Our Lady's E-Newsletter: June 2015

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Fatima and Heresy

Pope Francis recently stirred reaction of varying sorts by making the rather startling pronouncement that he might be talking “heresy” when he claimed that the devil does not distinguish “Christians” by their Church affiliation. (See: https://archive.fatima.org/perspectives/sv/perspective737.asp).

His intention was to honor those non-Catholics who have been the victims of persecution by Muslims, but he did so by implying that doctrinal differences have no ultimate significance, that all Christians, despite their denomination, are one. Why his expression of sympathy, now formulated by the phrase “Ecumenism of blood,” took the form it did is a matter of no small importance. (See: http://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/news/ecumenism-blood).

The Pope admitted his comments may be heretical because he knows they contradict the defined dogma that is usually expressed in the words, “Nulla salus extra ecclesiam” - “No salvation outside the Catholic Church.” (See: https://www.olrl.org/doctrine/eens2.shtml and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extra_Ecclesiam_nulla_salus). The list of saints, popes and doctors of the Church who have proclaimed this doctrine is long and impressive. There can be no doubt about its authority and its meaning, nor any doubt that Pope Francis is unfamiliar with it.

So the Pope was aware that he was talking heresy and he apparently intended to fend off critics in advance by openly displaying his casual indifference to the doctrine he had just denied. In fact, this doctrine has been consistently denied, at least implicitly, by a long catalogue of actions and documents that have been issued from the Holy See and the chancery offices of the world since Vatican II and that have continued with increasing frequency under the present papacy.

Heresy is a word derived from a Greek verb meaning “to choose”. (See: www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/heresy). It has a double signification: to choose is also to reject. The heretic chooses one doctrine, or collection of doctrines, in place of the whole body of Faith. In doing so, he rejects all that he does not include. The honest and conscientious heretic will say plainly what it is he rejects. But the casual heretic will simply allow the doctrines he rejects to die from neglect or from a regard that implies such doctrine is now outdated or superseded or unimportant and should no longer be taken in all seriousness.  Pope Francis’ cavalier heresy is of the latter kind.

Anyone who may object to such heresy has been dismissed a priori by repeated contemptuous characterizations: they are “doctors of the law”, ”Pharisees”, “hypocrites”, “neo-Pelagians”, “Rosary counters”, “slaves of superficiality”, “rigid” - the list of abusive terms could be extended and culled from an almost daily stream of abuse to be found in papal homilies and interviews. (See: http://thatthebonesyouhavecrushedmaythrill.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-pope-francis-little-book-of-insults.html).

Pope Francis may have generated a cottage industry of interpretations and explanations among those trying to maintain his “misunderstood” orthodoxy, but there is no need to presume to read the papal mind when it comes to traditional Catholics: the Pope has nothing but contempt for them. (See: https://harvestingthefruit.com/pope-francis-hates-the-catholic-faith/).

olic Faith certainly counsels mercy and forgiveness. In doing so, however, it does not present these virtues as opposed to doctrinal clarity and the defense of defined dogmas, as does the present Pope. To make a moral virtue the trump card in a doctrinal dispute is to sow confusion and, perhaps, to practice demagoguery. It is to insist, quite falsely, that one who defends dogma does so to the detriment of fraternal charity, when precisely the opposite is the case.

A brief analogy may not go amiss here. If we see someone about to do something that we know will prove self-destructive, and say nothing for fear that we may offend him or hurt his feelings, we are not behaving according to fraternal charity. We are following the easier, more comfortable path of what is called “human respect”. We would rather offer false comfort (our own included) than incur the trouble that often comes from speaking the truth.

Thone many attacks on Father Nicholas Gruner and this apostolate - attacks that are continuing. (See: https://harvestingthefruit.com/nicholson-log/),
have arisen because Father never in his lifetime sacrificed the truth to human respect. He never opposed mercy to dogma. He never sought the approval of men at the expense of loyalty to Our Lady and Her Message. And no one who knew Father would characterize him by the derogatory terms the Pope applies to those concerned with doctrinal purity. On the contrary, Father’s kindness and warmth were evident to anyone who dealt with him, as was his unshakable orthodoxy. The two, in fact, were inseparably related.

It is significant that Father chose to write a book shortly before he died. It was his first book in many years, and it bore the telling title, “Crucial Truths to Save Your Soul”. (See: NR024_FatimaNews_Summer_2014.pdf). Father recognized that opposition to the Message of Fatima was rooted in opposition to the defined doctrine of the Catholic Church. He wanted to make this connection as clear as possible so that people would not be misled, either about Fatima or the Faith.

The Church is now facing a crisis that may be unprecedented in its history. Many compare the present state of the Church to the Arian crisis in the 4th Century, but terrible as that time was, the faithful did not then generally follow the lead of their erring bishops, as is the case today. When the history of the present era is written, when a time of sanity returns to the Church, the story of Father Nicholas Gruner will be seen in its true light and his heroism recognized.

In the meantime, to help us through the darkness, Father has left us the apostolate, whose work we must continue. And he has left us as his parting gift his book, “Crucial Truths to Save Your Soul,” which we would do well to read and commit to our hearts.

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