Taking Francis At His Word

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At this stage of the “so-called pontificate” of Francis (to quote +Father Nicholas Gruner), there can be no reasonable doubt by now that Francis is indeed a man of his word. How so? Because Francis says exactly what he means, and means exactly what he says.

Oh yes, he may be shrewdly ambivalent or equivocal in his manner of saying, he may be cleverly ambiguous at times, he may even be astutely “confusing” to many, alas, but only to those who are unwary, or those who simply cannot see through his words, or those who are content to remain conveniently confused…

But two things are plain and certain: Francis is quite clear in his “confusing” statements; and Francis can—and indeed should be—taken at his word.

No need for the proverbial twisting into a pretzel in order to artificially force some sort of Catholic meaning to statements that are simply not Catholic, because they were simply not inspired by Catholic thought.

We are not referring to just one instance here and putting a magnifying glass in order to see more than there is. We are merely considering the same consistent pattern of un-Catholic-sounding utterances for over six years now.

Modernism is commonly referred to as the “synthesis of all heresies.” But Pope St. Pius X speaks of Modernism more as the “collector”, as it were, of all heresies. All past, present, and future heresies have a place in Modernist thought since it is their natural habitat.

In his homily during the Novus Ordo Mass of Corpus Christi in Rome (23 June 2019), Francis said that during the multiplication of the loaves and fish, Jesus did not perform a magic trick and did not, therefore, transform the five loaves into five thousand. He trusted in the Providence of God.

To quote Francis’ words from the official Vatican website:

Bread is not only something to be consumed; it is a means of sharing. Surprisingly, the account of the multiplication of the loaves does not mention the multiplication itself. On the contrary, the words that stand out are: “break”, “give” and “distribute” (cf. Lk 9:16). In effect, the emphasis is not on the multiplication but the act of sharing. This is important. Jesus does not perform a magic trick; he does not change five loaves into five thousand and then to announce: “There! Distribute them!” No. Jesus first prays, then blesses the five loaves and begins to break them, trusting in the Father. And those five loaves never run out. This is no magic trick; it is an act of trust in God and his providence.

In a Facebook discussion, someone had claimed that the Pope had spoken correctly but that his manner of saying was confusing, that it needed some sort of… clarification. Oh please.

It’s now been over six years of this tediousness… sorry, but I’m afraid not. The plain as a-nice-summer-sunny-day-in-Spain truth is that Francis spoke incorrectly, his manner of saying is not in the least confusing, and therefore no clarification is needed at all.

The kind readers of akaCatholic should keep in mind that those who err in doctrine (otherwise known as heretics before Vatican II) are usually very clever in their ways.

Typically, they employ the same Catholic words and concepts, thereby disorienting by seemingly appearing to be Catholic. But in reality, they assign different meanings to those Catholic words and concepts, but that fact is unknown to others.

Long before St. Pius X warned about Modernism in the early XX century, St. Irenaeus of Lyon already called them out in the II century: The {Gnostic} heretics may occasionally say something that sounds Catholic, but they do not think like us {Catholics}.

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Scholastic mediaeval thought had a great concept for reasoning and debating: explicatio terminorum / explanation of terms, whereby before getting into any meaningful and worthwhile discussion, the meaning of terms would be the first priority.

If otherwise, using the the same terms but with different meanings would make any exchange of ideas useless and fruitless.

But of course, it is a perfect way of propagating heresy…

For instance, Arius (IV century) was most certainly a heretic. But not so much in his terminology, but rather in the meaning he gave to those terms.

Thus, Arius correctly called Jesus Christ the Word made Man, and correctly considered Him to be the Son of God, even going so far as to call Him God. Arius, therefore, was correct in his terminology. Where he erred was in the meaning of certain terminology.

For Arius, the Word was not eternally begotten of the Father, the Word was the first creature created by the Father. And even though he correctly attributed the rest of Creation by the Father through his Word, his main doctrinal error was not attributing an eternal nature to the Word.

This means, therefore, that although Jesus Christ was correctly identified by Arius as the Word made Man, since for Arius the Word was not eternally begotten of the Father, there would be no eternal dimension in Christ.

And this fundamental trinitarian error necessarily means that Jesus Christ could not possibly be true God made Man, because nothing in Christ could be attributed to eternity—which is essential to the divine nature.

Thus, despite calling Christ the Word made Man, Son of God, and even God, Christ could not really be God. Why not? Again, because since for Arius the Word was not eternally begotten, there would be nothing in Christ’s nature just as eternal—and therefore just as divine—as God the Father, and God the Holy Ghost.

Christ could only be entirely a creature of the Father—and not just his human nature which was indeed created—and if the person of the Word was created He could not be the eternal Creator. Oh yes, the first and most perfect of God’s creatures, alas, but then he could not really be God, for Christ—the Word Incarnate—could not be of the same eternal substance as the Father and the Holy Ghost.

The Arian heresy was propagated with enormous ease and following, even among the Hierarchy of the Church, since it blended well with the prevailing culture of the pagan Greek philosophy of the semi-gods.

The Bishops of Alexandria, Alexander and later Athansius, combatted Arius. When the First Council of Nicaea was convened in 325, the Arian heresy was condemned and the true Catholic faith was defined: Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, is the eternally begotten Word-Son of the Father made Man, of the same divine substance (homoousios) as the Father and the Holy Ghost.

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In retrospect, one cannot but truly wonder at what Paul VI must have had in his mind when he told Archbishop Lefebvre that the purposely non-dogmatic, merely pastoral Second Vatican Council was even “more important” (sic) than the First Council of Nicaea, when nothing less than the divinity of Christ was being denied…

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With respect to his Corpus Christi homily, what Francis says is NOT correct and does NOT lend itself to confusion, again, except for those who are ok with being confused. This is nothing new and it is actually very simple.

That is, according to Francis, since Jesus does not perform a “magic trick”, (by the way, the miracles of the Lord are NOT magic tricks to begin with), he does NOT transform the five loaves into five thousand.

NOR does he give any other Catholic explanation of the miracle of how Christ may have provided, from those five loaves and two fish, more than enough food for the five thousand.

In other words, Francis is denying the multiplication of the loaves of bread and fish, insofar as he is understanding it in a very different, non-Catholic manner.

He is in fact denying any Catholic meaning of how the Church has received this historical event from Divine Revelation through her Apostolic Tradition.

Just like Francis’ treatment of the Eucharist: In the presence of the Eucharist, Jesus who becomes bread, this simple bread that contains the entire reality of the Church… So, according to Francis, in the Eucharist, it is not bread that is transubstantiated into Jesus; it is Jesus who becomes bread, simple bread to be more specific (sic).

Correctly understanding the Eucharist is utterly undermined when you go about wrecklessly, praising the arch-heretical and arch-schismatic Martin Luther as a “witness of the Gospel”, despising Catholic theology of the Real Presence for the sake of an impossible “inter-faith Communion”, and celebrating exclusively the Novus Ordo Missæ far too long…

As many others have pointed out, this might explain the curious custom of Francis not genuflecting during Mass and not kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, when it is evident that he can get down on his knees.

He has no problem getting down to wash the feet of Muslim women during the Office of Holy Thursday, and kissing the feet of African governmental delegates during a reception at the Vatican.

Getting back to his homily, let us recall that Francis said that the accent DOES NOT fall on the “multiplication” of the loaves, but in the “breaking”, “giving” / “sharing”, and “distribution” among the people. This is important, he said. It sure is! It’s everything!

Because… the people. It’s not really about God, you see, though He does get an honourable mention. Therefore, it’s not really about Christ, and much less as God made Man, perhaps. It’s all about the people. Mere anthropocentrism. Just like in the “reformed” postconciliar liturgy…

People “break”, “give”, and “share” the bread that is then “distributed”, hence the “multiplication” of the loaves, which was NOT performed by a “magic trick” of Jesus. But let’s insist: when has the Church ever taught that the miracles of the Lord were magic tricks?

A particularly awkward statement is when Francis says—without any qualification—that Jesus prayed, blessed, and trusted in the Providence of God… the third remark sounding most odd: is not Jesus Christ God Himself made Man?

From Francis’ very own words, one cannot but get the strong impression that Jesus Christ has really nothing at all to do with the “multiplication” of the loaves. As if He were just an ordinary man, albeit with a strong relationship with God, who merely puts his trust in God’s Providence.

My dear readers, these are plainly Modernist heresies, by the book. Modernists always deny the supernatural and historical character of the miracles of the Lord. And with a strong dosis of Arianism.

I have heard this very same explanation from others in my diocese, even in priest reunions. And Francis himself has given the same materially heretical explanation of the multiplication of the loaves and fish on another occasion.

The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic faith is reasonable. There are reasons to believe, hope, and love. In the glorious history of Holy Mother Church, great bishops, priests, and theologians have given good, sound, wholesome Catholic explanations of the faith, following St. Peter’s exhortation (I Peter 3: 13-15):

And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if also you suffer any thing for justice’ sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.

But these Modernists—who are not Catholic—drink from the same contaminated waters of rationalism that do not admit the supernatural or the miracle, just as the Holy Mother Church receives it from Revelation and transmits it faithfully in her Apostolic Tradition.

And Francis is consistent with the same strawman tactic: to deny what is not, for the purpose of denying what is. And it is most effective, to be sure.

That is, the miracles of the Lord are NOT a sign of magic. Why, then, deny the obvious? Why… to deny the miracle!, of course. And perhaps even to deny the divinity of Christ. Or at least cast some doubt on the matter.

Ah, some will say: it is convenient to catechise people for those who erroneously believe that miracles are magic…

Indeed… but that IS NOT what Francis is doing. What he IS doing is far more dangerous from a catechetical point of view. He is inducing unwary Catholics, slow on the uptake, to associate miracles with magic, and then by denying that miracles are magic (which they are not anyway), deny that miracles exist (which they do).

Of course, the reasoning is that since Jesus does NOT do magic tricks (obviously), he does NOT perform a miracle (supernatural character) of the multiplication of the loaves, and yet being careful enough to not actually deny that the loaves are “multiplied” by “breaking”, “giving”, “sharing”, and “distributing.” And voilà! The Modernists are like that.

And without any qualification, Jesus simply trusts in the Providence of God—but, as the Incarnate Word, is He Himself not as God and also as eternal as the Father and the Holy Ghost, and just as Providential?

Oh, but Francis doesn’t actually deny the multiplication, the loaves are still multiplied! Well, yes, in a Modernist manner of speaking, but no, not really, not in any meaningful Catholic sense…

“Multiplied” but how so? BECAUSE the people who were there, broke, gave, shared, and distributed bread amongst themselves. It’s all about the people… Imagine all the people… Does this tune sound familiar?

Nothing magical about that, right? Ergo, nothing miraculous about it either…

Ah, the Modernist mind is ever so subtle and so very clever.

Again, St. Irenaeus of Lyon describes them in a very suggestive manner. For just like the Gnostics of the II century, the musings of the Modernists are the deleriums of those who think they have discovered something beyond Truth.

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Because their philosophical and theological prejudices impede them from believing revealed Catholic truths, the Modernists reason like this: miracles (as the Church understands them through Revelation and Apostolic Tradition), cannot exist, therefore they do not exist (because they say so).

Miracles, then, come to be the same as magic for the Modernists.

So, there are many ways to seemingly say something of truth in order to deny the underlying Truth.

Genuine Catholics already differentiate miracles from magic. But, how exactly were the loaves and fish multiplied? Was it that those five loaves and two fish somehow lasted, never ran out, and provided food for five thousand? Or were those five loaves and two fish literally turned into five thousand? And with more than enough left over either way.

However it was done, the multiplication of loaves and fish is miraculous, i.e., an extraordinary, non-magical, but indeed supernatural act of Christ, God Incarnate, who provides for the people.

In the Holy Gospels, during a second multiplication, Our Lord bids the doubting apostles to recall the first multiplication: Do ye still not yet understand?, He tells them.

But remember that for Modernists, miracles are magic tricks.

Modernists are also very shrewed. Francis will never say that “Jesus does not perform the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves…” That is much too blatant and obvious. Even so, there would doubtless be those obstinate papolaters who would defend even an outright and flagrant denial of the Most Holy Trinity…

That’s why Francis says: Jesus does not perform a magic trick, which for the unwary Catholic sounds right and orthodox.

Ah… But what Francis DOES NOT say is that for him, magic is the same as a miracle. So, by saying that Jesus does not do a magic trick, it’s the same as saying that Jesus does not perform a miracle.

THAT’S WHY he says that Jesus DOES NOT change five loaves into five thousand and then orders their distribution. In other words, it is NOT Jesus who multiplies the loaves! It’s the people sharing!

He very clearly says so, thus: In effect, the emphasis is not on the multiplication but the act of sharing. This is important. Jesus does not perform a magic trick. He does not change five loaves into five thousand… He does not work spectacular miracles or wave a magic wand; he works with simple things.

Again, we can readily see the deliberately misleading association of miracles and magic. The plain meaning of Francis’ words are quite clear.

But why does Francis say what he says? Apart from denying outright that miracles exist, maybe it’s also because Jesus cannot perform a miracle? Maybe because Jesus is no more than a man who happens to have a particularly close relationship with God?

Jesus prays, blesses, and relies on “trusting in the Providence of God”—which is clumsy and very suspicious of Christological heresy—so that the loaves “never run out” BECAUSE the people there broke, gave, shared, and distributed the bread.

In the end, then, it is NOT Jesus, God made Man, who multiplies the loaves and fish (i.e., he does not do a magic trick = he does not perform a miracle) so the “miracle” consists in the breaking, giving, sharing, and distributing amongst themselves of the people.

So, just like the magic of magicians, the miracle is a trick, as it were, of the Evangelists to communicate another more rational—and for the unbelieving Modernist mindset, a much more credible—reality that has NOTHING to do with revealed Truth.

Operari sequitur esse / the effect follows being. In other words, although sometimes things aren’t what they appear, oftentimes things are indeed what they appear to be.

In Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the Hobbits of The Shire live by a saying, full of common sense wisdom: handsome is as handsome does.

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So, the next time Francis pronounces something that doesn’t quite sound Catholic—very likely given his track record—maybe, just maybe, it’s because it isn’t. In any case, let us not—in vain—twist his words. Let us rather take him on his word. If only out of respect for him… and out of respect for Truth.

With my blessings to the readers of akaCatholic: +Father José Miguel.

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