Pope Francis says ‘God cannot be God without man’

Last June 7, 2017, at his Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis controversially declared before the crowds in St. Peter’s Square:  “God cannot be God without man.”

The Pope said:

Dear brothers and sisters, we are never alone. We can be far, hostile; we can even say we are ‘without God.’ But Jesus Christ’s Gospel reveals to us that God cannot be without us: He will never be a God ‘without man’; it is He who cannot be without us, and this is a great mystery! God cannot be God without man: this is a great mystery!

Many theologians have since spoken out, citing that the phrase by itself is dangerous and could be taken in an erroneous way.

John Paul Meenan, professor of theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, a Catholic college in Eastern Ontario, told LifeSiteNews (which broke the story) that the phrase “God cannot be God without man” is open to misinterpretation and is very problematic. Professor Meenan said it is not true that ‘God cannot be God without man’ in a universal sense.

Meenan was concerned about the statement because it could be taken to support a modernist heresy known as “process theology” which posits “God perfects himself by creation or grows with creation.”

Another credentialed Catholic lay theologian known to LifeSiteNews but wishing to remain anonymous explained:

Because of The Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, it is true that God remains eternally joined to mankind through the human nature of Jesus Christ, Second of the Three Divine Persons of The Most Blessed Trinity. Nonetheless, God has absolutely no actual need of mankind, our relationship with God being entirely dependent on that gratuitous superabundance of the infinite Divine Love of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.208), a bishop, martyr, and Father of the Church, wrote in his famous work Against the Heresies:

In the beginning it was not because he had need of man that God fashioned Adam but so as to have someone on whom to set his blessings. For, not only before Adam but even before creation, the Word glorified the Father while dwelling in him and was glorified by the Father.

Saint Irenaeus added:

When people stand in the light, it is not they who illumine the light and cause it to shine but who are illumined and made to shine by it. Far from contributing anything at all to it, they benefit from the light and are lit up by it. This is how it is in serving God: our service contributes nothing to God for God has no need of man’s service; but to those who serve and follow him God gives life, incorruptibility and eternal glory.

Since his assumption to the papacy, Pope Francis has caused much consternation and confusion amongst faithful Catholics, with controversial statements.  He previously said that most Catholic marriages are null, and that some co-habitations are a “real marriage”.

In another controversial statement, he has likewise questioned the existence of hell, suggesting that everyone goes to heaven.  In the controversial papal encyclical Amoris Laetitia (297), Pope Francis wrote: “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”

 

Chief exorcist Father Amorth: Padre Pio said that the third secret of Fatima was about a “false church” in the end times

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Prior to his death in 2016, Fr. Gabriele Amorth had performed over 70,000 exorcisms over a span of 30 years.  He founded the International Association of Exorcists in 1990.

In a recent article on the “Secret of Fatima”, Steve Skojec, the founder and editor of OnePeterFive, published for the first time in the English language words from Rome’s chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth (d. 2016), about Padre Pio and his knowledge of the Third Secret of Fatima. They come from a newly published book written by José María Zavala, entitled The Best Kept Secret of Fatima (El Sécreto Mejor Guardado de Fátima). Zavala interviewed Father Amorth in 2011, and was instructed to keep the interview secret until after the exorcist’s death.

Fr. Amorth personally knew Saint (Padre) Pio for 26 years, and it is from this towering figure of 20th century Catholic sanctity that he claims to have learned the contents of the Third Secret of Fatima. According to Fr. Amorth, Padre Pio said that the Third Secret pertained to the infiltration of the Vatican by Satan and the rise of a “false church” – details that are not found in the Vatican’s official publication of the Third Secret in 2000. Below we publish details of the interview with Fr. Amorth:

In the interview, Fr. Amorth relates — as he has done elsewhere — that he does not believe the consecration of the world by Pope John Paul II in 1984 was sufficient to satisfy the requirements set forth by Our Lady.

“There was no such consecration then,” he [Father Amorth] says. “I witnessed the act. I was in St. Peter’s Square that Sunday afternoon, very close to the Pope; so close, I could almost touch him.”

Pressed by Zavala as to why he so forcefully believes that the consecration was not done, Fr. Amorth replied: “Very simple: John Paul II wanted to mention Russia expressly, but in the end he did not.”

Fr. Amorth said further: “I have no doubt that the consecration did not occur on the terms required by the Virgin. But we must not lose sight of what she herself wanted to tell us through Lucia: ‘In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph.’”

Zavala then asked about the Third Secret:  “Forgive me for insisting on the Third Secret of Fatima: Did Padre Pio relate it, then, to the loss of faith within the Church?”

Fr. Gabriele furrows his brow and sticks out his chin. He seems very affected.

“Indeed,” he states, “One day Padre Pio said to me very sorrowfully: ‘You know, Gabriele? It is Satan who has been introduced into the bosom of the Church and within a very short time will come to rule a false Church.’”

“Oh my God! Some kind of Antichrist! When did he prophesy this to you?” I [Zavala] ask.

“It must have been about 1960, since I was already a priest then.”

“Was that why John XXIII had such a panic about publishing the Third Secret of Fatima, so that the people wouldn’t think that he was the anti-pope or whatever it was …?”

A slight but knowing smile curls the lips of Father Amorth.

“Did Padre Pio say anything else to you about future catastrophes: earthquakes, floods, wars, epidemics, hunger …? Did he allude to the same plagues prophesied in the Holy Scriptures?” [asks Mr. Zavala]

“Nothing of the sort mattered to him, however terrifying they proved to be, except for the great apostasy within the Church. This was the issue that really tormented him and for which he prayed and offered a great part of his suffering, crucified out of love.” [says Fr. Amorth]

“The Third Secret of Fatima?”

“Exactly.”

“Is there any way to avoid something so terrible, Fr. Gabriele?”

“There is hope, but it’s useless if it’s not accompanied by works. Let us begin by consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, let us recite the Holy Rosary, let us all do prayer and penance …”∎

by Maike Hickson, http://www.onepeterfive.com 

Pope Francis: The Son of Man was “Like a Serpent”, “Became Sin”, was “Stained by Sin”

francis-devil-cross-largeIn a homily delivered on Tuesday of the fifth week of Lent, in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis put a new spin on the episode of the bronze serpent in the desert mentioned in the Book of Numbers (21: 4–9).  He said that Jesus was dirtied by sin, and implied that the serpent symbolizes our faults.  Below is the exact text of the homily of the Pope in this regard:

The serpent is a symbol of sin. The serpent that kills but also a serpent that saves. And this is the Mystery of Christ. Paul, when speaking about this mystery, said that Jesus emptied himself, humiliated himself and destroyed himself in order to save us. And (what’s) even stronger, ‘he became sin’. Using this symbol, he became a serpent. This is the prophetic message of today’s reading. The Son of Man, who like a serpent, ‘became sin,’ is raised up to save us. […] the story of our redemption, this is the story of God’s love. If we want to know God’s love, let us look at the Cross, a man tortured, a God, emptied of his divinity, dirtied [stained] by sin…Sin is the work of Satan and Jesus defeats Satan by ‘becoming sin’ and from there he lifts up all of us.

Did Christ become stained in assuming our nature? 

The Pope’s homily begs an important clarification, lest it be misunderstood: did become “dirtied by sin” when He assumed our nature?

The answer, according to Church teaching, is that He emptied himself and humbled himself, but was not stained: on the contrary, being innocent, He suffered for the sins of the human race to save it. Below are some quotes from various popes, saints and Sacred Scripture that unequivocally say that Christ was not stained by sin in any way:

  • Saint Augustine of Hippo: “Christ loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins.”
  • Saint Maximus the Confessor: “God became perfect man, taking on everything that belongs to human nature except sin, and indeed sin is not part of human nature created by God.”
  • St. John Paul II: “Taking the form of a slave, Christ made himself similar to men in everything but not sin.”
  • Benedict XVI: “God himself wished to share in our human condition, but not in the corruption of sin.”
  • Sacred Scripture:Tested in every way, yet without sin”; “For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin”; “Jesus committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

The Church’s teaching is clear: Sin is incompatible with the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ.

Theologians Formally Petition Rome for Condemnation of Errors of Amoris Laetitia

On July 11, 2016, a prominent international group of Catholics, academics, theologians and pastors announced that they have formally petitioned Rome to address serious theological problems with the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.  “We request that the Cardinals and Patriarchs petition the Holy Father to condemn the errors listed in the document in a definitive and final manner, and to authoritatively state that Amoris Laetitia does not require any of them to be believed or considered as possibly true,” the signatories wrote.

Among the 45 signatories of the petition are leading Catholic prelates, scholars, professors, authors, and clergy from various pontifical universities, seminaries, colleges, theological institutes, religious orders, and dioceses around the world.  The group submitted an appeal to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals in Rome, requesting that the Cardinals and Eastern Catholic Patriarchs petition His Holiness, Pope Francis, to repudiate a list of erroneous propositions that can be drawn from a reading of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.  A copy of the letter to Cardinal Sodano, together with the thirteen-page theological critique, was sent to all of the 218 Cardinals and Patriarchs around the world.

Describing the exhortation as containing “a number of statements that can be understood in a sense that is contrary to Catholic faith and morals,” the signatories submitted, along with their appeal, a documented list of applicable theological censures specifying “the nature and degree of the errors that could be attributed to Amoris Laetitia.”

The signers announced the existence of the letter so that “Catholics who are troubled by some of the statements in Amoris Laetitia be aware that steps are being taken to address the problems it raises,” said Dr. Joseph Shaw, an Oxford academic and the group’s spokesman.

Shaw also said: “We consider that numerous propositions in Amoris laetitia can be construed as heretical upon a natural reading of the text. Additional statements would fall under other established theological censures, such as scandalous, erroneous in faith, and ambiguous, among others.”

The thirteen-page document quotes nineteen passages in the exhortation which seem to conflict with Catholic doctrines. These doctrines include the real possibility with the grace of God of obeying all the commandments, the fact that certain kinds of act are wrong in all circumstances, the headship of the husband, the superiority of consecrated virginity over the married life, and the legitimacy of capital punishment under certain circumstances. The document also argues that the exhortation undermines the Church’s teaching that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who have made no commitment to continence cannot be admitted to the sacraments while they remain in that state.

Amoris Laetitia ‘can mislead Catholics into believing what is false and doing what is forbidden by divine law’

“The apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, issued by Pope Francis on March 19th, 2016 and addressed to bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated persons, Christian married couples, and all the lay faithful, has caused grief and confusion to many Catholics on account of its apparent disagreement with a number of teachings of the Catholic Church on faith and morals. This situation poses a grave danger to souls,” the letter begins. It cited the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that “inferiors are bound to correct their superiors publicly when there is an imminent danger to the faith” and the Latin Code of Canon Law’s affirmation that “the Catholic faithful have the right and at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence, and position, to make known their views on matters which concern the good of the Church.”

The theologians contend. “The problem with the document is that it can mislead Catholics into believing what is false and doing what is forbidden by divine law. … What is important about the document is the damaging effect it can have on the belief and moral life of Catholics.”

Using Sacred Scripture and a number of authoritative Church teachings, particularly from the Council of Trent, the document also condemned suggestions from Amoris Laetitia that:

  • Living according to the teachings of the Gospel may be impossible for some people
  • No one is condemned to hell
  • “The divorced and civilly remarried who choose their situation with full knowledge and full consent of the will are not in a state of serious sin, and that they can receive sanctifying grace and grow in charity,”
  • “A Catholic believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action”
  • “A person with full knowledge of a divine law can sin by choosing to obey that law”
  • One’s conscience can “truly judge” that sexual sins explicitly condemned by the Gospel “can sometimes be morally right or requested or commanded by God”
  • “Our Lord Jesus Christ wills that the Church abandon her perennial discipline of refusing the Eucharist to the divorced and remarried and of refusing absolution to the divorced and remarried who do not express contrition for their state of life and a firm purpose of amendment with regard to it”
  • “Absence of grave fault due to diminished responsibility can permit admission to the Eucharist in the cases of divorced and civilly remarried persons who do not separate, nor undertake to live in perfect continence, but remain in an objective state of adultery and bigamy”

“Catholic theologians have a strict duty to speak out against the apparent errors in the document,” the signatories wrote. “This statement on Amoris Laetitia is intended to fulfil that duty, and to assist the hierarchy of the Church in addressing this situation.”

The spokesman said, “It is our hope that by seeking from our Holy Father a definitive repudiation of these errors we can help to allay the confusion already brought about by Amoris laetitia among pastors and the lay faithful.  For that confusion can be dispelled effectively only by an unambiguous affirmation of authentic Catholic teaching by the Successor of Peter.”

Dr Joseph Shaw, an Oxford academic and a signatory to the appeal, is acting as spokesman for this group of Catholic scholars and pastors. The group has set up the email address appealtocardinals@gmail.com to answer press enquiries about the appeal.

Spiritual Bouquet of Rosaries: An Antiquated Practice?

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On June 6, 2013, Pope Francis had an audience with the presiding board of the CLAR (see photo),  the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious Men and Women – Confederación Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Religiosos y Religiosas). A transcript of the private audience was provided by the attendees to the Chilean ultra-progressive website Reflexión y Liberación (Reflection and Liberation).

According to the report, the Pope complained about a group who offered him a spiritual bouquet of rosaries as a gift upon his election:

I share with you [my] concerns. One is the Pelagian current that there is in the Church at this moment. There are some restorationist groups. I know some, it fell upon me to receive them in Buenos Aires. And one feels as if one goes back 60 years! Before the Council…One feels in 1940… An anecdote, just to illustrate this, it is not to laugh at it, I took it with respect, but it concerns me; when I was elected, I received a letter from one of these groups, and they said: “Your Holiness, we offer you this spiritual treasure: 3,525 rosaries.” Why don’t they say, “we pray for you, we ask…”, but this thing of counting… And these groups return to practices and to disciplines that I lived through – not you, because you are not old – to disciplines, to things that in that moment took place, but not now, they do not exist today…

Saving the Planet – or Saving Souls?

How many priests today do we know of who spend 13 to 17 hours daily in the confessional?  Perhaps none.  Many will say that is an impractical way of spending time as a priest, given the many challenges he has to face in managing his parish: attending meetings, creating programs for the less privileged, and so many other matters.

There was one priest who did spend 13 to 17 hours daily in the confessional, and he happens to be the patron saint of all priests: St. John Mary Vianney. As parish priest of Ars, a small village in France, his purpose was single-minded: to convert sinners and to save souls.   He spent his days in prayer, teaching Catechism, and hearing confessions. He did not save his parishioners from material poverty.  He did not give them jobs.  He did not encourage them to “dialogue” with other religions.  He did not organise health caravans, job fairs, tree planting projects, walk for a cause projects, and many other activities that we see many priests of today get busy with.  He did not indirectly encourage people to remain in their sins by over-emphasising God’s mercy without the need for repentance. In fact, in his homilies, he thundered against the prevalent vices of the village of Ars: blasphemies, cursing, profanation of Sundays, dances and gatherings at taverns, immodest songs and conversations.

The greatest miracle of Ars was not the material transformation of the village – it was the spiritual transformation of its people under its pastor.   The life of St. John Vianney is the story of a humble and holy man who succeeded in the only measure of success that matters for a priest: converting thousands of sinners.

A New Emphasis

Fast forward to today, and we see the priorities of the clergy seemingly heading in a different direction: seemingly for the good of people as well, but quite contrary to the essence of the priesthood.  The priorities of the Church, as emphasised by the highest authorities, are to help save the planet, help save the poor, solve solve youth unemployment, reach out to non-Catholic brethren in dialogue.

In fact, in an interview with the atheist editor of La Republicca, a rabidly anti-Catholic publication in Italy, Pope Francis said that “the most serious evils currently afflicting the world are unemployment among the young and the solitude in which the elderly are left. This, in my opinion, is the most urgent problem facing the Church”.

The Pope has also suggested that we tone down talk regarding defence of human life: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible…it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

Saving the planet is likewise a major priority: in fact, the first encyclical, Laudate Si, is about the environment.  On December 8, 2015, instead of a celebration of the Immaculate Conception, the focus was on the environment, with a Vatican-sponsored environmental light show in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Inter religious dialogue is another major point of emphasis.  In fact, in January, the Pope released a prayer video that has since become quite controversial. At the beginning of the video, a minute-and-a-half long, the Pope cites the fact that the majority of the earth’s inhabitants profess some sort of religious belief. This, he said, “should lead to a dialogue among religions. We should not stop praying for it and collaborating with those who think differently.” The video then goes on to feature representatives of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, who proclaim their respective beliefs in God, Jesus Christ, Allah and Buddha: “I have confidence in Buddha”, a female lama announces; “I believe in God”, a rabbi affirms; “I believe in Jesus Christ”, a priest states; “I believe in Allah”,  Later on, after the Pope affirms that all, regardless of their religious profession, are children of God, the faith leaders state their common belief in love.

Our Questions

Amid all these major changes in direction, there are many questions that priests and bishops need to ask themselves.  Is saving the planet more important than saving souls?  Is material poverty truly the greatest evil – or is it spiritual poverty?  We remember the story of Lazarus and the poor man – the materially poor man, who ate crumbs from Lazarus’ rich table, gained the greatest treasure anyone could gain: heaven.

Is inter religious dialogue more important than the God-given mandate to “Go out and proclaim the Gospel to all the nations…”?  Didn’t Jesus say, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This Lent, we invite our readers, especially the clergy, to go back to the basics of the priesthood and spiritual life in general:  Saving souls is the primary goal, converting sinners is the number 1 mission. As Jesus said: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose his soul?” We end with the beautiful words of Archbishop Schneider: “The priesthood is concerned not with temporal things, but with eternal things. It is the same with the Church. The Church is not concerned with climate change, or ecology. That is the job of the government! The Church is concerned with eternal things.”

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