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Friday, July 16, 2021

Pope Francis's “Catholic” Guide: The Wide Gates to Nowhere

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Pope Francis's “Catholic” Guide: The Wide Gates to Nowhere

“Enter ye in at the narrow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Through this lesson and many others like it, Jesus taught His disciples and us that we must strive to do His will if we wish to save our souls. We must deny ourselves and take up the crosses that God has given us:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For he that will save his life, shall lose it; and he that shall lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)

This will invariably require a struggle against our own fallen human nature, in which we can prevail only by accepting God’s grace. For this task, God has given us indispensable assistance: Jesus established His Church to lead souls to the narrow gate and along the straight way to salvation. The Catholic Church is, in a sense, the divinely appointed guide for the narrow gate.

What signs do we see from the new guides? The presence of Pachamama idols at the Vatican? Francis’s gentle treatment of Fr. James Martin and threats to traditional Catholics? The closing of Catholic parishes? Widespread abandonment of the Faith? Are these signs greater than those of the past two thousand years?

Through the centuries leading up to Vatican II, one needed only to find the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church to find the way to the narrow gate. Gradually since Vatican II, however, the Church’s leaders — the “official” guides, so to speak — have indicated that the wide gate is not all that bad. Pope John Paul II’s Prayer Meeting at Assisi, for instance, implicitly suggested to the world that the Church endorsed the wide gate.

Today the Church’s “official” guides are much more explicit. Indeed, whether he is sincere or not, Pope Francis has become the model guide for the wide gate. Ostensibly he has the authority of the Church, which lends credibility to his message. And what is his message? A small sampling of his homilies and Angelus messages from the past few months indicates his deep commitment to the wide gate. More specifically, we can see that Francis expounds a version of Protestant beliefs that eschews a common sense reading of Holy Scripture in favor of a feel-good assurance that love is all we need:

* February 14, 2021 (Message: Jesus loves us as we are): “Instead of staying there and feeling sorry for ourselves or crying over our failings, complaining, and instead of this, let us go to Jesus just as we are; “Jesus I am like this”. We will feel that embrace, that embrace of Jesus that is so beautiful.”

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* May 23, 2021 (Message: The Holy Spirit allows us to look past “religious confines” that restrain and divide us): “The Spirit changes the heart, broadens the view of the disciples. He enables them to communicate to everyone the great, limitless works of God, surpassing the cultural confines and religious confines within which they were accustomed to thinking and living. He enables the Apostles to reach others, respecting their possibilities of listening and understanding, in the culture and language of each one. In other words, the Holy Spirit puts different people in communication, achieving the unity and universality of the Church. And today this truth tells us so much, this reality of the Holy Spirit, where in the Church there are small groups who always seek division, to separate themselves from others. This is not the Spirit of God. The spirit of God is harmony, it is unity, it unites differences.”

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* June 6, 2021 (Message: Jesus responds to Judas’s betrayal with mercy, just as He does for sinners who receive the Eucharist — we should not let our sins make us afraid of receiving Communion): “It is on the night he is betrayed that Jesus gives us the Bread of Life. He gives us the greatest gift while he feels the deepest abyss in his heart: the disciple who eats with Him, who dips the morsel in the same plate, is betraying Him. And betrayal is the worst suffering for one who loves. And what does Jesus do? He reacts to the evil with a greater good. He responds to Judas’ ‘no’ with the ‘yes’ of mercy. He does not punish the sinner, but rather gives His life for him; He pays for him. When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus does the same with us: he knows us; he knows we are sinners; and he knows we make many mistakes, but he does not give up on joining his life to ours. He knows that we need it, because the Eucharist is not the reward of saints, no, it is the Bread of sinners. This is why he exhorts us: ‘Do not be afraid! Take and eat’.”

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* June 23, 2021 (Message: The rigid (i.e. bad) Christians are those who think they have the right beliefs and try to convert others; the real Gospel is one that is flexible about what we think and do): “Today too, as then, there is a temptation to close oneself up in some of the certainties acquired in past traditions. But how can we recognize these people? For example, one of the features of this way of proceeding is inflexibility. Faced with the preaching of the Gospel that makes us free, that makes us joyful, these people are rigid. Always the rigidity: you must do this, you must do that.... Inflexibility is typical of these people.”

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* June 27, 2021 (Message: We should not be judgmental; the greatest illness in life is a lack of love (rather than sin)): “What is the greatest illness of life? Cancer? Tuberculosis? The pandemic? No. The greatest illness of life is a lack of love; it is not being able to love. . . . Jesus asks you for a gaze that does not stop at the outward appearance, but that goes to the heart: a gaze that is not judgmental,  — let us stop judging others — Jesus asks us for a gaze that is non-judgmental, but rather welcoming.”

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* July 4, 2021 (Message: We need to be ready to change our religious ideas, especially if we think we know our Faith): “It often happens in life that we seek from our experiences and even from people only what conforms to our own ideas and ways of thinking so as never to have to make an effort to change. And this can even happen with God, and even to us believers, to us who think we know Jesus, that we already know so much about Him and that it is enough to repeat the same things as always. And this is not enough with God. But without openness to what is new and, above all – listen well – openness to God’s surprises, without amazement, faith becomes a tiring litany that slowly dies out and becomes a habit, a social habit.”

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On a natural level, most of us can appreciate the emotional appeal of Pope Francis’s message. No rational person wants to lose his or her soul, and many of us love others who are evidently on the wrong path. As Catholics, we should want as many souls as possible to be saved. But, as Catholics, we also realize that Pope Francis’s message is not the one Jesus entrusted to His Church.

In his The Mystery of Jesus, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre provides a valuable distinction between the Catholic Faith and the religion advanced by Pope Francis:

“The faith of Protestants is not at all the faith of Catholics. It consists in a natural sentiment of confidence in God. It is not the adherence of the intelligence to revealed truths because of the authority of God who reveals them. Yet such is the definition of the Catholic Faith: it is the submission of our understanding to objective truths that are given to us by divine revelation. For the Protestants, it is merely a sentiment of confidence in our Lord. One need not be worried about one’s salvation, it will come of itself.”

We need not puzzle much over which version of Protestant beliefs the pope expounds — it matters only that they are not Catholic.

The pope’s opposition to “rigid” traditional Catholics confirms that he knows his teachings diverge from the Church’s historical beliefs (i.e., Catholicism). At times it seems that the pope seeks to confront Jesus, to persuade Him to be as Francis wants Him to be. It is as though the pope dares Jesus to damn all the souls that the apparent leaders of His Church are leading to the wide gate. At the very least, it appears that many nominal Catholics count on the “Francis defense” when they face Jesus in judgment: they imagine that they can simply defend their choice of the wide gate by saying that Christ’s vicar on earth told them it was the way to heaven.

RELATED: WE RESIST FRANCIS TO HIS FACE: Pachamama Pope Anathematizes Latin Mass
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For several reasons, though, this enthusiasm for the wide gate makes us recall the words of Jesus immediately after He told His disciples that there are few who enter the narrow gate: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matthew 7:15-16)

Did Truth Change? In his 1893 encyclical, Providentissimus Deus, Pope Leo XIII wrote that “truth cannot contradict truth.” Various progressive Catholic theologians (i.e. sophists) have attempted to work around this self-evident principle with arguments that our understandings of certain truths change over time so that we end up with apparent contradictions that are not really contradictions. St. Pius X saw this and included the following affirmation in his Oath Against Modernism: “I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously.”

Alas, although modern “higher education” tends to render minds unable to grasp this basic principle, most ordinary people understand that truth cannot contradict truth. Only a fool would believe that the wide gate now leads to salvation when Jesus told us it leads to perdition.

What Signs Accompany the New Teaching? In His infinite wisdom and mercy, God allowed the Apostles and other early Christians to perform miracles to give testimony to the truth of the Faith. In such way, members of the Mystical Body of Christ can have great confidence that the often difficult teachings of Christ — passed to us through His Church — are truly from God. Surely a benevolent God would not have us abandon what the Church has taught for two thousand years without similar miracles. So what signs do we see from the new guides? The presence of Pachamama idols at the Vatican? Francis’s gentle treatment of Fr. James Martin and threats to traditional Catholics? The closing of Catholic parishes? Widespread abandonment of the Faith? Are these signs greater than those of the past two thousand years?

Many Protestant denominations certainly agree with Pope Francis’s theology, though the more orthodox Protestants increasingly see his teaching as despicably immoral.

What is Wrong with the Narrow Path? Why do the new guides have such antipathy for those who continue the Church’s teaching about the narrow path? How can it be that every other path is now fine, but the narrow path is no longer acceptable? According to Pope Francis and his fellow wide gate guides, the “lost sheep” are fine however they are, as long as they stay away from the narrow gate and know God loves them. We know that God can neither deceive nor be deceived, so how can we possibly believe that the path taken by the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of All Saints, is no longer the preferred path? How can we believe that the martyrs died to avoid the wide gate but would today be scolded by the pope for doing so?

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Curious Resemblance to What Our Enemies Say. Why is it that the wide gate guides sound so much like the avowed enemies of the Church? Many Protestant denominations certainly agree with Pope Francis’s theology, though the more orthodox Protestants increasingly see his teaching as despicably immoral. More importantly, the globalists could not be more pleased with the pope’s teachings. These proponents of the New World Order fear and despise those who seek the narrow gate, for these can only be conquered by making them martyrs. Those who wish to enslave us have a much easier task if we are already enslaved by our sins.

Is there any reason to follow Mr. Theodore McCarrick, Fr. James Martin, and Pope Francis instead of the Blessed Virgin Mary and every other (pre-Vatican II) saint?

Is This a Good Wager? Weighing all of the reasons to enter the narrow gate against the reasons to enter the wide gate, what do we find? Is there any reason to follow Mr. Theodore McCarrick, Fr. James Martin, and Pope Francis instead of the Blessed Virgin Mary and every other (pre-Vatican II) saint?

We might be willing to take the risk of entering the wide gate if we could find an adequate insurance policy to cover the loss of our soul if we get the wager wrong. But even if the devil guaranteed the least excruciating tortures of hell, a lost soul would still feel the incomparable anguish of losing the Beatific Vision. Consider the words of Monsignor Louis Gaston de Segur’s Hell: Heaven’s Great Missionary:

“Can you imagine what this state of despair deprived of any glimmer of hope would be like? And this appalling thought: ‘I lost myself for nothing and forever, for nothing, for the trifles of a moment! It would have been so easy for me to be eternally saved like so many others!’”

What enticements of the wide gate are sufficient compensation for this eternal misery?

Those with eyes to see know that we are in a battle for the Church and for souls. If we wish to follow the standard of Jesus Christ in this battle, we must enter the narrow gate and do all we can to help others do the same. When the apparent leaders of the Church are working to convince so many that the standard of Lucifer is actually that of the Church, it is time for the remnant of faithful Catholics to finally harness enough righteous anger to take up the one weapon that can defeat these madmen — we must become saints. Deus Vult! Our Lady, Queen of All Saints, pray for us!

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Last modified on Monday, July 19, 2021
Robert Morrison | Remnant Columnist

Robert Morrison is a Catholic, husband and father. He is the author of A Tale Told Softly: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Hidden Catholic England.