Conciliar Catechism chaos…
Bergoglio’s Lethal Injection:
Chaos ensues after Francis’ Death Penalty Update
Now that a few days have passed since Francis’ little aggiornamento to the so-called Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is time for a look at the chaos his move of declaring capital punishment to be contrary to the Gospel and human dignity, has caused in Novus Ordo Land.
The word “chaos” here is no exaggeration: The reactions to the amendment reflect the entire spectrum of those who profess themselves to be Roman Catholics and acknowledge the man’s claim to be Pope as valid, from ultra-liberal to hyper-traditionalist. Some are welcoming the change and accepting it with docility, others are trying to but are struggling to make sense of it. Then there are those who do not care what Francis says and have long tuned him out, whereas still others are simply shocked, bewildered, and upset. A review of the different reactions from various Novus Ordo clerics, theologians, philosophers, commentators, and bloggers reveals that one is veritably surveying a battlefield.
Before we proceed, a quick refresher might be in order. As regards the Catechism change on capital punishment, the following is — pardon the pun — Bergoglio’s death sentence: “Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person’, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide” (Antipope Francis, Rescript of Aug. 2, 2018).
That the secular press should see in Francis’ revision a substantial change goes without saying, and one really cannot fault them for it because no other conclusion is reasonable. But in this post we are not concerned with the reaction of the secular world; we will limit ourselves to what those who profess themselves to be a part of Francis’ religion are saying in response.
Thus we have gone through a whole slew of articles, posts, and audios from numerous sources professing to be Catholic. As a result, we have identified five major categories of how this is being received:
- The “No Substantial Change!” category, which asserts that Francis’ change is merely pastoral or, if doctrinal, represents a genuine development of doctrine, making explicit what was already implicit in the previous teaching.
- The “Church Teaching has Changed — hooray!” category, which holds that Francis has indeed changed doctrine in a substantial or significant way, and that this is a good thing.
- The “Church Teaching has Changed — he can’t do that!” category, which maintains that Francis has indeed changed doctrine in a substantial or significant way, but that this is a bad thing, either because he cannot, ought not, or is not allowed to do so.
- The “We need a Clarification!” category, which says that there is too much vagueness or ambiguity in the new text so that it is not certain what Francis is saying and therefore it is not certain what kind of change he has made, if any. The people of this persuasion are therefore asking for — you guessed it — a clarification.
- The “Whatever!” category, into which we have grouped those who had no coherent reaction, or where a clear position was not discernible or even attempted.
With this in mind, we now present to our readers the links to the various reactions:
Group 1: No Substantial Change!
- Steve Kellmeyer: “The Death Penalty Teaching Hasn’t Changed”
- Mark Shea: “Here is the new language of the Catechism on the death penalty”
- “Fr.” John Cavalcoli: “The killing of the enemy: reflections on the death penalty and related matters”
- “Mgr.” Stuart Swetland: Go Ask Your Father (Aug. 2, 2018)
- Patrick Madrid: The Patrick Madrid Show (Aug. 7, 2018)
- Edward Mechmann: “Pope Francis’s Challenging Lesson in Mercy”
Group 2: Church Teaching has Changed — hooray!
- Austen Ivereigh: “The pope is right: the death penalty has no place in Catholicism”
- Scott Eric Alt: “Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome Vol. XX: Death Penalty Edition”
- “Fr.” Jeffrey Kirby: “Pope’s death penalty teaching lies beyond prudential judgment”
- Francis DeBernardo: “What Does Change in Church’s Death Penalty Teaching Mean for LGBT People?”
- Mélinée Le Priol: “Death penalty and its logic of retribution not compatible with the Gospel”
- “Fr.” Thomas Reese: “Pope Francis pushes Catholics to actively oppose the death penalty”
- Paul Fahey: “Breaking News – Pope Changes Church’s Teaching on the Death Penalty”
- Adam Rasmussen: “Francis changes the Catechism: Death penalty now ‘inadmissible'”
Group 3: Church Teaching has Changed — he can’t do that!
- Vox Cantoris: “The ‘Pope’ Called Francis, this Jorge Bergoglio is a Heretic, a Danger to the Faith and an Enemy of Our Lord Jesus Christ”
- Roberto de Mattei: “Is the Death Penalty Intrinsically Evil?”
- Christopher Ferrara: “The Reversible Magisterium Is No Magisterium”
- Christopher Ferrara: “Killing Capital Punishment: Francis vs. the Catholic Church”
- Peter Kwasniewski: “Pope’s change to Catechism contradicts natural law and the deposit of Faith”
- Peter Kwasniewski: “Pope’s change to Catechism is not just a prudential judgment, but a rejection of dogma”
- “Fr.” David Nix: “What Catholics Are Missing in the Death Penalty Debate”
- Bro. Alexis Bugnolo: “An Open Letter to all the Faithful, from a Catholic of the Diocese of Rome”
- Edward Feser: “Pope Francis and Capital Punishment”
- Edward Feser: “The new Catechism text on the death penalty will damage the Church”
- Joseph Shaw: “The death penalty for the prestige of the Papacy”
- Restore D.C. Catholicism: “The Pope Has Uttered Heresy. Is The Seat Of Peter Vacant?”
- Steve Skojec: “Heresy in the Catechism. Wolf in the Vatican. No Shepherds in Sight.”
- Steve Skojec: “Pope Francis Is Wrong about the Death Penalty. Here’s Why.”
- “Fr.” John Zuhlsdorf: “Pope Francis changed the Catechism about the death penalty. What next? Wherein Fr. Z opines.”
- Rorate Caeli: “What was black is now white: Pope ‘changes Catechism’ to declare death penalty ‘inadmissible in all cases'”
Group 4: We need a Clarification!
- John Joy: “The Magisterial Weight of the New Text of the Catechism on the Death Penalty”
- Steven O’Reilly: “More Papal Confusion: Footnoting Francis throws his predecessors under the bus”
- Michael Pakaluk: “Cardinal Dulles’s Dubia”
- Church Militant: “The Devil Is in the Details: Pope Francis Changes Catechism on the Death Penalty”
- “Mgr.” Charles Pope: “Let’s Be Careful in Our Charges Regarding the New Wording of the Catechism on the Death Penalty”
- Alan Fimister: “Pope’s change to Catechism on death penalty is distressingly ambiguous”
Group 5: Whatever!
- “Fr.” John Hunwicke: “More on Deathgate”
- Sandro Magister: “The Absolute ‘No’ To the Death Penalty. A Victory For the Gospel, Or For ‘Secular Humanism’?”
- Dan Hitchens: “The Catechism and the death penalty: are Catholics right to be worried?”
- P. J. Smith: “The new catechism”
- Phil Lawler: “Pope Francis and the death penalty: another dose of confusion”
- Michael Voris: “Deflection. Distraction.”
So much for Francis being the principle of unity in the Catholic Church, otherwise known as Pope. In a way, one might say that just about anything of note that Francis says triggers reactions that can be grouped into one of these categories.
In 2016, this very “Pope” was reported to have said: “It’s not impossible that I will go down in history as the one who split the Catholic Church” (source). Francis is certainly trying to do his darndest to damage as many souls as possible. Although he is not actually the head of the Catholic Church, the problem is that most people in the world believe him to be. If he succeeds in formally dividing the Vatican II Church into two camps by means of a schism, this will arguably precipitate even greater harm to souls, as those on the conservative side of that split will mistakenly believe themselves to be the true Catholics who are untainted by Modernism and other heresy, when in fact they will simply be adhering to a less overt version of the same Modernism that Vatican II has unleashed on their church. This is a point we have made several times before on this blog:
We will leave our critical assessment of a select few of the above reactions to one of our next posts. In the meantime, you can watch EWTN anchor Raymond Arroyo discuss the issue with his guests “Fr.” Gerald Murray and Robert Royal on the Aug. 2 edition of his program The World Over (beginning at the 2:30 min mark). It is interesting to see conservative Novus Ordos trying to make sense of this mess their beloved “Holy Father” has created:
Perhaps the most remarkable of all the reactions to Francis’ Catechism change came from conservative Novus Ordo apologist Patrick Madrid in hours 2 and 3 of his Aug. 7 edition of The Patrick Madrid Show. Clearly aware of the perennial Catholic teaching on capital punishment, Madrid was forced by the laws of logic to put forward the absurd contention that it is “a pastoral opinion that Pope Francis is asserting”, and that this opinion is “different from the doctrinal truth that the death penalty is not morally illicit” (hour 2, beginning at the 33:21 min mark).
In other words, Madrid is claiming that Francis is leaving the “doctrinal truth” of the permissibility of capital punishment untouched — something he agrees no Pope could possibly change — and merely applying a “pastoral approach” (both phrases are Madrid’s) that forbids it for the present time. That this argument runs afoul of the fact that Francis has amended the Novus Ordo Catechism to say that “the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person‘”, is an objection Madrid is unable to answer (underlining added). A caller who contended that this statement is verifiably false, Madrid was not able to gainsay.
Madrid’s justification for holding this counter-factual position of the change being Francis’ “pastoral view” was that it was the only way to keep all religious truths coherent, else one would have to conclude that Catholicism is false. But of course there is a third option, one that unfortunately did not seem to enter into Madrid’s mind: Perhaps the man who mandated this change to the Catechism is not actually the Pope. That would resolve the conundrum, wouldn’t it? In fact, it’s the only possible solution. But at least we now have a major Novus Ordo apologist on record conceding that if it is necessary to deny the facts to keep believing that Francis is Pope, then that’s just too bad for the facts.
As Francis continues to steamroller through the devastated vineyard his five predecessors have left him, we seem to be getting ever closer to witnessing the total collapse of the Novus Ordo Church.
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