Another day, another heresy…
Francis again misleads, claims Baptism makes us ‘Children of God Forever’
Today is the great feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day celebrated even in the Vatican II Church.
In keeping with the custom, Francis gave an Angelus address today; and no, he did not deny the dogma defined by Pope Pius IX (see Denz. 1641) but in fact affirmed it quite clearly.
That is not to say, however, that he didn’t promote some other heresy — not with regard to the Bl. Virgin Mary (he has done that on other occasions), but on one of the effects of the sacrament of baptism.
In his address, the man more properly known as Jorge Bergoglio contrasted the perfect sinlessness of Mary with the cleansing waters of baptism that we received, which washed away from our souls the original sin from which the Holy Virgin was preserved from the very first moment of her existence. Francis said:
I will ask you a question: this grace received on the day of Baptism, it is important. But how many of you remember the date of your Baptism, what is the date of your own Baptism? Think about it. And if you do not remember, when you go home, ask your godfather, your godmother, your father or mother: “When was I baptized?”, because that day is the day of the great grace, of a new life beginning, of an original grace that we have. God descended into our lives that day, and we became his beloved children forever. This is our original beauty, for which to be joyful!
(Antipope Francis, Angelus Address, Vatican.va, Dec. 8, 2022; underlining added.)
Now, first of all, it is rather ironic that Bergoglio would harp on baptism making us children of God forever, when at the same time he never ceases to claim that all people, baptized or not, are God’s children.
In any case, what Francis says regarding the baptized being irrevocably made children of God is false. On his Twitter account, the same error is featured today even more directly:
With Baptism, we became God's beloved children forever. This is our original beauty, for which to be joyful! Today, Mary, surprised by the grace that made her beautiful from the first instant of her life, leads us to marvel at our beauty. #ImmaculateConception— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) December 8, 2022
What Francis says here about baptism is a very common error among Novus Ordos and appears to have its roots in the false ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). It is certainly not the traditional (i.e. pre-Vatican II) Roman Catholic teaching, as we will now demonstrate:
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the sacrament of baptism has three distinct effects: “(1) the grace of justification…; (2) forgiveness of all the penalties of sin; and (3) the sacramental character” (Pohle-Preuss, Dogmatic Theology, vol. 8, 4th ed., p. 228. Full disclosure: commissions earned through Amazon links).
Adoptive sonship by God is an effect of the justification obtained in baptism, not of its sacramental character: “Besides forgiving sin and producing sanctifying grace, with all its formal effects — justice, supernatural beauty, the friendship of God, and His adoptive sonship — Baptism also effects the supernatural concomitants of sanctifying grace…” (ibid., p. 229; underlining added). “Another effect of baptism is the infusion of sanctifying grace and supernatural gifts and virtues. It is this sanctifying grace which renders men the adopted sons of God and confers the right to heavenly glory” (Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “Baptism”).
Since, then, being a child of God is an effect of justification, and since justification can be lost (see Denz. 833, 837), it follows that we can cease being children of God, namely, by falling into mortal sin after baptism. Such a fall into mortal sin would then have to be repaired by the sacrament of penance, which restores us to grace; or, in the event the sacrament cannot be had, by perfect contrition with a sincere desire to go to confession.
Catholic teaching explicitly denies the idea that our adoptive sonship is the result of the indelible character of baptism, which so many Novus Ordos now believe:
The sacramental character may be in the soul without grace…. In contradistinction to sanctifying grace, the supernatural configuratio or assimilatio conferred by the sacramental character establishes a proper likeness to Christ, not indeed as if the soul participated in His Divine Sonship, but in the sense of sharing in His office of High Priest.
(Pohle-Preuss, Dogmatic Theology, vol. 8, pp. 91-92; underlining added.)
The indelible character has its own specific purposes, then, but the bestowal of justification is not one of them.
When the grace of justification is lost through mortal sin, we cease being the adopted sons of the Most High God: “The just man, on the other hand, is a child of God merely by the possession of sanctifying grace, which can be lost by mortal sin and consequently is founded upon a free relation that may be terminated by man as freely as it was entered into between himself and God” (Pohle-Preuss, Dogmatic Theology, vol. 7, 4th ed., pp. 358-359). “But since all mortal sins, even those of thought, make men children of wrath [Eph. 2:3] and enemies of God, it is necessary to ask pardon for all of them from God by an open and humble confession” (Council of Trent, Session 14, Chapter 5; Denz. 899).
Surely some of Francis’ apologists will now rush to his defense, claiming that the false pope is not saying all the baptized will be saved; for although they remain children of God forever, it is still true that some of God’s children will end up in hell.
This attempt to defend him, however, would not get Bergoglio off the hook, for it too would be a heresy.
The idea that adoptive sonship does not entitle one to the inheritance of Heaven is most certainly a heresy, for it directly contradicts Divine Revelation: “The formal effects of sanctifying grace culminate in the elevation of man to the rank of an adopted child of God…, with a claim to the paternal inheritance, i.e. the beatific vision in Heaven. This truth is so clearly stated in Scripture and Tradition that its denial would be heretical” (Pohle-Preuss, Dogmatic Theology, vol. 7, p. 356).
Among the applicable Scripture passages are the following:
For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). 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. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: That he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father. Therefore now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir also through God.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ: As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity. Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto himself: according to the purpose of his will: Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved son. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins, according to the riches of his grace,
But when the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared: not by the works of justice, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration, and renovation of the Holy Ghost; whom he hath poured forth upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour: that, being justified by his grace, we may be heirs, according to hope of life everlasting.
Furthermore, the idea is contrary to the teaching of the Council of Trent:
For in those who are born again, God hates nothing, because “there is no condemnation, to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism unto death” [Rom. 6:4], who do not “walk according to the flesh” [Rom 8:1], but putting off “the old man” and putting on the “new, who is created according to God” [Eph. 4:22 ff.; Col. 3:9 ff.], are made innocent, immaculate, pure, guiltless and beloved sons of God, “heirs indeed of God, but co-heirs with Christ” [Rom. 8:17], so that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven.
(Council of Trent, Session V, n. 5; Denz. 792)
Justification itself follows this disposition or preparation, which is not merely remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts, whereby an unjust man becomes a just man, and from being an enemy becomes a friend, that he may be “an heir according to hope of life everlasting” [Tit. 3:7]. The causes of this justification are: the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Christ and life eternal; the efficient cause is truly a merciful God who gratuitously “washes and sanctifies” [1 Cor. 6:11], “signing and anointing with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance” [Eph. 1:13f.]; but the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, “who when we were enemies” [cf. Rom. 5:10], “for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us” [Eph. 2:4], merited justification for us by His most holy passion on the wood of the Cross, and made satisfaction for us to God the Father; the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the “sacrament of faith,” without which no one is ever justified. Finally the unique formal cause is the “justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but by which He makes us just”, that, namely, by which, when we are endowed with it by him, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and not only are we reputed, but we are truly called and are just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the “Holy Spirit distributes to everyone as he wills” [1 Cor. 12:11], and according to each one’s own disposition and cooperation.
(Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter 7; Denz. 799)
All of this is very clear and not terribly difficult to understand. It is the Neo-Modernists who make simple things difficulty and introduce obscurity where there was clarity before.
Either way you look at it, then, Francis is once again guilty of spreading heresy: either by claiming that our justification cannot be lost, or by claiming that those who die as children of God may still go to hell.
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