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More on Video-gate

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 11, 2016

Thank goodness there are still enough believing Catholics in the world to swamp the comboxes of “Catholic” news sites with justified outrage over the Vatican’s absurd and blasphemous “I believe in love” video, which places an image of the Baby Jesus (rudely taken from His crib) alongside the symbols of Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam, held in the hands of the respective religionists. (The perpetrators of this scandal could not bear to show the Holy Cross in their multi-religious tableau. Perhaps they were afraid of it.)

The essence of this little production is the same idea that has pervaded the human element of the Church over the past fifty years: that all basically nice people go to Heaven, as long as they are sincere in their beliefs — whatever they are — and follow their conscience, whatever it tells them to do.  As long as they “believe in love.” This is not the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but rather the “Gospel” of John, Paul, George and Ringo.  All you need is love!  But love of what?  You know, love.

According to this way of thinking, sincerity effectively takes the place of the state of grace and the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations is de facto abandoned.  Who can deny it, looking at the video as but one example of the newfangled mentality in the Church?  Pope Francis himself said as much in the infamous interview with the atheist Eugenio Scalfari:  “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”  Actually, no it wouldn’t.  For the world is not made a better place by following an erring, ill-formed conscience that calls evil good — for example, contraception, abortion and “gay rights” — and adamantly opposes the Law of  the Gospel in “good conscience.”

In this regard consider an important address by the future Pope Benedict XVI when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, speaking to a bishop’s workshop in Dallas, Texas in 1991. Ratzinger noted the spread since Vatican II of the idea that anyone who follows his conscience is blameless before God leads to absurd outcomes: “For judgments of conscience can contradict each other. Thus there could be at best the subject’s own truth, which would be reduced to the subject’s sincerity.”

But sincerity is no excuse for the original malformation of conscience through immoral behavior. As Ratzinger explained:

But it can very well be wrong to have come to such askew convictions in the first place, by having stifled the protest of the anamnesis of being [i.e. the natural law that God has written on the heart]. The guilt lies then in a different place, much deeper — not in the present act, not in the present judgment of conscience but in the neglect of my being which made me deaf to the internal promptings of truth. For this reason, criminals of conviction like Hitler and Stalin are guilty. 

Moreover, if mere sincerity made one blameless in God’s sight, then having an erring conscience, “which makes life easier and marks a more human course, would then be a real grace, the normal way to salvation. Untruth, keeping truth at bay, would be better for man than truth. It would not be the truth that would set him free, but rather he would have to be freed from the truth.”

Most important from the Fatima perspective is Cardinal Ratzinger’s conclusion that “In the last few decades, notions of this sort have discernibly crippled the disposition to evangelize. The one who sees the faith as a heavy burden or as a moral imposition is unable to invite others to believe. Rather he lets them be, in the putative freedom of their good consciences.”

Exactly so!  And the future Benedict XVI attributed the emergence of this novel mentality in the Church to an “almost traumatic aversion many have to what they hold to be ‘pre-conciliar’ Catholicism…” By “pre-conciliar” Catholicism is meant Catholicism as expounded with admirable concision in the Message of Fatima, which speaks of saving souls from hell through devotion to the Immaculate Heart and thus adherence to the Catholic religion.

In other words, “pre-conciliar Catholicism” is simply the Faith. But then what is this new mentality, which presumes that sincerity is salvific and shrinks from proclaiming to anyone the necessity of membership in the Church in order to attain salvation? 

The answer is that the new mentality is another sign of the apostasy foretold in the Third Secret, the apostasy that “begins at the top.” And, as Cardinal Ratzinger admits, “Its propagation could only be fatal to the faith.” That, in truth, is what this disgraceful video represents.