8 December 2018

What is the CDF for?

Fr Thomas Rosica is a part of the Vatican Machine. He used to sit at the table during Vatican Press Conferences, defending the interests of the English Language and of his fellow Anglophones (he is a subject of The Queen's Majesty of Canada). He gave an impression of intelligence, competence, and imperturbability. He appeared to have a sense of language and of words.

On July 31, 2018, he published a piece on a platform called "Salt + Light Media". Towards the end of it, he wrote as follows:

"Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is 'free from disordered attachments.' Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture."

Philological questions: Why is the phrase 'free from disordered attachments' placed within the indications of reported speech? Is there significance in the initial t- of 'tradition' being lower case? Am I right to assume that 'its own' means 'the Church's own'?

The initial assertion that PF breaks 'traditions' is vague. In modern Anglophone culture, 'traditions' can easily mean minor picturesque and antiquarian oddities, such as keeping ravens in the Tower of London as guarantees that it will never be captured by the enemies of the realm, and objects for Japanese tourists to photograph. But when, later in this passage, the word is put in the singular, a different implication is evident: that the writer is entering those areas of theological discourse in which we discuss Tradition and Scripture together (or separately) as sources (or a source) of authoritative teaching.

A claim that a pope does or can set aside Scripture and Tradition can hardly be coherent with the teachings of the Council of Trent or Vatican I.

Prima facie, it appears to be formally heretical.

The assertion that the Church is 'openly ruled by an individual' suggests a personal monarchicalism which is difficult to reconcile with sound doctrine and, indeed, is hardly likely to appeal very much to the modern mind either.

The progressive logic of the second sentence appears to suggest that, while previously the Church was governed by a hierarchy which gave respect to Scripture and Tradition, she has now 'indeed entered a new phase' in which this has ceased to be true. This is a form of 'rupturalism' which seems to go far beyond even the controversial assumptions of the 'Bologna School' in their hermeneutic of Vatican II.

Does the assertion that PF is free from disordered attachments mean that, being, like our Lady, untouched by Original Sin and its consequences, he has a prelapsarian immunity from erring in his choices?

I find it hard to believe that members of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity can have been happy with the claim that PF's pontificate is free from Scripture or Tradition. Orthodox and Evangelicals alike, if they have read those words, are likely to have resolved that there is a far greater chasm now between themselves and the papal communion than they could ever possibly have dreamed there was before. (Orthodox, in particular, have their own internal reasons currently for being very shy of 'the heresy of papism'.) Anglicans and Lutherans may have heaved great sighs of relief that they never took dialogue with Rome very seriously and that, most mercifully, nothing much ever came of it anyway. You need to keep the peddlers of this sort of religious absurdity at several arms' lengths.

Rosica's words seem to me to represent the most extreme form of the ultrapapalist error that I have yet encountered. Most Bergoglian ideologues at least tend, with boring consistency, to attribute the problematic utterances of this pontificate to the Holy Spirit; or to invoke, inaccurately, Newman's views about 'development'. Rosica dares to attribute to PF, with approval, a right simply to change things 'whenever he wants' ... in other words, at whimsy. My own cultural tradition condemns such attitudes with talk of 'arbitrary power'. I wonder how common such unashamed ultrabourbonism is in Canada.

I would not myself like to be judged too harshly on the basis of everything I have ever written. We can all of us misspeak, and even miswrite. Probably, I do so much more often than I should. But, given his high profile, you would have thought that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith might have asked Fr Tom for explanations and clarifications in such a way that he would by now have formally recanted his very public prima facie heresies.

I wonder if they have?

Whether they have or not, whether or not he has recanted, the words he wrote stand in the evidential record as a most disturbing revelation of the extent to which grave formal doctrinal error is part and parcel of the everyday working assumptions of the 'sycophants and careerists' (well chosen words of Cardinal Mueller) who surround PF; the regular currency which passes from hand to hand in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

It is not surprising that matters in Christ's Church Militant are as dangerously bad as they are. The Gates of Hell must be feeling quite optimistic. S Paul VI spoke about the Smoke of Satan entering the Church through a fissure; in hoc aevo Bergogliano weapons-grade Poison Gas appears to have become the problem.

Apparently, our Enemy is not a signatory to the Geneva Convention.



Deacon Augustine said...

"Rosica's words seem to me to represent the most extreme form of the ultrapapalist error that I have yet encountered."

I think the Argentine bishops' declaration that Bergoglio is an "incarnation of the Holy Spirit" must run it a fairly close second, Fr.

GOR said...

I’m afraid that, as with many of Pope Francis’ close friends, I don’t take Fr. Rosica very seriously. His lack of precision in words and pettiness in action puts one off. But then he is probably emulating his boss.

I don’t know what is the extent of Basilian training in Philosophy and Theology, but I suspect he is one of those whom Cardinal Mueller referred to as deficient in those disciplines. But if the boss is so loose in his utterances, should we be surprised that his henchmen are similarly inclined?

Simple Simon said...

I believe that Fr. Rosica has stated not his own opinion but rather what Pope Francis himself firmly and truly believes. What Pope Francis wills, Pope Francis gets. Perhaps this mindset allows us to understand Pope Francis' positivity towards Islam and the ruthlessness with which he deals with those who will not surrender to his will.

Woody said...

Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit reached out to the Orthodox on St. Nicholas Day:


Ben of the Bayou said...

A beg to draw your attention also to the phrase used "the advent...." Is this used analagously or, given the context of "new phase," is something more meant?

Nicolas Bellord said...

It seems to me that all that Fr Rosica is saying is that the Pope might well be a heretic. Unless he can come up with proof of heresy surely everyone should ignore him.

Dale Crakes said...

What decade of the 20th Century C of E would you place these statements?

The Saint Bede Studio said...

What would prevent you, Father, from writing to the Congregation and asking it to clarify whether Father Rosica's assertions represent the teaching of the Church in accordance with Scripture and Tradition or an heretical deviation from it?

Dorota Mosiewicz-Patalas said...

"Disorderly attachments" are the Traditional Mass, the rosary, belief in the indissollubility of marriage, acceptance of Church teaching on the sinfulness of premarital sex and homosexual acts - everything that is set in stone by the Word of God and Church Tradition. If a believer does not question and doubt the way "things have always been done", he is not open-minded, not easily moved by Bergoglio's spirit, disorderly attached to things long past and not practiced by the lowest common denominator flock.

I know this from Bergoglio himself, who frequently explains it. It is the whole of his teachings and air plane press conferences, a whole of his priestly life, which needs to be considered, not any singular official statement. Rosica simply stated what he has consistently learned from Bergoglio himself.

E sapelion said...

I am still exploring that article be Fr Rosica, but puzzled by this "The Jesuit pope is well versed in the Spiritual Exercises, so able to spread the knowledge and practice of this counterfeit way of conversion, ... " (my emphasis).

JARay said...

I am in full agreement with what you have written. Thank you for writing it.

DeHereticoComburendo said...

The expression “disordered attachments” Is problematical. It sent me scurrying to my Catechism (well, there’s nothing much on telly these days) where of course there are multiple references to disordered/inordinate actions and attachments, notably in the context of sexual behaviour but all relating to the moral life.

Not even Mgr Rosica, surely, is capable of suggesting that the Holy Father is free from the effects of what we, back in the day, called concupiscence. So perhaps he’s saying that PF possesses a kind of (immaculate?) perception, unswayed by the opinions of the world? To be honest, if I’d written what Rosie had, I really think I would have withdrawn my comment and gone off to hide my head in a paper bag for a while.

Incidentally, para 1735 of the Catechism could be described as a foundational principle of the current theology of mercy: “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors”.

Deimater said...

While Fr Rosica has spent most of his life in this Fair Dominion, he was born in one of the Rebel Colonies, specifically, Rochester, New York. He may well have pledged allegiance to The Queen of Canada at some point, but I believe Fr Rosica probably has little time for merely constitutional monarchs.

Fr. VF said...

Not for nothing is Fr. Rosica's media empire called "Satan Lite."