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Bergoglio’s “Ecumenism of Blood” returns…

“Christian Saints of all Confessions”:
Francis again pushes Ecumenical Martyrdom Heresy

In February of 2015, terrorists of the Islamic State (ISIS) revealed that they had beheaded 21 men belonging to the Coptic Orthodox religion. Twenty of them were Egyptian, one was from Ghana. The case received a lot of media attention, and on Feb. 21, 2015, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Tawadros II, in a special ceremony declared the men to be saints and martyrs.

Over at the Vatican, the false pope Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) seized the opportunity to preach what he called an “ecumenism of blood”, a kind of “ecumenical martyrdom”. He told a delegation of Scottish Calvinists that was visiting him:

Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: “Jesus, help me!”. They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.

(Antipope Francis, Address to the Moderator and Representatives of the Church of Scotland, Vatican.va, Feb. 16, 2015)

To the contemporary ear, Francis’ words sound very reasonable and charitable. To the genuinely Catholic ear, however, they are an affront to the true Faith, an outrage with horrendous implications. We published a blog post about it at the time.

Now that six years have passed since this horrific slaughter took place, Francis has issued a video message commemorating the anniversary. Of course he immediately doubled down on his “ecumenical martyrdom” thesis:

Today is the day I have in my heart, that February of 2015. I hold in my heart that baptism of blood, those twenty-one men baptised as Christians with water and the Spirit, and that day also baptised with blood. They are our Saints, Saints of all Christians, Saints of all Christian denominations and traditions. They are those who have blanched their lives in the blood of the Lamb, they are those… of the people of God, the faithful people of God.

They had gone to work abroad to support their families: ordinary men, fathers of families, men with the illusion [desire] to have children; men with the dignity of workers, who not only seek to bring home bread, but to bring it home with the dignity of work. And these men bore witness to Jesus Christ. Their throats slit by the brutality of Isis, they died saying: “Lord Jesus!”, confessing the name of Jesus.

It is true that this was a tragedy, that these people lost their lives on that beach; but it is also true that the beach was blessed by their blood. And it is even more true that from their simplicity, from their simple but consistent faith, they received the greatest gift a Christian can receive: bearing witness to Jesus Christ to the point of giving their life.

I thank God our Father because He gave us these courageous brothers. I thank the Holy Spirit because He gave them the strength and consistency to confess Jesus Christ to the point of shedding blood. I thank the bishops, the priests of the Coptic sister church which raised them and taught them to grow in the faith. And I thank the mothers of these people, of these twenty-one men, who “nursed” them in the faith: they are the mothers of God’s holy people who transmit the faith “in dialect”, a dialect that goes beyond languages, the dialect of belonging.

I join all of you, brother bishops, in this commemoration. To you, great, beloved Tawadros, brother bishop and friend. To you, Justin Welby, who also wanted to come to this meeting. And to all the other bishops and priests, but above all I join the holy faithful people of God who in their simplicity, with their consistency and inconsistencies, with their graces and sins, carry forth the confession of Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ is Lord.

I thank you, twenty-one saints, Christian saints of all confessions, for your witness. And I thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for being so close to your people, for not forgetting them.

Let us pray together today in memory of these twenty-one Coptic Martyrs: may they intercede for us all before the Father. Amen.

(Antipope Francis, Video Message in Memory of the Coptic Martyrs Killed in Lybia, Vatican.va, Feb. 15, 2021; underlining added.)

It is a bit difficult to write about this topic because many readers, having been subjected to the principles of the Vatican II religion for so long, and/or the relativism, Agnosticism, and Indifferentism of the secular world, are bound to be shocked and take offense at the true Catholic position. Therefore, let us be very clear: None of what is presented in this post is meant to disrespect in any way those 21 men who, although certainly facing a most cruel death, refused to renounce their belief in Jesus Christ.

What this post means to show is that the traditional (i.e. pre-Vatican II) Roman Catholic doctrine, while not ruling out the possibility that these courageous men were indeed saved and are now in Heaven, does not permit one to recognize them as martyrs, as saints, or even as Christians in the proper sense of the term. As noted in our About Us page, the main purpose of Novus Ordo Watch is to demonstrate how Roman Catholic doctrine differs from that of the Vatican II Sect, and this post will be most conducive to that end.

True and False Martyrdom

We begin with a dogmatic definition by the Council of Florence. In extremely clear language, the ecumenical council approved by Pope Eugene IV declared:

[This council] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.

(Council of Florence, Decree Cantate Domino; Denz. 714; underlining added.)

This is the dogmatic basis on which we can (and must) identify Francis’ idea of an ecumenical martyrdom as heresy. It is a precise and definitive condemnation of any sort of “ecumenism of blood.”

What the Florentine definition does not rule out, however, is the so-called “baptism of blood”, which is a doctrine of the Church. Bergoglio makes reference to it, but he uses it incorrectly (shocker!) as being synonymous with martyrdom. But baptism of blood is not simply martyrdom. (We advise all those who have been misled to believe that the baptism of blood doctrine is heretical or at least erroneous, to consult the book Contra Crawford, which presents a thorough and convincing defense of the traditional Catholic teaching on baptism of desire and thus, implicitly, also baptism of blood.)

To understand baptism of blood in relation to martyrdom in general, let us turn to the entry on martyrdom in Donald Attwater’s Catholic Dictionary, which gives a very concise explanation:

MARTYRDOM. The voluntary endurance of death for the Catholic faith, or for any article thereof, or for the preservation of some Christian virtue, or for some other act of virtue relating to God. … The unbaptized who suffer martyrdom thereby become justified and attain Heaven (baptism of blood; Matt. x, 32, 39) whether they are infants or adults, provided in the case of adults that they have attrition [=imperfect contrition] for their sins; therefore the Church never prays for the repose of the souls of martyrs. According to Pope Benedict XIV, a heretic or schismatic in good faith who dies for a point of the true faith is a martyr in the eyes of God (coram Deo) but not coram Ecclesia [in the eyes of the Church]; and he did not deny the possibility that the same was true of one who died for an erroneous assertion believing it to be of the faith….

(Donald Attwater, ed., A Catholic Dictionary, 3rd ed. [New York, NY: Macmillan, 1958], p. 309; bold and italics given. Available to borrow electronically here.)

This little snippet really tells us all we need to know. Genuine martyrdom requires that someone be put to death for the Catholic religion, not for some other belief. In general, whoever is murdered for professing the Catholic religion will already have received the sacrament of baptism some time prior to his martyrdom. However, on occasion an unbaptized person professing the Catholic Faith will have the opportunity for martyrdom — such a one might be a catechumen (a convert who is preparing to be received into the Church and therefore has not yet received baptism, such as St. Emerentiana) or someone who is so recent a convert that he has not yet reached even the status of catechumen.

If such a one is martyred for his profession of the true Faith, and has at least imperfect contrition for his sins, he will receive the sanctifying grace that otherwise he would only obtain through the sacrament of baptism (or through an act of perfect contrition). For that reason, his martyrdom is called the “baptism of blood”. Although the baptism of blood does not confer the indelible mark received in the sacrament of baptism, it does put the soul into the state of santifying grace, washing it from both original and actual sin, thus regenerating it unto the life of divine grace (cf. Jn 3:3-8; Lk 7:47).

Now, what happens when a baptized heretic in good faith (such as a Protestant who through no fault of his own sincerely believes the teaching of his sect to be what God has revealed) is put to death by a Muslim because of his religion? As the Attwater quote above says, such a one, if he is at least imperfectly contrite for his sins (meaning he is sorry for his sins for an imperfect supernatural motive, such as the fear of going to hell, but not for the perfect supernatural motive, which is love of God), will be a martyr in the eyes of God but not in the eyes of the Church. And it is the latter, the eyes of the Church, that are pivotal here, for Francis — if we assume for a minute that he were actually the Pope — could obviously not render God’s judgment concerning the 21 murdered men, only the Church’s.

As Pope St. Pius X teaches, of “the internal disposition of the soul … God alone is the Judge” (Encyclical Pascendi, n. 3). Thus, as far as the external ordering of the Church goes, she can only judge according to what appears outwardly. And outwardly, the 21 Copts professed adherence to a religion opposed to the Roman Catholic religion. They freely and visibly belonged to a sect which, in the words of Pope Pius IX, is “visibly cut off from Catholic unity” (Apostolic Letter Iam Vos Omnes). The Catholic Church, therefore, cannot consider them Catholics. She cannot assume that the formal members of a different religion really mean to be members of the Catholic Church. For that reason she must hold them to be alien to herself; and since she alone is the Mystical Body of Christ, they are not members of Christ’s Body: “Now since its Founder willed this social body of Christ to be visible, the cooperation of all its members must also be externally manifest through their profession of the same faith…” (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 69).

So does this mean that we are required to assume that each of the 21 men killed for professing Jesus Christ was maliciously rebelling against what he personally and subjectively knew to be the true religion (namely, Catholicism)? Of course not. Rather, we may very much hope and desire that they held their errors in “good faith”, as it is called, meaning that they were sincere in their mistaken adherence to the Coptic Church, convinced that what they were professing was the religion revealed and taught by Jesus Christ, whose Holy Name they were willing to profess even though it meant dying a most cruel death. However, that concerns their internal state before God, not their external state before the Church. Therefore, although we should hope that these 21 men were in good faith and were saved through the grace of God, as far as the external ordering of the Church goes, it does not matter whether they were in good faith or in bad faith. Either way, the Catholic Church cannot accept them as martyrs because they did not manifest the intention of belonging to her.

Had he wanted to, Francis could have issued a very charitable statement about the 21 beheaded Copts without offending Catholic dogma in any way. In fact, he could have even used it as an occasion for preaching the true Gospel. For instance, he could have expressed his desire that these men, courageous as they were, obtained eternal glory, and he could then have proceeded to explain why the Catholic Church cannot consider them martyrs. He could have emphasized that although it is possible that they were saved, we can never use this possibility as an excuse for compromising with heresy or for spreading the poison of Indifferentism. Francis could have said that, and there would have been nothing objectionable about it.

How terrible an evil Indifferentism is, which is perhaps the most widespread heresy in our day, was explained by Pope Gregory XVI in his landmark encyclical against liberalism:

Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism” [Eph 4:5] may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against Him” [Lk 11:23], and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate” [Athanasian Creed]. Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: “He who is for the See of Peter is for me” [St. Jerome, Epistle 57]. A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?” [St. Augustine, in psalm. contra part. Donat.]

(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari Vos, n. 13)

In the proper sense of the term, therefore, there can be no non-Catholic martyr. If one dies for a religion other than the true religion, one is not a martyr. One cannot die for the Faith unless it is the true Faith. Francis’ remarks that the Coptic men in question had been raised “in the faith” is simply a lie, for the Faith is one and does not exist in elements, as Pope Benedict XV made clear: “Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected…” (Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 24). Therefore, it is not possible to be a genuine martyr even if one dies for a true dogma (such as the Divinity of Christ) if at the same time one adheres to heresies. For that reason, even though the 21 Copts “confessed Christ”, as Francis says, the Church cannot consider them martyrs.

Vatican II’s Ecclesiology the Root of the Problem

Now, attentive readers may have noticed that Bergoglio referred to the beheaded Copts as being part of “the faithful people of God”. So, is he saying that they were part of the Church, of the Mystical Body of Christ? Yes, that is precisely what he believes because he subscribes to the false and heretical ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council, which considers all the baptized to be part of the Church merely on account of their baptism and belief in Christ, regardless of whatever heresies they may profess. In this manner Francis is “giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ” (Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos, n. 8; underlining added).

Vatican II has changed the doctrine on the Church so much that in 2018 the Vatican saw no theological problem with permitting the Coptic Orthodox to use the Basilica of St. Paul’s-outside-the-Walls in Rome to celebrate the Divine Liturgy (Mass) of their heretical sect (which Francis calls a “sister church”, hearkening back to Antipope Paul VI’s Letter Anno Ineunte of 1967). Needless to say, before Vatican II, allowing a false religion to perform its worship in a Catholic basilica would have been an outrage too horrendous to fathom.

Historically, the Copts hold to the heresy of Monophysitism, though it appears that in more recent times they have switched to Miaphysitism instead. These heresies concern the Incarnation of our Blessed Lord directly, specifically the details regarding the Hypostatic Union of His divine and human natures. To the eyes and ears of contemporary man, such doctrinal differences may appear to be squabbles about things of minor importance, yet the Catholic Faith demands loyal adherence to every iota, for He who revealed it to us is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), and He must be worshipped “in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24; cf. Mt 5:18; Eph 4:5; 2 Jn 1:9). For this reason the Church has always guarded the purity of the Faith with a most watchful eye, warning that “diabolical error, when it has artfully colored its lies, easily clothes itself in the likeness of truth while very brief additions or changes corrupt the meaning of expressions; and confession, which usually works salvation, sometimes, with a slight change, inches toward death” (Pope Clement XIII, Encyclical In Dominico Agro, n. 2).

It is interesting that, whereas Novus Ordos are always so fond of quoting the Church Fathers in apparent support of their ideas, specifically St. Augustine, somehow Francis didn’t attempt to do so for his “ecumenical martyrdom” idea. And no wonder, for St. Augustine pointed out to the heretic Donatus that “being in a state of exclusion from the Church, and severed from the body of unity and the bond of charity, you would be punished with eternal misery even though you were burned alive for Christ’s name…” (Letter 173, n. 6; underlining added). Similarly, St. Cyprian wrote: “He cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church; … neither can he appear as a Christian who does not abide in the truth of His Gospel and of faith” (Treatise on the Unity of the Church, n. 14). And St. John, the Apostle of charity, warned: “Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn 9).

Thus, whereas Bergoglio could have used the opportunity to express his good will towards Copts while at the same time teaching true doctrine, he instead misused the bloody deaths of these men as an opportunity to spread heresy — the heresy that the Body of Christ, the Church, is not one in Faith, that it is divided, and that it doesn’t matter which “confession” one belongs to because we’re all “Christians” and part of the Body of Christ.

Let no one say, then, that Vatican II did not change doctrine. It changed doctrine so much that one whom the pre-Vatican II Catholic holds to be a heretic and outside the Body of Christ, is accepted by the post-Vatican II “Catholic” as a member of the Church, a saint, and a martyr!

Further Repercussions: The “New Martyrs”

Although the unbelieving secular world (and most of his own post-Catholic sect) no doubt applauds Francis for his “ecumenism of blood” doctrine, the Argentinian antipope is actually causing tremendous harm to souls by it, as we have seen. He is peddling a very cruel version of Indifferentism which speaks loudly and clearly: “It doesn’t matter what religion you die for. The important part is that you are willing to die for what you believe.” What a damnable lie! But that is what Francis is communicating to the world with his heresy.

True, for the moment he is restricting his false teaching to those who die “confessing Christ”, but all the premises are already in place to eventually extend this ecumenical martyrdom to other religions as well, beginning with the monotheistic and supposedly “Abrahamic” religions of Judaism and Islam.

What are those premises that will allow either Francis or one of his successors to eventually deduce that anyone who dies for any religion he firmly believes in, is really a martyr and part of the Church? Here is a selection of them:

When you put all these theological affirmations together, what’s to keep a future fake pope from concluding and teaching magisterially that the “ecumenism of blood” also extends to all religious people, or at least to Jews and Muslims? While they wouldn’t die “confessing Christ”, they would die “confessing God”, according to the current state of Novus Ordo doctrine. Give them a few more years, and they’ll figure it out.

We must also consider, however, what Bergoglio’s heresy does to the true martyrs. Consider, for example, St. Thomas More (1478-1535), who was executed precisely because he refused to admit the new “confession” of the Church of England (Anglicanism). Under Francis’ ecumenism of blood, however, a Catholic and an Anglican can both be martyrs because they are both part of the Body of Christ! Using Bergoglian logic, if a Catholic got killed for the Faith by an Anglican, and an Anglican were put to death for heresy by the lawful secular authority in a Catholic confessional state, both would be martyrs! This is insane!

The Church’s Solicitude for the Conversion of Non-Catholics

As mentioned earlier, none of the above is meant to be understood in any way as a lack of charity towards the 21 men who were barbarically murdered by Islamic terrorists six years ago. On the contrary, speaking a difficult truth for the sake of the salvation of souls is an act of “doing the truth in charity” (Eph 4:15).

In 1863, Pope Pius IX beautifully explained the attitude a Catholic must have towards non-Catholics when he wrote:

But God forbid that the sons of the Catholic Church ever in any way be hostile to those who are not joined with us in the same bonds of faith and love; but rather they should always be zealous to seek them out and aid them, whether poor, or sick, or afflicted with any other burdens, with all the offices of Christian charity; and they should especially endeavor to snatch them from the darkness of error in which they unhappily lie, and lead them back to Catholic truth and to the most loving Mother the Church, who never ceases to stretch out her maternal hands lovingly to them, and to call them back to her bosom so that, established and firm in faith, hope, and charity, and “being fruitful in every good work” [Colossians 1:10], they may attain eternal salvation.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, n. 9)

Francis’ ecumenism of blood, on the other hand, does not in any way encourage heretics and schismatics to return to the Catholic Church; rather, it confirms them in their errors, pretending that they are not in need of return and that martyrdom and salvation are possible outside of the Catholic Church. It is a truly monstrous heresy.

In 1951, on the occasion of the 1500th anniversary of the Council of Chalcedon, Pope Pius XII pleaded that the erring Copts would finally return to communion with the Holy See. Interestingly enough, he also mentioned the bloody persecutions they had been undergoing:

…Would it not be holy, salutary and in accordance with the will of God that at last all these should return to the one sheepfold of Christ?

For our part we desire that they should always bear in mind that Our thoughts are thoughts of peace and not of affliction (cf. Jer. xxix, 11). It is well known, moreover, that we have demonstrated this by our actions. If, under the pressure we boast of this, then we boast in the Lord, who is the giver of every goodwill. For we have followed in the path of our predecessors and worked diligently to facilitate the return of the Oriental peoples to the Catholic Church. We have guarded their legitimate rites. We have promoted the study of their affairs. We have promulgated beneficent laws for them. We have shown deep solicitude in our dealings with the sacred council of the Roman curia for oriental affairs. We have bestowed the Roman purple on the patriarch of the Armenians.

When the recent war was waging and producing its fruits of famine, want and disease, we made no distinction between them and those who are accustomed to call us Father, but sought everywhere to relieve the increasing misery; we strove to help widows, children, old people and the sick. We would have been happier truly had our means been equal to our desires! Let those then who, through the calamities of time, have been cut off, not be slow to pay due respect to this divinely erected and unbroken rock, this Apostolic See for whom to rule is to serve. Let them bear in mind and imitate Flavian, that second John Chrysostom, in his sufferings for justice; and the fathers of Chalcedon, those most worthy members of the Mystical Body of Christ; and Marcian, that strong, gentle and wise ruler; and Pulcheria, that resplendent lily of inviolate royal beauty. From such a return to the unity of the Church we foresee that there would flow a rich fountain of blessings unto the common good of the whole Christian world.

…Who is not horror struck at the ferocity and hatred with which the enemies of God, in many parts of the world, threaten to eradicate and wipe out everything divine and Christian? All those who are signed with the sacred character of baptism and are deputed by their state to fight the good fight of Christ, cannot remain disunited and dispersed against the confederated ranks of their enemies.

The chains, the agonies, the tortures, the groans, the blood of the innumerable multitude of persons, known and unknown, who recently and even today, have suffered and still suffer on account of their courage and constancy in the profession of their faith, cry out to all with louder and louder voice as the days go by, to embrace the unity of the Church.

Our hope for the return of these brothers and sons separated from the Apostolic See is made stronger by this harsh crucifixion and these bloody martyrdoms of so many other brothers and sons. Let no one neglect or impede the saving work of God. To the blessings and joys of this return we exhort and urge all those who follow the erroneous doctrines of the Nestorians and the Monophysites. Let them be sure that we should think it the brightest gem in the crown of our apostolate if the opportunity were given us of treating with honor and charity those who are the more dear to us because the long period of their withdrawal has excited in us the greater desire [for their return].

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Sempiternus Rex, nn. 37-39, 41-43)

Where Antipope Francis preaches a heretical “ecumenism of blood”, Pope Pius XII taught that the martyrdom of Catholics (“so many other brothers and sons”) strengthens his hope that heretics and schismatics will at last return to the one true Church, the Roman Catholic Church, under the visible head of the Church, the Vicar of Christ.

This alone must be the ultimate goal of any and all outreach to non-Catholics; there can be no other. Yet even this noble supernatural end does not justify evil, heretical, or sacrilegious means:

Even on the plea of promoting unity it is not allowed to dissemble one single dogma; for, as the Patriarch of Alexandria warns us, “although the desire of peace is a noble and excellent thing, yet we must not for its sake neglect the virtue of loyalty in Christ.” Consequently, the much desired return of erring sons to true and genuine unity in Christ will not be furthered by exclusive concentration on those doctrines which all, or most, communities glorying in the Christian name accept in common. The only successful method will be that which bases harmony and agreement among Christ’s faithful ones upon all the truths, and the whole of the truths, which God has revealed.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Orientalis Ecclesiae, n. 16)

The difference between the Novus Ordo ecumenical program and the traditional Catholic doctrine, then, could not be clearer.

Francis has demonstrated once again that he is one of those “false apostles [who] are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13), preaching a false gospel unto the ruin of souls.

In this manner, he has made himself much more dangerous than any human executioner: “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).

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