“7 [T]here was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me. 8 For which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
— 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
“There are very fundamental and extremely important doctrinal and dogmatic differences that we have between us and they have to be worked on, as they are with Rome and the Anglicans with ARCIC [the Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission], and we take those extremely seriously,” he said. “It’s absolutely essential that those are worked on. But we need to make sure we’re working on them in the context of churches and ecclesial communities that say no sacrifice is too great to be obedient to the call of Christ that we may be one.”
“God has given you, and given us all, a great Pope,” he continued. “And he’s a great Pope of surprises… Surprises? Yes, I think there’ll be one or two surprises. We’re hoping to produce a few surprises.”
Such “surprises”, which see no fundamental doctrinal differences as too great to be “worked on” for the sake of “unity,” must be read in the context of the Bergoglio whom Welby called (14 Mar 2013) an “inspired choice” for Pope:
He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written. … He called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the Church needs us as Anglicans.
If we are still allowed to quote from the Spadaro interview, let us recall this “surpriseful” gem therefrom:
“God is encountered walking, along the path. … [S]omeone might say that this is relativism. Is it relativism? Yes, if it is misunderstood as a kind of indistinct pantheism. It is not relativism if it is understood in the biblical sense, that God is always a surprise, so you never know where and how you will find him. [Like, say, in the sacraments of the Catholic Church? In fact, God always was a surprise rooted to a particular people, but He has now revealed Himself definitively and finally in Christ (Rom 16:25-27, Eph. 3:1-3, Col 1:24-28, Heb 1, I Pet 1:10-12), Whose Incarnation is propagated in and by the Church. To expect a new and undefined “surprise” by God is to expect a new revelation.] You are not setting the time and place of the encounter with him. You must, therefore, discern the encounter. [To find what? If you never know how to find God, then how do you know you’ve found God?] Discernment is essential. [Oh.]“
Ach, what does it even matter? No matter what the Pope or his appointed advisors say, Team Ultramontanism is always right, this papacy is always guileless and ideology-free, and my kind are just Pharisees whose parents never read us bedtime stories. In other words, there are always more water-carriers.
“It is as if from some mysterious crack, no, it is not mysterious, from some crack the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.” — Paul VI on 29 June 1972
It is a change of stance, this of Pope Francis, who although he has not yet eliminated even one iota of doctrine has nonetheless raised widespread expectations among the more progressive sectors of Catholicism around the world.
But it is also a change of stance that has backed into a corner those episcopates – of Italy, of Spain, of the United States – which in the past [The ‘past’? Pffft! Buh-bye! We own the past!] were considered models in their way of addressing on the public stage the anthropological challenges present in the contemporary world, but which now find themselves singled out as “scarcely in line” with the new papal leadership.In Spain, one signal has come from an editorial on the website “Religión Digital” that begins with this rhetorical question: ‘Is the Spanish hierarchy in harmony with Francis and with the new wind that is blowing from Rome?’
…in the newspaper ‘La Stampa’ the vaticanista Andrea Tornielli has presented it as a certainty that with Pope Francis comes ‘the end of an era: that inaugurated by Cardinal Camillo Ruini and continued by his successor Angelo Bagnasco, now called to open another….’
This same shift has also been welcomed by the historian Alberto Melloni, who has noted how in his first encounter with all the Italian bishops last May the pope ‘gave a talk soft in its forms but hard in its substance, and indicated a stance different from those followed until now.’ The representative of the ‘school of Bologna’ – which advocates a progressive interpretation of Vatican II – added: ‘In recent decades a pastoral and political project has been proposed by the Italian episcopal conference. Now the pope is placing at the center of attention a model of the bishop [Huh?]. For Italy it is a great leap [forward?].'”
I am le barque.
Please pray for me.
I’m starting to feel… um… again… well, just pray that the demons of a few weeks ago keep their distance.
As a sort of disinfectant, I shall close with a lengthy quotation from Mortalium Animos §9 by Pope Pius XI (6 Jan 1928):
These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment “Love one another,” altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ’s teaching: “If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you.” For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. …
[I]n what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful? For example, those who affirm, and those who deny that sacred Tradition is a true fount of divine Revelation; those who hold that an ecclesiastical hierarchy, made up of bishops, priests and ministers, has been divinely constituted, and those who assert that it has been brought in little by little in accordance with the conditions of the time…. How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians.
But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it. Those, who are unhappily infected with these errors, hold that dogmatic truth is not absolute but relative, that is, it agrees with the varying necessities of time and place and with the varying tendencies of the mind, since it is not contained in immutable revelation, but is capable of being accommodated to human life. Besides this, in connection with things which must be believed, it is nowise licit to use that distinction which some have seen fit to introduce between those articles of faith which are fundamental and those which are not fundamental, as they say, as if the former are to be accepted by all, while the latter may be left to the free assent of the faithful: for the supernatural virtue of faith has a formal cause, namely the authority of God revealing, and this is patient of no such distinction. …
For this reason it is that all who are truly Christ’s believe, for example, the Conception of the Mother of God without stain of original sin with the same faith as they believe the mystery of the August Trinity, and the Incarnation of our Lord just as they do the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, according to the sense in which it was defined by the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. Are these truths not equally certain, or not equally to be believed, because the Church has solemnly sanctioned and defined them, some in one age and some in another, even in those times immediately before our own? Has not God revealed them all?
For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. But in the use of this extraordinary teaching authority no newly invented matter is brought in, nor is anything new added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of Revelation, divinely handed down to the Church: only those which are made clear which perhaps may still seem obscure to some, or that which some have previously called into question is declared to be of faith.
Ents of the Church, unite! Let us fortify ourselves around the Eucharist!