So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pope Francis: genius or joke?

Two speculative propositions, not foregone conclusions.

Is Pope Francis a... .

Genius?

A Jesuit who navigated the tyranny of Argentine dictators and death squads and remained faithful, and who, as Provincial, defended his priests while avoiding the extremism of his intractable communist brethren might just be a genius, a deft handler of extreme situations with evil pressing in on every side.
Hypothesis
The current debate in the Church regarding communion for the divorced and remarried is a trap. The Jesuit pope, intentionally or unintentionally, has given everyone enough rope with which to hang themselves, metaphorically speaking. Liberal-progressives who make their ancient heretical brethren seem like mere boy scouts have taken up the freedom offered by Pope Frances to promote the blessing of adultery much as one might find in some non-Catholic sects that permit divorced men and women to marry without benefit of a decree of nullity.
Pope Frances, by not curbing the exploitative and manipulative activity of various members of the Synod on the Family, has enabled ambitious men to expose themselves as enemies of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Or... is he a joke?

Is Pope Frances a complete idiot who has no idea that his off-the-cuff comments are causing many faithful Catholics to become confused?
Hypothesis
There is a continuum of faithfulness in the Church ranging from Catholic-in-name-only to martyr-for-the-Faith. Relatively few, it seems, have considered the thought that Pope Frances trusts those who are
  1. faithful and thus know a reigning pope cannot change doctrine and who are
  2. able to nuance the distinctions that necessarily must be made in anything a pope says and does. Perhaps Pope Francis is counting on the faithful to speak up and defend Church teaching while he exposes those who promote an agenda quite different from that of Jesus Christ and His Church.
Has this Jesuit pope made errors in communication? By his own admission, yes. Has this pope taught heresy? For those who accept that Christ gave His authority to Peter and his successors and promised to protect the Office of Peter from error, they know that no pope can teach heresy when he teaches ex cathedra.

2 comments:

  1. Option C: Neither of the above.

    I understand that you're hypothesizing, but your first option (that the pope has an uber-genius secret plan to unmask the heretics) is beyond the realm of sane possibility. It's reminiscent of those Republican pundits during the disastrous second Bush term who argued that he was really playing rope-a-dope with his critics, and that any day now he would spring his trap and leave them looking like fools. It didn't happen then, and it's sure not going to happen now.

    Even if this did turn out to be the case, we would still be left with the fact that countless souls had been misled--possibly to a gravely scandalous degree--into believing that the Catholic Church was about to change its teachings on Matrimony, the Eucharist, and relations with other ecclesial communities, among other things.

    Your second hypothesis is just an extension of the first: If he's not a joke, he must be trusting true Catholics to distinguish magisterial from non-magisterial teaching while he goes about his uber-genius secret plan to unmask the heretics, etc.

    One other possibility, left unmentioned, is that Pope Francis is exactly who he appears to be: a garden-variety South American leftist bishop with a long track record of dodgy ecumenical gestures and baffling pronouncements, who has decided that the Church needs radical change and that he is the right man for the job. Does our common baptism erase all meaningful differences between Christian communities? Does mercy (however defined) trump doctrine, Sacred Tradition, and longstanding canon law? The Holy Father has said as much (and more) in so many different ways over the past 21 months that's it's really impossible to believe that these aren't his sincerely held beliefs.

    Has he taught heresy ex cathedra? Well, like several of his predecessors, he hasn't taught anything ex cathedra, so no. But he has accused Our Blessed Mother of railing at God at the foot of the Cross for breaking his promises to her, he has more or less openly encouraged Lutherans to receive the Eucharist, he has repeatedly elevated other religions to the same level as Christianity, he has on countless occasions berated faithful Catholics for their faithfulness, and he is claimed (persuasively, to my mind) to have said that "a little bread and wine do no harm" and to have endorsed annihilationism. And that's before we even get to the Synods on the Family, which were staffed, rigged, and manipulated by people directly under the Holy Father's authority.

    To close, I can't see any reasonable grounds for believing that Pope Francis doesn't mean exactly what he says. He's been extraordinarily open about what he believes and what he intends to do, and I take him at his word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have seen through the provocative juxtaposition of positions distilled from several online forums where pitched battles are being waged between goats and sheep.

      The greatest frustration for me is over one obvious consequence of the Francis Effect. I.e., that the goats have been emboldened, labelling themselves sheep while dismissing faithful tradition-minded Catholics as goats. Thankfully, the Lord Jesus knows the goats from the sheep. Our Lady cannot be pleased that so many of her children have chosen to be charlatans who hide behind a veneer of religiosity and who persecute those who strive to be holy.

      Thanks for your comments Murray!

      Delete

"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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