Vatican II ecclesiology in action…
Non-Catholic ‘Martyrs’: Francis adds 21 murdered Copts as ‘Saints’ to Roman Martyrology
An icon of the 21 Coptic Orthodox who were murdered by ISIS terrorists in 2015 (created by Tony Rezk)
If you blinked, you probably missed it: Jorge Bergoglio, the Modernist apostate from Buenos Aires who has occupied the Vatican for over a decade now under the stage name ‘Pope Francis’, has just declared 21 non-Catholic (Coptic Orthodox) ‘martyrs’ to be added to the Roman martyrology, which is the official list of martyrs accepted by and venerated in the Latin Church.
Even the Novus Ordo press recognizes that this is a big deal: “A ‘bolt out of the blue’: Pope Francis sets off an ecumenical earthquake”, The Catholic World Report writes; “Unpacking how history changed … with recognition of Coptic martyrs”, Crux explains.
Various religious news sites have reported on the historic decision:
- Pope Francis adds 21 Coptic Orthodox martyrs to Catholic list of saints (Vatican News)
- Pope Francis adds Coptic Orthodox martyrs to liturgical book of saints (Catholic World Report)
- Pope includes Coptic Orthodox martyrs in Catholic compendium of saints (Crux)
- Why the Vatican has added Orthodox martyrs to its calendar of saints (La Croix International)
But how did this happen, and what is the problem? Let’s investigate.
Two False Popes: Francis and Tawadros II
Last week, on May 10, 2023, Francis hosted the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, ‘Pope’ Tawadros II, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of a common Christological declaration between ‘Pope’ Paul VI and ‘Pope’ Shenouda III, Tawadros’ predecessor. As it was a Wednesday, and therefore the day for Francis’ weekly general audience, the Argentinian impostor allowed Tawadros to join him on stage as an co-equal partner in the audience:
Francis’ address for the occasion was published on the Vatican web site, and Tawadros’ in the Vatican newspaper:
- Francis: Address at General Audience (Vatican.va)
- Tawadros II: Joined by love in serving God and one another (Osservatore Romano)
- Summary report of Tawadros’ address (Vatican News)
The following day, May 11, Francis and Tawadros held a private meeting. Afterwards, they each gave an address:
- Francis: Address at Meeting with Tawadros II (May 11, 2023)
- Tawadros II: Address at Meeting with Francis [Italian only] (May 11, 2023)
Tawadros had brought Francis a special gift, namely, ‘relics’ of the 21 murdered Copts in Libya. Bergoglio expressed his gratitude and declared that he would enroll these heroic non-Catholics as ecumenical martyrs recognized by Catholics:
I have no words to express my gratitude for the precious gift of a relic of the Coptic martyrs killed in Libya on 15 February 2015. These martyrs were baptized not only in water and the Spirit, but also in blood, with a blood that is a seed of unity for all followers of Christ. I am pleased to announce today that, with Your Holiness’ [sic] consent, these twenty-one martyrs will be included in the Roman Martyrology as a sign of the spiritual communion uniting our two Churches.
(Antipope Francis, Address at Meeting with Tawadros II, Vatican.va, May 11, 2023)
Welcome to Vatican II ecclesiology, where there is “spiritual communion uniting” the churches, yet no common participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass, no shared Holy Communion, as Francis did not fail to point out:
May the prayers of the Coptic martyrs, united with those of the Theotokos, continue to make our Churches grow in friendship, until the blessed day when we will be able to celebrate together at the same altar and commune with the same Body and Blood of the Saviour, “that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21)!
And yet, although Bergoglio says they cannot “celebrate together at the same altar”, he lets Tawadros use his altar at the Cathedral of St. John Lateran! Just not “together”, you see; it’s only at different times that they can use the same altar. And although they will not receive Holy Communion from each other, nevertheless if they both were to be killed for their respective religions, they think this would somehow unite them in the same faith, the same witness, the same communion! It is a theological zoo!
Here is a video clip summarizing what transpired in the Apostolic Palace on May 11:
Now, why did Francis speak of the “consent” that he had obtained from Tawadros to add these Coptic martyrs to the Roman (Novus Ordo) calendar?
An article in La Croix International explains that to do so without such prior agreement could cause a crisis in ecumenical relations:
The Church of Rome’s recognition of Coptic Orthodox martyrs has been under consideration for several months at the Vatican and in Cairo, where the Coptic patriarch is based. …
“Canonization of non-Catholics could be interpreted as papal interference in other Churches,” explained a senior Vatican source.
It is also important to avoid the accusation, which could be made by other Christian Churches, of a “Catholic appropriation” of figures belonging to other confessions, added another source.
(Loup Besmond de Senneville, “Why the Vatican has added Orthodox martyrs to its calendar of saints”, La Croix International, May 12, 2023)
See, non-Catholic saints are problematic for the Vatican, not because they professed a false religion or died outside the Church, but because other non-Catholics might be offended! You can’t make this stuff up!
Francis allows Tawadros to use St. John Lateran Basilica for Schismatic Liturgy
Back in April already it had been reported that upon his visit to Rome, Tawadros would celebrate a Divine Liturgy (the Eastern term for Holy Mass) at the papal cathedral of St. John Lateran — with Francis’ explicit permission, of course. (That’s the same cathedral church that had just recently been defiled by an Anglican pseudo-Mass.)
Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. On May 13, a Vespers liturgy was conducted by the Coptic patriarch, and on May 14, a Divine Liturgy (Mass) lasting over 3 hours. In both cases, it was apparently the main altar of this historic Catholic cathedral that was used:
For Tawadros II, this was not the first time that he had been given permission to use a historic Catholic church for the solemn worship of his false religion. On July 8, 2018, he offered the Divine Liturgy at St. Paul’s outside the Walls in Rome:
Now that is Bergoglio for you: Schismatic-heretical worship in the most historic of Roman churches? No problem! “Ideological” Catholic worship with the Traditional Latin Mass at a Novus Ordo parish church? FORGET IT!
What will Francis give to the schismatic Alexandrian patriarch next? A relic of the True Cross? Ah no, he gave that to the head of the Anglican Church!
Outside the Catholic Church, No Salvation
So what is the problem with the idea of non-Catholic martyrs? Fundamentally, it contradicts the dogma that salvation can only be found inside the Roman Catholic Church. Let’s explain.
Just as salvation is impossible without Jesus Christ (see Acts 4:10-12), who suffered for our Redemption on the Cross, so salvation is impossible without His Mystical Body, which came forth from Our Redeemer’s pierced side, reminiscent of how Eve came from the side of Adam (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, nn. 26, 28; cf. Gen 2:21-23). But this Mystical Body of Christ is the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Col 1:24), and she alone; hence there is no salvation outside of her, who is rightly called the “Ark of Salvation” (Pope Pius IX, Allocution Singulari Quadam).
Thus the Roman Catholic Church teaches infallibly that salvation is possible only for those who die in union with her. To be united to the Church, to be “inside” her, it is necessary to be either a member of the Church or, at the very least, to desire such membership, if actual membership be impossible. There is a reason why the Church’s dogma of the necessity of the Church for salvation is “No Salvation Outside the Church” and not “No Salvation Apart from Church Membership”.
To be a member of the Church in the proper sense, one must meet the strict criteria laid down by Pope Pius XII: “Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed” (Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 22).
To be inside the Church as a non-member, a soul must be in the state of sanctifying grace, which is impossible without the supernatural virtues of Faith, hope, and charity. This state of grace at the moment of death is absolutely necessary for salvation — there are no exceptions to it, nor qualifications — since that grace is what forgives all original and mortal sin and makes the soul pleasing to God. A soul in the state of grace is enabled to enjoy the Beatific Vision, even if it still needs to be cleansed first of any remaining venial sins, attachments, imperfections, and temporal punishment in purgatory before it can enter Heaven.
The truth that actual Church membership is not absolutely necessary to be inside the Church can be verified as follows: The same Catholic Church that teaches in her dogmatic theology that there is no salvation outside of her, also teaches in her moral theology that the state of sanctifying grace is sufficient for salvation. But by the Church’s moral principles, it is possible that someone should meet all the requirements for being in the state of grace, yet without meeting all the requirements for being a member of the Church.
Thus it follows necessarily that one could be in the state of grace without being a member of the Church; but since there is no salvation outside the Church and yet there is salvation for the non-member in the state of grace, we are required to conclude that one can be inside the Church without being a member, as long as one is in the state of grace. (Please listen to TRADCAST 004 for additional information.)
This is confirmed by Pope Pius XII; first, in his approval of the explanation given by the Holy Office in the Letter Suprema Haec Sacra of Aug. 8, 1949, regarding the errors of Leonard Feeney; and also in his 1951 address to midwives, who on account of their profession must sometimes perform emergency baptisms: “…the state of grace at the moment of death is absolutely necessary for salvation. Without it, it is not possible to attain supernatural happiness, the beatific vision of God. An act of love can suffice for an adult to obtain sanctifying grace and supply for the absence of baptism; for the unborn child or for the newly-born, this way is not open” (Allocution Vegliare con Sollecitudine).
Bergoglio’s ‘Ecumenism of Blood’ vs. true Baptism of Blood
In the last ten years, ‘Pope’ Francis has spoken of the ‘ecumenism of blood’ on a few occasions, and in particular with regard to the 21 heterodox murder victims of Libya he has now quasi-canonized.
The term ‘ecumenism of blood’ seems to have been introduced by Francis, but the concept of ecumenical martyrs, of non-Catholic martyrs, was already brought up by the Second Vatican Council in 1964 and by ‘Pope’ John Paul II in 1995:
…Catholics must gladly acknowledge and esteem the truly Christian endowments from our common heritage which are to be found among our separated brethren. It is right and salutary to recognize the riches of Christ and virtuous works in the lives of others who are bearing witness to Christ, sometimes even to the shedding of their blood.
(Vatican II, Decree Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 4)
The courageous witness of so many martyrs of our century, including members of Churches and Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church, gives new vigour to the Council’s call and reminds us of our duty to listen to and put into practice its exhortation.
…All of them [Christian Communities] in fact have martyrs for the Christian faith [sic].
…In a theocentric vision, we Christians already have a common Martyrology.
(Antipope John Paul II, Encyclical Ut Unum Sint, nn. 1, 83, 84)
But what decades ago was fairly theoretical, mere words on a page, has now been concretized by Francis: By ordering these men to be included in the Roman martyrology, where they will be venerated as saints and martyrs, he has moved the heresy from mere theory to practice.
Some may argue that for the Church to recognize someone as a saint merely means that the person is in Heaven, with no further judgment regarding imitation or veneration, but that is clearly false. Commemorating the 300th anniversary of the death of St. Francis de Sales, Pope Pius XI wrote: “The Church is most successful in this work of sanctification when it is possible for her, through the mercy of God, to hold up to the imitation of the faithful one or other of her dearest children who has made himself conspicuous by the practice of every virtue” (Encyclical Rerum Omnium, n. 2). Similarly, in his beautiful encyclical letter on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ, Pope Pius XII noted that the saints are “men and women of conspicuous holiness, who may point the way for the rest of Christendom to the perfecting of His Mystical Body” (Mystici Corporis, n. 39).
So, just where does the Church teach that there cannot be non-Catholic martyrs?
The most celebrated pronouncement on this point is the dogmatic teaching of the Council of Florence, ratified by Pope Eugene IV:
[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 absolutely, definitively, and infallibly excludes any possibility of an “ecumenism of blood.” No one dying for the name of Jesus Christ can attain eternal life unless he is joined to the Catholic Church, either as a member, or, if invincible ignorance or other circumstances should prevent his becoming a member, at least through the state of sanctifying grace, which will automatically and necessarily put him inside the Church.
As Mgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton (1906-1969) explains in his phenomenal book The Catholic Church and Salvation:
…the forgiveness of sin and the infusion of the life of grace is available by the power of Christ only “within” His kingdom, His Mystical Body, which, in this period of the New Testament, is the visible Catholic Church.
…Now, while it is possible to have a desire to be within the Church, and, indeed even to be a member of the Church, without having the love of charity for God, it is quite impossible to have charity without being within the true Church, at least by an implicit desire to dwell in it. The love of charity is, by its very nature, a sovereign affection.
…The love of charity is essentially something in the line of intention rather than of mere velleity. The man who loves God with the true affection of charity actually intends, insofar as it is possible for him to do so, to do the will of God. It is definitely the will of God that all men should enter and live within the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. It is impossible for a man who really loves God with the affection of divine charity not to be within the Church as a member or at least to desire with a sincere and effective, even though perhaps only an implicit, intention to enter this company.
Hence, if a man is not “within” the Church at least by a sincere desire or affection, he has not the genuine love of charity for God.
(Mgr. Joseph C. Fenton, The Catholic Church and Salvation [Westminster: The Newman Press, 1958], pp. 38-40)
This scenario, under which someone who objectively professes heresy but is subjectively not guilty of the sin of heresy and instead possesses the love of charity and genuinely seeks to believe all that God has revealed, is killed for professing Christ, is known as the baptism of blood. (The term ‘baptism’ here is to be understood loosely, as it merely produces the grace of regeneration, not the sacramental character [indelible mark] of baptism, and many who profess heresy but are not subjectively guilty of the sin of heresy already received a valid sacramental baptism in their own church. Cf. Pietro Parente et al., Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, s.v. “Baptism”.)
It is possible, therefore, that the 21 Copt murdered by ISIS were indeed saved, that they went to Heaven. Such a baptism of blood is infinitely far removed from the heretical notion of an “ecumenism of blood” pushed by Francis, which holds that Catholics and heretics are united spiritually in the same religion by being killed for professing allegiance to Christ. If this were so, then it would mean that the motive of the killer can cause religious unity between Catholics and Orthodox, two religions that are exclusive of each other because their claims are mutually exclusive and irreconcilable. It would also mean that the Body of Christ has not “one Faith” (Eph 4:5) but several different faiths which contradict one another. The unity of the Church would be destroyed, and what we profess in the Nicene Creed — “I believe in … one holy Catholic and apostolic Church” — would be a lie.
Another essential difference between baptism of blood and the Bergoglian ecumenism of blood is that, whereas in baptism of blood the martyr dies within the Catholic Church and any adherence to heresy which may exist would be entirely accidental (i.e. not deliberately willed), in Francis’ ecumenism of blood anyone who professes allegiance to Christ is per se considered united to the Church, regardless of any attachment to heresy or a false religion. This is clearly condemned by the decree of the Council of Florence, quoted above.
To put it succinctly: In the baptism of blood, being inside the Catholic Church is a necessary precondition for one’s martyrdom to lead to salvation; whereas in the ecumenism of blood, unity with the Catholic Church is, at best, the inevitable outcome of the martyrdom. This would then make any and all martyrs ipso facto into Catholics. But this is obviously theological absurdity on stilts!
For more information on how ‘ecumenical martyrdom’ contradicts traditional Catholic teaching, please see the following posts:
- It’s Heresy: Francis’ Ecumenism of Blood is more dangerous than ISIS
- Francis again affirms Non-Catholic ‘Martyrs’, says Monophysites are Part of the Body of Christ
- ‘Christian Saints of all Confessions’: Francis again pushes Ecumenical Martyrdom Heresy
We would also like to draw attention to an excellent article by Louie Verrecchio on the case of the 21 Copts:
- Schismatic Martyrs: What says the Church? (aka Catholic)
Let us pause here for a moment and address a concern or an objection a number of people will surely be thinking of now: Are we not being heartless and full of pride and judgmentalism that we should decline to honor such a heroic sacrifice as these 21 men made when they preferred to die for the sake of Christ rather than renounce their belief in Him?
As we have seen above with regard to the possibility of being inside the Church without being a member, it is indeed possible that these courageous men were saved. And it is surely reasonable to suppose that many, perhaps all, of them were merely mistaken in their adherence to error and schism, rather than subjectively guilty of the mortal sins of schism and heresy. But of “the internal disposition of the soul … God alone is the Judge” (Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi, n. 3), not the Church.
Were it otherwise, just where would we draw the line? What if instead of being Coptic Orthodox, these ‘martyrs’ had been Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are Arians? Or if they had been Mormons, who believe in many gods? Or if they had been Calvinists, who believe God creates some souls for the sole purpose of sending them to hell? These people too claim to believe in Jesus Christ, and no doubt many of them are quite sincere in their errors. So why, if the Copts should be considered Catholic martyrs, should we not say the same about Calvinists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Mormons who are put to death for their sincere beliefs?
No, this has nothing to do with being uncharitable, unjust, prideful, or Pharisaical. It is quite possible that many, even all, of these 21 Coptic murder victims are now in Heaven — but only if they died inside the Catholic Church, not as members, which they obviously weren’t, but as possessing sanctifying grace in their souls. But that would be something known to God alone.
Since the Catholic Church cannot know what is known to God alone, she can only judge in accordance with what is externally verifiable. As these 21 murder victims were not members of the Catholic Church, nor did they outwardly display a desire to enter the Catholic Church, she cannot consider them Catholics, and to canonize them or consider them martyrs anyway would be tantamount to saying that one can be saved outside the Church, which is a heresy. Therefore, such a thing is impossible for the Church.
That is all we’re saying here. We are not trying to usurp or pretend to know the definitive judgment God has rendered to each of these men. We are merely pointing out that they cannot be considered true martyrs. Such a thing would place the true doctrine the Church must safeguard, in great jeopardy.
The 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia points out:
Heretics and schismatics put to death as Christians were denied the title of martyrs (St. Cyprian, Treatise on Unity 14; St. Augustine, Ep. 173; Euseb., Church History V.16, V.21). St. Cyprian lays down clearly the general principle that “he cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church; he cannot attain unto the kingdom who forsakes that which shall reign there.” St. Clement of Alexandria strongly disapproves (Stromata IV.4) of some heretics who gave themselves up to the law; they “banish themselves without being martyrs”.
In addition to being schismatics by refusing submission to the Roman Pontiff, the Copts are also heretics because they deny the dogmatic teaching of Vatican I regarding the nature of papal primacy and the infallibility of the Church and the Pope. It may very well be that a particular individual who is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church is not guilty of the personal sin of heresy or schism, meaning that he would gladly believe all Catholic dogma and would also submit to the Roman Pontiff if he understood that this was demanded by Jesus Christ; but the Church cannot simply assume these dispositions to be present in a man who gives no external indication to that effect.
Michael Lofton’s Attempt to bail out Francis
It is really tragicomic to see Novus Ordo apologist Michael Lofton voluntarily take on the role of being Bergoglio’s “useful idiot”. Lofton has gradually moved from a recognize-and-resist position to ever more recognizing and ever less resisting, such that at this point he is a habitual “popesplainer”, to the point of absurdity.
In his May 14 video, “Pope Francis Recognizes 21 Coptic Orthodox Martyrs as Catholic Saints?”, Lofton expresses his outrage that some people would dare to suspect Francis might not be orthodox; thereby implying that Bergoglio believes there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, which is probably the most ridiculous thing you’ll read all day. It is beyond fathomable how someone like Lofton can look at what Francis has been doing and saying for the last ten years and conclude he has any regard whatsoever for the true Faith or the salvation of souls.
Lofton’s defense of Francis goes as follows: First he points out, quite correctly, that one can be inside the Church without being an actual member, and that this does not contradict the Church’s necessity for salvation. He then asserts that by Francis accepting the 21 murdered heretics as martyrs, he is acknowledging that they were indeed inside the Church by desire, though not by membership. In other words, Lofton says the Church has the power to enter into the internal forum of these 21 people and figure out that they had the right dispositions. Interestingly enough, Lofton does not prove, and does not even attempt to prove, this utterly crucial point, on which the entire argument hinges.
And that’s why we say he is being a “useful idiot” to Francis. No, we’re not questioning his intelligence, we’re simply saying he is continually mounting foolish defenses for his ‘Pope’ that are not in accordance with fact and ultimately only benefit Bergoglio’s agenda of apostasy.
In his video, Lofton basically claims that the correct way to understand Francis’ inclusion of the 21 murdered Copts in Libya in the Roman martyrology is to hold that (a) these 21 murdered Copts were united to the Catholic Church through sanctifying grace before they died — in other words, they were Catholics ‘by desire’; (b) Francis decided that this was so, and that’s fine because (c) the Catholic Church has the power to make that determination.
The truth is, however, that this is merely Lofton’s spin on the issue.
For one thing, Pope Pius IX suggested that no one should judge concerning the internal forum:
…it is necessary to hold for certain that ignorance of the true religion, if that ignorance be invincible, is not a fault in the eyes of God. But who will presume to arrogate to himself the right to mark the limits of such an ignorance, holding in account the various conditions of peoples, of countries, of minds, and of the infinite multiplicity of human things? When delivered from the bonds of the body, we shall see God as He is, we will comprehend perfectly by what admirable and indissoluble bond the divine mercy and the divine justice are united; but as long as we are upon the earth, bent under the weight of this mortal mass which overloads the soul, let us hold firmly that which the Catholic doctrine teaches us, that there is only one God, one Faith, one Baptism; to seek to penetrate further is not permitted.
(Pope Pius IX, Allocution Singulari Quadam; underlining added.)
Secondly, when we look at what else Francis has said on the topic of non-Catholic saints and martyrs, we get a different picture from that painted by Lofton.
On Feb. 16, 2015, just after the execution of these 21 Copts, the false pope said:
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)
Six years later, Bergoglio released a video message in which he said:
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.)
Addressing another schismatic patriarch some years back, that of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Francis minced no words about what he truly believes:
Just as in the early Church the shedding of the blood of martyrs became the seed of new Christians, so today the blood of the many martyrs of all the Churches has become the seed of Christian unity. The martyrs and saints of all the ecclesial traditions are already one in Christ. Their names are inscribed in the one martyrologium of the Church of God. The ecumenism of the martyrs is a summons to us, here and now, to advance on the path to ever greater unity.
(Antipope Francis, Address to Abuna Matthias I, Vatican.va, Feb. 29, 2016; underlining added.)
There we have it. Francis believes in an invisible “Church of God” that is more universal than the Catholic Church, and this “Church of God” is the true Mystical Body of Christ for him — it alone is truly one, holy, Catholic (=universal), and Apostolic — not the Roman Catholic Church!
Bergoglio’s words clearly do not reflect the traditional “inside the Catholic Church without being a member” doctrine but the ecclesiology of Vatican II, which holds that all the baptized are members of Christ’s Mystical Body and therefore Christians, though in imperfect communion with each other. This is in flat contradiction to Pope Pius XII, who insisted “that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing” (Encyclical Humani Generis, n. 27).
From the quotes above, it is clear that, far from believing that the Copts died inside the Catholic Church, Francis believes that they died outside the Catholic Church but still part of what he considers the “greater church”, that mysterious “Church of God” that isn’t the Catholic Church but the Mystical Body of Christ, whose members they were by their baptism. The false pope is abundantly clear that he accepts these Coptic martyrs precisely as Copts, not as Catholics-by-desire. As Copts, they are “the faithful people of God” for Francis, just as he has said about Lutherans.
In fact, adding outrage upon outrage, the false pope even refers to the Coptic religion as “the Faith”, and he has the gall to thank the heretical bishops of the “Coptic sister church” for teaching them this false faith as if it were the true Faith!
So, while Michael Lofton teaches people that Francis is saying these 21 Copts were basically Catholics, at least in intent, Francis has said nothing of the sort and plenty to contradict it. Bergoglio’s point isn’t that these Orthodox really meant to be Catholics, but that Orthodox and Catholics are part of the same “Church of God”, both professing the “same faith”; they just have some differences here on earth that must still be overcome by prayer and dialogue that will lead to an as-of-yet undefined unity that is not, however, “the absorption of one by the other or the domination of one over the other”, as Francis quoted approvingly from a common statement of principles by John Paul II and Shenouda III in 1979.
By the way: Lofton should keep in mind that the one man who appreciates his work least of all is Francis himself. The Jesuit squatter at the Vatican guest house despises what Lofton does: apologetics, proselytism, convincing people of the truth of the Catholic Faith (at least that’s Lofton’s stated intent). Francis is on record saying that to seek the conversion of an Eastern Orthodox person to Catholicism is “a great sin against ecumenism”, and his constant rants against proselytism are too numerous to include here. We’ll just mention one: “It is not licit to convince [others] of your faith; proselytism is the strongest poison against the ecumenical path”, the false pope once told a hapless 15-year-old who wanted to know if she should try to make her secular friends into Christians.
He apparently doesn’t realize it, but with his argumentation, with his theology, Lofton has opened the door for the potential canonization of anyone, even Martin Luther. There is simply nothing that could logically prevent it. For even with Luther, whom the Vatican has already styled a “witness to the Gospel”, Francis could simply “decide” that he died in perfect contrition, known only to God — and Bergoglio, of course. This is ecclesiological subjectivism, which completely dissolves the Catholic Church as a visible institution that is united in Faith and government:
Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely “pneumatological” as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 14)
Francis’ idea of the Mystical Body of Christ as an ecumenical super-church is a damnable heresy!
Historical Precedent for Non-Catholic ‘Martyrs’ before Vatican II?
Some may point to Pope Pius XII’s permission of St. Sergius of Radonezh (1314-1392) to be included in the calendar of saints for Russian Catholics, as a historical precedent for Francis’ action, as the Abbot Sergius is venerated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox. But here it is instructive to read what Butler’s Lives of the Saints has to say about the matter, namely:
When in 1940 the Holy See authorized a liturgical calendar for the use of the few Russian Catholics it included, among other Slav modifications of the Byzantine calendar, the feasts of some thirty Russian saints, twenty-one of whom had not previously figured in any calendar in use today among Catholics. These last all lived after the trouble between Rome and Constantinople in 1054. Their admission to Catholic recognition is a further example of the Holy See’s practical judgment that the separation of the Eastern Orthodox Church was not fully consummated till long after the excommunication of the patriarch Cerularius of Constantinople in that year, and in any case the consummation became complete in different places at different times.
(Herbert Thurston, S.J., and Donald Attwater, eds., Butler’s Lives of the Saints: Complete Edition, vol. III [New York, NY: P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1956], pp. 639-640; underlining added.)
The authors, clearly aware of the absurdity of “non-Catholic saints”, are careful to point out that these saints now admitted into the Russian edition of the Byzantine calendar, were not severed from communion with the Roman Pontiff. In fact, they use their inclusion in this local Catholic calendar as evidence that the schism had not yet been consummated with respect to the individuals canonized. No ecumenism here!
Similarly, with regard to St. Sava (ca. 1174-1236), Archbishop of the Serbs, the same writers explain:
The Orthodox of Serbia look on St. Sava not only as the founder of their national church but also as the conscious father of their separation from Rome. And indeed it would seem this might be so — if events are looked at from the position in later times. But the position in those days was quite different. Behind the ecclesiastical authorities of Rome and Nicaea-Byzantium and Okhrida were corresponding civil powers, all of them a threat to the emerging Serbian state. Among these King Stephen II and his archbishop had to move warily; and in any case schism between Rome and the Byzantine East was hardly definitive; Southern Slavs, and for that matter many “Franks”, did not yet know any hard-and-fast division into Catholic and Orthodox. In fact, St. Sava Prosvtitely, “the Enlightener”, figures in several Latin calendars and his feast is also kept in the Catholic Byzantine diocese of Krizevtsy in Croatia.
(Thurston and Attwater, Butler’s Lives of the Saints, vol. I, p. 87)
Here, too, the authors are at pains to point out that we ought not to consider the saint in question to have been a non-Catholic.
Francis, on the other hand, has been emphatic in acknowledging the 21 Copts precisely as non-Catholics — so much so that he first asks a heretical and schismatic patriarch for his agreement before he adds them to the Roman martyrology — and uses that as a way to advance the Vatican II program of ecumenism, especially the ‘ecumenism of blood’ heresy.
There is a further point made in Butler’s Lives of the Saints that is helpful if we want to understand how the Church operates with regard to the restoration of Eastern schismatics to Catholic unity. The authors quote a certain Fr. Cyril Korolevsky, explaining in Eastern Churches Quarterly (July, 1946) as follows:
When a dissident Eastern church [or part thereof] comes into the Catholic Church she brings into it all her rites and all her liturgy; so also her menology or liturgical calendar. Only what is directly or indirectly against faith is excluded — but this does not prevent the need for there being well-chosen critical standards for the moral, historical and hagiographical aspects, so that the inclusion or exclusion of certain saints in a Catholic calendar can be decided upon, and so that the position of others can be submitted to fresh examination in accordance with developments in hagiographical studies.
(Quoted in Thurston and Attwater, Butler’s Lives of the Saints, vol. III, p. 640; underlining added.)
That is an interesting aspect: In order to accommodate the return of Eastern schismatics, the Church will apparently allow them to continue to venerate their saints, as long as it does not involve anything contrary to Faith. Once again we see that Faith — the one true Faith — is the deciding factor, for the Faith must never be compromised.
Quo Vadis, Vatican II Church?
It will be interesting to see how the recognize-and-resist traditionalists, including the Society of St. Pius X, will react to this. Will they acknowledge the murdered Copts as Catholic saints?
German writer Martin Mosebach, typically considered an ally by the resistance trads, in a book called The 21, published two years ago, enthusiastically endorses the idea of including this group of non-Catholics as Catholic martyrs, and he explicitly approves of the theology underlying it: “Pope John Paul II created the concept of an ‘ecumenism of martyrs’ — now it has been filled with reality”, Mosebach wrote to the journalists at The Pillar.
It is a shrewd tactic for Bergoglio to make these Coptic murder victims the first non-Catholic ‘saints’ on the Catholic Novus Ordo calendar, because it allows him to establish precedent for adding non-Catholics to the roll of saints and practically no one will dare complain, since we all have compassion for these courageous men who suffered so cruelly at the hands of terrorists.
Thus, if next time it’ll be some Lutheran “confessor” to be added, or perhaps an Amish virgin, it won’t be that much of a novelty anymore. Can’t happen, you say? Keep in mind that, as already noted earlier, years ago the Vatican’s Lutheran-‘Catholic’ Commission recognized the arch-heretic Martin Luther as a “witness to the Gospel” (see From Conflict to Communion, n. 29; our commentary here), and from there it’s not all that far to the status of “confessor” or perhaps…. well, let’s just say that the word “witness” in Greek is martur. So, imagine the possibilities!
If you think this was the absolutely first such impossible act of Francis, you are mistaken. The publication of Amoris Laetitia (and its “Buenos Aires interpretation”) and the blasphemous Abu Dhabi Document on Human Fraternity in the official Acts of the Apostolic See are just three of the more egregious examples of the past when Francis demonstrated that he cannot possibly be the Pope of the Catholic Church — unless we want to reduce the Papacy to utter (and heretical) meaninglessness, which is what the Peter Kwasniewskis of the world are currently busy doing.
Slowly but surely, the Vatican II Church is getting people comfortable with the idea of “non-Catholic saints”, opening wide the door to a universal “pan-Christian” religion, which can then be incorporated into the “Abrahamic” family of religions, before mixing with the pagans, who, according to Francis, are merely “seeking God in different ways” and constitute an “enrichment” to humanity. In the end there will only be one gigantic mass of apostates and infidels, happily united by the natural bonds of human fraternity.
It will be easy pickings for the Antichrist.
Image source: Twitter (@TonyRezk)
License: used with permission