NEWS:  December 30, 2015
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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães
THE UPTURNED CHURCH OF POPE BERGOGLIO  -  Francis is a Pope of surprises. As a populist, every day he stages a new spectacular shock to keep his audiences talking about him. Since the media lives from reporting extraordinary facts, Francis and the media make a good match: One produces the material the other needs to entertain its public.

So, news reports about Bergoglio inundate the media sources. This inflation of news diverts the attention of the faithful from discerning what is really important. For this reason, a very relevant speech he delivered on October 17, 2015, did not receive the attention it should from the Catholic public.

Trying to fill this lacuna I will analyze that short speech. It was delivered on the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod in the Paul VI Hall and attended by those Prelates who were participating in the 2015 Synod, also taking place at the Vatican.

Pope Francis speech on 50th anniversary of synod

Francis delivering his speech to the Bishops
who attended the Synod 2015

After quoting Paul VI and John Paul II on the need to improve the role of the Synod in the Conciliar Church, Francis explained how he plans to do so:

“The world in which we live, and which we are called to love and serve, even with its contradictions, demands that the Church strengthen cooperation in all areas of her mission. It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.” (original here)

Synodality like collegiality, in progressivist parlance means democracy. So, in the quoted excerpt Francis affirmed:
  • The Catholic Church is called to serve the world;

  • This new lord now demands that she increase her cooperation with it in all areas;

  • Such a cooperation translates into installing democracy in the Church;

  • God now speaks to the Church by means of the world.
This simple excerpt shows a complete inversion of roles regarding the Church and the world. We were taught that God speaks to the Church through the Pope, His Vicar, and the Church sends this message to the world.

The infallibility of the faithful

Next, he quoted Vatican II on how rank-and-file Catholics have a sense of the faith that is always correct and concluded that they are infallible. It is good doctrine to sustain that the sensus fidelium (sense of the faithful) or the sensus fidei (sense of the faith) is always correct because the faithful, inspired by the Holy Spirit, have the habit of obeying the Hierarchy. Thus, through the centuries the faithful acquired enough experience to discern error when some heterodox novelty is preached by the Prelates. This is basically the good doctrine on the sensus fidelium. (1)

However, it is a sophism to say that the people of the Church are infallible and must orient the Church just because they are on her lowest stratum. This is the wrong doctrine of the Enlightenment, which laid the foundation for modern democracies. This sophism was adopted by Francis throughout his whole speech.

Francis: the Church is an inverted pyramid

Francis: ‘The Church is an inverted pyramid’

He continued: “The flock likewise has an instinctive ability to discern the new ways that the Lord is revealing to the Church.” And he added: “Such was the conviction underlying my desire that the people of God should be consulted in the preparation of the two phases of the Synod on the family, as is ordinarily done with each Lineamenta.”

Thus, Bergoglio confirmed that the consultation made previous to the two Synods (2014, 2015) had a democratic hue, as we have stated before (here and here).

Then, after some digressions on how the Church listens to the people, he went to the central part of his message:

“Jesus founded the Church by setting at her head the Apostolic College, in which the Apostle Peter is the “rock” (cf. Mt 16:18), the one who must confirm his brethren in the faith (cf. Lk 22:32). But in this Church, as in an inverted pyramid, the top is located beneath the base. Consequently, those who exercise authority are called ‘ministers’ because, in the original meaning of the word, they are the least of all. It is in serving the people of God that each bishop becomes, for that portion of the flock entrusted to him, vicarius Christi, the vicar of that Jesus who at the Last Supper bent down to wash the feet of the Apostles (cf. Jn 13:1-15). And in a similar perspective, the Successor of Peter is nothing else if not the servus servorum Dei.

“Let us never forget this! For the disciples of Jesus, yesterday, today and always, the only authority is the authority of service, the only power is the power of the cross.”

The sound Catholic doctrine

There are several things that offend the sensus fidelium in this excerpt:

1. The head of the Church is the Pope, not the Apostolic College. This is taught by Pius IX, in union with Vatican Council I. Indeed, they defined the nature and purpose of the Pope’s primacy in the Constitution De Ecclesia Christi of June 18, 1870:

Pius IX presiding over First Vatican Council

Pope Pius IX presiding over the sessions of First Vatican Council: ‘Only Peter has primacy, not the Apostles’

“After His Resurrection, Jesus conferred solely on Simon Peter the jurisdiction of Pastor and Supreme Head over all His flock, saying: ‘Feed my lambs ... feed my sheep’ (Jn 21: 15-17). This clear doctrine of Holy Scriptures, such as it was understood by the Catholic Church, is openly opposed by the perverse judgments of those who, distorting the form of government established in the Church by Our Lord Jesus Christ, deny that Peter alone was honored with the true and proper primacy of jurisdiction, to the exclusion of the other Apostles, be they considered individually or as a group.” (DR 1822)

2. The Church is a monarchy, not an inverted pyramid. This is taught by St. Pius X in his Letter Ex quo of December 26, 1910. Indeed, he warned:

“Regarding the constitution of the Church … once again we are facing the error, already condemned by Our predecessor Innocence X, that St. Paul was considered as a brother completely equal to St. Peter; from this they accept the no less false opinion that the Catholic Church was not, from the first centuries, the principate of only one person, that is, a monarchy; or that the Primacy of the Roman Church is not supported by valid arguments … Let such opinions be qualified as grave errors.” (DR 2147a)

3. The Prelates should not serve the people, but the opposite is true. Indeed, St. Pius X in the Encyclical Vehementer nos explains that the people must obey the Prelates, who are above them:

St. Pius X, medal

Pope St. Pius X: ‘The Church is a monarchy; the faithful must obey the Hierarchy’

“Scripture teaches us, and the tradition of the Fathers confirms the teaching that the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, ruled by the Pastors and Doctors – a society of men containing within its own fold leaders who have full and perfect powers for ruling, teaching and judging. It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of persons, the pastors and the flock, those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of the Hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful.

“So distinct are these categories that with the pastoral body only rests the right and authority for promoting the end of the society and directing all its members toward that end; the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the pastors
.” (AAS, 1906, vol. 39, pp. 8-9)

Therefore, we see that Pope Francis is in total opposition to the previous Magisterium of the Catholic Church and that his “inverted pyramid” Church is completely subversive. It looks more like the Church of Satan, revolted against any authority, than the Church of Christ.

Three levels of democracy

Then, Francis addresses the three levels of democracy – or synodality – to be established in the Church:
  • The synodality of the organizations linked to the people;

  • The synodality of the bishops at the level of Episcopal Conferences and, finally,

  • That of the Synod of Bishops meeting at the Vatican representing the whole Church. He includes himself in this third level, as Bishop of Rome.
As he reaches the conclusion, he pictures the new look of the Papacy:

“I am persuaded that in a synodal Church, greater light can be shed on the exercise of the Petrine primacy. The Pope is not, by himself, above the Church; but within it as one of the baptized, and within the College of Bishops as a Bishop among Bishops.”

What can this pope equal to all the baptized be except the president of a republic?

Here we have from the mouth of Pope Francis himself the future Church that is being prepared at a fast pace by Progressivism. It seems that we will see it, if Our Lady does not intervene first.

  1. For more on sensus fidelium see my In the Murky Waters of Vatican II, General Introduction to the Collection Lamma Sabacthani?, note 1.