In June 2014, the Pontifical International Theological Commission released a document entitled, Sensus Fidelium in the Life of the Church.
The punchline to the 22,000 word text is as simple as it is predictable; “the magisterium needs means by which to consult the faithful who can be an important factor in the development of doctrine.” (cf Article 74)
In other words, the shepherds must be led by the sheep!
While we reject such modernist notions, there is a supernatural sense by which the faithful are endowed with an ability to distinguish truth from lies; even when those who hold the sacred teaching office are somehow negligent.
St. John, in his First Epistle, described it as follows:
“But you have the unction from the Holy One and know all things. I have not written to you as to them that know not the truth, but as to them that know it: and that no lie is of the truth … These things have I written to you concerning them that seduce you. And as for you, let the unction, which you have received from Him abide in you. And you have no need that any man teach you: but as his unction teacheth you of all things and is truth and is no lie.” (1 John 2:20-21, 26-27)
One cannot but see this evidenced in the considerable number of faithful who just instinctively know that Francis is among the seducers; the content of his teaching often so incompatible with the truth as to be properly understood as a lie.
Even many neo-Catholics are starting to acknowledge an interior urge to tune the man out. Just Google the phrase “Francis fatigue” and you’ll see what I mean.
For my own part, I know a number of Novus Ordo pastors who plainly admit to finding it necessary, if for no other reason than their own sanity and sense of peace, to ignore Francis and his near endless stream of heterodox rhetoric.
Several priests that I know deliberately refrain from mentioning Francis by name in their homilies; much more so do they keep silent about his words and deeds.
This “need to ignore” isn’t just confined to Francis’ off-the-cuff pronouncements and ill-advised media interviews, mind you.
At a recent speaking engagement, I asked a diocesan priest that I met if his parishioners were troubled or confused by Amoris Laetitia. He told me that his flock is largely comprised of simple folk who probably have no idea that the document even exists, and he sure as heck wasn’t about to introduce them to it!
Think about that for a moment…
This is a pastor who recognizes the necessity of safeguarding his flock from the contents of an “Apostolic Exhortation,” so-called!
Is the pope Catholic?
For how long has this question been floated, not just rhetorically in order to make a valid point in a humorous way, but in all seriousness with Francis in mind?
Many of you may recall John Vennari (please keep him and his family in prayer!) writing just 90 days after conclave 2013:
“I would never allow Pope Francis to teach religion to my children.”
Even though he took some heat for that statement at the time, there can be little doubt that many of John’s erstwhile critics concur with his opinion today.
Overall, the number of faithful who recognize Francis as a man that must be avoided appears to have grown exponentially; in particular following the publication of Amoris Laetitia and the multiple unanswered appeals asking him to confirm the true faith.
What exactly is moving so many of the faithful, priests included, to distance themselves and those in their care from Francesco?
The answer, in my view, is plain:
It’s that aforementioned supernatural sense whereby the faithful are endowed with an ability to distinguish truth from lies; the evangelist from the seducer, and it’s moving them in considerable numbers to follow St. Paul’s exhortation:
“Avoid the heretic, after a first and second correction, knowing that such a man is perverted and sins, since he is condemned by his own judgment.” (Tit. 3:10-11)
For the faithful Catholic, a true pope can never be avoided, and yet in the case of Francis, many are being moved to do just that.
What does this tell us?
If nothing else, it seems to suggest that the days when one could say that a moral unanimity of Catholics throughout the world (understood as those who actually know their faith) accept Jorge Bergoglio as pope – the avoidance of whom can never be justified – are numbered if not already past.
But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned. – Titus 3:9-11; RSV
Cards on the table, I’m a NO Catholic principally because there is no TLM offered within a 170 mile round trip from where I live.
I was very sceptical of the comments starting in mid-2013 concerning Pope Francis. I assumed then that despite Francis having a different presentation style, that the content of what he was going say as Pope would conform to his predecessors (and yes, I know that many here have difficulty with some of the content of what various post-Vatican II predecessors of Francis said at various times).
Slowly, I came realise that perhaps there was some veracity to the charge that Francis is a heretic. We all know the chronology and the context of comments and teachings which Francis espouses from waffling on about the environment, to meeting and praising communists, to placing footballs on altars etc. My difficulty at that point was trying to reconcile how God could allow a heretic occupy the seat of St.Peter. I can’t understand why this situation has been permitted to arise. I have no choice but to hope that a greater good will emerge from the wreckage of this papacy.
AMORIS LAETITIA is the attempt by this Pope to bring this battle of apostasy right in to the very heart of the mystical body of the Church. Francis is taking direct aim at the commandments communicated by God the Father to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is a measure of how emboldened he feels that he is prepared to do this. How prideful he must feel to openly try to defy God. I never ever contemplating seeing a situation where the Pope would not only be indifferent but would openly advocate for apostasy.
We are in truly extraordinary times. It is such extraordinary times that even protestants such as Doug Hagmann on his radio show is questioning the authenticity of Pope Francis. That’s how bad things are that even protestants can see the problem as it is right now.
In the meantime but for a few prelates, the majority of the college of cardinals and the international episcopy remain schtum. Are they so enfeebled? Are they indifferent? Either way they are now part of the problem. As is Benedict.
I take the point that the vast majority of Catholics are probably not even aware of AMORIS LAETITIA and what it advocates. Does Francis really think that an adulterous Catholic would give two figs about the church permitting them to accept Holy Communion? I don’t think they would. So why is Francis seeking to accommodate these people? He’s doing it to antagonise and to belittle those who do retain the faith and who do try to adhere to the rules that applied for the majority of 1,900 years past.
As we say here in Ireland Francis is trying to rub our noses in it. “Look, I’m going to change the rules and you’re just going to have to live with it, especially if you disagree with me” That is the game that he is playing.
Ultimately, God will not be mocked.
Smart folks are treating Francis as anathema. He is de facto being treated as if he were not pope by many Catholics. Let the theolgians argue the nuance. It seems the faithful (whats left of us) have recognized that he is no longer acting like a pope so we are no longer treating him as one.
All of this beautifully turns around the dogma of papal infallibility. Rightly asserting the Pope’s charism of defining the truth, does it not also assert the truth’s charism of defining the Pope?
Excellent post. My feelings exactly. BTW, I love Ireland! I hope to get there someday.
The Bible has the answer. The second beast of Revelation 13 who prepares the way for the antichrist.
Either Francis is the false prophet or one who will point to him. Sister Lucy did say that the 3rd secret of Fatima is found in Apoc chapters 8-13