We’ve entered one of those moments again where there’s a a flurry of activity in the Church, and hardly enough time to analyze it in depth. To top it off, I’m feeling like I’m coming down with something and running on far too little sleep, so rather than trying to coax my brain into something fully coherent, I’ll be writing a couple of short pieces today on the biggest bits of news to get you up to speed.
The first story, and the one dominating attention in the Cathosphere today, is the pope’s latest encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti” — or, as the Twitterverse has already taken to calling it: Frutti Tutti. (I’ll have another piece coming out later on the Cardinal Becciu situation, which deserves its own separate treatment.)
As with everything Francis writes, FT is a party-sized portion of word salad, weighing in at 43,000 words – not much less than the average novel. And there’s much in it that is also novel (see what I did there?) for those who have the stomach and the patience to go through it.
I have neither.
Fortunately, there are some stalwart souls who are even now poring over the the mass of theological chaff, looking for the usual agenda pieces buried within. And surprise, surprise – they’re very familiar.
“The signs of the times,” Francis said yesterday in introducing the text, “clearly show that human fraternity and the care of creation form the only path towards integral development and peace, already indicated by the saintly popes John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II.”
Per usual, it’s post-conciliarism uber alles. The only papacies that exist are the ones that came in the past half century. The Church before is being killed and buried.
(And why is it that every time I hear him talk about “Human Fraternity,” all I can think of is just how in love with him the Freemasons are?)
The word “fraternity” shows up 55 times in the text, and in fact, there’s an actual section heading (right before paragraph 103) that reads: “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.”
I’m not making that up. He’s literally using the masonic motto of the anti-Catholic French Revolution. In an encyclical.
In paragraph 119 and following — under the subheading “Re-Envisaging the Social Role of Property,” the pope’s love for socialistic redistribution takes aim at private property. Francis claims, in a footnoted quote, that “the Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property.”
When one looks at the footnote, one sees that the pope is here quoting himself, his narcissistic plumage on full, dazzling display.
He goes on: “The principle of the common use of created goods is the ‘first principle of the whole ethical and social order’; it is a natural and inherent right that takes priority over others.”
it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.
I’ll pause for a moment while you overcome the shock you must no doubt be feeling: Francis? Making a mess of Catholic teaching? Who ever could have predicted it??
I just started fast scrolling back up through the document to figure out what else to discuss, and found myself losing the will to live. So I’ll confine myself to a couple more salient bits and move on.
In paragraph 172, he begins whispering sweet nothings to the idea of world government, one that is “equipped with the power to provide for the global common good…”
In paragraph 173, he professes his undying love for the United Nations, which he fears is under threat of “being delegitimized.”
Delegitimizing the United Nations? Perish the thought.
In paragraphs 263-270, he pimps, once again, his most favoritest ever heresy – that the death penalty is “inadmissible” – a term which has no theological merit, but which implies, through the inherent language of logic, a belief that capital punishment is what Catholic philosophers call an “exceptionless moral norm” – in other words, an intrinsic evil.
I’ve explained in the past why he is wrong. The moral liceity of the death penalty, in principle, is divinely revealed and magisterially proposed as a truth of the faith. There are a number of statements from popes, from doctors of the Church, and so on. The teaching on the moral liceity of the death penalty — not just as a means of rendering an aggressor harmless, but as an act of retributive justice — is an infallible expression of the ordinary and universal magisterium. As such, it is impossible for there to be a universal ban on its use.
In paragraph 267, Francis argues, quoting himself once again, that “it is impossible to imagine that states today have no other means than capital punishment to protect the lives of other people from the unjust aggressor.” And yet even the most cursory application of human reason indicates that inasmuch as the pope is not omniscient, he is unable to determine every situation in every nation or state throughout the world from now until the end of time. Some condition will always exist, at least hypothetically, where its use would, according to the principles always respected by the Church, be morally justified. Yes, even in the modern world.
He goes on in paragraph 268 to repeat the other aspect of his personal madness on this issue: that life in prisonment is also wrong. “A life sentence,” he says, “is a secret death penalty.”
In 269, he plays the parlor game of “guess which pope I’m contradicting now,” citing John Paul II, who said, “not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.”
Contrast this with the words of Pope Pius XII, who said:
“Even in the case of the death penalty the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. Rather public authority limits itself to depriving the offender of the good of life in expiation for his guilt, after he, through his crime, deprived himself of his own right to life.” –Pope Pius XII, Address to the First International Congress of Histopathology of the Nervous System, 14 September 1952, XIV, 328
Capital punishment isn’t a question of human dignity. It is a question of justice. Human dignity cannot be taken away, even upon execution. Just ask Our Lord. I’m pretty sure His remained fully in tact.
The last bit of this encyclical I’m going to torture you with, for now, is the eighth chapter, which falls under the subheading of “Religions at the Service of Fraternity in Our World.”
Yeah. Just take a minute to let that idea soak in. You feeling it? I’m feeling it. Good. Let’s move on to the opening paragraph:
The different religions, based on their respect for each human person as a creature called to be a child of God, contribute significantly to building fraternity and defending justice in society. Dialogue between the followers of different religions does not take place simply for the sake of diplomacy, consideration or tolerance. In the words of the Bishops of India, “the goal of dialogue is to establish friendship, peace and harmony, and to share spiritual and moral values and experiences in a spirit of truth and love”.
Did I mention how the Freemasons love Francis? I did? Did I link to the thing where we saw how they thanked him for his Christmas address last year? I did? Did I quote them here for reference as to why they thanked him? No? Ok. Here it is:
“All the Masons of the world unite themselves to the petition of the Pope for “fraternity between persons of diverse religions”
The message which Spanish Masons have sent to Francis is truly full of enthusiasm and gratitude: “All the Masons of the world unite themselves to the request of the pope for ‘fraternity between persons of diverse religions.’”
Liberty, equality, fraternity…gag. I can’t force myself to read any more, so I’m going to stop here. We’ll no doubt be plagued with discussions about this latest stink bomb for months to come. No need to dwell on it unduly today.
UPDATE – 10/5/2020 @ 3:05PM MST: I mentioned in the piece above how much today’s encyclical reminds me of the Grand Lodge of Spanish Freemasonry expressing their appreciation for Francis’s Christmas message last year.
Well, apparently the encyclical reminded them, too, because this is what they tweeted out today:
So that’s fun.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.