Louie Verrecchio
Is Pope Francis a modernist?
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By Louie Verrecchio
September 26, 2013

I have little doubt that the title to this column pretty much guarantees that the majority of Cotton Candy Catholics won't even bother to read it. You see, for those who prefer to dwell in that fairy tale version of Catholicland wherein nary a crisis endures, the question alone is as welcome as a serial killer in a children's bedtime story.

Even so, it is an important and eminently fair question for well-grounded Catholics to ask nonetheless.

It does, however, raise yet another crucially important question, to whom shall we turn for an answer?

I can think of no more qualified authority than Pope St. Pius X and his magnificent Encyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis.

We'll begin with a look at the more "modernistic" public statements and acts of Pope Francis, and then from there we will measure them against the timeless wisdom of Pope St. Pius X.

While there are any number of topics I could have examined in this effort, I've chosen to consider what is perhaps the most basic of all; namely, Pope Francis' treatment of religion in general.

On the first full day of his papacy, the Holy Father raised a very large red flag during his audience with some 6,000 journalists and their families in Paul VI Hall, at the conclusion of which he deliberately chose to refrain from offering his Apostolic Blessing by making the sign of the Cross over the attendees while invoking the Blessed Trinity.

Why?

In the pope's own words, it was "out of respect for the consciences" of non-Catholics.

With this being the case, no one should have been surprised when during his first Apostolic visit outside of Rome (to Lampedusa) the Holy Father extended his best wishes to Muslims about to begin Ramadan, an observance prescribed in the Qur'an to "magnify" the false god, Allah, telling them, "I trust it will bear abundant spiritual fruit."

More recently, on August 7th, Pope Francis offered this gem as reported by CNS:
    "Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic? No, no, no! Go out and meet him, he is your brother. This is enough. Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest."
On September 10th, at the Jesuit refugee service in Rome, Pope Francis said to the diverse gathering of assorted heathens and heretics:
    Each of you, dear friends, carries a life story that speaks of drama and war, of conflict, often linked to international politics. But each of you carry above all a richness of humanity and religion, a richness to be welcomed, not feared. Many of you are Muslims, of other religions, and have come from different countries, from different situations. We must not be afraid of the differences! Fraternity makes us discover that they are a treasure, a gift for everyone! We live in fraternity! (The original text is available in Italian on the Holy See's website.)
Let's recap:
  • From his very first day as Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis demonstrated that he is at great pains to avoid in any way offending the practitioners of the world's many false religions, as if their version of "truth" is as of much dignity before the Lord as that which He entrusted to His Church.

  • In addressing Muslims, who practice a faith that worships a false god and plainly rejects Our Lord Jesus Christ, Pope Francis encouraged them to persist in their error, and even went so far as to suggest that such would be blessed by the Lord whom he represents as Vicar.

  • Pope Francis has made clear his belief that there is no need to call others to convert to the one true faith as it exists in the Holy Catholic Church alone.

  • Pope Francis maintains that religious diversity, with all of its contradictory and irreconcilable doctrines, is a gift to be celebrated. Though he stopped short of explicitly proclaiming from whence such "gifts" are bestowed, one can only presume that he imagines that these false religions spring from God Himself!
Fortunately, even though Pope St. Pius X is a blessed member of the Church Triumphant, still he is able to evaluate and comment upon this situation through the timeless wisdom imparted in Pascendi Dominici Gregis.

Following is but a small sampling of what this great Pontiff, whose papacy was dedicated to "restoring all things in Christ," has to say:
    And with what right will Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam? With what right can they claim true experiences for Catholics alone? Indeed Modernists do not deny but actually admit, some confusedly, others in the most open manner, that all religions are true. That they cannot feel otherwise is clear. For on what ground, according to their theories, could falsity be predicated of any religion whatsoever? ... For they heap such praise and bestow such public honour on the teachers of these errors [false religions] as to give rise to the belief that their admiration is not meant merely for the persons, who are perhaps not devoid of a certain merit, but rather for the errors which these persons openly profess and which they do all in their power to propagate.
So, back to our question: Is Pope Francis a modernist?

The answer, not according to me, but to Pope St. Pius X, is yes.

Now, while Pascendi states very well that modernism is "the synthesis of all heresies," it is necessary to distinguish between material heresy and formal heresy.

Material heresy concerns those who espouse, in ignorance, heretical propositions. Formal heresy concerns those who, though aware of what must be believed, deliberately and with full knowledge openly deny said truths.

Identifying the latter constitutes a subjective judgment; the former, simple observation of objective realities.

For our part, we must content ourselves with the objective; in the present case, the only conclusion that one can reasonably draw is that Pope Francis is indeed a modernist.

So, what shall we, members of the Household of God, do with this knowledge?

Well, on an individual basis, I suppose that all depends on how "grown up" one is in the Faith.

The little ones, who are not yet prepared for solid food, haven't the wherewithal to even recognize that a problem exists. Others, who are somewhat more mature in the Faith, are so taken with the false idea that Daddy can never be wrong, that they will rush to defend him at every turn, regardless of how outrageous his behavior might be. Still others in the household are informed enough to see the problem, but are too weak to confront it, choosing instead to profess to "keeping their eye on the prize," essentially sticking their fingers in their ears and humming "Amazing Grace" in the hope that it will all just goes away.

The smallest number of those among us, however, will look without fear at the bitter reality that papa is drunk on modernism, and his reckless behavior is so dangerous that it threatens not only those who dwell within the Household of God, but even those who wander in darkness beyond its walls.

Among those well-grounded Catholics who choose to live with eyes opened wide, a relative few intrepid souls will do everything in their power to warn the others of the terrible danger that lurks in our midst, taking bullets and arrows and all manner of artillery from adversaries both within and without, all for having the temerity to proclaim the immutable truths of the Faith that alone can assure our salvation.

It's a thankless job, this, but someone has to do it.

© Louie Verrecchio

 

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Louie Verrecchio

Louie Verrecchio is the author of several titles including the "Traditio Faith Formation Series" and "Was john Courtney Murray Right?" A columnist for Catholic News Agency from 2009–2013, his writing on a wide variety of Catholic topics has been published by media outlets all over the English speaking world. He has been the featured speaker at traditional Catholic conferences throughout the United States hosted by the Society of St. Pius X, the Fatima Center, Catholic Family News and others. He is one of traditional Catholicism's most widely-read bloggers. For more information, please visit: www.akaCatholic.com

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