Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bergoglio’s Gig: Being a Heretic Without Being Blamed For It

Apparently “Good Pope Francis” has signed but not released a document that will now permit divorced and remarried Roman Catholics to take communion. The traditionalist Rorate Caeli has published an article today that cites “insiders”:

Indeed, Cardinal Kasper, Joseph Ratzinger’s great opponent, has announced a genuine “revolution”.

Bergoglio used Kasper in February 2014 at the consistory to launch the sensational news of communion for the divorced and remarried. It’s not that Bergoglio cares about the divorced who want to receive communion but they have been used as a battering ram to shake Catholic doctrine on the sacraments.

Last Monday in a meeting in Lucca and on the eve of the Pope’s signature of the exhortation, Kasper couldn’t contain himself. “It will be the first step in a reform that will turn the page in Church history after 1700 years.”

The exhortation will be made public in the middle of April but Kasper – who knows the content – is already claiming victory. “The document will make its mark,” he said, “as the biggest revolution in the Church for 1500 years.”

Vatican Insider also ran headlines on the document quoting Kasper as saying: “It will be revolutionary”.

Indeed, Bergoglio who – with friends - loves to provoke, revealed to Scalfari in Repubblica on 24th December: “I’m a revolutionary.”

Of course, almost a year ago, I cited Pope Bergoglio as saying “I feel like saying something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps”.

Now, Bergoglio is a Jesuit, well-versed in saying things that will enable the hearer to take away what he wants to hear (no matter what direction he’s coming from. The Jesuitical practice is called “mental reservation”). How can a “pope” get away with this? The Rorate article continues:

If Bergoglio’s plan to overturn the Catholic Church is evident, it is also true that he knows he has to move shrewdly and with calculated timing so as not to come out of the matter in question as a ‘heretic pope’. Canon law would however dictate exactly that and with all that would follow.

Bergoglio in fact loves to portray himself thus: “I can say I am rather shrewd, I know how to get what I want.” And this explains what we read yesterday in yet another Repubblica preview by Alberto Melloni.

From his article we learn – which was predictable – that in the exhortation there won’t be a formal change to doctrine because the Pope can in no way say explicitly that the Gospel and the two-thousand-year-old Magisterium of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage and access to the Eucharist should be binned. He would delegitimize himself.

So what does the exhortation say according to Melloni? Everything will be legitimized under the form of the – apparently innocuous - pastoral care and the call for a ‘fuller participation’ of the divorced and remarried within the life of the Church.

Melloni begins with the (fantastical) assumption that ‘almost all parish priests’ already give communion to the divorced and remarried and so it would ‘only’ be a legitimizing of a practise already in use but without giving it a theological base. In ‘mercy’ of course.

In reality with this practise a non Catholic theology of the Eucharist, marriage and confession would be legitimized without saying so explicitly and so without putting heretical claims in black and white.

According to Melloni, Bergoglio would act, “calling bishops to take responsibility and effectively transmitting powers to them.”

He has done it with Motu Proprio ‘nullifying marriage’. Maybe he will also do it giving bishops the power to legitimize access to the Eucharist to some divorced and remarried couples without the need to live “as brother and sister” which is what the Church has asked for until now.

In this way Pope Bergoglio would delegate to the bishops the authorization (without in reality having the power to do so) of a new sacramental practise. This would – tacitly - legitimize and even topple into second (or third) marriages and shake the very foundations of the Eucharist and confession.

Rorate continues, “It would be difficult to imagine that the Church would accept this.” But why is that so? It depends on the quite fluid “definition of the word ‘Church’”.

The traditional definition is no longer valid for them in this case:

This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as "the pillar and mainstay of the truth". This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him

In this case, you have “the successor of Peter and [at least many of the] Bishops in communion with him” who are leading the charge. [Bergoglio seems to be ignoring the fact that Kasper’s method “was vetoed by 75 percent of the cardinals. It was then vetoed again in the two synods of 2014 and 2015.”]

The real point here is that Bergoglio, faced with a definition of marriage (and the consequences of divorce) that have existed for hundreds of years, must now begin to create a “Living Tradition” which can, in the future, be recognized as having “the unanimous consent of the fathers”. This is how “ressourcement” works (it is not the same thing as ad fontes), this is how “development” works. This is how the Roman Catholic Church could take the “assumption of Mary” and its dubious beginnings in fifth century gnostic literature, and turn it into a dogma that represents “an ever more perfect knowledge of the revealed truths”.

Bergoglio is getting his foot in the door. No matter what the document says, the conservatives will say, “No dogma has been changed”, and the progressives will come away with the notion that they can do whatever they want.

So the way out of this now, for these traditionalists (and maybe for conservatives, depending upon how long Bergoglio lives, or who his “successor” is), is that they’ve got to fall back upon some non-dogmatic platitudes that will ease their consciences about what really a pope is:

Erroneously, one believes that the Pope can change the revealed truth of the Church but it is not his to possess; he remains only the servant.

Venerable Pio Brunone Lanteri who although a great defender of the papacy said openly: “One can say that the Holy Father can do anything ‘quodcumque solveris, quodcumque ligaveris etc’, (“whatsoever thou shalt loose, whatsoever thou shalt bind etc.”) it is true but he can do nothing against the divine constitution of the Church; he is the vicar of Christ, but he is not God, and neither can he destroy the work of God.”

Another great man of the Church, Cardinal Journet, regarding the age old teaching of the Church claimed: “As far as the axiom ‘where the pope is, there is the Church” goes, this holds true when the Pope behaves like a pope and head of the Church; if this is not the case, neither the Church is in him nor he in the Church.”

Gee, it’s hard not to have that hard-and-bright line such that “unless the church’s interpretation of Scripture is divinely protected from error at least under certain conditions, then what we call the ‘orthodox’ understanding of doctrines … is reduced to mere fallible human opinion”.

The traditionalists and the conservatives now, faced with “a successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him”, are now relying on “mere fallible human opinion” in order to get through this Bergoglio papacy.


  1. John: “As far as the axiom ‘where the pope is, there is the Church” goes, this holds true when the Pope behaves like a pope and head of the Church; if this is not the case, neither the Church is in him nor he in the Church” is pure Confucianism; ie the "mandate of heaven." Otherwise, Bergie would be subject to an higher church authority, presumably conciliar; doesn't that negate the the entire idea of a papacy?

    1. Only when conservative Roman Catholics need that to be the case. Otherwise, it's off limits!