Bird’s Eye View of the News
II. Observations on the content
1. Ulterior motive for evangelization
What first strikes a Catholic when he reads EG is that it intends to completely re-define evangelization. The Catholic Church has existed for two millennia and during this time has taken into her fold peoples from the most varied ethnical and cultural backgrounds. Today, 1.2 billion Catholics are members of the Church in a world of 7.1 billion inhabitants. That is, about one-sixth of the world is Catholic.
Even considering the constant hemorrhage of Catholics leaving the Church after Vatican II, regarding numbers, the Catholic Religion is still more successful than any other. The least we can say, therefore, is that she knows how to evangelize.
Notwithstanding this success, Francis pretends to “transform everything” in the Church (§ 27), implying she does not know how to evangelize. He thoroughly disparages and criticizes the efficient methods she used before Vatican II and then tries to establish confused sentimental norms intended to replace the wise and clear ones the Church always used.
Facing this paradox, I asked myself whether this pompous intent to evangelize is authentic or if there is some ulterior motive behind it.
Evangelization, a pretext to be rid of everything characteristic of the Church that is not turned to the poor
“I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.”
He includes the Papacy itself among the structures he wants to change in name of evangelization:
“The papacy and the central structures of the universal Church also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion.” (§ 32)
Further on, he expresses in radical terms his goal to destroy the stable institution of the Church:
“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. … More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe …” (§ 49)
These texts show well that Bergoglio’s main goal is definitely not to evangelize, but to completely change the ends and the structures of the Catholic Church under the pretext of evangelizing.
If this is so, what spheres constitute the main focus of EG’s assault?
I would say that EG attacks in two spheres: the religious sphere and the temporal sphere.
Let me analyze these attacks one at the time.
2. Range of destruction in the religious sphere
In the religious realm, EG targets at the following fields.
A. Catholic militancy proscribed
Just as AIDS destroys the immune system of a body and exposes it to all kinds of diseases and even death, so also the tolerance preached by Progressivism destroys the militant character of the Church and opens her to every type of dogmatic and moral abomination. This infection of false tolerance among Catholics reached a new paroxysm with EG. Indeed, everything in this document speaks in a feminine way of love, mercy, beauty and joy. Nothing is about militancy. Instead, militancy is set aside as irrelevant and out-of-place.
Catholic militancy disappears to foster an endless sentimental and feminine love
Any defense of the true Faith is banned from EG’s perspective as discriminatory and authoritarian. The following text on the goals of inter-religious dialogue shows there is no place for the defense of the Catholic Faith:
“A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism.” (§ 255)
I would say, therefore, that the first characteristic of the Church proscribed by Francis in EG is Catholic militancy.
B. Destruction of a hierarchical Church
Second in importance is the hierarchical character of the Catholic Church, also targeted by EG.
It inverts the hierarchy of the Church inside Dioceses when it commands Bishops to give priority to “participatory processes” in which the flock should “strike out on new paths”:
“The bishop must always foster this missionary communion in his diocesan Church, following the ideal of the first Christian communities …To do so, he will sometimes go before his people, pointing the way and keeping their hope vibrant. …
“At yet other times, he will have to walk after them, helping those who lag behind and – above all – allowing the flock to strike out on new paths. In his mission of fostering a dynamic, open and missionary communion, he will have to encourage and develop the means of participation proposed in the Code of Canon Law, and other forms of pastoral dialogue, out of a desire to listen to everyone …
“Yet the principal aim of these participatory processes should not be ecclesiastical organization but rather the missionary aspiration of reaching everyone.” (§ 31)
The hierarchy of the Church, a reflection of the Triumphant Church, above, is also meant to vanish
“Lay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the People of God. The minority – ordained ministers – are at their service. There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church. …
“At the same time, a clear awareness of this responsibility of the laity, grounded in their baptism and confirmation, does not appear in the same way in all places. … In other [cases], it is because in their particular Churches room has not been made for them to speak and to act, due to an excessive clericalism, which keeps them away from decision-making. Even if many are now involved in the lay ministries, this involvement is not reflected in a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political and economic sectors. It often remains tied to tasks within the Church, without a real commitment to applying the Gospel to the transformation of society.” (§ 102)
EG advocates a totally egalitarian approach that would transform Holy Mother Church into an Anabaptist sect:
“The ministerial priesthood is one means employed by Jesus for the service of his people, yet our great dignity derives from baptism, which is accessible to all. The configuration of the priest to Christ the head – namely, as the principal source of grace – does not imply an exaltation which would set him above others. In the Church, functions do not favor the superiority of some vis-à-vis the others.” (§ 104)
It demands complete rejection of any hierarchical differences as a non-negotiable imperative:
“Clearly Jesus does not want us to be grandees who look down upon others, but men and women of the people. This is not an idea of the Pope, or one pastoral option among others; they are injunctions contained in the word of God, which are so clear, direct and convincing that they need no interpretations, which might diminish their power to challenge us.” (§ 271)
These are some samples of the revolution EG preaches against the hierarchical characteristic of the Catholic Church.
C. Abandoning the Catholic Faith
Also amazing is the scorn EG reveals for the full profession of our Catholic Faith.
When Francis deals with ecumenism, he implicitly commands Catholics to disregard the totality of our Faith. We are told to “put aside suspicion and mistrust” while interacting with heretics, what in effect means to not profess the entirety of the Faith.
Catholics are told to not profess our entire Faith to please heretics and Jews
The denial of the entirety of the Faith becomes explicit when EG recommends Catholics publically profess only those truths that are not denied by other religions:
“Missionaries on those continents [Asia and Africa] often mention the criticisms, complaints and ridicule to which the scandal of divided Christians gives rise. If we concentrate on the convictions we share, and if we keep in mind the principle of the hierarchy of truths, we will be able to progress decidedly towards common expressions of proclamation, service and witness.” (§ 246)
These are just samples of the many times EG recommends denying the entirety of the Faith.
D. Abandon of the dogmatic theology
It clearly recommends to stop the teaching of the ensemble of dogmatic theology:
“Pastoral ministry in a missionary style is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed. When we adopt a pastoral goal and a missionary style which would actually reach everyone without exception or exclusion, the message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary. The message is simplified …” (§ 35)
The sophism according to which we should keep only essential truths is repeated, applied now to dogmatic and moral teachings:
“‘In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or a ‘hierarchy’ of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith’ This holds true as much for the dogmas of faith as for the whole corpus of the Church’s teaching, including her moral teaching.” (§ 36)
Many other texts proposing the abandonment of the dogmatic doctrine can be found in EG (§§ 41, 42, 43, 89, 94, 133, 142, 165, 194).
E. Contempt for Catholic morals
Suggestions more or less explicit that the faithful - priests and laypeople - should disregard the norms of Catholic Morals also abound in EG. For example:
- “When preaching is faithful to the Gospel, the centrality of certain truths is evident and it becomes clear that Christian morality is not a form of stoicism, or self-denial, or merely a practical philosophy or a catalogue of sins and faults.” (§ 39)
- “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy which spurs us on to do our best.” (§ 44)
- “A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.” (§ 94)
Shortly, I plan to address the revolution he proposes in society.