The Big Bass Drum Beats Louder
by Christopher A. Ferrara
April 20, 2015
At this point it has become almost comical. Not a week passes without Francis delivering a sermon invidiously comparing Catholics opposed to the blatantly seditious activity of his “Synod on the Family” to the evil Pharisees who opposed Our Lord and the proclamation of the Gospel. Again and again, Francis twists Scripture by likening Catholics opposed to the toleration of divorce in the Church to the Pharisees who tolerated divorce. No Pope in the history of the Church has ever behaved this way.
Catholic prelates, priests and laity around the world are organizing their opposition with the approach of October, when the Phony Synod — minutely controlled by Francis — will make its second attempt to overthrow the Church’s bimillenial discipline by admitting unrepentant public adulterers to Holy Communion. Seeing this, Francis continues beating on the rhetorical equivalent of a bass drum stenciled on one side with the words “Rigid Catholics = Pharisees” and the other with “The God of Surprises.”
On April 15, during the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, the booming of the big bass drum could be heard yet again. The Pharisees, said Francis in the usual rambling, improvised manner, “were teachers, they had studied the history of the people, they had studied the prophecies, they had studied the law, they knew all about the theology of the people of Israel, the revelation of God, they knew everything, they were teachers, and they were incapable of recognizing the salvation of God.”
Well, what does that have to do with present-day Catholics, who certainly recognize the salvation of God in Christ Jesus? Boom, boom, boom, boom: “The history of this stubbornness… is that of closing in on oneself, is that of not dialoguing, it is the lack of dialogue.” That the Pharisees were guilty of a lack of “dialogue” — a word that appears nowhere in the Bible or in the teaching of Popes and Councils during the nineteen centuries preceding Vatican II — is certainly a novel opinion. But then Francis has uttered so many novel opinions that even those who try to count them cannot keep track of them all.
The Gospel speaks only of the Pharisees’ lack of faith in Christ, which comes not from “dialogue” but from hearing the truth of the Gospel from one who teaches it with authority — in this case Christ Himself — and accepting that teaching by the grace of God. Thus does the Gospel recount how many were converted merely by seeing and hearing the works of Christ as He walked among them. No “dialogue” was necessary, nor does the divine commission Our Lord gave to His Church say anything about dialogue. The ministers of His Church, above all the Pope, are commissioned to teach by His authority.
“Dialogue” is not a Catholic doctrine; it is an utter novelty introduced into the life of the Church for the first time in her history by the “pastoral” documents of Vatican II. But the phrase “lack of dialogue” served as the rhetorical device by which Francis, for the umpteenth time, publicly denounced orthodox Catholics, implying that they are not even Christians. He proceeded thus:
They [the Pharisees] didn’t know to dialogue, they didn’t know to dialogue with God, because they didn’t know to pray and to hear the voice of God, and they didn’t know to dialogue with others. ‘But why did they understand in this way?’ They only interpreted how the law could be more precise, but they were closed to the signs of God in history, they were closed to the people, to their people. They were closed, closed. And the lack of dialogue, this closure of the heart, brought them to the point of not obeying God.
Here we see a muddled attempt to conflate prayer with dialogue, dialogue with listening to “the people,” and both of these with obedience to God. Well, we know where this is going from two years of hearing essentially the same theme repeated obsessively. The Pharisees, Francis went on to say, were full of “fury and the desire to silence all those who preach in this case the newness of God, that is that Jesus is Risen.” That the Resurrection represents a “newness of God,” as if the immutable Godhead had changed in some manner, is yet another novel opinion, but it set up the drearily predictable non sequitur:
And in this Mass let us pray for the teachers, for the doctors, for those who teach the People of God that they would not be closed in on themselves, that they would dialogue, and so save themselves from the wrath of God, which, if they do not change their attitude, will remain upon them.
So, according to Francis, if those who “teach the People of God” continue to be “doctors” “closed in on themselves” like the Pharisees who refused to dialogue about the “newness of God” with “their people,” they face nothing less than eternal damnation unless they “change their attitude.” Never has the bass drum been beaten this loudly. And never has any Pope before Francis said anything so bizarre as that God’s wrath is upon those who will not dialogue.
Is there anyone paying attention that doesn’t know exactly who Francis is talking about? Here is a friendly challenge to those who are still clinging to the delusion that it isn’t clear that Francis means orthodox Catholics opposed to the Francis-Kasper agenda: identify anyone else on the face of the earth Francis could possibly mean by “teachers” and “doctors” who are “closed in on themselves” and facing “the wrath of God… if they do not change their attitude.” Any suggestions? I didn’t think so.
Among all the others who oppose the Phony Synod’s subversive activity, Francis is obviously referring to the five cardinals (Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra, De Paolis and Müller) who contributed to a book defending the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage and divorce, rather tellingly entitled “Remaining in the Truth of Christ” (which was illegally diverted from the mail by the Pope’s handpicked Synod controller, Cardinal Baldisseri).
Francis was also referring to the national hierarchies of Africa and Poland, a growing number of individual bishops, and the nearly 500 priests from the United Kingdom who felt constrained to petition Francis to uphold Church teaching both in principle and practice. Then there is the Synod majority itself, who roundly rejected the disgraceful “midterm report” Francis had approved and ordered published to the world without consulting them, calling for the admission of public adulterers to Holy Communion on a “case-by-case basis” and “valuing” the “homosexual orientation.” It was that stinging rejection which prompted Francis to introduce his “God of surprises” the very next day, “warning of ‘hostile rigidity’ by ‘so-called traditionalists.’” The sermon of April 15, 2015 continues the same seemingly endless line of demagogic rhetoric.
And, among the lay opponents of the Phony Synod, there is Voice of the Family, an international alliance of pro-life/pro-family groups that finds itself in the position of having to mobilize the faithful to demand that at the next session of the Phony Synod “the teaching of the Church is affirmed clearly and without ambiguity” and that its proposals be “founded on the truths of the natural moral law and Divine Revelation” — an outcome clearly in doubt. Voice of the Family’s very existence bespeaks a dramatic vote of no confidence in Francis’ commitment to orthodoxy and orthopraxis, both of which he — unlike any other Pope in Church history — has thematically derided as “legalism” and “small-minded rules.”
The astonishing travesty of this pontificate continues, and with it the unfolding of what has to be the final chapter of the drama of Fatima.