11 Nov 2015

“Catholicism can and must change”, apostate Francis insists

by Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi

Francis I
Apostate Francis has strongly outlined anew his vision for the future of his “Catholic church”, forcefully telling an emblematic meeting of the entire Italian church community on Tuesday that our times require a deeply merciful Catholicism that is unafraid of change”. In a 49-minute speech to a decennial national conference of the Italian church—which is bringing together some 2,200 people from 220 dioceses to the historic renaissance city for five days—Francis said Catholics must realise that "We are not living an era of change but a change of era”. He said: “Before the problems of the church it is not useful to search for solutions in conservatism or fundamentalism, in the restoration of obsolete conduct and forms that no longer have the capacity of being significant culturally...Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives....It has a face that is not rigid, it has a body that moves and grows, it has a soft flesh...

Outlining his “three aspects of Christian humanism”, Francis asked the Italians to adopt an outlook of “humility”, disinterest in personal praise or power, and of living a life of the beatitudes.

Francis also said there were two specific “temptations” he wanted to warn the national church against, likening—though in a very subtle manner—Catholic conservatism to two ancient heresies that attacked the early Church: Pelagianism and Gnosticism.

On  Pelagianism, which holds that humans can achieve salvation on their own without divine help, Francis said that in the modern day it "brings us to have trust in structures, in organizations, in perfect plans, however abstract."

"Often it brings us to assume a style of control, of hardness, of normalcy," he said. "The norm gives to the Pelagian the security of feeling superior, of having a precise orientation. In this is found its force, not in the lightness of the breath of the Spirit.”

Here apostate Francis is attacking Catholic conservatives, who insist that the Church, being not only human but also divine, doesn’t change her doctrines. Only Catholics worship the true God, hence they rightly feel superior to all other people in the world who worship in false religions. True Catholics believe that in order to be saved all who worship in false religions must be converted to the Catholic Church. Francis doesn’t believe this. He doesn’t identify with Catholics because he believes that all religions are the same. Hence: “The norm gives to the Pelagian the security of feeling superior”.

Pelagianism, Francis told the “faithful” gathered in Florence cathedral, “prompts the Church not to be humble, selfless and blessed. And it does so with the appearance of being a good...it leads us also to take a controlling, hard, regulatory style,” he said. “The law gives to the Pelagian security to feel superior, to have a precise orientation. This is its strength, not the light of the breath of the Spirit.”

Notice how evil the man is: Pelagianism was an ancient heresy condemned by the Church. Pelagians were followers of Pelagius, a monk. The group exalted the human will over divine grace. They taught that salvation could be attained by anyone through their own free will. They taught that human nature was not damaged by original sin; that sin was a personal sin of Adam and Eve and had not been transmitted to his descendants. St. Augustine, the most powerful opponent of the group, responded to them with the words of Our Lord: Without me you can do nothing(John 15: 5). Eventually Pelagianism was condemned by Pope Celestine (AD 432), who taught that “Every holy thought and movement of the will comes from God”.

Of course as a monk—and just like all Catholic monks—Pelagius had been a conservative Catholic before the eruption of his heresies, and after becoming a heretic he was still practicing his conservatism but in a wrong way. Now apostate Francis likens Catholic conservatism to Pelagianism simply because it is opposed to changes! “In facing evils or the problems of the Church,” he went on, “it is useless to look for solutions in conservatism and fundamentalism, in the restoration of practices and outdated forms that aren’t even able to be culturally meaningful.” Can the devil himself even speak like this?

Again, “The Italian church should let itself be carried by [the Spirit's] powerful breath and for this, sometimes, be settled,” he continued, after his words that “the church” is always in reform. “Assume always the Spirit of the great explorers, that on the sea were passionate for navigation in open waters and were not frightened by borders and of storms,” he told the Italians. “May it be a free church and open to the challenges of the present, never in defence for fear of losing something.”

Here he is attacking those who strive to defend the Church against modern errors. Francis doesn’t believe that there is anything like “modern error”. For him, the only error that really exists is simply Catholic conservatism.

Matthew Karmel writes:

In the 500 years since its inception, the Protestant revolt has evolved from the erroneous opinions of a single mad monk into a thousand-headed hydra of heresy, with each head snapping at the other almost as frequently as at the Catholic Church itself. Nonetheless, the many heads have remained joined at one common point—a point which Protestant theologians such as Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer desired to see writ large on the flag of modern Protestantism: Ecclesia semper reformanda est, i.e. “The Church is always to be reformed.”

“Today, speaking to bishops and faithful gathered in Florence, Pope Francis made this profoundly Protestant thesis his own, quoting it verbatim.

“...Of course, we’ve heard Pope Francis speak on the subject of Pelagianism before. In fact, his barbed quip “self-absorbed promethean neopelagians”—aimed squarely at faithful Catholics of the traditional sort—has become something of a defiant self-appellation among the same. And that Pope Francis frowns upon any effort to restore the time-honoured traditions of the Church—including her ancient liturgy—is not exactly news. So, what’s so unsettling about this speech?

“A combination of context and historical precedent.

“It was none other than Martin Luther himself who leveled the charge of “Pelagianism” against the Catholic Church on the eve of his own revolution. In his monograph entitled Augustine of Hippo and Martin Luther on Original Sin and Justification of the Sinner, Jairzinho Lopes Pereira of the University of Helsinki explains (p. 312):

Complaints against the Pelagian trend of theology of his own time is recurrent in young Luther. One of the most striking is found in Operationes in Psalmos(1519-1521). What is worse, he stressed in this work, is the fact that there was a new form of Pelagianism; the one he was fighting. It was worse than any other because it was not declared. It was Pelagianism disguised as an orthodox doctrine. The Reformer regarded Pelagianism as the most dangerous and pernicious of heresies (Inter omnes autem gladios imiorum maximum et nocentissimum meo iuditio merito pelagianam impietatem censebimus) and the source of all sorts of idolatries (hic error fons est universae idolatriae). Not surprisingly, he identified it with the very human tendency to state human righteousness (iustitia hominis) to the detriment of that of faith (iusitia fidei).

“Augustine, Luther pointed out, fought Pelagians as declared heretics. He himself was fighting the very same heretical trend in men protected by the Church, under the skin of orthodox theologians. So Pelagianism, Luther stressed, is a timeless threat to Christian faith. […] After Augustine’s death the heresy rose; it not only did not find opposition, but also was openly allowed to rule within the Roman Church and universities. Nothing can be more dangerous, yet it remained in the Church, Luther claimed (pelagianos error vere omnium saeculorum error est, saepius opressus quidem, sed nunquam extinctus)”.

“Sound familiar?”

Again, subtly bombarding his victims with his Liberation Theology, Francis craftily “attacked” Gnosticism, another ancient heresy condemned by the Catholic Church. And why this attack? Gnosticism widely held that people should shun the material world in favour of the spiritual realm. This is quite contrary to Liberation Theology of Francis, which crazily seeks enjoyment in this world at all costs. 

Liberationists wrote as though God had granted them a new revelationa new revelation which has nothing to do with the spiritual side of man but with purely the material side. It seeks for a radical revision of Catholic teaching that incorporates the "insights" of Karl Marx. Liberationists ridicule "non-transformative" modes of traditional charity, and maintain that in order to truly liberate "the poor", it is necessary to radically change society's fundamental structureswith violence, if necessaryand we can see Francis doing exactly that. 

Again, notice how evil the man is. The Church condemned Gnosticism because its vision of the material as well as spiritual world is fundamentally erroneous, but Francis is against Gnosticism not because it was a heresy condemned by the Church, but because it shuns the material world which Francis only believes in. He rather rashly likens Catholic conservatism to Gnosticism simply because it is essentially about redeeming the soul of man, against his Liberation theology which, at the cost of man’s salvation, is about the enjoyment of the present world at all costs.  

Precisely, a main feature of the varied strands of Gnostic teaching—which ranged from beliefs which were elaborated in philosophical terms to others which incorporated astrology and a complex mythology—was that this world, the material world which man inhabited, was evil, and was antagonistic towards the higher good. However, among some men, some “spiritual men”, there existed a divine spark; and, such men, by turning away from the evil world of matter, could ascend to the divine source from which they ultimately had their being. But others were trapped in the bonds of matter. These were the fleshy men, the worldly men who had been entangled in the evil world of matter.
The Gnostics, in order to explain the evil nature of the world, and, at the same time, to account for the difference between their doctrine and that of the Old Testament, made a distinction between a Divine Being and a lower Creator—the Demiurge, who emanated from the former. The Demiurge was implicated in a cosmic fall, and so the world he created was infected with evil. He was the being whom the Old Testament writers referred to as Yahweh. The Gnostics believed that the God of the Old Testament was cruel and capricious—never to be identified with the loving Father, the Abba Father whom Christ spoke about. Thus Jesus Christ, they held, was sent into this world to enable “spiritual men” turn back to the divine source, the original source—although they equally held that the man Jesus was just an appearance projected into the stage of human history, never a fleshy incarnate Son of a Divine Being. The way to gnosis, that is, to the supernatural knowledge and union with the Divine Being, they taught, was through an ascetic life and withdrawal from the material world. But some of their groups turned in the opposite direction, believing that the “spiritual man” rises “beyond good and evil”. These groups set up orgiastic cults through which the adherents gave expression to their superiority to the moral law. The asceticism of the Gnostics pointed clearly to the mystical and contemplative nature of the experience at which they aimed, but their mysticism was never properly integrated either with belief in Jesus Christ or with the worship of a personal creator; for the creator, as pointed out above, was demoted to the status of an evil Demiurge, and hence, the insights of prophetic monotheism were submerged. As for Jesus Christ, He played an unreal role in the cosmic drama. Thus Gnosticism attacked the very roots of the Christian faith. It was unanimously condemned by the early Church Fathers. The last words of the aged St. Paul in his First Epistle to Timothy are also usually taken as referring to Gnosticism, which is described as “Profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called [antitheseis tes pseudonomou gnoseos—the antitheses of so-called Gnosis] which some professing have erred concerning the faith”.

Now Francis’ likening of Catholic conservatism to Gnosticism speaks volumes about his ardent hatred of Catholic religion, a hatred simply unparalleled in the entire history of the Church!

And what was the reaction of those listening to him while he vomited all these? “As the pontiff spoke in Florence's artistically renowned cathedral, he was interrupted about a dozen times for applause”, said National Catholic Reporter.

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