As we are living in unspeakably evil times, let us imagine that the unspeakably evil happens:
Saturday, 13 January 2017, Pope Francis solemnly proclaims ex cathedra the truth of the Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide Protestants tenets. He orders all Catholics to adhere to the new proclamation, which he very formally declares infallible in exercise of the Pope's Extraordinary Magisterium.
Can you say, then, that the Church is a fraud? Certainly not. The Church cannot be a fraud, because it is de fide that the Church is the Bride of Christ and if we declare that false we must declare the whole of Christianity false, which is an absurdity considering that the Church, sound theology and sound reasoning tell us the contrary.
Are works, in this case, not necessary anymore for salvation? Certainly not, as what was true yesterday must be true today and if I do not believe today what I believed yesterday it means that I have lost the faith, and that's that.
If, therefore, the Unspeakably Evil happens, what conclusion shall we draw?
That the Church still exists. With all her rules, traditions and institution.
And that the Sea is vacant.
This is the correct understanding of the situation. Any other interpretation leads ad absurdum, because it contradicts Catholic teaching either in one way (the Pope has the authority to change doctrine) or in the other (a pope who officially, solemnly proclaim heresy has not, ipso facto, made the sea vacant).
Obviously, such a Pope would still be, factually, sitting on the throne of Peter. But it would be only this: a de facto situation which is the fruit of abuse and usurpation, as if Napoleon had proclaimed himself Pope. We would have the duty to refuse obedience to both the usurper and everyone asking us to help him in any way, shape or form.
If the worst happens, there is still a simple, logical, coherent explanation fully in line with Catholic doctrine.
Do not lose your sleep, therefore, thinking what would happen if the Unspeakably Evil came to pass. The Church that has protected sixty generations before you will protect you, too. But she will demand that you believe in Her and in Her Truth, and in Her Bridegroom and His Promise, too. To abandon the Church when you have most need of Her (and She has most need, in a sense, to be defended by you) would be the height of pride and arrogance. But you will stand on the side of Christ and His Bridegroom, no matter what.
The best punishment for this idiot would be to ignore him utterly and completed (notabene: it would really be burning at the stake, but he is Pope so that doesn’t count). However, for the benefit of the very ill instructed it might be good to say one thing or two about the idiocy of this man.
Francis has no idea himself – nor could he – how any “reconciliation” can be achieved that avoids conversion of Proddies to Catholicism and goes beyond the uneducated “hey, let’s ignore our difference; they are only the squabbles of theologians” he goes peddling around. Once confronted with hard facts, his only answer is to sow confusion. He is a peasant invited to speak in front of theologians, and who has nothing more to say to them than a Rodney King-style “can we all just get along?”.
No, you git. We can’t. The matter of heresy or orthodoxy strike at the very core of what we are called to be. It isn’t just something that makes for embarrassing conversions at the Thanksgiving table. Only someone who has no idea of what the Church is can consider being voluntarily out of it a matter of secondary importance.
The “joint statement” is a stunning example of complicity in heresy and, it seems to me, outright blasphemy. Mind, this is joint, so Francis has to answer for it, too.
“We experience the pain of those who share their whole lives, but cannot share God’s redeeming presence at the eucharistic table. We acknowledge our joint pastoral responsibility to respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger of our people to be one in Christ.”
What a Catholic (not Francis, of course) and a Lutheran understand under “eucharistic table” are two completely different pairs of shoes. Only a peasant bent on sowing confusion could sign a statement that simply ignores his duty to defend the Truth and Dogma of Transubstantiation and downplays it to an utterly undefined, and acceptable even for darn Lutherans, “redeeming presence”.
Then notice the utter stupidity of comparing the allegedly secondary, momentary episode of the “eucharistic table” with the “whole lives”: these two Protestant idiots obviously consider it as very “off” that once two people share their lies together, this annoying “detail” of the “eucharistic table” should remind them that one is a heretic, and the other has married a heretic.
In the end, none of the two asses had any solution that goes beyond the mere ignoring and downplaying. None had a thought going beyond the most childish platitudes. These are two peasants trying to reinvent the wheel, and lamenting the fact that the feat appears somewhat difficult to achieve.
There is only one Church and only one Truth. The only way for those who are out is to get in. No Pope, no matter how stupid, heretical, or perverted, can change a iota on that.
Congratulation, Frankie boy. You have shown the world, once again, how stupid you are.
If you hate Catholicism, but can't say it out loud, you will find one thousand and one ways to send the message that Catholicism is a wise choice at best, and oppressive machine at worst. You will, most importantly, always convey the impression that there is nothing particularly right in Catholicism, much less that everything that is not Catholic is wrong.
You can accept a crucifix with a hammer and sickle, mock those who count their rosaries, or simply explain to the half-asleep that Catholicism is this or the other, which is exactly the contrary of what your Grandma always thought it was.
Suddenly everyone is good in his own way, and we must admire all of them because the Pope, in his vast mercy, either promotes or does not criticise them. Other religions, heresies, no religion at all. If one follows his conscience, who is he to judge?
We now know of another way.
The Council in Rome decides to dedicate a square to Martin Luther.
A couple of days ago, a deeply disquieting news appeared on the Internet: the Pope would participate to the “celebrations” for the 500 anniversary of the start of the Heresy of Luther in 2017. The source was attributed to the member of the heretical sect who had just visited the Holy Father.
I have waited before I start to rant on this, because this seemed to me too big even for Pope Francis. Too big even for a world that has seen abominations like the Assisi gatherings. Too big by far.
Still, it would be stupid to deny I was scared it might be true in some way: say, not in the sense that the Pope “celebrates” Luther as such, but that he participates in some form in the commemorations and says to everyone how beautiful it is that we share the joy of our Christian lives, and blabla, and blabla.. If put in practice, this would have been tantamount to something rather similar in the final effect – and more importantly, perceived to be so by everyone irrespective of nuances – to an outright celebration; though of course accompanied by the usual V II doublespeak along the lines of “we are not celebrating Luther, we are celebrating that we are Christians together with those who celebrate Luther”.
From what I gather up to now, nothing of the sort has happened. Rather, the Pope met one representative of the above mentioned heretical sect, and the latter simply expressed his “desire” that the Church may participate in a joint celebration of the most dangerous and, in the long term, most devastating heretic in the history of Christianity. We complain of stupid Catholic priests, but compared to these Lutherans mock-priests even our idiots seem rocks of realism and common sense. Note that the Vatican has already expressed the Church’s opinion on the matter less than one year ago.
If Francis is still Pope in four years’ time, we will see what he makes of the “occasion”.
Let’s hope it’s not too bad. We can, I think, confidently say it will not be a “joint celebration”. Unfortunately, I do not think there is any real possibility of an Ordinariate, either, albeit one would wonder how many in Germany would find it an attractive proposition; a country where Catholics marry Protestants and then complain they can’t receive communion with them.
For the moment, we can relax and enjoy the “Luther Insult Generator”.
You may want to read here at Insight Scoop some interesting reflections about Pentecost. The links between the Old and New Testament are very neatly presented, as is the reference to the voice of God being, always in the Old Testament, associated with fire.
This could be the starting point of some short reflections about Pentecost. How many Catholics know what Pentecost is? Yes, the churchgoers are properly instructed in this matter and all of them would – I hope – answer without hesitation if asked. But we are talking of 20% of the Catholic population.
What do the others know about Pentecost? Have you tried a small mini-poll among your non-churchgoing friends? You might be surprised!
I hate quoting Martin Luther, but I must admit that the image of the good tree bearing good fruit is – if not abused theologically – a very powerful and efficacious one.
For one and a half generation we have been surrounded by clergy more worried with spreading social issues among the general public, than sound Catholicism. When the non-churchgoing Catholic hears about Catholicism, it will generally be on radio and tv, most often from non-Catholic sources. It would be, then, particularly important that the Catholic clergy tries to approach the mass media with the Catholic message, rather than doubling politicians’ issues.
If the press agencies were, on occasion of all important religious festivities, bombarded with press releases of bishops clearly centered on the religious feast at hand, no doubt some press agency would relaunch them and from there they would find echo in the mass media, even if only as an excuse for the wrong kind of debate. Similarly, if the bishops started making clear to the media outlets that they will only speak to them if the interview/program/initiative allows them to properly handle religious issues, there would certainly be those among the journalists ready to recognise a need among the public and deal with those issues. Little by little, the message would be out among non-churchgoers, and the general public would be regularly reminded of a world that is not dominated by social instances, but of something much more important: their own path to salvation.
We can clearly see from historical sources that exactly this used to be the case. The Church was very attentive to go to the media for the right reasons. Look at this and notice how the Church was clearly bent on reaching the faithful – and the non faithful – in their cinema seats, all over the country.
After Vatican II, this assertive communication of the Catholic message outside of the Church has been greatly lessened. Nowadays the Catholic clergy is too often Catholic from the pulpit, but they become only a pale, vaguely religious “social presence” when outside of the church, seemingly uninterested in promoting and spreading the Catholic message among non Catholics and non churchgoers. The priest as vehicle of Catholic values has become, once outside the church, the priest as the defender of social justice or, even, the environment.
Can we honestly say that the tree of Vatican II is bearing good fruit? Can we, comparing with two generations ago (many of us still vividly remember people born at the end of the last XIX century, and have through them a clear idea of how the world was organised then), honestly say that feasts like Pentecost are now better appreciated than this used to be the case? Can we say that there is not enough discussion about social justice so that we need our bishop to comment on the government’s policy? Can we say that there is enough discussion about Pentecost, and about salvation, so that there is no need for the clergy to talk to the public about them?
Without aggressive spreading of a Catholic message, Pentecost will be vastly ignored by the media and its message will therefore fail to reach – even if only as foot note, or as question mark – the great, non-churchgoing or non-Christian public.
The tree of Vatican II is giving no fruit.