Three Years of False Antitheses.
When Will It End?
by Christopher A. Ferrara
March 21, 2016
The logical fallacy of the false dilemma argues for a false conclusion based upon the presentation of only two alternatives, when in fact there are more than two, or the two presented are not actually inconsistent with each other. In the latter case we have a false antithesis as well as a false dilemma.
One must say in candor that Francis is a master of the false antithesis, a basic technique of the Modernist polemic: it is either mercy or pastoral “rigidity,” mercy or “judgmentalism,” love or loveless “legalism,” an evangelistic outreach or clinging to “security” in the Church, a “missionary heart” or “rigidity and defensiveness,” and so on and so forth over the past three years. Of course, mercy and discipline, mercy and judgment, love and the law of the Gospel, evangelism and defense of the Church’s integrity, a missionary’s zeal for souls and his uncompromising adherence to doctrine all go together. The attempt to pit them against each other is pure sophistry.
A recent example of Francis’ indulgence in the fallacy of the false antithesis is so offensive to pious ears that I feel compelled to write about it. In an address to members of the “Neocatechumenal Way” before they departed for various countries to do whatever it is they do, Francis declared: “The church is our mother. It is not an organization that seeks adherents or a group that goes forward following the logic of its own ideas, but it is a mother who transmits the life received from Jesus.”
That’s two false antitheses in one sentence! First, while the Church is our mother, this does not mean she does not seek adherents. On the contrary, it means that she must seek adherents out of a mother’s love for her lost children. As Our Lord said to the Jews who rejected Him: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent to thee, how often would I have gathered thy children as the bird doth her brood under her wings, and thou wouldest not?”
Second, that the Church “transmits the life of Jesus” does not mean she does not “follow her own ideas.” On the contrary, it means that she does follow them and that she must do so because her “ideas” are nothing other than the divine Logos of Jesus Himself, the Word Incarnate, which the Church expounds, defends and hands down in the doctrines and dogmas of the Faith.
Having had quite enough of this game, Antonio Socci has written a long open letter to Francis that comprises the second part of his explosive new book La Profezia Finale. Therein he addresses the following comments to Francis regarding his penchant for false antitheses:
If one chooses any day, one will almost always find that you, in your discourse, attack those you call “rigorists,” “rigid,” that is, men with fervent faith, whom you identify with “Scribes and Pharisees”…
[Y]ou should know that, in the Christian horizon, it is completely absurd to oppose mercy to Truth, because both are incarnated in the same Jesus Christ. Thus it is false to oppose doctrine to the pastoral, because that would be to oppose the Logos (doctrine) to the Good Shepherd (the Truth made flesh): Jesus is the Logos (the Truth made flesh) and, at the same time, the Good Shepherd.
As I write this column [March 18], less than 24 hours remain before Francis signs the dreaded post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation that will complete a two-year “synodal journey” Socci rightly describes as “a deadly attack on the family and on the sacrament of the Eucharist that was systematically… carried forward by the Vatican summit,” “assisted for two years in the overturning of the perennial Magisterium of the Church,” and was “promoted by the one who should be the custodian and defender of that teaching.”
Given the announced 200-page length of the document — a preposterous abuse of the very concept of a papal exhortation — we can doubtless expect a heavy cargo of false antitheses, and with it grave and unprecedented dangers for the Church. May Our Lady of Fatima save us from the worst.