Bergoglio on Holy Family Sunday…
Francis: “The Holy Family on Holy Cards Does Not Exist”
Today the Vatican II Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family, also known as Holy Family Sunday. (In the traditional calendar, this feast falls on the First Sunday after the Epiphany.)
For his Angelus address, therefore, Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) spoke on the Holy Family. Although it contains some typical Bergoglianisms — such as the incredibly profound observation that we were not “born magically, with a magic wand” — the substance of his address was not objectionable. Here is the full text:
But Francis wouldn’t be Francis if he didn’t find a way to manifest his disdain for anything smacking of real Roman Catholicism, especially traditional devotions and pious practices. And so today he proclaimed: “The Holy Family on holy cards does not exist.” The context in which he uttered these irreverent words was the following:
The second aspect: we need to learn each day how to be a family. In the Gospel, we see that even in the Holy Family things did not all go well: there were unexpected problems, anxiety, suffering. The Holy Family on holy cards does not exist. Mary and Joseph lose Jesus and search for him anxiously, only to find him three days later. And when, seated among the teachers in the Temple, he responds that he had to be about his Father’s business, they do not understand. They need time to learn to know their son. So it is with us too: each day, a family needs to learn how to listen to each other to understand each other, to walk together, to face conflicts and difficulties. It is a daily challenge and it is overcome with the right attitude, through simple actions, caring for the details of our relationships. And this too helps us a lot in order to talk within the family, talk at table, dialogue between parents and children, dialogue among siblings. It helps us experience our family roots that come from our grandparents. Dialogue with the grandparents!
(Antipope Francis, Angelus Address, Vatican.va, Dec. 26, 2021; italics given; underlining added.)
One may say that the context is innocuous enough — he is speaking of the Holy Family as not only experiencing joy and peace but also struggles and anxieties. That’s fair, but his irreverent dissing of the Holy Family as typically represented on holy cards is not justified by that observation. In fact, it is entirely uncalled-for.
Bergoglio’s covert but quite impious attack comes out of nowhere and is directed against a beautiful and important religious practice that has sustained numerous souls since time immemorial: the use of holy cards to remind us of an important spiritual reality, to give us comfort and strength, to direct our thoughts to heavenly things (cf. Col 3:2), to help us to pray. Why criticize this? Why plant in people’s minds any kind of thought that what is displayed on holy cards is not true?
We can guess as to the answer, but what is certain is that in such manner, “Pope” Francis succeeds in subtly injecting the poison of doubt, suspicion, and potential unbelief in people’s souls, all the while retaining a modicum of plausible deniability. One can already hear his apologists scream: “He was just saying that the Holy Family also had sufferings!” If that was all he was trying to communicate, why didn’t he restrict himself to saying exactly that then? Why the unnecessary dissing of holy cards?
The truth is, of course, that the Holy Family on holy cards does exist — that’s why the images were made to begin with, to depict that very truth. Usually what is displayed on such cards is the beautiful harmony, serenity, and mutual charity enjoyed by Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Such supernatural fruits are not negated by temporal suffering. What kind of knucklehead would think (and be so bold as to inform the whole world of his impious belief) that the Holy Family did not experience the profoundest joy, charity, and peace, simply because at various times they also suffered distress?
Do we not have holy cards displaying also, for example, the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt, which was filled with intense anguish of various kinds?
Just the other day, the disgraceful charlatan in papal robes had already taken a swipe at holy cards, saying:
Let us ask Our Lady for a grace: that she may free us from the misleading idea that the Gospel is one thing and life is another; that she kindle our enthusiasm for the ideal of holiness which is not a matter of holy cards and images, but is about living what happens each day, humbly and joyfully, like Our Lady, free from ourselves, with our eyes fixed on God and the neighbour we meet
(Antipope Francis, Angelus Address, Vatican.va, Dec. 8, 2021; italics given; underlining added.)
There, too, the attack on holy cards is totally gratuitous and needless. It serves no purpose other than to make clear his contempt for the traditional practice and implicitly humiliate those who make use of it.
It would have been perfectly fine for him to simply point out in what true holiness essentially consists, and then he could have touched upon the roles holy cards can play in one’s sanctification (for example, to keep before us the saints, our helpers, so we will ask their intercession and honor and imitate them) — and then he could have also exhorted people not to have an exaggerated attachment to holy cards. That would have been appropriate and pious. Instead, he injects subtle hints here and there that demonstrate how much he loathes the religion in which he once grew up.
Oh, but of course there was one occasion on which he actually endorsed holy cards. It was when he addressed a group of Jesuits gathered for a social justice conference. Have a look at this:
I would like to conclude with an image — we priests in the parishes distribute holy cards, so that people can take an image home, an image of our family. Father Arrupe’s testament, there in Thailand, in the refugee camp, with the discarded, with all that man had sympathy for, to suffer with those people, with those Jesuits who, at that moment, were opening a open in this whole apostolate, asks of you one thing: do not neglect prayer. That was his testament. He left Thailand that day and had a stroke during the flight. May this holy card, this image, always accompany you. Thank you.
(Antipope Francis, Address to Participants at the Meeting of the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat of the Society of Jesus, Vatican.va, Nov. 7, 2019; underlining added.)
So when it concerns the Modernist gravedigger of the Jesuit order, Fr. Pedro Arrupe (1907-1991), and the cause of social justice, Bergoglio suddenly discovers his love of holy cards — how about that! We can rest assured, no doubt, that the “image of our family” was definitely not of the Holy Family, since that, we have been informed, “doesn’t exist.”
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you! Save souls!
Image source: composite with elements from shutterstock.com (Riccardo De Luca – Update / Renata Sedmakova) / shutterstock.com (Renata Sedmakova)
Licenses: paid / paid