When sentimentalism replaces Catholicism…

False Forgiveness: Bergoglio promotes Feelings-Based Theology in Sermon for Divine Mercy Sunday

In the Roman rite of the Catholic Church, the first Sunday after Easter is traditionally known as Low Sunday, White Sunday, or Quasimodo Sunday. This year, it fell on April 24.

In the Vatican II Sect, it has been known as “Divine Mercy Sunday” since 2000 on account of the suspect and dangerous Divine Mercy devotion that was allegedly revealed to Sister Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938). Although it was condemned in 1959 along with pictures and writings promoting it, the devotion was later rehabilitated and promoted especially by “Pope” John Paul II, who “canonized” Sr. Faustina on Apr. 30, 2000. One of the chief problems with the Divine Mercy is that it appears to promise God’s mercy without repentance. This brief video explains more about why Catholics ought to have nothing to do with it.

Needless to mention, the Jesuit apostate Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) had a lot to say on Divine Mercy Sunday. In his sermon at the “papal Mass” in St. Peter’s Basilica, he emphasized the importance of feeling and experiencing mercy, as if God’s forgiveness were something that needed to be felt or experienced and not simply received. Throughout his entire homily, the word “feel” (feeling, felt) shows up 9 times, and the word “experience” (experiences, experienced, experiencing) is used 8 times.

This focus on subjective experience is quite typical for Vatican II theology, which begins with the subject, just as the modern philosophy does which the New Theology bases itself on. In fact, one may say that Vatican II was the Copernican Revolution in theology, much like Immanuel Kant’s epistemology was the Copernican Revolution in philosophy. Just as the latter ended up on the Index of Forbidden Books., so we are confident the former will too, in God’s time.

Let us now have a look at some of what Francis presented to his hapless listeners this past Low Sunday, April 24, 2022 (the Gospel text for the day was John 20:19-31):

Peace be with you! The Lord says these words a second time and adds, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (v. 22). He then gives the disciples the Holy Spirit to make them agents of reconciliation: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them” (v. 23). Not only do the disciples receive mercy; they become dispensers of the mercy that they themselves received. They receive this power not on account of their merits or studies, but as a pure gift of grace, based however on their experience of having been themselves forgiven.

(Antipope Francis, Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday, Vatican.va, Apr. 24, 2022)

Francis is putting forward a rather questionable thesis: He claims that the power Christ gives them to forgive other people’s sins is “based … on their experience of having been themselves forgiven”. Barring any fanciful spin the professional Francis explainers at Catholic Answers or the Where Peter Is web site may come up with, on the face of it this assertion is simply false. In fact, nowhere in the passage in question (Jn 20:19-31) is any mention made of Christ forgiving His disciples their sins first, although, presumably, one may piously believe that He did so.

Francis himself makes no effort to prove his assertion, either. In his sermon, he simply reads it into verse 20, which says: “The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.” From this gladness, or joy, Francis infers that they had been forgiven. “The joy God gives is indeed born of forgiveness”, he says. Logically, however, this does not follow. Although forgiveness does bring joy, it is not the only thing that brings joy, and so he cannot conclude from the Apostles’ mere joy (at seeing the Risen Christ) that they had also received forgiveness. Obviously, not all joy is the result of forgiveness. Again, that is not to say that the disciples were not forgiven by Christ, only that the biblical text, which Francis claims to interpret, does not say one way or another. He apparently made it up.

What makes the matter worse is that the fake pope then proceeds to make this unproven assertion — that the Apostles had themselves first experienced forgiveness before they received the power to forgive others — a central premise for the instructions he gives to the so-called “missionaries of mercy” in attendance:

I am now speaking to you, missionaries of mercy: if you do not feel forgiven, do not carry out your service as a missionary of mercy until you feel that forgiveness. The mercy that we have received enables us to dispense a great deal of mercy and forgiveness. Today and every day, in the Church forgiveness must be received in this same way, through the humble goodness of a merciful confessor who sees himself not as the holder of some power but as a channel of mercy, who pours out upon others the forgiveness that he himself first received. From this arises the ability to forgive everything because God always forgives everything. We are the ones who tire of asking forgiveness but he always forgives. You must be channels of that forgiveness through your own experience of being forgiven. There is no need to torment the faithful when they come to Confession. It is necessary to understand their situation, to listen, to forgive and to offer good counsel so that they can move forward. God forgives everything and we must not close that door to people.

(underlining added)

Notice how much emphasis Francis places on feeling forgiveness. Forgiveness is not inherently something to feel, however. Emotions of consolation or joy may certainly accompany having been forgiven by God, but they are not necessary, nor are they a reliable indicator of having received God’s forgiveness. Francis is replacing solid Catholic theology with a dangerous sentimentalism here.

What is even worse still is that Bergoglio makes his erroneous pseudo-theology the cornerstone for the ministry of confessors. Why should a confessor — and the “missionaries of mercy” are confessors — not carry out his important ministry unless he first had a certain feeling of forgiveness regarding his own sins? This is stupid, unjust, and dangerous.

The false pope claims: “The mercy that we have received enables us to dispense a great deal of mercy and forgiveness.” That is false. What enables the confessor to dispense God’s mercy and forgiveness is the power he received in his ordination to the priesthood and the jurisdiction he received from the Pope or from the bishop in whose diocese he acts. The confessor himself can be in mortal sin, unrepentant, and a much greater sinner than the penitent he absolves. That would be a terrible thing, of course, but it is entirely possible and has absolutely no bearing on his power to forgive others’ sins. Therefore, Francis’ claim that “[t]he mercy that we have received enables us to dispense a great deal of mercy and forgiveness” is wrong.

Through his misleading rhetoric Francis deliberately creates the impression that there is some kind of conflict between being “the holder of some power” (notice how condescendingly he speaks of the authority to forgive sins as “some power”) and being “a channel of mercy”, when of course the Catholic confessor is both a holder of power and a channel of divine mercy (see Mt 18:18; Jn 19:22-23; Rom 10:14-17; 2 Cor 5:18-20). There is no opposition between the two; it exists only in the mind of this fake pope.

So Bergoglio says that he wants a confessor “who pours out upon others the forgiveness that he himself first received.” So does this mean he wants them to withhold forgiveness from others if they themselves have not been forgiven for something (due to insufficient repentance)? Remember, he did say: “…do not carry out your service as a missionary of mercy until you feel that forgiveness.” How merciful of him!

Francis doubles down on his error when he says: “From this arises the ability to forgive everything….” No, that too is false. The ability to forgive does not arise from the subjective experience of having been forgiven (which, of course, even a layman can have), it is grounded in the objective power received in sacred ordination.

That “God always forgives everything” is true if we mean that God remits all sins confessed with the necessary supernatural contrition. It is not true if we mean that whatever is confessed is also forgiven regardless of the dispositions of the penitent. While from the very beginning of his false pontificate, Francis has been drowning his sheeple in the misleading mantra that “God never tires of forgiving”, he has never, to our knowledge, actually spelled out what constitutes true, supernatural repentance, without which forgiveness is not possible.

Francis’ sermon continues:

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them”. These words stand at the origin of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but not only. Jesus has made the entire Church a community that dispenses mercy, a sign and instrument of reconciliation for all humanity. Brothers and sisters, each of us, in baptism, received the gift of the Holy Spirit to be a man or woman of reconciliation. Whenever we experience the joy of being set free from the burden of our sins and failings; whenever we know at firsthand what it means to be reborn after a situation that appeared hopeless, we feel the need to share with those around us the bread of mercy. Let us feel called to this. And let us ask ourselves: at home, in my family, at work, in my community, do I foster fellowship, am I a weaver of reconciliation?

Once again, Francis bases it all on feelings: “we feel the need to share”; “let us feel called”. What if we don’t feel this, by the way? He doesn’t say. He takes a subjective experience and makes it the objective standard applicable to all Catholics. Starting from the particular and reasoning to the general, it is an inductive way of doing theology — and thoroughly Modernist.

Also, notice the gratuitous metaphors Francis utilizes here, even though they are not quite intuitive: He speaks of the “bread” of mercy (why bread?) and being a “weaver” of reconciliation. It must be the force of habit, because the incessant use of figures of speech is a hallmark of the New Theology. It generally allows the speaker to render what would otherwise be clear, obscure, and it serves to camouflage a lack of theological substance with pretty mental images. Furthermore, flowery expressions allow him to make assertions that are vague or ambigugous and therefore non-commital. What he says admits of various interpretations, and if push comes to shove, he can always hide behind the excuse that “that’s not how I meant it; you simply misunderstood.”

Alas, there is more in Francis’ homily we must look at:

For the story of Thomas is in fact the story of every believer. There are times of difficulty when life seems to belie faith, moments of crisis when we need to touch and see. Like Thomas, it is precisely in those moments that we rediscover the heart of Christ, the Lord’s mercy. In those situations, Jesus does not approach us in triumph and with overwhelming proofs. He does not perform earth-shattering miracles, but instead offers us heartwarming signs of his mercy. He comforts us in the same way he did in today’s Gospel: he offers us his wounds. We must not forget this fact. In response to our sin, — the ugliest of sins, whether ours or someone else’s — the Lord is always present offering us his wounds. Do not forget this. In our ministry as confessors, we must let the people see that in the midst of their sin, the Lord offers his wounds to them. The wounds of the Lord are stronger than sin.

Cutting through all the metaphors (“touch and see”; “heartwarming”; “wounds”), we find that what the false pope says here doesn’t make a whole lot of sense: Drawing an analogy with the encounter Christ had with St. Thomas the Sunday after the first Easter, Francis asserts that “Jesus does not approach us in triumph and with overwhelming proofs” or “earth-shattering miracles, but instead offers us heartwarming signs of his mercy … his wounds”. What was the appearance of the Resurrected Christ in His glorified Body if not an overwhelming proof and earth-shattering miracle presented in triumph?! Not to mention the fact that our Lord entered with “the doors being shut” (Jn 20:26). It was precisely the overwhelming proof of the earth-shattering miracle of Christ’s triumph over death that overwhelmed the doubting Apostle and made him exclaim: “My Lord, and my God” (Jn 20:28)!

We will end with one last sentence from Bergoglio’s homily, containing two figures of speech. He says: “If we care for the wounds of our neighbour and pour upon them the balm of mercy, we find being reborn within us a hope that comforts us in our weariness.”

This may be quite lyrical and poetic, but theologically it raises questions: What is the “hope that comforts us in our weariness”? Isn’t it the theological virtue of hope? But if so, how is it generated in us as the result of acts of mercy done to our neighbor when the Church teaches that it is not acquired but infused directly into our souls by God, for the first time at baptism? “Hope … is an infused virtue; ie., it is not, like good habits in general, the outcome of repeated acts or the product of our own industry. Like supernatural faith and charity it is directly implanted in the soul by Almighty God” (Catholic Encyclopedia).

Yet, if it is not the theological virtue of supernatural hope Francis has in mind here, how then can it truly “comfort us in our weariness”? And what does he mean then, and why does he not explain it clearly so that everyone can understand it and false interpretations of his words are ruled out from the beginning?

After 9+ years of the Bergoglian circus in Vatican City, the only reasonable answer is that Francis wants the confusion. He wants the obfuscation, the obscurity, the ambiguity, the lack of clarity. He wants the many different possible interpretations, for the greatest possible spiritual harm to souls.

Francis does not want the light provided by clarity because he is not of the light and wants no part with Him who is “the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world” (Jn 1:9).

Image source: YouTube (screenshot)
License: fair use

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