Monday 2 November 2015
The Church is Bigger than Francis –and so is Christ
That splendid blog Rorate caeli (here) has reported an interview with Pope Francis by Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica in which Scalfari alleges the Pope has said that anyone who is divorced and ‘remarried’ who presents themselves for Holy Communion will receive it:
“We must not think that the family does not exist any longer, it will always exist, because ours is a social species, and the family is the support beam of sociability, but it cannot be avoided that the current family, open as you say, contains some positive aspects, and some negative ones. ... The diverse opinion of the bishops is part of this modernity of the Church and of the diverse societies in which she operated, but the goal is the same, and for that which regards the admission of the divorced to the Sacraments, [it] confirms that this principle has been accepted by the Synod. This is bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted."
There are three problems in this if Scalfari has quoted the Pope correctly.
First, Francis would be overruling Christ who says that such marriages are adultery.
Second, Francis would be placing himself above the Divine Authority behind the Ten Commandments by removing ‘thou halt not commit adultery’.
Third, he would be engaging in the heresy of Modernism, which posits that “Our religious attitude", as stated by "Il programma dei modernisti" (p. 5, note l), "is ruled by the single wish to be one with Christians and Catholics who live in harmony with the spirit of the age" (see New Advent.org here). In the heresy of Modernism (which is not the same as modernisation) doctrine can change in relation to the changes in society. By this heresy, the Dominical Command to “Go, teach all nations” is tuned on its head; it becomes, “Go and be taught by the nations”. This is what many have done since Vatican II, taking the Councils’ call to read the signs of the times as discipline the times rather than discern the times. I cannot tell whether this is because they have not applied their mind to what the Council actually said, or did turn their minds to it and wilfully distorted it. I must assume the first, for the sake of charity and their good name.
The heresy of Modernism has not passed its sell-by date; it remains and will always remain a heresy condemned by the Authentic Magisterium of the Church. The first real fight against it was Pius X Encyclical ‘Pascendi’in 1907. But the anti-modernist oath was imposed on clergy, Catholic professors etc, from 1910 then right up until 1967, so it was approved by all of the twentieth century Popes until the CDF abolished it under Paul VI in 1967.
If Scalfari is quoting the Pope correctly, many will conclude that Francis has fallen into the heresy of Modernism. Let us hope that he proves this to be a false conclusion when he publishes his post-synodal document. If the conclusion that Francis has fallen into heresy proves correct, we will have a choice between obeying Christ and obeying Francis. That choice can only be made one way: we must follow Christ. This is where Conservative Catholics and Traditional Catholics will part company, for Conservative Catholics have fallen into the error of extreme ultramontanism wherein anything the Pope says or allows is said and allowed by God: ‘we must be faithful to the sitting Pope above all’ would be their motto. Not so for the Traditional Catholic, who will also and certainly be faithful to the sitting Pope –as long as he is faithful to the eternal Truths of the Tradition and the Deposit of Faith. But where a pope deviates from it, Catholics faithful to the Tradition –whichis a source of Divine Revelation. Dei Verbum 9, Vatican II- cannot follow. Can we trust Francis to show himself a loyal son of the Church? The Church is much older and much bigger than Francis, and so is Christ, the Head of the Church, which is His Body. Christ has both the Church and Francis in his hands.