Perverting the Resurrection

Resurrection_of_Christ-Alonso_López_de_Herrera_-_It is Easter; a season wherein Catholics are moved to contemplate anew the glorious mystery of the Resurrection of Our Blessed Lord, its meaning and its impact.

In truth, if not for the reality of the Resurrection, our Faith would amount to little more than a pious fairytale; a work that springs forth from the hearts of man, about man, and for man, that although capable of igniting the flames of emotion; perhaps even leading to various random acts of kindness, ultimately changes nothing of the human condition.

It can be said, therefore, that the Resurrection serves as the foundation upon which all Catholic doctrine and our comprehension of the same in some way rests; i.e., a compromised concept of the Resurrection places in jeopardy one’s ability to faithfully accept and proclaim the reality of the Church, Holy Mass, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the sacraments, etc.

Not only does the Catholic who fails to embrace the reality of the Resurrection fail to know his faith; he fails to know Christ as His rising from the dead and all that it implies is, in the words of Monsignor Ronald Knox, “the climax of that series of miracles by which our Lord justified his claim to be the ambassador of a Divine revelation.”

Sure, pretty much every self-identified Catholic will say that he believes in the reality of the Resurrection, but in these dark days of crisis in the Church we must ever heed the warning of Pope St. Pius X concerning the modernists who “pervert the meaning and force of things and words.” (cf Pascendi Dominici Gregis)

When a faithful Catholic hears “Resurrection,” for example, he naturally envisions the Risen One who reigns victorious, Christ the King, to whom “all power in Heaven and on Earth has been given.”

This, however, is not necessarily what the modernists intend when invoking the Resurrection, as for them the ancient formulas of the Faith are “living, and should be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him who believes.” (ibid.)

With all of this said, let us now consider the example provided by Pope Francis relative to his view of the Resurrection, and how this impacts his ability to faithfully proclaim the fullness of the Faith, in this case, as it concerns the priesthood.

For further insight into the mind of the pope on this matter, we will also examine commentary offered by Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga (head of the so-called “C-8” chosen by Pope Francis to advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia) as given in his now infamous speech at University of Dallas in October 2013.

As I stated then, these two men are undoubtedly of one mind, and the present discussion will most certainly demonstrate that this is indeed the case.

First, let us consider a homily offered by Pope Francis on September 10, 2013, as reported by Vatican Radio:

The Pope noted that “there are also the Christians who are embarrassed. They are embarrassed to “confess that Christ is risen.” Finally, said Pope Francis there is the group of Christians who “in their hearts do not believe in the Risen Lord and want to make theirs a more majestic resurrection than that of the real one.” These, he said are the “triumphalist” Christians. “They do not know the meaning of the word ‘triumph’ the Pope continued, so they just say “triumphalism”, because they have such an inferiority complex and want to do this …

A well-formed Catholic cannot but be stunned by these comments when considered in the light of tradition as expressed so beautifully by Pope Pius XI:

After his resurrection, when giving to his Apostles the mission of teaching and baptizing all nations, he took the opportunity to call himself king, confirming the title publicly, and solemnly proclaimed that all power was given him in heaven and on earth. These words can only be taken to indicate the greatness of his power, the infinite extent of his kingdom. (cf Quas Primas)

Setting aside the harsh reality of a Holy Father who repeatedly and publicly demeans his very own children, one must ask, how can he imagine that anyone, “triumphalist” or otherwise, might even begin to envision a Resurrection that is one drop more “majestic” than “the real” one?

The answer, I’m afraid, is both disturbing and simple; our Holy Father does not embrace the reality of the Resurrection as the Church understands it.

We see the impact of this failure in a particular way in his treatment of Holy Orders, which shouldn’t surprise us since the priest is configured to the Risen Christ; an impoverished view of the Resurrection therefore necessarily leading to an impoverished view of the priesthood.

For example, Pope Francis writes in Evangelii Gaudium:

The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion, but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general. It must be remembered that when we speak of sacramental power “we are in the realm of function, not that of dignity or holiness.”

In this case, Francis is quoting from the document Christifideles Laici of Pope John Paul II who wrote:

In her participation in the life and mission of the Church a woman cannot receive the Sacrament of Orders, and therefore, cannot fulfil the proper function of the ministerial priesthood Here we are in the area of function, not of dignity and holiness.

Read in context, John Paul II is saying that the inability of women to serve as priests should not be understood as a reflection of female holiness or dignity as compared to that of males; rather, this is a reflection of the “function” of the sexes as it relates to “the anthropological foundation for masculinity and femininity,” a concept that he introduced in the preceding article.

While it is true that ordination does not result in holiness, it does most certainly confer a degree of dignity that is derived, and uniquely so in the priest, from the dignity of the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ.

As a result of Pope Francis’ misappropriation of his predecessor’s words, readers are given the impression that the Sacrament of Holy Orders confers little more than permission to carry out certain ministerial duties. In fact, this very well may be precisely what the Holy Father believes and intends to teach. In any event, this isn’t the faith of the Church.

For greater insight, let us now look to the words of Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga:

The hierarchy has no purpose in itself and for itself, but only in reference and subordination to the community. The function of the hierarchy is redefined in reference to Jesus as Suffering Servant, not as “Pantocrator” (lord and emperor of this world); only from the perspective of someone crucified by the powers of this world it is possible to found, and to explain, the authority of the Church. The hierarchy is a ministry (diakonia = service) that requires lowering ourselves to the condition of servants. To take that place (the place of weakness and poverty) is her own, her very own responsibility.

If nothing else, we must be grateful for the Cardinal’s willingness to admit that what is desired is indeed a “redefinition” of the priesthood such that it is henceforth to be viewed “in reference to Jesus as Suffering Servant.”

In authentic Catholic thought, the priesthood can only be properly understood, expressed, and exercised in reference to Jesus Christ risen in glory, He who is most certainly Pantocrator no matter how much certain clerics may wish to pretend that He is not, thereby crowning Him with thorns all over again.

You see, for them, the priest is configured not to Christ the King, but rather to this figment of their modernist imaginations; a Jesus who is little more than an itinerant preacher who goes about doing good deeds, most especially those that are focused on the natural ends of the temporally poor, only to be crushed by the powers of this world.

It is this falsification of the Resurrection that leads Pope Francis to assert:

The ministerial priesthood is one means employed by Jesus for the service of his people, yet our great dignity derives from baptism, which is accessible to all. The configuration of the priest to Christ the head – namely, as the principal source of grace – does not imply an exaltation which would set him above others. (Evangelii Gaudium)

This, of course, is wholesale anticlericalism, the same of which Pope Pius XI said:

If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities.  (cf Quas Primas)

The connection couldn’t be plainer; those who fail to embrace the reality of Christ’s Kingship, inextricably linked to His glorious Resurrection, are destined to embrace anticlericalism in its stead.

Returning to Evangelii Gaudium:

In the Church, functions “do not favour the superiority of some vis-à-vis the others.” Indeed, a woman, Mary, is more important than the bishops.

Yes, and Blessed Jacinta of Fatima, just a child, is more important than the pope. So what? Does this mean that the sacred hierarchy is to the laity as a postman is to an electrician; a chef to a painter?

If so, how is one to understand the “hierarchical” nature of the Church?

Even when the function of ministerial priesthood is considered “hierarchical”, it must be remembered that “it is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ’s members”. Its key and axis is not power understood as domination, but the power to administer the sacrament of the Eucharist; this is the origin of its authority, which is always a service to God’s people.  (ibid.)

Note well: In the mind of Pope Francis, “hierarchy” and “power” when understood and exercised in ways other than the mere administration of a service must necessarily entail an unsavory form of “domination;” it is, therefore, to be avoided.

This attitude, however, is derived from an utterly earthbound concept of the Church’s hierarchical nature.

Oddly enough, the word “domination” itself is derived from the Latin “Dominus” which refers to the Lord, He in whom “all power in Heaven and on Earth” rests, as well as all goodness and kindness and mercy!

It is precisely the Holy Father’s unwillingness to embrace the “majestic” Resurrection of Christ the Most Benevolent King that gives rise to his twisted understanding of the Church’s hierarchical authority, even as it resides in the Successor of Peter as evidenced over the last year by his “regular Joe” comportment.

Once the Risen Lord is effectively stripped of His Kingly dignity, power and authority, as in the minds of modernist thinkers like Pope Francis, to whom is the priest thus configured?

According to Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga:

Jesus’ entire life was a priestly life, in the sense that He became a man, was poor, fought for justice, criticized the vices of power, identified Himself with the most oppressed and defended them, treated women without discrimination, clashed with the ones who had a different image of God and of religion, and was forced by His own faithfulness to be prosecuted and to die crucified outside the city. This original priesthood of Jesus is the one that has to be continued in history.

Thus is the priest, the bishop, and even the pope (who after all is just the Bishop of Rome anyway) rendered little more than a glorified Peace Corp worker.

More could be quoted from these documents in support of the present argument, but the modernist spirit is evident enough already in these words of Pope Francis and his chosen right hand man.

Sure, they invoke “Resurrection, hierarchy, and priesthood,” but make no mistake about it, the intent is not to express immutable Catholic doctrine; rather, it is to assert yet another Newchurch novelty.

Speaking of which, barring the Lord’s merciful intervention, we will encounter yet another example on April 27th as the Holy Father “perverts the meaning and force of things and words” by proclaiming John XXIII and John Paul II to be among the Church’s canonized saints.

Pope St. Pius X, ora pro nobis!

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