment they go down to hell. Who have said to God: Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what doth it profit us if we pray to him? (Job 21:7-15)

Thou indeed, O Lord, art just, if I plead with thee, but yet I will speak what is just to thee: Why doth the way of the wicked prosper: why is it well with all them that transgress, and do wickedly? (Jer 12:1)

And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazareth evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented. (Lk 16:25)

In fact, is precisely the worldly prospering of the wicked that entices many people to sin in the first place:

But my feet were almost moved; my steps had wellnigh slipped. Because I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners. For there is no regard to their death, nor is there strength in their stripes. They are not in the labour of men: neither shall they be scourged like other men. Therefore pride hath held them fast: they are covered with their iniquity and their wickedness. Their iniquity hath come forth, as it were from fatness: they have passed into the affection of the heart. They have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high. They have set their mouth against heaven: and their tongue hath passed through the earth. Therefore will my people return here and full days shall be found in them. And they said: How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold these are sinners; and yet abounding in the world they have obtained riches. And I said: Then have I in vain justified my heart, and washed my hands among the innocent. And I have been scourged all the day; and my chastisement hath been in the mornings. If I said: I will speak thus; behold I should condemn the generation of thy children. I studied that I might know this thing, it is a labour in my sight: Until I go into the sanctuary of God, and understand concerning their last ends. But indeed for deceits thou hast put it to them: when they were lifted up thou hast cast them down. How are they brought to desolation? they have suddenly ceased to be: they have perished by reason of their iniquity. As the dream of them that awake, O Lord; so in thy city thou shalt bring their image to nothing.

(Psalm 72:2-20)

Because many public sinners and unbelievers thrive in the temporal world, the motive Francis offers for turning from sin — that it “only gives rise to disappointment and sadness” — will rightly be unconvincing to many and therefore produce a disdain or contempt for Catholicism (which is what Francis’ religion is thought to be) instead of conversions. It is the supernatural end of man that must be the motive for conversion, not some natural purpose of avoiding unhappiness in this life.

And now we have finally arrived at the last paragraph from Francis’ garbage sermon:

Return without fear, to experience the healing and reconciling tenderness of God. Let the Lord heal the wounds of sin and fulfil the prophecy made to our fathers: “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek 36: 26).

The apostate Jesuit’s obsession with “tenderness” manifests itself here for a third time, and although the concept does have its valid application with regard to God (see Ps 39:12; Dan 9:18), it is Francis’ excessive and exaggerated use of the idea that creates the impression of an effeminate God and an effeminate religion. His constant use of related concepts — those of caressing and dreaming, for example — compounds that picture even more.

The same can be said for his overuse of the notion of sins as being our wounds, which makes it seem as though sins were things that happen to us, more or less by unfortunate circumstance (he gives that same impression even with regard to crimes against the secular law). The truth is, of course, that sin is our own doing for which we ourselves are responsible. We commit sin; it doesn’t simply happen to us. We are active in sinning, not passive: “We have sinned, we have done wickedly, we have acted unjustly, O Lord our God, against all thy justices” (Bar 2:12).

Our sins very often cause wounds in others and leave wounds behind in ourselves. But to constantly make it appear as though our sins were wounds themselves, is to distort the truth and makes sin seem less serious than it really is. If anything, our sins have wounded Jesus Christ: “But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed” (Is 53:5).

Francis ends his Naturalist homily with repeating once more his battle cry:

Pause, see and return!

Yes, let’s pause here and see that it’s time to return to sanity and genuine Catholic theology.

Francis’ Naturalism is very popular because it appeals to the masses, especially (but not only) to those who are not and have no intention of ever becoming Catholic.

Naturalism, the de-emphasis or outright denial of the supernatural, is a hallmark of Modernism. But Christ warned us: “That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit” (Jn 3:6); and, “It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing” (Jn 6:64). With Francis’ ultimate focus being always on the natural, the mundane, and the temporal, we know what fruits this false gospel will yield: “For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting” (Gal 6:8).

His sermon for Ash Wednesday 2018 is a prime example of how this “Pope”, instead of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, pushes a sorry Naturalist counterfeit (cf. Gal 1:8-9). God does get an occasional mention, but He is invoked only as a support for his Naturalism. In a diabolical inversion of the truth, Bergoglio uses the supernatural as a booster for the natural, to make it more acceptable for Christians. Thus the supernatural is placed at the service of the natural, rather than lifting the natural to the supernatural plane. But those who refuse to be supernaturally transformed by grace will find that their natural happiness will soon come to its irrevocable end: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom 6:23).

Francis’ Naturalism has been on display again and again over the years, and it has been so excessive and so obvious that last year even a prominent atheist took notice and lambasted Francis for it:

In Bergoglio’s religion, God is merely a bandaid to be applied as needed, usually to solve people’s problems, forgive their sins, and make them feel good. Other than that, Bergoglio has no use for God. He believes in man and the religion of man, just as St. Pius X warned over 100 years ago when he denounced that “enormous and detestable wickedness, so characteristic of our time — the substitution of man for God” (Pope Pius X, Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique, n. 9).

Never before has man’s blasphemous audacity been more visible in the Modernist Vatican than under “Pope” Francis.

Image source: YouTube via Vatican Media (screenshot, cropped)
License: Fair use