You tell me…

In my last post (“Rehabilitating Liberation Theology”) I made mention of the fact that popes just don’t condemn error anymore.

Now, that’s not to say that they don’t condemn anything, mind you.

Consider for example Pope Francis. He has been gloriously reigning (such as he does) for about five months, and already he has offered some stunning condemnations; not of heretics, of course, (more on his treatment of them in a moment) but of those dangerous “restorationists” who have the audacity to do “this thing of counting” rosaries as a spiritual offering for the Successor to St. Peter (aka, the Bishop of Rome).

These traditional Catholics, dubbed by the pope as members of a “Pelagian current,” are condemnable in his view for desiring a “return to practices and to disciplines” such that “one feels as if one goes back 60 years;” you know, to that time when the Catholic Church was thriving and vibrant and highly respected throughout much of the world, in spite of the modernists who, though relegated to lurking in the shadows of a spiritually healthy Church thanks to the rule of competent popes, have always hated said practices and disciplines.

Just yesterday, [thanks to Rorate Caeli for bringing it to my attention] the condemnations continued as Pope Francis lashed out at those 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.”

Exactly whom does the Bishop of Rome have in mind? According to Vatican Radio, the pope clarified:

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 … When we look at these Christians, with their many triumphalist attitudes, in their lives, in their speeches and in their pastoral theology, liturgy, so many things, it is because they do not believe deep down in the Risen One. He is the Winner, the Risen One. He won.

While it may not be immediately clear to some what the pope means by “triumphalist Christians,” taking into account the totality of his words and actions throughout the entirety of his pontificate, we can well assume that he is referring once again to those rascally traditionalist Catholics who just can’t seem to let go of those “practices and disciplines” that call attention to the Kingship of Jesus Christ; i.e., that whole “majestic resurrection” thing.

He is referring, for example, to those whose pastoral theology stresses the Sovereignty of Jesus Christ over all things, “including not just the individual and the family, but also the State, as all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ” (cf Quas Primas – 18).

Furthermore, these apparently condemnable Catholics believe that the sacred signs in the liturgy should reflect the reality of our encounter therein with not only the meek One who “had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him,” (Isaiah 53:2) but also with He who “on his robe and on his thigh has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).

As for the word “triumphalism” itself, Fr. John Hardon provides the following very useful definition in his Modern Catholic Dictionary:

TRIUMPHALISM: A term of reproach leveled at the Catholic Church for the claim that she has the fullness of divine revelation and the right to pass judgment on the personal and social obligations of humankind. (Etym. Latin triumphus, public rejoicing for a victory.)

So, is it really accurate to say that this is the triumphalism the pope is condemning? As much as I would like to say no, all indications are that it is. Consider, for example, his treatment of heretics.

Does he condemn their false religious beliefs? No.

Does he call them to embrace the fullness of truth that exists in the Catholic Church alone? No.

Does he call them to account for their obligation to worship Christ the King as He Himself revealed? No.

So, what does he do with them? He coddles them in such way as to suggest that the Catholic Church is deficient.

In his General Audience of June 19, for example, the pope said:

I will tell you something: today, before leaving the House [Domus Sanctae Marthae], I spent forty minutes, more or less, half an hour, with an Evangelical pastor and we prayed together, and sought unity. But we must pray among ourselves as Catholics and also with the other Christians, pray that the Lord may give us unity, unity among us. But how can we achieve unity among Christians if we Catholics are unable to achieve it among ourselves? To have it in our family?

So, over the last five months, I have seen precisely no evidence that Pope Francis believes that the Catholic Church possesses unity; that she has the right to pass judgment on the obligations of humankind, or that Christ the King reigns over all things through her.

Now, you tell me who denies the resurrection.

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