Gaudete et Exsultate: Just What We Expected
by Christopher A. Ferrara
April 11, 2018
At this point in the pontificate of the man from Argentina, one need not actually read Gaudete et Exsultate in order to know what it contains: a farrago of elements of sound piety, attacks on orthodox Catholics, and the utter novelties this Pope has been advancing relentlessly since the moment of his election. This is what we have already seen with Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato si’ and, of course, the disastrous Amoris Laetitia (AL) which, incredibly enough, purports to abolish in practice the exceptionless character of the negative precepts of the divine and natural law, beginning with the Sixth Commandment.
Just to be sure, however, I checked the document. At a relatively “brief” 20,000 words, it is precisely what was to be expected: some pious statements harnessed to calls for the radical changes Francis demands in contradiction to the teaching of all his predecessors, along with the usual denunciations of orthodox clergy and laity who dare to oppose his novelties.
Here is a key passage which captures the essence of the thing Antonio Socci has so aptly dubbed Bergoglianism:
“Complacency is seductive; it tells us that there is no point in trying to change things, that there is nothing we can do, because this is the way things have always been and yet we always manage to survive. By force of habit we no longer stand up to evil. We ‘let things be’, or as others have decided they ought to be. Yet let us allow the Lord to rouse us from our torpor, to free us from our inertia. Let us rethink our usual way of doing things; let us open our eyes and ears, and above all our hearts, so as not to be complacent about things as they are, but unsettled by the living and effective word of the risen Lord.”
Notice the shifty conflation of acquiescing to evil, which involves sin, with not “changing things” or with accepting “the way things have always been” or “as others have decided they ought to be,” and the equally shifty conflation of doing good with “rethink[ing] our usual way of doing things… so as not to be complacent about things as they are” so that we can be “unsettled by the living and effective word of the risen Lord.”
Gaudete et Exsultate is, then, a thinly veiled attempt to impose AL’s undermining of the Sixth Commandment upon the Church under the guise of “discernment” of what the Holy Ghost is supposedly asking from us: namely, novelty. Leaving no doubt of his intention, Pope Francis later makes it clear that he demands adherence to his novelties as the voice of God speaking though him:
“How can we know if something comes from the Holy Spirit or if it stems from the spirit of the world or the spirit of the devil? The only way is through discernment, which calls for something more than intelligence or common sense. It is a gift which we must implore. If we ask with confidence that the Holy Spirit grant us this gift, and then seek to develop it through prayer, reflection, reading and good counsel, then surely we will grow in this spiritual endowment….”
So far, so good. But the poison pill is immediately administered:
“This is all the more important when some novelty presents itself in our lives. Then we have to decide whether it is new wine brought by God or an illusion created by the spirit of this world or the spirit of the devil. At other times, the opposite can happen, when the forces of evil induce us not to change, to leave things as they are, to opt for a rigid resistance to change. Yet that would be to block the working of the Spirit….”
There is no other word but devious for this text: Evil is manifested by a “rigid resistance to change,” meaning the change that Francis — alone among all the Popes going back to Peter — demands in keeping with the “signs of the times.”
Nowhere in the great Deposit of Faith do we find any teaching on the imaginary evil of “rigid resistance to change.” Quite the contrary, resistance to change is precisely what is demanded by a defense of the unchanging teaching of the Gospel, which is the Eternal Word:
“Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-19)
In fulfillment of the Law of God, Our Lord declared that whoever divorces and pretends to “remarry” commits adultery. To recall His rebuke of the Pharisees, who appealed to Moses in defense of their approval of divorce: “Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matt. 19:8)
Yet now the Church is afflicted by a pontificate whose very theme is the toleration of divorce and “remarriage" in the Church and the admission of public adulterers to Holy Communion while they continue in their adulterous relations, which would reverse 2,000 years of Church teaching and drag the whole Church back to the time of Moses.
With matchless audacity, Francis cites the Eighth Commandment as he invokes hell (whose existence he denies in conversations with Scalfari, whose reports he does not deny) to demonize Catholics who are defending the “other commandments” — meaning the Sixth Commandment he has spent the past five years attempting to undermine in practice:
“Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned…. It is striking that at times, in claiming to uphold the other commandments, they completely ignore the eighth, which forbids bearing false witness or lying, and ruthlessly vilify others. Here we see how the unguarded tongue, set on fire by hell, sets all things ablaze (cf. Jas 3:6).”
Apparently, Pope Francis sees no “false witness or lying” in his more or less constant tirade against orthodox Catholics, nor does he perceive that he “ruthlessly vilif[ies] others” when he denounces them, almost daily, as rigid hypocrites. As for the Vatican’s blatant doctoring of the now infamous letter falsely presented as Benedict’s XVI’s endorsement of “the theology of Pope Francis,” Francis evidently does not perceive the beam in his own eye.
We can, however, find hope in the fact that this crude papal polemic is not deceiving anyone who does not wish to be deceived, and that the number of the faithful who are waking up to the deception increases by the day.
May Our Lady of Fatima soon intercede to bring an end to this debacle.