In a new interview, the Roman Pontiff has elaborated on the synodal dream of Cardinal Martini, taking place now in Rome. But before we get to that, we should be fair and say that he also said a few good things:
We were all unexperienced young people once, and sometimes young boys and girls hold onto miracles, to a messiah, to things being solved in a messianic way. There is only one Messiah who saved us all. The rest are all clowns of messianism. None of them can promise a solution to conflicts, unless it’s emerging upward from the crisis.
He also had some anti-war comments, in the face of the new war in Israel: “Since the end of World War II up until today, there have been wars everywhere. That’s what I meant when I said we are living a World War in pieces. Now we see it because that World War is close.”
This fits with the Dictator Pope’s normal Peronism, a few good things, a few bad. Enough to please everybody and maintain your power. Because then the same Masonic tropes came through:
What is humanity lacking and what is there in excess?
– Humanity is lacking protagonists of humanity, who can display their human prominence…
– What is the danger of a single identity, a single mindset?
– It destroys human richness. A single mindset banishes human richness…
Do you believe that uniting our consciousness, beyond our religious or political differences, is a way to begin the construction of peace and common good?
– Yes, absolutely yes, but with one condition: being aware of one’s own identity…
Later on in the interview, the #SchismaticWay was brought up and he situates it as a continuation of Vatican II:
– The Synod 2023 is taking place, within a context that you defined, fundamentally, as the end of an era. In which way does the Church adapt to this reality? What kind of Church is needed these days?
– Since the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII had a very clear perception: the Church has to change. Paul VI agreed, just like the succeeding Popes.
Let’s pause for a moment and look at this: despite many ambiguities, Popes John and Paul were quite clear that they intended the depositum fidei to remain unchanged, but that the manner of speaking for the Church could and should change to address new questions posed by the modern world. In theory, no Trad should have any problem with this concept, but the phrase “the Church has to change” is quite ambiguous and dangerous prima facie. Let’s continue to read his answer:
It’s not just changing ways, it’s about a change of growth, in favor of the dignity of people.
This has been the reason given for the Pope’s attempt to change the death penalty as “per se against the Gospel” due to the dignity of the person. Since Vatican II, this phrase has been difficult to disentangle from the errors of Liberalism.
That’s theological progression, of moral theology and all the ecclesiastical sciences, even in the interpretation of Scriptures that have progressed according to the feelings of the Church. Always in harmony. Rupture is not good. We either progress through development or things don’t turn out right. Rupture leaves you out of the sap of development. I like the image of a tree and its roots. The roots receive the humidity of the soil and take it upward, through the trunk. When you separate yourself from that, you end up dry, without traditions. Tradition in the good sense of the word. We all have traditions, a family, we were all born within the culture of a country, a political culture. We all have a tradition for which to take responsibility.
OK, now he’s using Benedict’s talking points about rupture and Tradition. Let’s see what comes next:
– You speak of tradition and progress as complements.
– Progress is necessary and the Church has to incorporate these novelties with a serious conversation from a human point of view. The Greek thinker Publius Terentius Afer says “Nothing human is alien to me”. The Church holds what’s human in its hand. God became a man, not a philosophical theory. Humanity is something consecrated by God. That is, everything human must be assumed and progress must be human, in harmony with humanity.
In the 1960s, Dutch people came up with the word “rapidity”, which is much more than acceleration. Well, in the context of the rapidity of scientific knowledge, the Church has to pay close attention and have its thinkers be ready to dialogue. And I emphasize this: we must dialogue with scientific knowledge. The Church must dialogue with everybody, but being aware of its identity. Not from a borrowed identity.
The answer does not seem to address the question. But his emphasis on the Church keeping her identity harkens back to what had been said earlier:
If I, as a Catholic, have to talk to someone from other religion, I must be fully aware of being a Catholic and that the other person has the right to their religion. But if I’m not aware of my own identity, I can’t have a conversation, I’m going to laugh at everything, I’m going to sell everything, to fake everything. I wouldn’t be truly consistent.
This is good, as far as it goes, but it recalls what the new Dubia said in its first point, and how the Holy Father responded by presenting an ambiguous definition of progress and change. These answers seem to know how to say the right things to keep up appearances.
– How can the tension between changing and not losing its essence be solved?
– The Church, through dialogue and taking up new challenges, has changed in many ways. Even regarding cultural matters. A theologist from the 4th Century said that changes in the Church must comply to three conditions to be real: consolidating, growing and ennoble themselves along the years. It is a very inspiring definition by Vincent of Lérins. The Church has to change. Let’s think of the ways it has changed since the Council until now and the way it must continue changing its ways, in the way to propose an unchanging truth. That is, the revelation of Jesus Christ does not change, the dogmas of the Church do not change, they grow and ennoble themselves like the sap of a tree. The person who does not follow this path, follows a path that takes steps backward, a path that closes on itself. Changes in the Church take place within this identity flow of the Church. And it has to keep changing along the way, as challenges are met. That is why the core of change is fundamentally pastoral, without recanting the essence of the Church.
Here we get a fuller answer: the depositum does not change, but the pastoral application does. But this is a smokescreen. Since everything has happened in this pontificate, we’ve seen how this plays out. The new Dubia reinforce the need for a clear confession of Faith, as the only sure way out of this crisis. Which allows us to end with this reminder of the proven Trad solution:
PRACTICAL STEPS FOR RESOLVING THIS CRISIS
- Every bishop has jurisdiction over the communion of his diocese
- Every bishop has the power and authority to anathematize heresy. If he judges it necessary, he can also do this from a diocesan synod (synodality!).
- Every bishop has the ability to identify and name the chief errors of our time. The Declaration of Truths, signed in 2019 by prominent bishops like Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider, has already laid out the most common errors and opposed them.
- Every bishop should issue the charitable anathema for all Catholics in his diocese. Taking the aforementioned Declaration of Truths, a bishop can simply issue a decree such as this:
If anyone does not confess the truths contained in this declaration according to the sense and understanding that the Church has always taught and teaches, let him be anathema.
- If this seems too extreme, why not simply do the same with the Professio Fidei that is already on the books? or the Oath Against Modernism that is an infallible oath promulgated for decades since Pius X?
- Every case of heresy must be judged properly with truth and charity. This can and should be done locally, not only by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican.
Timothy S. Flanders earned a BA in Greek and Latin from Grand Valley State University in 2010 with special studies in history, writing and Arabic. As a result of his studies, he converted from Protestantism to Eastern Orthodoxy and began working in education among ages Kindergarten to adult. He then pursued a Masters’ Degree in Christian history and theology with the Catholic University of Ukraine. In 2013, as a result of further searching, he converted to Roman Catholicism shortly after Pope Francis was elected. In 2019 he founded The Meaning of Catholic, a lay apostolate dedicated to uniting Catholics against the enemies of Holy Church. In 2021, he became the editor-in-chief of the online journal, OnePeterFive. He is the author of three books: Introduction to the Holy Bible for Traditional Catholics, City of God versus City of Man: The Battles of the Church from Antiquity to the Present and When the Gates of Hell Prevail: What Catholics Do in Dark Times, as well as a forthcoming book about Eastern Orthodoxy, published by St. Paul Center. He lives in Michigan with his wife and six children.