My first impression of Evangelii Gaudium was that it demonstrates once more the Holy Father’s fascination with novelty; that tendency among modernists of which Pope St. Pius X solemnly warned in Pascendi.
In this post, I’d like to take a closer look at this theme, with quotes from the exhortation offered below in boldface.
In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.
On the one hand, Pope Francis is pointing to the same “old” path upon which the Church has been stumbling for the last fifty years; the pathway of dialogue with the world whereupon the call to conversion to the one true faith is strictly verboten.
On the other hand, all indications are that we are being prepared for real changes to come as well; changes that one imagines may well shake the faith of many, but more on that in future posts.
If nothing else, Pope Francis is consistent. For some time now he has spoken of a need to embrace the new; even going so far as to suggest that the faithful do well to favor uncertainty in matters religious, as though such were a virtue.
Also by way of consistency, or perhaps better stated, predictability, even as he lauds novelty while preparing the rank and file for still more, the Holy Father cannot help but take aim at faithful Catholics (or “traditionalists” if you prefer) along the way. Evangelii Gaudium is no different, but this too will be the subject of a separate post.
Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world. Every form of authentic evangelization is always “new”.
Notice that “newness” is being presented here after the manner of the conciliar progressives, who in the process of chipping away at tradition, did so under the banner of ressourcement, deftly convincing the naïve that theirs was but a quest for Christian purity. (Sound protestant? It should.)
As an aside, I am reminded here of Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga’s insistence upon returning to “the original priesthood of Jesus,” as if Our Blessed Lord had failed to rise from the dead to reign in glory.
In every activity of evangelization, the primacy always belongs to God, who has called us to cooperate with him and who leads us on by the power of his Spirit. The real newness is the newness which God himself mysteriously brings about and inspires, provokes, guides and accompanies in a thousand ways.
Pay close attention! The Holy Father, again predictably, is attempting to convince us (as he himself appears to be convinced) that all of this magnificent “newness” is not the fruit of mere human beings; no, it is a gift from God Himself who is leading His Church to depart from the sure path traveled by the Saints over the course of nearly two thousand years!
This comes as little surprise from a pope who attributes to the content of Vatican II, without distinction, the voice of the Holy Ghost.
Nor should we see the newness of this mission as entailing a kind of displacement or forgetfulness of the living history which surrounds us and carries us forward. Memory is a dimension of our faith which we might call “deuteronomic”, not unlike the memory of Israel itself.
Note the subtlety! The Holy Father is urging us to think of tradition not so much as the bedrock of doctrinal certainty that it is (and who can forget his harsh words for those who might dare to seek such certainty), but as little more than a fond memory.
Does the Holy Father really mean to suggest that Catholics in our day must shed their attachment to tradition just as the People Israel were called to leave behind the idolatrous ways of their erstwhile Egyptian masters? One is hard pressed to understand his words otherwise.
In any event, if as yet it had not abundantly clear, the Holy Father, in speaking of “the newness of this mission” is indicating that the “new path” of which he speaks refers to nothing less than a departure from the “old” mission, this being the one that Jesus gave to His Church:
“Go ye therefore to all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them everything whatsoever that I have commanded.”
Indeed, one finds in Evangelii Gaudium many indications that the mission of the Church as this pope envisions it is very different than the one given by Christ.
Consider, for example:
He sends his Spirit into our hearts to make us his children, transforming us and enabling us to respond to his love by our lives.
Bear in mind, this quote hasn’t been lifted from a secular newspaper, and it causes one to wonder why, the pope of all people, feels the need to avoid plainly stating one of the most basic tenets of our faith; namely, that God “makes us His children” through Baptism?
One answer immediately comes to mind, his affection for the People well defined as having rejected Jesus Christ; the Jews. The Holy Father, it seems to me, is using the language of Jeremiah 31:31-34, quite deliberately.
Whatever the motivation may be, one thing is certain, in sidestepping Baptism one is necessarily avoiding the Great Commission.
Here I have chosen to present some guidelines which can encourage and guide the whole Church in a new phase of evangelization, one marked by enthusiasm and vitality.
Indeed, this “new phase” is one in which calling out to those in darkness to enter the one true Church through the waters of Baptism will no longer do; rather:
We are called to bear witness to a constantly new way of living together in fidelity to the Gospel.
From where does the impetus toward newness come? As stated, we are being urged by the pope to understand that the driving force is God Himself, and yet, the attentive reader of Evangelii Gaudium will have noticed that the pope, in a moment of candor, appears to give us a glimpse at the true source of this quest for novelty. It is, of course, humankind:
Young people call us to renewed and expansive hope, for they represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future, lest we cling to a nostalgia for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world.
If what we have examined thus far is not disturbing enough, the Holy Father seems to come uncomfortably close to professing the belief that Divine Revelation is continuing!
In the Christian customs of an evangelized people, the Holy Spirit adorns the Church, showing her new aspects of revelation and giving her a new face.
Having already been instructed by Fr. Federico Lombardi that we are witnessing in Pope Francis “a new genre of papal speech that’s deliberately informal and not concerned with precision,” perhaps he really means to say that the Holy Spirit is granting us a deeper understanding of that which has already been revealed.
God knows, and perhaps so will we in time.
At this, I will conclude by saying that the sage advice of Pope St. Pius X below is more needed today than ever:
We decree, therefore, that in every diocese a council of this kind, which We are pleased to name “the Council of Vigilance,” be instituted without delay … They shall watch most carefully for every trace and sign of Modernism both in publications and in teaching, and, to preserve from it the clergy and the young, they shall take all prudent, prompt and efficacious measures. Let them combat novelties of words remembering the admonitions of Leo XIII. (Instruct. S.C. NN. EE. EE., 27 Jan., 1902): It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications of a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilisation. (Pascendi 55)
Of course, Francis has previously appealed to the words of St. Vincent of Lerins to support his “program”, if I may call it that.
The following is from Francis’ Interview for “Civilta Cattolica” (emphases added):
“I ask Pope Francis about the enormous changes occurring in society and the way human beings are reinterpreting themselves. At this point he gets up and goes to get the breviary from his desk. It is in Latin, now worn from use. He…reads me a passage from the Commonitorium Primum of St Vincent of Lerins: ‘Even the dogma of the Christian religion must follow these laws, consolidating over the years, developing over time, deepening with age'”.
At this point it is worth completing the quote from St. Vincent (Commonitorium, Chapter 23 [para. 56]):
“In like manner, it behooves Christian doctrine to follow the same laws of progress, so as to be consolidated by years, enlarged by time, refined by age, and yet, withal, to continue uncorrupt and unadulterate, complete and perfect in all the measurement of its parts, and, so to speak, in all its proper members and senses, admitting no change, no waste of its distinctive property, no variation in its limits“.
The Civilta interview continues:
“The pope comments: ‘St Vincent of Lerins makes a comparison between the biological development of man and the transmission from one era to another of the deposit of faith, which grows and is strengthened with time. Here, human self-understanding changes with time and so also human consciousness deepens. Let us think of when slavery was accepted or the death penalty was allowed without any problem. So we grow in the understanding of the truth. Exegetes and theologians help the church to mature in her own judgment. Even the other sciences and their development help the church in its growth in understanding. There are ecclesiastical rules and precepts that were once effective, but now they have lost value or meaning. The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong‘.
I will conclude this post with two more quotes from St. Vincent’s Commonitorium which, ironically, may help to stiffen the resolve of those left troubled by this pontificate:
1) From Chapter 20:
“[48.] The Notes of a true Catholic.
This being the case, he is the true and genuine Catholic who loves the truth of God, who loves the Church, who loves the Body of Christ, who esteems divine religion and the Catholic Faith above every thing, above the authority, above the regard, above the genius, above the eloquence, above the philosophy, of every man whatsoever; who sets light by all of these, and continuing steadfast and established in the faith, resolves that he will believe that, and that only, which he is sure the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient time; but that whatsoever new and unheard-of doctrine he shall find to have been furtively introduced by some one or another, besides that of all, or contrary to that of all the saints, this, he will understand, does not pertain to religion, but is permitted as a trial, being instructed especially by the words of the blessed Apostle Paul, who writes thus in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, ‘There must needs be heresies, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you:’ (1 Corinthians 2:9) as though he should say, This is the reason why the authors of Heresies are not immediately rooted up by God, namely, that they who are approved may be made manifest; that is, that it may be apparent of each individual, how tenacious and faithful and steadfast he is in his love of the Catholic faith“.
2) And finally, from Chapter 10:
“[28.] And assuredly it is a great trial when one whom you believe to be a prophet, a disciple of prophets, a doctor and defender of the truth, whom you have folded to your breast with the utmost veneration and love, when such a one of a sudden secretly and furtively brings in noxious errors, which you can neither quickly detect, being held by the prestige of former authority, nor lightly think it right to condemn, being prevented by affection for your old master”.
The citation of St. Paul above should read: 1 Corinthians 11:19.
We really have a bizarre situation. The Pope is leading us out to Evangelise, while the Church is on the verge of another major schism and resembles a casualty station with the walking wounded still fighting amongst themselves.
I wish he would simply look over his shoulder
Lord have Mercy!
Just read the headline of the post and my comment is as follows:
What we need is the Council of Econe.
“even as he lauds novelty while preparing the rank and file for still more, the Holy Father cannot help but take aim at faithful Catholics (or “traditionalists” if you prefer) along the way. Evangelii Gaudium is no different, but this too will be the subject of a separate post.”
It seems as if everyone is the object of mercy and acceptance, all are to be embraced–Protestant, Jew, Non-Christian, Atheist, Homosexual– all, that is, except those “self-absorbed promethean neopelagians” who “possess an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige.” In other words, traditional Catholics. We look forward to your post on this disturbing trend.
Fr Z: “I, like Joseph Card. Ratzinger before me, don’t believe that the Holy Spirit chooses Popes. I do believe that the Holy Spirit prevents the elevation of a man who would be a total disaster for the Church. As Catholics, we know that one of the marks of the Church is her indefectibility. No attack on the Church, from within or without, will completely bring her down. There is no guarantee from the Lord that Hell and hellish minions won’t bring down the Church in certain places, but the Church is indefectible.”
Fr Jeremy Davis – exorcist. ‘We must give the devil no ground.’ Not an inch, nothing. And those who would, serve the devil, who hates those who serve him all the same. the only payoff, then, is mortal pride – the pride of eternal death.
“The Holy Father is urging us to think of tradition not so much as the bedrock of doctrinal certainty that it is (and who can forget his harsh words for those who might dare to seek such certainty), but as little more than a fond memory.” *
Their aim is to replace the New Covenant with the New Evangelisation. Perhaps they really do believe that the Covenant wrought in the Blood of Christ is ‘old wine’. If so, this is a diabolically defective papacy.
I’m sorry, but it is time to face the music….THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES. No matter how we try to comfort and convince ourselves into thinking His Holiness is only being misunderstood, misquoted or mis-advised, we are only deluding ourselves and succumbing to the ostrich-like “head in the sand” syndrome that blinds and disables us, at a time when we need to be at our most alert and discerning.
Pope Francis is SAYING and DOING exactly what he believes, and he knows full well the consequences of his words and actions. He is The Vicar of Christ on Earth and every word and deed that emanates from him has immense power and influence, and profoundly impacts not only the Universal Church, but the entire world…AND HE KNOWS IT. His statements and actions are cunningly deliberate and he intends the response which occurs as a result of what he says and does at any given time. It is a part of his strategy to revolutionize the Church, to dismantle its hierocratical authority, and to overturn its teachings, without actually OFFICIALLY changing or voiding established Doctrine. AND IT IS PAST TIME THAT WE UNDERSTAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE THIS UNDENIABLE AND IRREFUTABLE FACT.
Although many of us have been in great denial regarding this fact, we must now come to realize and accept that the Holy Father is a Modernist Pope and his reign will be a very liberal and destructive one. He has now made that blazingly clear for all the world to see…as if he had not been doing so since the first hour of his papacy following his election, when he refused the papal mozzetta and referred to himself simply as the “Bishop of Rome” and not the Supreme Pontiff of Holy Mother Church…right up until this very moment. To say nothing of his ruthless and unwarranted suppression of the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate, and his unmitigated and unrelenting attacks on Traditional and Conservative Catholics who devoutly uphold and defend the Faith as it has been preached and practiced for centuries.
In just these few months he has markedly eroded the awesome and mystical majesty of the Throne of Saint Peter and damaged the great teaching authority of the papal office with undoctrinal statements and concepts such as “who am I to judge” and “unconverted atheists can go to heaven” and “a good conscience is all you need for salvation” and “stop obsessing over issues of morality” and “proselytizing is not necessary” and other such insane, semi-heretical drivel we’ve all cringed at upon hearing or reading. And now he unveils this monstrous “Apostolic Exhortation” which is, at best, his “progressive” manifesto and vision for the ultimate fulfillment of VC2 and the Modernist transformation and Protestantization of the Church.
We have simply just refused (with great naivety and hopes for an eventual turn-around) to see, accept and acknowledge this extremely painful truth. But accept it we must, and pray we must, for the Church and for our Holy Father, that he will be brought back to the Truth of the Faith handed down to, and protected by, the Successors of Saint Peter since the founding of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church two thousand years ago.
“O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, defend and protect these, thine little ones, against whom even hell cannot prevail. Hail Blessed Mary, Immaculate and Merciful Virgin, conceived without sin, pray for us who seek recourse to thee. For unto thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, unto thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our long exile, show unto us the Blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” Amen.
Son of the Church: It seems to me that we must not only pray, which is of course the priority, but we must also act in the world. What to do? How to act? What kind of action does Our Lord desire from us? Perhaps it is as “simple” as getting our lives in order and becoming the saints we were created to be. But more than this, what may also be needed is a vocal and insistent rising of the Catholic faithful against these errors. Mr .Verrecchio and others are doing well to expose them. Perhaps there is more we can do to fight them. We also need to think ahead, not letting our worst fears get the best of us, but prayerfully discerning what the future may hold (apart from the miracle we are praying for) and how we might best prepare for it.
well said son-of-the-church. the first thirty-something popes shed their blood, martyrs for Christ. this pope won’t even wear a pair of shoes, the colour of which represents their saintly blood. What can we do? pray for this Jesuit-marxist who abhors the throne of Peter and the flock of the faithful. Pray that he either accepts the burden of the unchanging Truth and his responsibility to faithfully defend it and pass it on; or pray he’s given the grace to hand in his resignation.
……from the recent interview with Bishop Fellay, on the current state affairs in the Church.
Our Lord said it very clearly: the gates of hell will not prevail against her. You would love, on the basis of these very words, you would love to turn to Our Lord and say to Him: “But what are You doing?! Look, You are letting things happen that seem to go against Your promise!” In other words, we are bit surprised by what is happening…………..
Especially with such statements, prophetic statements by our Lord, it is necessary to keep the basic meaning. These are very forceful analogies; there is a reality being asserted here that is undeniable: the gates of hell will not prevail. One point, and that’s the whole thing. But this does not mean that the Church is not going to suffer. Well, then, to what point can this suffering go? And here there is room for interpretation; we are obliged to extend a bit further what we used to think.
When we think of Saint Paul, who speaks about the Son of perdition, who will have others adore him as God, it is therefore not just a military or, one might say, a civil Antichrist; this is a religious person, a person who has people adore him, who claims acts of religion for himself. And the abomination of desolation, is that connected with this? I think so. Therefore this means that there are, alongside this announcement of the promises of the indefectibility of the Church, the announcements of a terrible time for the Church, in which people will ask themselves questions. In fact, this very question: but then what about this indefectibility, these promises of Our Lord? The Blessed Virgin… the famous sayings at La Salette, which are repeated almost word for word by Leon XIII—these are not revelations, this is the Church and, we might say, the Church itself in an act: Leo XIII composes an exorcism, that famous exorcism of Leo XIII, but later on they deleted the most solemn expression of that exorcism, which announces that Satan will reign and set up his throne in Rome. Quite simply. Therefore the headquarters of the Church will suddenly find itself the headquarters of the Antichrist. These are the very words of the Blessed Virgin: “Rome will become the seat of the Antichrist.” These are the words of La Salette. Just like: “Rome will lose the faith,” “the eclipse of the Church”; thus very forceful words contrasting with the promise. This does not mean that the promise is null and void; obviously it remains, but it does not rule out a moment of such suffering for the Church that one could consider it as an apparent death.
Immaculata, ora pro nobis!
I hope many will view Bp. Fellay’s current interview. It is so calmly and concisely spoken, that even the not so proficient French speaker will respond to the flow of Bp. Fellay’s discourse, ignoring subtitles-although they are a fairly accurate translation.
I reviewed it a third time the first thing this morning. One needs a calming, and-yes-Catholic–shepherd in these times.
I am NOT feeling any joy with any of this.
Sonofthechurch, very well said as those were my exact sentiment. Halina, thank you for your comment also. I so enjoy reading them all as it keeps me grounded and also let’s me know I’m not as crazy as my friends think I am. I’m “I’m too Catholic” as they like to say. God Bless all of you. Please keep them coming.
Pray for the Franciscans of the Immaculata – they are under attack from this diabolical regime:
Has Pope Francis shown us “what young people have called us to” in this World Youth Day anomalous Mass?
And what happen with the Council of Vigilance that Pope St. Pius X advised to be instituted?
I sigh and wonder ’bout if we’re sede vacante
and pray for knowledge that this is not true but
with stuff like this
Be careful what you write. You may find yourself vanished from the Internet for using the dreaded “s” work. Like Fr. Paul Kramer earlier this week for posting the following on his facebook page (which also has been removed):
Pope” Francis in Evangelii Gaudium n. 247: “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked”.
This text is an explicit profession of heresy, directly opposed to the solemn dogmatic definition of Pope Eugenius III and the Ecumenical Council of Florence, and the doctrine taught by the supreme magisterium of Pope Benedict XIV in Ex Quo Primum, set forth repeatedly and explicitly citing the definition of Florence, to wit, that the Mosaic covenant has been “revoked” and “abrogated”.
I have been saying for years that when a “pope” will officially teach explicit and clear heresy flatly contradicting the infallibly defined dogma of the Catholic faith, then you will know that he is the false pope prophecied in many Church approved prophecies and Marian apparitions. St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Alohonsus Liguori, St. Antoninus and Pope Innocent III all teach that when the pope demonstrates himself to be a manifest heretic, i.e. a plainly manifested public heretic, he ceases to be pope (or, if already was a public heretic he was invalidly elected) because he is not a Catholic — not a member of the Catholic Church.
Bellarmine explains that the Roman Pontiff is the visible head of the Church, and the head is a member. One who is not a member cannot be the head, and therefore the election to the supreme pontificate of a public heretic is canonically null & void.
The heresy of Bergoglio in no. 247 is such a clear cut case of manifest, public heresy, expressed in stark, unequivocal terms, that it can be said without doubt that if this proposition of no. 247 is not manifestly heretical, then nothing else can be said to be so. It is morally impossible that one who manifestly displays such clearly expressed contempt for a defined dogma of faith by plainly denying it, can be believed to validly hold the office of Roman Pontiff.
St. Francis of Assisi foretold of the uncanonically elected pope who would not be “a true pastor but a destroyer”. Bergoglio plainly fits the description.
Son of the Church: of course you’re right.
I’m from Buenos Aires, and I know it for a fact.
Don’t despair however.