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as "Pelagians" (a term for a 4th-century heresy) who seek to solve problems in the Church "through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful...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.

1. Sacraments to the Divorced and Remarried. In his news conference on the plane ride back to Rome, Francis hinted at the possibility of dumping the Catholic teaching and practice on giving sacraments to the divorced/remarried (i.e., adulterers):

"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.
Note the last point. It's a hint that Bergoglio and company will try to weasel around the traditional Catholic teaching by cooking up a broad, new reason for declaring marriages invalid — "people these days don't realize that it's forever."

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.”
This is an open license for allowing these nutty crypto-protestant groups not only to expand and continue to function, but also to do so without hierarchical supervision. Hey, it's the Holy Spirit.

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."
Why has he done this? In his news conference on the plane back from Rio, he said, "Placing emphasis on the number one title, that is, Bishop of Rome, favours ecumenism."
You bet it does!

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.
His CELAM speech laid out the principles for an ecclesiastical restructuring (at least in South America) along the lines of the '60s liberation theology/base communities initiative. It was loaded with leftist bromides about good pastors "following their flocks" which are led by the Holy Spirit, dialoguing, etc., etc. 
In his press conference on the plane back to Rome, Bergoglio was asked about the commission of cardinals he had earlier appointed. "The ethos of the work being done by the commission of eight cardinals – it was important they came from outside – is that of developing the relationship between synodality and primacy."

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.
Bergoglio's disdain for the old Mass will look like nothing more that a sideshow, once he gets going on all this.
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