Bergoglio and Anti-Clericalism

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Investigating the charge of “Clericalism”…

Bergoglio and Anti-Clericalism:

Bl. Noël Pinot prays “Introibo ad altare Dei” as he’s led to the guillotine as part of the French Revolution’s anti-clerical campaign. He had been seized as he was about to offer Mass.

Why has Francis appropriated Rhetoric derived from Virulent Enemies of the Catholic Church?

by Francis del Sarto

“I believe the Lord wants a change in the Church. I have said many times that a perversion of the Church today is clericalism”, declared “Pope” Francis in a private meeting with 28 of his fellow Novus Ordo Jesuits during his visit to Lithuania. “I know that the Lord wants the Council to make headway in the Church” (source).

And many, indeed, have been the instances where Francis has invoked the specter of “clericalism”, dating back as far as his 2013 social justice warrior manifesto — er, “apostolic exhortation” — Evangelii Gaudium, where he pushed the Vatican II “people of God” nonsense, complaining that

[l]ay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the people of God. The minority – ordained ministers – are at their service. There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church. We can count on many lay persons, although still not nearly enough, who have a deeply-rooted sense of community and great fidelity to the tasks of charity, catechesis and the celebration of the faith. At the same time, a clear awareness of this responsibility of the laity, grounded in their baptism and confirmation, does not appear in the same way in all places. In some cases, it is because lay persons have not been given the formation needed to take on important responsibilities. In others, it is because in their particular Churches room has not been made for them to speak and to act, due to an excessive clericalism which keeps them away from decision-making.

(Francis, Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, n. 102; emphases added.)

This is in keeping with the post-conciliar promotion of the idea of having more “lay ministers” to take over functions traditionally held by clergy, such as lectors, eucharistic ministers (you know, the ones that are dispensed from making any ablution after communion), presiders at communion services in the ever growing number of “priestless parishes”, and even pastoral life coordinators (administrators) for those parishes.

This theme of clergy riding roughshod over legitimate lay aspirations (“aspirations” they never knew they had until the innovators began to engrain it into them after the Second Vatican Council) is one we shall return to presently, for it informs Bergoglio’s obsession in doing battle against “clericalism”. And calling it an obsession isn’t an overstatement, as a recent article on the Aleteia site consisting of a compilation of times he’s railed against it, is entitled “5 Of the many times Pope Francis has warned against clericalism”. It’s in that piece that we find him coming as close as he ever does at defining what he means by the term, but which in typical Bergoglian fashion ends up sounding more like a caricature:

“There is that spirit of clericalism in the Church, that we feel: clerics feel superior; clerics distance themselves from the people. Clerics always say: ‘this should be done like this, like this, like this, and you – go away!’” It happens “when the cleric doesn’t have time to listen to those who are suffering, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned: the evil of clericalism is a really awful thing; it is a new edition of this ancient evil [of the religious ‘authorities’ lording it over others].” But “the victim is the same: the poor and humble people, who await the Lord.” ~ Homily in Casa Santa Marta, December 13, 2016

(Francis, quoted in Kathleen N. Hattrup, “5 Of the many times Pope Francis has warned against clericalism”, Aleteia, Aug. 23, 2018; bold print given.)

One cannot but find it strange that the man who has no problem suggesting that religious authorities would lord it over others, apparently without the least bit of intentional irony, has with considerable justification been referred to as The Dictator Pope! (The fury of his tyranny seems aimed in only one direction: at those who seek to uphold anything resembling traditional Catholicism.)

Clergy and Laity

Before getting deeper into the subject of “clericalism”, which Francis curiously calls a perversion, let’s take a look at the root word cleric, and how the Church defines it. In his Catholic Encyclopedia article, Fr. William Fanning, S.J., writes:

A person who has been legitimately received into the ranks of the clergy. By clergy in the strict sense is meant the entire ecclesiastical hierarchy. Consequently a cleric is one who belongs in some sense to the hierarchy. For this it is necessary that he have received at least the tonsure. The clergy by Divine right form an order or state which is essentially distinct from that of the laity. (Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIV, De sac. ord., can. i, 6.) Christ did not commit the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments to the faithful in general, but to certain carefully defined persons, as the Apostles and seventy-two Disciples. They also received the power of governing the flocks; which power is represented by the Keys, a well-known Oriental symbol for authority. That the distinction between clergy and laity was recognized in New Testament times is plain from St. Paul’s statement that the bishops have been placed by the Holy Ghost to rule the Church (Acts 20:28), for the right to rule implies a correlative obligation to obey. Presbyters are continually distinguished from the laity throughout the Pauline Epistles.

The word cleric (Lat., clericus from clerus) is derived from the Greek kleros, a “lot”. In the Septuagint, this word is used in the literal sense quite frequently, though not in its later technical sense…It is not easy to determine exactly how the word came to have its present determinate meaning. The “Pontificale Romanum” refers to clerics as being those whose “lot” is the Lord Himself, and St. Jerome explicitly derives the name from that fact. These statements do not give us, however, the steps by which kleros, “lot” became “clergy” or “cleric”. Probably the best suggested explanation is, that from lot or portion, it came to mean a particular lot or office assigned to some one, and finally the person himself possessing the lot or office.

(Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “Cleric”; italics given; underlining added.)

Specifically, the Council of Trent, in definitively condemning the heresy of the Reformation that claimed any distinction between the clergy and the laity was simply one in degree and not in kind, declared that through the Sacrament of Order an indelible mark is imprinted upon the soul of the recipient (although it is true that not every cleric possesses holy orders):

But, forasmuch as in the sacrament of Order, as also in Baptism and Confirmation, a character is imprinted, which can neither be effaced nor taken away; the holy Synod with reason condemns the opinion of those, who assert that the priests of the New Testament have only a temporary power; and that those who have once been rightly ordained, can again become laymen, if they do not exercise the ministry of the word of God. And if any one affirm, that all Christians indiscrimately are priests of the New Testament, or that they are all mutually endowed with an equal spiritual power, he clearly does nothing but confound the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is as an army set in array; as if, contrary to the doctrine of blessed Paul, all were apostles, all prophets, all evangelists, all pastors, all doctors.

CANON IV. If any one saith, that, by sacred ordination, the Holy Ghost is not given; and that vainly therefore do the bishops say, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; or, that a character is not imprinted by that ordination; or, that he who has once been a priest, can again become a layman; let him be anathema.

(Council of Trent, Session XXIII, Chapter 4)

The teaching here proscribed was one of many novel teachings introduced by the Reformers that “flattered the multitudes”, as Fr. Johann Peter Kirsch writes in the Catholic Encyclopedia. These included certain aspects that will have a familiar ring to post-Vatican II readers:

…the use of the vernacular at Divine service, the popular religious hymns used during services, the reading of the Bible, the denial of the essential difference between clergy and laity. In this category may be included doctrines which had an attraction for many — e.g. justification by faith alone without reference to good works, the denial of freedom of will, which furnished an excuse for moral lapses, personal certainty of salvation in faith (i.e. subjective confidence in the merits of Christ), the universal priesthood, which seemed to give all a direct share in sacerdotal functions and ecclesiastical administration.

(Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “The Reformation”; underlining added.)

Over 350 years after the Reformation, Pope Leo XIII saw the need to remind the Catholic world of the difference between clergy and laity:

…[in] the Church of God, … by the manifest will of her Divine Founder, there are to be distinguished in the most absolute fashion two parties: the teaching and the taught, the Shepherd and the flock, among whom there is one who is the head and the Supreme Shepherd of all.

To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor. In this subordination and dependence lie the order and life of the Church; in it is to be found the indispensable condition of well-being and good government. On the contrary, if it should happen that those who have no right to do so should attribute authority to themselves, if they presume to become judges and teachers, if inferiors in the government of the universal Church attempt or try to exert an influence different from that of the supreme authority, there follows a reversal of the true order, many minds are thrown into confusion, and souls leave the right path.

(Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua)

Writing in 1947, a mere 22 years before the official Novus Ordo Missae would be unleashed upon the world by “Pope” Paul VI, Pope Pius XII left no doubt about what the Catholic position is concerning the sacerdotal priesthood:

For there are today, Venerable Brethren, those who, approximating to errors long since condemned teach that in the New Testament by the word “priesthood” is meant only that priesthood which applies to all who have been baptized; and hold that the command by which Christ gave power to His apostles at the Last Supper to do what He Himself had done, applies directly to the entire Christian Church, and that thence, and thence only, arises the hierarchical priesthood. Hence they assert that the people are possessed of a true priestly power, while the priest only acts in virtue of an office committed to him by the community. Wherefore, they look on the eucharistic sacrifice as a “concelebration,” in the literal meaning of that term, and consider it more fitting that priests should “concelebrate” with the people present than that they should offer the sacrifice privately when the people are absent.

It is superfluous to explain how captious errors of this sort completely contradict the truths which we have just stated above, when treating of the place of the priest in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. But we deem it necessary to recall that the priest acts for the people only because he represents Jesus Christ, who is Head of all His members and offers Himself in their stead. Hence, he goes to the altar as the minister of Christ, inferior to Christ but superior to the people. The people, on the other hand, since they in no sense represent the divine Redeemer and are not mediator between themselves and God, can in no way possess the sacerdotal power.

All this has the certitude of faith. However, it must also be said that the faithful do offer the divine Victim, though in a different sense.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, nn. 83-85; underlining added.)

Although “Pope” Francis has not openly or directly expressed any of these condemned ideas regarding the sacred priesthood, at least not so far as we are aware (not that we would be in the least surprised to learn he had somewhere along the way, as he has done with many other teachings), that he has done so in cloaked language is not difficult to discern. He hides behind such phraseology as “growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church” (really, after 2000 years, the Church is just figuring this out now?), “many lay persons … have a deeply-rooted sense of community” (Francis’s collectivism is showing), and “lay persons have not been given the formation needed to take on important responsibilities” (that is, he wants them to subsume important priestly responsibilities), and so on.

Make no mistake. The change Bergoglio is fraudulently claiming God wants for the Church represents a radical reimagining of what is meant by clergy and laity, a tectonic shift away from the orthodox understanding of the terms, and one that will help further facilitate the formation of an ecumenical “super-church” that eventually would lead to the destruction and replacement of the Catholic Church, were that not impossible.

Clericalism and Anti-Clericalism

«Le cléricalisme, voilà l’ennemi!». “Behold the enemy – clericalism,” The famous phrase pronounced on May 4th 1876 in the French Chamber of Deputies by Léon Gambetta (1838-1882), leading exponent of The Grand Orient of France, could easily have been made Pope Francis. This phrase, however, was considered the watchword by the Masonic secularism of the 19th century, and by applying it, the governments of the French Third Republic, carried out in the following years, an “anti-clerical” political program which had its stages in the secularization of the school, the expulsion of religious orders from the national territory, divorce and the abolition of the concordat between France and the Holy See. The clericalism Pope Francis speaks of is apparently different, but deep down he identifies it with that traditional conception of the Church which over the centuries was fought against by the Gallicans, the Liberals, the Freemasons and the Modernists.

(Roberto de Mattei, “I will not say a Single Word about This”, Rorate Caeli, Aug. 28, 2018)

What Dr. Roberto de Mattei writes here gives us yet another excellent example of what sort of ideological company Jorge Bergoglio keeps. (Although we feel compelled to point out the inherent contradiction of rightly aligning Francis with mortal enemies of the Church such as the Masons and Modernists while at the same time wrongly referring to him as “Pope”, we’ll leave any in-depth commentary on such faux pas for another time. For now, we’ll just commend the professor for connecting some dots.)

While many members of the clergy throughout the ages have followed the path laid out for them by their Redeemer, some rising to the greatest heights of sanctity, some regrettably have not fulfilled their calling. But the random solitary bad priest is not what the attack against the Church known as “clericalism” is all about; what it asserts is that it is the supposed intrusion of clerical influence into society itself that is bad, and that this must be suppressed. This phantom menace is defined fairly accurately by Wikipedia, particularly as it notes that the primary target is institutional Catholicism:

Clericalism is the application of the formal, church-based, leadership or opinion of ordained clergy in matters of either the church or broader political and sociocultural import.

In a pejorative manner, “clericalism” is often used to denote ecclesiolatry, that is, excessive devotion to the institutional aspects of an organized religion, usually over and against the religion’s own beliefs or faith. This means that all issues, even those that may be beyond the religion’s jurisdiction, must be addressed by either clergy or their supporters. “Clericalism” is also used to describe the cronyism and cloistered political environs of hierarchical religions, usually Christian denominational hierarchy, and mainly in reference to the Roman Catholic Church.

Much debate over clericalism appears to dwell on whether the high clergy should have as much control over church offices and functions as they do, and whether the hierarchical and authoritarian nature of the traditional Catholic systems of promotion for clergy is effective in contemporary society.

(Wikipedia, s.v. “Clericalism”; bold print given.)

But for a better understanding of what this critique really entails, one needs to turn to a standard Catholic reference work, where the following comes from Monsignor Umberto Benigni, who is well-known for having significantly aided Pope St. Pius X in beating back the Modernist incursions. In the article, he demonstrates that the claims of the anti-clericalists are so many deceptions with the ultimate goal of attacking the Church and the faithful dedicated to her:

The war against Ultramontanism is accounted for not merely by its adversaries’ denial of the genuine Catholic doctrine of the Church’s power and that of her supreme ruler, but also, and even more, by the consequences of that doctrine. It is altogether false to attribute to the Church either political aims of temporal dominion among the nations or the pretence that the pope can at his own pleasure depose sovereigns that the Catholic must, even in purely civil matters, subordinate his obedience towards his own sovereign to that which he owes to the pope, that the true fatherland of the Catholic is Rome, and so forth. These are either pure inventions or malicious travesties. It is neither scientific nor honest to attribute to “Ultramontanism” the particular teaching of some theologian or some school of times past; or to invoke certain facts in medieval history, which may be explained by the peculiar conditions, or by the rights which the popes possessed in the Middle Ages (for example, their rights in conferring the imperial crown). For the rest, it is sufficient to follow attentively, one by one, the struggle kept up in their journals and books to be convinced that this warfare by the Rationalist-Protestant-Modernist coalition against “Clericalism” or “Ultramontanism” is, fundamentally, directed against integral Catholicism — that is, against papal, anti-Liberal, and counter-Revolutionary Catholicism.

(Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “Ultramontanism”; underlining added.)

[The charge of “Ultramontanism” has been leveled at Novus Ordo Watch, too, and it is a label for which we make no apologies, since “Ultramontanism and Catholicism are the same thing”, as the same Catholic Encyclopedia entry notes.]

As far as determining when the word clericalism came into being, only one site for etymologies offered 1849 as being the first instance of its use but gives no indication of where it was first used or in what context.

In 1886 the Spanish priest Don Felix Sarda y Salvany published a book entitled El Liberalismo es Pecado, translated into English as Liberalism is a Sin (online text here; buy paperback here). This work was vigorously assailed by the liberals, leading it to be submitted to Pope Leo XIII’s Vatican for review. The following year the Sacred Congregation of the Index issued its finding. Far from castigating Fr. Sarda and his book, as his critics sought, the Congregation ruled in his favor, noting both his piety and how his writing merited “great praise for his exposition and defense of the sound doctrine” (source).

Fr. Sarda’s “defense of sound doctrine” includes three mentions of “clericalism”, and each time it is to show how the enemies of Christ use it as part of their attack on the Church herself.

The first mention comes when he is setting forth how liberals and “liberal Catholics” fought tooth and nail against Pope Pius IX’s monumental Syllabus of Errors, a document hailed enthusiastically by all the faithful for upholding the rights of the Church against a sea of false doctrines.

On the other hand, writes Fr. Sarda,

[t]he Liberals denounced it with unsparing bitterness; the Liberal Catholics whittled it away by all manner of emasculating explanations. It was a document fatal to both; they had reason to fear it, the one execrating it, the other seeking with desperate subtlety to parry the blow, for the Syllabus is an official catalog of the principle errors of the day in the form of concrete propositions placed under the formal ban of the Church.

(Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany, Liberalism is a Sin, Chapter 11)

The fury with which these implacable foes of Christ and His Church railed against the Syllabus was in direct relation to their hatred for clericalism. The driving force behind it is not surprising, as Fr. Sarda declares:

When Liberals regard the Syllabus of Errors as their most detestable enemy, as the complete symbol of what they term Clericalism, Ultramontanism and Reaction, we may rest assured that it has been well interpreted in that quarter. Satan, bad as he is, is not a fool, and sees clearly enough where the blow falls with most effect. Thus, he has set the authority of his seal — which after God’s is most reliable — on this great work, the seal of his inextinguishable hate. Here is an instance in which we can believe the Father of Lies. What he most abhors and defames possesses an unimpeachable guaranty of its truth.

(Chapter 11; underlining added.)

Following on this, Fr. Sarda, noting how the thinking of liberals and their Catholic cousins has been “explicitly condemned by Pius IX”, asks rhetorically:

Do they not regard as their sole and most potent enemy what they contemptuously term “Clericalism”, “Ultramontanism”, and do they not describe the Church as medieval, reactionary, the opponent of progress and the nurse of superstition? When then the term is so intimately associated with a Rationalism so radically opposed to the Church, how may Catholics use it with any hope of separating it from its current meaning?

(Chapter 13; underlining added.)

The mention of Rationalism is very important here as being “intimately associated” with Liberalism, which links it to Modernism. In the encyclical letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Pope St. Pius X writes of how Modernists are “praised by the rationalists as fighting under the same banner” (n. 35).

The battle plans for Francis’s war on “clericalism” and his insistence to radically revamp ecclesiastical foundations so as to pave the way for a “dirty” and democratic Church was something St. Pius warned of in Pascendi more than a century before the fact as being part of the Modernist agenda:

They cry out that ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience which now wholly tends towards democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity and authority which is too much concentrated should be decentralized. The Roman Congregations and especially the index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified The ecclesiastical authority must alter its line of conduct in the social and political world; while keeping outside political organizations it must adapt itself to them in order to penetrate them with its spirit. With regard to morals, they adopt the principle of the Americanists, that the active virtues are more important than the passive, and are to be more encouraged in practice. They ask that the clergy should return to their primitive humility and poverty, and that in their ideas and action they should admit the principles of Modernism; and there are some who, gladly listening to the teaching of their Protestant masters, would desire the suppression of the celibacy of the clergy. What is there left in the Church which is not to be reformed by them and according to their principles?

(Pope Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, n. 38; underlining added.)

Returning to Liberalism is a Sin, Fr. Sarda’s description of the Church being “distinctly and completely opposed to Liberalism” mirrors the response of today’s true Catholics to Bergoglio and his Modernist, “anti-clericalist” cronies:

What then is the attitude of the Church towards Liberalism? Is not its entire hierarchy considered hostile to Liberalism? Does not Liberalism itself bear witness to this? What does the word “Clericalism” with which the Liberals have honored those most energetically opposed to their doctrine, prove, if not that they regard the Church as their most implacable adversary? How do they look upon the Pope, upon bishops, priests, religious of all kinds, on pious people and practical Catholics? “Clericals”, “clericals” always, that is, “anti-Liberals!” How then can we expect to find good faith on the part of a Liberal Catholic when orthodoxy is so distinctly and completely opposed to Liberalism?

(Chapter 15; underlining added.)

This quote is entirely applicable to our times and highly effective when juxtaposed with what “Pope” Francis says — so much so that Novus Ordo Watch has used it in a recent meme (click image for larger version; more memes available here):

As an aside, like 19th-century liberals and “liberal Catholics”, the Modernists of the Vatican II Sect have rejected Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus. Ignoring the fact that it was a formal ban against the erroneous propositions listed, what we see in Bergoglio’s “pontificate” is that Tradition itself becomes something subject to constant change, so that adherence to “outmoded” (i.e., orthodox) interpretations of Scripture and Church doctrines is indicative of having a “disordered attachment” to them.

Specifically, in 1982 then-“Cardinal” Joseph Ratzinger dismissed the Syllabus as one of the obsolete “positions taken by the Church through the initiatives of Pius IX and Pius X against the new period of History opened by the French Revolution”, and emphasized how the Council’s Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World) “plays the role of a counter-Syllabus to the measure that it represents an attempt to officially reconcile the Church with the world as it had become after 1789” (source).

The Deadly Side of Anti-Clericalism

Strange that a man who ostensibly was part of the College of Cardinals would speak admiringly of the French Revolution, particularly when one knows that a contemporary pope would refer to it as an assault on the Faith in a most literal way imaginable. Certain depraved men of letters in pre-revolutionary France, used their poisoned pens to stir up the people against the Church and her clergy in a blood-drenched frenzy.

In his History of Philosophy, Fr. Frederick Copleston, S.J., states:

…Voltaire [remarked] that Newton, Locke and Clarke would have been persecuted in France, imprisoned at Rome, burned at Lisbon. This zeal for toleration did not, however, prevent him from expressing lively satisfaction when in 1761 he heard it reported that three priests had been burned at Lisbon by the anti-clerical government.

(Rev. Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, vol. 6 [New York, NY: Doubleday, 1994], pp. 18-19; emphasis added.)

The writings of Voltaire, one of the leading historians and philosophers of the so-called Enlightenment, would greatly influence the French Revolution, which began a little over a decade after his death in 1778. His hatred of the Ancien Régime — i.e., the pre-1789 French political system — and especially of the Catholic Church helped define the revolt that would follow. Concerning the Church, his correspondence often contained the expression écrasez l’infâme (or “crush the loathsome thing”), which he used to show his utter contempt and detestation of the Catholic Faith.

Another important anti-clerical intellectual progenitor of the Revolution and Voltaire’s fellow Freemason, Denis Diderot, is said to have made the notorious statement: “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest” — or at least something very similar. If these and kindred writers would inflame minds with ill-will for the Church and her clergy, that conflagration of hatred would be brought into action during the Reign of Terror, where no Catholic loyal to Rome was safe — and many clergy, religious, and laity were guillotined or in other ways summarily executed.

What took place would prove to be the template of every anti-clerical totalitarian regime that followed. Clergy were particularly singled out, and in preparation for the coming onslaught, church properties were seized and clergy were ordered to sign their allegiance to the state, which often included them being coerced into — or, less often, voluntarily — abandoning their vow of celibacy to marry. As can be gleaned from the following extended passage, anti-clericalism had a central role in the dechristianization of France:

In August 1789, the State cancelled the taxing power of the Church. The issue of church property became central to the policies of the new revolutionary government. Declaring that all church property in France belonged to the nation, confiscations were ordered and church properties were sold at public auction. In July 1790, the National Constituent Assembly published the Civil Constitution of the Clergy that stripped clerics of their special rights — the clergy were to be made employees of the state, elected by their parish or bishopric, and the number of bishoprics was to be reduced — and required all priests and bishops to swear an oath of fidelity to the new order or face dismissal, deportation or death.

French priests had to receive Papal approval to sign such an oath, and Pius VI spent almost eight months deliberating on the issue. On 13 April 1791, the Pope denounced the Constitution, resulting in a split in the French Catholic church. Over fifty percent became abjuring priests (“jurors”), also known as “constitutional clergy”, and nonjuring [sic] priests as “refractory clergy”.

In September 1792, the Legislative Assembly legalized divorce, contrary to Catholic doctrine. At the same time, the State took control of the birth, death, and marriage registers away from the Church. An ever-increasing view that the Church was a counter-revolutionary force exacerbated the social and economic grievances and violence erupted in towns and cities across France.

In Paris, over a forty-eight-hour period beginning on 2 September 1792, as the Legislative Assembly (successor to the National Constituent Assembly) dissolved into chaos, three Church bishops and more than two hundred priests were massacred by angry mobs; this constituted part of what would become known as the September Massacres. Priests were among those drowned in mass executions (noyades) for treason under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Carrier; priests and nuns were among the mass executions at Lyons, for separatism, on the orders of Joseph Fouché and Collot d’Herbois. Hundreds more priests were imprisoned and made to suffer in abominable conditions in the port of Rochefort.

Victims of the Reign of Terror totaled somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000. According to one estimate, among those condemned by the revolutionary tribunals about 8 percent were aristocrats, 6 percent clergy, 14 percent middle class, and 70 percent were workers or peasants accused of hoarding, evading the draft, desertion, rebellion, and other purported crimes. Of these social groupings, the clergy of the Catholic Church suffered proportionately the greatest loss.

Under threat of death, imprisonment, military conscription, and loss of income, about twenty thousand constitutional priests were forced to abdicate and hand over their letters of ordination, and six thousand to nine thousand of them agreed or were coerced to marry. Many abandoned their pastoral duties altogether. Nonetheless, some of those who had abdicated continued covertly to minister to the people.

By the end of the decade, approximately thirty thousand priests had been forced to leave France, and several hundred who did not leave were executed. Most French parishes were left without the services of a priest and deprived of the sacraments. Any non-juring priest faced the guillotine or deportation to French Guiana. By Easter 1794, few of France’s forty thousand churches remained open; many had been closed, sold, destroyed, or converted to other uses.

Victims of revolutionary violence, whether religious or not, were popularly treated as Christian martyrs, and the places where they were killed became pilgrimage destinations. Catechising in the home, folk religion, syncretic and heterodox practices all became more common. The long-term effects on religious practice in France were significant. Many who were dissuaded from their traditional religious practices never resumed them.

(Wikipedia, s.v. “Dechristianization of France during the French Revolution”; underlining added.)

[It should be noted in passing that a central feature of this attack had already been a consequence of the Reformation over two hundred years prior to the French Revolution. Fr. Kirsch, in his Catholic Encyclopedia article referenced earlier, writes: “The Reformed clergy … possessed from the beginning only such rights as the civil authorities were pleased to assign them.”]

As is noted above, in 1791 Pope Pius VI bitterly denounced the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. In the encyclical Charitas, His Holiness spoke of it as representing “the war against the Catholic religion”, and warned that what was being implemented would:

…change the universal practice of the Church, disregard the opinions of the holy Fathers and the decrees of the councils, overturn the order of the hierarchy and control the election of bishops, destroy episcopal sees, and introduce a worse form into the Church after removing the better.

(Pope Pius VI, Encyclical Charitas, n. 2)

As for the anti-clerical civil oaths themselves, the Pope applauded those French bishops faithful to Rome, who in pastoral letters had declared that the oaths “should be regarded as perjury and sacrilege, unbefitting not merely the clergy but any Catholic; all actions which are based on these oaths should be seen as schismatic, null, void, and liable to severe censures” (n. 8).

And to drive home the fact that the cabalistic upheaval in France was first and foremost one against the Catholic Church and her clergy, Pope Pius stated that

the new Constitution of the Clergy is composed of principles derived from heresy. It is consequently heretical in many of its decrees and at variance with Catholic teaching. In other decrees it is sacrilegious and schismatic. It overturns the rights and primacy of the Church, is opposed to ancient and modern practice, and is devised and published with the sole design of utterly destroying the Catholic religion. For it is only this religion which cannot be freely professed, whose lawful pastors are removed, and whose property is taken over. Men of other sects are left at liberty and in possession of their property.

(Pope Pius VI, Encyclical Charitas, n. 11)

Here it is appropriate to mention that in the very same encyclical, Pius VI quotes his predecessor St. Leo I speaking about an episcopal intruder: “It is perfectly clear that he is wicked, since he is loved by the enemies of the faith” (n. 15). A more apt description of Bergoglio is hard to imagine.

Astute readers will perceive that the same diabolical tactics employed to divest the people of France of their Catholic birthright has been copied over and over again with few variations in the two centuries that have followed. It is for that reason that we will not go into great detail concerning the anti-clerical forces behind the revolutions and subsequent anti-Christian regimes set up in such unfortunate nations as Mexico, Spain, those “Iron Curtain” countries under the sway of Soviet Russia (Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, etc.), and the “Bamboo Curtain” in Asia (China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), and Cuba, save to note that in all of them there were initially attempts by these regimes to divide the clergy from the Vatican and make them mere puppets and collaborators of the atheistic governments.

Nevertheless, it is worth repeating part of Pope Pius XI’s 1937 encyclical on atheistic Communism, Divini Redemptoris, where without mentioning Freemasonry by name, he clearly indicts them, especially their part (“occult forces”) in the news media’s cover-up of the anti-Catholic atrocities:

A third powerful factor in the diffusion of Communism is the conspiracy of silence on the part of a large section of the non-Catholic press of the world. We say conspiracy, because it is impossible otherwise to explain how a press usually so eager to exploit even the little daily incidents of life has been able to remain silent for so long about the horrors perpetrated in Russia, in Mexico and even in a great part of Spain; and that it should have relatively so little to say concerning a world organization as vast as Russian Communism. This silence is due in part to shortsighted political policy, and is favored by various occult forces which for a long time have been working for the overthrow of the Christian Social Order.

Meanwhile the sorry effects of this propaganda are before our eyes. Where Communism has been able to assert its power — and here We are thinking with special affection of the people of Russia and Mexico — it has striven by every possible means, as its champions openly boast, to destroy Christian civilization and the Christian religion by banishing every remembrance of them from the hearts of men, especially of the young. Bishops and priests were exiled, condemned to forced labor, shot and done to death in inhuman fashion; laymen suspected of defending their religion were vexed, persecuted, dragged off to trial and thrown into prison.

Even where the scourge of Communism has not yet had time enough to exercise to the full its logical effects, as witness Our beloved Spain, it has, alas, found compensation in the fiercer violence of its attack. Not only this or that church or isolated monastery was sacked, but as far as possible every church and every monastery was destroyed. Every vestige of the Christian religion was eradicated, even though intimately linked with the rarest monuments of art and science. The fury of Communism has not confined itself to the indiscriminate slaughter of Bishops, of thousands of priests and religious of both sexes; it searches out above all those who have been devoting their lives to the welfare of the working classes and the poor. But the majority of its victims have been laymen of all conditions and classes. Even up to the present moment, masses of them are slain almost daily for no other offense than the fact that they are good Christians or at least opposed to atheistic Communism. And this fearful destruction has been carried out with a hatred and a savage barbarity one would not have believed possible in our age. No man of good sense, nor any statesman conscious of his responsibility can fail to shudder at the thought that what is happening today in Spain may perhaps be repeated tomorrow in other civilized countries.

(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Divini Redemptoris, nn. 18-20; underlining added.)

In China a state-run “Catholic” pseudo-church, called the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, was formed in 1957 by the Communist government. Like France’s Civil Oath for Clergy from a century-and-a-half before, it implemented a divide-and-conquer strategy, demanding of the clergy that they betray Christ and become employees of and collaborators with militant atheists. The faithful were forced underground in fear for their lives, and the Association was subsequently condemned the following year by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Ad Apostolorum Principis. There the Pope pronounced an excommunication on any bishop who bypassed a papal mandate and consecrated bishops for the Association, which “aims primarily at making Catholics gradually embrace the tenets of atheistic materialism, by which God Himself is denied and religious principles are rejected” (n. 11).

A Bergoglian Guide to Anti-Clericalism

Remember the ever-popular, ever-growing Pope Francis Little Bumper Book of Insults? Did you ever notice how many of his insults could come straight out of an anti-clericalist’s dictionary of put-downs? How many seek to cast members of the clergy in what he perceives as the worst possible light? Let’s take a look at some:

  • “Careerist Bishop!”
  • “Functionary!”
  • “Renaissance prince!”
  • “Inquisitorial beater!”
  • “That clericalism that hurts the Church so much!”
  • “Clerics feel they are superior, they are far from the people!”
  • “Elitist!”
  • “Ideologue!”
  • “Priest-tycoon!”
  • “Authoritarian!”
  • “Moralistic quibbler!”
  • “The closed, legalistic slave of his own rigidity!”
  • “They taught with a clericalist authority – that’s clericalism!”
  • “These clerics, who liked dressing up and acting just like if they were so many Majesties – and this is not the reality of the Gospel!”
  • “A psychology of princes!”
  • “Those who follow rules and smile [who] reveal the hypocrisy of clericalism – one of the worst evils!”
  • “Rigid Intermediaries!”
  • “Reactionaries!”
  • “Intellectual aristocrats!”
  • “Professionals of the sacred!”
  • “The pathology of indifference which is tangibly evident in the College of Cardinals!”
  • “The evil of clericalism is a very ugly thing!”
  • “The Church is more like an entrepreneur than a mother!”
  • “One who considers himself a prince who has a clericalist attitude, who is a hypocrite, doesn’t have authority!”
  • “It’s a sickness that often affects those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic work, losing contact with reality and concrete people!”
  • “Smarmy, idolator priest!”
  • “Airport Bishop!”
  • “Leprous courtier!”
  • “Restorationist!”
  • “Even within our episcopal colleagues there are small cracks and rifts that can lead to the destruction of brotherhood!”
  • “A Curia that doesn’t criticise itself, that doesn’t update itself that doesn’t seek to improve itself is a sick body!”
  • “Triumphalist!”
  • “Fundamentalist!”
  • “Abstract ideologue!”
  • “Vain, butterfly-priest!”
  • “Priest-wheeler dealer!”
  • “Proud, self-sufficient, detached from the people!”
  • “When one’s appearance, the colour of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life!”
  • “Band of the chosen” in that “ecclesiastical microclimate!”
  • Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam…

Who needs the Alta Vendita when we have Francis?! (Wait, maybe he is the Alta Vendita.)

When taken as a whole, it would seem that Bergoglio has a particular type of clergyman in mind for his verbal abuse. And just who might that be? Let’s see.

That clergyman would be rigid, so he must possess a strong sense of right and wrong opposed to the relativism of the Novus Ordo Sect (also see “moralistic quibbler”, “legalistic slave”, and “Those who follow rules and smile [who] reveal the hypocrisy of clericalism – one of the worst evils!”). Fundamentalist. A code word for one who adheres to the truths taught by the Magisterium for the past two millennia against Modernist errors. Restorationist. One intent on rebuilding an ecclesiastical administration that has been torn down worldwide by the subversive “reforms” of Vatican II. Authoritarian. A proponent of Catholic governance as established by Christ; this is in distinction from the “democratic” rule that was condemned by Pope St. Pius X, but is favored by Francis. Reactionary. A clergyman who defends the Traditions of the Church, while refusing to accept that which constitutes substantial changes in the doctrines, sacraments, and religious practices foisted upon the faithful. Triumphalist. Here, he revives a slur popular among enemies of Christ to describe that Catholic who dares stand up for the truth that the Catholic Church alone is the one true church and she alone has the one true Faith, hence seeking people’s conversion to her.

Of course not all adherents of the Novus Ordo Sect approve of Bergoglio’s deceitful, heavy-handed targeting. Dr. Markus Büning, a German theologian and author, pointedly said just as much in a September article later translated into English, asserting that ostensibly part of the reason for the “obfuscation” by Francis and his devotees may be fear of being branded as “homophobic” by the world’s news media:

But there is also yet another reason for this diversionary episcopal smoke screen: the episcopal side now blames everything on the lower clergy who are supposedly infected by this self-aggrandizing clericalism. And, herewith, especially those priests are being defamed who have wished to do only one thing for all these years: to be loyal Catholic priests!

Yes, especially these clergymen who wear the cassock and who keep to the rubrics of the missal and who celebrate the Holy Mass in a worthy manner. It is especially they who now come under the assault of the episcopal problem-solvers. It is especially these priests who are now, obviously, to be hit by the slogan “clericalism.” All of this is very dangerous!

And who is guilty of it? The bishop of Rome and all those bishops who, out of nowhere, suddenly discover the importance of loyalty toward the Pope. Why? Because it only fits into their agenda!

(Dr. Markus Büning, “‘Clericalism’ is not the problem, but high-ranking diversionary maneuvers are”, Sep. 8, 2018)

But if traditional Catholic bishops and priests or sympathetically-minded Conciliar clergy such as the ones Francis rails at as being guilty of clericalism, who might be a few of those groups who would escape his wrath? The homosexual presbyters, for who is he to judge (unless it’s traditionally-minded clerics, of course)? Those who embrace the notion of “democratic structures” within the Church, such as espousers of liberation theology and the like. And those who get close to “the people”: “Francis praised one priest for knowing his parishioners so well that he knew not only their names, but also their pets’ names!” (source).

Well, there was one exception — or at least a pseudo-exception — to the rule about not linking homosexual clergy with clericalism. We say pseudo-exception because all it amounted to was damage control. On October 6, the Vatican said in a communiqué regarding the McCarrick scandal: “Both abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated and a different treatment for Bishops who have committed or covered up abuse, in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.”

Of course, it was Francis himself at the center of the cover-up, and far from this representing “a form of clericalism”, it represented the presence of a malignant homosexual network. “Archbishop” Carlo Maria Vigano was having none of Modernist Rome’s spin-doctoring, and on October 19 released his third testimony. Among his criticisms was a rejection of the communique’s assertion that “clericalism” was the root cause of the problem:

This is a crisis due to the scourge of homosexuality, in its agents, in its motives, in its resistance to reform. It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy, and it can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons. It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn the abuse, claim to weep for the victims, and yet refuse to denounce the root cause of so much sexual abuse: homosexuality….

It is well established that homosexual predators exploit clerical privilege to their advantage. But to claim the crisis itself to be clericalism is pure sophistry. It is to pretend that a means, an instrument, is in fact the main motive.

(Carlo Maria Viganò, “On the Feast of the North American Martyrs”, Oct. 19, 2018)

And, to his credit, “Cardinal” Gerhard Müller also dismissed the notion, proving the adage about even a broken clock being right twice a day. In a LifeSiteNews.com article from September, the following was reported as having been stated by him during a homily:

“It is not clericalism,” says Müller, “whatever this might mean, but, rather, the turning away from the truth and moral license are the roots of the evil.” “The corruption of doctrine always brings about the corruption of morality and manifests itself in it,” adds the cardinal.

(Maike Hickson, “Former Vatican doctrinal chief: ‘Clericalism’ is not the root of the abuse crisis”, Life Site, Sep. 18, 2018)

On various occasions Bergoglio has referred to clericalism as “evil”, “a perversion of the Church today”, and “a very ugly thing”. However, when Pope Pius XI used similar language in Quas Primas, his 1925 encyclical instituting the Feast of Christ the King, it was directed not against the bugaboo of “clericalism”, but against a real menace, namely, anticlericalism:

If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God’s religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.

Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.

(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Quas Primas, nn. 24-25; underlining added.)

As we’ve seen over and over with Bergoglio, his version of Catholicism is light years removed from the authentic article. But be forewarned: He believes the work of destruction has quite a ways to go before he and his Modernist cronies will be content.

Purveyors of the Francis Effect: Spreading the Darkness

For every Müller, Vigano, or Büning rightly denouncing some of Bergoglio’s dangerous sophistries, there are plenty of other Modernists guaranteed to get plenty more publicity and accolades from the so-called mainstream media as representing “authentic Catholic thought” on the matter when they echo Francis.

The “Pope” in August issued a nonsubstantive response to the ongoing sexual abuse crisis in his sect by pretending that the root of the problem resides not in a network of pseudo-priests with penchants for unnatural vices, as it most assuredly does, but in his chimeral bugaboo clericalism. And in the same month “Cardinal” Blase Cupich, Archlayman of Chicago, ran the same doctrinal misdirection during an interview conducted by the Jesuit magazine America:

“I really believe that the issue here is more about a culture of clericalism in which some who are ordained feel they are privileged and therefore protected so that they can do what they want,” Cardinal Cupich said.

“People, whether heterosexual or homosexual, need to live by the Gospel,” he said, adding that he “would not want to reduce this simply to the fact that there are some priests who are homosexual.”

“I think that is a diversion that gets away from the clericalism that’s much deeper as a part of this problem,” he said.

(Michael J. O’Loughlin, “Cardinal Cupich supports investigation into mishandling of McCarrick complaints”, America, Aug. 7, 2018)

In a September New Zealand talk, Vietnamese-born “Bishop” Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Australia (appointed by Francis in 2016) openly suggested that women’s ordination should be considered as a way to “come to terms with the flaws of clericalism within the very structure of the Church and move beyond its patriarchal matrix”, while he blasphemously used Christ’s Parable of the Wineskins (Matthew 9:14-17) to push his heterodox proposal of a “transformation of the priesthood” that he says Bergoglio is spearheading:

The new wine of God’s unconditional love, boundless mercy, radical inclusivity and equality needs to be poured into new wineskins of humility, mutuality, compassion and powerlessness. The old wineskins of triumphalism, authoritarianism and supremacy, abetted by clerical power, superiority, and rigidity, are breaking.

(Vincent Long Van Nguyen, quoted in Dorothy Cummings McLean, “Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway”, Life Site, Oct. 23, 2018)

Also in September the leftist National Catholic Reporter came out with an article by Christine Schenk suggesting that one of the fathers of liberation theology provides the “solution” to the crisis: “Leonardo Boff’s model of charism offers road map out of clericalism” was the title.

The following month at the Synod of “Bishops” on Youth in Rome, the Canadian “Cardinal” Marc Ouellet (“consecrated” in 2001 by John Paul II) declared:

The participation of authoritative women in the discussion has shown us that it is possible and necessary to accelerate the processes of struggle against the “machista” culture and clericalism, to develop respect for women and the recognition of their charisms as well as their equal integration in the life of society and the church.

(Marc Ouellet, quoted in Junno Arocho Esteves, “Women’s voice needed to fight clericalism, ‘macho’ culture, Cardinal Ouellet says”, National Catholic Reporter, Oct. 18, 2018)

Another speaker at the Synod, a South Korean delegate, was also following the Bergoglian marching orders to a tee. “Sister” Mina Kwon told the gathering that

I mentioned the word ‘clericalism’ at the synod. Some people might ask me to prove it. Then I will ask back: ‘So there is no clericalism in the Church?’ Clericalism is linked to the authority of clergy over their duty of divine service. The main key-words about clericalism would be: hierarchy, authoritarianism, a sense of entitlement, superiority and demand for excessive respect. All key-words are against Jesus Christ and his evangelical values. Pope Francis has often put his finger on clericalism, saying, “Clerics feel they are superior, (and they feel this when) they are far from the people.” Obviously, clericalism goes against the way of Jesus’ teaching and it needs to be overcome before it is too late.

How can this be overcome? It should begin with the ‘reform of attitudes and mentalities,’ as Pope Francis said. Clergy and laity are equal Christians, since the word of Catholicism contains equality and universality. It means that all of us are People of God. We could rediscover more stories of laity in the Old Testament through our lives and experiences.

(Mina Kwon, quoted in Elise Harris, “Clericalism a key cause of women’s exclusion, Korean nun says”, Crux, Oct. 26, 2018)

In early November, the left-slanted, United States government-funded NPR (National Public Radio) carried a story on its Morning Edition program that went into how the ongoing Conciliar sex abuse scandal was emboldening conservative critics to go after Francis. Among those heard on the program was David Gibson, director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, author, CNN contributor, and self-identified on his Twitter account as “Religious but not spiritual.” He is described as one among “moderate Catholics” by NPR correspondent Sylvia Poggioli, who also states that

Gibson agrees with Francis the only way to eliminate sex abuse is to wipe out the sense of entitlement and unaccountability enshrined in that culture so dear to Roman Catholic conservatives — clericalism.

“He needs to change this culture of the ‘old boys’ network’ of secrecy, and of self-protection,” Gibson says. “That’s really the ultimate answer here.”

But, Gibson adds, that sort of change will likely be a long time coming.

(Sylvia Poggioli, “Resurgence Of Cleric Scandal Invigorates Conservative U.S. Critics Of Pope Francis”, NPR, Nov. 7, 2018)

More quizzical, however — astonishing, really — is the linkage of “clericalism” to the McCarrick scandal found, of all places, in The American Conservative. In “The Cost of Clericalism” (July 31, 2018), columnist Rod Dreher shows his abject ignorance of the term, and ends up sounding like he’s parroting a “gem of wisdom” heard at one of Francis’s audiences or read in a Freemasonic journal somewhere: “You cannot go deeply into this story without recognizing how systemic the problem is, and how much it is perpetuated by clericalism — the idea that the clergy alone is the real church.”

So this theological claptrap is perhaps far more pervasive than first imagined.

Francis Marching into the Future with Anti-Clericalism

Returning to Bergoglio’s comments in Lithuania cited at the top of this article, let’s look at fuller version, where he acknowledges that the kind of change he wants will be, as David Gibson put it, “a long time coming” to be fully implemented:

I don’t know what to ask from you specifically. But what needs to be done today is to accompany the Church in a deep spiritual renewal. I believe the Lord wants a change in the Church. I have said many times that a perversion of the Church today is clericalism. But 50 years ago the Second Vatican Council said this clearly: the Church is the People of God. Read number 12 of Lumen Gentium. I know that the Lord wants the Council to make headway in the Church. Historians tell us that it takes 100 years for a Council to be applied. We are halfway there. So, if you want to help me, do whatever it takes to move the Council forward in the Church.

(Francis, “A private dialogue with the Jesuits in the Baltics”, La Civiltà Cattolica, Aug. 17, 2018)

So, for Bergoglio “the Lord” is pushing anti-clericalism as part of the “renewal” process of Vatican II. Given his Marxist proclivities, it sounds like Francis is appropriating similar rhetoric to Antonio Gramsci’s long march through the institutions, a subversive process that has been going on in Church structures for decades.

For unmistakable evidence of the radical left dimension of this warped vision for the Church, we need only return to the lamentable condition of Catholicism in China. While Pope Pius XII in the aforementioned encyclical, Ad Apostolorum Principis, left us with no doubt about the true mind of the Holy See when it comes to the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, Francis gave a figurative wave of his hammer-and-sickle crucifix in an attempt to undo what Pius had decreed. Back in February, there were ominous reports such as this one:

Conservative Catholics are expressing shock at Pope Francis’ zeal in embracing the totalitarian government of China by first agreeing to replace underground church leaders with state-chosen hacks and now with a top Vatican official saying “those who best realize the social doctrine of the church are the Chinese.”

Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, an Argentinian, is Pope Francis’ chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences told Vatican Insider that China is exercising global moral leadership in the defense of human dignity.

(“Vatican: China best example of church’s social doctrine”, WND, Feb. 12, 2018)

The betrayal was just beginning. In mid-September, Modernist Rome cut a deal with Beijing that gave Bergoglio’s blessing to seven bishops appointed by the Communist government. A bleak New York Times headline accurately described what was going on: “With Vatican Talks and Bulldozers, China Aims to Control Christianity”.

Then, in early October, the rotten agreement yielded more bad fruit as bulldozers turned their menacing attention to historic sites of Catholic pilgrimage, destroying two Marian shrines. [Note the Catholic News Agency headline: “Chinese authorities destroy two Marian shrines despite Vatican-China agreement”. But is that accurate? More likely, it was because of the agreement, as the Communists now had reason to believe they’d been given free rein to do as they wish.]

A reasonable question might be raised at this point: Since “Saint” Paul VI imposed new and invalid rites of ordination and episcopal consecration some fifty years ago, then why should we care about Bergoglio’s anti-clerical prattling? The answer is three-fold: (1) his attacks are dishonest attacks upon the integrity of the very idea of the Church and priesthood, which is what they ultimately truly aim at; (2) although the Paul VI clergy aren’t true priests, there is still a remnant of Catholic formation left especially in some of the more conservative seminaries, and the further that formation is eroded, the more arduous will be the task of putting it back together once a Catholic restoration commences; and (3) the destruction of any distinction between clergy and laity must be challenged before it gets more pronounced, as the work there will be more arduous as well.

“Pope” Francis’s jihad against the Catholic priesthood under the guise of taking a stand against “clericalism” is another clear indicator that we are not dealing with a true pontiff but with an enemy of the Catholic Church in rather unconvincing disguise. He must be exposed for what he is — a pretender to the Chair of Peter — not feebly resisted as simply a wayward pope. The longer he is allowed to falsely function in his putative capacity of Vicar of Christ, the more harm he is being allowed to visit upon souls. It’s time to end the charade!

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