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Pope Francis and the “religion of humanity’

Daniel J. Mahoney’s book The Idol of Our Age offers a succinct and clear rebuttal to many of the left-leaning, socialist notions of the current pontiff.

Pope Francis and former Cuban President Fidel Castro grasp each other's hands at Castro's residence in Havana Sept. 20, 2015. (CNS photo/Alex Castro, AIN handout via Reuters)

As individuals move away from organized religion, they begin to search elsewhere for meaning in their lives. Some turn to relationships, to work, or to politics. In doing so, they become creatures not of God but of society-politics. One then has the choice to either rule or be ruled, and the stakes can be no higher, because for the secular humanist man is the highest being, and so power among men is the highest good. This is a key reason why nearly everything is now political—and increasingly contentious. It is also why people become consumed with political campaigns and the outcomes of elections.

For those who continue to search for meaning in Christianity, the humanitarian impulse to regard man “as the measure of all things” has corrupted the value of much of organized religion, reducing it to an inordinate concern for social justice, radical politics, and an increasingly fanatical egalitarianism.

Daniel J. Mahoney, Philosophy Professor at Assumption College, puts this into perspective in his new book, The Idol of Our Age: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity (Encounter Books, 2018), in which he suggests that humanitarians have confused equitable social arrangements with socialism, and moral judgment with utopianism and sentimentality. This has now manifested itself in many ways in the progressive politics surrounding Pope Francis. The 2013 election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina was initially welcomed by most Catholics, including progressive media outlets that were quick to describe him as one of their own because of his concern for the plight of the poor. (Pope Francis  identifies strongly with the poor and has often stated, “My people are poor and I am one of them.”) And, although progressives continue to applaud the many ways in which Pope Francis has denigrated capitalism—excoriating what he claims are the profit motives of those he views as the “greedy” business owners—some have experienced a growing unease about what they view as the pontiff’s slide to socialism.

In the summer of 2015, the Economist published an essay describing Francis as “The Peronist Pope.” Raised in Argentina, the young Bergoglio was apparently attracted to the political ideology and legacy of former President Juan Domingo Peron and his wife, Eva, although the exact nature of the attraction is not entirely clear. The Peronist ideal rejects both capitalism and communism, but views the state as the savior in negotiating conflicts between managers and workers. Rather than looking to social, spiritual or political measures to help the poor, the Peronists look to the state to redistribute existing wealth. 1 Progressives often laud its populist roots, citing President Peron’s support of universal social security, free health care, and free higher education. Soviet-style low income housing projects were created for “workers” and employers were forced to provide paid vacations for all employees. Although Peron grew to mistrust the Catholic priesthood, he claimed that his economic system was the “true embodiment of Catholic social teaching.” But, by 1954, Peronism’s anti-clericalism resulted in state control over the churches, denunciations of clergy, and confiscation of Catholic schools and Church property.

During a visit to Bolivia in July, 2015, Pope Francis publicly and graciously accepted a gift of a crucifix shaped in the form of a Marxist hammer and sickle from Bolivia’s Marxist President Evo Morales. Ignoring the murderous history symbolized by the hammer and sickle, Pope Francis told those on the plane ride back to Rome that “I understand this work,” and “for me it wasn’t an offense.” In Paraguay, he denigrated capitalism—telling a large gathering “not to yield to an economic model which is idolatrous, which needs to sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit.” And, during the welcoming ceremony at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on September 19, 2015, when Pope Francis visited the Communist island, he spoke of his “sentiments of particular respect” for Fidel Castro, a totalitarian tyrant who subjugated the people of Cuba for more than fifty years, and who viciously persecuted the Catholic Church. Pope Francis said nothing about the persecution and imprisonment of Catholic dissidents in Cuba—ignoring the pleas of the parents of those imprisoned.

Echoing these concerns about the inability of the current pontiff to criticize dictators such as Castro and Peron, Mahoney suggests in The Idol of Our Age that “Pope Francis seems to be rather indulgent towards despotic regimes that speak in the name of the poor.” Critical of the fact that during his visit to Cuba, Pope Francis stayed silent about the persecution of mainly Catholic dissidents in Havana, Mahoney states,  “The poor need political liberty too, and the opportunities that come with private property and lawfully regulated markets.” It is all the more striking that Pope Francis never reiterates the Church’s defense of private property, a central concern of Catholic social teaching going back to Pope Leo XII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. Mahoney writes that Pope Francis “almost always identifies markets with greed, inequality, economic imperialism and environmental degradation. Moreover, he is silent about the horrendous environmental devastation that accompanied and characterized totalitarian socialist systems in the twentieth century.” 2

Most recently, Pope Francis lauded the “positive” relationships he has with the leaders of Communist China. In an interview with a journalist in May, 2019, Pope Francis said that “My dream is China… Relations with China are good, very good.” Refusing to acknowledge concerns about the marginalized and imprisoned Catholics—including priests and bishops—in the underground church in China, Pope Francis claimed that the Sino-Vatican agreement he signed in September, 2018, with representatives of the Communist government in China “united” Catholics in the Communist country. In the agreement, Pope Francis regularized the status of seven of China’s bishops who had been ordained by the Communist government, marking the first time since the 1950s that all the Catholic bishops in China were in “full communion” with the pope.

Unfortunately, the agreement has not ended the arrest and imprisonment of priests and bishops, and the continued persecution of Catholics. Yet, Pope Francis continues to claim that China is united now, telling a journalist that: “The other day two Chinese bishops came to me, one who came from the underground church and the other from the patriotic church, already recognized as brothers… They know that they must be good patriots and that they must take care of the Catholic flock.” During the previous month, Chinese government officials detained Fr. Peter Zhang Guanjun, an underground priest, after Palm Sunday Mass. Fr. Guanjun was the third priest to be detained by the Communist government during April, 2019. On June 8, 2019, Msgr. Stefano Li Side, the underground bishop of Tianjin died in captivity. The bishop had refused to be a part of the Communist-sanctioned Church and had been exiled to a mountain village under house arrest, along with a coadjutor underground bishop, Msgr. Melchiorre Shi Hongzhen, 92, who remains under house arrest by the Communist government.

While it is clear that his intentions are for unification, Pope Francis has had little to say about the persecution of priests and bishops in China and the brutal history of the formation of the government-created Patriotic Catholic Association to control the Catholic Church under Communist dictator Mao Zedong back in the 1950s. Following the formation of the Patriotic Association Church, Bishop Li was arrested in 1958 and sentenced to forced labor camps. Although he was released in 1962, he was again arrested and imprisoned in 1963 until 1980—again assigned to forced labor camps.

Pope Francis has been reluctant to criticize Communist dictators. After decades in the shadows of the Catholic Church, liberation theology has gained strength under the current leadership. George Neumayr’s book, The Political Pope points out that in one of his first major interviews, Pope Francis said that liberation theologians have a “high concept of humanity.” A few months after he became pope on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis welcomed the founding father of liberation theology, the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutierrez to the Vatican as an honored guest. Guttierez had been a marginalized figure under Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI after making a Marxist appeal for “effective participation in the struggle which the exploited classes have undertaken against their oppressors.”3 In 2015, Pope Francis elevated Leonardo Boff, a liberation theologian from Brazil, who had been silenced by Pope John Paul II’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by inviting Boff to serve as an advisor for Laudato Si, his 2015 papal encyclical on climate change. Pope Francis also reinstated the priestly faculties of Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, who had been suspended because of his participation in Nicaragua’s Marxist revolutionary government. d’Escoto now lobbies for the Libyans, remains a member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, and continues to serve as an adviser to Daniel Ortega, the left-wing Nicaraguan guerrilla leader, member of the Sandinista junta that took power in 1979, and three-term president of Nicaragua.

Pope Francis’s embrace of elements of liberation theology is in contrast to his papal predecessors. Both Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI warned of the dangers of a Church that was “born of the people.” In fact, Pope St. John Paul II gave a stern rebuke to leading liberation theologians in 1983, publishing a letter to the Nicaraguan bishops denouncing the “people’s church.” In a speech that was reported on the pages of the New York Times on March 5, 1983, the pontiff predicted that “The Church born of the people is a new invention that is both absurd and of perilous character…only with difficulty, could it avoid being infiltrated by strangely ideological connotations. In 1984, then-Cardinal Ratzinger offered An Instruction on Certain Aspects of the Theology of Liberation in which he warned about the dangers of the “diverse theological positions,” and “badly defined doctrinal frontiers” of this movement.

Mahoney, in his recent interview with CWR, insisted that Pope Francis, in contrast to his two predecessors, “learned nothing, or next to nothing, from humanity’s experience with ideological tyranny in the twentieth century.” Mahoney further stated:

He seems to have admired Fidel Castro, was slow to face the truth about the Maduro regime in Venezuela, and never emphasizes or repeats the Church’s condemnation of socialism and totalitarian collectivism. He seems to have confidence that the atheistic Communist Party of China can more or less run the Catholic Church in that still authoritarian country.

His lack of realism in that regard is stunning. He recently told a French interviewer that “one always wins with peace” and that “no war is just.” This is rank utopianism, devoid of any sense that charity demands the protection of the innocent against unjust aggression. It simply ignores the long-standing teaching of the Church on matters of war and peace. Do Bergoglio’s whims trump the wisdom of St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas? Or do Christians believe in historicism after all, with truth evolving in each age? Francis’s view of decent, liberal societies with free markets and a social safety network, are remarkably summary, worthy of an Argentinian Peronist.

Humanitarians confuse equitable social arrangements with socialism. It is possible that Pope Francis believes that Christianity can purify the Marxist elements of socialist thought. Sadly, he is wrong, for the “religion of humanity”—which so often presents itself under a veneer of sentimental appeal—is ideological opposed, at the core, to the authentic anthropology and traditional philosophical principles of the Catholic Church.


Endnotes:

1 Daniel J. Mahoney. The Idol of Our Age: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity. New York: Encounter Books. 2019. p 99.

2 Mahoney. The Idol of Our Age, 98.

3 George Neumayr. The Political Pope. New York: Center Street. 2018. p 4.


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About Anne Hendershott 89 Articles
Anne Hendershott is professor of sociology and director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is the co-author of Renewal: How a New Generation of Priests and Bishops are Revitalizing the Church (Encounter Books).

38 Comments

      • Thanks for pointing that out publicly. Not sure why the individual in question feels the need to insert these meaningless one-liners in the comments section of various stories on the site.

        • Dr.Cajetan Coelho comments at NCRegister from time to time. He ‘never’ takes a side. Must believe all is well in the Catholic Church today, unlike many old and present Church scholars, authorities, and Prelates have pointed such ‘confusion’ for about 6 years.

          Hell, even Jesus Christ took a side…………..HIS side.

    • Depends on the variety of humanity, the perfection of humanity as in the God-Man Jesus Christ or the fallen, sin disposed humanity we were all born into and which the Catholic Church exists to heal by means of the Sacraments and in particular the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

  1. Theodore McCarrick and Pope Francis are friends (as we know very well from McCarrick’s speech at Villanova in October 2013).

    McCarrick is a sociopath, habitual liar and an enemy of Jesus – you have to be if you are a life-long sexual abuser of children and seminarians, while pretending you are a faithful priest and apostle.

    Pope Francis is the friend and hand-picked Papal candidate of world champion sex abusers and coverup artists, like McCarrick and his pal the sex abuse coverup artist Danneels (who covered up for “the Belgian McCarrick” Bishop Roger Vangelhuwe…who raped his little nephew).

    Jesus commands us to pray for our enemies, and those who persecute the Church.

    I am continuing to obey Jesus, and pray for Francis and McCarrick and the other men like them.

  2. The Pope has not “slid into socialism”. The signs were there all along even before he was elected. Some astute people saw it and it was commented on during the election process when he was named as one of the possible candidates. And the cardinals went ahead and elected him anyway.

  3. It seems to me that the root of the problem, for whatever the reasons, that many in the hierarchy do not believe in Original Sin or take seriously its consequences on all human beings. Church doctrines in matters of faith and morals are inconveniences and can be largely ignored when they stand in the way of human happiness and well being promised by the religion of humanism in all its forms. Totalitarianism and the politics of extermination is in the works again. If anyone things, including the popes, think that the gods of this world will be appeased by anything we do, they are sadly mistaken. They hate the Mystical Body of Christ and will not rest until they see it destroyed. They well fail, but the damage to poor souls is very great. One cannot “shake hands with the devil,” and come away unscathed. Those who cause Catholics to fall, whatever their office in the Church, are in serious trouble with respect to their own salvation. Another inconvenient truth clearly taught in Holy Scripture. Sad.

    • “In many respects democratic socialism is like Catholic social doctrine and in any case has contributed greatly to the development of a social consciousness.”—Benedict XVI

        • Highly dubious?

          So we have a pseudo-Benedict with which to deal?

          Ideological blinders make one resort to strange methods of coping.

          • Let me help you, Mr. D. The statements were of dubious quality; there is no doubt that they came from Benedict. He was vastly superior to his successor, but hardly perfect.

  4. Ignatian “indifference” has become a sham. A devaluation of “philosophy” and “methods” which lead to disincarnate Idealism? but apparently no fear, no worries about “systems” as long as there’s a sense of “mission.”

    Bergoglio, Castro…”a man for others.”

    The “religion of humanity” has the State as god and “humanity” ultimately as public enemy number one.

  5. John Paul II considered a theology of Man. The first principle of a definitive Anthropology is revealed in Christ, who through his human nature defines humanness. What Man is by Nature and Eternal Law. Anne Hendershott isolates the Pontiff’s error of presumably sanitizing Marxist ideology with Christianity. World Over discussed the Vatican’s Amazonian new paradigm intending to acculturate Catholicism, distinguished by belief in the Real Presence within Christianity to native Amazonian earth focused beliefs, what traditionally is called Animism. To learn from the ‘Noble Savage’ as Msgr Gerald Murray, Robert Royal chided Msgr Murray noting positive regard of shammane in the papal document. Shaman [shammane] is English for a tribal witch doctor and master of magical arts, hexes as well as cures. This is not merely radical. It is deadly. Ecological ideology is consistent with a paradigmatic worship of Nature the ancient veneration of the goddess Gaia (see Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life. Reflection on New Age Vat City Pontifical Council for Culture 2.3.03). Priests are to be selected and ordained from married elders, viri probbati including shamans. Satan cast down to earth has since the Garden and Original Sin drawn Man to the world. My experience with Native Am Navajo, Apache, Pueblo is the instance of reinventing Catholicism brought by Spain’s missionaries after Spanish military defeat following the Great Pueblo Uprising 1580. The shamans replaced the Holy Eucharist with the hallucinogenic cactus peote or other substances. Onantes reconquered the Southwest for Spain and Franciscan missionaries reintroduced the true faith at a cost of martyrdom but ultimately successful, although enclaves of corrupted Christianity remains. The prospect of success for the Amazonian new paradigm Vatican program is nil without the presence of sufficient, trained missionary priests. The outcome seems more conducive to diminishing priest celibacy and the inevitable diminution of faith in the Real Presence, in Jesus’ flesh and blood which as Pope Paul VI correctly said is the divinity’s “Most excellent presence” as compared to his true presence in other forms. If the German modal is the prototype of Synodality the Amazonian modal is the prototype of an Anthropocentric Christianity.

  6. His religion and that of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, is primarily Teilhardian evolution, a modern form of Gnosticism:

    This Teilhardian evolutionary agenda entails that we cease viewing the “final end” of creation and this world as exclusively “us”, and our attainment to union with God (only possible in Catholic doctrine for individual souls created in the image of God), but rather as an evolutionary goal in which all other created things are also destined to “take part in the definitive Kingdom” and thus attain union with God: “Their final purpose is transcendent; it is God”. This necessarily entails embrace of what is called Cosmic Evolution and the belief that, not only all living things, but all matter, is in evolutionary progression towards “Spirit” and what Teilhard de Chardin conceptualizes as the “Omega Point” and the “Christic” fulfillment of all creation.

    Such a view of creation also therefore demands an integral ecology in the spiritual realm –an inclusiveness in the realms of faith and morals. It will therefore be the death of all fixed and absolute dogma and, if successful, will entail the extinction of all traditional Catholicism. All the efforts towards such things as allowing Holy Communion for the civilly divorced and re-married and those practicing contraception, inclusiveness towards those in homosexual relationships, institutionalizing the female deaconate and a married priesthood etc. should be seen in the light of this Teilhardian agenda of inclusiveness straining towards an integral ecology.

    Teilhardian theology is a culmination of the heresy of Gnosticism, which has plagued the Church for two millennia.

    • Elaine –

      I agree 100% that Teilhard’s idea of the mankind “evolving” to the “Omega Point” is a catastrophic detour away from Catholic (and other orthodox Christian) theology and anthropology. It is what one person called “cargo cult” ideology.

      My best sense about Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict is that he rejected the Omega Point idea. Now I am not familiar with much of any early writing of Ratzinger, if it included favorable commentary on “The Omega Point” of Teilhard.

      However, I do have books from his middle and late years, including when he was a Cardinal, and in at least one, it was clear that he explicitly rejected the “Omega Point” ideology, because it was expressed as an end “beyond Jesus himself.” Ratzinger argued that it is Jesus himself who is the Omega, and Ratzinger was pointing out the gigantic error of any Christian tinkering with Teilhard’s ideas and thinking they can “move beyond Jesus” (that phrase being a quote from Ms. Laurie Brink, in a keynote address to the LCWR.

      • Chris: “The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.” (Benedict XVI, Homily, Celebration of Vespers with the Faithful of Aosta, July 24, 2009)

        Read “war against being” by James Larson. It is available online. He provides a lot of information about Chardin and how Benedict XVI’s theology and philosophy was formed by hime.

    • Evil knows no restrictions insofar as utilization. Elaine resemblance to Teilhard de Chardin has been noted. As has resemblance to New Age similar to Fr Matthew Fox OP’s all inclusive Cosmic Christ [see Aidan Nichols OP’s critique The New Age Movement]; Gnosticism seen in Princeton Prof Elaine Pagels’ literature example Beyond Belief; Skinner’s Situation Ethics evident in Amoris Laetitia; Cardinal Kasper’s amorphous changeable god found in Spinoza. We are confronted with what transcends human ideology. New ideas even witness to the truth of itself will not recover what is being lost. Only faith in Christ, Apostolic Tradition inclusive of witness to that truth, prayer, willingness to suffer, and above all charity can defeat this Evil. Evil likened to what The Apostle called The Spirit of the Air, and Prince of the Power of the Air (Ephesians 2:2).

  7. My friends from Latin America and South America who have personally experienced Pope Frankenstein’s heretical and bogus “religion of humanity” in their own countries and have had their property expropriated and their families exiled put it much more simply: “Bergoglio is a Communist”. We need to accept that we are dealing with an evil and corrupt man who is pope.

    • If the translations are accurate, it’s an appalling pablum that does not even have enough coherence to critique.

    • Peter: When you consider the fact that since Vatican II, the institution in Rome abandoned the command of Christ to convert the whole world to Him and instead adopted the agenda of the atheistic and corrupt United Nations-to destroy all religion necessary to establish a one world totalitarian government-hasn’t it been the practice of “dialogue” with all of the enemies of Christ, giving them a value higher than Christ Himself, with no intent of condemning those false religions and converting them to the true faith?

  8. Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world — he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. … Then the dragon was angry with the woman [Mary/the Church], and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.
    — Rev 12:7-9,17

    He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
    — Sun Tsu, The Art of War

    The war that arose in heaven didn’t end; it was moved down to Earth. If we are losing it is because our army is no longer animated by the same Spirit. And because so many on our side are oblivious to even the fact that we are at war; and because, as Sun Tsu insisted was necessary in war, the enemy is infiltrating our side with secret agents.

  9. Glad to have come across this too – https://international.la-croix.com/news/pope-francis-or-steve-bannon-catholics-must-choose/10383# – it is about the misunderstandings towards the Holy Father . A man of God who puts his hope in the Holy Spirit , not in human optimism , who is well supported by prayers of St.John Paul 11 , who saw the fall of communism , after the Consecration , thus is even possibly obliged by The Spirit , to take risks with even persons who have been prodigals – http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-whatever-happens-hope-does-not-disappoint .China , with its reverence for ancestors , now having come under the God ordained tie with The Church , let us hope that the prayers of all in the Church there now would be lot more effective , esp. for their many departed , thus undoing possible generational spirits , to bring forth the true faith in more hearts , to trust that The Church is there only to help them in their real needs .The Novena of Divine Mercy have the prayers given by The Lord , ‘ bring them to Me ‘, persosn of all categories – seems the Holy Father too is only exhorting same , to help persons to recognize the God given dignity – ‘we are precious , because we are loved ‘ , that to include the creation itself .Let us hope that the simplicity of that message is what would get through , through the prayers of St.Francis too , that the devotion of the Holy Father , to St.Joseph, Bl.Mother , St.Michael are what the rest of The Church would emulate , to take on the spirits of evil that the Holy Father too warns us against .

    • How wrong can you be?

      If all that Pope Francis wants is unity in China, then he would not have approved the false bishops. The Pope is a disciple of Marx. The only unity that will effect is under the hammer and sickle as we have already seen. We have a Marxis “Pope” who I believe is truly an anti-Pope. How else to account for the errors that he spouts and the divisions he creates.

  10. I just read your comments partially! What people don’t seam to realize, there is coming a day of reckoning! Thy kingdom come! On earth that’s the new Jerusalem! Some, plutocrats, tell you just keep paying your bills! It’s not gonna get better but worse! Remember the eye of the needle? Follow your heart!

  11. This is an excellent summary of one the many disturbing aspects of Pope Francis – the soft spot he seems to have for socialist regimes, and not just those of the democratic variety.

  12. How wrong can you be?

    If all that Pope Francis wants is unity in China, then he would not have approved the false bishops. The Pope is a disciple of Marx. The only unity that will effect is under the hammer and sickle as we have already seen. We have a Marxis “Pope” who I believe is truly an anti-Pope. How else to account for the errors that he spouts and the divisions he creates.

  13. Let’s not blame everything on Teilhard de Chardin, though. The benefits (philosophy of soul/body, activity) of a preferred Aristotelian presence in Aquinas…allowed various “readings” over time inherently more secular…positing an increasingly more autonomous Kantian “will” increasingly downplaying the effects of original sin in the problematic St. Augustine…and yes less and less Augustinian. (see John Rist, please). The “secular” has included the “cosmic” and in an almost Jungian sense (which intrigues Bishop Barron?) a “better” valued occurring-already “diversity” of world cultures, “spiritual practices,” arts and myths etc. vs a disparaged Lady Philosophy and “philosophizing” (starting with Plato), history of ideas, with the mantra that we are moving beyond the old that “no longer works” (von Balthazar).

    Sadly, wrong readings of “Christocentric” theology/spirituality have also led us to this place…along of course with parallel more “merciful” updated denials of the effects of original sin…”pride” as not the bad thing we once though it was… a non-reliance on God and Grace except as “already there” let’s call it “personhood” or even one’s “human dignity”…an impulse towards blurred sensibilities of redemption, salvation and “divinization”…and let’s save ecumenism for…the next installment/ acquisition of “unity.”

    We pause here to wave to Karl Rahner here in the parking lot of Anthropocentric Christianity…and you can wave in almost any direction, towards almost everywhere in the Church because he is…almost everywhere…in smart forms and really dumbed down forms…in Bergoglio’s praise for “novelties” and varieties…and yes…not even in the Church…among it seems “the anonymous Christians” Bergoglio finds “better” who get better reviews from him and better publicity from the press “that knows their job, knows what to do.”

    Thomas Write, OP points to the need for a return, discovery of Trinitarian theology…with the Trinity as the “future” so to speak (if I may paraphrase) and I agree. This doesn’t coexist well with the “Coexist” bumper stickers on Bergoglio’s Fiat and luggage…or with the now signing on the dotted line very agreeable people in Islam…or even to some extent with our parishioners in the Amazonas…unless their theology “as is” becomes AOK…something else to “accompany” or “close enough…since we are ourselves are heretics (the sound of shared, raucous laughter).” There’s nothing funnier for Bergoglio than being accused of heresy…not just in passing… but in 20 pages in writing…a welcomed distraction.

    Let’s go back to the Trinity…or dare I say seemingly, begin for the first time.

    BTW the “religion of humanity” is propped up by sex and money…in our own hierarchy, by criminality…the “brainy” variety.

  14. The assertion by Elaine that Benedict’s religion is “primarily Teilhardian evolution” is going too far.
    Benedict discusses the relevance of some of Teilhard’s ideas in his “Introduction to Christianity” first published in 1968 when Teilhard’s writings had become well known. Benedict comments that Teilhard’s thought grasps the essentials of Pauline Christology but from a broader, more modern point of view. But this important book by Benedict is not otherwise influenced by Teilhard’s thoughts. In “The Spirit of the Liturgy” written in 2000, Benedict makes a passing reference to the same topic, indicating that Teilhard’s approach is one way of looking at it, but again there are no other references to Teilhard in that work. In his “Verbum Domini” written in 2010, where he deals with the cosmic dimension of the word, there is no mention of Teilhard – you might have expected it at that point if, as alleged, his religion is primarily Teilhardian. Nor is there any such reference in the copious notes to this work. Teilhardism is only of occasional passing interest to Benedict and it plays no important role in his theology or spirituality.

    • Read some criticisms of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s writings to get a sense of the man. He isn’t the orthodox Catholic that so many believe him to be.

      Cardinal Ratzinger’s negation of the Syllabus of Pius IX, the Syllabus and encyclical Pascendi of Pius X, and the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission during the reign of Pius X should be of concern.

      Cardinal Ratzinger’s absolutely outrageous statement that “perhaps for the first time” the Church is now stating (in the CDF document The Nature and Mission of Theology) “that there are magisterial decisions which cannot be the final word on a given matter as such but, despite the permanent value of their principles, are chiefly also a signal for pastoral prudence, a sort of provisional policy.” One can well imagine the response of a Pius X, Leo XIII, Pius IX or the many Popes before them to the assertion that their condemnations of Liberalism and Modernism were provisional. In fact, Pope St. Pius X, in his Motu Proprio Praestantia Scripturae, pronounced an ipso facto excommunication upon any one who would presume to contradict or “endeavor to destroy the force and the efficacy” of his Syllabus or of his encyclical Pascendi.

      Cardinal Ratzinger was the first man in his position (as head of the CDF) in centuries who did not take Thomas Aquinas as his philosophical and theological master. Just as preposterous, however, is the notion that the philosophy of St. Thomas is something which is a matter of personal option. Pius X states in Pascendi that “To deviate from Aquinas, in metaphysics especially, is to run grave risk”, and Pius XI flatly declares that “Thomas should be called not only the Angelic, but also the Common or Universal Doctor of the Church; for the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own, as innumerable documents of every kind attest.” (encyclical Studiorum Ducem,#11).

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