Will it Never End?
Pope Francis Praises Quarreling in the Church
by Christopher A. Ferrara
June 23, 2015
Another day, another mind-boggling remark from Francis. The scenario is by now quite familiar: the Pope decides he will speak in Spanish so that he can “speak from the heart,” and the Church braces for the next explosion.
This time it was remarks in Spanish to the World Retreat of Priests at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran on June 12. Francis said this about quarrels among members of the Church: “There are quarrels and arguments in the Church? Well, it makes good news! This is so since the beginning… A church without quarrels is a dead church. Do you know where there aren’t any quarrels? In cemeteries!”
Never in the history of the Church has a Pope (or Doctor or Father of the Church) declared that quarreling as such is a sign that the Church is alive! The Epistles of Saint Paul are filled with admonitions against quarrels among the brethren because they are sins against the Church’s unity. It was precisely “wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects” that Saint Paul condemned as “works of the flesh” in his Epistle to the Galatians.
Now of course there have been theological disputations in the Church about matters not settled by divine revelation, such as the precise relationship between grace and free will. But never has a Pope praised mere quarreling as a sign of ecclesial vitality. Quite the contrary, Popes have repeatedly forbade further discussion of matters that had degenerated into quarrels. Some examples include Pius XII forbidding any discussion of the error of polygenism, Popes Pius V and Alexander VII forbidding further quarreling about theological arguments against the Immaculate Conception, centuries before the dogma had been defined, and Clement VIII ordering an end to the quarreling between the Jesuits and Dominicans over efficacious grace.
To put the best interpretation on Francis’s words, perhaps he meant to say that people are only human and that they will have quarrels about this or that. But quarrels are not a good thing in themselves, much less “good news,” and it is simply absurd to maintain that the Church is “dead” unless there is quarreling among her members.
This sort of remark smacks of the modernist notion of “dialectic,” where truth is supposed to emerge from a conflict over opposing positions, producing a “synthesis” between the two. But that is not the way the Church finds the truth. She finds the truth in the Deposit of Faith that she has expounded and defended from the time of the Apostles, who handed down what Christ Himself had revealed.
It is not entirely clear what Francis meant by his praise of quarreling as “good news” for the Church. What is clear, however, is that we have yet another addition to what is already a mountain of disturbing and confusing “off-the-cuff” remarks from a Pope like no other in the history of the papacy—a Pope who, it must be said in all candor, seems to sow confusion as a program. This, of course, is most evident with the disastrous Synod process he conceived and put into motion as a kind of juggernaut whose drivers have as their target the moral edifice of the Church’s teaching on marriage and procreation, which Francis will now supposedly defend against the very juggernaut he launched.
Indeed, the Pope whose relentless “explainers” insist he is a staunch defender of the indissolubility of marriage is the same Pope who has told two women by telephone that they can receive Holy Communion while living in a state of adultery and without withdrawing from that state. The Pope whose “explainers” maintain he is a fierce opponent of “gender theory” is the same Pope who personally telephoned a “transsexual” woman who thinks she is a man to invite him and “his” putative “fiancée” to travel from Spain — at the Vatican’s expense — for a private audience and the Pope’s warm embrace of this perverted “couple.”
Two years of confusion and no end in sight. May Our Lady of Fatima protect and defend her Church as the Third Secret unfolds before our eyes.