Francis: Ten Years of His Pontificate in Ten Questions (10)
Pope Francis in 2021
On March 13, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope and took the name Francis. Ten years later, the anniversary of this election was celebrated in a particularly discreet way. The Pope celebrated a private Mass with the cardinals present in Rome, in the chapel of St. Martha’s House, which is his residence.
Vatican Radio and Vatican News broadcast an interview with Francis in which he concluded with his “dream for the Church, the world, those who govern it, and humanity,” summing it up in three words: “fraternity, tears, and smiles.” The Vaticanists have attempted to take stock of the past ten years through a series of doubts and questions that can be reduced to ten questions. Here is the last:
10. What reaction might be foreseeable?
Is there a remedy for this doctrinal and moral confusion? In an interview granted to journalist Edward Pentin on February 18, Don Nicola Bux, former consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, proposed a solution: “Half of the cardinal electors and many bishops are convinced that we cannot go on this way and change is needed to put the Church in order, if she is to remain Catholic. There is turmoil in the College of Cardinals, as there is among the priests. The ecclesial body is waking up from a state of anesthesia.”
“But as Joseph Ratzinger affirmed, the crisis of the Church is contingent upon the collapse of the liturgy, and the remedy lies in the ‘hermeneutics of the continuity and reform of the one subject-Church,’ I would add it is in the ‘reform of the liturgical reform’ he initiated.”
On the Correspondance Européenne blog of February 10, Roberto de Mattei showed with more lucidity that “the hermeneutics of reform in continuity” proposed by Benedict, was ultimately ineffective.
His article is based on the posthumous work of the German pope: Che cos’è il Cristianesimo. Quasi un testamento spirituale, Mondadori, 2023, [What is Christianity. A spiritual testament,], a text, edited by Elio Guerriero and Georg Gänswein, which brings together the writings, published and unpublished, of Benedict XVI during the ten years of his post-pontificate.
The Italian historian rightly asserts that “the common thread [in the thought of Joseph Ratzinger] remained the attempt to find an intermediate way between traditional theology, to which he never adhered, radical modernism, from which he always distanced himself. What changed in Benedict’s long life is not his own ideas, but his judgment on the situation of the Church, especially after the Second Vatican Council and the Revolution of 1968.
And he adds: “As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and as pope, Josef Ratzinger could have intervened with a firm hand to crush this phenomenon [of postconciliar and post-sixty-eight decadence]. If he did not, was it only because he always remained a professor rather than a man of government, or rather because of the weakness of his theological position, unable to identify the errors of the Vatican II and post-Council?”
“The new morality disseminated in Catholic seminaries and universities was the fruit of Vatican II constitution Gaudium et Spes, a document that appears as a manifesto of the ‘conversion’ of the Church to the modern world. But if the Church renounces the Christianization of the world, it is fatally the world that secularizes the Church.”
“The discussion on the correct interpretation of Gaudium et Spes has little significance, because one cannot stem a revolutionary process with the tools of hermeneutics alone, without opposing the process of dissolution with a project of reconquest and re-Christianization of society.”
In passing, Roberto de Mattei, considers that this inability to identify the errors of the Council is partly at the origin of the resignation of Benedict XVI: “The pontiff’s abdication was not due to mysterious pressures, but to ‘fatigue, physical and mental,’ as Archbishop Gänswein explains in detail in the part of his interview devoted to the ‘historical renunciation’” (Nient'altro che la verità, - Nothing But the Truth).
“This fatigue was also a confession of helplessness in the face of a moral crisis that would find new expression in Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia, in which morality is reduced to historical circumstances and the subjective intentions of those who perform a human act.”
Having learned of the failure of the “hermeneutic of reform in continuity,” priests and faithful attached to tradition know that the saving reaction will not come from a compromise, but from a return to Catholic principles - doctrinal, moral, and liturgical – in their integrity and their integrality. It is increasingly clear today that the solution is not to inject a dose of tradition into modernism, with the illusion that this dose will neutralize the poison..
(Sources : Edwars Pentin/Correspondance Européenne – trad. à partir de benoitetmoi/Dici, n° 431 – FSSPX.Actualités)
Illustration : Office of the President of the United States, Domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons