Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rejection of the Pope is Rejection of the Church

It has now been one year since Pope Benedict XVI abdicated the papacy.  The rumor mill concerning his reasons for leaving the papacy started at his announcement and has not stopped, continuing right up to this time.  Having lived my Catholic life in the world of Traditional Catholicism for the last years, I hear things mostly from their perspective.

One thing that strikes me about the perspective of Traditional Catholics is that they think that everything that happens in the Church is about them and their enemies' attempts to destroy them. (Traditionalists tend to see their enemies as anyone who is not a self-defined Traditionalist, so that includes just about everyone else in the Catholic Church.) This is most certainly true when it comes the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. After all, he is the one who gave us Summorum Pontificum, so therefore all the modernist liberals in the church wanted him out.

This is the message that comes through loud and clear from Louie Verrecchio (who will be referred to as "LV" from this point on), a layman who has set himself up as some kind of expert on Vatican II and who writes a blog called "Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II", with the subtitle, "Separating the fruits from the nuts by the light of tradition."  LV wrote a post entitled, "A Tale of Two Popes", found HERE, in which he speculates about the "real" reasons Pope Benedict XVI resigned, and also compares Pope Benedict to Pope Francis, showing us that pretty much everything Pope Francis says and does is liberal, modernist heresy.  It should be noted that LV, while he says there are some good things about Vatican II, for the most part has almost total condemnation of the Council.  

LV starts his post by informing us that it is based entirely on speculation:
A year has now passed since Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing his intention to abdicate the Throne of St. Peter, and what have we learned?

In concrete terms, perhaps very little as it relates to the real reasons behind his renouncement of the papacy, but circumstantially, we can infer quite a lot. With this in mind, please allow me to indulge in a bit of informed speculation.
He tries to tell us that this is "informed speculation."  Just what does he use for his basis of being "informed?"  Nothing but his own imagination.  Yet, he expects us to accept everything in his post, and sadly, many do.

LV then tells us that Pope Benedict's announcement was met with two reactions. The first was "shock". But, according to LV, some of those who expressed "shock" were actually hiding their true motivations and involvement in the pope's resignation from the rest of us:
I do not doubt for even a moment that there were any number of clerics, particularly members of the Curia, who looked straight into the television cameras to express their surprise, when in truth they had played an active role in coercing Pope Benedict to take his leave.
LV, with absolutely no proof, is accusing Cardinals, princes of the church, and more specifically, members of the Curia, of playing "an active role in coercing Pope Benedict to take his leave."  This statement alone should be enough for anyone to completely dismiss this article as nothing more than the baseless accusations of an enemy of the church.

LV then discounts and ridicules those who pointed out the humility of Pope Benedict XVI in his decision to resign, calling all such talk "blather" and "spin":
The other most common reaction coming from Rome and elsewhere, especially in less-than-traditional quarters, was a near endless stream of blather (more properly, “spin”) touting the sheer humility of this pope who courageously decided to step aside for the good of the Church.
According to LV, the "humility" displayed by Pope Benedict was a way to set us up for what LV calls the "Cirque du Humilité" of Pope Frances, whom he brazenly insults as a fraud:
In hindsight, this was but the opening act for the Cirque du Humilité that burst onto the Roman stage with the elevation of Jorge Bergoglio.
Is it merely coincidental that the suddenly “humble” abdicator’s successor immediately undertook to implement an unprecedented program of papal humility-on-display, with everything from worn out shoes to shoddy vestments, to pedestrian living quarters and compact cars serving as props?
LV then openly insults Pope Benedict by suggesting the real reason for the resignation was because he was "fleeing from the wolves".  This statement infers that Pope Benedict was afraid and ran away from the papacy in order to protect himself with little or no thought for the Church, a horrendous and libelous accusation:
Oddly enough, in the weeks following Benedict’s announcement, only a relative few were wondering aloud if perhaps he was in fact fleeing for fear of the very “wolves” he had mentioned in his inaugural homily. And yet, they had been howling at Benedict’s doorstep for quite some time.
Pope Benedict and Cardinal Bergoglio
LV then starts on a litany of accusations against Pope Francis, comparing his actions to those of Pope Benedict. It is a long list, and starts out contrasting the views of the two Popes regarding the Muslim religion. Pope BXVI was the "brave" pope, the one who gave the Regensburg Lecture on September 12, 2006 in which he criticized the prophet Mohammed.  LV cites an article in which then Cardinal Bergoglio disagreed with the statements of Pope Benedict. The article incorrectly says that the statements were made in 2005, and it makes one wonder what else is wrong in the article. We will assume, for the sake of argument, that Cardinal Bergoglio did disagree with the Regensburg address.  
LV, to contrast Pope Benedict with Pope Frances, writes:
Is it merely coincidental that the above mentioned Prince [who supposedly spoke against Pope Benedict] is now known as Pope Francis, a pope so determined to court favor with the Muslims that he even goes so far as to actively encourage them to hold fast to their false religion?
Pope Benedict praying at mosque
LV conveniently leaves out the fact that  just a few days after the Regensburg address, Pope Benedict, in a statement issued from the Vatican, humbly clarified his statements and even praised the Muslim religion.  Here is an excerpt from the statement which you can read HERE:
The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.
LV then makes a statement which cannot be answered because it is of a general nature with no specifics whatsoever. In a court of law, this would immediately be thrown out as vague and unsubstantiated:
Pope Benedict XVI, in spite of whatever shortcomings he may have had from a traditional perspective (e.g., Assisi III, the “continuity” illusion, his failure to celebrate the traditional Mass in public even once), committed what the neo-modernist cabal in post-conciliar Rome considers an unforgiveable sin; he showed a willingness to render papal authority in the manner of a Sovereign, when clearly everyone who is anyone in the Eternal City knows darn well that the church-of-man playbook now firmly in place requires the pontiff to govern according to unwritten rule number one: collegiality.
LV contrasts and compares Pope Francis showing that he promotes collegiality, strongly implying that Pope Francis is watering down the authority of the papacy.  But this cannot be answered in any way because of the vagueness of the statements.  Therefore, these statements by LV carry no weight whatsoever and have to be dismissed.

LV then attempts to tell us what Pope Benedict XVI did "in the way of overstepping his bounds as primus inter pares (first among equals); landing himself in water so hot that he felt he had no choice but to end his days in seclusion."

From LV:
First, he issued Summorum Pontificum.
Had he simply treated the “old Mass” as a sentimental attachment to be tolerated, rather than as a gift to be propagated, his own traditional leanings in matters liturgical could have perhaps been overlooked by the wolves, but as it was, he incited their fury.
I will be the first to admit that there are those, even among the clergy and the bishops, who do not like the "Old Mass."  But I can't help but wonder if it often has something to do with the attitude displayed by people like LV?  In this statement, LV shows that he feels everything revolves around Traditionalists and the attempts by the rest of the Church to destroy them.  The traditionalists truly do not understand that they bring on much of the "persecution" that they may suffer because of their self righteous and condemning attitudes of anyone who doesn't agree with them.  

At this point, LV brings up Pope Francis' praise of the late Cardinal Martini, who is condemned by many Traditionalists.  LV gives us this statement by Cardinal Martini to show how opposed he was to Traditional Catholics, and by inference, how opposed Pope Francis is to traditionalists:
"Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous.”
What LV doesn't tell us is that in the interview in which Cardinal Martini made this statement, he followed it up with another statement with which I think most Traditionalists, who never hesitate in their criticism of the post-conciliar Church, would be in complete agreement:
“The church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops,” he said in the interview. “The pedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation.”
Pope Benedict and Cardinal Martini
LV also does not tell us that Pope Benedict praised Cardinal Martini.  This is from a CNS story about the death of Cardinal Martini:
The late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini was a "generous and faithful pastor of the church," who not only studied the Bible, "but loved it intensely and made it the light of his life," Pope Benedict XVI said.
Does this somehow make Pope Benedict an enemy of Tradition?  LV doesn't touch this.

LV then gives us the second reason "Pope Benedict turned up the heat under his Throne":
Secondly, Pope Benedict turned up the heat under his Throne considerably by lifting the excommunications from the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, and this in the very same year that he decreed the “Heroic Virtues” of Venerable Pope Pius XII.
Both of these acts, together with Summorum Pontificum two years earlier, amounted to an anti-Semitic trifecta in the minds of many a Jew and their progressive con frères within the Church; brothers in arms in the cause of creating an institution only a Mason could love.
While much of the dust-up concerned the comments of a now former SSPX Bishop relative to the Holocaust, the entire affair was treated as an occasion to proclaim the Jewish people off-limits in terms of evangelization.
I really don't know what to say to this.  LV gives us nothing to support his contention that lifting the excommunication of the SSPX bishops brought persecution.  There can be no doubt that there were those within the Church who thought it was a mistake, but for this reason they wanted to throw Pope Benedict out of the papacy?  We need something to back up this grave accusation, and we need to know who these people are.  LV gives us nothing.

LV then segues this into a "contrast" between the views of the two pope on the Jews.   LV  takes a swipe at Pope Francis with these words:
Pope Francis raised eyebrows in saying, “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked,” (cf Evangelii Gaudium 247) as if their rejection of Christ amounts to anything less than a rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Is it merely coincidental that Pope Benedict’s successor not only boasts a history of synagogue visits and inter-worship with Jews, but has also co-authored a book with his rabbi-best-friend; the same with whom he prayed during Sukkot and Shabbat at the Vatican, a papal first?
It should be noted that Pope Benedict made several visits to synagogues to pray with the rabbis, and in the early part of his pontificate, Pope Benedict had an audience with the chief rabbi of Rome.  The following is an excerpt from his address (you can read the entire address HERE)
“The Catholic Church is close and is a friend to you. Yes, we love you and we cannot but love you, because of the Fathers: through them you are very dear and beloved brothers to us (cf. Romans 11:28b). This reciprocal esteem and trust has continued to grow since the Second Vatican Council. Fraternal and cordial contacts continued to develop and were intensified throughout the Pontificate of my venerable predecessor, John Paul II.

In Christ we participate in the same heritage of the Fathers as you, to serve Almighty God “with one accord” (Zephania 3:9), grafted onto the one holy trunk (cf. Isaiah 6:13; Romans 11: 16) of the People of God. This makes us Christians aware that, with you, we have the responsibility of cooperating for the good of all peoples, in justice and in peace, in truth and in freedom, in holiness and in love.”
LV, in his post, says the Jews' rejection of Christ also means "a rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." I submit that LV's statement amounts to a rejection of the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church plainly states at #121: "The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked." To reject Jesus Christ is most certainly wrong, but it is NOT equal to "rejecting the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." To say this is to contradict the plain teaching of the Catholic Church.  And someone really should caution LV that he is definitely courting with antisemitism in his statements. 

LV gives us one more reason for the ouster of Pope Benedict from the papacy:
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Pope Benedict all but signed his own walking papers the moment he set in motion the so-called “Doctrinal Discussions” with the Society of St. Pius X.
Imagine, the Roman Pontiff suggesting that these “traditionalists,” with their attachment to the doctrine of the Faith as it was taught without confusion prior to the Council and their insistence upon the Social Kingship of Christ, have something of value to offer the Church!
Again, in the eyes of the Traditionalist, everything revolves around them.  Yes, Pope Benedict absolutely did reach out to the SSPX and tried very hard to bring them back into the fold of the Catholic Church, and I praise him for that.  But it was the SSPX, under the leadership of Bishop Fellay, who refused to sign the agreement with the Vatican in June 2012.  The SSPX said they will not accept the legitimacy of Vatican II nor the legitimacy of what they call the Novus Ordo Mass.  LV tries to praise the SSPX for their loyalty to the Church when it was anything but loyalty.  Rather, the SSPX completely rejected and turned their backs on the Magesterium of the Catholic Church and by doing so, they rejected Jesus Christ Himself and crucified Him anew.

Pope Benedict XVI showed tremendous courage in trying to reunite with the SSPX. This very act alone shows he would never "flee from the wolves." How can Louie Verrecchio or anyone else dare accuse this courageous and humble man of lack of courage and of fleeing from obedience to the Lord? I'm not sure LV even realizes he is doing this because he is so blinded by his own beliefs and prejudices.
There is more to Verrecchio's post.  Again, you can read it HERE, but it is just more of the same.

The comments to this post show just how dangerous it is.  A few examples:

  1. Theresa February 12, 2014 10:36 pm

    Pope Benedict is the Vicar of Christ…….need I say more???
    1. Biggie February 13, 2014 1:47 am

      If Pope Benedict was forced or coerced in ANY way to resign this current “pope” is invalid thus Saint Francis of Assisi’s “A man not canonically elected..” prophecy. Sorry, I know it offends many people but I call it as I see it and I’m calling Shenanigans.
      1. Andrew February 13, 2014 3:07 pm

        But wait. I believe it was an act of Providence that the Society wasn’t regularized. Clearly the Mother of God spared them from what is now happening to the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

      2. Andrew February 13, 2014 3:08 pm

        And yes if Benedict’s resignation was forced then it would be invalid, making the other bishop of Rome Antipope Francis.

      3. Taylor Hall February 13, 2014 4:11 pm

        Interestingly enough, Antonio Socci wrote an article in “Libero” arguing that Benedict’s resignation may have been invalid, thus making Francis an Antipope. A whole can of worms has just been opened.
        1. Hannah February 13, 2014 7:29 pm

          For a year, I’ve been trying to convince myself that Benedict was no longer Pope. But, I can’t. Something isn’t right, as everyone is saying here. Every so often, I hear reports that he’s doing fine, in good health, etc. Well, shouldn’t he be on his death bed? You’d think so, after the drastic abdication. It hasn’t happened in centuries and it doesn’t just happened. Why is he still wearing white and being called Pope Emeritus? He choose to still wear white himself. It just seems obvious that he’s trying to show us something yet he acts like he’s no longer Pope and acknowledges his Successor.
          If he’s still Pope, what are we supposed to do about it? That means there’s an imposter in the Chair of Peter and someone has to restore Benedict back to his rightful place, but how?
          Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich saw when there would be a time with “two Popes” and she saw the “consequences of the false church.” She’s talking about now.
          Pray is all I can say. One of these days, God will straighten this out.

          As you can see, many of these people have in effect become sedevacantist, for all intents and purposes rejecting Pope Francis as the Vicar of Christ. Blogs like those run by Louie Verrecchio and other self-proclaimed "Traditionalists" are what one person has called ecclesiastical pornography. These blogs are occasions of sin and while pretending to show the Face of Jesus Christ, they are leading you directly away from him and into the arms of the devil. I know this is a very strong accusation, but there can be no Catholic Church without the Vicar of Christ. Therefore, anyone who tries to turn you against the Pope is an agent, wittingly or unwittingly, of the devil.

          We live in very confusing days when, more than ever, the devil appears as angel of light. We must constantly test the spirits. One sure test is the position of a person in regard to the Holy Father. Does he or she recognize and accept the Holy Father as the Vicar of Christ, Christ's true representative on earth? Does he or she accept the teachings of the Catholic Church? Many traditionalists complain about "Cafeteria Catholics", those who pick and choose what they want to believe. The sad fact is Traditionalists tend to lead the pack in picking and choosing what they want to believe, and far too often, their choices do not include accepting the Vicar of Christ. They will tell you they "pray for the Pope" in one breath, and tear him down in the next breath.  This is not supporting the Pope.

          The Venerable Fulton Sheen described it best in his biography, "Treasure in Clay".  Bishop Sheen met every pope from Pius XI to Blessed John Paul II.  This is what he wrote:
          "This close association with so many Pontiffs was only the coming to a head in my life of that experience of faith which occurred in the seminary.  I had such reverence for the Vicars of Christ because I saw in them the visible head of the Body of Christ, the Church.  It has always grieved me to see little candles spluttering in contempt at the corporate and garnered wisdom of the Church."

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