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Thursday, January 2, 2020

CHANGELING POPE: Bergoglio’s War on All Things Catholic

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ON JUNE 2, 1951, in his encyclical Evangelii Praecones, Ven. Pope Pius XII warned that “the whole human race is today allowing itself to be driven into two opposing camps, for Christ or against Christ. The human race is involved today in a supreme crisis, which will issue in its salvation by Christ, or in its dire destruction.”


At the same time, however, Pius XII observed that the Church had responded to the civilizational crisis with a rapid, even explosive, increase in missionary activity throughout the world:

We should like first of all to touch here briefly on the progress that has happily been made. In 1926 the number of Catholic missions amounted to 400, but today it is almost 600. At that date the number of Catholics in the missions did not exceed 15,000,000 while today it is almost 20,800,000. At that time the number of native and foreign priests in the missions was about 14,800; today their number is more than 26,800. Then all Bishops in the missions were foreigners; during the past 25 years 88 missions have been entrusted to native clergy; moreover with the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy and the appointment of native Bishops in quite a few places, it has become more apparent that the religion of Jesus Christ is really Catholic and that no part of the world is excluded from it.

A mere twelve years later, however, the Second Vatican Disaster inaugurated the process by which “ecumenism,” “dialogue” and “ecumenical dialogue”—utter novelties previously unknown in the Church until the conciliar texts—drastically eroded belief in the repeatedly defined dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church and thus induced a de facto decommissioning of the divine commission. This veritable demissionization of the Church was accompanied by a collapse in vocations and an unprecedented liturgical deformation that produced what the future Pope Benedict XVI rightly described as a parallel “collapse of the liturgy” [“crollo della liturgia”].

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Although these ruinous changes in the Church have undeniably provoked what is now the worst crisis in her history, the current occupant of the Chair of Peter is not content with this legacy of ruin. There has not been nearly enough upheaval in the Church to satisfy Bergoglio, whose early advice to “young people” was to “make a mess” (¡Hagan lío!).

In his December message to La Civiltà Cattolica on its 170th anniversary, Bergoglio told the editors: “And above all, do not be content with making superficial proposals or abstract synthesis: accept instead the challenge of the overflowing restlessness of the present time, in which God is always at work.” Bergoglio’s God is a restless God, and he means to serve his restless God by tearing down as much as possible of what still remains standing.  Hence in his “Christmas Greetings” to the Roman Curia on December 21,  citing only his own prior musings, Bergoglio declared:

We need to initiate processes and not just occupy spaces: “God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history.  Time initiates processes and space crystalizes them.  God is in history, in the processes.  We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes.  We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces.  God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history.  This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics.  And it requires patience, waiting” ….

The claim that God “manifests himself in historical revelation” and that “God is in history, in the processes,” sounds like flotsam from a half-remembered reading of Hegel or some Modernist theologian among the Right Hegelians who applied religious lipstick to Hegel’s atheist pig.  While Christ is indeed the Lord of History, this is not to say that the course of the merely human affairs of fallen men is a continuing self-revelation of God via divinely directed “processes” and “new historical dynamics.”

The same view of the out-rolling of God in historical self-revelation was voiced by Jacques Maritain after his conversion to political liberalism, even though he professed to detest Hegel: “[I]t would be to go against God Himself and to wrestle with the supreme government of history to claim to immobilize in a past form, in a univocal form, the ideal of a culture worthy of our action.”  (Integral Humanism, 141). That is, God is done with the old Christendom, or what Maritain called “the sacral age,” and so Christians must move on with Him to the age of state secularity as contributors to Maritain’s “integral humanism.” The deluded visionary of the Vatican II era believed that there would thus arise a “New Christendom”: “pluralistic” and exhibiting a merely “temporal unity” that “would not be the sacral unity of the Christendom of the Middle Ages” and would “not require of itself the unity of faith and religion [his emphasis].”  That is, a Christendom that is not Christian.  (Ibid., 172)

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Bergoglio considers such rhetorical flimflammery evidence that Maritain was a “great thinker.”  Quoth Bergoglio in one of his innumerable rambling interviews with journalists: “States must be secular. Confessional states end badly. That goes against the grain of History. I believe that a version of laicity accompanied by a solid law guaranteeing religious freedom offers a framework for going forward.”  Note the capitalization of History, which is reified into an entity through whose “processes” God progressively reveals Himself and directs human events. Do we not see here hints of Hegel’s absolute Spirit, which in the “merry-go-round of the dialectic,” to quote Cornelio Fabro, turns out to be nothing but man-made God rather than God made man in the person of Christ?

Confessional states “ended badly” only because Church-hating revolutionaries ended them by force and violence.  But, like Maritain, Bergoglio here effaces the distinction between the positive and the merely permissive will of God, which leads inevitably to the conclusion that God positively willed the destruction of Christendom through the work of religious and then philosophical subversives, followed by violence against altar and throne by revolutionary fanatics, including outright genocide in France. On this view of history, to oppose the radically post-Christian “grand coalition of the status quo,” as John Rao calls it, is “to go against God Himself,” who has laid down “the grain of History.” This explains Bergoglio’s antipathy toward the rising populist and Christian movements in Europe and Latin America, for which he has nothing but criticism, as opposed to the EU, the United Nations, and assorted socialist and communist regimes for which he exhibits nothing but sympathy.

Moreover, on the Bergoglian view of history, earlier voiced by Maritain under the influence of his dear friend Saul Alinsky, the revolutionaries who destroyed Christendom are God’s prophets in the sense that they enact the “processes” of history in which He is found. As Maritain explained in his dreadful tome Man and State, “The people need prophets” to move them in the right direction. These “prophetic shock-minorities,” as he called them, have included “the Fathers of the French Revolution or of the American Constitution, of men like Tom Paine and Thomas Jefferson” and “the originators of the Italian Risorgimento.” 

Maritain admits that shock-minorities can abuse their power to awaken the people—who certainly need to be awakened—but as to his favorite examples, the American Revolution and the risorgimento, he argues that “the majority went wrong and the shock minorities were right.” Their role, he says “is to awaken the people, to awaken them to something better than everyone’s daily business, to the sense of a supra-individual task to be performed.”  That this “awakening” of “the people” invariably requires the violent death of many of them at the hands of the shock-minorities seems little to have troubled Maritain in his post-conservative liberal phase. Nor does it trouble Bergoglio, who shuns Salvini while he sells out the Catholics of China to the butchers of Beijing, whose ongoing genocide of the unborn he never seems to notice and whose persecution of the Church, which he enabled, he studiously avoids mentioning.

Tellingly, in his Christmas address to the Curia, Bergoglio alludes to the risorgimento indirectly by quoting from the famous novel Il Gattopardo (“The Leopard”). Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel is a brilliant, often lyrical, yet unrelievedly dreary account of the decline and death of a world-weary Sicilian prince, Don Fabrizio Corbrera, and the old order he represents, which is in the process of being overturned by Garibaldi, Mazzini and Cavour during the triumph of the risorgimento (“resurgence” or “revival”) in 1860-61, following the failed Revolution of 1848. After a sufficient number of Italians had been slaughtered, the whole of Italy was subjected to “unification” under a figurehead king (Vittorio Emanuele II of the House of Savoy) in a parliamentary system “ratified” by “the people” in the rigged plebiscites of 1861. The papal states were definitively abolished with the capture of Rome in 1870, and the Pope would henceforth be confined to the Roman enclave that would later (in 1929) become the Vatican city-state.

Bergoglio quotes Don Fabrizio’s nephew, Tancredi, for what he characterizes as the “enigmatic expression” that “if we want everything to stay the same, then everything has to change.” But there is nothing enigmatic about it.  Tancredi means only that in order to preserve one’s privileges in the new order one must cooperate with the revolutionaries and support their newly installed king, for otherwise “they’ll foist a republic on us.”

So Trancredi does his part by killing his fellow Italians during Garibaldi’s invasion of Sicily, for which he is rewarded with an officer’s rank in the much more respectable national army, by which time Garibaldi has been cast aside as a brigand by the newly-empowered bourgeois elites, many of whom have been enriched by the seizure of Church estates. As Don Fabrizio famously observes: “We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who’ll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas; and the whole lot of us, Leopards, jackals, and sheep, we’ll all go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth.”

Bergoglio opines that Tancredi’s concept of change is “a matter of simply putting on new clothes.”  It is more than that, of course, as the risorgimento involved a violent rending of the fabric of Catholic social order in Italy, including the Pope’s temporal power, during the wave of revolutions that annihilated Christendom in the name of Liberty—all of them the work of “prophetic shock-minorities,” not ordinary people for whom revolution “had little obvious appeal,” as Denis Mack Smith observes of the risorgimento.

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At any rate, Bergoglio demands more of the Church of his “vision” than the revolutionary changes to which the Church has already been subjected. In his mind, the post-conciliar revolution in the Church is like the failed Italian revolution in 1848 so that what is needed now is a finalizing ecclesial risorgimento. The ecclesial change of which he speaks incessantly in his demagogic rants—change is mentioned some 32 times in the Christmas message to the Curia alone—is more radical still. 

As he says in the Christmas message, ours is “not simply an epoch of changes, but an epochal change.   We find ourselves living at a time when change is no longer linear, but epochal.” The change that must still happen in both Church and State is not “something marginal, incidental or merely external” but “morehumanand moreChristian…  beginning with man as its centre: ananthropological conversion.” 

Whatever that Modernist mumbo-jumbo means, this much is clear:  the Vatican II aggiornamento, imposed by a shock-minority while the faithful slept, is not nearly enough to satisfy Bergoglio. As he puts it in the same address: “Linked to this difficult historical process [of change] there is always the temptation to fall back on the past (also by employing new formulations), because it is more reassuring, familiar, and, to be sure, less conflictual. This too is part of the process and risk of setting in motion significant changes [my emphasis].”

Note well: The Bergoglian imperative of “significant changes” is not fulfilled even by the “new formulations” of old doctrine that were supposedly the great contribution of the conciliar texts and later Roman documents, which have generally buried the truths of the Faith under a mountain of stultifying verbosity.

What kind of change, then, would qualify as “significant” in the Bergoglian scheme? Quite simply, a change of not less than everything in the Church.  To recall once again Bergoglio’s infamous “dream” as enunciated in Evangelii Gaudium: “I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, 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.” 

In short, as in society, everything in the Church must change. And don’t ask why! Moreover, everything must change all the time, for that is the ineluctable will of the God who “manifests himself in historical revelation… in history, in the processes”—the processes that Bergoglio will prophetically initiate. As he warns us: “We need to initiate processes and not just occupy spaces…Time initiates processes and space crystalizes them…. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history.  This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics.  And it requires patience, waiting.”

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Patience.  Waiting.  Like a saboteur who lights a fuse long enough for him to walk calmly away from the scene before the explosion occurs, Bergoglio intends to “initiate processes” whose effects will be seen long after he is gone. As Father Adolfo Nicolas, the former head of the Jesuits, reported: “Pope Francis once told him that he hoped to remain as Pontiff until ‘the changes are irreversible.’” As we have seen, Bergoglio has already “initiated” some of these “processes,” which, thank God, are quite reversible despite his delusional Hegelian notion of a divinely determined unidirectional “grain of history.”

Bergoglio’s reference in the same Christmas message to “change that is grounded mainly in fidelity to the depositum fidei and the Tradition” is merely Modernist doubletalk. The important word in the phrase is “mainly”—the adjectival loophole through which the never-ending processes of change must flow beyond the confining “spaces” of the past, even the spaces wherein we find “new formulations” of Church teaching.

Meanwhile, as always, the “rigid” opponents of Bergoglio’s process theology—which is to say, Catholics who believe the Faith has absolutely invariant content unaffected by the mere passage of time—must be denounced from the demagogue’s bully pulpit.  Accordingly, as Bergoglio reminded the Roman Curia:

Here, there is a need to be wary of the temptation torigidity [his emphasis].  A rigidity born of the fear of change, which ends up erecting fences and obstacles on the terrain of the common good, turning it into a minefield of incomprehension and hatred.  Let us always remember that behind every form of rigidity lies some kind of imbalance.  Rigidity and imbalance feed one another in a vicious circle.  And today this temptation to rigidity has become very real.

In other words, those who fear change are mentally ill.  That is the rhetorical level on which—why mince words?—this arrogant fanatic operates.  We must have change! The change decreed by the God who is present in the historical processes of which Bergoglio is the prophetic initiator. There is no need to be specific.  The relentless unfolding of initiated processes will speak for itself.  Change, never-ending change, is the very mode of divine grace in history. It wants only prophets to pave the way by initiating the processes, just as John paved the way for Jesus. And Bergoglio is such a one.

This, then, is the Bergoglian risorgimento.  After the relative calm of the Benedictine Respite, which threatened to demonstrate that Bergoglio’s “processes” are neither divine nor irreversible, the post-conciliar revolution resumes in full, with interest, and bids to make even the devastation of the Vatican II aggiornamento look conservative by comparison.

The Church has survived horrible pontificates and she will survive even this one.  And like all the previous crises in the Church, this one too will end in a true and proper restoration.  Unlike time’s arrow, history does not point in only one direction. But now—please God, right now—would seem to be an opportune time for the Lord of History to give Bergoglio that history lesson.

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Last modified on Friday, January 3, 2020
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.