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Connecting the Papal Dots: Amoris Laetitia and the Separation of Church and State

Editor’s note: The following comes from a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Orthodox Catholics often accuse Pope Francis’s theology of being incoherent. However, while it is true that many of his theological beliefs do not cohere with each other or with Catholic orthodoxy, there is consistency among certain ones that may seem disconnected, even if Pope Francis himself does not recognize the logical connection. For instance, his implicit promotion of Communion for invalidly remarried people who live more uxorio is quite consistent with his explicit promotion of the separation of Church and state.

What connects the two is his implied belief that grace cannot truly make a person righteous in this life. This is particularly apparent in his recent elevation of the Buenos Aires bishops’ guidelines on Amoris Laetitia to an official Vatican teaching. Those guidelines state:

[W]hen it is not possible [for the divorced and remarried] to obtain a declaration of nullity, [living in continence] may not, in fact, be feasible. Nonetheless, it is … possible to undertake a journey of discernment. If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), particularly when a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (cf. footnotes 336 and 351).

Here, the idea that living in continence might not be possible indicates that some Catholics – despite receiving sanctifying grace through baptism – are not capable of being virtuous enough to follow the moral law. This implies that sanctifying grace does not have the capacity to truly sanctify people, an idea definitively rejected by the Council of Trent: “If anyone says that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to observe, let him be anathema.” The council made this declaration in response to the Protestant doctrine of imputed righteousness, the belief that salvation consists in grace merely declaring us righteous, which opposes the Catholic doctrine of infused righteousness, the belief that salvation consists in grace actually making us righteous. In indicating that grace lacks the capacity to make people righteous enough to live in continence, Pope Francis seems to lean toward the Protestant view – and this should not surprise us, considering that, more than any other pope, he has praised the theology of Martin Luther.

Whether Pope Francis realizes it or not, his implicit belief in imputed righteousness forms the theological foundation of his conviction that Church and state should be separate, a conviction evident in the infamous remark he made to the French newspaper La Croix: “States must be secular. Confessional states end badly. That goes against the grain of history.” This view not only defies centuries of Catholic tradition, but also fails to recognize that the state relies on sanctifying grace – ordinarily given only through the sacraments of the Church – to fulfill one of its defining purposes: peace. Since the Fall, sin has caused widespread conflict that man, in his brokenness, cannot eradicate on his own, so he requires God’s gift of sanctifying grace, the only thing capable of creating lasting peace. Because God has bestowed this gift on the Church – not the state – to dispense to us through the sacraments, the state relies on the Church to achieve its goal of peace. In his book Before Church and State: A Study of Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IX, Andrew Willard Jones explains:

In the realm of grace, the law was interiorized in charity. This movement was the pursuit of salvation, of true peace, an objective dependent upon sacramental grace, and so on the priesthood. It was only because the souls of the baptized were no longer subject to the power of sin that true peace could be achieved and the exterior law, the force necessary to compel men to justice, could fade away.

In short, if it is true that only sanctifying grace can make people virtuous enough for true peace, then the state must be aligned with the dispenser of sanctifying grace, the Church, in its pursuit of peace. On the other hand, if Pope Francis is correct in his implicit belief that sanctifying grace lacks this capacity, then the state does not need the Church, since the Church’s grace cannot really help it achieve peace. Pope Francis’s endorsement of the separation of Church and state thus begins to make sense.

In light of the Catholic Church’s perennial doctrine of infused righteousness, it most certainly does not make sense for a Catholic – much less the pope – to hold this view of grace. After all, this view makes grace seem defective, and because grace is God’s intervention in our lives, this view indicates that God Himself is defective as well. We therefore become the broken inhabitants of a broken world made by a broken God, incapable of disciplining our desires or even receiving help from the Church. Real transformation, real peace, becomes impossible in this life. Is that the kind of world Christ promised His people?

163 thoughts on “Connecting the Papal Dots: Amoris Laetitia and the Separation of Church and State”

  1. OH BOY!!! HOME RUN!!! “Truth”

    “This implies that sanctifying grace does not have the capacity to truly sanctify people, an idea definitively rejected by the Council of Trent: “If anyone says that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to observe, let him be anathema.”

    If it may please the court here; This is what I have deeply believed that the pope rejects – Sanctifying Grace.
    And hence, the inferences that one may draw from that realization are very disturbing to the humble, heart of the Catholic.

    A blessed thank you to the author of this article and to Steve for sharing.

  2. Good analysis. This defective view of the ability of grace to effect actual change in both the individual and society is not only at the heart of Protestantism, but it is also a central tenet of Modernism. Although the latter tends to disbelieve in the concept of grace completely rather than holding an impoverished view of it.

    However, a Catholicism devoid of grace and the need for it was precisely the kind of corruption which was facilitated by the Second Vatican Council which, according to Cardinal Mariadaga, legitimized Modernism as a viable theological system. This was most visibly demonstrated in the new rite of Mass which followed that Council and made worse in the immediate translations which attempted to remove the role of grace from our Faith even further. It has infested our Catechetics for the last 50 years and also lies at the root of the novel ideas of ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and “religious liberty”. Mission and evangelization – so dependent upon grace – were pushed aside in favour of dialogue and politics – the veritable Pelagian soultion to the problems of mankind.

    Francis is merely the culmination of this false religion which is devoid of grace and which idolizes man and the power of his own efforts – man who has “matured” into a new-found autonomy from God – man who knows so much better than the “historically and socially conditioned” Jesus Christ. This is why there is really no place for the old Church in the new world order of secular humanist Marxism in which Francis sees an opportunity to make a name for himself. A confessional state would be an embarrassment to people who think like him, much like the idea of objectively sinful modes of life are embarrassing to them.

    Hold fast to the one, true Faith because he hasn’t finished yet and his worshippers are getting stirred up to acts of increasing hatred and spite.

  3. “if it is true that only sanctifying grace can make people virtuous enough for true peace, then the state must be aligned with the dispenser of sanctifying grace, the Church”

    This does not logically follow.

    Francis’ remark about separation of Church and State was not ‘infamous”. It is consistent with what most people, including theologians, think these days. Centuries ago people thought an official state Church was a good idea (Americanism was even listed as a heresy.) But today we know better.

    • How do “we” know better, Jenni? Do you not believe that every state is morally bound to promote the right worship of the One, True God and to bow the knee to the Lordship of Our Lord Jesus Christ?

      (P.S. Americanism is most certainly still an abominable heresy.)

        • From Vatican II’s “Dignitatis Humanae”:

          “[Religious freedom] leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”

          What you are claiming is heresy.

          • [I submitted this comment about six hours earlier; it disappeared “awaiting moderation” and never re-appeared. Perhaps this is just a disqus problem, perhaps not. I’ve re-read and agree with 1Peter5’s comments policy, and am now concerned that there may be further unstated prohibitions – are there?]

            But Dignitatis Humanae also states (§2): The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person … Therefore the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature.

            Basing a right in “the dignity of the human person”, and “the very nature” of a human person, means the right is inalienable and cannot be over-ridden by any state. So your quotation from DH “leaves untouched” the “moral duty of … societies [including states] toward the true religion”, while my quotation forbids them from exercising this moral duty – it obliges states to leave citizens in their error, not just as a matter of prudential judgement on preserving civil peace to further the common good, but as a matter of the inalienable rights of individuals.

            This is the case with the Vatican II documents in general: statements consonant with tradition are mixed with innovations, and given events following the Council, it seems fair (rather than cynical and uncharitable) to believe that the ambiguities or even contradictions were deliberate, firstly to enable such documents to be passed by Cardinals who were sufficiently persuaded by the appearance of more traditional-looking statements, and then secondly, afterwards, to exploit to the full the license given by the innovations.

            I realise, “hows_the_boy”, that you may be committed to a “hermeneutic of continuity”, but I’m just pointing out that someone like Jenni can equally well point to Dignitatis Humanae to back up her statement. I wish it were not so, but that’s unfortunately our situation since the Council. Personally, I think the “hermeneutic of continuity” approach threatens in the long term to undermine rationality , but I know many faithful Catholics who adhere to it, and respect them while disagreeing.

          • Rocio, the State is morally bound to promote the True Religion. What it may not do is coerce individuals.
            DH confuses the matter but nowhere says, afaik, that the State is not morally bound to promote the true worship. Rather it speaks of the infividuals freedom from coercion. Jenni seems to miss this distinction snd so thinks the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ is no more.

          • Hello, hows_the_boy, what you’ve just stated so clearly is indeed the “hermeneutic of continuity” reading. As I said, I intend no disrespect to faithful Catholics holding to this position. But the traditional Catholic position was that “error has no rights”. This never meant forced conversion – error could be tolerated by state authorities without conferring any rights, where this better promoted the common good. Vatican II, in opposition to this, confers inalienable rights to error (as in the passage quoted).

          • Sometimes Disqus puts long comments into a moderation queue which I and others don’t always get to right away…

            As for “unstated prohibitions,” there are none. The comment policy is the be all and end all for what is acceptable in the comboxes… and all things considered, it’s pretty permissive. Don’t violate the policy, and you’re good. If you do violate the policy, we’ll tell you; we won’t just sneakily delete things.

            Pax Christi!

          • Hello Jafin, thank you for taking the time to address my concern. I had a comment blocked (without a reason being given) at another well-known Catholic site near the traditionalist end of the spectrum that has moderation on for all comments, so I was on my guard when the same thing seemed to have happened at 1Peter5. But I decided that it must be a Disqus problem after all when the version with the query in square brackets appeared without problems. In fact, I was even inclined to remove the query, and only refrained because I thought editing might bring the wrath of Disqus upon me again.

            Anyway, it’s good to be certain about the policy at 1Peter5, and I appreciate the effort you made to reassure me. ¡La Virgen te cuide!

        • All power comes from Christ…whether it’s a mother exercising her power over her kids, a man over his family, a boss over his employees, government officials over their nation…ALL power comes from Christ and therefore all must worship and honor Him…including governments.

        • Jenni, I am going to assume you have not thought this through. How could the state — any state — NOT be bound to promote true worship? I understand this is hard for Americans to grasp, but please let your mind stretch a bit. True religious liberty is in recognizing that the state has no power to coerce the conscience. But this in no way can be extended to mean the state is free to be religiously indifferent.

        • Jenni, I know that this is not the kind of thing that George Weigel et al teach, but that is because they are Neo-Cons before they are Catholics – they are not orthodox in their beliefs on Church and State. As hows-the-boy mentions below, even Vatican II’s “Dignitatis humanae” paid lip-service at least to the obligations of states toward the true religion.

          Truth is objectively true, irrespective of any individual’s or society’s opinion, and all have the obligation to seek and promote the truth whether they like it or not. That goes for every soul on this planet and every collective group of souls on this planet.

        • Dear sister, you greatly misunderstand most of us if you truly believe that. Unfortunately, since the catechetical destruction wreaked by Vatican II, the Church no longer professes, except via the weak lip service in Dignitatis Humanae quoted by another commenter, the essential doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ. And as a former Presbyterian who was raised in the “rugged individualism” philosophy and steeped in D.A.R. patriotism, I too was initially shocked and repulsed by the label of heresy attached to what previous Popes have called “Americanism.” On further study, however, I quickly learned why the Church had it right to begin with. I urge you to study these doctrines with an open mind. I love my country as much as anyone, but no state has the right to deny and remove God from the public square, regardless of the supposed values intended thereby. It is never permissible to do evil to attain a perceived good, at either the personal or the governmental level. And forcing God into virtual secrecy while denying him in public is evil, make no mistake. It is exactly what Satan wants, and my beloved USA is doing his bidding in numerous ways.

          This comment box is probably not the right place for lengthy essays about the proper form of government for a truly Christian society, but I would suggest there is ample evidence before our eyes that the form of government presently in force in these United States is not it. In fact, I’m not even sure how to define what we have now. It certainly isn’t a true democracy, and it likely can’t even truthfully be called a republic any more. We are ruled primarily by unelected and unaccountable judges and bureaucrats, while elected officials pretend to be in charge while, at the Federal level at least, growing wealthy from lobbyists and other special interests. If it weren’t so sad and dangerous, it might be great comedy.

          But I digress. Please look into some serious writings on the Social Kingship of Christ and the heresy of Americanism. You may be as surprised as I was.

          • I am a former evangelical Protestant rah-rah Americanist; loved the Constitution and believed in our founding principle. Served 25 years in the Navy proudly under that flag. And, like you I was not at first comfortable with the Church’s condemnation of Americanism.
            Now, I consider myself a monarchist.

          • In declaring the absolute “separation of church and state,” Western Civilization has completely forgotten the understanding of the “Social Kingship of Christ” that is responsible for its very existence. In today’s understanding, one can be an atheist and still be a “good” person, after all. Who needs God, or anything so absurd as “True Religion”? And, of course, you can already hear the snarky retort, “And just *whose* religion is the “true” one? Yours, right?!” Well-educated heirs of the Enlightenment are just so *over* all that superstition!

      • Probably she has not. I am 60 years old, have been a Catholic for 20 years, and I only heard of it a few months ago, thanks to Ann Barnhardt.

        • Go to YouTube and search Sensus Fidelium Social Reign of Christ the King….great teachings there. PS…I’m a convert for stumbling on Ann’s sure.

          • One has to be careful with Ann though as she holds the view that Benedict did not validly resign so is still Pope, even though Benedict himself said he was resigning so that the See will be vacant.
            Even her tech buddy SuperNerd (the guy who does her podcasts) does not share this view.

          • Yes, I am well aware. I also know that St. Vincent Ferrer backed the wrong pope for a time, while St. Catherine got it right. For me, Ann’s reasoning makes more sense than believing Francis is the true pope. In light of other prophecies…it simply makes more sense to me.

          • Well, the estimable Antonio Socci wrote a book (“Non è Francesco”) spelling out the legal details of why Benedict’s resignation may not be valid, as well as the legal details of why Bergoglio’s election may not be valid. So Ann’s not the only one. I have heard, around the internet, that Socci has abandoned his second thesis, but as far as I know, he has not abandoned the first. (Someone here correct me, please, if I’m wrong on that.) I still haven’t finished the book (not being an Italian speaker, it’s taking me a while), but now I’ve come to believe that if Socci’s second thesis were wrong and Bergoglio WERE in fact validly elected, it’s now a moot point, since he has since shown himself to not be a true Catholic, and therefore he’s automatically self-deposed from the papacy.

            As for Ann, I flat-out love that woman. I send her money as often as I can, since her voice is a very, very necessary one. I’m not sure she’s right on everything, but I think she needs to be heard. Even when I doubt her or disagree with her, I always thank God that she’s here in the world, brilliant and prophetic and articulate and fearless.

          • It’s VERY questionable that Francis has self-deposed himself yet. It’s a lot more involved than that and we have to be careful that we do not place ourselves in schism with such declarations. Neither you nor I have the authority or capacity to make such a declaration.

          • Lately she’s gotten a little crazy in my estimation. She has plenty of good stuff but… well, just gotta be careful with her stuff…

          • You too? I found her in 2011 after the Koran YouTube. As an Evangelical Protestant, I had never heard of the Real Presence, or Authority or Apostolic Succession. She recommended anyone interested in the True Faith to find a Latin Mass. Here I am, 5+ years after Confirmation, and never any regrets.

          • Yes. I found her in about 2012. I was in a second “marriage” to a Protestant man who told me about Christ and we were going to a large non-denom church. She (Ann) kept writing about “super-fun-rock-band-church”….and it really bothered me. Then I read more of her stuff. The Real Presence? Authority? Now THIS was finally making sense to me. Didn’t want to upset the apple cart though in my “marriage” so didn’t join RCIA until 2014 and re-entered the Church 2015 Easter. Baptized Catholic but never practiced the faith. Now I am fortunate enough to have an Institute of Christ the King parish only 30 mins from my home. No regrets either….only joy in finally knowing The Truth.

          • I am in an FSSP parish, having moved to make that possible in ’15. I found out about them from Ann, when I emailed her before Confirmation and asking if she would post her conversion story. I got a very short email reply: I joined the Confraternity of St. Peter soon thereafter. It is only through the Grace of God, (and Ann B.) that I am not still in a state of mortal sin.

          • Holy Rosary in Cedar (near Traverse City) is a diocesan parish with a regular TLM, and an orthodox priest.

          • I have the ICKSP parish 15 miles from me (St. Joseph’s Oratory if you’re ever in the area). 🙂 Always the TLM. Solemn High Masses on Sunday’s, HDO and First Friday’s, Low Masses everyday. I’m Detroit area….Traverse would be a 4 hour + ride for me.

          • I am at St. Joan of Arc, FSSP, in Coeur d’Alene. We have 3.5 priests, with the .5 being the chaplain for our local Traditional Carmelite convent. This month we are starting a capital campaign to build a new church, as we are bursting at the seams, with an average of three new families arriving each month. If you are ever in the Inland Northwest, stop by.

          • I would fly fish with my “husband” mostly in Utah and Colorado…but the very last trip we took was to eastern Idaho to fish the Snake river. By far, I loved Idaho the most. Told him I wanted to live there. Beautiful. Good to know FSSP is there (assuming northern Idaho is as beautiful). 🙂

          • I guess I should be excited about that — and I truly am excited about how the Eastern European countries such as Hungary and Poland are fighting back against the devil-worshipping globalists. But my mind always flashes back to a scene in “Shoah,” the 9-hour documentary about the Holocaust that was released in the 1980s. The filmmaker was interviewing modern (1970s-80s) Poles, and I was utterly shocked by their anti-semitism. Forty years later, and the Jew-hatred was seemingly as strong as ever. Some of them were so blatant as to be shocking, some of them a little bashful, since they knew they weren’t supposed to feel that way, but did. I was nauseated (literally; I had to leave the theatre) by the snarky remarks, the lame attempts to justify what had happened by complaining how greedy/slutty/obnoxious/etc. the Jews were when they lived among them.

            And I flash back to another documentary I saw once, where there was an interview with Jews who had escaped before Hitler got to them, and then, after the war, had come back to their ancestral homes. And the locals — people who had been their neighbors all their lives before the war — said things like, “What are you doing back here? You’re supposed to be dead!” And they were NOT saying it as a joke. And of course, the homes and businesses of the Jews who’d been forcibly hauled away had been taken over by other people, who did NOT want to give them back.

            I’m sorry, I know I’m supposed to pine for the glories of Christendom, the age of Catholic kings, etc. But I think of the pogroms that used to take place around Good Friday every year. There’s something about a country, AS A COUNTRY, acknowledging Christ as King that seems to bring out the Jew-hatred in people. I’m sorry, it just makes me a little nervous.

    • We only “know better” because of the multitude of heretical ideas masquerading as “religions”.

      Were the State truly a Catholic one in form, function, and fact, would that not be an improvement over our current state of affairs?

      • Read the story of Garcia Moreno of Equador – he was the man predicted by Our Lady at Quito. He ran his country as a Catholic country – his story is amazing and inspiring – he was hacked to death just after attending Mass, on his way to the President’s chambers to begin his work day. The Freemasons got him…

    • Several years ago I was driving in the worst of traffic to pick up my son from school.
      While stuck in traffic, something struck me: ” What if all these people in their cars were on their way to Mass, or Confession, or were merely just trying to be faithful Catholics in morals and faith?” No perfection, of course, but a “desire” to be virtuous and follow God’s Laws. I posted this somewhere, and got blasted. I understood the objections, of course in a secular world, where Catholicism seemed to be just ” another religion” to many and I understood that as well.

      Catholicism, is not just another religion. It is a way of life, in following our Lord, as He revealed through the Bible, through Tradition. Of course, however, it should not be forced upon a people. It would never work, ‘that way’ , if it was unfortunately. Too much damage to the culture has already been done, in the name of ” liberty” and separation of Church and State.

      Many are being called to choose, ” Give me liberty or give me CHRIST.” One simply will not be able to have it both ways.

      • Yes, we should be happy to be enslaved to The Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This freedom stuff is vastly overrated!!!!

        • And mostly misunderstood. One of my greatest “Aha!” moments was hearing someone, I believe it was Archbishop Sheen, explain that true freedom is the freedom to do what is right and good, not the license to do anything, as is believed by most today.

    • What?? Since when does “what most people think, including theologians, think these days” have any bearing on Truth? We vote for our own definition of morality? As Catholics, we certainly do not. And by the way, Americanism IS a heresy. Where in our founding documents do you find the name of Jesus Christ? Where in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition is “Manifest Destiny?”

      • “Where in our founding documents do you find the name of Jesus Christ? Where in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition is “Manifest Destiny?””

        You are correct. Church and State are separate.

        • So, are you saying then, that Man is supreme over God in the public sphere?
          What did Christ say to Pilate as to the source of his (Pilate’s) authority?

        • Jenni, you are referring to a form of separation that does in fact exist but you are confusing that with a true principle. The separation you refer to is that caused by rebellion against God and His Church.

          Certainly we in the USA have benefited from adherence to certain laws of God from time to time that have manifested themselves in aspects of civilization promoted by the Church. Nevertheless, we as you note do not reflect the obedience God has called us to and thus we do not reflect the glory of God as we should. This relationship is actually similar to the form of “separation” that exists between a Protestant and God, that is, where a Protestant may benefit by certain blessings that come to him by following some of God’s commandments but nonetheless he falls outside the grace offered by God to those who are in communion with His Son in the Church.

          Here now is what you are missing.

          This disobedience does not separate us from the authority of God. Where there may be a “separation” in practice, there is no separation is calling; ALL nations are called to obey God and promote His sound doctrine in morality and laws and to promote sound religion, the religion of the One True faith embodied in the Catholic Church.

          The Catholic Church has never accepted the notion of “separation of Church and state” as a good or true principle, however much there may in practice be a separation due to disobedience by the leaders and citizens of the nations.

          • I’m still not completely convinced — I guess I’ve been way too American for way too long — but thank you for your thoughtful, reasoned explanation. Your last two paragraphs are especially helpful.

            Some of y’all on the thread need to understand: For many of us, the idea of church and state NOT being separated is a previously-unheard-of idea. Mind-blowing. Seemingly impossible to get our heads around. I mean, it’s like being a person centuries ago who never questioned that the earth was flat — and then someone comes along and tells you it’s actually spherical. You may be open to that — indeed, you may even WANT to believe it — but it goes so totally against what you have taken for granted all your life that the new concept is barely even comprehensible to you, and will take some getting used to. Go on and keep seeding this unfamiliar (to many of us) idea here, just don’t get offended or berate us simply because we’re having a hard time seeing it.

          • Well said.

            I can assure you, the concept was foreign to me as well. I am a mix as we all are, but half my blood is considered “Old American” by the genealogists, that is, in my case, traceable by name to pre-1700’s settlers, members of a culture I was steeped in from birth.

            Many years of reading the Old Testament prepared me {but then…isn’t that what the OT is supposed to do?} for the message I have received in the Catholic faith, but my ancient Protestant roots, complete with generations of ministers, was an obstacle to understanding this subject. On top of that we often associate anything like the mixing of religion and politics with Islamic theocracies such as the Ayatollah’s in Iran, etc. A real turnoff if there ever was one.

            Then top off the whole mess with the indoctrination we receive living in a Protestant/Masonic culture, where the politics and culture associated with pre-Reformation Europe is pretty much symbolized by The Rack. The more I investigate, the more I understand what Europe lost when Protestantism so grievously wounded Christendom.

          • TexasThomist – Thank you for your eloquent comments regarding Americanism. May I recommend “Puritan’s Empire” by Charles Coulomb, and any other books he’s written for that matter. It will be an eye opener. Also, for a great site explaining and supporting the concept of monarchy as the best form of government.

          • It might be useful to this discussion to post the “blurb” for “Puritan’s Empire”:

            “History is the key to understanding men-whether as nations, families, or individuals. For Catholics, history has an even higher purpose beside. For them, history is the unfolding of God’s Will in time, and the attempts of men either to conform themselves to or to resist that Will.

            “But American Catholic historians have generally refrained from exploring their own national history with these principles, preferring instead to adopt the analysis of their non-Catholic colleagues, save when looking at purely Catholic topics (and sometimes not then). It is vital then, for Catholics, especially young Catholics, to have a good and proper understanding of their country’s history. To exercise their patriotism, they must work for the conversion of the United States; to do this effectively, they must understand the forces and events which brought forth not only the religion of Americanism and the country itself, but also the sort of Catholicism which, in 300 years, failed so dismally to bring this conversion about.

            “This book attempts to reinterpret the better known episodes of our history in accordance with the Faith, and to point up lesser-known details which will give factual proof of the truth of this reinterpretation.”


      • …which is a heresy mainly applied to having democratic forms of church government. (Think: the parish council, permanent Synods of Bishops, etc.)

        • I may get roasted for this, but, a true Christian monarchy is the best form of gov’t. Democracy is not necessarily a good form of gov’t, in my opinion

          • And in the opinion of St. Thomas Aquinas! I’m not certain, but I think you may be surprised by the number of monarchists around here.

    • Good heavens! Surely no faithful Catholic who knows his stuff could possibly think that separation of church and state was anything more than a Bad Thing to be tolerated?

    • As a recovering Americanist and former Protestant, I can only thank God that a remnant remain who hold fast to the Church’s original teaching that Americanism is a heresy. It is indeed an abominable heresy.

      And something as awful, and in some senses futile (for both sides), as the American Civil War (I’m from Gettysburg – it comes up all the time) …. that wouldn’t have happened in a confessional state or at least a state not beset with self-promotion. One may sympathize with the South or the North (I sympathize with the Union), but it shouldn’t have happened either way. And things worse still may happen as long as the Americanist strain of Modernism continues on its merry path of destruction.

  4. It could be that Bergoglio’s endorsement of separation of Church and state has something to do with his Lutheran misconception of grace.
    On the other hand it may simply be because he is a filthy little Communist.

  5. I see the connection in a different way. I see the errors of “Amoris Laetitia” as springing from an assumption that Church and State are so radically separated that they are separate spheres EVEN IN THE INDIVIDUAL. Within each individual are two different beings: a secular “State” self which has no responsibilities to anything except the secular world and its secular laws (such as divorce and remarriage being perfectly okay), and a “Church” self which can come to Mass, mouth the prayers, and receive Communion. Since there are two separate beings doing all these things, there is no internal conflict, see? It’s schizophrenic. It’s that same old gnostic separation of the material and the spiritual, as if each of us really is two different beings, rather than one, united human person. The Incarnation — God not just taking on human flesh, but BECOMING flesh — is utterly denied in this worldview. And thus, our salvation by our incarnate Redeemer is also denied.

    What a diabolical scheme.

    • You are too kind to the State. The State is not passive but vigorously tries to destroy Christianity and has established the State religion, to replace Christianity. Thomas Jefferson did not believe in Christ, but believed in following the “moral” lessons of the Bible. His beliefs and those like him incorporated their beliefs into the constitution of the USA. The path of destroying Christianity was baked into the US Constitution and through slow but steady actions on the part of the US Government.
      Before the US Constitution was written and ratified, Christianity was the backbone of the colonies and later the States; Christianity was everywhere in the public square. But the US Constitution, when adopted, set the stage to remove Christianity from the public square; It accomplished the removal by, using the first amendment, to make every religion equal, no matter how small and alien the religion was, therefore lowering Christianity. Second, it blocked Christianity from the public (government controlled) square; that removal didn’t happen immediately, but it has now become reality and the current US Government has succeeded in almost extinguishing Christianity from the public square, by simply using the constitution.

  6. Look, there are really only 4 papal dots to join:
    1. Bergoglio 2. hates 3. the 4. Faith.
    He hates the Holy Eucharist, hence his refusal to kneel, and his willingness to offer It to the dogs.
    He hates the Confessional, hence his assertion one can be absolved without the resolution to amend one’s life
    He hates Holy Matrimony hence his facilitation of easy annulments, saying most marriages are invalid and cohabiting couples are “more married”
    He hates procreation, hence his telling people to stop breeding like rabbits.
    He hates sanctifying grace, hence his claim in AL that it is impossible to follow the moral law.
    He hates evangelism, hence he calls it “solemn nonsense”
    He hates the devout, hence he calls them “rigid Pharisees.”
    He hates True Religion, hnce his adulation of Protestantism and Islam.
    He hates the Holy Virgin, putting sin on her sacred lips at the foot of the Cross when ha says she felt “deceived”.
    He hates the Oneness of the Holy Church, hence his boast of beign the one to split the Church.
    He hates the Kingship of Christ, hence his embrace of Separation of Church and State.
    And on and on and on.
    So we see there is perfect consistency in what he says.

    • Please tell me the part about the Holy Eucharist to animals and implying the Holy Virgin felt deceived is some terrible mistranslation or rumor.

      • The reference to dogs I mean metaphorically. Ie do not throw what is holy to the dogs. This is what Bergoglio does in giving Conmunion to unrepentamt adulteters.
        As for the remark concerning the Holy Virgin I am fairly certain it is true. In any case Bergoglio replaced Her with the devil Luther on that stamp, letting us know who his favourite is. And dont forget the chimpanzee light show on the facade of St Peter’s on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. He never misses a chance to insult Her.

        • I understand that sins need to be punished or atoned for…I just don’t understand why God allows blasphemy by Church leaders.

          What can the laity do when we are bound by Church law to obedience?

          • We are not bound to obey a wicked law, nor to give assent to a false teaching.
            God will sort out the blasphemers in His good time.

      • After one of his conversations with Satan Bergoglio implied that Our Blessed Mother must have felt betrayed by seeing Jesus on the Cross when the angel told her His kingdom would last forever. The poor man never considered, since Jesus told His apostles he would suffer and die, He certainly told His Mother, too. So he made an ass of himself again.

  7. Right on the mark. First let me say this site in acknowledgment of its editors provide the best, relevant, decidedly important articles for members of the Church at a time of unprecedented crisis. Of Darkness perpetrated from the place where the Church and world expects a diagram for peace. Peace is achieved solely by justice. That is defined by God not Pope Francis. On the mark because Pope Francis is a nouveau Pelagian secular humanist obviously despairing of Jesus Christ and enamored with his own vision to better Jesus. A pathetic self affirmed protagonist of an Anthropocentric religious vision. Man becomes God and Pope Francis is the herald. We must suffer him as apparent trial “Do not lead us into temptation” permitted by Christ to refine our faith and glorify His name.

    • Peace is achieved solely by justice.

      Thank you Father. I’ve never heard this so simply put. I love the Church and Her true teachings.

      • And, thank *you*, Steve! It is only by following 1P5 for the last few years that I could even begin to understand Fr. Morello’s apt summary. Yours is such important work, bringing together many lights to pierce this present darkness!

      • I gotta say it too… 1P5 showed up at just the right time when I was starting to wake up from the Matrix. You and the contributors have been my Morpheus in a lot of ways.

    • “They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:10

      “Because, in truth, because they have misled my people, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace; and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear whitewash on it.” Ezekiel 13:10

        • Nothing new under the sun.

          Not even throwing over God for Man:

          “As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.” (Lorenzo Snow, 5th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints….)

          “Along with the virtues, this means above all the new commandment, the first and the greatest of the commandments, and the one that best identifies us as Christ’s disciples: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’. Jn 15:12”. (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 161)

          • Rod, I don’t understand what you mean by your second quote, right after quoting the blasphemous LDS. Surely Jesus’s own words must be one thing Pope Francis got right? (Even a broken clock reads correctly twice a day…)

          • You ask in good faith:

            “Surely Jesus’s own words must be one thing Pope Francis got right?

            Alas, surely he didn’t.

            He misquoted Jesus.

            What is the “first and greatest of the commandments”?

            Is it “that you love one another as I have loved you” as he states explicitly?


            He cites John 15:2 as the “first and greatest commandment” but it isn’t the first and greatest commandment.

            What is?

            Matthew 22:34-40

            34 But the Pharisees hearing that he had silenced the Sadducees, came together:
            35 And one of them, a doctor of the law, asking him, tempting him:

            36 Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?

            37 Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.

            38 This is the greatest and the first commandment.

            39 And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
            40 On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.

            We have a Pope who misquoted Jesus and in the process replaced God with Man.

          • See, this happens too often from the mouth of other clergy too! Exactly that, when they misquote the 2nd commandment as the 1st, but they do not mention the first commandment at all
            Sadly, I have hear/read that, too many time. Last time, when that happened by an higher rank cleric, it was spoken by a bishop in his homily,… which was then putted as article on some ‘catholic’ portal.
            I wrote a letter to the owners of that portal and told to him that those words are totally incorrect and even heretical.
            They have changed a text (a homily!?) of bishop, in just a few hours, but they would not give me an answer whose fault that was!

          • This is why converts are handy to have around.

            we’ve heard it all before.

            What Bergoglio spouts is “old hat” to Protestant converts from the liberal “denominations”.

            We’ve heard this crap for years.

          • Oops, you’re right, Rod! I missed that.
            Of course, Bergoglio is quoting from Jesus’s farewell discourse to the apostles in John 15, so I completely missed how he’d conflated that with Matt. 22.

          • What on earth are you quoting Joseph Smith for? The LDS is not Christian and Smith was a common criminal, bigamist and convicted felon. Mormons believe as you clearly state that god was once a man and that we can all become gods. They also believe Jesus Christ was the brother of Lucifer. And finally, they deny the holy trinity. You are either misled or you are a Mormon troll.

          • RodH is only quoting an LDS source as an example from the past of man overthrowing God. Read him again and you’ll see he’s attacking the LDS statement, not endorsing it.

          • Hello, Thomas. So by the same token, when St Athanasius quoted Arius, you’d have dismissed him, saying you didn’t want to hear his Arian ideology. Or when Cardinal Cajetan quoted Luther, you’d have dismissed him, saying you had no time for his Protestant heresies.

            It doesn’t make much sense, does it?

          • Exactly, which is why I called Rod out on it. Why did he even use Joseph Smith’s quotes as an example, and if he was just using it as an example, why didn’t he respond to me personally? I am a TLM catholic. I am not and never was LDS. They are an evil pseudo-christian cult. But it behooves catholics to get some knowledge as to what the cults believe so that they can recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing when they encounter one.

          • Read Rocio! He got it!!!

            I live in Mormon country.

            So I am well-acquainted with godless opportunism!

            Prepped me for Cardinals Marx and Kasper!

          • I’ve studied the cults for years when I was an Anglican so I could debate LDS or JWs or whatever, when I encountered them in my apologetics. three years ago I converted to the TLM. I am not a vatican II Catholic, but the danger of the cults still stands whether we are protestant or catholic and it is up to every catholic to “try the spirits.” I am glad you understand Mormonism since you live in LDS territory, but I have to say that your post disturbed me. It also disturbs me that so few catholics know anything about the cults. They set themselves up for deception.

          • With this I agree. It sure sounds like some folks are setting themselves up as righteous and doing some mighty fancy judging. Following their lead, I will add that they are doing a fantastical job maligning the succession of popes for the world to see. While I spend no little time encouraging God’s people, these unsavory characters just make it more difficult…O Joy.

          • No kidding? Why don’t you tell Rod that then? He was the one who quoted Smith to begin with. Poor choice to use as an example.

        • “For they are a rebellious people,
          faithless children,
          children who will not hear
          the instruction of the Lord;
          10 who say to the seers, “Do not see”;
          and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
          speak to us smooth things,
          prophesy illusions,
          11 leave the way, turn aside from the path,
          let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 30:9-11

    • ‘a nouveau Pelagian secular humanist … an Anthropcentric religious vision’.That pretty much neatly sums it up. What unifies Bergoglio’s vision in what he says and does, as well as what he leaves unsaid and undone, is the neo- modernist spirit he imbibed in his formation especially after the post Vatican II crisis that engulfed the Church. He is thoroughly tainted by modernist heterodoxy, and wittingly or unwittingly he is inflicting the contamination on the whole Church. Though I thoroughly dislike the man, I cannot help loving him as a sinner like me in need of daily prayer and God’s grace. This, however, will not in any way stop me from seeing his faults and the immense harm he is wreaking, and speaking about it.

  8. During this crisis, it is my opinion that all Catholics are going to have to face up to unpleasant or difficult truths such as recognising that Vatican 2 was a disaster and that all states *are* confessional.

  9. The brokenness of the Church (in its human part) is breathtaking. Thank God for these type of articles that continue to enlighten us here at OPF and gird us for the great battle ahead. Sometimes I find it hard to complete the articles here but this was quick and to the point.

  10. Pope Francis is a Vatican II Modernist which means he is a Protestant believing what Protestants believe. Therefore—Catholics must reject anything Pope Francis says which conflicts with Church teaching prior to Vatican II.

    • The article puts Protestants in the same basket, but that is simply not true. The mainline Protestant Churches, which for all purposes are dead and will never recover, are as the article says. But most non-Catholic Christians are not in the main line Protestant Churches, but are in non-denominational “Bible Churches” and their beliefs about having to walk the walk are just like the RCC. No fruit, no salvation.

  11. One of the most interesting points raised by the recent Filial Correction was precisely this point about sanctifying grace and thus Pope Francis seeming to be Lutheran. Another view is that he might be Jansenist in denying that effective sanctifying grace is given to all.

    As to the separation of Church and State I am always intrigued by what happens when you have separation of Church and State as in Portugal but the vast majority of the population are Catholics

    1. I went on a 16 mile walk organised by one of the local town councils – Vila Nova da Paiva. We were given T shirts with the town’s name and shield on it. However it just so happened that our destination was another town – Lapa – which has a shrine to Our Lady. Arrived there and before settling down for a picnic the organisers threw off their T shirts and put on their gowns of some fraternity and we had Mass.

    2. The town council of Viseu seems to have no problem arranging for appropriate sombre decorations in the town for Holy Week.

    3. Our Parish Priest was invited to an outing organised by the Viseu town council – destination? Fatima.

    People see no incongruity in all this but my goodness what cries of horror we would hear if anything similar happened in the UK where incidentally there is no separation of Church and State as the Church of England is the established Church!

    • Excellent post!

      Those interested in the complicated machinations of “Church and State” in the USA should take a look at Barton’s “Myth of Separation”. He is a Protestant who asserts that there was no “separation” as defined in the modern sense in the establishment nor functioning of the USA until the RE-definition in 1949 of the term by SCOTUS. In fact, Jefferson’s letter to the Baptists where the phrase comes from was a defense of religion, not a demand for its ouster in public life. The book is valuable in its quoting of the personal beliefs of the founders and also in presenting the Christian-friendly rules and laws that were common among the states and local governments for 150 years.

      I agree with him that the culture expected and expressed a clear preference for affirmations of Jesus Christ specifically in installation of elected officials, etc, but deny his thesis that the nation itself was founded as a Christian nation. Our founding documents are clearly deist, tho we should note that the secularists are totally wrong who say the nation did not have a strong preference for (Protestant) nominal Christianity. That is evident in the many state documents and statements of SCOTUS justices, etc. Obviously we must see clearly that “Church” was understood by most Americans from the beginning was the Reformed concept of the “invisible Church”, NOT the Catholic Church.

      In the establishment of the US, there was, however, a maggot in the pudding. That maggot was guaranteed to consume the pudding from the very beginning.

      That maggot was the protection of non-descript, “Religious freedom”.

      As we see now, that protection is and will provide for the establishment of all manner of Christ-denying groups, entities and religions the most obvious at present being Islam.

      I began to see this problem some time ago, and it was only in the reading of the wisdom of our Popes and the condemnation of the “American system” that my eyes were opened.

      Our system was doomed from the start.

      1} Its foundations were Deist/Masonic allowing for expression of Christianity as long as such existed, but inherent in the system is also the protection of whatever “other religion” may arise.
      2} There is no confession of King Jesus and thus, long before the Communists hijacked the concept “We the People” in practice are the real “gods” of the nation
      3} There is no guarantee of and objective moral code to which law can refer.
      4} The collapse of even “non-denominational Christianity” was guaranteed from the start.

  12. “It has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians.” – Francis

    What kind of man would utter these words? When we know from history that Communism killed over 100 million people worldwide. It is sad that the pope can disregard people’s sufferings and death because he is so corrupt in his way of thinking to the point that he is unable to acknowledge history or reality. This is an evil papacy that wages psychological warfare on honest people.

  13. Before the US Constitution was written and ratified, Christianity was the backbone of the colonies and later the States; Christianity was everywhere in the public square. But the US Constitution, when adopted, set the stage to remove Christianity from the public square; It accomplished the removal by, using the first amendment, to make every religion equal, no matter how small and alien the religion was, therefore lowering Christianity. Second, it blocked Christianity from the public (government controlled) square; that removal didn’t happen immediately, but it has now become reality and the current US Government has succeeded in almost extinguishing Christianity from the public square, by simply using the constitution.

  14. Jorge Bergoglio as “Pope Francis” is the final phase of the Vatican II schism which began over 100 years ago with the Alta Vendita and was advanced through the last century with the errors modernism despite the warning of multiple popes. Those who advances, supported and follow him in his contradictions of the gospel teaching of Jesus and the apostles are no longer in the church but have left the church.

  15. True, the US was founded as a country without a state religion, but had an official religion been mandated or decreed at our founding, it would have in all likelihood been the Church of England. And the “separation of church and state” envisioned by Thomas Jefferson merely refers to government non-interference with religious practice… not one where a secular government stamps out religious practice.

    That said, it’s always possible PF’s own outlook has been shaped by the history of friction between the Church and the Peron regime during the early 1950s. Does he really believe every country is just like Argentina?


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