Once again, the Bishop of Rome has given worldwide scandal. I do not know whether it should be considered positive that soon no one will pay attention to the inordinate rambling of this unspeakable man, or whether people are slowly getting accustomed to an heretical Pope, which can’t be good.
In his relentless work of destruction of everything that is Catholic the Bishop of Rome, shamelessly reigning, attacks the most elementary basis of traditional Catholicism: the fear of the Lord.
I was once told the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, or wisdom. This means that if one does not have the fear of the Lord, he is a fool. Makes sense, I always thought. You can’t believe in the God of the Christians and not be in fear of what this God can do to you if you refuse to acknowledge Him or despise His commandments, or gravely contravene them. Yep, pretty basic stuff.
Obviously, If I believed in the Good Fairy In The Sky, or in the Great Pink Elephant Playing The Trombone, I would be more relaxed. The Fairy would certainly give me a lot of sweets and toys to play with after I die, and the Great Pink Elephant Playing The Trombone must be a gloriously friendly chap, from whom you can take trombone lessons for free, and you’re welcome. But I happen to believe in the God of the Christians, and this is a different God, one who immediately after death will decide whether I have merited terrible torments for all eternity in Hell or will, after the usual period of painful purification, be admitted to be happy with Him forever in Paradise. It makes sense that I should be rather scared, because this is not a driving license examination. There will be no second chance if I get it wrong. I mean, it would be extremely scary even for the driving license, imagine when eternity is at stake.
In short: If I get it seriously wrong, I will be screwed forever. If this does not inspire fear of the Lord, I do not know what will, but I know what kind of person one is that is not fittingly scared.
For twenty centuries, Christians all over the planet have considered this a fundamental tenet of Christian thinking. If the frequent warning of Jesus Himself were not enough, an extremely rich and coherent tradition has always reinforced the concept. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, and he who ignores this reality is a fool.
Of course, I also have recourse to the theological virtue of Hope, by which I can reasonably trust that the Holy Ghost will give me sufficient graces to merit, one day, heaven. But Christianity properly intended has always understood this as a two-way street. I can hope because I both believe and do. My works born of faith are the foundation of my hope. I dare to trust on unmerited grace, but I must still move my ass and follow God’s commandments to the best of my ability.
As I see it – but I am not a theologian – it’s the same as prayer. Even when God wants to give me something, he may still want me to pray that I may have it. I can’t just sit there and wait for things to fall in my lap. I must both pray and act in order to align what I want with what God hopefully wants for me. Therefore, if I want, say, a job I will have to not only pray, but also move my posterior in the appropriate manner so that, in God’s good time, things may happen.
In the same way, I am invited to hope, because my works born of faith allow me to see that this trust is not mere fantasy, but is built on solid and reasonable ground. If I were to think that I can relax and do without the works (because hey, I have the faith providing me with the necessary grace) I would be a Lutheran. If, on the other hand, I were to think that I can merit salvation exclusively through my works – that is: without the need of God’s unmerited grace and necessary assistance – I would be a Pelagian.
The way Christianity has always worked is that one prays God for the gift of hope, and trusts in His graces, graces that we cannot even merit on our own; but at the same time one acts his part, and is wisely scared that he may behave in a way that does not merit him Heaven, because he well knows that if he starts to presume that he will be saved trouble can’t be far away. We can’t merit God’s grace, but it is expected from us that we move our backside anyway. One can have a sound optimism that God will not throw him with the reprobates, but one knows the fear of God’s wrath is a prime element of the behaviour that allows one to be soundly optimistic in the first place.
The child knows his father can punish him swiftly and in an exemplary manner. He may be a beautifully obedient child. Still, this knowledge will be with him always, and there is no denying it does play a role in helping the child to be dutiful. Let the dutiful child believe that the father would never punish him, and you are heading for trouble.
Unsurprisingly, this was seen as the beginning of knowledge, or wisdom. Then if you don’t get this, you truly are an idiot.
Which leads us nicely to Bishop Francis, who is reported with the following pearl of, well, not wisdom:
Do not be afraid of the final judgment of God, when the good will be separated from the bad, because Jesus will always be at our side, because we can rely on the intercession and the benevolence of the saints and because God ” did not send his Son to condemn , but to save ” and “”he who believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned,” and in this sense “the judgment has already begun”.
This is so incoherent, contradictory, and flying in the face of Christianity one does not even know where to begin. Already the first words, “do not be afraid of the final judgment of God” must have been very popular when the joint made the round in some Argentinian seminary, but are nothing to do with Christianity. If there’s something Christians always had and were taught since they were little children is the fear of the final judgment of God.
It would appear “someone” does go to Hell, but it is difficult to see who: atheists who follow their conscience are famously OK; Jews are – says Pope Diana – still part of the Covenant so they can deny Christ and eat kosher at their heart’s content, under Francis’ expert supervision; Muslims are a religion of peace and believe in the same God – says Francis, not I – so they should be fine, too. As for the Christians, they must do nothing else than “rely on the intercession and the benevolence of the Saints”. Hey, “he who believes in him is not condemned”.
Further references are made to wholesale salvation through faith alone: one must only “embrace Jesus” and “all fear and doubt vanishes and leaves a deep joy and expectation”. This sounds like the talk of a drunken Presbyterian, certainly not of a Pope. A Pope should tell you that you either are in mortal sin or you aren’t, and whether you “luv Jesus” is neither here nor there. Many will be surprised on that day. I think Francis has good chances of being the most surprised of them all.
Fornicator? Adulterer? Sodomite? Who is Francis to judge? You are saved by faith Alone! Works of Faith? Obedience? No, no, no!He who believes is not condemned! Why would God throw you in hell? Such a waste!
But then it becomes even funnier, because now Francis tells us that “whoever does not believe in Him is already condemned”. Heck, this must include, then, his Jewish buddy, most of the members of the so-called “religion of peace”, and that nice chap Eugenio with whom he so loves to have a chat every now and then! What about following one’s conscience now? Yesterday’s snow?
And in general, what kind of person is this? Have you ever seen a public personage so relying on his own popularity that he would contradict himself in the most blatant of ways and not be concerned in the least? One day atheists are saved, another day they are already condemned. One day you are a criminal akin to a murderer if you gossip, another provided you love Christ you must be afraid of nothing. One day you can’t love Jesus without loving the Church, another day if you love Jesus you are fine regardless. Francis gives the impression of an old man rambling just for the excitement of the microphones around him, totally unconcerned or even unaware of all the rubbish he is unloading.
I say it again: evil or stupid. It seems to me whichever of the two he is, he is to a high degree.
My recent post about Medjugorje let me reflect about the vast amount of ignorance of basic Christian doctrine that might here and there – instead of the willed rejection of Christian teaching – be present. Whilst only the second would get one a first class seat on the Hell Express, it is necessary for every Christian to be informed of the most elementary truths of Christianity. Most of my readers already know this of course, but a couple of messages on my comment box (deleted, as the comment box on the Medjugorje post was closed) have persuaded me that at times it is better to state the obvious, so there we are.
1. There is no possibility of repentance after death.
“There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.” (CCC 393)
2. The judgment after death is immediate.
“The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith” (CCC 1021).
“Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven […] or immediate and everlasting damnation. (CCC 1022)”.
Besides this concept being a clear tenet of Christianity, and being clearly stated by the Catechism in several places, common sense tells us that it must be so. If we were allowed, as the alleged apparition in Medjugorje apparently states, to have a last shot at salvation after death the absurd consequences would be – to mention just the first ones coming to my mind – as follows:
1. confession would be devoid of every meaning or purpose in the economy of salvation: I’d just wait that I am asked after death.
2. the portals of evildoing would be open to everyone who believes in this tale: every wannabe Stalin would feel free to do whatever he pleases, just paying attention that he doesn’t do anything stupid when he is requested where he would like to reside.
3. the references of Jesus to a hell clearly surprising those who end up there would be devoid of every significance.
The idea that only those would merit hell, who would choose eternal suffering after death, willingly and just out of a great desire to be miserable in all eternity, is naive to the utmost. No Stalin or Hitler ever showed any desire to be miserable during life. Actually, they had a huge desire to be happy; it is only that this desire was ego-driven (and ego-gratification the way of their illusory quest for happiness) rather than tending to God.
It must be clear to everyone devoting two minutes to the matter that such fantasies make a mockery of Christianity and are only good to endanger the souls of those who believe in them; if someone tries to make you believe that the Christian God revealed to us is not merciful enough and that we now need to change our mind as to the way he acts, be sure that that person is doing the work of the devil.
Similarly – and also here, referring to a message I have received a propos Medjugorje -:
3.Private revelations can never change the truth of Christianity. In this case, the example made was from St Giovanni Bosco, who would apparently have had a vision of hell in which people are allowed to choose between heaven and hell after death. Firstly, this is not true as the dream (which you can read here; alas, sedevacantist site, but the text seems faithfully rendered) makes it perfectly clear that when one dies, the time is up. Secondly, a private revelation can never modify Christian tenets; on the contrary, it is the adherence to Christian tenets that is the conditio sine qua non of the private revelation’s credibility.
The dream of St Giovanni Bosco makes for a beautiful reading, and might be the subject of a separate post. But for today’s purposes I’ll leave the details aside.
Apologies to all those who don’t need to be told these elementary truths. Once again, I thought that – in consideration of both the stakes and the dismal situation of Catholic and Christian instruction – it would be better to, for once, state the obvious.