In an interview which he released early last month, the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X, Fr Davide Pagliarani, tackled in his own words a subject which is of supreme importance in today’s Church and world, but which is not often tackled because it is so unthinkable, namely the disintegration of thinking. For in attempting to analyse the thinking of Pope Francis, Fr Pagliarani concludes that the Pope, in his desire to reach modern man wherever he is, has abandoned all system of thinking, all Catholic philosophy or theology in the classical sense of those two words. This would mean that to get to modern man, Pope Francis is giving up on Catholic doctrine. Here is the SG’s argument:
Pope Francis is “above” all systems of thinking. Whereas for John-Paul II certain doctrines were untouchable, and whereas Benedict XVI was always concerned to appear faithful to Tradition, on the contrary Pope Francis is demolishing all Catholic bastions from the past. Indeed it was inevitable that as Vatican II (1962–1965) with its religious liberty and ecumenism undermined the Church’s dogma, so with
the passing decades her moral teaching without basis in dogma would also give way. Thus with his Amoris Laetitia of 2016 Pope Francis taught, as solemn Church doctrine, a completely new approach to morality, namely Mother Church must face the modern facts and become a quite different kind of mother. She can no longer impose herself and her laws as she has always done before. Now she must listen to, understand and accompany her children, adapting herself passively to whatever they do. Obviously moral principles are going to change with men’s changing practice in evolving historical circumstances.
Thus Francis misunderstands love – no mother loves her child drowning in a dangerous river by jumping in with him. He misunderstands mercy – it is no mercy to a man to leave him in a state of sin displeasing to God. By such a falsification of God’s true love and mercy, not only does the Church give up on the whole supernatural order, she also leaves him “free” in the natural order, so that no bastion remains, because Mother Church has adapted to the sins of the world, by making no more claims on her children. With Vatican II she adapted to the world. With Pope Francis she goes further, adapting to the sins of the world, leaving her children, deeply wounded by original sin, with no supernatural grace to heal them.
What then does Pope Francis propose instead, as a goal or goals for Church and world? Firstly, the universal imposition of a utopian integral ecology, to look after Mother Earth (Pachamama) in all material respects (Laudato sí, 2015), and secondly a quasi-masonic universal brotherhood for us to look after our fellow-men (Fratelli tutti, 2019). Thus, Mother Church is reduced to a purely natural priesthood, stripped of all supernatural power, at the service of the secular State in all of its superior secular humanism.
The Superior General concludes that the real answer to all modern problems is for Mother Church to preach once more infallible doctrine, namely the supernatural dimension and destiny of man in Heaven eternal, the Fall of man in time with its lasting consequence of Original Sin, and the absolute need of the grace of Christ to overcome sin. The doctrine of Christ the King embodies by itself the eternity of Heaven, the victory of the Redeemer over sin, and the indispensable help of the supernatural grace which He brought as Redeemer to enable men to get to Heaven. And His Mother will play a very special part in what will be the Church’s final victory over the passing triumph of errors so subtle and pernicious.
This analysis by the Superior General of the Pope’s thinking and action presents a coherence and logic for which we should all be grateful. There is certainly some light at the top of the Society of St Pius X. We say sincerely, thanks be to God. But does it mean that the Society is out of danger? That must remain to be seen. The Doctor has not as such the virtues of the Martyr. Please, God . . .