Pope Francis labels Catholics who believe in “absolute truths” as “fundamentalists”

Pope Francis labels Catholics who believe in “absolute truths” as “fundamentalists”

Pope_Benedict_XVI_on_Fundamentalism.pngOn the plane returning from his journey to Africa on November 30, Pope Francis condemned Catholics who believe in “absolute truths”, and labelled them as “fundamentalists”.

“Fundamentalism is a sickness that is in all religions,” Francis said, as reported by the National Catholic Reporter’s Vatican correspondent, Joshua McElwee, and similarly by other journalists on the plane.  “We Catholics have some – and not some, many – who believe in the absolute truth and go ahead dirtying the other with calumny, with disinformation, and doing evil.”

“They do evil,” said the pope. “I say this because it is my church.”

“We have to combat it,” he said. “Religious fundamentalism is not religious, because it lacks God. It is idolatry, like the idolatry of money.”

Turning to Islam, the pope spoke of his friendship with a Muslim, adding, “You cannot cancel out a religion because there are some groups, or many groups in a certain point of history, of fundamentalists.”

“Like everything, there are religious people with values and those without,” he said. “But how many wars … have Christians made? The sacking of Rome was not done by Muslims, eh?”

Is There an Absolute Right and Wrong?

In September 2013, Pope Francis wrote a letter to Eugenio Scalfari, atheist founder and editor of the Italian publication La Republicca.  This letter, together with a subsequent face-to-face interview conducted by Scalfari with the Pope, sparked massive media coverage – and widespread controversy.

During the one-on-one interview, Scalfari asked the pope: “Your Holiness, is there only one vision of the Good? And who determines what it is?”

The Pope answered:

Each one of us has his own vision of the Good and also of Evil. We have to urge it [the vision] to move towards what one perceives as the Good…I repeat it. Everyone has his own idea of Good and Evil and he has to choose to follow the Good and to fight Evil as he understands it. This would be enough to improve the world.

The Heresy of Relativism

The Pope’s letter to Scalfari, as well as his recent condemnation of “absolute truths”  is, upon closer inspection, a support for the heresy of relativism –  a dangerous heresy that, if adopted by the world, will cause widespread adoption of sin. According to relativism, we should not believe in “absolute truths”. We should not believe in absolute moral codes of conduct. No institution, no Church has the right to definitely say what is right and what is wrong.

To say that“each one of us has his own vision of the Good and also of Evil” is to give everyone the license to do whatever he or she wants to do in this life – it gives everyone the license to sin.  

Pope Francis’ position is a complete reversal to Pope Benedict XVI’s view that relativism is a danger that the Church must fight.  Just before the College of Cardinals entered the 2005 conclave to vote on the successor to John Paul II, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, warned against the dangers of relativism:

Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.

The Church Does Believe in Absolute Truths

In his 2009 Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI said that true love leads one to “defend the truth” and “articulate it with humility and conviction”:

Love — caritas — is…a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth…To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6).

In numerous occasions, St. John Paul II warned against the grave consequences of doctrinal relativism. In this 1981 address during a conference on popular missions, he said:

It is essential to realistically admit, with deep and pained sentiment, that in part, Christians today feel lost, confused, perplexed and even disillusioned; ideas conflicting with the revealed and consistently taught truth have been widely spread; real heresies in dogmatic and moral fields have been promoted, creating doubts, confusions, rebellions, even the Liturgy has been manipulated; immersed in the intellectual and moral ‘relativism’, and consequently permissiveness, Christians are tempted toward atheism, agnosticism, vaguely moralistic illuminism, and a sociological Christianity, without defined dogmas and without objective morality. ∎

by Pablo Mercer

Pope’s Favourite Journalist Claims Pope Francis Approves Communion for all Remarried Who Ask

Atheist_Scalfari_and_Pope_FrancisJust days after the conclusion of the Synod on the Family, Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist co-founder of the Italian daily La Republicca, said that Pope Francis told him “all the divorced [and remarried Catholics] who ask” will be admitted to Holy Communion.

Scalfari, who has published numerous controversial interviews with the pope, said that Francis phoned him the evening of October 28 to discuss an article Scalfari had written about the synod.

Scalfari said Pope Francis spoke about the diversity of opinions expressed by bishops at the Oct. 4-25 synod, particularly on the feasibility of some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receiving absolution and being allowed to receive Communion even if their first, sacramental marriage has not been annulled.  Scalfari quotes the pope as follows:

The diverse opinion of the bishops is part of this modernity of the Church and of the diverse societies in which she operates, but the goal is the same, and for that which regards the admission of the divorced to the Sacraments, [it] confirms that this principle has been accepted by the Synod. This is bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted.

The synod’s final report to Pope Francis was not that clear and, in fact, did not specifically mention Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. In current church practice, divorced and remarried Catholics are forbidden to receive Communion because they are living a state of grave sin – adultery.  In almost all cases, such people are not to receive Communion because the church recognizes only their sacramental marriage as valid.

Contrary to the Magisterium of the Church

John_Paul_II_on_Communion_for_Divorced_and_Remarried.pngThe pope’s support of the controversial proposal of Cardinal Kasper to allow Communion for the divorced and remarried runs contrary to the official Magisterium of the Church.

In 1980, there was a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, and Pope John Paul II subsequently issued the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio.  Paragraph 84 comments on the situation of the divorced and remarried and under what conditions they may be invited to the reception of communion.

St. John Paul II wrote:

The Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI re-affirmed the above teaching in Sacramentum Caritatis, the 2007 apostolic exhortation which followed the 2005 synod on the Eucharist:

The synod of bishops confirmed the Church’s practice, based on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting the divorced and re­married to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objective­ly contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist.

5th Controversial Interview

This latest article by Scalfari is the 5th such interview granted by the Pope to the controversial atheist author.  Previous interviews have caused a firestorm of controversy, with outrightly heretical statements attributed to the Pope.  While many have questioned the reliability and accuracy of Scalfari’s quotations of the Pope, it must be noted that the Scalfari interviews have been published by the Vatican in a book containing “official” interviews of the Pope with various journalists.

We also recall Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi who, pressed by reporters on the reliability of the Scalfari interviews, said that if Francis felt his thought had been “gravely misrepresented,” he would have said so. To-date, Pope Francis has not denied or clarified any of the interviews.

The 4th interview, published on March 15, was a  highly controversial one, since in it, Scalfari has the pope denying hell.  Scalfari wrote:

What happens to that lost soul? Will it be punished? And how? The response of Francis is distinct and clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul.  All the others will participate in the beatitude of living in the presence of the Father. The souls that are annihilated will not take part in that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is finished.∎

by Christopher Leonis

Defending the Holy Eucharist

TarcisiusTarcisius was a twelve-year-old boy who lived in the third century, at a time when pagan Rome fiercely persecuted Christiains.

Each day, from a secret meeting place in the catacombs where Christians gathered for Mass, a deacon would be sent to the prisons to carry the Eucharist to Christians condemned to die. At one point, there was no deacon to send and so Tarcisius, an acolyte, was sent carrying the sacred consecrated hosts to those in prison.

On the way, he was stopped by boys his own age who were not Christians but knew him as a playmate. He was asked to join their games, but this time he refused, and the crowd of boys noticed that he was carrying something. Somehow, he was recognized as a Christian. The small gang of boys, anxious to view the pouch containing the sacred hosts which Tarcisius was trying to hide, became a mob and beat up the poor boy in their fury. Despite being bombarded with severe blows, Tarcisius guarded the pouch with every ounce of strength he had, fearing the sacrilege that would result if the pagans were successful. It is believed that a Roman soldier, who happened to be a Christian, drove off the mob and rescued the young acolyte. The mangled body of Tarcisius was carried back to the catacombs, but the boy died on the way from his injuries.

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a major persecution of the Eucharist – worse than the time of Tarcisius. The sacrilegious blows to the Eucharist do not come from a gang of pagan boys like in the story of Tarcisius.  Instead,  more painfully, they come from within the Church itself – from priests, bishops and cardinals who are preaching and promoting heretical ideas and practices against the Eucharist.

A powerful cadre of liberal bishops and cardinals are currently behind a major push to redefine the Church’s teachings and practice regarding the Eucharist. They are pushing for the Church to allow public, unrepentant sinners to receive the Eucharist – adulterers (divorced and remarried Catholics) and even non-Catholics. All this boils down to one thing: sacrilegious reception of the Eucharist by public sinners.

The good news is that there are many courageous priests, bishops and cardinals who have publicly taken the challenge of defending the Eucharist and the Catholic Faith.  In fact, thirteen prominent cardinals have even taken the unprecedented step of writing a letter to Pope Francis, warning him of a “collapse of the Church” if the liberal forces in the Church get their way in the Synod.

Just like the thirteen cardinals, we are called upon today to defend the Eucharist from these attacks.  How are we to respond?  Will we turn a blind eye? Will we run away scared – afraid to challenge those powerful liberal forces from the very top of the Church? Or will we defend the Eucharist with our very lives, as Tarcisius did? May we follow the example of this 12-year-old boy who, without the benefit of so many years of theological study, knew the infinite value of the Eucharist and defended it with his very life.