(or, Why I Finally Cancelled My Subscription to The Remnant)
|(It's not scowling, just a bad case of RBF.)|
Most recently P. Francis has been in the news for his utter silence on the four Cardinals’ Dubia delivered three months ago, while talking nonstop at the meeting of the Roman Curia. A more recent comment by Cdl. Raymond Burke to Catholic World Report is very interesting in that regard:
Cardinal Burke: If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic. And so, that could happen.
CWR: That could happen.
Cardinal Burke: Yes.
CWR: That’s a scary thought.
Cardinal Burke: It is a scary thought, and I hope we won’t be witnessing that at any time soon.[…]
CWR: Who is competent to declare him to be in heresy?
Cardinal Burke: It would have to be members of the College of Cardinals.
The opinion that a Roman pope who has fallen into formal heresy would automatically lose the Seat of Peter is a popular one among trads, and has been revived from the opinion of Robert Bellarmine and other Counter Reformation-era speculative theologians. This opinion, interesting as it is, will butt heads with Canon 1404 of the current Code (“The First See is judged by no one”) if it is ever invoked, and it is also far from a proven opinion.
For myself, I am of the opinion that the gift of doctrinal preservation promised to the Successors of Simon Peter extends to preventing a reigning Roman Pontiff from declaring himself as a formal heretic, although he might very well be a material heretic (as many past popes have been). The most likely response of P. Francis to this Dubia is indefinite silence, and far less likely is an admission of wrongdoing and of having privately held to material heresy. If Papa Bergoglio does in fact formally insist on heresy by the end of this process, I do not know how Cdl. Burke intends to act as an expert on something that has never happened, but I guess God is a God of Surprises, still.
Last January I returned from Christmas vacation to find the latest issue of The Remnant waiting for me in my mailbox. I had subscribed a few months prior, because I frequently enjoyed reading their online articles, and felt their work worthy of compensation. I found, though, that their printed articles were often more sloppy than the online selection. Chris Ferrara Esq.’s articles, for instance, are always printed as formatted for web posting, complete with blue, underlined phrases that, shockingly enough, cannot be clicked when on newsprint. Many of their articles lacked basic fact-checking, and the editorial staff continuously ignored my emails requesting clarification and correction.
The final straw came in the December 25, 2015 issue, with Dr. John Rao’s article “A Very Different Francis on a Christmas Long Ago.” It contrasted St. Francis of Assisi with the reigning pontiff, particularly with the pope’s recent removal of the crèche during Advent’s environmentalist light show. (Dr. Rao’s article has since been posted on his website, although it incorrectly dates the issue of publication as Dec. 15.) While I may have agreed with his opinions on the hiding of Baby Jesus, the following passage threw me for a loop:
“Thud” is the only musical tone that accompanies the pastoral approach offered Catholics and the world at large in Christmastide, 2015 under the reign of a pope who took his name from Francis. That “thud” is the sound that emerges from men’s minds and hearts plunging downwards from St. Francis’s effort to understand and celebrate nature by looking at it through the Word made flesh.
Did you notice it, too? No, not the hyperbolic rhetoric that would never convince anyone not already convinced, but a little detail that certainly should not have escaped the eye of a professional historian:
The problem with the pope’s message in Christmastide, 2015 is that he is singing the modern song of “thud”. He is calling, in practice, for the need for a “correction” and “transformation” of Catholic doctrine to aid in the “restoration of all things” not in Christ but “in fallen nature”. He is not telling us to pay homage to the child in the crèche and accept His corrective and transforming Social Kingship. He is not speaking in a Christ-centered fashion.
A rant about P. Francis’s errors committed in Christmastide, 2015? Almost certainly written even before Christmas (the actual day this season begins)? Dr. Rao must be an historian of the future! The only possible event prior to publication which Rao could have been talking about was the 2015 Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, during which Francis clearly venerates the Christ Child and carries him to the crèche. He even says in his sermon that “We must set out to see our Savior lying in a manger,” for goodness’ sake!
Yes, of course Rao was referring to events in Advent 2015, not Christmastide, but a prosecutor’s case is built on a multitude of small details. When the legal team screws up details like these, all evidence is rendered inadmissible. The Remnant editorial crew habitually allows small but critical errors to find publication in their pages, and every time they do so, they lose more credibility.
Come on, fellow Trads. Seek the true, not the inflammatory. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. That’s what the Church really needs for Christmas.
|That and Benedict's cool Santa hat. He took it with him when he left.|