A Bergoglian Good Friday…
The Passion of Man:
Francis’ Anthropocentric Stations of the Cross
On Good Friday, Catholics commemorate the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, the only Way by which salvation can be obtained (see Jn 3:16-18; Jn 14:6; Acts 4:12).
One of the most salutary and beautiful acts of devotion in which to engage on Good Friday is the richly-indulgenced Stations of the Cross (also called the Way of the Cross, Via Crucis, or Via Dolorosa), which consists of prayers and meditations on each of the fourteen stations of Christ’s holy Passion, beginning with the unjust sentence of death rendered by Pontius Pilate and concluding with the placing of the Body of Jesus in the sepulcher.
Unlike the Holy Rosary, for example, there are no particular prayers that must be prayed as one meditates on each station (whether in a church or at home); however, the method of St. Francis of Assisi and the method of St. Alphonsus Liguori are among the most popular ways to pray the Stations. The following video is a full presentation of the St. Francis method:
In the Vatican II Sect, it has long been Good Friday practice to have the Stations of the Cross with the “Pope” at the Colosseum in Rome. So too this year. Alternating cross and torch bearers led a procession inside and outside the ancient amphitheatre as presider Francis made himself comfortable on a throne placed on a raised platform with canopy, putting on a somber face of profound meditation throughout.
The heart of the Way of the Cross is the meditations, and since it wouldn’t be “cool” enough to use the traditional, tried-and-true methods by canonized saints, the custom in the Vatican II Church has been to have new meditations drawn up every year by someone chosen by the “Pope”.
This year Jorge Bergoglio picked Sister Eugenia Bonetti (pictured right), an 80-year-old missionary from Italy who works to combat prostitution and human trafficking, to write the prayers for the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum. The result can be found here:
The very introductory paragraph of her contribution makes clear in what direction her meditations are headed: “We want to walk this via dolorosa in union with the poor, the outcast of our societies and all those who even now are enduring crucifixion as victims of our narrowmindedness, our institutions and our laws, our blindness and selfishness, but especially our indifference and hardness of heart.”
In other words, we’re going to use the sufferings of Christ as an excuse to focus on the sufferings of our fellow men. But then that is business as usual for the Bergoglian sect. And this is just the beginning.
Let’s briefly review Sr. Bonetti’s “Stations”, each of which consists of a meditation and then a prayer.
First Station: Jesus is condemned to Death
After a brief meditation on how the Blessed Mother accompanied Christ throughout His life, Sister uses the opportunity to focus on all other mothers who “weep for the fate of their daughters and sons” who “die from disease, malnutrition and lack of water, medical care and hope for the future.” The “cry of the poor” also makes an appearance, as does “the indifference born of selfish and discriminatory political policies.” A petition for 0% unemployment is included as well.
Second Station: Jesus takes up His Cross
A quick reference to the Christian crucifix is immediately followed by mention of “today’s newly crucified: the homeless; the young deprived of hope, without work, and without prospects; the immigrants relegated to slums at the fringe of our societies after having endured untold suffering.” The “marginalized, exploited and forgotten” then also get a mention, and discrimination is denounced. Thus far the meditation. The prayer that follows mentions Christ as our model for living and ends with the petition “that we may put our lives always at the service of others.”
Third Station: Jesus falls the First Time
Sister does not say a single word about what this Third Station actually commemorates: Christ falling to the ground with the Cross for the first time. Our suffering Savior gets a single mention in a brief sentence that immediately connects Him to man: “Lord Jesus, on the steep path leading to Calvary, you chose to experience our human frailty and weakness.” That’s it. The rest is about “the presence and generosity of so many volunteers, the new Samaritans of the third millennium”, a terrible crime committed against three African women, “the terror of darkness, loneliness, and indifference”, the “last in line”, and the ever-present “encounter Jesus in the suffering” theme. What this has to do with Christ falling on His way to Calvary, is anyone’s guess.
Fourth Station: Jesus meets His Sorrowful Mother
The Blessed Mother at least gets as many as two unobjectionable sentences concerning her meeting her Son on His Via Dolorosa, but this quick reflection is then used to launch into a prop for migrants, specifically “mothers who have allowed their young children to depart for Europe in the hope of helping their poverty-stricken families, only to meet with humiliation, contempt and at times even death.” The indigenous Europeans who have been raped and killed in Europe as a result of the uncontrolled influx of illegal immigration, on the other hand, do not get a mention from Sister Solicitous.
Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His Cross
This station is described accurately at first, but once again the thought quickly turns to where Sister’s attention really is (cf. Lk 6:45): “Where are the new Cyreneans of the third millennium? Where do we find them today? I think of the experience of a group of religious women of different nationalities, places of origin and communities with whom, for more than seventeen years, every Saturday, we visit a center for undocumented immigrant women.” Got it. The subsequent prayer regurgitates the fundamental dogma this liberation theology is grounded in: “For all the Cyreneans of our history, that they may never falter in their desire to welcome you in the least of our brothers and sisters, in the knowledge that in welcoming the poorest members of our society, we welcome you.” Yes, it is true that Christ is presented, as He said, in “these my least brethren” (Mt 25:40), but the liberation theology of “Pope” Francis and his ilk grossly distorts and exaggerates the meaning of this passage and places one-sided emphasis on it, as explained here.
Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus
For the Sixth Station, Sr. Eugenia doesn’t even pretend. She wastes no word on Veronica wiping the Holy Face of our Blessed Lord with her veil, and instead begins her meditation by thinking of “all those children in various parts of the world who cannot go to school but are instead exploited in mines, fields, and fisheries, bought and sold by human traffickers for organ harvesting, used and abused on our streets by many, including Christians, who have lost the sense of their own and others’ sacredness.” Of course it is right and necessary to deplore such horrific crimes and to work to put an end to them, but this simply has no place in the Via Crucis. What will we get next year? Hijacking the Sixth Station to deplore the use of paper napkins? In the prayer that follows, Sister does finally mention the Holy Face, but only, of course, as It is encountered in man: “Lord Jesus, cleanse our eyes so that we can see your face in our brothers and sisters, especially in all those children who, in many parts of the world, are living in poverty and squalor.”
Seventh Station: Jesus falls the Second Time
Again we are not told at all about Jesus’ fall to the ground, a second time. Instead, Sister focuses on forgiveness as a remedy to vengeance and mentions that Christ offers “forgiveness, love and hope to those who today, like [Him], walk the same path of ridicule, contempt, mockery, abandonment, betrayal, and loneliness.” Once more we see man being made the victim, when in actual fact man is the perpetrator with regard to Christ’s Passion.
Eighth Station: The Women of Jerusalem weep over Jesus
“The social, economic and political situation of migrants and the victims of human trafficking challenges and disturbs us”, Sister opens her meditation, and the remainder continues accordingly. In the prayer, she asks God to “teach us to see with [His] eyes” so that we would “imitate [Him] in how we regard different ideas, behaviors, and points of view.” And by that she means, of course, not God’s hatred for, and rejection of, false ideas and doctrines (see Mk 7:7; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 13:9; 2 Jn 1:9-11), but rather “accepting diversity.” Pathetic.
Ninth Station: Jesus falls the Third Time
Finally, Sister deigns to mention that our Blessed Lord fell to the ground carrying His heavy Cross. But she adds right away: “Like all those girls forced onto the streets by groups of traffickers in human slavery. Like you, they cannot hold up under the exhaustion and humiliation of seeing their young bodies manipulated, abused and ruined, together with their hope and dreams.” No further thought is given to Christ — He is merely addressed one more time in the subsequent prayer, where she asks Him to “[h]elp us to share the sufferings of all those treated as refuse.”
Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His Garments
For the Tenth Station, Sister starts out with the mention of three nouns: “Money, comfort, power. These are the idols of every age.” Here it apparently does not occur to her that perhaps she too must “regard different ideas, behaviors, and points of view”, but logic tends to work rather selectively with Novus Ordos. Spending absolutely no thought on Christ and His Sacred Passion in this meditation, she reflects: “We have forgotten the centrality of the human being, the dignity, beauty, and strength of each man and woman. Even as the world is building walls and barriers, we want to recognize and thank all those who in various ways during these past months have risked their own lives, especially in the Mediterranean, to save the lives of so many families in search of safety and opportunity. Human beings fleeing poverty, dictatorships, corruption, and slavery.” Sr. Eugenia knows how to make Bergoglio’s heart beat faster. For the prayer that follows, Christ is invoked only as justification to focus on man: “Lord, help us to rediscover the beauty and richness present in every person and people as your unique gift, to be placed at the service of society as a whole and not used for our personal profit or gain.”
Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross
We know not to expect from Sister any reflection on the particular station in Christ’s Sacred Passion anymore, and so her redirection to other topics does not come as a surprise: “Our society proclaims equal rights and dignity for all human beings. Yet it practices and tolerates inequality” — and then she talks about human trafficking again. Further on, as though she had suddenly remembered what the Eleventh Station is about, she prays: “Lord, how many men and women even today are nailed to a cross, victims of brutal exploitation, stripped of dignity, freedom, and hope for the future!” Once again the Suffering Christ is not meditated upon for His own sake, but only insofar as He can be used as an incentive to talk about man.
Twelfth Station: Jesus is raised upon the Cross and Dies
Even for the station that commemorates Christ’s last three agonizing hours, culminating in His redemptive Death, Sister will not change her pattern. Yes, she acknowledges that Christ “bore the weight of scorn, mockery, insults, violence, abandonment, and indifference”, but she does not say why He did so, and she notes that Christ did so “too”, as though He were merely One of many who suffer, One who simply shared in our suffering. Thus she blasphemously speaks of “all those dying today on Calvaries throughout the world: in transit camps, on boats denied entry to safe ports, in shelters, hot spots, and camps for seasonal workers”! What incredible blasphemy! What an insult to the Cross of Christ, which has redeemed mankind (see Rom 3:24; Eph 1:7; 1 Tim 2:6; Heb 9:12)! What more proof is needed that these people believe man is God?! Migrants are now held up as quasi-divine martyrs “dying … on Calvaries throughout the world”! Words fail at such despicable blasphemy!
Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the Cross
Sister Eugenia continues in the same vein. For the Thireenth Station, she talks about “twenty-six young Nigerian women who drowned”, whose “Calvary was lengthy and difficult.” But, she assures us, “their death, like that of Jesus taken down from the Cross, was not in vain.” And there we have it: Anyone’s death, at least if caused unjustly, is another instance of the Death of Christ! Man is Christ, and his deathbed, too, is Calvary. It is a blasphemy too frightful to contemplate! In the prayer that follows, Sister asks: “Has anyone wept?” before migrants who have died, as she forgets to weep over the death of Jesus, who was taken down from the Cross in this station so that she might live.
Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the Sepulcher
The final station is, naturally, more of the same. Instead of meditating on Christ being placed in the tomb, from which He will rise again gloriously on Easter Sunday, Sister is interested only in one thing: man. “The desert and the seas have become the new cemeteries of our world”, she opens her meditation. Similarly, the prayer that follows gives consideration to our Blessed Lord only insofar as the station can be used to advance the Naturalist, humanist agenda: “Lord, make us realize that we are all children of one Father. May the death of your Son Jesus grant to the leaders of nations and lawmakers consciousness of the role they must play in the defense of every person created in your image and likeness.”
Francis’ Concluding Prayer
After a concluding prayer by Sr. Bonetti, Francis also contributes a concluding prayer of his own, one entirely in line with the foregoing reflections and prayers.
He begins thus: “Lord Jesus, help us to see in your Cross all the crosses of the world.” No! We must see in the Cross of Christ the great love God has for sinners, even to the point of exhausting Himself to offer proof of His infinite Love and to obtain our love in return, because it is only by loving Him for His own sake that we will be eternally happy! But this truth was utterly absent from the “papal” Good Friday Stations this year. What then followed as part of Francis’ prayer was what Vatican News calls “a litany of present-day crosses, representing various forms of suffering in the world today.” We will spare you the details.
Thus far the “papal” and very political Way of the Cross of Good Friday 2019. It is hard to see what, in essence, the Dalai Lama, the Masonic Grand Master, or the Secretary of the United Nations would object to. At best, the theme found throughout these reflections was Christ not as Redeemer of the world or as the Sacrifice of Calvary but as the Perfect Man who suffers in solidarity with His creatures. The meditations and prayers by Eugenia Bonetti were entirely horizontal in character; the seriousness of sin was reflected upon only in terms of what it does to our fellow man. God did receive an honorable mention on the side, but the focus clearly lay elsewhere.
The video of the whole spectacle can be watched here:
Did Sr. Eugenia mention anything supernatural? All we heard was concern for the temporal welfare of bodies. What about souls? Did Christ not say: “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28)?
It is clear that the participants in this travesty of a Via Crucis meditated on a lot of things, but the Passion of Jesus Christ wasn’t one of them. We recall what the Catholic Encyclopedia says about the Stations of the Cross:
The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make in spirit, as it were, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic devotions. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with certain prayers at each and devout meditation on the various incidents in turn. It is very usual, when the devotion is performed publicly, to sing a stanza of the “Stabat Mater” while passing from one Station to the next.
(s.v. “Way of the Cross”; underlining added.)
During the Stations of the Cross, we are to meditate on the sufferings of Jesus Christ, not on everyone else’s sufferings. That doesn’t mean that we ought not or need not have sincere compassion for the sufferings of our fellow men and try to alleviate them as much as possible, in genuine Christian charity; but that is not the object of the Way of the Cross nor is it the focus of Good Friday.
Besides, the only true and lasting way to put an end to all those evils and injustices rightly deplored in these Novus Ordo “Stations of the Cross” is to preach the true, supernatural Gospel, for only the grace of God can enable man to live a holy life and resist all temptation to sin: “…for without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5; cf. Jn 6:64; 1 Cor 10:13).
Sr. Bonetti’s anthropocentric (man-centered) Stations are perfect for Bergoglio because they express the entirety of his Naturalist program in a nutshell, in accordance with the abominable Second Vatican Council’s declaration that “all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown” (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, n. 12; cf. Jn 2:24-25). It’s all about man, so much so that God and religion are used merely as bait to direct one’s focus on man and his temporal needs. This is a perversion of the true Gospel (see Lk 12:31; Phil 3:18-19) — it is Freemasonry in Catholic wrapping paper!
The natural world and the well-being of the body is all Bergoglio cares about, and he and his ilk will reap precisely what that world ultimately has to offer — death: “For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting” (Gal 6:8).
In his inaugural encyclical over 115 years ago, Pope St. Pius X warned that
this according to the same apostle [St. Paul] is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist, [that] man has with infinite temerity put himself in the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God; in such wise that although he cannot utterly extinguish in himself all knowledge of God, he has contemned God’s majesty and, as it were, made of the universe a temple wherein he himself is to be adored. “He sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God” (II. Thess. ii., 2).
(Pope Pius X, Encyclical E Supremi, n. 5)
Francis adores man, not God; and in this year’s Good Friday Stations at the Colosseum, he has made it obvious to anyone willing to look.
Image source: youtube.com (Vatican News – English; screenshot) / Wikimedia Commons (UK in Holy See; cropped)
License: fair use / CC BY-SA 2.0