When reading the Holy Scriptures, people with limited vision could conclude that, in the Old Testament, God was strictly justice: He seems to be an almighty God who made Sinai quake (Ex 19:18), who opened the earth to swallow up the rebels (Num 16: 1–35), a God of vengeance (Ps 94:1) who struck Uzzah dead for having touched the Ark of the Covenant to steady it (2Sam 6: 1–9).
Not long ago, someone accused us of ‘criticizing EVERYTHING that Francis does’!
Heaven spare us! Who could manage such a task? Can our readers just imagine if, for example, we had to dispute, point by point, everything Francis says in the on-flight interviews in his apostolic journeys? Or to discuss whether ‘a person who thinks only of building walls, wherever it may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian’, or if the Bishop of Rome acts correctly when he omits mention of Italian laws which are immoral, after having deliberately involved himself in American politics? Or, far worse, affirmations such as: ‘Abortion is not a theological problem. It is a human problem, it is a medical problem’, ‘it is an evil in and of itself. It is not a “religious” evil, to start with, no, it is a human evil’, or ‘preventing pregnancy is not an absolute evil’? And what is to be said of his absolute lack of rigor in referring to the tale about Paul VI and the nuns of the Congo on the topic of contraception? And there are so many other such issues, that it would be impossible for the Denzinger-Bergoglio priests, absorbed by multiple pastoral duties, to deal with all of them. A priest wrote to us, perhaps with a touch of irony, that Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s lack of basic exactitude, which is indispensable for all things philosophical and theological, would have been more than sufficient cause to suspend him from the Jesuit University where he studied.
What, then, is our task?
It’s not about ‘criticizing everything’, but of doing that which the Church has always done and teaches us to do: show what truth is and the principles on which it is based.
We have limited ourselves to comparing Francis’ teachings with those of the Church, not basing ourselves on personal opinion, but rather on the Magisterium. We have accomplished 140 profound and exacting analyses to date… 140 doctrines of Francis that clash with or contradict the age-old Magisterium.
But we wish to add that the Church is a Mother, and is not only concerned with dogma, the purity of which she has done well to guard with holy zeal. The Compendium of the Catholic Church poses the question: ‘Why is the Church called Catholic?’ (no. 166), and answers that ‘the Church proclaims the fullness and the totality of the faith; she bears and administers the fullness of the means of salvation’. And immediately previous to that, it asks: ‘In what way is the Church holy?’ (no. 165), to then respond that ‘In the Church one finds the fullness of the means of salvation. […] The holiness of the Church is the fountain of sanctification for her children’.
Some of the faithful may feel a little out of their depth venturing into the theological vastness of dogma to discover the truths they wish to have clarified. To these sincere sons and daughters of the Church we would like to say that the seriousness that the truth should be dealt with does not prevent its being preached with simplicity and clarity.
Let’s have a look at one example.
On Ecumenism with the Orthodox
Someone could legitimately wonder what could possibly be wrong with ‘drawing closer’ to the so-called Orthodox Churches. Their members agree that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic and so they proclaim every Sunday when they pray the Creed. So what problem could there be with getting together? Are they not our brothers?
Before knowing if we are in agreement with them or not, what is most important is that those who write this and our readers be in agreement and in harmony with the Church, bringing to light the aspects which a subject that is subtle, but not very difficult to understand, requires.
To promote ecumenical dialogue it is affirmed that there is an ‘objective bond between the Church of Rome and Orthodox Churches’. This is what the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith explains in the first paragraph of a document from June 30, 2000, entitled Note on the expression ‘Sister Churches’, signed by the then-Prefect of the same, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. But when one goes on to read the second paragraph, one observes:
Unfortunately, in certain publications and in the writings of some theologians involved in ecumenical dialogue, it has recently become common to use this expression to indicate the Catholic Church on the one hand and the Orthodox Church on the other, leading people to think that in fact the one Church of Christ does not exist, but may be re-established through the reconciliation of the two sister Churches. In addition, the same expression has been applied improperly by some to the relationship between the Catholic Church on the one hand, and the Anglican Communion and non-catholic ecclesial communities on the other. In this sense, a ‘theology of sister Churches’ or an ‘ecclesiology of sister Churches’ is spoken of, characterized by ambiguity and discontinuity with respect to the correct original meaning of the expression as found in the documents of the Magisterium. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Note on the expression ‘Sister Churches’, June 30, 2000)
The note ‘Sister Churches’ has an introduction followed by twelve points separated into two parts. In the first part, made up of eight points, the “origin and development” of the expression is analyzed; and in the second part, the last four points are instructions regarding the use of the expression. It becomes clear that this term was used primitively to refer to the various churches from the beginning of Christianity, in the sense that Saint John uses it in the Apocalypse: ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea’ (Rev 1:11).
The document is clear. So much so that it is like a ‘beginner’s guide’ for all those who wish to understand the correct manner for seeking true union with other Christians in order to have that one and only flock, with one faith under one shepherd. We recommend reading it. Two sections seemed to be sufficient to understand the essence of the issue in question:
10. It must always be clear, when the expression sister Churches is used in this proper sense, that the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Universal Church is not sister but mother of all the particular Churches (Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Communionis notio (28-5-1992), 9: AAS 85 (1993), 843-844). (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Note on the expression ‘Sister Churches’, no. 10, June 30, 2000)
11. Consequently, one should avoid, as a source of misunderstanding and theological confusion, the use of formulations such as ‘our two Churches’, which, if applied to the Catholic Church and the totality of Orthodox Churches (or a single Orthodox Church), imply a plurality not merely on the level of particular Churches, but also on the level of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church confessed in the Creed, whose real existence is thus obscured. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Note on the expression ‘Sister Churches’, no. 11, June 30, 2000)
Our priest friend might say that in the year 2000 the then-Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio surely must not have had time to read all the documents published by the Congregation entrusted primarily with guarding the deposit of the faith. What is certain is that he should be the one making such clarifications today, as all the previous popes did:
In order to overcome these equivocations and ambiguities in the use and application of the expression ‘sister Churches’, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged it necessary to prepare the enclosed Note on the Expression ‘Sister Churches’ which was approved by Pope John Paul II in the Audience of June 9, 2000. The indications contained in this Note are, therefore, to be held as authoritative and binding, although the Note will not be published in official form in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, given its limited purpose of specifying the correct theological terminology on this subject. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Note on the expression “Sister Churches”, no. 11, June 30, 2000)
The list of the complete studies of the Dz-B are available here
There is a brief observation we would like to make to Francis. It can be noted in his prolific pronouncements that he often mentions the Church as if it were merely a socio-economic organization, rather than a divine institution. There is almost no situation or aspect of the Church that he has spared criticism.
“Do we love the Church as we love our mothers, also taking into account her defects?” This question proffered by Francis, reveals the high concept he has of the institution he governs. The defects of the Church? What is he referring to? Didn’t Saint Paul proclaim her to be “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27)?
I think that the intentions of Martin Luther were not mistaken. He was a reformer. Perhaps some methods were not correct. But in that time, if we read the story of the Pastor, a German Lutheran who then converted when he saw reality – he became Catholic – in that time, the Church was not exactly a model to imitate. There was corruption in the Church, there was worldliness, attachment to money, to power…and this he protested. Then he was intelligent and took some steps forward justifying, and because he did this. And today Lutherans and Catholics, Protestants, all of us agree on the doctrine of justification. On this point, which is very important, he did not err. He made a medicine for the Church, but then this medicine consolidated into a state of things, into a state of a discipline, into a way of believing, into a way of doing, into a liturgical way and he wasn’t alone; there was Zwingli, there was Calvin, each one of them different, and behind them were who? Principals! We must put ourselves in the story of that time. It’s a story that’s not easy to understand, not easy. Then things went forward, and today the dialogue is very good. That document of justification I think is one of the richest ecumenical documents in the world, one in most agreement. But there are divisions, and these also depend on the Churches. In Buenos Aires there were two Lutheran churches, and one thought in one way and the other…even in the same Lutheran church there was no unity; but they respected each other, they loved each other, and the difference is perhaps what hurt all of us so badly and today we seek to take up the path of encountering each other after 500 years. I think that we have to pray together, pray. Prayer is important for this. Second, to work together for the poor, for the persecuted, for many people, for refugees, for the many who suffer; to work together and pray together and the theologians who study together try…but this is a long path, very long. One time jokingly I said: I know when full unity will happen. – “when?” – “the day after the Son of Man comes,” because we don’t know…the Holy Spirit will give the grace, but in the meantime, praying, loving each other and working together. Above all for the poor, for the people who suffer and for peace and many things…against the exploitation of people and many things in which they are jointly working together. (Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference from Armenia, Jun 26, 2016)
Not even is his worst delusions, Luther would have imagined that the Church he insulted as a “diabolical institution”, “diabolical scum of Rome” or the “great prostitute of Babylon”, would offer glory and recognition in the twenty-first century. This is the “thank you”, whom the Lutherans offered Francis, during his visit to the Protestant community of Rome, happily affirming: “For us Lutherans in Rome, Francis is our bishop” (Aleteia).
Before considering the consistent teachings of Lutheranism, let us remember the condemnations of the Council of Trent on the Doctrine of Justification.
Council of Trent, 6th Session, January 13, 1547, Decree on Justification, Denzinger-Hünermann 1520-1583
1558 Dz 818 Can. 8. If anyone shall say that the fear of hell, whereby by grieving for sins we flee to the mercy of God or refrain from sinning, is a sin or makes sinners worse: let him be anathema [cf. n. 798].
1560 Dz 820 Can. 10. If anyone shall say that men are justified without the justice of Christ by which He merited for us, or that by that justice itself they are formally just: let him be anathema [cf. n. 798, 799].
1561 Dz 821 Can. 11. If anyone shall say that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of grace and charity, which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and remains in them, or even that the grace by which we are justified is only the favor of God: let him be anathema [cf. n. 799ff., 809].
1562 Dz 822 Can. 12. If anyone shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone by which we are justified: let him be anathema [cf. n. 798, 802].
1571 Dz 831 Can. 21. If anyone shall say that Christ Jesus has been given by God to men as a Redeemer in whom they should trust, and not also as a legislator, whom they should obey: let him be anathema.
1583 Dz 843 Can. 33. If anyone shall say that because of this Catholic doctrine of justification as set forth by the holy Synod in this present decree, there is in some degree a detraction from the glory of God or from the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that the truth of our faith, and in fact the glory of God and of Jesus Christ are not rather rendered illustrious: let him be anathema [cf. n. 810]
Let’s see some of the teachings of the Magisterium regarding Lutheranism:
Table of Contents
I – There are essential discrepancies between the Catholic Church and the sects
II – The sacraments belong solely to the Catholic Church. Outside of the true Church of Christ, the sacraments are as though ‘robbed’ and in an agonizing state, administrated against the will of God
III – Baptism is licitly administered and received only in the Catholic Church. Only in the Church does it produce fruits for salvation
IV – The Eucharist brings about unity among the true believers. Heretics may not receive it
V – Catholic dogma is not subject to change: Truth is greater than explanations and interpretations
VI – The Catholic Faith versus Lutheran belief
VII – Extracts of the heretical writings of Martin Luther presented as elements of comparison with the teaching of the Catholic Church
With Christ’s coming to the world, one of the most noteworthy changes witnessed by humanity was the elevation of women to a new and true dignity.
In his diabolical quest to destroy the Church at its very foundations, the infernal enemy has made varied and frequent onslaughts against all the Sacraments, from first to last. The heretic Wycliffe attacked that of Penance, which is a powerful aid for sinners to reach heaven: he denied the divine character of the institution of auricular confession while also affirming that it is of no use to the contrite. Following in his footsteps, Peter Martinez of Osma taught that contrition is all that is needed to attain the pardon of sins. Luther, in turn, discarded confession altogether as a ‘slaughter of consciences’. His contempt for auricular confession would be shared by Protestants to this day. Rationalists and unbelievers alike also never cease to insist that confession is nothing but a priestly invention for tormenting souls.
Today, other means and affirmations are employed to challenge this Sacrament and the sound doctrine that the Divine Savior bequeathed to us, lovingly safeguarded by Tradition and the Church’s infallible Magisterium.
Is the sacrament of Penance valid without the confession of one’s sins? It is known that only the mute and hearing-impaired are permitted to confess by means of signs and gestures. But does that make it licit to omit the verbal declaration of our sins in confession out of shame, fear, or some other difficulty we may be experiencing? Can we receive God’s pardon by simply presenting ourselves to the priest with contrition?
Let us review what pure and sound doctrine has to teach on the matter. And let us recall exactly what evils await those who profane this sacred Sacrament, and the end they will meet in eternity. Click here to read the complete Study…
In our day, marked by the welcoming of migrants and the ‘collaborating with people who think differently,’ many may be shocked at the words of the Angelic Doctor: ‘Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile’ (I-II, 105, a.3)
The Pope’s mission to teach the truth is inherent to his position as guide of the Church. All of the baptized turn to him for words of eternal life, which, we know God has willed, should come to us through Christ’s Vicar.
Through the centuries, the Church has moved from triumph to triumph, though it continually endures attacks, persecutions and hatred from all quarters, all promoted by one leader: the infernal enemy who has the illusion of one day destroying it.