It’s that time of the year again!
Francis lectures Roman Curia on Humility, warns of Rigidity and other “Perverse Temptations”
For the Roman Curia in Vatican City, this is the least wonderful time of the year.
Year after year, just before Christmas, the Argentinian squatter occupying the Vatican guest house under the pseudonym “Pope Francis” (Jorge Bergoglio) likes to call his curial officials into his presence so he can give them a piece of his mind. The last two years were a bit of an exception, but this year he “once again dole[d] out some good old-fashioned fraternal correction”, as Vatican reporter Bob Mickens put it.
Here is a brief overview of Bergoglio’s various Christmas addresses since his election:
- In his first presentation of Christmas greetings in 2013, there was already a mention of the problem of gossip, but overall the address was quite tame and within the bounds of the ordinary.
- In 2014, Francis priovided a “detailed diagnosis and careful analysis” of what allegedly ails his Curia, identifying as many as fifteen “diseases” such as “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, having a “funeral face”, the “terrorism of gossip”, and “existential schizophrenia”. Enough said!
- In 2015, during the “Year of Mercy”, Francis prescribed “curial antibiotics” with respect to the “diseases” he had diagnosed the year before.
- In 2016, Francis denounced “cases of malicious resistance” to his ongoing reform of the Curia, “which spring up in misguided minds and come to the fore when the devil inspires ill intentions (often cloaked in sheep’s clothing). This … kind of resistance hides behind words of self-justification and often accusation; it takes refuge in traditions, appearances, formalities, in the familiar, or else in a desire to make everything personal, failing to distinguish between the act, the actor, and the action.” That this choice of words came after the now-famous dubia on Amoris Laetitia had been made public, is surely pure coincidence.
- In 2017, after remarking that “[m]aking reforms in Rome is like cleaning the Sphinx with a toothbrush”, Bergoglio launched into a frenzy of accusations, denouncing an “unbalanced and debased mindset of plots and small cliques that in fact represent a cancer leading to a self-centredness that also seeps into ecclesiastical bodies, and in particular those working in them.”
- In 2018, at the close of a year of horrific revelations (“Cardinal” Ted McCarrick’s decades-long sex abuse, then “Abp.” Vigano’s accusations against Francis), after denouncing those who commit abuse, Bergoglio castigated those who “hide behind good intentions in order to stab their brothers and sisters in the back and to sow weeds, division and bewilderment.”
- In 2019, the false pope dumped a big load of theological poppycock on his curial listeners to prepare them to accept more changes, warning them not to fall into the “rigidity born of the fear of change, which ends up erecting fences and obstacles on the terrain of the common good, turning it into a minefield of incomprehension and hatred.”
- In 2020, Francis gave a boring speech about crisis and conflict.
And this year? Well, this year Francis made humility the main topic of his lengthy address. The Vatican has provided a full transcript and 4000+ word English translation of the talk, as well as this video footage:
Right at the beginning, Francis gives his listeners a heads-up: He prefaces his remarks by identifying them as “a moment of reflection and assessment for each of us” — although self-awareness is typically not one of his strongsuits, as the last 8-9 years have shown.
It has to be admitted that much of Bergoglio’s address is genuinely good spiritual advice. Humility is a difficult but necessary virtue, for “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (Jas 4:6). But Francis wouldn’t be Francis if he didn’t know how to use otherwise good advice for evil ends, and so naturally he spins things in such a way as to make his ideological program look humble and virtuous, whereas those who resist it are proud and perverse stiflers of the Holy Ghost. In other words, it’s business as usual for Club Bergoglio.
We will now look at a few quotations from his speech and comment on them:
This is the dangerous temptation – as I have said on other occasions – of a spiritual worldliness that, unlike all other temptations, is hard to unmask, for it is concealed by everything that usually reassures us: our role, the liturgy, doctrine, religious devotion. As I wrote in Evangelii Gaudium, such spiritual worldliness “also feeds the vainglory of those who are content to have a modicum of power and would rather be the general of a defeated army than a mere private in a unit which continues to fight. How often we dream up vast apostolic projects, meticulously planned, just like defeated generals! But this is to deny our history as a Church, which is glorious precisely because it is a history of sacrifice, of hopes and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, tiring as it may be, for all work is the ‘sweat of our brow’. Instead, we waste time talking about ‘what needs to be done’ – in Spanish, we call this the sin of habriaqueísmo – like spiritual masters and pastoral experts who give instructions from on high. We indulge in endless fantasies and we lose contact with the real lives and difficulties of our people” (No. 96).
(Antipope Francis, Address to the Roman Curia, Vatican.va, Dec. 23, 2021)
Francis loves quoting himself, so his generous citation of his infernal exhortation Evangelii Gaudium comes as no real surprise. But for the Argentinian apostate to feign concern about any kind of worldliness is pretty rich, considering that he is mundaneness incarnate. Just about everything in his “pontificate” has to do with the problems of the temporal world. He speaks about heaven almost never, and when he does, he makes it into a Naturalist heaven-on-earth.
Notice how Bergoglio ties “spiritual worldliness” to things that would be important to traditionalists and conservatives but not to liberals or progressives: a hierarchical role, the Sacred Liturgy, sound doctrine, and religious devotion. People who know how to read between the lines with this “Pope” will surely get the message. Now there’s a master and expert “who give[s] instructions from on high” if there ever was one!
In the paragraph that follows, Francis asserts that we look for things to reassure us if we are lacking in humility, and he adds: “Seeking those kinds of reassurance is the most perverse fruit of spiritual worldliness, for it reveals a lack of faith, hope and love; it leads to an inability to discern the truth of things.”
It’s nice to see the head of the Vatican II Church concerned about perversion, but somehow he always fails to detect it where it is most evident. That he should warn of a lack of Faith is ironic, since that sort of thing doesn’t typically bother him — in fact, he encourages people to have doubts about their Faith, and in any case, how often has he denounced the rigid clinging to certainties?
A little further on, Francis throws out a number of assertions for which he provides no proof:
Yet, if our remembering is not to make us prisoners of the past, we need another verb: to give life, to “generate”. The humble – humble men or women – are those who are concerned not simply with the past, but also with the future, since they know how to look ahead, to spread their branches, remembering the past with gratitude. The humble give life, attract others and push onwards towards the unknown that lies ahead. The proud, on the other hand, simply repeat, grow rigid – rigidity is a perversion, a present-day perversion – and enclose themselves in that repetition, feeling certain about what they know and fearful of anything new because they cannot control it; they feel destabilized… because they have lost their memory.
There we go again with the Bergoglian mantras. What should be humble about “push[ing] onwards towards the unknown that lies ahead”, is anyone’s guess. That Francis likes the term “perversion” seems clear, it’s just that he never applies it to where it ought to be applied.
In a recent chat with Slovak Jesuits, Bergoglio proved that point forcefully when he said: “It frightens us to accompany people with sexual diversity. We are afraid of the crossroads and paths that Paul VI spoke of. This is the evil of this moment, namely, to seek the path in rigidity and clericalism, which are two perversions” (underlining added).
Notice what he identifies as “perversion” on the one hand and what he smoothes over as innocuous-sounding “sexual diversity” on the other. This man obviously has no business lecturing anyone on “the evil of this moment.” “Clericalism” and “rigidity” are his pet peeves; but when Our Blessed Lord praised St. John the Baptist for being the opposite of a “reed shaken with the wind” (Mt 11:7), He expressed what we may call a preferential option for the rigid.
Bergoglio’s Christmas address continues: “The humble allow themselves to be challenged. They are open to what is new, since they feel secure in what has gone before them, firm in their roots and their sense of belonging.” Here we can see it clearly: If you are open to the Bergoglian “god of surprises”, you are a humble man. If you oppose that evil demon, you are hopelessly closed-in on yourself, sterile, and proud, definitely not open to the “spirit” (to use his preferred vocabulary).
When Saint Pius X was Pope (1903-1914), on the other hand, he excoriated the Modernists for being proud precisely because they loved novelty and did not rigidly cling to the past:
…the Modernists vent all their bitterness and hatred on Catholics who zealously fight the battles of the Church. There is no species of insult which they do not heap upon them, but their usual course is to charge them with ignorance or obstinacy. When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that renders them redoubtable, they seek to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack. This policy towards Catholics is the more invidious in that they belaud with admiration which knows no bounds the writers who range themselves on their side, hailing their works, exuding novelty in every page, with a chorus of applause. For them the scholarship of a writer is in direct proportion to the recklessness of his attacks on antiquity, and of his efforts to undermine tradition and the ecclesiastical magisterium. …
Equal diligence and severity are to be used in examining and selecting candidates for Holy Orders. Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty! God hateth the proud and the obstinate mind.
(Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, nn. 42, 49)
Love of novelty in the Church is a sign of pride, not of humility!
Next, Francis tries to find a way to tie humility to his beloved upcoming Synod on Synodality. He says:
Last 17 October, we set out on the synodal journey that will occupy us for the next two years. In this too, humility alone can enable us to encounter and listen, to dialogue and discern, to pray together, as the Cardinal Dean said. If we remain enclosed in our convictions and experiences, the hard shell of our own thoughts and feelings, it will be difficult to be open to that experience of the Spirit, which, as the Apostle says, is born of the conviction that we are all children of “one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:6).
See, the basis for his Synod project is humility! Such a virtuous church he’s building! Never mind that there is nothing humble about a bunch of Modernist clerics getting together for three weeks to talk about how their people want to change the church and then ascribing the end result of that process to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity!
Next, Francis has to talk about “perversion” again — he just can’t help it:
That word – “all” – leaves no room for misunderstanding! The clericalism that, as a temptation, a perverse temptation, daily spreads in our midst, makes us keep thinking of a God who speaks only to some, while the others must only listen and obey. The Synod wants to be an experience of feeling ourselves all members of a larger people, the holy and faithful People of God, and thus disciples who listen and, precisely by virtue of this listening, can also understand God’s will, which is always revealed in unpredictable ways. Yet it would be wrong to think that the Synod is an event meant for the Church, as something abstract and distant from us. Synodality is a “style” to which we must be converted, especially those of us here present and all those who serve the universal Church by their work for the Roman Curia.
Speaking of perversion: Francis has actually perverted the understanding of public revelation and of how God works in the Church. The Son of God established His Church as a monarchy, and all public revelation given by the Holy Ghost was finished with the death of the last Apostle, St. John. Interestingly enough, both of Bergoglio’s errors were condemned by Pope St. Pius X as Modernism (see Decree Lamentabili Sane, n. 21 [Denz. 2021] and Letter Ex Quo [Denz. 2147a]).
The traditionalists in the Vatican II Church will not be amused by Francis’ remarks here, since they just found out how much some “must only listen and obey”. They, for some reason, were not considered to be part of “the holy and faithful People of God” who “can also understand God’s will, which is always revealed in unpredictable ways” — perhaps because they did not “listen” enough….
A particularly noteworthy line in Francis’ Christmas address was the one in which he encouraged people “to work so that we are capable of generating concrete dynamics in which all can sense that they have an active role to play in the mission they have to carry out.” He also opined that “[a]n attitude of service requires, and indeed demands, a good and generous heart, in order to recognize and experience with joy the manifold richness present in the People of God.” Yeah, whatever.
Lastly, the Jesuit antipope paid lip service to mission. This is ironic because if there’s one thing his Novus Ordo Church doesn’t engage in, it’s mission, that is, mission for the salvation of souls. He said:
The third word is mission. This is what saves us from falling back on ourselves. Those who are turned in on themselves “look from above and from afar, they reject the prophecy of their brothers and sisters, they discredit those who raise questions, they constantly point out the mistakes of others and they are obsessed by appearances. Their hearts are open only to the limited horizon of their own immanence and interests, and as a consequence they neither learn from their sins nor are they genuinely open to forgiveness. These are the two signs of “closed” persons: they do not learn from their sins and they are not open to forgiveness. This is a tremendous corruption disguised as a good. We need to avoid it by making the Church constantly go out from herself, keeping her mission focused on Jesus Christ, and her commitment to the poor” (Evangelii Gaudium, 97). Only a heart open to mission can ensure that everything we do, ad intra and ad extra, is marked by the regenerating power of the Lord’s call. Mission always involves passion for the poor, for those who are “in need”, not only of things material, but also spiritual, emotional and moral.
Perhaps we missed it, but we didn’t think too many members of the Novus Ordo “holy and faithful People of God” had uttered much “prophecy” as of late; and of course the one who has been discrediting “those who raise questions” is the Argentinian apostate himself.
Since 2016, the so-called “dubia cardinals” (reduced to the surviving Walter Brandmüller and Raymond Burke only at this point) have been trying to get answers on the exhortation Amoris Laetitia, in which Francis announced that the “god of surprises” has “unpredictably” decided to will that some adulterous couples continue in their sin due to the “concrete complexity of [their] limits” (Amoris Laetitia, n. 303). So much for the Vatican squatter himself having “a heart open to mission”.
But enough of the drivel!
A tweet by Catholic Word Report summed up Francis’ Christmas address to the Roman Curia with these words: “Merry Christmas, You Lepers!”
Image source: youtube.com (screenshot)
License: fair use