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Phil Lawler Has Had Enough

by Christopher A. Ferrara
March 2, 2017

The last straw for Phil Lawler regarding the rise of Bergoglianism — a veritable religion unto itself — was Pope Bergoglio’s umpteenth sermon suggesting that staunch defenders of the indissolubility of marriage are casuists like the Pharisees. I am referring to the homily of February 24, 2017, wherein Pope Bergoglio proposed that when confronted by the Pharisees concerning whether divorce was lawful, “Jesus does not answer whether it is lawful or not lawful; He doesn’t enter into their casuistic logic. Because they thought of the faith only in terms of ‘Yes, you can,’ or ‘No, you can’t.’”

Obviously absurd. And when Lawler read this nonsense, he recounts, “Something snapped last Friday”. For as Lawler and every other Catholic worthy of the name knows, Our Lord did say precisely “No, you can’t” when He declared to the devious Pharisees, who had contrived various justifications for divorce and “remarriage”: 

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Moreover, contrary to Pope Bergoglio’s ramblings at Casa Santa Marta, God the Father likewise said “No, you can’t” when He decreed to his human subjects for all time: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

As Lawler confides to his readers: “Reading the Vatican Radio account of that astonishing homily, I could no longer pretend that Pope Francis is merely offering a novel interpretation of Catholic doctrine. No; it is more than that. He is engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches.”

Ponder those words carefully: a renowned commentator for a mainstream Catholic website, never known for “radical traditionalist” or “Fatimist” leanings, now openly — and given his position, one must say courageously — declares that we have a Pope engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches. Consider the implications in light of the Message of Fatima and the Third Secret in particular.

Lawler poses an explosive question this column has answered more than once: “But has there ever before been a Roman Pontiff who showed such disdain for what the Church has always taught and believed and practiced — on such bedrock issues as the nature of marriage and of the Eucharist?”

The answer, of course, is no. A thousand times no.

As Lawler rightly counsels: “Intense prayer for the Holy Father would be a particularly apt project for the season of Lent.” But he also does not refrain from “a candid recognition that we have a serious problem.” Meaning the problem of Pope Bergoglio.

Lawler concludes with the observation that if he is right that “the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith” — a Pope who is a danger to the faith! — then “the bishops, as primary teachers of the faith, cannot neglect their duty to intervene.”

Exactly so! It is now as it was during the Arian heresy, when only a few good bishops defended the divinity of Christ against a hierarchy that either accepted or remained silent concerning the spread of the Arian heresy, while the Pope in exile agreed to a semi-Arian formula (but, unlike Francis, had the defense of coercion and later repudiated his error).

Lawler’s article is entitled “This Disastrous Papacy”. I view the article as one sign of a watershed moment in the ecclesial crisis of the past fifty years, now in the midst of its most acute phase: that of a Pope whose “leadership has become a danger to the faith” even in the estimation of “mainstream” observers.  The crisis has finally reached the point where honest Catholic commentators who had previously defended the declining ecclesial status quo realize that, with this Pope, what Cardinal Ratzinger called the “continuing process of decay” since Vatican II has gone too far and that they must speak out concerning its ultimate source: the See of Peter.

Our Lady of Fatima cannot have failed to warn the Church of this situation in that part of the Third Secret withheld by the same Vatican apparatus that manifestly is no longer worthy of our implicit trust. Such is the apostasy that “begins at the top.”