Bergoglian Naturalism at full throttle…
In Year-End Homily read by “Cardinal” Re, Francis repudiates Supernatural Purpose to Suffering and Death
As the year 2020 came to a close, it was a given that one man in particular would have something to say: Mr. Jorge Bergoglio, otherwise known by his stage name, “Pope Francis.”
Although not physically present himself due to a painful flare-up of sciatica, the scheduled Bergoglian message still reverberated in St. Peter’s Basilica as it was read by “Cardinal” Giovanni Battista Re (pictured above) at the Vespers ceremony on Dec. 31.
In his sermon, not only did Francis put forward his typical Naturalism, which was to be expected; he explicitly disavowed any supernatural purpose to the Coronavirus pandemic (whether it ever was a genuine pandemic is another question that is not of interest here). Here’s what the “Pope” said:
Sometimes someone asks: what is the meaning of a drama like this? We must not be in a hurry to answer that question. Not even God responds to our most anguished “whys” by resorting to “superior reasons”. God’s answer follows the path of incarnation, as the Antiphon to the Magnificat will soon sing: “Because of the great love with which he loved us, God sent his Son in the flesh of sin”.
(Antipope Francis, Homily at Vespers, Dec. 31, 2020; translation by DeepL.com)
There is much more, but we must interrupt here. Bergoglio begins by noting that there is no need to be in a hurry to understand why God permits an evil like a pandemic of disease. That is fair enough: After all, “thy counsel is not in man’s power”, Sara prayed in her affliction (Tob 3:20); and through the prophet Isaias God proclaimed: “For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts” (Is 55:9).
Had Francis left it there and emphasized that although God’s ways are not known to us, nevertheless His Providence governs all things for His glory and the salvation of souls, so that we are called above all to derive supernatural benefit from temporal evils, keeping our eyes fixed not so much on the health of the body as upon the health and salvation of souls (first and foremost our own), there would be nothing to object to. However, this Francis did not do.
Secondly, it is flat-out wrong for the false pope to claim that “[n]ot even God responds to our most anguished ‘whys’ by resorting to ‘superior reasons'”. Actually, He does: The Incarnate Word Himself, having risen from the dead, rebuked His disciples for not seeing the higher purpose of the events that had transpired on Holy Thursday and Good Friday: “O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken” (Lk 24:25). God may not disclose to us what His reasons are, but He does expect us to believe in His Providence and Goodness and thus profit at least spiritually by making acts of Faith, hope, and charity.
The New Testament has numerous allusions to the “higher reasons” Francis belittles: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him”, St. Paul wrote to St. Timothy (2 Tim 2:12), indicating that suffering has the potential to be salvific. The same Apostle told the Colossians that his own sufferings had a supernatural purpose: “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24). And Pope St. Peter also hinted at the supernatural profit to be had from patiently enduring temporal afflictions: “For this is thankworthy, if for conscience towards God, a man endure sorrows, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if committing sin, and being buffeted for it, you endure? But if doing well you suffer patiently; this is thankworthy before God. For unto this are you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps” (1 Pet 2:19-21).
Whereas Francis likes to point out that “believers are bound to listen attentively to the word of the Lord” (Motu Proprio Aperuit Illis, n. 7), he himself suffers from selective deafness and blindness when it comes to the revealed truths the sacred text actually contains. While he likes to wax lyrical about “the inexhaustible riches contained in that constant dialogue between the Lord and his people” (“Apostolic” Letter Misericordia et Misera, n. 7), he will cherry-pick only those ideas he can twist into a promotion of his Naturalist pseudo-gospel, turning a blind eye to the rest.
This is particularly evident in the outrageous words that now follow in his Dec. 31 homily:
A God who would sacrifice human beings for a grand design, even if it were the best possible, is certainly not the God who revealed Jesus Christ to us. God is Father, “eternal Father,” and if his Son became man, it is out of the immense compassion of the Father’s heart. God is Father and He is shepherd, and what shepherd would give up even one sheep, thinking that in the meantime he has many sheep left? No, this cynical and merciless God does not exist. This is not the God we “praise” and “proclaim Lord”.
Bergoglio now begins to reveal himself for the utter Naturalist he is. He does not say it outright, but his words certainly do imply that for God to allow or plan for the natural suffering and death of human beings for the sake of their salvation would be to “sacrifice human beings for a grand design” and to “give up … sheep”. What a staggering blasphemy! “Wilt thou make void my judgment: and condemn me, that thou mayst be justified?” (Job 40:3).
Let us first of all recall that the entire human race has been placed by God under a natural death penalty on account of original sin: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned” (Rom 5:12; cf. Gen 3:14-24).
Suffering and death are the consequences of sin, but God had mercy upon mankind and sent His Son to be our Savior: “Take courage, and fear not: behold your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God himself will come and will save you” (Is 35:4); “For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David” (Lk 2:11); “And of his fulness we all have received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jn 1:16-17).
To receive the salvation offered by Christ, we must be born again in His grace and persevere in it until the end of our lives: “Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn 3:5); “But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved” (Mt 24:13); “See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (Rom 11:22).
Francis acts as though our Blessed Lord had come to deliver us from physical suffering and death. That is a lie! As Fr. Edward Leen points out so beautifully:
The [Gospel] passages that reveal Jesus in the exercise of works of mercy, in healing disease, in consoling grief and in overcoming death, are given an undue emphasis [by Naturalists]. In this way the central truth is obscured, the truth, namely, that the conflict of the Redeemer was primarily with spiritual evil and only incidentally with physical evil. His purpose was to banish from earth the ills that appear to God as such, not those that appear so to the pain-dreading nature of man… The gospel is not a record of a more or less successful philanthropic mission.
…To Christians, who persist in thinking that the function of Christianity is to provide men with good things and banish from their life evil things — understanding by good and evil what appear such to fallen human nature — life will speedily prove unintelligible. To men with such views the mystery of pain becomes insoluble. In the face of the harsh realities of existence their belief stands condemned. They have no answer to give to the ever-recurring question: if God is kind and good and tender towards human suffering, why does suffering continue to be not only for those that deserve it, but also for those who do not?
That Jesus, in His power and goodness, did not put an end to all human suffering shows that, in His eyes, suffering is not the real source of human unhappiness.
(Rev. Edward Leen, Why the Cross? [London: Sheed & Ward, 1938], pp. 54-56; italics given; underlining added.)
Because Francis believes that Christ came to save us from temporal evils, he is utterly stumped when asked why God permits innocent children to suffer. To him the question appears, as Fr. Leen says, “insoluble.”
What Francis contemptuously disses as a “grand design” for which God wouldn’t “sacrifice human beings”, is nothing other than their very salvation from eternal death! But then, he doesn’t believe in hell as eternal punishment, so eternal salvation is not a terribly meaningful concept for him.
Through His mercy and grace, God has given transformative power to temporal suffering, even death. Whatever evils God permits us to be afflicted with, He does so because they are conducive to our salvation and therefore to our eternal happiness. We may not understand why or how this or that particular suffering or other temporal evil has the potential to contribute to our spiritual well-being, but that is because our created minds are limited and dull, being weighed down by the consequences of original sin.
The God who created us and is supremely intelligent and perfectly good, assures us that whatever He permits to befall us is ultimately to our good. He loves us with an infinite Will, and from all eternity He has forseen all possible situations and every circumstance: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows” (Mt 10:29-31). Should we ever be tempted to doubt it, we need only to look at the Crib and the Cross. A God who would sooner sacrifice His own Son rather than see His miserable sinful creatures be condemned to a just punishment, must be a God who is perfectly good: “He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things?” (Rom 8:32).
Since temporal afflictions are conducive and in a sense necessary for our salvation, God would be “cynical and merciless” only if he didn’t allow us to experience them! “For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him” (Rom 8:16-17).
We turn once more to Fr. Leen, who beautifully explains the Supernaturalism that is so characteristic of the true Gospel, true Catholicism:
The thoughtful ones of earth contemplating the scene presented by a human activity that continually changes its purpose and is powerless to assign itself any purpose that human reason cannot instantly question, must feel the pathos of much well-meaning and humanitarian effort. Great generosity is shown and real kindness is spent in praiseworthy attempts to arrest the ravages of mortality, especially amongst the young. “Save the children” is an appeal that finds a ready response in the hearts of the humane and the kindly. Not with cynicism, but with real sympathy, one may ask, “Save them for what?” Is it for the adult life that frets itself away in vain endeavours to assign itself an adequate reason for living? Is it worth while to preserve children for what any person would logically confess to be not worth while? [Footnote: There is question only of those who have not the view of the aims and objects of life as furnished by the true faith or even by sound philosophy.] Is this charity of the kind-hearted dictated by the hope that somehow life for these children may prove different to what it has been for those who have tried to save them from death and disease? Are there grounds for hope that the little ones when come to adult age will light on, by chance, a solution of the problem of existence that has evaded their grown-up benefactors? What is the use of bestowing health unless there can be given with it the key to such a use of life as will issue in happiness? Life is a precious gift when it is accompanied by the knowledge of how to live rightly and the means to exercise this right living.
Death is not a break, but a stepping stone by which one passes from one stage to another in the same existence. But man will perversely and blindly strive to effect a cleavage in that line and persuade himself that the good of the human life that precedes death can be different from the good of human life that follows death. The result is that he is necessarily at cross-purposes with God. It is not surprising that the creature, seeking to gain the goal of life — namely happiness — by a use of life’s powers and energies at variance with the design of the Creator, should be continually frustrated in his main object, should enjoy no peace, and should be involved in contradiction and become a prey to perpetual dissatisfaction. What is the way out of this impasse? The way out is through a thorough understanding of the religion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and a practice based on such understanding.
(Rev. Edward Leen, Why the Cross? [London: Sheed & Ward, 1938], pp. 23-24,35-36)
What a refreshing rebuke of Bergoglio’s Naturalism!
Indeed, contrast Fr. Leen’s words with this drivel from the Frankster, who continues his Dec. 31, 2020 meditation thus:
The Good Samaritan, when he met that poor half-dead man on the side of the road, did not make a speech to explain the meaning of what had happened to him, perhaps to convince him that in the end it was good for him. The Samaritan, moved by compassion, bent down over that stranger, treating him like a brother, and took care of him, doing all he could (cf. Lk 10:25-37).
What utter garbage! We don’t know what the Good Samaritan may have said to the injured man because we are not told, and the reason we are not told is that the point to be inculcated with this particular parable is the practice of charity towards all people. Our Blessed Lord used parables to teach very specific moral lessons. They are not meant to be a complete instruction in sacred doctrine. For instance, the Parable of the Unjust Steward (see Lk 16:1-8), one of the most puzzling lessons Christ taught, focuses merely on the shrewdness and foresight of the steward, whose actual defrauding of his lord was quite immoral.
Despite his aversion to seeking a “higher reason” for God permitting the Coronavirus drama, Bergoglio does eventually deign to do so, but even then what he comes up with is entirely Naturalist:
Here, yes, perhaps we can find a “sense” of this drama that is the pandemic, as of other scourges that strike humanity: that of arousing in us compassion and provoking attitudes and gestures of closeness, of care, of solidarity, of affection.
But of course! Francis’ “higher” reason is once again tied to the mundane, the natural, the horizontal: physical closeness, care, solidarity, compassion. Anything supernatural is entirely absent once more: No thought is given to souls, to salvation, to eternity, to penance, to merit, to releasing souls from purgatory, to obtaining an increase in the theological virtues of Faith, hope, or charity. Such thoughts simply do not cross his Naturalist mind. And why would they? “He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh” (Jn 3:31).
Bergoglio then continues by, yes, thanking God “for the good things that have happened in our city during the lockdown and, in general, during the time of the pandemic” — but he remains, once again, only on the natural and temporal level. He thanks God not for any spiritual good that refreshes the soul but for a mundane one that alleviates the needs of the body: “There are so many people who, without making a sound, have tried to make the burden of the trial more bearable.” That is well and good as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. The purpose of life is the attainment of the Beatific Vision in Heaven (supernatural), not assisting other people in their temporal needs (natural).
Francis’ excessive preoccupation with the natural and the mundane — at the expense of the supernatural and the spiritual — is what makes him so dangerous. It is not that everything he says is wrong — far from it. Rather, the biggest problem is his undue and exaggerated emphasis on what is secondary and subordinate to a higher reality. In his sermon he lauds the charitable deeds of healthcare workers: “With their daily commitment, animated by love for their neighbor, they have fulfilled those words of the hymn Te Deum: ‘Every day we bless you, we praise your name forever’. Because the blessing and praise that God most appreciates is fraternal love.”
That is false. The blessing and praise that God most appreciates is, of course, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the “clean oblation” (Mal 1:11) that surpasses any and all other sacrifices. (The Novus Ordo worship service, by contrast, is merely a memorial meal.) Indeed, whatever personal sacrifices of fraternal charity an individual may offer, they must necessarily remain worthless before God apart from sanctifying grace; that is, they will have no supernatural value unless they be offered (at least implicitly) in union with the Sacrifice of Calvary, which alone can render them fruitful and pleasing to God. Once again we are on the supernatural, not the merely natural, level.
That is not to say, of course, that one can be pleasing to God by assisting at Holy Mass at the expense of practicing fraternal charity. That is certainly not possible — in fact, the refusal to practice love of neighbor deprives one of the state of sanctifying grace. Rather, it is a question of subordinating the lower to the higher, man to God. Holy Mass has God for its immediate and direct object, whereas fraternal charity has man for its direct object. If we practice the love of neighbor as we ought, that is, for the love of God, then we subordinate it to our love of God and practice it for His sake (see Mt 22:36-40). Hence it is nonsense for Francis to claim that fraternal charity is the highest praise of God. “These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone” (Mt 23:23). But we know Francis has his problems subordinating love of neighbor to love of God.
It would be wrong to think, however, that Francis never mentions God or has no room at all for Him. On the contrary: The role Francis routinely assigns to the Most High God is that of advertising character for his Naturalist ideology and theological surpriseology. True to form, that is how the false pope concludes his New Year’s Eve reflection:
All this cannot happen without grace, without the mercy of God. We – as we well know from experience – in difficult moments are inclined to defend ourselves – it is natural – we are inclined to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to safeguard our interests… How is it possible then that so many people, with no other reward than that of doing good, find the strength to worry about others? What drives them to give up something of themselves, their comfort, their time, their possessions, in order to give it to others? Deep down, even if they themselves do not think about it, they are driven by the strength of God, which is more powerful than our selfishness.
See, some will say, Francis is talking about grace! Yes, he is, but he (a) puts forward an erroneous idea about grace, and (b) is using the concept of grace only for his Naturalist ends. Let’s explain:
(a) Francis claims that God’s grace is necessary for any good action. Given the context of the preceding words in his homily, it is clear that he is not referring only to good acts done by Catholics in the state of grace but to charitable deeds done by anyone of any or no religion, with no reference to eternal salvation or the life of sanctifying grace. Such acts are known as naturally good acts; they are not salvific (=they cannot contribute to our sanctification or salvation) because they are supernaturally sterile. To be sure, they are not sins either — they are simply good in a natural sense.
In 1713, Pope Clement XI condemned the following proposition: “The grace of Jesus Christ, which is the efficacious principle of every kind of good, is necessary for every good work; without it, not only is nothing done, but nothing can be done” (Apostolic Constitution Unigenitus, n. 2; Denz. 1352; see also Denz. 1027 and 1389). Thus, Bergoglio’s claim that no good deed can be accomplished without God’s grace — as orthodox and conservative as that may have sounded at first — is false and condemned by the Church.
(b) Although He mentions God in the context of people helping each other during a time of temporal distress, He remains on the level of the earthly and horizontal. God is merely assigned the job of making all these naturally good acts possible in the first place. At no point is God referenced as the ultimate end for which human beings exist to begin with, or as permitting temporal evils for the sake of their salvation.
It is simply a fact that in order to enter Heaven we must be virtuous (see Mt 5:20; Apoc 21:27), and virtue is tried in adversity. Hence God permits us to suffer, that we be molded after our Redeemer: “Always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man is corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor 4:10,16-17). Again we see that the New Testament is clearly teaching the existence of a supernatural purpose to our earthly afflictions.
Perhaps the best way to see how stark the contrast is between Bergoglio’s incessant Naturalist drivel and the true, supernatural Gospel is to listen to real Catholic sermons.
The priests affiliated with Bp. Donald Sanborn’s Most Holy Trinity Seminary regularly upload their sermons to the MHT podcast channel. The following two are particularly relevant to the topic of the temporal evils of the past year and provide a striking contrast to the Naturalism peddled by “Pope” Bergoglio:
The priest preaching the first sermon is Fr. Luke Petrizzi; the second one is delivered by Fr. Philip Eldracher.
People who are new to true Catholicism may find some of what they are hearing intimidating, shocking, or overwhelming. Do not despair! Instead, please use our copious resources for learning genuine Catholicism and navigating the traditional Catholic landscape:
May the “happy new year” we wish each other this time of year not be simply one of mundane closeness and solidarity in the face of temporal struggles, but may it be a year of genuine supernatural happiness and spiritual health for all.
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License: fair use