The usual jazz…
Francis at the World Council of Churches:
Analysis & Commentary
Photo: Magnus Aronson/WCC
One really has to hand it to them. Although they always say essentially the same things, somehow the Modernists always manage to come up with some new buzzwords for the headlines.
Such was the case again today, June 21, when Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to participate in the 70th anniversary celebrations for the ecumenical World Council of Churches (WCC). If Francis had one catchphrase today, it was “new ecumenical spring.” More about that further on.
The three main events of Francis’ trip consisted of an ecumenical prayer service, an ecumenical meeting, and the Novus Ordo worship service (“Holy Mass”) at the end of the day. The full program released by the Vatican can be accessed here:
- Official Program of Francis’ “Ecumenical Pilgrimage” to Geneva (June 21, 2018)
Numerous photos of the different activities were released by the Vatican and by the World Council of Churches:
Perhaps the most telling photograph of the whole event is the one displayed below, which shows Francis admiring a most hideous and blasphemous “crucifix” that had been gifted to him (click photos to enlarge):
Francis can add this abominable piece of junk to his ever-growing collection of blasphemous and twisted “art”, which already includes a Communist hammer-and-sickle crucifix, an occultist crucifix, a monster-ance, and many other ugly things.
Some people think that a disgusting crucifix is not objectionable because the Crucifixion of Our Lord was ugly in reality. However, the Church does not admit this line of reasoning: “On September 11, 1670, a decree of the Holy Office forbade the making of crucifixes ‘in a form so coarse and artless, in an attitude so indecent, with features so distorted by grief that they provoke disgust rather than pious attention'” (source). People need to understand that the reason why we have crucifixes today is not in order to portray the actual Crucifixion precisely as it looked when it took place, but in order to recall to mind the love of God for sinners as He gave Himself up in propitiation for our sins, so as to elicit acts of Faith, hope, and charity from souls.
Before we take a look at the endless wisdom with which Francis graced his listeners today, let’s first review a few other things that might otherwise get drowned out.
The first papal claimant to visit the World Council of Churches’ headquarters in Geneva was Antipope Paul VI, on June 10, 1969. The traditional Catholic position with regard to the WCC and ecumenism/religious unity in general can be found here:
- The Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches
- Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue: Indifferentism and Syncretism repackaged
It turns out that Francis’ visit to Geneva is so expensive that the local diocese, which the Vatican has asked to carry the costs, may have to file bankruptcy as a result. The total cost of the trip is estimated at $2,200,000, and even after promised donations the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva, and Fribourg will lose approximately $1,000,000, according to a report by Swiss Info. Francis is on record saying he wants a “poor church for the poor”. This is surely one way to do it — although it is not clear what benefits the poor would derive from a church that is equally poor.
The first speech Francis gave at the WCC today was an address at the interreligious prayer session:
So many words, so little meaning — that’s a good way to summarize the content. Taking his cue from the motto for the WCC event (“Walking, Praying, and Working Together”), Francis drew up his own talking points and then tried to read them back into a Scripture passage that had been recited earlier. He spoke first about “walking” and later about “in the Spirit.” His reflections contained such completely unfounded assertions as, “only in company do we make good progress” (how so? says who?) and the usual mantra about “constant conversion” and “renewal of our way of thinking”, whatever that means (ask ten ecumenists and you’ll get eleven different answers).
Francis’ endless blather about “following the lead of the Spirit” is so much hot air, since these people cannot even agree on who the Holy Spirit is (for example, the Eastern Orthodox claim the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father only but not from the Son, which is a heresy). But then, what else is Bergoglio going to say? The whole ecumenical program is a lot of words and a lot of activities that have no clear goal. Yes, they all want “unity” somehow, but none of them — least of all Club Francis in the Vatican — desires anyone’s conversion to Catholicism, which is the only religious unity that is in agreement with the will of Jesus Christ (see Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos).
In January of 2017, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist, “Cardinal” Kurt Koch, publicly admitted that the different parties involved in ecumenical dialogue cannot even agree on so much as the point of it all:
These people “are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit” (Mt 15:14). They have brought so much ruin to souls, it really cries to heaven for vengeance.
Then Francis said something he knew was going to generate headlines:
It might be objected that to walk in this way is to operate at a loss, since it does not adequately protect the interests of individual communities, often closely linked to ethnic identity or split along party lines, whether “conservative” or “progressive”. To choose to belong to Jesus before belonging to Apollos or Cephas (cf. 1 Cor 1:12); to belong to Christ before being “Jew or Greek” (cf. Gal 3:28); to belong to the Lord before identifying with right or left; to choose, in the name of the Gospel, our brother or our sister over ourselves… In the eyes of the world, this often means operating at a loss. Let us not be afraid to operate at a loss! Ecumenism is “a great enterprise operating at a loss”. But the loss is evangelical, reflecting the words of Jesus: “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it” (Lk 9:24).
(Antipope Francis, Address at Ecumenical Prayer of World Council of Churches, Vatican.va, June 21, 2018)
This may sound good on the surface but it obviously promotes the heresy of Indifferentism and implies that the Protestant sects are part of the Body of Christ, that the differences between Catholics and baptized non-Catholics are essentially not matters of heresy vs. revealed truth and schism vs. unity but simply political and selfish squabbles. The references to St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and the Galatians are misleading, since in both cases the Apostle was addressing Catholics. Francis is comparing disputes among Catholics with disputes between Catholics and heretics, thereby showing that he does not believe in the Catholic religion at all. Not that we didn’t know that already.
For those who may be unaware of what the true Catholic Church teaches on the matter, have a look at these beautiful and exceptionally clear words of a real Pope from 150 years ago:
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. For, whereas such societies are destitute of that living authority established by God, which especially teaches men what is of Faith, and what the rule of morals, and directs and guides them in all those things which pertain to eternal salvation, so they have continually varied in their doctrines, and this change and variation is ceaselessly going on among them. Every one must perfectly understand, and clearly and evidently see, that such a state of things is directly opposed to the nature of the Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ; for in that Church truth must always continue firm and ever inaccessible to all change, as a deposit given to that Church to be guarded in its integrity, for the guardianship of which the presence and aid of the Holy Ghost have been promised to the Church for ever. No one, moreover, can be ignorant that from these discordant doctrines and opinions social schisms have arisen, and that these again have given birth to sects and communions without number, which spread themselves continually, to the increasing injury of Christian and civil society.
(Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Iam Vos Omnes; underlining added.)
Ecumenism is indeed operating at a loss but it is not an evangelical loss, as Francis so blasphemously claims, it is a loss of Faith and therefore a loss of souls.
After blowing more hot air, Francis proceeded to declare that heretics ought to evangelize together with Catholics: “Even now we can walk in the Spirit: we can pray, evangelize and serve together. This is possible and it is pleasing to God!” We know that “evangelization” means the proclamation of the Good News, the Gospel. But precisely what gospel does Francis think heretics and Catholics should proclaim together? The true gospel of Catholicism? The heretics won’t do that. Or the false gospels of Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Methodism, Presbyterianism, Charismaticism, Jansenism, etc.? Catholics cannot do that. So then what does “evangelizing together” mean?
More empty phrases followed: “Walking, praying and working together: this is the great path that we are called to follow today.” Oh, that’s interesting. If that’s the call for “today”, precisely what have they been doing the last 70 years? And precisely what should be so pleasing to God about walking, praying, or working with that lesbian pro-abortion bishopess that’s sitting next to me?
It is true, as Francis says next, that the division among those who profess to be followers of Christ is contrary to His Will. That is certain. However, it is likewise contrary to His Will to seek for some kind of unity other than that which He has established for His Church. As Pope Pius XI’s Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus states: “Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.”
In other words, there is but one true flock and one true Shepherd, and those who are deceived by heresy and/or schism are not a part of it (they are therefore part of some other, false flock and follow some other, false shepherd); and the way to remedy this situation is for them to return to the “harbor of truth and unity of faith”. This is the true Catholic teaching, and it goes to show how fake and deceptive it is for Francis to promote the Sacred Heart, when he constantly teaches doctrines contrary to that Sacred Heart.
The video of the activities including Francis’ first speech is embedded here:
The next big speech Francis gave was his address at the ecumenical meeting, and it was a doozy. Again we will have a critical look at a few excerpts.
The Jesuit antipope said:
If we are here today, it is also thanks to all those who went before us, choosing the path of forgiveness and sparing no effort to respond to the Lord’s will “that all may be one” (cf. Jn 17:21)…. The World Council of Churches was born in service to the ecumenical movement, which itself originated in a powerful summons to mission: for how can Christians proclaim the Gospel if they are divided among themselves? This pressing concern still guides our journey and is grounded in the Lord’s prayer that all may be one, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21).
This line of reasoning is verbatim what was condemned by Pope Pius XI in 1928:
Is it not right, it is often repeated, indeed, even consonant with duty, that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united in mutual charity? Who would dare to say that he loved Christ, unless he worked with all his might to carry out the desires of Him, Who asked His Father that His disciples might be “one” [Jn 17:21]. And did not the same Christ will that His disciples should be marked out and distinguished from others by this characteristic, namely that they loved one another: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” [Jn 13:35]? All Christians, they add, should be as “one”: for then they would be much more powerful in driving out the pest of irreligion, which like a serpent daily creeps further and becomes more widely spread, and prepares to rob the Gospel of its strength. These things and others that class of men who are known as pan-Christians continually repeat and amplify; and these men, so far from being quite few and scattered, have increased to the dimensions of an entire class, and have grouped themselves into widely spread societies, most of which are directed by non-Catholics, although they are imbued with varying doctrines concerning the things of faith. This undertaking is so actively promoted as in many places to win for itself the adhesion of a number of citizens, and it even takes possession of the minds of very many Catholics and allures them with the hope of bringing about such a union as would be agreeable to the desires of Holy Mother Church, who has indeed nothing more at heart than to recall her erring sons and to lead them back to her bosom. But in reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.
(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos, n. 4)
Pius XI then proceeds to explain how this ecumenical thinking contradicts the very foundations of Catholicism, and readers who have not done so before are urged to read the Pope’s encyclical in its entirety. Unlike the Modernist twaddle from the Vatican II antipopes, real papal encyclicals are a joy to read and very educational and edifying.
Of course, Francis also obsessive-compulsively regurgitated the Novus Ordo mantra of ecumenism being “irrecovable”: “Thanks to the Holy Spirit, who inspires and guides the journey of ecumenism, the direction has changed and a path both old and new has been irrevocably paved….” Precisely why the commitment to ecumenism should be irrevocable when they just overturned 1,900 years of anti-ecumenist doctrine and practice, is never explained. As is typical for the ecumenical program, things like this are simply asserted, they are never proved or explained.
Next, Francis clearly implies once more that the motley crew of heretics gathered before and around him is part of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, an abominable absurdity: “In the face of the recurring temptation to tailor it to worldly ways of thinking, we must constantly remind ourselves that Christ’s Church grows by attraction.” This he says in the context of calling the non-Catholics he addressed to a common missionary effort — as though heretical sects had a mission from God.
Then, finally, came the quote with the ecumenical springtime: “I am convinced that an increased missionary impulse will lead us to greater unity. Just as in the early days, preaching marked the springtime of the Church, so evangelization will mark the flowering of a new ecumenical spring.”
Again we have to ask what gospel Francis thinks Catholics can preach in unison with heretics and schismatics of every stripe. Whatever it might be, it definitely cannot be the true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, for “[w]hosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God” (2 Jn 9); and, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal 1:8-9).
Whether Francis came up with the term “new ecumenical spring” himself is doubtful. A few weeks ago, the pastor of some Protestant sect in Germany had already used almost the exact same phrase in an interview with “Fr.” Antonio Spadaro: “To me it looks as if we have reached a new spring with Pope Francis and his initiatives” (“Pope Francis at the World Council of Churches: An interview with Pastor Martin Robra”, La Civiltà Cattolica, May 31, 2018). By the way, the last “new springtime” that proceeded from the Vatican didn’t work out too well — just saying.
In any case, Francis then proceeded to speak about the event’s motto again: walking, praying, and working together. As for the walking, he suggested “a two-fold movement: in and out.” He elaborated: “In, so as to move constantly to the centre, to acknowledge that we are branches grafted onto the one vine who is Jesus (cf. Jn 15:1-8)” — as though Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Evangelicals, etc. were grafted onto Jesus Christ. He continued: “Out, towards the many existential peripheries of today’s world, in order to join in bringing the healing grace of the Gospel to our suffering brothers and sisters.” There simply is no “healing grace of the Gospel” apart from the true Gospel of the Catholic Church, and therefore no common ecumenical witness to it is possible. Minor detail.
Then Francis upped the ante on the use of metaphors with some real zingers sure to generate headlines: “Prayer is the oxygen of ecumenism. Without prayer, communion becomes stifling and makes no progress, because we prevent the wind of the Spirit from driving us forward.” No doubt there is a lot of wind in Francis’ words, and they surely proceed from some kind of spirit.
Lastly, it was a given that before long his favorite heresy would make an appearance again, his legendary “ecumenism of blood”:” May we never forget that our ecumenical journey is preceded and accompanied by an ecumenism already realized, the ecumenism of blood, which urges us to go forward.” There is no need to repeat all the arguments against this heresy here. Interested readers can consult our substantial post on the issue from years ago:
The video of the activities including Francis’ second speech is embedded here:
Thus far Francis’ two main speeches. The third one was a homily given at the “Mass”, and it was incredibly dull. It was focused on three buzzwords Francis picked from the Gospel of the day: “Father, bread, forgiveness.” You can read it here, but there will be no commentary. The video is here:
All in all, the day’s events were predictable: A lot of words were spoken, but very little was said; at least very little that had clear and concrete meaning, and even less that had Catholic meaning. Instead, heresy, error, and blasphemy abounded. And that’s what cost the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva, and Fribourg a whopping $2.2 million.
Image sources: oikoumene.photoshelter.com / screenshots from livestream at oikoumene.org
License: Used with permission / fair use