Friday, March 30, 2018


JOHN 18:37-38: Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
Pope Francis had an interesting homily about truth at the Chrism Mass on which John Allen from Crux reports:

Pope blasts turning truth into an idol, wielding it to judge and classify

On Thursday, in his annual message to priests around the world during the traditional Chrism Mass, Francis came as close to spelling out what that conversion means as he has in some time - in essence, he suggested, (conversion) implies a shift from seeing “the truth” as something abstract and rigid, to understanding it as something always enfleshed in real, specific, and endlessly complex individual people.

“We must be careful not to fall into the temptation of making idols of certain abstract truths,”

Although the pope did not spell out any specific doctrinal or disciplinary consequences, it was hard not to hear indirect echoes of some of the battles that have been waged during his papacy on Thursday, including tensions over his decision to open a cautious pathway to allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist.

Then Sandro Magister wrote this about Lettergate:

But getting back to Benedict XVI’s letter of February 7, it is helpful to examine more closely his reference to Peter Hünermann.
He recalls that he “participated to a significant extent in the promulgation of the ‘Kölner Erklärung,’ which, in relation to the encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor,’ attacked in a virulent manner the magisterial authority of the pope especially on questions of moral theology.”
In effect, the “Cologne Declaration” was a frontal attack launched in 1989 by numerous theologians, mostly German, against the teaching of John Paul II and his prefect of doctrine Joseph Ratzinger, above all on the subject of moral theology.
The protest was detonated by the appointment as archbishop of Cologne of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the same one who in 2016 was among the signers of the “dubia” submitted to Pope Francis concerning “Amoris Laetitia” and about whom in 2017, on the day of his burial, Benedict XVI wrote profound and touching words.
The signers of the “Cologne Declaration” included the Who’s Who of theological progressivism, from Hans Küng to Bernhard Häring, from Edward Schillebeeckx to Johann Baptist Metz. And there were two of the authors of the present-day eleven booklets on the theology of Pope Francis: Hünermann and Werbick.
The ideas of the “Cologne Declaration” met with a reaction from Pope John Paul II in 1993, with the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor.”
Which, however, is never cited by Francis in “Amoris Laetitia.” While vice-versa “Amoris Laetitia,” in paragraphs 303-305, takes up and makes its own some of the ideas of the “Cologne Declaration,” especially where, in its third and last points, it assigns judgment in moral decisions to conscience and to the responsibility of individuals.
In that same third point, the “Cologne Declaration” makes a frontal attack on the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” of Paul VI and asserts the permissibility of contraceptives. And on this point as well, Bergoglio’s pontificate is moving in the same direction.
On the contrary, in what may be the most expansive and meditated text published so far by Benedict XVI after his resignation from the papacy, in a multi-author book on John Paul II published in 2014, the pope emeritus does not hesitate to identify precisely “Veritatis Splendor” as the encyclical of that pontificate most crucial for the present time. “To study and assimilate this encyclical,” he concludes, “remains a great and important duty.”
It is no coincidence that three of the five “dubia” submitted to Francis by several cardinals in 2016 concern precisely the risk of abandoning the foundations of moral doctrine reiterated by “Veritatis Splendor.”
Nor is it a coincidence that Ratzinger recalled, in his letter to Viganò, none other than the opposition to the principles of “Veritatis Splendor” on the part of the theologians of the “Cologne Declaration,” who have now been brought resoundingly back into favor by Francis.


TJM said...

I am not sure "truth" is beginning to be put on trial but I do fear that His Holiness' mind is failing given his remarks of recent days. To continue to chat with an old atheist journalist whom the Vatican claims continues to misinterpret his remarks shows lack of judgment or mental failure. We need to pray to the Lord for a solution and for Pope Francis.

Anonymous said...

The mind boggles. How will this pontificate rescue itself? Does it want to even? Germanic liberal progressives dismiss clear teachings of Jesus. Teutonic arrogance at its worst. South Americans love Marx, hence liberation theology (another plague). Yeah, Marx was German too. People search after the best source of mischief when they decide too imitate the Devil.


Julian Barkin said...

Father, respectfully on the most holy day of the year, I ask you to clarify your title. I would HOPE sincerely your title is NOT "Fake News" aimed at saying Pope Francis is casting doubt or expressing despair of the faith. Honestly I've had enough of these blogs that attack the Holy Father unceasingly, and sometimes, the articles or posts you post on here cast doubt on the Holy Father. Fine he's making PR blunders, but he is NOT directly attacking the Faith and CANNOT violate doctrine/dogma via Infallability (Vatican I) and Matt 16:18.

Although he should NOT talk anymore to Scalfari as every time he does the Vatican PR office has to clean up the messes that miser (maybe w/a "narcisstic form of spiritual "Alzehimers") makes publicly when Francis talks to him.

Rood Screen said...

The Jesuit practice of shaking everything up in order to understand everything better will need to be suppressed by a future pope. It is a violation of sacred office for a shepherd to treat his flock this way, as if we're a high school science experiment. Our pope thinks he's being profoundly wise by raising confusion to a preeminent pastoral method, but he's really only feeding the sheep to the wolves.

George said...

The cross upon which Christ was crucified, like other crosses, was in the shape of the letter "T", which is also the first letter of the english word "Truth". The Son
of God, "Truth Incarnate", being Divine and therefore above all created things, triumphed over death. Truth, like Christ, is eternal, and so will remain long after all that is false has been vanquished.
True followers of Christ can never accommodate themselves to the errors of the world. If we embrace the false values of the world, does that not lead to spiritual
death? Christ, the Word made flesh, is the embodiment of all that is true and holy. Let us always imitate Christ in His example and teachings, whose death on the Cross proclaims the Truth and whose triumph over death gives us hope for Eternal life. In the Cross of Christ is the Glory of God and our redemption. Those
who possess faith in Christ, reflect the light of His truth. Our acceptance of the Cross and Christ's teachings is our defense and protection against the false values
of the world. Whenever we make the Sign of the Cross, are we not proclaiming the Way, the Truth and the Life?
What is the evidence that you reside in the True Church which contains within itself the repository of Divinely revealed spiritual truth in all its fullness? Is it not in the sincere acceptance of all truth that is embodied in the Creed we profess to believe which is testament to our faith? And this also in the exercise of the
obligations and responsibilities which are required of us in obeying Church law, practicing the works of mercy, reflecting the Beatitudes, and leading virtuous lives
and all this by cooperating with God's ever available grace.

John Nolan said...

Julian Barkin.

PF's informal musings on the nature of Hell are one thing. They do give, by accident or design, the impression to the media that, in the words of The Times, he is 'apparently invalidating 2000 years of Catholic teaching', but they are not magisterial. I can't accept that Scalfari simply fabricated them.

His Chrism Mass homily is of a different and far more serious nature, since what the Pope announces in public is ipso facto papal teaching. He would appear to be confirming the impression that he favours, if not situational ethics, then at least a form of proportionalism which is contrary to the teachings set forth by JP II in Veritatis Splendor, and indeed what the Church has consistently taught.

This, presumably, is the 'paradigm shift' so welcomed by the modernists who are enjoying a new springtime under this pontificate (they never really went away). With a compliant Jesuit as CDF Prefect, one cannot expect clarification from that quarter, but if PF continues to push the boundaries he is likely to encounter serious opposition from those bishops who are doctrinally orthodox and not simply spineless yes-men.

It is naïf to dismiss all this as 'PR blunders' or to assume that PF is controlled by wily heretics like Fernandez and Spadaro. He advanced Fernandez despite being aware of his unorthodox views, and uses him as a theological guru and ghostwriter. He knows what he is doing, and as 'an old man in a hurry' who believes he has a divine mandate to change the Church, we can expect more of the same.

I fear we are heading for a schism which will make Lefebvre's little protest look like small beer.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Schism would be tragic and an ugly thing. The better resolution would be that if there are still cardinals with a spine they confront Santita (kind of like an intervention) and tell him in no uncertain terms that he if fails to clarify his remarks publicly in line with Catholic teaching they will begin an effort to depose him.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

TJM, deposing a popular pope would make the schism John speaks of look like an atom molecule. This would lead to something approaching the Great Schism between the east and west. In other words, deposing a pope ain't goin to happen. Confronting the pope by the college of bishops, though, and done privately, is another matter. But we wouldn't never know except through inevitable leaks.

I find it fascinating and interesting that the Dubia cardinals have been so quiet. This suggests to me works behind the scene!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Julian, I am just reporting what others are saying. Love His Holiness or not, He has generated tremendous polarization and confusion in the Church rivaling what we experienced in the 1970's and I have a vivid memory of it as I was in the seminary in the 1970's which was not the apex of Catholicism for that institution whatsoever.

It was those who protested this kind of polarization and confusion at the time, that led to some sense of normalcy for seminaries and the institutional Church since the election of Pope St. John Paul II. To see all this crumble is sad. But that's life.

But with that said, I am still an ultramontanist at heart and pray for Pope Francis daily and believe that it is God's will that all this happen which will eventually lead to greater clarity in the Church.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I might add, that Pope Francis' pastoral instincts are good for priests to see. I believe European priests are far more distant from their congregations that American priests are may well seem themselves as "royalty." This is especially true of some, not all, Nigerian priests imported to the USA to serve in American parishes--they can create a lot of turmoil in their parishes through a hyper-clericalism.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

I know you are being practical. But a "popular pope?" LOL - I guess with apostates, Democrats, and other assorted non believers. He is inflicting a lot of pain on those of us who love and care about the Church. I think "notorious" might be a better way to describe PF.

John Nolan said...

Unlike Fr McDonald I am not clairvoyant. I have recently read Robert Harris's dystopian 'Conclave' and although it is well researched its 'deus ex machina' conclusion fails to convince. Harris, a master of counter-factual history, falls down since like many others he does not fully understand the institution he is dealing with.

I have a plot for a similar novel which would be as follows. A reigning pontiff has decided that the Holy Spirit is urging him to change the fundamental doctrines of the Church. It is not just a question of re-stating truths in a manner more understandable to modern man, since Vatican II insisted that any interpretation must be 'eodem sensu, eademque sententia'.

However, he has a problem. His predecessor is still alive and the Pope has good reason to believe he is not with the agenda. As luck would have it, the predecessor dies without having openly criticized him. The Pope presides over his obsequies and delivers the usual enconiums. Knowing that his own time is short, he is determined to advance his agenda with all possible speed. He has browbeaten the Curia and is convinced that the world's bishops are too spineless and lethargic to put up any resistance.

Then comes the bombshell. The emeritus pope has not been idle. He has written a lengthy testament which he insisted should be opened only after his death. It is a devastating critique of his successor, whom he castigates as a heretic and an enemy of the Church of God. Faced with this condemnation, a majority of the cardinals insist on the Pope's resignation, failure to comply with which would result in his deposition.

He does indeed resign, and his successor is the first black African pope. He is crowned with great ceremony in St Peter's, and his first act as Pontiff is to suppress the Society of Jesus, until it can be demonstrated that it has returned to the ethos of its founder.

I think it would make a cracking read!

TJM said...

John Nolah,

Very plausible and I would definitely purchase a signed copy!