Saturday, September 10, 2016

KIKO'S DEFORMED VISION, PT 5/6: THE FRANCIS PROBLEM

(Posted by Glaucon Jr)

[NOTE: Because of the very serious nature of the subject matter, I’ve extended this from being Part 5 to Parts 5&6. This is done to make it not so overwhelming as well as to make sure I’m not misunderstood and accused on heresy or schism. Any errors or misstatements in this or any article on adintrad.blogspot.com is my own fault and in no way a reflection of the opinions on JungleWatch.]


This is the part of the series on the Kiko’s theology that I have dreaded having to write. It’s subject to being confusing or seeming to contradict Magisterium in some way. Anyone who knows me or has read what I post knows that I am always aware of this, and when there’s any hint of “tension,” I’ll always err on the side of “Well, the Church has spoken…”

So here’s the problem: we have clearly demonstrated that there are profound problems in Kiko’s theology, and this flows out into everything the NCW touches. Yet, Rome still seems to tolerate it, if not give the impression of welcoming it. How is this possible? Is Rome tolerating heresy, or has Catholic theology changed such that the Magisterium now reverses itself?*1





THE “PROBLEM” OF MAGISTERIUM

Magisterium—the Church’s teaching authority given it by Christ—has a clear purpose: “to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections, and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the True Faith without error” (CCC 890). Obviously, then, Magisterium is there to make sure we don’t go off the rails theologically, morally, or disciplinarily.  It is aimed at making sure we “abide in the truth that liberates.”

Inextricably linked to Magisterium is Papal infallibility, whereby in matters of faith and morals, the Pope is guaranteed to not be in error. This is so in particular when the Pope “proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith and morals” (CCC 891). But even without a solemn proclamation, Lumen Gentium 25 makes clear that Papal pronouncements “need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment.”

That creates a problem for us. Francis makes statements. Alot of statements. Which are pronouncements, and which are "just cuz" remarks? Unlike all other previous popes, Pope Francis is famous for making all sorts of statements that do pertain to faith and morals, but without the desire for clarity; in an era of ubiquitous microphones and worldwide propagation in seconds, that leaves no room for error. And yet he persists in off-the-cuff statements that confuse both liberals and conservatives, and the acceptance of them is cluttered with everything from vagueness at best to what appears to be heresy at worst.

In other words, if the Pope is infallible in matters of faith and moral, how can he be making statements about faith and morals that are so demonstrably contrary to prior infallible statements? Even if they aren't wrong but instead just goofy, these statements are exploited by everyone from NCR and CNN to billionaire George Soros and Kiko Arguello.

For anyone who’s been paying attention for longer than a couple of years, it’s heartbreaking that we have to try so hard to defend the orthodoxy of the Holy Father. Sometimes it’s maddening. Here are 8 quick examples of what I mean (italics are mine):

  • 7/9/15 , in Bolivia, on Our Lord’s Feeding of the 5000 wasn’t a physical miracle but instead was when everyone shared their food: “This is how the miracle takes place. It is not magic or sorcery. … Jesus managed to generate a current among his followers: they all went on sharing what was their own, turning it into a gift for the others; and that is how they all got to eat their fill. Incredibly, food was left over: they collected it in seven baskets.”
  • 10/1/13La Repubblica interview with Eugenio Scalfari on a very restricted view of proclaiming the Gospel: "Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good…Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good."
  • 10/1/13La Repubblica interview with Eugenio Scalfari on the reducing on Divine Love to human love: “The Son of God became incarnate in order to instill the feeling of brotherhood in the souls of men. All are brothers and all children of God. Abba, as he called the Father. I will show you the way, he said. Follow me and you will find the Father and you will all be his children and he will take delight in you. Agape, the love of each one of us for the other, from the closest to the furthest, is in fact the only way that Jesus has given us to find the way of salvation and of the Beatitudes." [NOTE: there is WAY too much wrong here to explain in this blog post]
  • 1/19/15, in-flight interview on CNA on how the Catholic living of “be fruitful and multiply” is really the sin of presumption: “This doesn't mean that the Christian must make children in series...I reproached a woman some months ago in a parish because she was pregnant with her eighth child, after having had seven C-sections. But does she want to leave the seven as orphans? This is to tempt God. I speak of responsible paternity. This is the way, a responsible paternity.”
  • Amoris Latitiae 297, on opening the question on whether there is damnation or hell: “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! I am not speaking only of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves.”
  • 6/26/16, in-flight interview on CNA on reversing the dogmatic teaching of the  Council of Trent: “I think that the intentions of Martin Luther were not mistaken. He was a reformer. Perhaps some methods were not correct…There was corruption in the Church, there was worldliness, attachment to money, to power...and this he protested. Then he was intelligent and took some steps forward justifying, and because he did this. And today Lutherans and Catholics, Protestants, all of us agree on the doctrine of justificationOn this point, which is very important, he did not err.”
  • 6/16/16 Pastoral Congress of Rome, on how most sacramental marriages aren't valid: “[The worldview] is provisional, and because of this the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null. Because they say “yes, for the rest of my life!” but they don’t know what they are saying. Because they have a different culture. They say it, they have good will, but they don’t know.”
  • 6/16/16 Pastoral Congress of Rome, on justification for those who cohabitate continue to do so:  “They prefer to cohabitate, and this is a challenge, a task. Not to ask ‘why don’t you marry?’ No, to accompany, to wait, and to help them to mature, help fidelity to mature. I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity”


Now in these examples—taken in context and in light of the whole Tradition--they sort of make sense, which is to say, I understand what the Pope is driving at. He has a flair for the dramatic, for over-statement. But taken in isolation, they are devastating. In fact, they are SO devastating that there’s a whole cottage industry built up around “interpreting” Pope Francis. That any pope in making statements about faith and morals needs an interpreter of his intended teaching is utterly unheard of. And this, as much as anything else, needs clarity if we are at all to take the Holy Father seriously as the Vicar of Christ while he is at the same time reversing what the Church has always taught Magisterially. It creates a situation where an ordinary Catholic may be compelled to disagree with the Pope in order to hold to the Magisterium--which is self-contradictory. And in this sort of confusion, obedience somehow becomes disobedience, and there are eternal consequences. 

Yeah, there's a lot at stake.


FRANCIS THE PASTOR

There’s an old saying among the Italian clergy: every priest sees himself as either a theologian, a liturgist, or a pastor. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have all of these qualities in some way, but rather that they have a particular focus that defines who they are and colors the other two.

To my mind, Archbishop Apuron clearly thinks of himself as a liturgist. I say this because he truly does enjoy singing the Mass parts, as well as some of the remnants of the “high mass,” such as the white vestments he uses for daily wear and standardized use of the old form for the blessing of the faithful. He releases his CDs and mandated that they be played often on the radio. He wore his white vestments even when taking seminarians (as in 20 of them) in Agana (in all my years I’ve only known him to not wear the whites once per year, and that was at St Francis fiesta when he dusts off his Capuchin habit). If you will, I’d say he loves the theatrical part of liturgy, and the liturgy truly is theatrical in its way.

In other words, what others might think of as “trappings” or “accoutrement,” he views as his link with apostolicity. This is not a slap at him at all, just a recognition of how (I think) he sees himself.  For him, his theology and his pastoral flow from the liturgy, and we see this especially clear in his devotion to the Liturgy as celebrated by NCW—this has colored everything else in his reign on Guam.

On the other side is Pope Benedict XVI, aka Joseph Ratzinger, who is to my mind the greatest “theologian-Pope” since ever since (not ever, but definitely in a while). His razor-sharp intellect could penetrate through the murkiest of texts, and he was and is able to makes connections and draw conclusions that are missed by most other readers. A theologian’s theologian.  Benedict is of course a lover of the liturgy, particularly the Extraordinary Rite, and he worked to be pastoral. But his real heart is in theology, and the pastoral and liturgical facets of him flow from the theological.

Then there’s Pope Francis. He is, heart and soul, a pastor. Care of the flock as a whole isn’t his primary concern; it’s his only concern, even to the detriment of theology, if need be.

That sounds like a strange thing to say, but as the Holy Father himself shows, he thinks very little of those who seek clarity in thought and word about doctrine as he regularly shows contempt for theologians. Instead, he says, because “life is greater than explanations and interpretations,” the Christian faith is somewhat same-same regardless of denomination, of which (to him) Catholicism is only one among very many. Hence, if doctrinal issues are a problem, then solve them by substituting pastoral practice in their stead (e.g Lutherans can receive the Eucharist if their conscience permits; likewise, most Catholic marriages aren’t valid but many second marriages outside the Faith are; and so on). In other words, Francis’ pastoral takes absolute primacy.

But if the Pope is the ultimate safeguard for doctrine, and he's infallible, how can he do that? Well, he can't--not without exposing us all to terrible consequences. But he's the Holy Father, and God has appointed him and leads him by the Holy Spirit. How can anyone synch this up?

Well, CDF head Gerhard Cardinal Muller says, the Holy Father isn’t a professional theologian, but rather one whose theology “has been formed by his experienced in the field of pastoral care,” which has in turn been formed by his South American outlook, which is itself distinctly different from other areas of the world. That’s all well and good, but it sound a lot like "do whatever you want as pope or bishop or laymen, just so long as it spiritually feels good." The only good news here: reports show that Pope Francis fully trusts Cardinal Muller, who in his position is there to make sure the Church remains faithful to the Tradition, and therefore by implication relies on him for actual Papal pronouncements, which are by definition different from off-the-cuff remarks. 

But even that last sentence would be dismissed because it’s about explanation and interpretation. Therein lies the problem. It’s like a woman I know (not in the NCW, btw) said very recently, “Why can’t you get past the doctrine, and just let people love? We don’t need all this dogma when it’s all about love! You're letting religion get in the way of Jesus.”

My answer is that even the statement “Jesus is Lord” is a doctrinal statement, as is the statement "God is Love." The teaching authority of the Church—its Magisterium—is precisely the authority to teach doctrine and say what these two statements truly mean. Unfortunately, Pope Francis has a very different notion (compared to the last 200 years) of what that Magisterium means on a day-to-day basis.

And more to the point, and with all respect to Cardinal Muller's defense of the Pope, since when is doctrinal clarity opposed to charity? When in all of the Gospels did Christ reduce the Gospel to "love of neighbor?" The last time I checked, the Sermon on the Mount's opening chapter is very specific about anger, lust, adultery, oath-taking, and so on; and all of these follow the Lord's admonition, when He says of those who dispense with the Commandments, "Whoever then relaxes the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven."

And yet the Holy Father isn't saying that either. In fact, he's all over the place. And whether you or I or the media or Elton John or whoever thinks so or not, all of this talk and media flair have created a condition where those who are not as noble in intention as Pope Francis have been allowed as wolves to mingle with the sheep without even bothering to wear their fake sheep's clothing.

(TO BE CONCLUDED IN PART 6)





*1 [NOTE: Of course, there’s the third possibility is that I don’t know what I’m talking about. However, given that I’ve discussed my notes and the substance of my text with a very orthodox priest as well as a professional theologian who is very well regarded, I think I’m pretty safe.]






18 comments:

  1. This is why I have continued to say DO NOT LOOK TO ROME. I believe the Holy Spirit has permitted all this to happen at this particular time so that we the laity will finally grow up.

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  2. Thank you for the excellent insights and the series as a whole. We have a lot to learn. This can be part of the "re-construction" process as our local issues are resolved and we move forward. We can then begin to issue an "Invitation to Truth" around the island. (Note: This should be done during the parish announcements, not during or immediately after the homily.)

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  3. Brilliant piece!

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  4. Thank You for your perspective on the topic of the magisterial, I dare say that although it is the Holy Spirit that chooses these men to the sacredotal office, they still have the free will to respond to or against the call, and as human beings many times are motivated by desires for things of this world, and unless guided by a life of prayers, fall to the weakness of human desires, forgoing the things of God. In short, some of these prelate are more concerned about power and prestigious standing, in lieu of their call to be caretakers of souls.

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  5. Dear Glaucon,

    Once again thank you for your thoughts.

    You ask above: "When in all of the Gospels did Christ reduce the Gospel to 'love of neighbor'"? Nowhere. However, He did reduce the Gospel message of life ("I came to bring them life, that they have it more abundantly") to love when he had a lawyer answer his own question about what he must do to inherit everlasting life: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." Jesus commends this answer.

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    Replies
    1. The inclusion of "love the Lord your God" means the Gospel isn't reduced to "love of neighbor" simply. My point exactly.

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  6. Dear Glaucon,

    One more comment, if I may. You struggle with this pope: "Unfortunately, Pope Francis has a very different notion (compared to the last 200 years) of what that Magisterium means on a day-to-day basis." You write further: ..."God has appointed him and leads him by the Holy Spirit." My question: How close are you to saying, "Unfortunately, God has appointed him and unfortunately leads him by the Holy Spirit"?

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    1. Well, given that Pope Francis has reversed clear dogmatic teaching, I'd say we have a problem, yes? Out of all that was in the post, I'm surprised that was your take-away. Your question somehow takes on the mode of "strain the gnat but swallow the camel," if you will.

      That's the thing about infallibility: all you need is one example of fallibility in dogmatic matters, and everything is turned on its head. Not good.

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    2. Do not be surprised at Guile's inanity. "An idle mind..."

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    3. If loving one's neighbor is a part of doctrine, and the Junglewatch is a doctrinal watchdog, then why are some contributors to this blog belittled? Is belittling another a part of doctrine? If so, then how do loving a neighbor and belittling a neighbor go together?

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    4. Oh, poor child. Now, look Glaucon, we hurt his feelings. Ummm, Tim, you are NOT a "contributor" to the blog. You are a deceiver. So we belittle you.

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  7. Timothy,
    David was a man after God's heart, yet he manifested human weakness. Judas was personally chosen by Christ, however betrayed the Lord, and in despair took his life, the bishop's and popes were chosen by the Holy Spirit, however their wills are still free to work with the Holy Spirit, or to carry out their desires. Unfortunately there have been some popes and bishop's who have chosen to follow their desires.

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  8. Actually, the Holy Spirit does NOT appoint the pope. The pope himself said so:

    Pope Benedict XVI frankly acknowledged the fact that cardinals can elect sub-optimal popes in an interview with German television back in 1997.

    When asked whether the Holy Spirit is responsible for the election of a pope, he said:

    I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. . . . I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit's role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

    He continued:

    There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

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    1. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/the-next-pope-will-be-gods-choice-.-.-.-right

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    2. I believe Glaucon stated that the Holy Spirit appoints the pope rhetorically, since he goes on to show how how Francis doesn't "sync." We've had many bad popes. Fortunately they were to busy sinning to teach error. Francis appears to be making time for it. Fortunately (for him) his apparent referrals of dogma are not official, otherwise he'd be struck dead.

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  9. Exactly. My intention was to point out certain assumptions about Magisterium and infallibility. Most of these comments made by Francis are unplanned remarks, and because of that, he's certainly liable to being wrong.

    That said, it's this very penchant he has for making remarks that gives NCW apologists material to justify whatever nuttiness they can. They selectively quote, and usually out of context. Combined with Francis-speak, it makes our job a bit tougher.

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    1. Actually it makes our job damn near impossible...but then "nothing is impossible with God. " :)

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  10. Great piece Glaucon. Keep Guille out of the jungle, he's a bore. He's infatuated with Glaucon's writings.
    Many Pope's were obviously not the choice of the Holy Spirit, but the choice of the Cardinals who are human and flawed.
    I agree with Tim, this is a test of FAITH, for the Laity and the clergy, "separating the wheat from the chaff".

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