Maike Hickson reports for LifeSiteNews : In comments to LifeSite (see full statement below), Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò strongly criticizes different statements of the new papal encyclical on human fraternity, Fratelli Tutti, that seem to promote religious indifferentism (the idea that other religions are just as pleasing to God as the Catholic faith).
LifeSite reached out to the Italian prelate, asking him to comment on a few specific quotations from the new papal document that seem to indicate an attitude of religious indifferentism and a lack of zeal to convert others to Catholicism. LifeSite presented these quotations yesterday in an initial report.
In commenting on some of the new papal statements, the prelate rejects Pope Francis’ claim that “we, the believers of the different religions, know that our witness to God benefits our societies.” Here, Pope Francis suggests that a religion that is not following Jesus Christ could be good for society, thus excluding the claims of Jesus Christ as the King of society, as Pope Pius XI had explained them in his 1925 encyclical Quas Primas. Such a brotherhood that thereby is finally opposed to God – since it does not acknowledge Christ’s Kingship on earth – can finally only be displeasing to God, according to Viganò, yes, even “blasphemous.”
The Italian prelate recently presented a larger analysis on how Christ the King has not only been eliminated from society, but also from the Catholic Church, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.
Moreover, Archbishop Viganò criticizes “equivocal” statements of Fratelli Tutti (here is a summary of that document) that “are lacking clarity,” and he once more rejects the novel concept of religious liberty introduced by the Second Vatican Council and which Pope Francis once more now endorses. This teaching on religious liberty has been recently criticized both by Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Athanasius Schneider. There can be no right to do what is wrong, they insisted.
The Italian prelate makes it clear: “This concept of religious freedom – which replaces the freedom of the one Religion, the ‘freedom of the Catholic Religion to exercise its mission’ and the ‘freedom of the faithful to adhere to the Catholic Church without impediment from the State’ with the license to adhere to any creed, regardless of its credibility and credenda (what we have to believe) – is heretical and irreconcilable with the immutable doctrine of the Church.” He continues by saying that the human being “has no right to error: freedom from coercion magisterially explained by Leo XIII in the Encyclical Libertas praestantissimum does not eliminate the moral obligation to freely adhere only to the good, since upon the freedom of this act depends its morality, that is, one’s capacity to deserve a reward or a punishment.”
About Pope Francis’ idea that different people “drink from different sources,” while we Catholics drink from the source of Jesus Christ, Archbishop Viganò says that “the only source from which it is possible to drink is Our Lord Jesus Christ, through the one Church that He has established for the salvation of souls.” Rejecting this sense of equality of the sources from which people drink, he reminds that other sources actually are not good for the soul’s eternal life: “Those who try to quench their thirst from other sources do not quench their thirst and almost certainly poison themselves.”
Moreover, when discussing Pope Francis’ claim that God loves everybody independent of his religion and that in the end there might even be “surprises,” Archbishop Viganò becomes indignant and points out that of course God’s love for us is proportionate to how our lives correspond to His Commandments and instructions. While God created all of us and wishes our salvation, our own works and faith will finally be decisive: “In the supernatural order,” the prelate writes, “God’s love for a person is proportional to his state of Grace, that is to the extent to which this soul corresponds to the Gift of God through Faith and works, deserving the eternal reward.”
Therefore, in the face of such ambiguous and misleading papal statements, the archbishop comments: “Among those who will have ‘several surprises’ there will actually be those who believe they can adulterate the Faith and the Moral Order with the ravings of the Modernists and the adherence to the perverse ideologies of the century, and it will be seen that what the Church has always preached, and that the anti-church obstinately denies, corresponds exactly to what Our Lord taught the Apostles.”
We as Catholics should defend the uniqueness of the faith – to include the healing and grace-filled gifts of the Seven Sacraments as means of salvation. We should not dilute it by ignoring the Social Kingship of Christ – His claim over our temporal life here on earth – and by posing a brotherhood that is not based on a faith in Jesus Christ.
The following are Archbishop Viganò’s responses to each of the encyclical quotes presented to him by LifeSite:
274. From our faith experience and from the wisdom accumulated over centuries, but also from lessons learned from our many weaknesses and failures, we, the believers of the different religions, know that our witness to God benefits our societies.
The proposition “we, the believers of the different religions, know that our witness to God benefits our societies” is deliberately equivocal: “making God present” means nothing in the strict sense (God is present in Himself). In a broad sense, if one intends “to make God present through the presence of one or more religions” as opposed to the “departure from religious values” referred to in point 275, as the text seems to suggest, the proposition is erroneous and heretical, because it puts on the same level the divine Revelation of the living and true God with the “prostitutions”, as the Sacred Scripture calls false religions. To argue that the presence of false religions “benefits our societies” is equally heretical, because it not only offends the Majesty of God, but also legitimizes the action of dissidents, attributing merit rather than responsibility for the damnation of souls and for the wars of religion waged against the Church of Christ by heretics, Muslims and idolaters. This passage is also offensive because it surreptitiously implies that this “good for our societies” has been generically acquired “also by learning from many of our weaknesses and failures”, while in reality the “weaknesses and failures” are attributable to sects and only indirectly and “per accidens” to the men of the Church.
Finally, I would like to point out that religious indifferentism, implicitly promoted in the text Fratelli Tutti, which defines as “a good for our societies” the presence of any religion – instead of “the liberty and exaltation of Holy Mother Church” – denies in fact the sovereign rights of Jesus Christ, King and Lord of individuals, of the societies and of nations.
Pius XI, in his immortal Encyclical Quas Primas, proclaims: “What wonder, then, that he whom St. John calls the ‘prince of the kings of the earth’ appears in the Apostle’s vision of the future as he who ‘hath on his garment and on his thigh written ‘King of kings and Lord of lords!’.’ It is Christ whom the Father ‘hath appointed heir of all things’; ‘for he must reign until at the end of the world he hath put all his enemies under the feet of God and the Father.’” And since the enemies of God cannot
be our friends, the brotherhood of the peoples against God is not only ontologically impossible, but theologically blasphemous.
277. The Church esteems the ways in which God works in other religions, and “rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for their manner of life and conduct, their precepts and doctrines which… often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men and women.” (Decl. Nostra aetate, 2)
The reference to the conciliar document Nostra aetate is the confirmation of the ideological link of the Bergoglian heretical thought with the premises earlier set by Vatican II. In false religions there is nothing true and holy “ex se,” since any elements of truth that they can preserve are in any case usurped, and used to conceal the error and make it more harmful. No respect can be accorded to false religions, whose precepts and doctrines must be excluded and rejected in their entirety. If then among these elements of truth and holiness Bergoglio wants to include for example the concept of one God who should bring Catholics closer to those who profess a monotheistic religion, it should be clarified that there is a substantial and unavoidable difference between the true God One and Triune and the merciful god of Islam.
277. Others drink from other sources. For us the wellspring of human dignity and fraternity is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The only source from which it is possible to drink is Our Lord Jesus Christ, through the one Church that He has established for the salvation of souls. Those who try to quench their thirst from other sources do not quench their thirst and almost certainly poison themselves. It is also disputable that the heterodox concept of human dignity and brotherhood of which Fratelli Tutti speaks can be found in the Gospel, which indeed clearly contradicts this horizontal, immanentist and indifferentist vision theorized by Bergoglio. Finally, the specification “for us” is misleading, because it relativizes the objectivity of the Gospel message to a personal way of seeing or experiencing things, and consequently deprives it of its authority, which arises from the divine and supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture.
279. […] One fundamental human right must not be forgotten in the journey towards fraternity and peace. It is religious freedom for believers of all religions.
Religious freedom for believers of all religions is not a human right, but an abuse devoid of any theological foundation, and, even before that, it is neither philosophical nor logical. This concept of religious freedom – which replaces the freedom of the one Religion, the “freedom of the Catholic Religion to exercise its mission” and the “freedom of the faithful to adhere to the Catholic Church without impediment from the State” with the license to adhere to any creed, regardless of its credibility and credenda (what we have to believe) – is heretical and irreconcilable with the immutable doctrine of the Church. The human being has no right to error: freedom from coercion magisterially explained by Leo XIII in the Encyclical Libertas praestantissimum does not eliminate the moral obligation to freely adhere only to the good, since upon the freedom of this act depends its morality, that is, one’s capacity to deserve a reward or a punishment. The State can tolerate error in certain situations, but it can never legitimately place error on the same level as truth, nor consider all religions to be equivalent or irrelevant: religious indifferentism is condemned by the Magisterium, just as is religious relativism. The Church has the mission of converting souls to the true Faith, snatching them from the darkness of error and vice. Theorizing an alleged right to error and its diffusion is also an offense to God and a betrayal of the vicarious authority of the Sacred Pastors, which they must exercise for the purpose for which it was established, and not to spread the error and discredit the Church of Christ. It is unbelievable that the Vicar of Christ (I forgot: Bergoglio has renounced this title!) can recognize any right to false religions, since the Church is the Lamb’s Bride, and it would be blasphemous to just think that Our Lord could have more brides.
281. […] “God does not see with his eyes, God sees with his heart. And God’s love is the same for everyone, regardless of religion. Even if they are atheists, his love is the same. When the last day comes, and there is sufficient light to see things as they really are, we are going to find ourselves quite surprised.” (From the film Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, by Wim Wenders (2018))
The use of striking expressions lacking in clarity of meaning is one of the ways that Innovators use to insinuate errors without formulating them clearly. The proposition “God does not look with his eyes, God looks with his heart” can be at best a moving expression, but devoid of any doctrinal value. On the contrary, it leads us to believe that in God knowledge and love are dissociated, that God’s love is blind and that, consequently, the orientation of our own actions has no value in His eyes.
The proposition “God’s love is the same for every person, of whatever religion” is gravely equivocal and deceptive, more insidious than a blatant heresy. It leads us to believe that man’s free response and adherence to God’s love is irrelevant to his eternal destiny.
In the natural order, God creates every person with an act of gratuitous love: God’s love is extended to all his creatures. But every human person is created with a view to filial adoption and eternal glory. God grants each person the supernatural graces necessary so that each one can know Him, love Him, serve Him, obey His law inscribed in the heart, and thus come to embrace the Faith.
In the supernatural order, God’s love for a person is proportional to his state of Grace, that is to the extent to which this soul corresponds to the Gift of God through Faith and works, deserving the eternal reward. In the plans of Providence, love for the sinner – including the heretic, the pagan and the atheist – can consist in granting of greater graces touching his heart and leading him to repentance and adherence to the true Faith.
“When the last day arrives and there will be sufficient light on earth to be able to see things as they are, we will have several surprises”: this proposition suggests that what the Church teaches can somehow be disproved on the day of the Last Judgment. Among those who will have “several surprises” there will actually be those who believe they can adulterate the Faith and the Moral Order with the ravings of the Modernists and the adherence to the perverse ideologies of the century, and it will be seen that what the Church has always preached, and that the anti-church obstinately denies, corresponds exactly to what Our Lord taught the Apostles.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop