Redefining Christ

In his speech at University of Dallas, Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga gives us a glimpse at certain of the underlying principles that are influencing the direction in which Pope Francis intends to take the Church.

Revealed in the process is yet more evidence that this pontificate represents an aggressive return to the vision of Pope John Paul II; a truly modernist one, based as it is upon the notion that the post-Vatican II Church sees herself “in an utterly new way, quite unknown previously.” (As mentioned in an earlier post.)

Yes, quite unknown previously, indeed!

So rich in content is Cardinal Rodríguez’s speech that it will take several posts to dissect it. Today, I would like to take a closer look at his concept of the sacred hierarchy.

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.

This vision of the hierarchy is impoverished for the simple reason that it is based upon a neutered image of Jesus Christ, wherein He is essentially viewed an itinerant preacher who went about doing good deeds, only to be defeated by the “powers of this world,” and most importantly, a man rendered stripped of any meaningful right of sovereignty over the created order that He came to redeem.

In this, one sees very clearly the degree to which the cardinal is of like mind with Pope Francis, who in one of his many public condemnations of restorationists (aka Catholics) provided additional insight saying, “In their hearts [Triumphalists] do not believe in the Risen Lord and want to make theirs a more majestic resurrection than that of the real one.”

If Cardinal Rodríguez’s “C-8” counterpart, Cardinal Pell, wants to know what rubbish really looks like, he need look no further than this utterly false dichotomy between a “real” resurrection and a “majestic” one.

To state the obvious (which apparently is becoming ever more necessary), the resurrection is both real and majestic. Even so, the new regime seems to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ rose not to reign in glory, but simply to pick up where they imagine He left off, only to be killed once more.

If, indeed, these new churchmen of the new church-of-man still hold to any part of the traditional understanding of the priest as Alter Christus, it would appear that their concept of Holy Orders has been reduced to little more than ontological configuration to a glorified Peace Corps volunteer.

Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga hammers the point home stating:

Indeed, the first trait of the priesthood of Jesus is that “he had to be made like his brothers in every respect.” The original priesthood of Jesus is the one that has to be continued in history.

No, eminence, not in “every respect” as Jesus Christ alone is King “as man in the strict and proper sense.” (see Quas Primas)

In any event, it would seem that by “the original priesthood of Jesus” the cardinal is suggesting that the priesthood of Christ the High Priest can be understood in more than one fashion, the “original” and what, the “new and improved”?

I honestly can’t say with any certainty what he’s talking about since I have this nasty habit of reflecting on such things through a Catholic lens, but I suspect he is attempting to paint an image of the hierarchy as men called to imitate the God-man who walked the earth en route to the crucifixion, apart from the Lord who is risen in glory, ascended into in Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. The latter, one supposes, is just a little too Kingly for comfort, never mind that the resurrection of Our Blessed Lord in glory is that which makes Holy Orders possible in the first place.

I will resist the urge to go on, but will instead wrap it up for now with the observation that this “utterly new” ecclessial self-awareness that is driving the current pontificate is only plausible for those who in some measure have forgotten, or who have never really believed, who Jesus is.

This should make sense. In order to supplant the Mystical Body of Christ with the church-of man, it is first necessary to redefine Christ, and that is precisely what we are witnessing here.

Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga offers any number of gems in his speech that make this clear, but I will close with this:

The calling of the Church, in the likeness of Jesus, is to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Even Christ himself did not proclaim or preach Himself, but the Kingdom.

Yea, sure, eminence, you just keep telling yourself this filthy disgusting lie, as if Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same who said “I am the way, the truth and the life,” and whose public proclamations of His own divinity led to His crucifixion, didn’t preach Himself.

Just make sure you savor all of the raucous applause that comes from the poor gullible fools who line up to swallow this poison, because surely you have received your reward.

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