Saturday, December 5, 2015
Papal Patterns, Outbursts, and Deviations
From Making Things Visible
By Ron Garcia
Editor's Note: The following by theologian Ron Garcia is the clearest, most concise summary of the tragedy that has befallen the Church that we have read. Many thanks to the author for allowing us to reprint this excellent article.
Can we talk seriously and rationally about papal outbursts? For nearly two years, I have been listening to Catholics say "bad translation" nearly every time the Pope speaks. For two years on a nearly weekly basis, some popolator has chimed in with a defense of nonsense. I personally never bought the bad translation argument or the media spin argument. There has not been one single incident of nonsense that has ended with Pope Francis seeking to clarify, rebutt, or rebuke remarks made in his name. In fact, I would say there is a continued pattern. His remarks always seem to lean toward a certain type of "serene theology." Always! Is the Pope Catholic? I think the answer is yes. Is the Pope Orthodox? That is a question I cannot answer in the affirmative. Keeping in mind, that orthodox means the right way of thinking about Catholicism. In his latest protest of Catholicism, he is reported to have said:
"Fundamentalism is a sickness we find in all religions...among Catholics there are many, not a few, many, who believe to hold the absolute truth and they go ahead by harming others with slander and defamation, and they do great harm." Pope Francis
Here I can only think of the FFI, their crime? The EF. Or I am reminded of Cardinal Burke's timely removal from the Signatura. Just in time to ram some new canon's, regarding marriage through into place. I think we all know that were Cardinal Burke still the head of the Signatura those canon's would have faced stiff and public opposition. How about his invitation to the German Bishops, in particular, heretic Cardinal Kasper? His claim that the rejection of true marriage by Cardinal Kasper, is "serene theology." Recently, there was the little kerfuffle over whether or not a Lutheran ought to receive holy communion or not. The Pope seems to think that if a Lutheran conscience tells a Lutheran to receive Catholic communion it would be just fine. Cardinal Sarah, publicly corrected the Pope's error. Or who can forget his chastisement of faithful Catholics in his address at the end of the Synod. And the Synod? Cardinal Forte, anyone? How about his appointment of Cardinal Blase Cupich or Cardinal Daneels resurgence. Patterns
The point of all of this is that is time for faithful Catholics to live in reality. Many will not I get it. Some will say he isn't responsible for all of these things, to which I reply, indeed he is. It is his job to choose holy men for these positions. It is his responsibility to appoint faithful and trustworthy men. Even if he relies on the wisdom of those close to him for counsel, he appointed those close to him, he is resposnible. It is his responsibility. Rational men and women can no longer deny that we have ourselves a Pope who is not in love with Catholicism.
In the his latest papal outburst he demonized Catholics who believe that Catholicism is the true faith. In his wisdom he suggested that there is no absolute truth, which of course raises a number of questions. Is it absolutely true that there is no absolute truth? Why is he harming others with his words? Aren't harmful words off limits? Is it ok to harm others sometimes? Or only if you are the Pope? What exactly is his purpose? He is the pope. His job is to safeguard and defend the doctrine of the Church because it is true. To protect it from error. What need is there for the papacy if the doctrine is simply flexible and subject to change? If it is not actually true? Is he a community organizer?
No there is a pattern. There is a definitive pattern in his words and his actions. This is a Pope who demands that you shut up if you do not agree with him. When you will not shut up, he calls you names and he accuses you of grave sin. The only grave sin left it would seem is holding firmly to the belief that Catholicism is true. The most harmful thing you can do it would seem, is to believe that the revelation of God through the Catholic Church is objectively true. It "harms" people.
Leaving Tradition in the Dust
This way of thinking, this acceptance of a "serene theology"(which is code for modernism) is a complete departure from the divine science. Yes, I used the word science. So would St. Thomas. Perhaps, our view of science is to narrow these days we think of science merely in terms of the physical sciences. To be sure they are important. However, classically and traditionally there are two sciences. They are and always will be natural theology (philosophy) and supernatural theology (divine revelation). Both treat of the truths about God. Natural theology treats of those things which can be known by reason. While supernatural theology treats of those things that can be known definitively because God has revealed them. And though they could not be known from reason they are not unreasonable.
"Hence theology included in sacred doctrine differs in kind from that theology which is part of philosophy." St. Thomas Aquinas Summa I, q. 1, a. 1, and 2
In Dei Filius, The first Vatican Council solemnly affirmed this position of St. Thomas Aquinas:
It must be attributed to this divine Revelation that such truths about divine things which of themselves are not beyond human reason can, even in this present condition of the human race, be known by all with facility, firm certainty and with no admixture of error. Nevertheless, it is not for this reason that Revelation is said to be absolutely necessary, but because God in His infinite goodness has ordained man for a supernatural end, to participation, namely, in the divine goods which altogether surpass the understanding of the human mind, since "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love him." Vatican I, Dei Filius, Ch. 2
I love being a theologian. It is great work, great fun, but it is a huge responsibility and frankly it does not always make me popular. I have to hold hard lines sometimes. I have to say difficult things. Things that people do not want to hear. Things that people disagree with, because they do not accept the basic premise that truth exists. But the Church demands that you hold that there are definitive things that can be known that must be held. They are real, not abstract, not sentimentality, not imagination, but real. They are both on the natural plane and of course on the supernatural plane. God has ordered us to a supernatural end. Anthropology matters. The human person is in the image and likeness of God. If we suggest that there is no objective truth, we not only have to live within the erroneous land of the principle of non-contradiction, we also, reject the existence of God, who is truth. An erroneous understanding of God and who He is leads to an erroneous view of our essential nature as human beings. Are you beginning to see how the West ended up where it is today. Heresy and apostasy. Again the First Vatican Council solemnly teaches that there are two orders of KNOWLEDGE:
"The perpetual common belief of the Catholic Church has held and holds also this: there is a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only in its source but also ints object; in its source, because in the one we know by a natural reason, in the other by divine faith; in its object, because apart from what natural reason can attain, there are proposed to our belief mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God." Vatican I, Dei Filius, Ch. 4
What is our faith in if their is no objective truth? Perhaps Vatican I was breeding ground for the fundamentalist sickness? Are there or are there not definitive things that God has revealed for our salvation? It would seem from the list that Pope Francis actually believes that there are. However, he does not seem to think they are the same things that have been revealed and held by the Church traditionally. If that is the case, are we not free to believe whatever we want? Why should I comply with anything the Church does or teaches? If objective truth is not real and I cannot know that truth, why do believe anything or anyone at all? Because Pope Francis says so? Is it true that the Church isn't the fullness of truth because Pope Francis says that it is not? These passages definitively confirm as the Church always has that there is objective content that can be known. The character of which is scientific.
"Sacred doctrine (Catholic Theology) is a science. We must bear in mind that there are two kinds of sciences. There are some which proceed from a principle known by the natural light of intelligence, such as arithmetic and geometry and the like. There are some which proceed from principles known by the light of a higher science: thus the science of perspective proceeds from principles established by geometry, and music from principles established by arithmetic. So it is that sacred doctrine is a science because it proceeds from principles established by the light of a higher science, namely, the science of God and the blessed. Hence, just as the musician accepts on authority the principles taught him by the mathmatician, so sacred science is established on principles revealed by God." St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica
These two sciences need and inform each other. More importantly they inform and elevate the human soul to a participation in the inner trinitarian life. Something that could not be known apart from God's revelation. Does the pope believe that Jesus is God? Does he believe that God dwells within us through sanctifying grace? I should hope so, but, I wonder why he would believe anything at all about God, if there were no objective truth about God. Sentimentality? Nature? The fundamental problem with his continued public carrying on is that it is actually truly harmful to the faithful. It is harmful to his own soul and salvation. It is harmful. The words of the Pope contradict tradition and assert his own ideas (while in a non-magisterial manner) as truth while dismissing it's very existence (non-contradiction). While tradition tells us that revelation is a science. That there are things that can be definitively known. These outbursts are a sickness. They are misleading and they cause confusion among the faithful. There is a pattern here and that pattern does not fit that of orthodoxy. They can in my view no longer be rationally defended by anyone.
We must pray and do penance for Pope Francis. Pray for his conversion to orthodox Catholicism.
Be Holy, Not Worldly!
Pray the Rosary Daily!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us!