Recently, two persons of note – Monsignor Nicola Bux and Cardinal Walter Brandmuller – have suggested that Francis, in light of the current crisis surrounding Amoris Laetitia and the dubia, would do well to make a “profession of faith” similar to that which was made by Pope Paul the Pathetic in 1968.
In a June interview with Edward Pentin of National Catholic Register, Monsignor Bux declared:
We are in a full crisis of faith! Therefore, in order to stop the divisions now in progress, the Pope [Francis] — like Paul VI in 1967 [sic], faced with the erroneous theories that were circulating shortly after the conclusion of the Council — should make a Declaration or Profession of Faith…
More recently, Cardinal Brandmuller, expressed a similar idea in an article written for the German publication Die Neue Ordnung (translation courtesy of Maike Hickson), saying:
In a comparable situation – that is to say, in the confusion concerning the right interpretation of the Second Vatican Council … he [Paul VI] proclaimed with great concern for the truth and the clarity of the Faith … ‘Creed of the People of God.’
Francis, it seems to me, just might be willing to do precisely this, and I do mean precisely.
That is to say, Francis may be perfectly willing to repeat word-for-word the so-called “Credo of the People of God” that was professed by Paul VI on 30 June 1968.
After all, Francis has said concerning himself and his fellow seminarians, who were “formed” (if you will allow) after the Council, “For us, the great light was Paul VI.”
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at Montini’s Credo – a text that, surprisingly, seems to have largely escaped (at least in my reading) the scrutiny and the criticism that it so richly deserves.
Before we do so, let us briefly consider the widely repeated words of Paul VI, spoken nearly four years later in June of 1972, concerning the “smoke of Satan”– words that are often recalled as if to suggest that even he recognized the Council’s diabolical nature.
In truth, the exact opposite is true.
[NOTE: The Holy See website has a secondhand account of this homily, in Italian, with quotes attributed to Paul VI.]
Upon reading the entirety of the Holy See’s report, one will find that Paul VI went on to expound upon the activity of Satan as he perceived of it, saying:
We believe in something preternatural coming into the world [the Devil] precisely to disturb, to suffocate anything of the Ecumenical Council, and to prevent the Church from blossoming in the joy of having regained full consciousness of Herself.
As one can plainly see, Paul VI did not imagine that Vatican II was influenced by Satan; rather, he believed that anything that slowed the spread of the Council’s novelties and its thrust toward endless innovation was demonic!
No wonder Francis (aka “the God of Surprises”) considers him “the great light!”
With this in mind, let us now proceed to the “Credo of the People of God” wherein we find the pope who gave his approbation to each one of the Council documents, Paul VI, prefacing his “profession” by saying, in part:
We shall accordingly make a profession of faith, pronounce a creed which, without being strictly speaking a dogmatic definition, repeats in substance, with some developments called for by the spiritual condition of our time, the creed of Nicea, the creed of the immortal tradition of the holy Church of God.
With some developments called for by the spiritual condition of our time…
Needless to say, those “developments” are of the conciliar kind. Still prefacing his Credo, Paul VI went on to say:
We have wished our profession of faith to be to a high degree complete and explicit, in order that it may respond in a fitting way to the need of light felt by so many faithful souls, and by all those in the world, to whatever spiritual family they belong, who are in search of the Truth.
In this, we see a tip of the papal mitre to the false religions of the world; one of the rottenest fruits of the Council, and one that will reappear in the text of the Credo itself as Paul VI professes:
We give thanks, however, to the divine goodness that very many believers can testify with us before men to the unity of God, even though they know not the mystery of the most holy Trinity. (Credo, art. 9)
This is nothing less than a show of deference to those who plainly reject Jesus Christ; in particular, the Muslims and the Jews.
This, of course, is precisely one of the so-called “developments” that were allegedly “called for by the spiritual condition of our time” at Vatican II.
[NOTE: Paul VI is echoing the sentiments expressed in the conciliar document, Nostra Aetate – Latin for “our time.”]
Under Pontius Pilate He suffered—the Lamb of God bearing on Himself the sins of the world, and He died for us on the cross, saving us by His redeeming blood. (ibid., art. 12)
What would a “profession of faith” from Paul VI be if it failed to comfort Protestants in their error?
Specifically, one might note the convolution between redemption and salvation; one that is well in keeping with the Protestant error that considers Christians “once saved, always saved.”
Is the wording deliberately crafted in such a way, or is it just a moment of sloppiness?
I don’t know, but either way, it fails, and miserably so, to reflect a “great concern for the truth and the clarity of the Faith” that Cardinal Brandmuller suggested.
He ascended to heaven, and He will come again, this time in glory, to judge the living and the dead: each according to his merits—those who have responded to the love and piety of God going to eternal life, those who have refused them to the end going to the fire that is not extinguished. (ibid., art. 12)
In and of itself, this article is defensible. When read in context with the Credo’s treatment concerning what it means to respond to the love of God, however, it is not, as we will see in our examination of article 27.
At this, we come to the Credo’s ecclesiology.
She is the Mystical Body of Christ; at the same time a visible society instituted with hierarchical organs, and a spiritual community; the Church on earth, the pilgrim People of God here below, and the Church filled with heavenly blessings… (ibid., art. 19)
Having read the Credo in its fullness, one will note the absence of any reference whatsoever – either direct or otherwise – to the Church Militant.
In fact, the traditional understanding of the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant is fully usurped in favor of the following as found in the Credo’s final article (no. 30):
We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are attaining their purification, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church.
[NOTE: If anything is as repulsive to the conciliar mind as the Church Militant, it is the Church Triumphant.]
The article continues its description of the Church, calling her:
… the germ and the first fruits of the Kingdom of God, through which the work and the sufferings of Redemption are continued throughout human history, and which looks for its perfect accomplishment beyond time in glory. (ibid.)
The Catholic Church is not merely the “germ” of the Kingdom of God; i.e., that which develops into said Kingdom, rather, she is the Kingdom of God here present.
We encounter a similar line of thought in article 27:
We confess that the Kingdom of God begun here below in the Church of Christ is not of this world whose form is passing…
Bear in mind that to the likes of Paul VI and his conciliar confreres, the “Church of Christ” merely subsists in the Catholic Church. (LG 8)
Be that as it may, the impression given is that the Church on earth is not quite yet the Kingdom of God; rather, the Church herself is evolving.
Furthermore, to refer to the Church as the “first fruits of the Kingdom” (art. 19) is to blur the reality of the Mystical Body of Christ as a society both human (sinful and called to grow in virtue) and divine (resplendent with every perfection).
At this we come to the Credo’s treatment of the Mass, the deficiency of which comes as no surprise given that the author of the text promulgated the Novus Ordo.
Of particular note are his words concerning the priest and his actions as carried out within the Mass.
We believe that the Mass, celebrated by the priest representing the person of Christ by virtue of the power received through the Sacrament of Orders, and offered by him in the name of Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, is the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars. (ibid., art. 24)
The priest does not simply “represent the person of Christ” at Holy Mass; rather, he acts in persona Christi in so profound a way that it is Christ Himself who offers the Holy Sacrifice, which is not merely offered by the priest in the name of Christ as the Credo maintains.
As promised, let us now look more closely at article 27 wherein Paul VI expounds upon “an ever more ardent response to the love of God,” which, according to article 12, will result in one “going to eternal life.”
NB: The following is presented, and appropriately so, in the text of the Credo (which was committed to writing in an Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio) under the heading, “Temporal Concern.”
But it is this same love which induces the Church to concern herself constantly about the true temporal welfare of men. Without ceasing to recall to her children that they have not here a lasting dwelling, she also urges them to contribute, each according to his vocation and his means, to the welfare of their earthly city, to promote justice, peace and brotherhood among men, to give their aid freely to their brothers, especially to the poorest and most unfortunate.
So, reading article 12 in context, we may come to understand the Credo to say that those who “promote justice, peace and brotherhood among men, to give their aid freely to their brothers, especially to the poorest and most unfortunate” are synonymous with those who are “going to eternal life.”
This aptly describes the mission and mindset of post-conciliar Rome in general, and the Bergoglian agenda in particular, does it not?
The text immediately continues:
The deep solicitude of the Church, the Spouse of Christ, for the needs of men, for their joys and hopes, their griefs and efforts, is therefore nothing other than her great desire to be present to them, in order to illuminate them with the light of Christ and to gather them all in Him, their only Savior. This solicitude can never mean that the Church conform herself to the things of this world, or that she lessen the ardor of her expectation of her Lord and of the eternal Kingdom.
Don’t let the reference to the “eternal Kingdom” fool you.
As context in this case aptly demonstrates (to say nothing of the behavior of Paul VI and those who followed him), the “deep solicitude of the Church” as articulated in the Credo entails “temporal concern” first and foremost, with the salvation of souls receiving mere lip service at best.
In conclusion, like all things diabolical, the “Credo of the People of God” as professed by Paul VI is composed of both eternal truths and condemnable lies.
So too is the text of Vatican II that inspired it.
As such, when certain men-of-the-Council – like Monsignor Nicola Bux and Cardinal Walter Brandmuller – presume to suggest that Francis will do well to follow the example of Paul VI vis-à-vis his profession of faith (so-called), as if this will in any way positively impact the present crisis, we can only pray for them and those who are misled by them, that the scales may fall from the eyes of all concerned.