Pachamama worship still okay!

Lenten Retreat for Vatican Curia: Preacher warns of Idolatry for adhering to “Ritualism” and “Certainties”!

“Father” Pietro Bovati, S.J., has found the idols in the Vatican!

It’s the first week of Lent, and that means it’s time for the annual Lenten retreat for the “Pope” and his Roman Curia. This year Francis isn’t attending, however, but following along from the Casa Santa Marta, on account of the cold with which he’s been diagnosed.

This year the retreat master is “Fr.” Pietro Bovati, S.J., another one of those Modernist “biblical scholars” who writes for the Jesuit rag La Civiltà Cattolica and is currently the Secretary of the so-called Pontifical Biblical Commission, the Vatican’s think thank for reinterpreting Sacred Scripture in line with the latest Modernist trends. (Case in point: the PBC‘s apostate 2002 document on the Jews, critiqued by semi-trad Atila Sinke Guimaraes here.)

Yesterday, March 3, was the third day of the retreat. Today the English-speaking branch of Vatican News published a summary of the spiritual conference with the headline: “Papal retreat: A ministry of encouragement, and a warning against idolatry”.

Idolatry, Real and Imagined

Whenever a Modernist warns of idolatry, you know something is afoot. Modernists virtually never mean the literal adoration of the creature, for that kind of idolatry — which is what it means in its proper sense — is not only not condemned by the Vatican II Sect but actually facilitated and encouraged. Here are some clear examples:

Of course the most visually blatant of all idolatrous actions sanctioned by the Vatican has been the Assisi Interreligious Prayer for Peace event that is held every few years, initiated by John Paul II in 1986. For that event, pagans from all over the world are invited to perform their own religious rituals to petition their false gods for peace (cf. Ps 95:5; Jn 14:27):

This apostate, indifferentist, and idolatrous wickedness has been continued ever since, being hosted also by Benedict XVI and Francis.

So yes, certainly there is plenty of need for straightening out the Vatican’s pseudo-authorities on the topic of idolatry, especially since the Pachamama (Gaia) worship in the Vatican Gardens a few months ago and the offering made to the earth goddess in St. Peter’s Basilica at the closing liturgy for the Amazon Synod. So, did “Fr.” Bovati use the opportunity to rake his listeners over the coals for the absurd idolatries committed in Vatican City lately?

Of course not. Rather, being the good Modernist that he is, Bovati sees the idolatry in “a desire for certainty”, in a rigid adherence to “a doctrinal or disciplinary system of rules”, and in “ritualism”.

Here’s what Vatican News (English edition) reports:

Day 3 afternoon: Idolatry rooted in lack of faith

Focusing on the story of the golden calf in the book of Exodus, Fr Bovati said that, although idolatry is sometimes seen as a problem of the past, it nonetheless remains “a capital sin”. Reflecting on various aspects of idolatry, he highlighted a desire for certainty, choosing “to see” rather than to listen to the voice of the invisible God.

Father Bovati also warned of the danger, especially in the modern digital world, of becoming “followers” of an idolatrous object. In particular, he said there can be a kind of idolatry in ritualism, in being concerned with beautiful ceremonies which may lack authentic prayer, rooted in hearing and accepting God’s Word.

Jesus overcomes this temptation to idolatry, Fr Bovati said, when He triumphed over Satan during the temptations in the desert. By His example, the Lord teaches us how to overcome our own blindness.

(“Papal retreat: A ministry of encouragement, and a warning against idolatry”, Vatican News, Mar. 4, 2020)

The Italian edition of Vatican News provides a bit more detail and even a direct quotation (indicated by italics) of several sentences from the apostate retreat master:

Listening, not Possessing

In light of this text from Exodus, Fr. Bovati delves into the phenomenon of idolatry, of which he highlights several aspects: how it springs from the desire for certainties, from the preference for ‘seeing’ rather than for listening to the voice of the invisible God. 

The idol [literally: talisman] may take the form of a doctrinal or disciplinary system of rules. Its rigidity, which is considered synonymous with ‘stability’ and ‘permanence’, as well as its clear and verifiable doctrinal aspect, even its intellectual quality, are deceiving in appearances insofar as that system of rules replaces the humble and constant listening to the voice of God who speaks as spirit. If believing is replaced with knowing, if we cease to adhere to God, we will certainly believe to be possessing the truth rather than searching for it and listening to it with humble docility. 

(Debora Donnini, “Esercizi spirituali, padre Bovati: non sostituire il credere con il sapere”, Vatican News, Mar. 3, 2020; italics given; our translation.)

This is music to Bergoglian ears! It is utter Modernist claptrap to Catholic ears! There is so much wrong with this, it is difficult to know where to start.

The Sinfulness of Real Idolatry

First, regarding the sinfulness of idolatry. Obviously, adoring the creature instead of the Creator is a mortal sin:

The Sinfulness of Idolatry.—(a) Idolatry is a most grievous crime. It entails rebellion against the majesty of God, attack on the virtue of religion, unbelief or denial of faith, and scandal; and hence it is forbidden in the first commandment: “Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them” (Exod., xx. 3 sqq.).

(b) Idolatry in itself and in its highest degree is the most grievous of sins, for it includes both hatred of God (since it would deprive Him of His unique excellence by giving His honors to creatures) and blasphemous unbelief (since the idolater publicly professes that God is not above all). Now, it was said above that unbelief, hatred of God and blasphemy are the most enormous of sins …, and so it follows that the worst form of idolatry is graver than other sins.

(c) Idolatry, by reason of the dispositions of the person who commits it, may be less grievous than other sins. Thus, it is worse to hate or deny God internally than to worship an idol externally only; it is worse to blaspheme with great hatred and contempt than to practise idolatry with less malice. Imperfection of the act, as in cases of ignorance or want of consent, makes the sin venial, or no formal sin at all.

(Rev. John A. McHugh & Rev. Charles J. Callan, Moral Theology, vol. 2 [New York, NY: Joseph F. Wagner, 1958], n. 2279; underlining added. Available electronically here.)

However, just because idolatry is a mortal sin, doesn’t mean it is also a capital sin, as Mr. Bovati claims.

Capital sins are those sins which tend to lead to other sins, and there are exactly seven of them. This is standard teaching found in any traditional Catholic catechism, such as Cardinal Pietro Gasparri’s:

(575) Which are the “capital” sins?

The “capital” sins are:

i. pride;
ii. avarice;
iii. lust;
iv. anger;
v. gluttony;
vi. envy;
vii. sloth.

(576) Why are these sins called “capital”?

These sins are called “capital” because they are as it were the source and origin of all other sins and vices.

(Cardinal Peter Gasparri, ed., The Catholic Catechism [Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., 1932], pp. 213-214; italics removed.)

Idolatry, then, for all its wickedness, is not numbered among the capital sins.

Alas, this is the least of the problems with what “Fr.” Bovati says concerning idolatry. The very fact that he considers it a sin at all is actually quite remarkable, considering that he is a Jesuit. However, like all Modernists, he cannot simply accept Catholic teaching on idolatry. He must twist it, question it, rethink it, reinterpret it, until it has lost all of its original and true meaning, usually under the pretext of profound reflection and study.

Twilight of the Idols: Certainty, Ritualism, Rigidity

Given what has been provided by Vatican News, we can summarize “Fr.” Bovati’s position as follows. He claims the idolatry the retreatants must guard against consists in:

  1. a desire for certainty; choosing to “see” rather than to listen to the voice of God
  2. ritualism, being concerned with beautiful ceremonies which may lack authentic prayer
  3. adhering to doctrinal or disciplinary rigidity, which “replaces the humble and constant listening to the voice of God”
  4. replacing believing with knowing; possessing the truth rather than searching for it

This is 100% Modernist bunk, and it’s been regurgitated over and over again in the halls of the Vatican and in seminaries and universities throughout the Modernist Sect since the 1960s.

Keep in mind that this “Fr.” Bovati — we’ll start calling him “Bloviati” — is not merely some lone confused voice out there addressing a few monks closed off in a monastery, which would be bad enough. Rather, he represents at least the status quo of mainstream “Catholic” spirituality and is considered a top-notch scholar who gets to serve on the Pontifical Biblical Commission. He is, in fact, considered the crème de la crème, for he was chosen to preach a Lenten retreat to the Roman Curia and the “Pope” himself!

It is time, therefore, that we took his anti-Catholic ideas apart. Let’s go through this one by one:

(1) A Desire for Certainty: Choosing to “See” rather than to Listen to the Voice of God

Not only does a desire for certainty have nothing to do with idolatry, it is in fact part of human nature. The human mind was made for certainty, for knowledge; and knowledge, properly speaking, is only had when there is certainty. Where there is no certainty, there is doubt or opinion at best — which is, incidentally, precisely what the Modernists believe Faith is: an opinion, a subjective religious experience.

Next, we must point out is that Bloviati’s position is self-contradictory. For all his rejection of evil certainties, he has apparently forgotten that he is proposing his own thesis as being quite, uh, certain.

Thirdly, by rejecting the desire for certainty, Bloviati reveals himself as subscribing to what Pope St. Pius X condemned as Modernistic Agnosticism, the notion that objective and certain knowledge about religious matters cannot be had (see Encyclical Pascendi, n. 6). Instead, Modernists claim that any truth in religious matters is subjective and arises from personal experience through what Pope Pius X called “vital immanence” (see Pascendi, n. 7). Again a parallel to Bloviati’s position can be seen: He deceptively calls it “the humble and constant listening to the voice of God”, but we all know, especially from their fruits, that this is the last thing the Modernists are actually interested in.

What they call “listening to the Spirit” etc. is nothing but the raising of their own desired novelty to the status of doctrine or at least to the status of being willed by God. It is then ascribed to the “God of surprises”, to use one of Francis’ favorite expressions, and one recent such novelty is that “we believers encounter in the Amazon region a theological locus, a space where God himself reveals himself and summons his sons and daughters” (Antipope Francis, Exhortation Querida Amazonia, n. 57). Surprise!

As far as the accusation that such idolaters would rather “see” than listen to the voice of God, this is just Modernist mumbo-jumbo. Without defining precisely what is meant, one can take this to mean anything. There is a good chance our bloviating retreat master himself doesn’t know what he means. He is using metaphorical language for a reason: He wants to obfuscate, confuse, communicate ambiguities, and introduce doubt. Perhaps most of all, he does not want to be pinned down. Modernism thrives on vague and ambiguous expressions, on lack of precision, on lack of clear definitions, because Modernism, being sinister, detests clarity, which is one of the hallmarks of truth and orthodoxy: “For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved” (John 3:20).

So, it is clear that Bloviati is simply trying to slam anyone who has some traits of Catholicism left in him with regard to the nature of Faith and the motives of credibility, both of which are objectively certain, although each in a different sense. His goal is, essentially, to shame anyone who retains the correct Catholic doctrine on this into considering himself an idolater. Apparently that much is certain!

We’ll elaborate on this in point (4) below.

(2) Ritualism, being concerned with beautiful Ceremonies which “may lack authentic Prayer”

Not surprisingly, Bloviati attacks what he calls “ritualism”, for Catholic ritual is detested by Modernists, as can be seen by the countless Novus Ordo “anything goes” liturgies that are prevalent throughout the Vatican II Sect.

His claim that beautiful ceremonies “may lack authentic prayer” is another malicious taunt directed against traditional Catholicism, which is clearly the object of his hatred. What does he mean by “authentic prayer”? Certainly the rites of Holy Mother Church are in themselves genuine prayer rendered to Almighty God:

For the Liturgy is indeed a sacred thing, since by it we are raised to God and united to Him, thereby professing our faith and our deep obligation to Him for the benefits we have received and the help of which we stand in constant need. There is thus a close connection between dogma and the sacred Liturgy, and between Christian worship and the sanctification of the faithful.

(Pope Pius XI, Apostolic Constitution Divini Cultus, par. 2)

The worship rendered by the Church to God must be, in its entirety, interior as well as exterior. It is exterior because the nature of man as a composite of body and soul requires it to be so. Likewise, because divine Providence has disposed that “while we recognize God visibly, we may be drawn by Him to love of things unseen.” Every impulse of the human heart, besides, expresses itself naturally through the senses; and the worship of God, being the concern not merely of individuals but of the whole community of mankind, must therefore be social as well. This obviously it cannot be unless religious activity is also organized and manifested outwardly. Exterior worship, finally, reveals and emphasizes the unity of the mystical Body, feeds new fuel to its holy zeal, fortifies its energy, intensifies its action day by day: “for although the ceremonies themselves can claim no perfection or sanctity in their won right, they are, nevertheless, the outward acts of religion, designed to rouse the heart, like signals of a sort, to veneration of the sacred realities, and to raise the mind to meditation on the supernatural. They serve to foster piety, to kindle the flame of charity, to increase our faith and deepen our devotion. They provide instruction for simple folk, decoration for divine worship, continuity of religious practice. They make it possible to tell genuine Christians from their false or heretical counterparts.”

…Unquestionably, liturgical prayer, being the public supplication of the illustrious Spouse of Jesus Christ, is superior in excellence to private prayers.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, nn. 23, 37)

With regard to the Holy Mass and the other sacraments, their efficacy does not depend on the holiness or “authentic prayer” of the individual minister: “Very truly, the sacraments and the sacrifice of the altar, being Christ’s own actions, must be held to be capable in themselves of conveying and dispensing grace from the divine Head to the members of the Mystical Body” (Pius XII, Mediator Dei, n. 31).

It is certainly true that for any individual, liturgical prayer can become what Pope Pius XII called “mere formalism, without meaning and without content” and “an empty ritualism” (Encyclical Mediator Dei, nn. 24, 175). That is always a possibility, inasmuch as liturgical prayer is conducted by mere men, and men can choose not to be attentive, for example, to the acts they are carrying out, or they may do so without having any true Faith.

Is that what Bovati means by the possibility of lacking authentic prayer? If so, he would be right in saying that this may be lacking in individuals conducting beautiful liturgical ceremonies. But then that would go for the Modernist circus just as much: Their “liturgical actions”, if we want to call them that, may just as much be without authentic prayer. In fact, it is precisely Novus Ordo chaos liturgies that are lacking per se in authentic prayer and are not at all conducive to it! Why, then, does Bloviati make it look as if the lack of authentic prayer were tied specifically to the “ritualism” of “beautiful ceremonies”? We all know the answer, of course: because he hates beautiful (traditional) Catholic ceremonies.

(3) Adhering to Doctrinal or Disciplinary Rigidity, which “Replaces the Humble and Constant Listening to the Voice of God”

Yawn. There’s yet another favorite whipping boy of the Modernists: that awful “rigidity” that, as Bergoglio himself likes to say, “hides something”, such as “insecurity”.

Modernists hate rigidity, not because of an aversion to idolatry — which obviously has nothing to do with it — but because Catholicism is rigid by its very nature. It teaches objective truth, produces genuine certainty, and will not bend on Faith or morals. On these matters, the saints were incredibly rigid. Case in point: Saint John the Baptist. He would not bend to King Herod’s adulterous union with his sister-in-law (see Mk 6:18). Recall the words of our Blessed Savior to those who thought the Baptist was too rigid: “What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind?” (Mt 11:7). A reed would be too rigid still for the Modernists in our day! They want jellyfish.

Bloviati claims that adhering to doctrinal or disciplinary rigidity “replaces the humble and constant listening to the voice of God.” This is more outrageous flapdoodle. It’s amazing how when it comes to Sacred Theology, or religious matters in general, rigidity is thought of as a problem. People don’t typically mind rigidity in other areas of life: their bank rigidly adhering to the rules of mathematics; construction workers adhering rigidly to the architect’s drawings to build that bridge across the river; their pharmacist being rigid about filling their prescription with the right medicine; their spouse taking the marriage vow in its rigid sense; the mechanic rigidly adhering to the idea of replacing oil with oil and not with pancake syrup; and all drivers on the road taking a rigid approach to obeying traffic laws.

What is a rigid adherence to a disciplinary rule? Bloviati cannot really mean anything other than taking the discipline seriously. Of course one is never allowed to break the spirit of the law in order to uphold the letter, but that is understood. Insisting on the letter to the detriment of the spirit would be pharisaical and is condemned by the Church. So what is Bloviati suggesting? That we turn the Commandments into Suggestions? Well, the Frankster has already begun, with the publication of Amoris Laetitia.

As far as doctrine is concerned, there can only be rigid adherence to doctrine or no adherence at all — there is no in between. One cannot assent to Catholic teaching in a “lax” manner, just as one cannot take the rules of mathematics laxly. One either adheres to them or one doesn’t. If Bloviati thinks that assenting to Catholic teaching means replacing the humble listening to the voice of God, then we know what he thinks about the Catholic Church and her doctrine. But then, we pretty much knew that already.

In his frenzied attack on “rigidity”, the Modernist Bovati is leaving out of account the key truth that refutes him: The Church’s very rigid doctrines and disciplines make possible, as a genuine means, precisely the humble obedience we must render to God, and the listening to His Voice. Assenting to the doctrines of the Church and following her laws is the vehicle, so to speak, which we must use to arrive at the intended destination: union with God, the Beatific Vision. The Church is the Ark of Salvation for a reason.

In any case, none of this has anything even remotely to do with idolatry.

(4) Replacing Believing with Knowing: Possessing the Truth rather than Searching for It

Now this is just priceless. “Fr.” Bovati appears to think that Faith does not yield true knowledge, that believing and knowing are contraries. For a Modernist, that makes sense of course, since they subscribe to the idea that Faith is essentially an experience, which is precisely what Club Francis constantly communicates to the world.

“Faith itself, in fact, is a relationship, an encounter”, the Antipope declared in his Message for the World Day of Communications on Jan. 24, 2019. Another brilliant pronouncement of his came a few months later, in Morocco: “…being a Christian is not about adhering to a doctrine, or a temple or an ethnic group. Being Christian is about an encounter, an encounter with Jesus Christ.”

People who think that experience and encounter are the essence of Faith, must certainly object to the notion of Faith as producing true knowledge. But the latter is, like it or not, the true Catholic teaching.

Explaining the Apostles’ Creed, the Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches beautifully:

“I Believe”

The word believe does not here mean to think, to suppose, to be of opinion; but, as the Sacred Scriptures teach, it expresses the deepest conviction, by which the mind gives a firm and unhesitating assent to God revealing His mysterious truths. As far, therefore, as regards use of the word here, he who firmly and without hesitation is convinced of anything is said to believe.

Faith Excludes Doubt

The knowledge derived through faith must not be considered less certain because its objects are not seen; for the divine light by which we know them, although it does not render them evident, yet suffers us not to doubt them. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath himself shone in our hearts [2 Cor 4:6], that the gospel be not hidden to us, as to those that perish [2 Cor 4:3].

Faith Excludes Curiosity

From what has been said it follows that he who is gifted with this heavenly knowledge of faith is free from an inquisitive curiosity. For when God commands us to believe He does not propose to us to search into His divine judgments, or inquire into their reason and cause, but demands an unchangeable faith, by which the mind rests content in the knowledge of eternal truth. And indeed, since we have the testimony of the Apostle that God is true; and every man a liar [Rom 3:4], and since it would argue arrogance and presumption to disbelieve the word of a grave and sensible man affirming anything as true, and to demand that he prove his statements by arguments or witnesses, how rash and foolish are those, who, hearing the words of God Himself, demand reasons for His heavenly and saving doctrines? Faith, therefore, must exclude not only all doubt, but all desire for demonstration.

(Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests, McHugh/Callan translation [Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1982], pp. 14-15; available online here.)

From this we can easily see that it is the Modernist, not the Catholic, who does not believe. It is the Modernist, not the Catholic, who is not humbly listening to the Voice of God with docility.

This confirms what we already discussed in point (1) above, saying that Modernists are Agnostics who replace the objective certainty of the motives of credibility and of Faith with subjective religious experience. Thus they are not humble but prideful; and we can see how astute was St. Pius X’s assessment of them when he wrote: “…relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy” (Pascendi, n. 3).

Indeed Modernists are not interested in truth at all. “No one owns the truth”, Bergoglio himself declared at a Wednesday Audience on May 8, 2013. Modernists detest the idea that Catholics possess the truth, but not because they themselves are “humbly searching for it” but because they reject the very notion of ever arriving at truth. For the Modernist, the journey is the destination, the search is the goal. That’s why they’re always in movement, “going forth” and what not. It’s not because they want to arrive anywhere but because they have made movement an end in itself. Hence Francis has no trouble declaring: “Go forward, always in movement… never stop but always keep moving!”

The Modernist is not interested in answers, only in questions. He does not seek certainty but doubt. That’s why on several occasions Francis has made the idiotic remark that Faith has to “leave room for doubt”:

If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.

(Antipope Francis, in Antonio Spadaro, “A Big Heart Open to God: An interview with Pope Francis”, America, Sep. 30, 2013)

As we saw from the Tridentine Catechism, Faith by its very nature excludes all doubt. Doubt is contrary to Faith. To be a heretic, it is not necessary to deny a dogma; mere doubt suffices, if it is deliberate and stubborn. For whether one denies or merely doubts a dogma, in both cases one refuses to believe “by divine and Catholic faith, all those things … which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed” (First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Chapter 3; Denz. 1792).

God Himself calls His Church “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). It is clear that the Catholic Church possesses the truth, then, she is not in search of it. If she were searching, she could hardly be truth’s foundation and pillar; she would be like salt that has lost is flavor, being “good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men” (Mt 5:13). If she were searching for the truth herself, she could not be the Ark of Salvation, for “if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit” (Mt 15:14).

The reason Holy Mother Church can and must proclaim that she possesses the truth is not because she is presumptuous or proud but because she gives humble testimony to her Divine Founder, who has entrusted her with the Deposit of Faith (see Jn 16:12-13). It is to this deposit she bears witness, and she does so with the direct mandate of God Himself: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Mt 28:19-20).

Concluding Remarks

In the Vatican News report quoted above we are told: “Jesus overcomes this temptation to idolatry, Fr Bovati said, when He triumphed over Satan during the temptations in the desert. By His example, the Lord teaches us how to overcome our own blindness.” So according to Bloviati’s own logic, our Blessed Lord overcame the temptation to adhere to certainties, rigid doctrines and rules, and beautiful ceremonies lacking authentic prayer that Satan presented him with. Got it.

Folks, it’s no wonder the Vatican is a royal mess. There is nothing Catholic left. Not one pebble! It is all thoroughly Modernist, from top to bottom, from left to right, inside and out. They have all lost their marbles — to the point of finding idolatry in firmly believing and rigidly defending what God has revealed, but not in the adoration of a pagan fertility goddess on the lawn of the Vatican Gardens.

It is obvious that there are a lot of things wrong in the Vatican these days, but rigid adherence to Catholic doctrine and discipline isn’t one of them! So what is Bovati bloviating about?

With all his denunciation of idolatry on account of adherence to rigidity, ritualism, and certainties, there is one question that the oh-so humble and truth-searching Jesuit retreat master has not yet answered:

What if one is indeed guilty of all this but “without idolatrous intentions”?

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