Heresy and blasphemy didn’t start with Francis…

The Day John Paul II blasphemed Jesus Christ and St. John the Baptist

A saint he ain’t: “Pope” John Paul II in a file photo dated Dec. 8, 2004

These days we hear a lot about blasphemy and heresy being committed by Jorge Bergoglio, the man better known by his stage name “Pope Francis”. Because of this, many good-willed but misled souls reminisce about Francis’ immediate predecessors, Benedict XVI (2005-2013) and John Paul II (1978-2005). The truth is, however, that when it comes to heresy and blasphemy, Francis is merely continuing a tradition begun by his Modernist forerunners.

On Dec. 16, 2016, we blasted Francis for outrageously claiming for a second time that St. John the Baptist, while he was imprisoned by Herod for denouncing his crime of adultery, doubted whether Jesus of Nazareth was truly the Messiah. (In March of this year, Francis admirer Mark Shea asserted the same nonsense.) It turns out this error is not new. As one of our readers pointed out to us, the very same affirmation had been made by “Pope” John Paul II (Bp. Karol Wojtyla) over 30 years ago while visiting a Lutheran church in Rome — but it was not the only outrageous statement he made on that occasion.

We are talking about an event that took place on Sunday, Dec. 11, 1983. John Paul II was visiting the Lutheran Christuskirche in Rome for a little ecumenical get-together when he delivered an Advent reflection in which he insulted both our Blessed Lord and His precursor, the Baptist. The text of this reflection is available at the Vatican web site in Italian, German, and Portuguese; an English translation was printed in the Jan. 9, 1984 edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano (p. 13).

The following is the relevant excerpt from the English translation of the address this “sainted Pope” gave to his ecumenical audience:

During this Advent time of salvation, our ears and our hearts are tense; they hear and perceive the good news of the one who has already come and who will return definitively. We experience often in our daily lives the anguishing truth of this transitory period. Do we not continually recall the situation of John the Baptist? As the Gospel tells us, he found himself in a decisive situation. He had to resolve the contradiction between the image that had been formed of the Messiah and his personal situation, determined by prison and the threat of death. John’s question was therefore serious, and was born from an emergency situation. “Are you ‘He who is to come’ or do we look for another”? (Mt 11,3)

Jesus reaches out to meet the anguished question of his precursor and brings his faith to certainty: the time of salvation, the kingdom of God has come. The Messiah is here. Without doubt the signs and wonders do not have a compelling nature. But whoever is able to understand the signs as an indication of the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies at the current moment can rejoice at being a citizen of God’s eschatological kingdom.

(Antipope John Paul II, Address during Ecumenical Meeting with Evangelical-Lutheran Community in Rome,, Dec. 11, 1983; translation: Osservatore Romano.)

In these two paragraphs are contained as many as three serious errors: (1) the claim that St. John the Baptist doubted that Jesus was truly the Messiah; (2) the implied claim that Faith is not certainty; and (3) the claim that the miracles worked by Christ are not compelling in themselves.

Let’s have a quick look at each of these in some greater detail.

(1) The claim that the Baptist doubted Jesus was the Messiah

Just how serious and outrageous of a claim this is against the Baptist may not be immediately apparent to all. We have explained this matter at length before and there is no need to repeat all the argumentation and documentation here. We recommend a review of our substantial post on this issue in refutation of Mark Shea:

St. John the Baptist would have failed abysmally in his prophetic mission, in his very reason for being chosen by God to be the Baptist, if he himself had been unsure about what he was to point out to everybody: “He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light… And I saw, and I gave testimony, that this is the Son of God” (Jn 1:8,34; cf. Mt 5:13).

What Wojtyla proposed to his Lutheran-“Catholic” audience is absurd and entirely without foundation.

(2) The claim that Faith is not certain

Here too John Paul II seems to foreshadow Francis, who constantly rails against those “rigid certainties” some of his people apparently still cling to. He wants everybody to leave “room for doubt”, as he blasphemously put it in a 2013 interview in America. Quite paradoxically, Bergoglio insists that doubt is an essential part of “genuine” Faith.

The true Catholic teaching is very much the opposite, and it is not difficult to understand: Doubt is incompatible with divine Faith — the two are mutually exclusive. He who doubts does not firmly believe what God has revealed, as he must; and he who firmly believes does not doubt: “Faith … must exclude not only all doubt, but all desire for demonstration”, the Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches in Article I.

Because divine Faith comes with infallible certitude, Pope Leo X was able to declare:

And since truth never contradicts truth, we declare every assertion contrary to the truth of illumined faith to be altogether false; and, that it may not be permitted to dogmatize otherwise, we strictly forbid it, and we decree that all who adhere to errors of this kind are to be shunned and to be punished as detestable and abominable infidels who disseminate most damnable heresies and who weaken the Catholic faith.

(Fifth Lateran Council, Bull Apostolici Regiminis; Denz. 738)

For the same reason, Pope Pius IX taught that Faith “frees reason from all errors and, by a knowledge of divine things, wonderfully elucidates it, confirms, and perfects it” (Encyclical Qui Pluribus, n. 6; Denz. 1635).

That St. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets of the Old Testament, had divine Faith is beyond question:

John beareth witness of him, and crieth out, saying: This was he of whom I spoke: He that shall come after me, is preferred before me: because he was before me…. The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world. This is he, of whom I said: After me there cometh a man, who is preferred before me: because he was before me.

(Jn 1:15; 1:29-30,36)

Thus it is clear that Antipope John Paul II has blasphemed the Baptist, unjustly accusing him of a mortal sin against Faith in the very Savior it was His mission to testify to.

(3) The claim that Christ’s Miracles don’t prove anything

During his address in the Roman Lutheran church, Wojtyla audaciously maintained: “Without doubt the signs and wonders [of Christ] do not have a compelling nature.” Here too the Polish pretend-Pope reveals himself to be a beta version of his Argentine successor, for Francis is also on record claiming that the miracles of Christ do not of themselves prove His Divinity but require Faith. This is a Modernistic thesis that implies the heresy of Fideism, as we have demonstrated here:

From the beginning, Modernists and their precursors have had a problem with the miracles of Christ and specifically with His Resurrection, the ultimate and greatest proof of His divinity. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has roundly condemned such affronts to Faith and reason:

Proof drawn from the miracles of Jesus Christ, sensible and striking for eyewitnesses, has in no way lost its force and splendor as regards subsequent generations. We find this proof with all certitude in the authenticity of the New Testament, in the oral and written tradition of all Christians. By this double tradition we should demonstrate it (namely, revelation) to those who either reject it or, who, not having admitted it, are searching for it.

(Pope Gregory XVI, Theses against Louis Eugene Bautain; Denz. 1624)

But how many wonderful and shining proofs are ready at hand to convince the human reason in the clearest way that the religion of Christ is divine and that “the whole principle of our doctrines has taken root from the Lord of the heavens above”;[4] therefore nothing exists more definite, more settled or more holy than our faith, which rests on the strongest foundations. This faith, which teaches for life and points towards salvation, which casts out all vices and is the fruitful mother and nurse of the virtues, has been established by the birth, life, death, resurrection, wisdom, wonders and prophecies of Christ Jesus, its divine author and perfector! Shining forth in all directions with the light of teaching from on high and enriched with the treasures of heavenly wealth, this faith grew famed and notable by the foretellings of so many prophets, the lustre of so many miracles, the steadfastness of so many martyrs, and the glory of so many saints! It made known the saving laws of Christ and, gaining in strength daily even when it was most cruelly persecuted, it made its way over the whole world by land and sea, from the sun’s rising to its setting, under the single standard of the Cross! The deceit of idols was cast down and the mist of errors was scattered. By the defeat of all kinds of enemies, this faith enlightened with divine knowledge all peoples, races and nations, no matter how barbarous and savage, or how different in character, morals, laws and ways of life. It brought them under the sweet yoke of Christ Himself by proclaiming peace and good tidings to all men!

Now, surely all these events shine with such divine wisdom and power that anyone who considers them will easily understand that the Christian faith is the work of God. Human reason knows clearly from these striking and certain proofs that God is the author of this faith; therefore it is unable to advance further but should offer all obedience to this faith, casting aside completely every problem and hesitation. Human reason is convinced that it is God who has given everything the faith proposes to men for belief and behavior.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Qui Pluribus, nn. 8-9; Denz. 1638-1639)

Not only is John Paul II’s denial of the compelling nature of Christ’s miracles blasphemy, it is also heresy:

However, in order that the “obedience” of our faith should be “consonant with reason” [cf. Rom. 12:1], God has willed that to the internal aids of the Holy Spirit there should be joined external proofs of His revelation, namely: divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies which, because they clearly show forth the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are most certain signs of a divine revelation, and are suited to the intelligence of all. Wherefore, not only Moses and the prophets, but especially Christ the Lord Himself, produced many genuine miracles and prophecies; and we read concerning the apostles: “But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal and confirming the word with signs that followed” [Mark 16:20]. And again it is written: “And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place” [2 Pet. 1:19].

[Canon 4] If anyone shall have said that miracles are not possible, and hence that all accounts of them, even those contained in Sacred Scripture, are to be banished among the fables and myths; or, that miracles can never be known with certitude, and that the divine origin of the Christian religion cannot be correctly proved by them: let him be anathema.

(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Ch. 3; Denz. 1790, 1813)

In his Syllabus against Modernist Errors, Pope St. Pius X condemned the following proposition: “When Jesus was exercising His ministry, He did not speak with this purpose, to teach that He was the Messias, nor did His miracles have as their purpose to demonstrate this” (Decree Lamentabili Sane, Error no. 28; Denz. 2028). If our Lord’s miracles, then, had demonstrating His Messianic dignity as their purpose, then obvioulsy they also objectively accomplished that purpose: “So shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it” (Is 55:11; cf. Jn 11:42).

It is precisely because Christ’s miracles were indeed compelling and proved Him to be truly the Son of God that the Pharisees had no excuse for rejecting Him. Our Lord Himself testified to the fact that His miracles prove His divinity and therefore demand an act of Faith in Him:

Jesus answered them: I speak to you, and you believe not: the works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though you will not believe me, believe the works: that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

(Jn 10:25,37-38)

For this reason the Jews — no less today than at the time of Christ — have an obligation to accept the true Messiah, but they are blinded by a veil over their hearts:

Having therefore such hope, we use much confidence: And not as Moses put a veil upon his face, that the children of Israel might not steadfastly look on the face of that which is made void. But their senses were made dull. For, until this present day, the selfsame veil, in the reading of the old testament, remaineth not taken away (because in Christ it is made void). But even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. But when they shall be converted to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.

(2 Cor 3:12-16)

In 2000, journalist Peter Seewald conducted one of his many interviews with “Cardinal” Joseph Ratzinger (the future “Pope” Benedict XVI), then the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Destruction of the Faith. During the conversation, Ratzinger blatantly defended the Jews’ blindness, claiming that the Old Testament can legitimately be interpreted in such a way that it does not point to Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah:

It is of course possible to read the Old Testament so that it is not directed toward Christ; it does not point quite unequivocally to Christ. And if Jews cannot see the promises as being fulfilled in him, this is not just ill will on their part, but genuinely because of the obscurity of the texts and the tension in the relationship between these texts and the figure of Jesus. Jesus brings a new meaning to these texts — yet it is he who first gives them their proper coherence and relevance and significance.

There are perfectly good reasons, then, for denying that the Old Testament refers to Christ and for saying, No, that is not what he said. And there are also good reasons for referring it to him — that is what the dispute between Jews and Christians is about….

(Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald, trans. by Henry Taylor [San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2002], p. 209)

What a staggering blasphemy! Christ Himself scolded the Pharisees for their stubborn unbelief, for their refusal to accept the scriptural testimony concerning Him: “And you have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him you believe not. Search the scriptures, for you think in them to have life everlasting; and the same are they that give testimony of me. And you will not come to me that you may have life” (Jn 5:38-40). His own disciples, too, our Lord rebuked for being slow in their understanding of the prophets: “Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken” (Lk 24:25).

And so in Ratzinger, like in Bergoglio, we see a kind of Fideism, a denial that Christ proved His Divinity and His Messianic Kingship with objective rational evidence. Take that away and what remains but emotion and whim? If there are “perfectly good reasons” to reject Jesus of Nazareth’s claim to fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah, then the evidence is not objectively compelling and hence cannot demand Faith. And so we see that the Modernism of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis, and all the other false shepherds leads ultimately to atheism, exactly as predicted by Pope St. Pius X, who in his encyclical against Modernism pointed out that “these errors … open wide the way to Atheism” (Pascendi, n. 14).

In 1910, St. Pius X issued the famous Oath against Modernism, which was required to be sworn “by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries”. The people who take it swear, among other things:

…I admit and recognize the external arguments of revelation, that is, divine facts, and especially miracles and prophecies, as very certain signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion; and I hold that these same arguments have been especially accommodated to the intelligence of all ages and men, even of these times.

(Pope Pius X, Motu Proprio Sacrorum Antistitum; Denz. 2145)

Ordained a priest in 1946 and consecrated a bishop in 1958, Karol Wojtyla was required to take this oath.

We thus conclude that besides being a heretic and a blasphemer, the “great” John Paul II was also a perjurer.

Image sources: / Osservatore Romano (screenshot)
License: Paid / Fair use

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