Some discussion resulted from Ann Barnhardt’s published determination that Francis is an anti-pope; that he’s not the Pope and Benedict still is. This is a happy assertion and I like it. After all, Benedict’s resignation was ridiculous, not just unfortunate. Did he mean it? Perhaps. His communication, I believe, is often falsified or lied about and, if it were true he was deposed, his few more recent words are still often made under pressure. It would be a mistake just to believe what seems to emerge from or about him. He’s read statements. He’s also mentioned his indelible papal character and ‘contemplative’ new role, detailed by Abp. Ganswein, which Barnhardt and others believe nullifies his abdication.
Was he forced? I think it’s likely, but we don’t know for certain. He couldn’t have professed and cared about the things he did for the thirty-plus years prior and knowingly enabled the result that he did. I think he was probably presented with two bad options originating ultimately from someone, some empire outside the Church, and he chose what he thought was the lesser of two evils. These are just good guesses, but that type of scenario would have constituted a putsch.
How do we respond to this? There’s really very little precedent. But it doesn’t matter. Francis isn’t Catholic, so he has no legitimate role in the Church. It’s our job to see that he’s removed from the official position and to demonstrate our contempt for him and his destruction in the meantime. The same is true of anyone who calls himself Catholic. If they are heretics (or clearly no longer in a state of grace for some reason), then they aren’t a part of the Church. An open heretic is different than a plain sinner because he can’t achieve a state of grace. He would have to repent of his heresy first. Francis should be expected to do so.
Does Francis or any other faithless cleric have certain canonical status? Are they able to bring us the sacraments? I believe so. But regardless, whether the pope’s an open adversary like Francis or a capitulator like Benedict, the ‘Church’ in our lifetime is being ruled by its enemies, falsely. Why are the bishops usually worse than the pastors, who are worse than the vicars? It’s because the Church is being crushed. You’d have to look far and wide today to find a Catholic who doesn’t blame the collapsing Faith on the changing world as if the Church were the world’s fault. It’s not that. It’s generations now of ‘bad’ management.
If the Church is ever to become a growing thing again, we have to excise the dead tumors both high and low. We have to take the long view, see life and death in eternal, metaphysical terms, and act accordingly like children of the Light. That is done through properly placed contempt. Contempt is the opposite of honor, and today we use both quite poorly. We abuse them. We say one thing, but then we honor what’s evil and show contempt for what is true: Christian charity namely, drawing the hard line.
We have a certain ‘allowance’ to think in our time, but when it comes to treating contemptuous things and people appropriately, then we are circumscribed. We must follow our minders. We sketch an outline of a Catholic life, but we don’t enforce it by walling-out trouble and heaping love and respect on what’s good. We don’t calibrate our honor and contempt correctly because that would mean bringing worldly contempt and ‘dishonor’ upon ourselves and real consequences. So error and sin flourish in the weedy garden we cultivate while we wave our too-short arms like babies who can’t reach their mothers. We don’t really stand.
That’s why it’s so important to avoid treating dead things as if they were part of the Church. It’s a sin to do that. The Church now is actually quite small. It’s an underground Church. It has few buildings or institutions and most of the people who appear to be part of it are not. They aren’t headed for life. For them, unless someone faithful has the courage to treat them appropriately and they respond correctly, they will be shortly dead forever. We can’t leave these things just up to God. We have to call them out so there is hope.
The same goes for monstrous Francis and his minions willing or compelled. Is he the Pope? He’s not even part of the Church. As such he should be resisted fiercely, treated contemptuously, and his words and actions denounced and ignored, because as a heretic in white, he is an enemy of God and, unless he repents, a child only of death.
Do you think this sounds too harsh? I know our proud rulers will appreciate your restraint. In fact, I’m positive they expect it.