Tuesday, June 29, 2021

UPDATED: Tradition And Strawmen

George Bergoglio--he's the guy who lives in Rome and dresses in white--has been on a toot lately attacking "rigidity" and "tradition"--as he sees it. For example, as reported by LIfeSite, in his homily for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, he appeared to compare ‘rigid’ Catholics to St. Paul’s persecution of the Church:

The Apostle Paul also experienced the freedom brought by Christ. He was set free from the most oppressive form of slavery, which is slavery to self. ... He was also set free from the religious fervour that had made him a zealous defender of his ancestral traditions and a cruel persecutor of Christians. Set free. Formal religious observance and the intransigent defence of tradition, rather than making him open to the love of God and of his brothers and sisters, had hardened him: he was a fundamentalist.

Those who have read Paul's letters and the account of his ministry in the Acts of the Apostles might be forgiven if they don't recognize this portrait of the apostle. Indeed, such persons might find in this dichotomy of tradition and freedom in Christ a straw man that Paul himself would have rejected. For Paul, it is precisely adherence to what was handed down--the tradition of the Apostles--that sets us free. Such subtleties are apparently lost on Bergoglio.

However, LifeSite notes:

Dissident Jesuit-run America Magazine highlighted this aspect of the Pope’s homily, reporting that he had issued a call for the Church to be freed from the “intransigent defence of tradition.”

Nevertheless, it was St. Paul himself who wrote: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:14)

Then, in his letter to Titus, St. Paul stipulated that bishops must faithfully adhere to the doctrine of the Church: “Embracing that faithful word which is according to doctrine, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine, and to convince the gainsayers.”

Commenting on the Pope’s interpretation of St. Paul’s theology, popular author Deacon Nick Donnelly wrote: “Pope Bergoglio interprets every page of the Bible through the prism of himself. This is not a St. Paul I recognise, this is Bergoglio Paul.”

UPDATE: My view is this. Just as some rebellious Israelites wished for Israel to be a nation like other nations, and acted in accordance with that desire, Bergoglio's design is to institute a religion like other religions on the external structure of the Catholic Church. He has made that design manifestly obvious by word and deed--repeatedly. In the modern world such a religion--as opposed to faith, reasonable belief, in the real historical person of Jesus and his good news--can only be a form of Neo-gnosticism. There are many forms of Neo-gnosticism, which have become dominant in the West. Political ideologies of various sorts fit the pattern of a man created order. Current forms go under such monikers as the Great Reset, progressivism, or what have you. What they have in common is that they are all attempts to transform human nature. Their efforts to normalize practices at variance with human nature are manifestations of Neo-gnosticism under whatever name.

In that context a reader reminds me of a passage from the beginning of Paul's letter to the churches in Galatia:

6 I'm amazed that you're so quick to desert the One Who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. 7 There is no other good news, of course, but there are some who are disturbing you and trying to distort the good news of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim a gospel contrary to the good news we proclaimed to you, let them be accursed! 9 As we said before and now repeat, if anyone proclaims a gospel contrary to what you received from us, let him be accursed [anathema, cursed by God]!


  1. A theologian would want to look at context, I would think. Donnely's mention of "every page" is a succinct criticism of Bergoglio in this respect. After all, the Word of God can be interpreted to mean almost whatever one wants it to mean absent context.

    The short of it is that there was a pre-conversion Paul and a post-conversion Paul. Bergoglio seems to not wish to make that distinction and also seems to want to place more importance on verbs (the method of actions) than objects (the subject of actions) in this case. Wait a minute, that sounds like a characteristic of the left to me!?

  2. Bergoglio is such a joke, it's only his office that demands response.

    Pre-conversion Paul was obsessed with three law and works-based righteousness and it was faith-based righteousness that set him free.

    He did not attempt to turn Jewish believers from their observance of the law, but opposed them when they tried to force gentiles to observe the law.

    Bergoglio's inability to understand this is both disturbing and unsurprising.

  3. Bergoglio couldn't theology his way out of a wet paper bag. That the Vatican sandbagged the truly brilliant theologian Benedict out of office and replaced him with this guy is a mystery. If the acts of this pope weren't so destructive to The Church he would wear a dunce cap instead of the Baphomet atop his noggin he should wear.