Love of God or love of man?
Heresy in Evangelii Gaudium:
What is the Greatest Commandment?
If any further proof was needed that Francis likes to equate God and man, look no further than his 2013 “Apostolic Exhortation” Evangelii Gaudium, which, being published within the first year of his election, is basically the official outline of the program of his fake pontificate. That it was endorsed by Hell’s Apostle Hans Küng is not surprising but worthy of a dishonorable mention.
Characterized by the same verbosity we have come to expect from the writings of Novus Ordo prelates, the exhortation contains a total of 287 numbered paragraphs. Towards the middle of the document, under the intriguing chapter title “Evangelization and the deeper understanding of the kerygma“, there appears paragraph n. 161:
It would not be right to see this call to growth [in Faith] exclusively or primarily in terms of doctrinal formation. It has to do with “observing” all that the Lord has shown us as the way of responding to his love. Along with the virtues, this means above all the new commandment, the first and the greatest of the commandments, and the one that best identifies us as Christ’s disciples: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). Clearly, whenever the New Testament authors want to present the heart of the Christian moral message, they present the essential requirement of love for one’s neighbour: “The one who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the whole law… therefore love of neighbour is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:8, 10). These are the words of Saint Paul, for whom the commandment of love not only sums up the law but constitutes its very heart and purpose: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself’” (Gal 5:14). To his communities Paul presents the Christian life as a journey of growth in love: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” (1 Th 3:12). Saint James likewise exhorts Christians to fulfil “the royal law according to the Scripture: You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (2:8), in order not to fall short of any commandment.
(Antipope Francis, Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, n. 161; italics given; underlining added.)
This is taken straight from the Vatican web site, by the way.
Decades ago the Modernist robber synod, the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), already had difficulty identifying the greatest commandment, claiming that the “greatest commandment in the law is to love God with one’s whole heart and one’s neighbor as oneself” (Decree Apostolicam Actuositatem, n. 8); and, again, that “love for God and neighbor is the first and greatest commandment” (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, n. 24). Yet this is plainly and demonstrably false.
God has revealed to us in Sacred Scripture very clearly that the greatest commandment is the love of God. The love of neighbor is merely “like to this” and is only “the second” greatest:
Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.
The concept is not difficult: Of course we must love the Creator above all created things, for He is infinitely good and worthy of our love, and all creatures are only good in relation to Him. We must love God even more than our own parents, siblings, or children: “He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:37).
Certainly it is true that we must love also our neighbor, and that is not optional — it is necessary for salvation, in fact. But we must love our neighbor for God’s sake and not merely for our neighbor’s sake or for our own. This is basic Catholic catechism:
To love our neighbor for God’s sake means to love him in order to please God. This supernatural love is called charity. If we love a person because we expect from him some favor or advantage in return, we love him for our own sake. Our love is interested; it is not real love.
True love of God makes us love even disagreeable people, without reference to their love for us. It makes us love the poor, the sick, the unfortunate, the suffering, the repulsive, and even our enemies, just because God loves them, and wishes us to love them. Thus Christians of all ages have sacrificed themselves for charity.
Love is the fulfilling of the law; and so one who loves his neighbor for the love of God is rewarded with heaven.
(Most Rev. Louis LaRavoire Morrow, My Catholic Faith [Kenosha, WI: My Mission House, 1954], p. 177; italics and bold print given.)
Hence the Catholic prays in the Act of Charity: “O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.”
If we do not love our neighbor for the love of God, at least implicitly — that is, if we love him for some lesser motive –, our charity will have no supernatural value before God, although He might still bestow a natural reward (cf. Mt 6:2).
The great Jesuit commentator on Holy Writ, Fr. Cornelius a Lapide (1567-1637), notes regarding the second greatest commandment, love of neighbor:
The second, not in order of legislation …, but of dignity and perfection, although far inferior to the first one concerning the love of God. For God is far more to be loved than all angels and men, and all creatures whatsoever. But after God, among creatures, our neighbor is to be loved above all things…. Indeed, the reason for loving our neighbor is the love of God; we love our neighbor for God’s sake, because God commands us to love our neighbor, the image of Him.
(The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide: The Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew, vol. II, trans. by Thomas W. Mossman, rev. and compl. by Michael J. Miller [Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2008], pp. 376-377; italics given; underlining added. Alternate edition available here.)
All this is pretty clear and not difficult to grasp.
But what about the scriptural support Francis cites in Evangelii Gaudium for his thesis that the greatest commandment is love of neighbor? He quotes from four different passages, namely: Jn 15:12; Rom 13:8,10; Gal 5:14; and Jas 2:8. Does Scripture contradict itself? Or is Francis right after all?
Let’s examine the Catholic understanding of these pericopes.
Francis enlists this passage in support of his position that the greatest commandment is love of neighbor, but the passage says no such thing: “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” Bergoglio calls this the new commandment, and indeed it is, for Christ said in Jn 13:34: “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another”; and this is echoed in 1 Jn 2:8. Cornelius a Lapide explains: “It is called new because it is a precept of the New Testament and is commended chiefly by Christ’s words and example, and not by fear, as in olden times among the Jews, but by love, more plainly …, concisely and forcefully than before, and therefore Christ taught something new by new means” (The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide: Saint John’s Epistles, trans. by Thomas W. Mossman, rev. and compl. by Michael J. Miller [Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2019], p. 74; italics given).
Clearly, then, this citation does nothing for Francis.
The papal impostor also appeals to this passage in support of his position that the greatest commandment is love of neighbor, but again he fails: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbour, hath fulfilled the law. The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love, therefore, is the fulfilling of the law.” Is St. Paul saying here that loving one’s neighbor is the first and greatest commandment? Hardly.
This becomes even more evident when we consider v. 9, which Francis conspicuously omitted in his citation: “For thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet: and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom 13:9). It is clear that the context in which St. Paul is speaking is limited to our relations with other human beings, not with God, for all the commandments he mentions deal exclusively with our fellow-man. Indeed, he begins v. 8 with the words: “Owe no man anything…”, indicating he is speaking about our conduct with our neighbor.
This second adduced passage isn’t helping Francis’ case either, then.
Bergoglio’s next attempt is based on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Surely this suffices to prove Bergoglio’s point, right? Wrong. For one thing, Francis’ claim isn’t that love of neighbor fulfills the law. His claim is that love of neighbor is the greatest commandment. What difference this makes we will see presently.
Fr. Lapide explains that, as Saints Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Anselm teach, “the whole law rests on the love of God or of our neighbor” in the sense that “love of neighbor indicates, includes, and presupposes love of God, since our neighbor is to be loved for God’s sake. Therefore he who loves his neighbor both fulfills the law which says, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, etc., and also loves God and fulfills the law which says, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, etc.” (The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide: Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, trans. by Thomas W. Mossman, rev. and compl. by Michael J. Miller [Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2016], p. 715; italics given).
This is a crucial point: Only he who loves his neighbor for the love of God truly observes the second greatest commandment at all — and by doing so, he necessarily also obeys the greatest, implicitly. Hence St. Augustine writes that “he who loves his neighbor must needs also love above all else love itself. But ‘God is love; and he that dwells in love, dwells in God’ [1 Jn 4:16]. Therefore he must needs above all else love God” (On the Trinity, Book VIII, Ch. 7, n. 10). By the same token, of course, he who fails to love his neighbor, also fails to love God: “If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not?” (1 Jn 4:20). The fact remains, however, that love of neighbor is still only the second greatest commandment.
The traditional Roman Catechism, also known as the Catechism of the Council of Trent, underscores how, although the two commandments are related and similar to each other, nevertheless the love of God clearly takes precedence over the love of neighbor and is superior to it:
…[T]he first three [commandments] tend directly to God; while the object of the others is the charity we owe to our neighbour, although even these are ultimately referred to God, since we love our neighbour on account of God, our last end. Hence Christ our Lord has declared that the two Commandments which inculcate the love of God and of our neighbour are like unto each other [Mt 12:39; Mk 12:31].
In the first three Commandments, which have been explained, God, the supreme good, is, as it were, the subject matter; in the others, it is the good of our neighbour. The former require the highest love, the latter the love next to the highest. The former have to do with our last end, the latter with those things that lead us to our end.
Again, the love of God terminates in God Himself, for God is to be loved above all things for His own sake; but the love of our neighbour originates in, and is to be regulated by, the love of God. If we love our parents, obey our masters, respect our superiors, our ruling principle in doing so should be that God is their Creator, and wishes to give pre-eminence to those by whose cooperation He governs and protects other men; and as He requires that we yield a dutiful respect to such persons, we should do so, because He deems them worthy of this honour. If, then, we honour our parents, the tribute is paid to God rather than to man. Accordingly we read in St. Matthew concerning duty to superiors: He that receiveth you, receiveth me [Mt 10:40]; and the Apostle in his Epistle to the Ephesians, giving instruction to servants, says: Servants, be obedient to them that are your lords according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the simplicity of your heart, as to Christ: not serving to the eye, as it were pleasing men, but as the servants of Christ [Eph 6:5-6].
Moreover, no honour, no piety, no devotion can be rendered to God sufficiently worthy of Him, since love of Him admits of infinite increase. Hence our charity should become every day more fervent towards Him, who commands us to love Him with our whole heart, our whole soul, and with all our strength [Deut 6:5; Lk 10:27; Mt 22:37-39]. The love of our neighbour, on the contrary, has its limits, for the Lord commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves.
To outstep these limits by loving our neighbour as we love God would be an enormous crime. If any man come to me, says the Lord, and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also; he cannot be my disciple [Lk 14:26]. In the same way, to one who would first attend the burial of his father, and then follow Christ, it was said: Let the dead bury their dead [Lk 9:60]; and the same lesson is more clearly conveyed in St. Matthew: He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me [Mt 10:37].
(Catechism of the Council of Trent, “The Fourth Commandment”; underlining and italics added.)
Although love of God and love of neighbor clearly go together, then, it is not true to say that love of neighbor is the greatest commandment. It is not. The love of God is.
Appealing to Gal 5:14, therefore, is just another trick by Francis to make his heresy look scriptural.
The final pericope Bergoglio brings up comes from the Epistle of St. James: “If then you fulfill the royal law, according to the scriptures, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; you do well.” Indeed, he who loves his neighbor does well — as long as he loves him for God’s sake, as we have seen. Calling it the “royal law”, as St. James does, doesn’t make it equal to the greatest commandment, though. As Scripture scholar Fr. Bernard Orchard, O.S.B., explains: “It is called the ‘royal law’ because it is a fundamental principle of the kingdom of Christ, which together with the ‘first and greatest commandment’ [!] forms the ground-work on which ‘dependeth the whole law and the prophets’, Mt 22:40” (A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture [London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1953], n. 947d).
And thus we see that all of Francis’ attempts at justifying his heresy have failed. He can quote Scripture all he wants — Satan did as much when he tempted Christ in the desert (see Mt 4:1-11) — but that does not suffice; for, as Pope St. Peter noted, in Holy Writ there “are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest … to their own destruction” (2 Pet 3:16). Destruction is what Bergoglio is all about — eternal spiritual destruction that comes under the guise of temporal human edification.
Francis does, by the way, eventually get around to mentioning the love of God in Evangelii Gaudium, but not until 19 paragraphs later, and only cryptically. He points out that the love of neighbor is but “one of the two great commandments which ground every moral norm” (Evangelii Gaudium, n. 179) — without, of course, identifying the other one. Additionally, in paragraph n. 201, the exhortation does make a fleeting reference to “the love of God and neighbor”, but only in the same breath, in a social-justice context of caring for the poor, and only as part of a quote from a 1984 Vatican instruction.
That Francis should proclaim in Evangelii Gaudium that the love of neighbor is the greatest commandment, when in fact the love of God is, is not surprising because it is quite consistent with everything we have seen from this false pope since. He constantly places man on a par with God, sometimes more, sometimes less subtly. We need only to think of his declarations that the poor are a “real presence of Jesus in our midst”; that the Rohingya Muslims are a “presence of God today”; that we ought to kneel before the poor; that religious differences among people are “necessary”; that all religious differences are subordinate to our common humanity; that violence inflicted upon women is blasphemy; that we must build “the City of God and Man“; and so on.
What Francis preaches is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it is the “gospel of man”.
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