14 January 2022

Idolatry, Apostasy, and Bergoglianity

Fr Aidan Nichols was surely right in hoping for a revision of the Church's law, rendering it possible for erroneous teaching by an occupant of the Chair of S Peter to be investigated. But I wonder if, perhaps, it might be even more important for it to be possible to test in court the behaviour of any bishop, even and especially a Roman Pontiff, who is widely suspected of public Apostasy because of his prima facie public acts of Idolatry.

I am reminded of the description in Dix (Shape pp 24-26) of the Apostasy of the clergy of Cirta (Constantine, in Algeria) in 303. Here is a snippet of the great Anglican Benedictine in characteristic  (purple passage) full flood:

" ... What could they have said? To have surrendered the scriptures and the sacred vessels was 'apostasy', still for clerics (though not for laymen) the irremissible sin for which there was no possible penance. And they knew it; Felix [the City Warden] knew it; even the grinning public slaves knew it. They had saved their lives - but they had all irremediably forfeited their orders in that quarter of an hour. I know no more moving picture of the inner meaning of the persecutions than that shamefaced helpless group of apostate African clergy with the uncouth Berber names - the men who were not martyrs - as the public slave saw them across the shoulders of their enemies and jotted down their actions on that hot May afternoon sixteen centuries ago."

The last decade or so has given us photographs of a Jesuit General praying like a Buddhist among Buddhists. I believe the most recent very senior cleric to be caught apparently committing Idolatry 'to camera' was Maradiaga. It is claimed, I do not know upon what evidence, that there is another cardinal who once offered flowers to the deities in a Hindu temple at Neasden (Yes!! There really is such a place!). Pretty certainly misreported nonsense? Well, let us hope so. But it is the sort of misreported nonsense that can be unsettling for us simple and unsophisticated members of the plebs sancta Dei. I suspect I have in mind the technical sense of the term skandalon.

Then, you will remind me, there is the Pachamama business. It is important, in all these cases, that nothing should be presumed or asserted without a proper forensic investigation about what, physically, occurred; what the meaning of such acts was in terms of the non-Christian religion concerned; and how these acts in se relate to established Catholic theological notions of Idolatry and Apostasy. It is not for an individual such as me (or you) to pass judgment since I lack the needful theological and legal training. You probably lack them too.

Such matters need rigorous, forensic, investigation in a free court.

Meanwhile, I wonder how we are bound to regard those against whom there is very plausible and undenied  prima facie evidence of Idolatry. Are they still morally entitled to the exercise of their Orders (of course, the character of the Sacrament of Holy Order will certainly not have been expunged from their souls ... the Church's Rigid Dogma makes that clear). 

My instinct is that any expression of an opinion by me, at a time when such individuals have not yet been properly tried and convicted, is way above my pay-grade. 

And pretty certainly way above yours.

But ... during (for example) the Diocletian persecution, many Christians bore painful witness to Christ against the background of the Apostasy of their hierarchical superiors.

So, simply to ask these questions, even about PF and highly placed Bergoglianical prelates, is not a subversive frivolity. Indeed, Canon 212 talks about us having the duty (officium) to raise such matters of concern. If the appearance or possibility of Apostasy at the very highest level in the Church is not a valid matter of concern, I cannot think of anything else that could be. Can you?

If a future court were to find (ex. gr.) that PF did commit a formal act of Apostasy during his Pachamama games, presumably a future Annuario Pontificio would record his pontificate as having come, de iure, to an end at the moment of his sad apostasy.

Such of his later de facto routine enactments as were deemed unobjectionable could, I imagine, be granted a sanatio in radice under the new pontificate.


Gael éigin said...

Isn't this straying into Donatism, Father?

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Fathsr. It is interesting to read the Creed of Vatican 1 and then to think about how few recent Popes and Prelates could honestly profess it:

PROFESSION OF FAITH - January 6th, 1870

I, Pius, bishop of the catholic church, with firm faith believe and profess each and every article contained in the profession of faith which the holy Roman church uses, namely:

I believe in one God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ the only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God from God, light from light, true God from true God. Begotten not made, of one substance with the Father: through whom all things were made. Who for us humans and for our salvation came down from heaven. He was incarnate by the holy Spirit of the virgin Mary: and became man. He was crucified also for us, he suffered under Pontius Pilate and was buried. The third day he rose again according to the scriptures. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. And in the holy Spirit, the lord and the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified: who spoke through the prophets. And one holy, catholic and apostolic church. I confess one baptism for the remission of Sins. And I look for the resurrection of the dead. And the life of the world to come Amen.

Apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same church I most firmly accept and embrace. Likewise I accept sacred scripture according to that sense which holy mother church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers.

I profess also that there are seven sacraments of the new law, truly and properly so called, instituted by our lord Jesus Christ and necessary for salvation, though each person need not receive them all. They are: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, last anointing, order and matrimony; and they confer grace. Of these baptism, confirmation and order may not be repeated without sacrilege. I likewise receive and accept the rites of the catholic church which have been received and approved in the solemn administration of all the aforesaid sacraments. I embrace and accept the whole and every part of what was defined and declared by the holy council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. Likewise I profess that in the mass there is offered to God a true, proper and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there is truly, really and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our lord Jesus Christ; and that there takes place the conversion of the whole substance of the bread into his body, and of the whole substance of the wine into his blood, and this conversion the catholic church calls transubstantiation. I confess that under either species alone the whole and complete Christ and the true sacrament are received.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

I firmly hold that purgatory exists, and that the souls detained there are helped by the suffrages of the faithful. Likewise, that the saints reigning with Christ are to be honoured and prayed to, and that they offer prayers to God on our behalf, and that their relics should be venerated. I resolutely assert that images of Christ and the ever virgin mother of God, and likewise those of the other saints, are to be kept and retained, and that due honour and reverence is to be shown them. I affirm that the power of indulgences was left by Christ in the church, and that their use is eminently beneficial to the christian people.

I acknowledge the holy, catholic, apostolic and Roman church, the mother and mistress of all the churches [1] . Likewise all other things which have been transmitted, defined and declared by the sacred canons and the ecumenical councils, especially the sacred Trent, I accept unhesitatingly and profess; in the same way whatever is to the contrary, and whatever heresies have been condemned, rejected and anathematised by the church, I too condemn, reject and anathematise. This true catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, which I now freely profess and truly hold, is what I shall steadfastly maintain and confess, by the help of God, in all its completeness and purity until my dying breath, and I shall do my best to ensure [2] that all others do the same. This is what I, the same Pius, promise, vow and swear. So help me God and these holy gospels of God.

1. The profession of faith of the other fathers added: and I pledge and swear true obedience to the Roman pontiff, successor of blessed Peter the prince of the apostles, and vicar of Jesus Christ

2. The profession of faith of the other fathers continues: my subjects, or those for whom I have responsibility in virtue of my office, hold, teach and preach the same.


I wonder if use of the qualifying adjective, true, was prompted by The Holy Ghost for, surely, it is not an example of true obedience to obey a Pope if what he orders is contrary to Tradition.

John the Mad said...

"It is not for an individual such as me (or you) to pass judgment since I lack the needful theological and legal training. You probably lack them too."

While I lack a degree in theology or canon law I do have more than 30 years experience in indigenous affairs in Canada. The Pachamama ceremony I saw on line indicates quite clearly that a great sacrilege took place in the Vatican gardens and at the main altar in St. Peter's basilica in the presence of, and with the approval, of Francis. Theologians may well argue over how to interpret it. Vatican gaslighting aside I say it was an blasphemous abomination.

Pachamama as a pregnant Virgin Mary, eh. What about the, rampant male figurine on the blanket. I suppose that was a representation of St. Joseph, terror of demons, with a woody? Do they think we are fools? No need to respond. It is a rhetorical question.

Anita Moore said...

Probably worth noting that Archbishop Lefebvre still presumed Paul VI to be the true Pope, even after he redid the rites of Mass and all the Sacraments (an act that Suarez said would constitute schism on the part of a Pope); and he still presumed JPII to be the true Pope, even after the Assisi incident (no less serious than the Pachamama incident); and he didn't tolerate sedevacantism in his Society. He evidently thought about this issue, but declined to take it upon himself to adjudicate it.

armyarty said...

I liked things better when Francis I was just a style of interior decoration.

As for our own Francois Premier, there is no point in wondering about courts and legal procedures.
He will be judged by the faithful, the holy people of God, who will reject him by acclamation, and make clear what he was, after his death. Then, and only then, will his name be effaced from the roll of supreme pontiffs.

In the meantime, he is in the undisputed possession of his office. De Facto, if nothing else, and we should follow the example of Benedict XVI and seek to avoid schism and other horrors.

This, too, shall pass, and we have deserved nothing better.

E sapelion said...

After Archbishop Errington's third falling out with Wiseman he refused to resign his co-adjutorship, despite strong personal pressure from the Pope (the shouting could be heard through the doors of the papal office). But when the Pope dismissed him, quite without legal justification or power in canon law, Errington immediately submitted on grounds of his oath of obedience.

Pulex said...

Subjecting a reigning Pope to a formal investigation is precluded by the principle that the first see is judged by no one. Therefore, there cannot be any procedure to follow if a Pope does something that would make any Church dignitary to ipso facto loose office. Of course, such court could investigate his teaching, but unless the Pope agrees with the results, such investigation wouls have no more weight than one done by an informal grouo of theologians, which we had some already.

If a next Pope declares that his predecessor lost his office at some moment during his reign the new Pope would delegitimize himself if he were elected in a conclave with participation of cardinals created after that moment.

Maybe a true obedience is to do whatever a Pope wants, rather than to seek canonical loopholes.

Since the two wooden female figurines in Vatican gardens were interepreted by some as Visitation, the male figure could be Zacharias lying unattended while the ladies are busy singing Magnificat.

E sapelion said...

I should have pointed out that Errington's obedience to the truth, that he was right and Wiseman wrong, outweighed his obedience to the Pope, in conscience he felt he could not resign.