Bergoglio: Trashing Trads Is the Least of His Program
by Rev. Anthony Cekada
DURING THE PAST few days, trad internet forums have been abuzz over two shots that "Pope Francis" (Bergoglio) has taken against trads.
One was in his July 28 address in Rio to the coordinating committee of CELAM, the supra-regional episcopal conference for South American and the Caribbean, in which he referred to trads ("restorationists") as "Pelagians" (a term for a 4th-century heresy) who seek to solve problems in the Church "through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful... It seeks to 'recover' the lost past."
The second shot came in the form of a Vatican decree for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, an officially-approved group that has been taking advantage of Benedict XVI's 2007 Motu Proprio permitting wide use of a form of the traditional Latin Mass. Priests in the group celebrated both the Novus Ordo and the pre-Vatican II Mass, but the overwhelming majority used the latter. The Vatican decreed that henceforth the Novus Ordo must be used and that special permission would be required for using the old Missal. The decree stated explicitly that its provisions had been personally approved by "the Holy Father Francis" himself.
But these interventions, dramatic though they be, have drawn the attention of traditionalists away from other, equally horrifying things that Bergoglio has been up to at the same time.
"Times have changed and the Church faces many problems,.. I think the time for mercy has come as John Paul II predicted by introducing the Feast of Divine Mercy. Divorced people can take communion, it is those who have divorced and remarried that cannot. Here I must add that the orthodox follow the theology of economics and allow second marriages. When the commission of eight cardinals meets at the beginning of October we will discuss how to proceed. The Church is taking a very close look at pastoral initiatives for marriage. My predecessor in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Quarracino always used to say: 'I consider half of today’s marriages to be invalid because people get married without realising it means forever. They do it out of social convenience, etc...' The issue of invalidity needs to be looked into as well.”
2. Praise for Charismatics. "Then I got to know them better and I was won over. I saw the work that they did and I said Mass for them in Buenos Aires every year. I think movements are necessary; they are a gift from the Holy Spirit. The Church is free; the Holy Spirit does what it wants.”
3. Dumping the "Pope" Title. Already Bergoglio has dumped the title "pope" when signing documents (including his first encyclical), banished traditional papal titles from the main page in the Vatican yearbook (Annuario Pontificio), and repeatedly referred to himself in public as "Bishop of Rome."
4. Trashing Papal Authority through "Synodality." I predict that this is really the area to watch. Bergoglio has already hinted that he has an agenda for the institution of the papacy and church governance that is no less than revolutionary.
From these two comments, it seems that Francis intends to institute a radical overhaul of ecclesiastical institutions and the whole decision-making process in the Church.
The "synodality" language should be particularly scary. I think it portends "synods" of bishops (if not clergy and laity) on the international and national level that will be given real legislative authority. Francis has already praised the Orthodox schismatics for this set-up, and has alluded to the importance of "synodality" several times as a way of implementing Vatican II's teaching on collegiality.
Then the fun for the modernists will really begin. (Democratic synods are the voice of the Holy Spirit! We are Church. The voice of the People of God must be heard!) They couldn't pull this off in the '60s and '70s, but it looks like Bergoglio will give them another bite of the apple.