A theological ship of fools…
Ark of Apostasy:
Why Francis’ Interreligious Fraternity Document does Not Admit of an Orthodox Interpretation
The apostate Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio — more commonly known by his stage name “Pope Francis” — caused a ruckus last week when he co-signed a document on “human fraternity” with Sunni Muslim Imam Ahamad Al-Tayyib declaring that God wills there to be a plurality and diversity of religions. We covered this in our post “Apostasy in Abu Dhabi: Francis says God wills Diversity of Religions”.
Just before the signing of the joint declaration, Francis gave a lengthy speech in which he called all participants of the interreligious conference he was attending to “enter together as one family into an ark which can sail the stormy seas of the world: the ark of fraternity.” In a separate article, we dismantled Francis’ sophistry and demonstrated how his address contradicts the traditional and immemorial Catholic teachings left and right. Please see our post “No Ark of Salvation: A Critical Look at Francis’ ‘Ark of Fraternity’ Speech”.
Meanwhile, and quite predictably, some Novus Ordo pundits and apologists have weighed in with the aim of defending Francis from charges of heresy and apostasy — to no avail, as we will see shortly. First, we must look again at the passage that is at the heart of all the controversy. Francis and his imam friend both signed a declaration that includes the following contention:
Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.
(Antipope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyib, “A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, Vatican.va, Feb. 4, 2019; underlining added.)
This is blasphemy and apostasy so bold and clear that one must wonder in amazement that God did not strike Bergoglio dead on the spot when he signed this. There can be no excuse for and no defense of such an outrage and abomination, especially when it comes from someone who purports to be the Pope of the Catholic Church!
Alas, this doesn’t mean that people haven’t tried. The so-called Catholic News Agency wasted no time to try to spin Francis’ words into something approaching orthodoxy. To this end, they consulted Dr. Chad Pecknold of the Modernist den known as the Catholic University of America:
This statement must be read in the proper context and perspective, said Dr. Chad Pecknold, associate professor of systematic theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
“In sensitive inter-religious contexts, it is fitting for the Holy See to acknowledge that despite serious theological disagreements, Catholics and Muslims have much in common, such as a common belief that human beings are ‘willed by God in his wisdom,’” Pecknold told CNA.
“The idea that God wills the diversity of color, sex, race and language is easily understood, but some may find it puzzling to hear the Vicar of Christ talk about God willing the diversity of religions,” he noted.
“It is puzzling, and potentially problematic, but in the context of the document, the Holy Father is clearly referring not to the evil of many false religions, but positively refers to the diversity of religions only in the sense that they are evidence of our natural desire to know God.”
“God wills that all men come to know Him through the free choice of their will, and so it follows that a diversity of religions can be spoken about as permissively willed by God without denying the supernatural good of one true religion,” he added.
(Mary Rezac, “Pope Francis signs peace declaration on ‘Human Fraternity’ with Grand Imam”, Catholic News Agency, Feb. 5, 2019)
Pecknold used the only possible excuse available to him: that Francis and the imam were referring to God’s permissive Will, meaning that God wills the diversity of religions in a manner of toleration. In other words, according to such an interpretation, God would not desire but merely tolerate or permit the evil of false religions, for the sake of a greater good. Such a claim regarding God’s Will would be orthodox. Thus Pecknold is convinced he has saved Francis from having defected from the Faith, and he points to the context of the statement as vindicating this reading.
The problem is, Pecknold is wrong. The context confirms that Francis and his fellow non-Christian co-signer did not mean God’s permissive Will but His positive and active Will, and this is fairly easy to demonstrate. Look at the actual wording of the document: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.” Francis mentions pluralism and diversity of religions alongside “color, sex, race and language.” But these latter are not willed by God merely permissively; that is, they are not an evil that God simply tolerates. Rather, they are part and parcel of God’s original and positive creation (in the case of sex, race, and color; see Gen 1:27; cf. Lk 3:38) or of His active institution afterwards (in the case of a plurality of languages; see Gen 11:7), even though He introduced them as a punishment.
Just as it would be obviously absurd to say that Francis and Al-Tayyib meant that God merely permits different sexes, races, and languages, so the two non-Catholics could not have meant that God merely permits different religions, either. No, indeed, they dare to affirm that the different creeds are the design of God’s “wisdom, through which He created human beings.” Aside from that, it is to be doubted that the Sunni Muslim cleric would have been willing to sign a document which Bergoglio understands to be saying that Islam is an evil that God merely tolerates.
We sedevacantists are by no means the only ones who have found Pecknold’s argumentation wanting. The conservative Novus Ordo news site Life Site consulted a Dominican theologian who stated flat out that the obvious sense of the passage in question is heretical, and he called Pecknold’s reading “a strained and unnatural interpretation,” which is exactly what it is. The Novus Ordo Dominican added: “You might as well say that someone who said that gassing Jews was good only meant that it is good that we have the chemical and physiological knowledge that makes it possible.” Touché!
Thus it turns out that Pecknold did not come up with a genuine interpretation of the text. Rather, he engaged in spin with the sole aim of getting Francis off the hook.
…As did the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, and he was not ashamed to admit it: “We must seek a way to understand this without it sounding like heresy”, the popular blogger prefaced his “explanation” of Bergoglio’s latest affront to sound doctrine and right reason. But must we?
No, Mr. Zuhlsdorf — not only are we not required to understand Francis’ words in an orthodox sense, we are not reasonably able and therefore not even permitted to. It should go without saying that before anything else we must seek to understand the text as it was intended by the authors. The intention is grasped by examining what is said, how it is said, in what context it is said, and by whom it is said — and the only possible conclusion one can reasonably come to is that Francis intended heresy — in fact, apostasy. Zuhlsdorf’s spin of Francis’ words was essentially the same as Pecknold’s and hence is equally untenable.
Naturally, the Rev. John Hunwicke heaped praise on “Fr.” Z’s attempt and called it a “characteristically fine and intelligent interpretation of Pope Francis’ words.” Curiously enough, however, just a few lines later he added: “But I do think it is outrageous that pastors and academics should have to waste their time dreaming up these ‘interpretations’ of yet another P[ope] F[rancis] disaster.” We’re glad to see “Fr.” Hunwicke admit that what Zuhlsdorf did is not a correct interpretation at all but simply time-consuming and dreamed-up bovine manure. Why at the same time he calls Mr. Z’s spin a “characteristically fine and intelligent interpretation”, is anyone’s guess.
Other semi-traditionalist commentators did not bother trying to defend Francis or spin his words. Among them are Christopher A. Ferrara, John Lamont, and Roberto de Mattei. We will say a few words about each of them.
Chris Ferrara, one of the false traditionalists’ rhetoricians-in-chief, offered an analysis that was rightly critical of Francis but surprisingly subdued in tone. Instead of rending his cyber garments over a blatant and inexcusable “papal” act of apostasy, Ferrara wrote a critique of Bergoglio’s latest spiritual crime that was noticeably restrained in terms of emotion and rhetoric. For Ferrara, one more ho-hum act of abandoning what God has revealed on the part of his “Pope” must not be all that much to get upset about anymore.
Why should it faze him? After all, he has long decided that Francis, whom he has denounced as an “anti-Catholic Pope”, “undertaker Pope” , and a “Pelagian Lutheran” in the past, definitely is the Pope no matter what, because otherwise the sedevacantists would be right, and we just can’t have that. Besides, if push comes to shove, he is happy to declare that “it doesn’t matter” if Francis is a real Pope or not (see here, beginning at 6:46 and 15:24 min marks). Only someone who has abandoned belief in the Papacy can state such dangerous nonsense.
Then there was the contribution of Dr. John Lamont. He admits that what Francis signed “is directly contrary to the Catholic faith.” That means it is heretical. Lamont acknowledges that some have tried to argue that where the text speaks of God willing a plurality of religions, what is meant is His permissive Will, but he rightly rejects such an explanation as unjustifiable. He concludes: “This statement by Pope Francis is thus a clear, public repudiation of the Catholic faith. It follows a series of other more or less clear and public repudiations of this kind.”
Unfortunately, however, Lamont still does not draw any conclusion from this clear departure of the Faith on the part of Bergoglio. Instead, he complains that no one is taking any action: “Enough has been said about this rejection of the faith; it is time that something was done about it.” We invite him to make a start by publicly denouncing Francis as an apostate, as a papal impostor and most dangerous spiritual criminal who leads countless souls to hell by his public repudiation of and continual attacks on the Catholic Faith. This is crucial because to go on acknowledging him as the Pope of the Catholic Church makes one complicit in the damage he inflicts on souls, because being recognized as Pope is what gives him all his de facto spiritual and doctrinal power over so many people.
Lastly, we must not fail to mention the piece written by the semi-trad historian Prof. Roberto de Mattei. To his credit, he too made no effort to explain Francis’ heresy away. Instead, he rightly accused him of promoting Freemasonic ideas. But he concluded with this unintentionally amusing comment: “In reality Freemasonry continues to be condemned by the Church, even if the men of the Church, at the highest levels, seem to embrace its ideas.”
Such a plain absurdity is the result of desperately trying to reconcile the irreconcilable: that people who are manifest heretics or apostates can nevertheless be legitimate Catholic hierarchs. Think about it: De Mattei is essentially saying that the Church condemns something that her Pope and bishops endorse. Does this make any sense? Who is the governing and teaching authority in the Church if not the Pope and the bishops in communion with him?
It is truly tragic to see what kind of pretzel argumentation intelligent people are willing to come up with in order to avoid the sedevacantist conclusion. They do not seem to realize just how much damage they are doing to the Catholic Faith and to souls by their stubborn refusal to acknowledge the facts.
By the way, this past Friday, Feb. 8, we released an 18-minute podcast exposing Francis’ apostasy in the Abu Dhabi fraternity document and commenting on various reactions to it. You may want to listen to it and share it with friends and family:
One of the biggest problems that keeps people entrapped in the Vatican II Church is the fact that there are too many theological shysters out there who constantly try to get Francis or his Modernist predecessors off the hook because they don’t want to have to deal with the consequences of a heretical “pope”. A prime example can be seen in Zuhlsdorf’s clear admission that he’s not interested in finding out what Francis said or meant, but only in spinning the passage in such a way as to save him from the accusation of heresy.
But what does such maneuvering ever accomplish? All it does is keep alive and viable Francis’ claim to being the Pope — but then again, that’s all it’s ultimately meant to do. If that means that the Faith has to go out the window, then that just’s too bad for the Faith.
Ironically, such people are willing to sacrifice the Papacy in order to have a Pope. It’s like doing away with the concept of fatherhood in order to have a father — it’s a Pyrrhic victory at best. Just today, Rorate Caeli tweeted: “Liberal Catholics, in general, do not believe in God at all” (source). And yet, they call them “Catholics” nonetheless and even identify the chief “Liberal Catholic” of all, Jorge Bergoglio, as their Pope! As though nothing followed from possessing the papal primacy. None are so blind as those who refuse to see.
The semi-trad bloggers, professors, journalists, etc. appear oblivious to the fact that Sacred Theology is not their personal playground, where they can affirm just about anything they please. Yet, this seems to be exactly what they think, with one supposed safety precaution: They will never affirm that Francis isn’t actually a true Pope or that the See of Peter is vacant. Because that would be just crazy, schismatic, and heretical, wouldn’t it!?
We have called this the “Anything but Sedevacantism” phenomenon, and it is as popular as ever. It is not without reason that we have asked in the past: Why is there such an unreasonable fear of Sedevacantism? How will we ever be soldiers of Christ, ready to die a martyr’s death if need be, if we cannot even man up and face the facts about what has happened to the Catholic Church?
Ignorance can be quite culpable, and rejecting the truth can have eternal consequences. St. Paul gave a warning to the Thessalonians that clearly pertains to our times:
And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.
(2 Thessalonians 2:8-11)
Alas, with each day that passes, this world is making itself more and more deserving of the arrival of the Antichrist.
Image source: composite with elements from Wikimedia Commons (korea.net) and istockphoto.com
License: CC BY-SA 2.0 and paid