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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Papal Feedback Loop of Self-delusion Featured

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Francis to Cardinal Poli: “It’s very entertaining to be pope!" Francis to Cardinal Poli: “It’s very entertaining to be pope!"

As his pontificate nears its fourth anniversary, Pope Francis ever more clearly reveals a megalomaniacal conviction that the Church and her teaching are his to remake as he sees fit. Praising his own rather absurdly denominated “Apostolic” Exhortation opening the door to Holy Communion for public adulterers, Francis told the Jesuit general congregation gathered in Rome last October that Amoris Laetitia represents nothing less than a radical change in the Church’s view of “the whole moral sphere,” which at the time he was a seminarian “was restricted to ‘you can,’ ‘you cannot,’ ‘up to here, yes, but not there. It was a morality very foreign to discernment.”


By “morality very foreign to discernment,” Francis means the moral teaching of the Church for 2,000 years before his unexpected arrival in Rome, including his time as a seminarian. By “discernment” he means the utter novelty in moral theology he himself introduced in Chapter VIII of AL: a form of situation ethics he has thus far applied only to sexual activity outside of marriage. He dares to attribute his situational sexual ethic to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure, who, according to him, “affirm that general principle holds for all but—they say it explicitly—as one moves to the particular, the question becomes diversified and many nuances arise without changing the principle.”

Like so much of what Pope Bergoglio says, this is false and misleading. In the Summa Theologiae (I-II, Q. 94, Art. 4), Saint Thomas observes that while “the natural law, as to general principles, is the same for all, both as to rectitude and as to knowledge” when it comes “to certain matters of detail… in some few cases it may fail, both as to rectitude… and as to knowledge, since in some the reason is perverted by passion, or evil habit, or an evil disposition of nature; thus formerly, theft, although it is expressly contrary to the natural law, was not considered wrong among the Germans, as Julius Caesar relates.

What Saint Thomas describes as a failure of reason that produces immoral outcomes arising from passion, evil habit or disposition in “some few cases,” Francis elevates to a new standard of moral accountability in matters sexual. While the ancient Germans thought theft was morally permissible, Francis would now have us believe that the Sixth Commandment has a “diversified” application according to the circumstances of the adultery.

Like a river overflowing its banks and causing devastation to the surrounding countryside, the overflowing Bergoglian megalomania threatens to undermine not only the infallible teaching of the Church on the intrinsic evil of adulterous sexual relations but also her infallible condemnation of the intrinsic evil of contraception. During the same meeting with his fellow Jesuit subversives, Bergoglio declared that Father Bernard Häring, the suit-and-tie Modernist “theologian” who infamously dissented from Humanae Vitae, “was the first to start looking for a new way to help moral theology to flourish again.” 

That is, with his novelty of “discernment,” Francis sees himself as the savior of Catholic moral theology regarding sexuality. For him, “discernment is the key element: the capacity for discernment.” Otherwise, “we run the risk of getting used to ‘white or black,’ to that which is legal.” Thus we have a Pope for whom there is no clear black or white, right or wrong, when it comes to sexual behavior yet nothing but black and white, right and wrong, when it comes to such contingent and eminently debatable matters as national immigration policy or “climate change.” 

Moreover, Francis insists that the entire Church be made conformable to his new standard of sexual morality, beginning with all priests in formation: “One thing is clear: today, in a certain number of seminaries, a rigidity that is far from a discernment of situations has been introduced. And that is dangerous, because it can lead us to a conception of morality that has a casuistic sense.” And what is this “rigidity that is far from a discernment of situations”? Nothing other than the constant moral teaching of the Church as opposed to Bergoglian “discernment.” Indeed, it is the very same teaching Bergoglio himself encountered when he was a seminarian. But what the Church has always taught is not to be allowed in Bergoglian seminaries, where “discernment” is now to be the master word governing moral theology. For as Francis declared
only days ago: “This is the time of discernment in the church and the world.” Francis sees his arrival in Rome as an event that marks the dawning of a new moral age.

This megalomaniacal conviction that he can “make all things new (Rev. 21:5)” is hardly confined to the sphere of sexual morality, however. Recall the Bergoglian “dream” enunciated the manifesto Evangelii Gaudium: “I dream of… a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” 

Note the megalomaniacal opposition between Francis’ dream and the Church’s self-preservation. It now appears that not even the infallible teaching against women’s ordination is safe from the “dream.” Francis seemed to uphold that teaching during one of his airborne press conferences: “For the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the last clear word was given by Saint John Paul II, and this holds.” Evidently, however, “the last clear word” is not to be understood as simply “the last word.” Looming into view only days ago was a trial balloon the size of a zeppelin concerning women priests. In an article in La Civiltà Cattolica, the Jesuit magazine vetted by the Holy See and edited by Bergoglio’s “mouthpiece,” Antonio Spadaro, S.J., deputy editor Giancarlo Pani, another Modernist Jesuit, openly challenges the clearly infallible declaration by John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that the Church “has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” As Pani declares:

In the judgment of ‘La Civiltà Cattolica,’ therefore, not only should the infallibility and definitiveness of John Paul II’s “no” to women priests be brought into doubt, but more important than this “no” are the developments that the presence of woman in the family and society has undergone in the 21st century….

One cannot always resort to the past, as if only in the past are there indications of the Spirit. Today as well the Spirit is guiding the Church and suggesting the courageous assumption of new perspectives.

It is surely Francis who has launched the zeppelin. As Pani concludes, Francis “is the first not to limit himself to what is already known, but wants to delve into a complex and relevant field, so that it may be the Spirit who guides the Church.” Leaving no doubt of his approval of Pani’s attack on a dogma regarding the sacred priesthood, days later Francis addressed the staff of La Civiltà Cattolica, ostentatiously praising them in public “for having faithfully accompanied all the fundamental passages of my pontificate.”

During the same gathering, Francis shared with his fellow Jesuits more of the Modernist nonsense that characterizes, incredibly enough, what is increasingly revealed to be a radically anti-Catholic pontificate:

  • “Remain in the open sea! A Catholic must not have fear of the open sea, nor should she or he seek the shelter of safe ports….”
  • “Above all, as Jesuits you must avoid clinging to the certainties and securities. The Lord calls you to go out on mission, to go to the deep and not to go on pension to protect certainties.”
  • “Only restlessness will give peace to the heart of a Jesuit…”
  • “If you wish to inhabit bridges and frontiers, you have to have a restless mind and heart”
  • “Be writers and journalists of an ‘incomplete’ thinking, that is open, and not closed or rigid. Your faith opens your thinking. Be guided by the prophetic spirit of the Gospel to have an original vision, that is alive, dynamic, not obvious[!]”
  • “Rigid thinking is not divine because Jesus assumed our flesh which is not rigid, except at the moment of death.”

What can one say about a theologically dilettantish Pope who publicly belittles “obvious” theology, seriously calls for “incomplete thinking,” likens uncompromising orthodoxy to the rigor mortis of a corpse, and feels no compunction about subverting the Church’s infallible teaching on faith and morals? How are we to confront this ever-worsening mockery of a papacy? 

That we have a duty to speak our mind in opposition to this destructive pontificate cannot be doubted, and more and more Catholics are doing so publicly and even harshly. And at this point one is tempted to think that sheer mockery is the only effective form of opposition to a Pope who has ignored all respectful entreaties, even from cardinals. Perhaps mocking the mockery is all that is left to us. Hence we have seen in recent days derisive posters of Francis plastered all over Rome and a parody of L’Osservatore Romano emailed to cardinals, bishops and Vatican personnel, wherein Francis finally responds to the dubia of the four cardinals by answering “Yes and No” to each question.  

But aside from the august dignity of the papal office, as to which mockery can hardly be fitting, I don’t think mockery will do any good even if it might alleviate our angst on a base emotional level. For it seems to me that the most charitable explanation of this pontificate—nay, the only charitable explanation—is that the former Jose Mario Bergoglio is suffering from a delusional disorder that renders him immune to any form of criticism.

By this I mean “one or more non-bizarre delusions of thinking” of a “grandiose type” that involves “some… special relationship with… God”—in this case, the “God of surprises” who is really the alter ego of Francis, acting in a feedback loop of self-delusion that produces a state of subjective certitude and even calm.

Such a delusion of grandeur would not be incompatible with the violent outbursts of temper Bergoglio has exhibited, for with delusional disorders “mood episodes are relatively brief compared with the total duration of the delusional periods.” 

And there we have it, I believe. Only a delusional disorder would explain how a man who is provoking dissent, disorder and division throughout the Church like no other Pope in Church history, while scheming and plotting the systematic neutralization of his orthodox critics, can (
as he recently revealed) sleep peacefully every night, write pious letters to Saint Joseph about his problems and maintain “a healthy ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude” while experiencing “a very particular feeling of profound peace… that has never left me.”

So how do we confront this mockery of a papacy? By constant prayers for the Pope and the Church, of course, but also by a constant public defense of the truth against the many errors of the Bergoglian faux Magisterium of informal remarks, winks and nods, and documents deliberately written to say Yes and No at the same time while their author observes a stony silence in response to respectful questions about what he really means—as if we didn’t know!

But let no one think Francis can be shamed into changing his course by mockery or any other form of criticism. Delusions know no shame. “I am at peace. I don’t know how to explain it,” says the man from Argentina. And neither do we, save for the explanation that he is profoundly delusional. Either that, or orthodox Catholics are all delusional for thinking that the doctrines of the Faith, revealed by Christ and the Apostles and preserved intact for two millennia by the Church’s Magisterium and discipline, are immutable truths not even a Pope can alter.

Which alternative seems more probable to you, dear reader?

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Christopher A. Ferrara

Christopher A. Ferrara: President and lead counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Inc., Mr. Ferrara has been at the forefront of the legal defense of pro-lifers for the better part of a quarter century. Having served with the legal team for high profile victims of the culture of death such as Terri Schiavo, he has long since distinguished him a premier civil rights Catholic lawyer.  Mr. Ferrara has been a lead columnist for The Remnant since 2000 and has authored several books published by The Remnant Press, including the bestseller The Great Façade. Together with his children and wife, Wendy, he lives in Richmond, Virginia.