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A Lion of Academia Confronts Cardinal Cupich.
Cupich Invokes "the Spirit"

by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 16, 2018

In the aftermath of my column on the outrageous excursus of Cardinal Blase Cupich at Cambridge on the many “paradigm shifts” he pretends Pope Francis can foist upon the Church, an article at Life Site News reports that Cupich was confronted in the very lecture hall by John Rist, a renowned Catholic philosopher and emeritus professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Rist’s book Real Ethics is a landmark in the critique of natural law theories that vainly attempt to do away with God as their foundation.

As Life Site reports, “[A]fter listening to a February 9 lecture at Cambridge University in which Cardinal Cupich praised Pope Francis’ ‘paradigm shift’ in Catholic practice, [Rist] asked the Cardinal at the end of the lecture why Pope Francis ‘mercilessly’ insults and eliminates his doctrinal opponents.” 

Dr. Rist’s carefully framed question is worth quoting in full:

“Your Eminence,

In view of your account of the sunny, caring and holistic features of Pope Francis’ revolution of mercy – described disturbingly by the leaflet for this meeting and by your Eminence as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the presentation of Catholicism – and of the Pope’s call for free and frank discussion of his challenging proposals and policies, I would like to ask why Pope Francis acts so mercilessly in insulting and eliminating doctrinal opponents:  

• Cardinal Burke removed from the leadership of the Roman Rota;  
• Three loyal priests from the CDF dismissed without explanation, followed by the abrupt termination of Cardinal Mueller himself;
• The denial of a Cardinal’s hat to the much loved champion of the unborn, Archbishop Chaput;
• The removal of most of the original members of the Academy for Life;
• The apparent selling-down the river of Cardinal Pell, who may have been framed;
• And more recently the banishment from Rome of the Professor of Patristics at the Lateran and editor of the challenging book Remaining in the Truth of Christ;

The list goes on and on, but I stop there to ask again whether harsh actions of this sort — combined with the well-documented rigging of the Synod on the Family — indicate that the Pope’s ‘paradigm shift’ should be recognized as an attempt — under cover of offering solutions to genuine social problems in Western society — to impose on the Church radical changes of doctrine, developed not by laity but largely in Germany by a group of relativist Hegelian theologians?”

The utter absurdity and mendacity of the “paradigm shift” having been laid bare before him, Cupich did what all the proponents of such nonsense do: invoke “the Spirit,” that all-purpose gnostic facilitator of the ruinous post-Vatican II novelties in the Church. Quoth Cupich: “Do we really believe that the Spirit is no longer guiding the Church?”

Notice the avoidance of the traditional term Holy Spirit. Not even Cupich, it seems, can bring himself explicitly to attribute to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity the current Pope’s approval of the admission of public adulterers to Holy Communion. One wonders what sort of “Spirit” would contradict the teaching of Francis’ own immediate predecessors, who in turn affirmed the bimillenial doctrine and discipline of the Church.

Dr. Rist was one of the contributors to Remaining in the Truth of Christ, “the defense of Catholic teaching that was ‘intercepted’ at the Synod on the Family.” He is emblematic of rising lay opposition to the course of this pontificate in the face of a cowering or complicit hierarchy not unlike the hierarchs in the epoch of the Arian crisis, when (to quote Saint Jerome) “the whole world groaned and marvelled to find itself Arian.”

As Rist told Life Site: “I regard this papacy as a disaster and Bergoglio as possibly — because of his tampering with established doctrine — as possibly the worst pope we have ever had. Cupich's attempt to defend him [at Cambridge] was itself dependent on misrepresentations, the evading of legitimate questions, and in at least one case — that of my charge of the Synod on the Family being rigged — of downright lying. I was teaching in Rome at the time, and contributed to Remaining in the Truth of Christ, so I know about what happened firsthand.”

Dr. Rist rightly observes that “It is the function of the Pope to provide unity in the Church by scrutinizing new ideas to see if they are compatible with the inherited regula fidei [rule of faith]. Instead of unity Pope Francis has caused massive confusion and division – and many sad clergy are afraid of being sanctioned if they speak out.”

Any honest Catholic observer of our situation would have to agree with Rist’s conclusion: “The whole thing amounts to a heresy on the scale of the Arian heresy. That took some 60 years to sort out. I fear that this set of moral heresies may last even longer.”

It may well last longer. But end it will, just as the Arian crisis ended. And with that ending — by means of the Consecration of Russia — will come the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as the Church demonstrates once again that not even her own wayward leadership can make vain the promise of Christ that the gates of hell would never prevail against her, even if the Adversary has his momentary victories over much of the Church’s human element.