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How Much Longer Will This Go On?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
May 16, 2016

At this point in the pontificate of the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, it is fair to ask whether Francis is able to deliver even one sermon or address on Sacred Scripture that does not twist it to suit his idiosyncratic, liberal Jesuit theology.

The latest example is the Address of the Audience of May 11 wherein Francis, yet again, bends the parable of the prodigal son to his peculiar notion of Divine Mercy. “The mercy of the father is overflowing, unconditional, and is shown even before the son speaks,” says Francis of the father who sees his lost son returning. That is misleading at best, as the father’s mercy is plainly conditional on the son’s return following his repentance.

Of that repentance, however, Francis makes light: “Certainly the son knew he had erred, and he recognized it: ‘I have sinned… treat me as one of your servants.’ But these words fade away before the father’s forgiveness.” What is that supposed to mean? The son’s repentance does not “fade away” but rather is the very reason he returns home and is able to be forgiven. Without that conversion, the father could not have received him, because, as the father himself says, his son “was dead.” Likewise, the soul in the state of mortal sin is dead. Francis simply ignores the true meaning of Our Lord’s parable.

From this distortion Francis leaps to the false conclusion that both the faithful son, who protests that his brother has been treated too indulgently, and his prodigal brother, who returns home because he is starving and repentant, “act according to a logic extraneous to Jesus: if you do good, you will receive a reward, if you do evil you will be punished; and this is not the logic of Jesus, it is not!”

Really? It appears that Jesus disagrees with Francis: “And they that have done good things, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment (John 5:29).”

Of course, the good we do that is meritorious in God’s sight is enabled by His grace; we do not save ourselves by being do-gooders. But Francis here seems to dispense with good works entirely, in the manner of Martin Luther, while suggesting that God never punishes those who do evil because His mercy is “unconditional.”

On the other hand, Francis, who habitually contradicts himself, has demanded from the rich precisely good works toward the poor as the condition for salvation and avoiding hell, while suggesting that atheists can be saved by doing good.

How much longer will this confusion go on? Only God knows. Meanwhile, in Rome, a worldwide coalition of concerned clergy and laity has petitioned Francis “to recognise the grave errors in the recently published Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, in particular those sections which will lead to the desecration of the Holy Eucharist and to the harming of our children, and to withdraw the Apostolic Exhortation with immediate effect.”

When in the history of the Church have members of the faithful been compelled to make such a plea to a Roman Pontiff? Never. Our Lady of Fatima, intercede for us!