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The Papal Playbook: Bob to the Right, Move to the Left

Fatima Perspectives #1351

Facing a storm of protests from the Catholic world in the aftermath of his atrocious stage-show at the Shamazon Synod, which was just a vehicle for smuggling married priests and lady “deacons” into the Church, Pope Francis has bobbed momentarily to the right in true Peronist fashion. 

First of all, in his audience address of November 6, Francis characterized the positive idolatry of the “Pachamama” fertility goddess during the event as no more offensive than Saint Paul’s visit to the Aeropgagus, where he encountered a statue dedicated to “an Unknown God” and told those present that he was there to preach the Gospel of the God they did not know.

Twisting the episode to suit his rhetorical needs of the moment, as he has done again and again with Sacred Scripture (see Denzinger-Bergoglio, a project of diocesan priests), Francis claims that “In the heart of one of the most famous institutions of the ancient world, the Areopagus, [Saint Paul] achieved an extraordinary example of inculturation of the message of faith: he announces Jesus Christ to idol worshipers, and he does not do so by attacking them, but by becoming … a builder of bridges.”  According to Francis, Saint Paul “open[ed] a path between the Gospel and the pagan world.”

In truth, what Saint Paul did on this occasion, recounted in the 17th chapter of Acts of the Apostles, had nothing to do with “inculturation” of the Gospel or merely indicating a “path” between the Gospel and the pagan world.  To be perfectly candid, that depiction of the event is an outright falsehood. As we read in Acts, when he came to Athens Saint Paul “disputed… in the synagogue with the Jews, and with them that served God, and in the marketplace, every day with them that were there.”  And as for the philosophers of pagan antiquity, present in the great intellectual and cultural center of Athens, Saint Paul “preached to them Jesus and the resurrection,” declaring outright: “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious.  For passing by, and seeing your idols, I found an altar also, on which was written: To the unknown God. What therefore you worship, without knowing it, that I preach to you…”

What follows is no “dialogue” nor any attempt at “inculturation,” but rather preaching with divine authority on the necessity of faith in the true God, Who is Jesus Christ, the Judge of all mankind, with no kind words about the false gods represented by statues in pagan temples erected out of ignorance and superstition:

“God, who made the world, and all things therein; he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

“Neither is he served with men’s hands, as though he needed anything; seeing it is he who giveth to all life, and breath, and all things:

“And hath made of one, all mankind, to dwell upon the whole face of the earth, determining appointed times, and the limits of their habitation. That they should seek God, if happily they may feel after him or find him, although he be not far from every one of us:

“For in him we live, and move, and are; as some also of your own poets said: For we are also his offspring. Being therefore the offspring of God, we must not suppose the divinity to be like unto gold, or silver, or stone, the graving of art, and device of man.

“And God indeed having winked at the times of this ignorance, now declareth unto men, that all should everywhere do penance. Because he hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in equity, by the man whom he hath appointed; giving faith to all, by raising him up from the dead.”

Bobbing to the right in the face of worldwide criticism, in the same address Francis does admit that Saint Paul “shudders inside to see a city full of idols” and that he preaches to the pagans of Athens the “biblical faith in the God of revelation, leading to redemption and judgment, that is, to the properly Christian message.”  He further admits that Saint Paul exhorts his hearers to “go beyond ‘the times of ignorance’ and to decide to convert in view of imminent judgement.”

A deftly timed bob to the right indeed.  But where in the actual proceedings and ceremonies during the Amazon Synod do we see anything like Saint Paul’s forthright declarations against superstition or his warning that those who were once ignorant, having heard the Gospel from him, must do penance lest they face eternal condemnation by the Just Judge of all men?  Quite the contrary, we see outright condonation of idol worship in the form of Pachamama, whose statues became veritable icons of the event:

The rampant idol-worship and laudatory pronouncements on the “cosmovision” of primitive Amazon tribes on display throughout this disgraceful event have earned the public condemnation of six cardinals and bishops.

In short, the attempt to liken the sacrilege and blasphemy on display during the Amazon synod to Saint Paul’s unstinting approach to the pagans of Athens is an insult to the intelligence of the faithful.  But then, this pontificate, like America’s leftwing political establishment, seems to operate on the presumption that the people can be bamboozled by shifty demagoguery while the plan for the subversion of institutions proceeds relentlessly toward its goal.

 

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