Monday, July 29, 2013
POPE FRANCIS BASHES THE TWO EXTREMES IN THE CHURCH TODAY--BUT IN A POPE FRANCIS SORT OF WAY
As I have mentioned time and again, this pope has had the temerity to name the heresies in the Church today, unlike Pope Benedict, the Emeritus Bishop of Rome who never called anyone heretics as far as I know. But please correct me if I am wrong.
The two heresies that Pope Francis, the current Bishop of Rome has named explicitly are modern forms of gnosticism and Pelagianism. He's done it several times, but never so clearly at he did on Sunday in speaking to to the Bishops of South America and the Caribbean. We must keep in mind he is speaking to the Latin America context which he knows very well.
Here is what the Holy Father Francis said:
The Gnostic solution. Closely linked to the previous temptation, it is ordinarily found in elite groups offering a higher spirituality, generally disembodied, which ends up in a preoccupation with certain pastoral “quaestiones disputatae”. It was the first deviation in the early community and it reappears throughout the Church’s history in ever new and revised versions. Generally its adherents are known as “enlightened Catholics” (since they are in fact rooted in the culture of the Enlightenment).
The Pelagian solution. This basically appears as a form of restorationism. In dealing with the Church’s problems, a purely disciplinary solution is sought, through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful. In Latin America it is usually to be found in small groups, in some new religious congregations, in (exaggerated) tendencies to doctrinal or disciplinary “safety”. Basically it is static, although it is capable of inversion, in a process of regression. It seeks to “recover” the lost past.
MY COMMENTS: I know that many who read my blog or at least comment here are traditionalists. So are you the Pelagians? MAYBE! But don't get all bent out of shape. Keep in mind that Pope Benedict chastised you too but in a more delicate papal, monarchical sort of way, not with the non-monarchical street language of the current South American Bishop of Rome. Pope Benedict called for Vatican II "reform in continuity" that avoided the gnostic rupture of the early post-Vatican II period. But Pope Benedict did not want to go back and restore the Church as it was prior to Vatican II.
Who wants to do this? It usually is the SSPX and other splinter groups like them. These groups would be the extreme.
But apart from them, there are those who want to excommunicate everyone to make the Church purer. But keep in mind that Pope Benedict lifted the excommunication on the SSPX bishops, although not the suspension "ad divina" of them and their priests.
So I think Pope Francis also means religious orders like the Legionaries of Christ, who are far from SSPX liturgically, but quite rigid and based their religious life upon a flawed, sinful and perverted founder who seduced many in the order and in the highest levels of the hierarchy, even Pope John Paul II in thinking he was the way, the truth and the life.
But I also think of Charismatic Covenant Communities and maybe even the neo-catechumenal way who, like the legionaries of Christ, place a powerful emphasis on submission to the will of others. For example the Alleluia Community in Augusta, Georgia at one time and maybe even today builds a cult of the personality with its elders and leaders and had/has what is called "headship and submission" where lay people were submitting to the religious authority of other lay people. This would be one of the "small groups" that the Holy Father refers.
I do not think that Pope Francis is referring to the FSSP or traditional Catholics who love Vatican II as it is meant to be interpreted but prefer a more traditional Ordinary Form of the Mass and now the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
I don't think he is referring to restoring Catholic identity. Pope Francis wants a strong post-Vatican II Catholic identity and he wants all of us youth and not so youthful to be revolutionaries in this regard by taking our strong Catholic identity to the streets, to our secular culture and our politics! In fact this speech to the Bishops is to do this. His off the cuff remarks not printed in the actual talks derides and ridicules the Enagram, which I took many years ago--the psychologicalization of our faith. There are other forms of silly things from the 70's too that are in this category.
I won't say much about the Gnostics other than he links them to the Enlightenment which Pope Pius X condemned as "Modernism." That should make traditionalists feel good as these Modernists are in our Catholic academic institutions pushing for reforms that go way beyond Vatican II. They want to undo how the Church teaches as it concerns Natural Law, Scripture and Tradition. They want to change these things like the Episcopal Church has and is doing. They want women's ordination, same sex marriage, Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried and those living in sin, and they want the Church to be pro-choice, pro-artificial contraception and all the other things that go with the culture of death and functionality.
However, the pope's comments on gnosticism is related to the Enlightenment and its "religious" counterpart called "Modernism" which Pope Pius X condemned in 1907. Many traditionalists feel that much of post-Vatican II interpretation in rupture, not continuity is pure Modernism and they are correct. The Holy Father Francis though, calls it Gnosticism.
This is what Wikipedia says about Modernism linked to the Enlightenment and liberal Protestantism in the Catholic Church. This is an eye-opener folks as this is what Pope Francis is condemning!:
"...A rationalistic approach to the Bible. The rationalism that was characteristic of the Enlightenment took a protomaterialistic view of miracles and of the historicity of biblical narratives. This approach sought to interpret the Bible by focusing on the text itself as a prelude to considering what the Church Fathers had traditionally taught about it. This method was readily accepted by Protestants and Anglicans. It was the natural consequence of Martin Luther’s sola scriptura doctrine, which asserts that Scripture is the highest authority, and that it can be relied on alone in all things pertaining to salvation and the Christian life.
Secularism and other Enlightenment ideals. The ideal of secularism can be briefly stated as follows: the best course of action in politics and other civic fields is that which flows from a common understanding of the Good by various groups and religions. By implication, Church and State should be separated and the laws of the latter, for example that forbidding murder, should cover only the common ground of thought systems held by various religious groups. From the secularists’ point of view it was possible to distinguish between political ideas and structures that were religious and those that were not, but Catholic theologians in the mainstream argued, following St. Thomas Aquinas, that such a distinction was not possible, inasmuch as all aspects of society were to be organized with the final goal of Heaven in mind. The humanist model which had been in the forefront of intellectual thought since the Renaissance and the scientific revolution was however directly opposed to this view.
Modern philosophical systems. Philosophers such as Kant and Bergson inspired the mainstream of Modernist thought. One of the latter’s main currents attempted to synthesize the vocabularies, epistemologies, metaphysics and other features of certain modern systems of philosophy with Catholicism in much the same way as the Scholastic order had earlier attempted to synthesize Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy with the Church's teaching.
Theological rebellion in contradistinction or opposition to the Church's official policies, notably among Jesuits and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious..."