Pope Sounds Heresy Alert Concerning His Own Remarks
by Christopher A. Ferrara
June 5, 2015
In yet another of the rambling, off-the-cuff videotaped statements of which he is fond, the Pope, in a video message to something called the Day of Christian Unity in Phoenix, Arizona on May 23, offered the opinion respecting the persecution of Christians that Satan does not care about what denomination Christians belong to because we are all Christians just the same.
Francis’s remarks, which carry forward his persistent theme that doctrinal differences between Catholics and Protestants are not very important and represent merely unresolvable disagreements among theologians, came this time with a rather telling disclaimer:
I feel like saying something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps. But there is someone who “knows” that, despite our differences, we are one. It is he who is persecuting us. It is he who is persecuting Christians today, he who is anointing us with (the blood of) martyrdom. He knows that Christians are disciples of Christ: that they are one, that they are brothers! He doesn’t care if they are Evangelicals, or Orthodox, Lutherans, Catholics or Apostolic…he doesn’t care! They are Christians.....
Why would Francis admit that what he had to say might sound heretical? Perhaps because he knows that what he is saying, by necessary implication, is that it doesn’t matter whether one is a Catholic, so long as one is baptized in some Protestant denomination. Baptism alone, says Francis, means that Catholics and Protestants of all kinds “are one, that they are brothers!” It is quite curious that the devil is the authority Francis cites for this astonishing claim, which essentially dispenses with the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation.
But, quite incoherently, in the same remarks Francis declares: “division is a wound in the body of the Church of Christ…. Division is the work of the Father of Lies, the Father of Discord, who does everything possible to keep us divided.”
First of all, there is apparent claim that all Christians belong to the one “Church of Christ” which is “wounded” by division between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox. That is simply false doctrine. The only Church of Christ is the Catholic Church. In his landmark encyclical Mortalium animos, condemning the nascent “ecumenical movement” precisely for its claim that Catholics and Protestants are members of the same “Church of Christ,” Pius XI declared:
For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.
Moreover, if division between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox is the work of the devil, which it is, then the devil does indeed care whether someone is a Catholic or some other sort of professed Christian. The Evil One had a vested interest in fomenting the Orthodox schism of 1058 and Luther’s rebellion in 1517, and he has had a vested interest ever since in maintaining the existence of thousands of Protestant sects, so that their members remain deprived of the grace of the sacraments—above all Holy Communion, without which, says Our Lord, “you have no life in you (John 6:53).”
Having said that doctrinal divisions between Catholics and Protestants are the work of the devil, however, Francis contradicts himself yet again by dismissing these divisions as unimportant: “I am convinced it won’t be theologians who bring about unity among us. Theologians help us, the science of the theologians will assist us, but if we hope that theologians will agree with one another, we will reach unity the day after Judgement Day. The Holy Spirit brings about unity.”
But how will the Holy Spirit bring about Christian unity without complete agreement on all points of doctrine as expounded by the infallible Magisterium of the Catholic Church? That is, how will the Holy Spirit bring about Christian unity without all Christians belonging to the Catholic Church and submitting to her authority?
As Pius XI insisted only 34 years before Vatican II in Mortalium animos: “the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it.”
And, as Pope Pius XII insisted only 13 years before Vatican II in his Holy Office’s instruction on the “ecumenical movement,” to which the Holy Office referred with skeptical quotation marks, the only legitimate aim of that “movement” is “reconciling dissident Christians to the Catholic Church,” in keeping with “the teachings of the Encyclicals of the Roman Pontiffs on the return of dissidents to the Church…”
With good reason, then, did Francis suggest that his remarks might be perceived as heretical, for they advance to a new level the “ecumenical heresy” that has plagued the Church for the past fifty years. Francis has abandoned even the teaching of John Paul II in Dominus Iesus (2000), issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by his authority to clarify the ecumenical confusion to which John Paul himself had contributed. As that document teaches:
Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him…. “The Christian faithful are therefore not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection — divided, yet in some way one — of Churches and ecclesial communities…”
Francis has taught the very thing even John Paul II condemned: that all the assorted Christian “churches” and sects are “divided, yet in some way one…” No wonder he himself raised the specter of heresy in his remarks.
To look at the actual videotape of Francis speaking, however, is to see someone who simply does not weigh the impact of impromptu statements that will be broadcast to the world. Francis simply says whatever occurs to him at the moment, as if he were having a private conversation that would go no further than his immediate listeners so that his errors, which continue to multiply, could be dismissed as merely “private” imprecisions of no public import for the Church. Francis doesn’t seem to “get,” or at least to care, about the reality that a Pope does not have the luxury of expressing himself off-the-cuff in front of video cameras.
What Francis’s subjective intentions are is for God alone to judge, but he himself suggests that the objective signification of his words could be seen as contrary to the Faith. Once again, we are witness to a freewheeling, dogma-averse Pope like no other in the history of the Church—a Pope who must figure very prominently in the scenario of the Third Secret of Fatima now unfolding before us.