Pope Francis Exemplifies the Decay of Religion
Pope Francis Exemplifies the Decay of Religion: Observations upon the First Neo-Hippie Pontiff
By Joseph Andrew Settanni
Pope Francis came of age, as to his young adulthood, during the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965); he absorbed fully the (nominalist) “Spirit of Vatican II” as it was called. That Spirit, as to its inclination, had crushed the once traditional or classical understanding of (Western) religion in terms of Roman Catholicism in that the postconciliar Church was created opposed to and opposite from the preconciliar Roman Catholic Church. NOTE: If this fact is not accepted as being the truth, however, then nothing in this article will make any sense whatsoever.
The religious sense of vital and serious theology and profound theological speculation qua philosophy, decade by decade starting in the fateful 1960s, began its still unfortunate negating process of gradual degradation and decline, the disintegration of religion once properly understood as such. Of course, many outward appearances can be still maintained, while the inner rot and decay remains a growing and real problem.
How can this be easily and empirically proven to be a virtually indisputable fact? Only a tiny minority of Catholic theologians are today fully aware of Thomistic philosophy and theology, absolutely contrary, e. g., to the once publicly expressed wishes of Pope Leo XIII (1810 – 1903). It is well known, as to the particular matter under consideration, that he had founded the Institute of Thomistic Philosophy at the University of Louvain in his open favoring of a revival of Scholasticism.
He wisely foresaw the important necessity for strongly upholding the critical need for the ever proper teaching and inculcation of Catholic theology, of the ever righteous defense of the Faith. Why might this be needed?
The evil heresy of Modernism, vigorously condemned by Pope St. Pius X (1835 – 1914), his immediate successor, was rightly intended, moreover, to alert both laity and clergy as to the then latest assault being viciously perpetrated upon Holy Mother Church. Secularization, rationalization, and pragmatism were notably encroaching, more and more, into the main considerations of the clergy as they sought enlightenment rather than the fullness of religious inspiration from the three traditional pillars of the ancient and still living Faith, meaning Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium.
Religion Becomes a Form of Therapy
Modernism, in its main essence, substantially triumphed at the Second Vatican Council, though this fact is, of course, usually peremptorily denied by the avid supporters of what happened, back in the mid-1960s, at Rome. It had produced the Conciliar Captivity of the postconciliar Church, as an analogy of the Avignon Captivity of the Renaissance Papacy.
Since then (the era of the Second Vatican Council), one easily sees that it has become very intellectually fashionable to encourage the dreadful decay of orthodox religion, especially in its specifically Catholic manifestation as to the more precise matter set here in question. What is really going on would seem to benefit more from a study of contemporary demonology, not ancient or medieval Christian literature. This surely concerns, in particular, how any precision connected directly to the science of theology has been, in truth, gradually divorced from what really ought to be the very appropriate understanding, comprehension, and teaching of sacred religion for and to Catholics.
Pope Francis, seen as the first neo-hippie Pontiff, is a truly “superb” product of just such an environment basically inhospitable to the more rigorous and intense demands of systematic theology and its rather profound epistemological dictates. What does this mean? Religion has sadly decayed, over the course of time since the 1960s, into just becoming a mere affectational therapeutic mechanism for inducing emotional stances, oriented toward preferential attitudes of a benign nature, in that it seeks basic unity of public expression with overall spirituality, in a syncretistic mode of social and cultural acceptance of modern life experiences. The larger meaning of all this prior needed analysis can be vividly shown.
Thus, for instance, the Holy Pontiff explicitly wants to get away from depressingly overstressing any condemnations of abortion, sodomy, and artificial contraception that may interfere with the affective demonstration of Catholic religion as a form of social and cultural concern expressed in spiritual terms of reference.
This is put, interestingly, beyond what would be considered cold or indifferent theological formulations of moral right versus wrong to show much more (assumed) concern for actual human beings qua persons; this is made substantively congruent, furthermore, with the postconciliar rejected rigidity of rendering any old-fashioned or supposedly obsolete religious judgment(s), meaning any relational condemnation (aka judging the sinfulness involved).
This above noted affectational therapeutic mechanism (ATM) incorporates many diverse elements of secular thinking centered around the cognitive orientations to be found in psychology, sociology, and psychiatry; the proper Catholic and preconciliar idea that the vast majority or almost all social and moral problems can still be spiritually and coherently addressed in the confessional, through the sacrament of Penance, has thus been substantially rejected now in strong favor of mainly secular thought on these matters.
Sin, related to the status of a human soul, as to its nature and reality is to be diminished as a topic of conversation or, moreover, central religious concern on the Christian road toward holiness, which presumably is the spiritual nature of the main journey.
The ATM approach has, therefore, replaced the classical salvific paradigm once religiously cherished by Church traditionalists and, e. g., still advocated and practiced by the supporters of the traditional Latin Mass Community. Ultimately, the attitude involved is related to the conception of the Communion of Saints, now relegated to the status of a simply quaint notion.
What used to be condemned as (mere) worldly wisdom has gradually come to inform Church councils and associated policy regarding the main direction of progressive ecclesiastical efforts, which yet continue unabated, e. g., in spite of the quite massive de-Christianization and vast apostasy of the Western world; this is certainly, quite undeniably, a part of the true, horrific, ongoing crisis within the Church started by both the promulgation and then the vainglorious results of Vatican Council II.
It is freely allowable, nonetheless, for Pope Francis, for instance, to still use most of the same kinds of words and phraseology, standard rhetoric, that may sound fairly Catholic in formal terms of the old religious vocabulary and sensibility; however, there are still actually new meanings quite subtly involved more logically in positive tune with secular values and aspirations, not Catholicism certainly. He puts new wine in old bottles.
This is a critical part of the postconciliar Church’s endless openness, aggiornamento as it was lovingly called (a bringing up-to-date), toward the world, announced during Vatican Council II (VCII), by which, over time, clearly anthropocentric, humanistic, values would then mostly replace theocentric ones in line with Modernism and its then intended laicist effects and affects. The results have, obviously, been noticed as with Western de-Christianization and secularization in general.
Endlessly “talking tough” on such terribly disagreeable or hot topics as abortion, sodomy, and artificial contraception, thus, wrongly offends the very nominalist-inspired drive toward secularization inherently desired by Modernism and, in light of the ATM attitude, seemingly then cuts off the supposedly wanted effectiveness of the Church in trying to communicate with people. It is, of course, a self-fulfilling kind of basic circular logic, a biased tautology, which certainly must, sooner or later, succeed in its pragmatic mission to take the “Catholic,” in terms of theological meaningfulness, increasingly out of Catholicism.
For Pope Francis, the task or mission of converting people to Christianity is “solemn nonsense” as he had declared, and the supremely chief cleric of the Church, the Vicar of Christ no less, has ironically also pontificated that “clericalism should not have anything to do with Christianity.” And, some thoughtful cynic would be logically provoked to say, then just what the heck is he doing pretending to be some sort of a Supreme Pastor? But, perhaps, neither apologetics nor doxology is a strong suit for this priest, which suggests mightily that he is not yet ready for prime time appearances. What a major disaster has befallen the Church, indeed.
The supine way he gratuitously grants an interview with, e. g., a prominent Italian atheist shows that he has so little rigorous sense of the high responsibilities of his important office; he so lacks a fundamental sense of proper etiquette and appears boorish and vulgar; as the leader of the Church, he’s not just some sort of common parish priest improperly conducting an informal life at large. It is appropriately clear (or ought to be) that certain irregular things or actions are just not to be ever done, for the sake of basic propriety if for no other rational reason. Such writers as George Neumayr, Paul Kengor, and others do sustain the kind of criticisms, moreover, found in this present article.
The banal attitude can be seen perfectly exemplified, e. g., in Pope Francis also recently saying that: “A Catholic God does not exist…” Really? Is, therefore, the Catholic interpretation of the Deity simply too faulty? Such an intriguing and troubling thought, filled ever with at least an implied relativism, leads to the logical notion that Catholicism, in fact, is not that essential for salvation.
This is since, by implication, it does not at all thoroughly and correctly define the proper and true nature of the assumed Godhead qua Almighty Being, which, by definition, is of the precise nature of theological ontology qua requisite metaphysical beingness. In short, he has no right to play fast and loose with theology, as Neumayr and many others would totally agree. His liberal/leftist supporters put politics over God’s word, as with, e. g., the Communist Party USA’s publication, People’s World, so effusively praising Pope Francis’ ideologically PC positions.
One should not lightly dismiss this matter due to its many unfortunate implications and ramifications; some concerted profound thought and important reflection is appropriately merited. Many of the very same people who do look benignly upon such endorsements or are plainly dismissive of them would be justifiably horrified if, e. g., Klu Klux Klan, Nazi, or Fascist publications would remarkably sing the praises of any pope. Orthodox-traditionalist Catholics have a good reason to be worried, regardless of the many assurances of his liberal and conservative supporters (aka defenders).
Therefore, this admittedly charismatic Pope should greatly shudder, not be delighted certainly, that the publicly avowed and strident enemies of Christ think so highly of him, meaning if he were just a normal pope. It is, furthermore, completely inconceivable that any loving words would have ever come from ideologically dedicated Communists for a John Paul II or Pius XII. His growing army of far Left fans ought, at the least, to still be a tremendously troubling and disquieting, disturbing and unsettling, phenomenon.
It is yet admitted, however, that the vast majority of the dedicated perpetrators of this anti-theological subversion and devastation of Catholic religion would quickly deny the truth of what has been asserted. Nevertheless, if the overt results being here observed, regarding the ongoing monumental crisis in the Church, seem to effectively and efficiently parallel neatly what has been said in confidence of the truth, it is no mere assumed accident and, rather, lends much notable veracity and cognate credibility to the quite keen analysis and observation here cogently rendered upon the subject of papal misbehavior. Personal charisma cannot save anyone from going to Hell, including any worldly-popular pontiff.
And yet, proper qualification of what is meant may, however, need to be appropriately rendered for further requisite clarification and expostulation. Of course, as an allied consideration, it is usually quite difficult for any human beings to maintain an absolute consistency in terms of all thought or actions. This is simply a normal part of human nature and its own inherent imperfection or grace, depending upon one’s outlook on life, especially the spiritual life defined by an openness toward grace.
Pope Francis, for instance, will sometimes act or speak against the Spirit of Vatican II because there is still, as is known, the overall reality of Catholicism as a religion, which is regardless of many duplicitous efforts to now eviscerate it entirely within the general context of modern Church practice. Occasionally, therefore, the Holy Father will do something dramatic contrary to his essential orientation since even he, e. g., finds it very difficult for anyone to seem to oppose his papal authority. Appearances need to be maintained; the show, after all, must go on. And, the apologists for him will simply have to redouble their efforts at highly impressive mental gymnastics to presumably sanctify whatever comes out of his mouth, meaning his adopted role as the spiritual disciple of optimism.
With the unfortunate arrival of the postconciliar Church, however, a sort of weird switch occurred from axiological pessimism, rooted solidly within the fallen nature of sentient beings in a fallen world, to the odd celebration of axiological optimism; enlightened mankind is now thought, more and more, to be capable of degrees of ethical and moral perfection unknown to prior ages, for the “childhood” of man had ended some time ago.
What were thought of as supposedly superstitious formulations of spiritually dry doctrines and dogmas could be, therefore, intelligently replaced by variously innovative and creative orientational statements incorporating living and dynamic concerns for humanistic appeals; this is particularly regarding ethical and moral conduct evaluations as such set well beyond atavistic concerns about such “trite” matters as either venial or mortal sins. Such hoary notions have no valid moral place in this modern age.
Totally unlike the spiritual oppressiveness and backward-looking attitude of the preconciliar Church, the new or postconciliar establishment is always to be a liberating spiritual-experiential movement, a kind of permanent revolution, by which a progressive or enlightened Catholicism is to splendidly maintain its significant relevance in the ever contemporary world.
According to this point of view, there is no real crisis, only the needful birth pangs of the coming-to-be of a seeming new creation that will come to so wondrously engulf its critics with its loving embrace, meaning as the glorious Spirit of VCII seeks to find its appropriate ecclesial fulfillment. In set opposition, wise supporters of traditional, orthodox Catholicism qua the Roman Catholic Church reply that this contention is just utter nonsense, contrary to common sense, and bespeaks a naivety worthy of self-deluded fanatics off searching for their Utopia. For the progressives/liberals, Pope Francis becomes the Chief Therapist, not the Chief Vicar of the Church.
As there can be no rational compromise between truth and error, one side or the other must contain the truth directly pertaining to the means needed and requisite for the salvation of souls; both cannot be true. The crux of the matter, religious, theological, and otherwise, resides in the consideration of irresponsibility. Supporters of VCII are routinely said to be filled with good intentions and the proverbial road to the Infernal Regions is, of course, paved with such grand illusions. There is no sense of spiritual accountability involved when Utopia, by whatever euphemism, is the implicit but unnamed goal that is forever sought, never attained. The Spirit of VCII, thus, epitomizes irresponsibility on a grand scale.
Who Needs a Faithless Faith?
Catholicism, in this perspective, is then increasingly drained of its meaning as a vehicle for providing true salvation from this world as to the final dispositions of souls; it becomes, in effect, the gross oddity of a faithless faith, as the current Holy Pontiff seems to rather strongly show that the “regime” of his two predecessors has definitely ended. The organizational ecclesiastic structure of a church becomes, at some future point in time, virtually unneeded, as long as Pope Francis desires to seriously shake up the existing system of dogmas, doctrines, and traditions. But, could such an orientation, consistently tried to the limits, come up with a strange thing such as a faithless faith?
Thus, de-Christianization and its attendant apostasy are to be normally just dismissed as merely slight bumps in the road toward a supposed sort of attainable nirvana on earth, of the truly evil desire to achieve some esoteric version of spiritual immanentism, contrary completely to the always true nature of Catholicism as an incarnational and exoteric religion. Such heresy is as ugly as it sounds.
And, furthermore, this critically important point assists greatly in illustrating why irresponsibility and unaccountability are significant realities that must be apprehended as demonstrable consequences of the demonic desire to adopt an anthropocentric orientation, not a Christocentric one. It becomes, certainly, a highly personalistic viewpoint.
What needs to be properly understood, moreover, is that most of modern thought is plagued by what can be rightly seen as being neo-Pelagianism, the ideological belief, meaning set in a secularized form, of the older religious heresy thought up by that heresiarch Pelagius, so many centuries ago.
This now so directly relates to the absurd seeking of intramundane perfection through religious means by which sin, venial and mortal, is then pushed aside rudely in the then assumed liberating pursuit of humanism and cognate humanistic values and attitudes. As a direct result, the Church as a mediating structure is to be appealed to less and less, into the future, because mankind has left behind its stage of infancy and has advanced crescively toward a higher level of modern spiritual development.
When this assuredly grave matter is appropriately perceived, the often curious words and actions of Pope Francis can, thus, be better understood and comprehended within such a very revealing context when aimed, basically, at the implicitly wanted dissolution of all traditional religious beliefs. Is all the aforementioned thoughts pure speculative fantasy without any legitimate support or, rather, is there a definite substantial basis in fundamental truth? One quite interesting instance below, among many, can be keenly rendered, sagaciously presented, for manifesting what really ought to be perceived by all knowledgeable Catholics.
On September 27, 2013, Fr. Richard Cipolla, DPhil, wrote on the rorate-caeli.blogspot.com website: “The media is awash with positive fascination with Pope Francis. Secular blogs known for their hostility to the Catholic Church are effusive in their approval of Papa Bergoglio in whom they see as the man who will transform the Catholic Church into a religious version of liberal secularism. But whatever adjectives one applies to Pope Francis, the most apt is really “inevitable”. That the Church should have a Pope like Francis was inevitable, for he is the first Pope who is a product of the post-Vatican II Church.”
That he was simply inevitable in the correct sense of what was pointed out by Fr. Cipolla is, without any rational questioning of such an assertion, not really astonishing to any informed observer of such things. What is dramatically astounding, however, is that many tens of millions will be quite profoundly deluded into thinking that Pope Francis is truly capable of seeking a revival and reinvigoration of Catholicism in the contemporary world; the opposite opinion is, on the whole, much more nearly true. It is predicted, prefaced knowingly upon the cognition and analysis in this article, that he will preside, willingly, over an ongoing substantial destruction of the Church in continuing satanic pursuit of the harmful Spirit of VCII.
It cannot be otherwise. Why is this confidently said? Given the espoused predilections and outlook being entertained by the Holy Father, the ugly path of ruin and wreckage becomes fairly inevitable; in contrast, the further prediction can here be so easily asseverated that even the (normally historically despised) Renaissance Papacy will seem functionally sober and judicious versus the inopportune and unpropitious public ways and habits of this religious enthusiast from Argentina. Many, including Fr. Cipolla, are currently filled with papal-directed hope, which is freely admitted, that Pope Francis will go on to confound those liberals and leftists, in and outside the Church, who are among his present ardent supporters.
But, such mainly baseless hope is actually founded more upon wishful thinking, not the basic empirical circumstances of this contemporary papacy; there are, in fact, the practical realities of a mainly spoiled hierarchy more concerned with secular approbation than with the maintenance of intense spiritual piety and adherence unalterably to the Catholic dogmas and doctrines.
Rather than wasting their value time worrying about the poor condition of their immortal souls, they do try, quite mightily, to usually avoid getting bad press coverage; public image, above most sacramental duties and obligations, truly means a great deal to the largely jaded and, of course, oh-so-sophisticated Vatican establishment, not proper and religious concern for Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium for upholding the Faith.
As with a proverbial bottom line, the desire to not greatly offend the secular Western world holds the bulk of the hierarchy in thrall, certainly not spiritually pious thoughts about their preparation for the life of the world to come. This creates, on balance, a sense of freedom for the Holy Pontiff. Consequently, Pope Francis can, on average, be expected to usually choose paths and trails that would rarely, if ever, converge upon major traditionalist or orthodox highways of thought.
Francis has publicly spoken of “a more human Christianity, without the cross, without Jesus…” One wonders if he knows what kind of organization he heads right now; but, then again, maybe too much Jesus talk upsets him and the Cross offends him? He is savvy enough to properly know that, in this day and age, perception matters more than reality; what people perceive him to say matters significantly, not purportedly what he meant to say. Perhaps, a welcomed maturity of “faith” is being warmly desired that leaves all the old superstitions behind, inclusive of traditional orthodoxy qua the truth.
He is a spiritually lofty man, as many seem to allege, very solidly within the main postconciliar Church environment; and, he has no supposed time for ever uselessly considering any simply lifeless notions, more plainly suitable to the preconciliar Church, meaning with its made-up and terribly antiquated rules and regulations, antediluvian strictures and demands. The postconciliar Church, thus, has a wanted sense of assumed vitalism, of expressive liturgical dynamism, which can fruitfully evolve and change as may be needed. This has consequences.
Pope Francis’ quite obnoxious (in-your-face) fast-tracking of John Paul II’s hurried canonization and the related future sainthood of John XXIII is, of course, meant to forever silence all the critics of VCII; rather than to supposedly eliminate all valid opposition, however, this can then be so reasonably predicted to enormously enrage the persecuted opposition by such an unconscionable display of raw Church politics that will lend (what ought to be an unwanted) dignity to outright schism and solidify even further the adamant position of the sedevacantists, the total rejectionists.
This too obvious attempt, contrary to a vain hope, to simultaneously also “canonize” VCII is inevitably going to backfire; the many orthodox critics of this terrible heresy, some of whom may have tried to (wrongly) compromise with such blatant error, do clearly know now that all compromise is just forever impossible and futile; the always righteous fight for true orthodoxy must, instead, be greatly intensified unto death. Choice has been removed by the power Church politics put upon open display; these Vatican players are surely adept Machiavellians with pragmatic and positivist leanings.
Thus, the remarks given out by the current pontiff create uncertainty in the minds of many Catholics, especially due to the increasingly bad catechesis since VCII. Non-Catholics, moreover, are plainly and simply ignorant (which is not the same as being stupid) of the specific directive weight to be given because they certainly do have no sound knowledge at all with which to properly judge.
Since he knows, being that he is really neither stupid, naïve, nor ignorant, that the popular press will eagerly distort, manipulate, or twist his words to fit their ideologically progressive agenda, the outcomes cannot then truly be in any significant doubt. What is meant?
When the Holy Pontiff makes certain statements, therefore, it may give the formal appearance, whether intended or not, of playing fast and loose with various dogmas and doctrines held sacred by the Church. This ambiguity or vagueness is then not really psychologically or emotionally good for either Catholics or those non-Catholics who may try to pay attention to such pronouncements for the purpose of acquiring some sort of understanding.
For the latter, it is fairly logical and reasonable for them to think that he is, in fact, the main voice of the Catholic Church on earth, its legitimate religious and theological head or representative, since he is, of course, the Vicar of Christ in this world. The malevolent minions of malice are cheering him. Among others, Jon Stewart, Garrison Keillor, and even the would-be tyrant Barack Obama have freely expressed their heart-felt admiration. A good Catholic with normal sensibilities, however, would be thoroughly ashamed to ever be lauded by tyrants. What, however, is here the intrinsic difficulty involved?
Unfortunately, what seem to be the majority of his unclear or debatable statements are neither that profoundly prudent nor substantially circumspect, meaning as they rationally and theologically ought to be, of course; this inherent kind of ambiguity is part of the natural intellectual fallout of VCII and directly relates, most integrally, to its continuing horrid, despicable, aftermath. Such vile exercises of sustained irresponsibility aggravates and does not tend to actually silence the opponents of the Modernist heresy seen vigorously manifested in the often contemptible outcomes of that very spiritually deformed Church council of the 1960s.
The rather prominent and, moreover, dual canonizations of the originator of VCII and its greatest papal defender and expostulator will not, therefore, really come to mute the much needed ongoing and future criticism that ought to be expected, as just a normal part of a fundamental rejection of religious and theological error on a massive scale. The entire Latin Mass Community would have to be crushed out of existence to effectively stop the rejection of that past gathering and its results.
Meanwhile, it is known that the vast majority of the Novus Ordo (New Mass) Community is, however, basically contracepting and aborting itself out of existence. Demographics (typically large families), vocations and money, in sharp contrast, are on the side of the Latin Mass Community (LMC) filled with people who could be denounced, by their ecclesial enemies, as being mere theological narcissists.
Pope Francis choses quite absurdly, in terms of proper orthodoxy, to fight for a terrible cause that will, therefore, someday ultimately lose; the LMC is steadily going to be on the side that decisively will, as could be guessed, eventually win. He seems to support that well-known and crass oxymoron known as Christian existentialism (Hint: If it’s genuinely Christian, it cannot, by definition, be existentialist and vice versa). He has stated, however, that he wants to abandon “theological narcissism” for the sake of assisting “the Church to emerge from itself to arrive at the existential limits.”
In context, one can, therefore, naturally appreciate the solid major fact that the ATM approach toward religion and theology, which was previously talked about, has no real substantive religious future, fully regardless of any/all phenomenological efforts mounted on its behalf. Most people most of the time, meaning if they are honestly serious about wanting a truthful faith, chose the tested and traditional authority of orthodoxy, not scandalous variants of a religious-oriented therapy having its ultimate basis in an ersatz pragmatic theology, the spurious Spirit of VCII.
It is good to critically remember that the intellectually and religiously infamous interview, with the atheist Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, ends by quite significantly saying: “If the Church becomes like him and becomes what he wants it to be, it will be an epochal change.” Truly, if that unwanted epic nightmare occurs, one could then supposedly bank on it, except that the Holy Ghost, according to Catholicism, always guards popes against making any ex cathedra heretical statements. The Church Triumphant, after all, only exists in Heaven, while the Church Militant resides on earth and the Church Suffering is in Purgatory.
But, as with the first scandal of St. Peter denying Christ three times, there is no guarantee whatsoever against scandal, including that of the current pontiff. The fallacious thinking of the sedevacantists, as an example, does not understand that scandal is an inherent feature to all great endeavors involving sinful creatures. And, from time to time, such notable saints as St. Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Ávila have openly admonished popes. Yes, there are those clerico-sophists who myopically insist that only saints may admonish popes, forgetting ever quite conveniently that Catherine and Teresa were not, of course, declared saints during their own lifetimes.
Equally, as ought to be better known, St. Thomas Aquinas himself, the Angelic Doctor, justly defended the important Catholic necessity of papal criticism for upholding the Faith, as when, e. g., the convert Saul of Tarsus, who became St. Paul, thought it rightly needful to correct (see: Letter to the Galatians, Chapter 2) St. Peter concerning the matter of Gentile converts. Paul had, thus, rebuked the first pope of the Church, which is, indeed, quite an interesting historical and religious precedent that can be noted.
The admonition of popes, though to be done respectfully, is obviously perceived to be a rather ancient, venerable, and honorable tradition fully set within the Church, since no pontiff is to ever act as a mere dictatorial and unquestioned tyrant. True fidelity to the papacy is, therefore, not to be ignorantly founded upon absolutely blind obedience as if Catholics are supposed to be mindless slaves or mere robots of the Church Militant.
In any event, the Roman Catholic Church has historically survived the Arian Heresy, Albigensian Heresy, Protestant Reformation, French Revolution, Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and much else; it will, no doubt, survive Pope Francis and the Conciliar Captivity. But, further than this, let true honesty prevail. There is the need to stop beating around the proverbial bush.
The field of discussion is simply too narrow if it concerns only abortion, artificial contraception, and sodomy; there is a late modernist preoccupation qua obsession with a certain bodily function; the real matter in dispute, one ought not to have to guess, is actually sex. New flash: the Catholic Church is not opposed to sex. Of course, it is to be only in the traditional context of real marriage, not, e. g., sodomite relationships (or others) so falsely, these days, called marriage.
Let’s get real! If Pope Francis has come up with a truly revolutionary concept of sex, then that, in fact, would be substantially newsworthy, not any of his flaky, flashy, or freaky chats with a God denier. It is to be expected that papal apologists are yet going to be working overtime and bending over backwards extremely so to perform the rather excessive mental gymnastics required; they make the unfortunate mistake of thinking that almost anything/everything that a pope says must be supported by Catholics, which is simply not true. One example of this error may suffice.
Gregory R. Erlandson, president of the Publishing Division for Our Sunday Visitor, one of the largest Catholic publishing companies in the United States, has greatly lauded Pope Francis concerning this new direction for the Church. Erlandson, about as mainstream a Catholic as one can get, is on the board of directors for the Association of Catholic Publishers and has served previously as president of the Catholic Press Association, and adviser on the U.S. Bishops’ Communications Committee; moreover, he is now a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
For Erlandson, it may need to be stated that the “holy” in the term Holy Father refers only to the formal nature of the holder of the office of the papacy; it does not, in any way whatsoever, axiomatically or otherwise, confer (spiritual) holiness upon a pontiff. If that were ever actually true, then, e. g., Pope Alexander VI (Borgia), would then be classified as having been holy, which is forever quite doubtful. Extremist papal apologists are, therefore, wrongly engaging in a form of idolatry, not true fidelity to the Faith. They are idolaters, not genuine papist Catholics loyal to the papacy.
It is being repeatedly said that, e. g., he is quoted out of context or misquoted. If there is to be any reasonable benefit of the doubt, however, let it appropriately be on the side of Catholic dogmas and doctrines, not the winsomely effusive and disjointed, hair-brained fixations of just any pope.
Within the now specific provided context of this present article severely questioning what has and is happening, it is not surprising that, generations ago, there were needed warnings written against all of liberal/progressive Catholicism, such as Dr. Don Felix Sarda y Salvany’s What is Liberalism? (1899) and Cardinal Désiré-Félicien-François-Joseph Mercier’s Modernism (1910). All this can be easily added to Pope St. Pius X’s ever magnificent Encyclical Against Modernism, Pascendi Dominici Gregis.
Good reading in proper support of requisite orthodoxy would include such works as Rev. Charles Alfred Martin’s The Catholic Religion, Fr. Heinrich Denzinger’s The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Fr. Francis X. Doyle’s Defense of the Catholic Church, Rev. Heribert Jone’s Moral Theology, and, of course, as ever, the Catechism of the Council of Trent. People can, therefore, still get at such significant sources of the truth versus religious error, though, admittedly, the postconciliar Church remains dominate.
Neither the Pope nor the hierarchy is, however, to finally win in this truly mighty contest for the proper salvation of souls, meaning as to their here condemned negative and negating efforts. Fortunately, one can yet invoke the ever lively spirit of St. Athanasius; he had to deal with the notable problem of such massive examples of adherence to heresy in his era; the eventual defeat of the evil Arian Heresy was the joyous outcome of such a titanic struggle. Athanasian Catholicism will, eventually, crush the power of the Conciliar Captivity.
This can be, moreover, easily proven by keenly knowing about a still rather significant historical fact: For centuries after the saint lived, Athanasianism then became a popular synonym for (orthodox) Roman Catholicism, though prayers for the soul of Pope Francis ought, of course, not to be ever excluded from needed consideration. The Holy Father could never get enough prayers said for him as he seeks, putting it mildly, to significantly reorient and revamp the Church. Perhaps, he shouldn’t place his faith in “Lesus” (whoever that might be named on that recent Vatican medal*) and, instead, keep true to belief in Jesus as the Christ.
Athanasius contra mundum!
*To commemorate Pope Francis’ first papal year, the Vatican recently issued a medal engraved with a Latin phrase, except someone forgot to do a spell check. Six thousand were, in fact, manufactured and four were sold before anyone there had noticed the error, which might be rather frightening not knowing the correct spelling of the name of the Son of God, the Lord and Savior Himself.