This post confirms my analysis of article 1 of Traditionis custodes, which has it that Pope Francis not only rejected the lex orandi, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Last Supper and Calvary, in all rites of Mass (including the Novus Order, the New Order of Mass), but also, in rejecting the true lex orandi (coopting external rites for that), he also rejected the lex credendi, the law of believing, which is sourced in the true lex orandi, specifically, the actual Sacrifice of Jesus, not just the external rites. See:
Just to say, the reason why he doesn’t mind at all that the Most Holy Sacrifice in the rite of the TLM be celebrated in any sewer, commanding that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (TLM) must be offered outside of any parish church, is that, for Francis, the actual Sacrifice of Jesus is nothing but a symbol, just like Pachamama is a symbol. The demon idol was thrown in the river and so Francis has no problem in reciprocating, throwing Jesus out of church into another venue.
Here’s the deal: If there is no lex credendi because the lex orandi has been rejected, then it’s the end of the Church as we knew it (it will seem as if the visible Church has disappeared from the face of the earth) and the end of the Church entirely in the eyes of Francis. It’s all tabula rasa, a blank slate, a creative field upon which Francis can project himself. He calls this new church catholic, but he alone is the new law of believing, the new Lex credendi. He wants to redefine the very constitution of the church as dialogue, but that dialogue is directed on high by him (so it’s not dialogue, just condescending bullying).
Let’s confirm all this with what is said in the opening volley for the Synod on Synodality, where we see that the faith is to be entirely made up from scratch according to consultation not only of the sense of the faith of everyone in their believing, but the “infallible” sense of the faith of everyone in their believing. This is the most far reaching heresy of Pope Francis to date.
The key paragraph of that “Note of the Synod of Bishops, 21.05.2021: XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission” is the following:
- “The objective of this phase is to consult the People of God (cf. Episcopalis Communio, 5,2) so that the synodal process is carried out through listening to all of the baptised, who are the subject of the sensus fidei – infallible –in credendo.” — [[Episcopalis communio Art. 5: Start and Purpose of the Preparatory Phase – §1. The preparatory phase begins when the Roman Pontiff officially opens the Synod Assembly, assigning one or more themes to it. §2. Coordinated by the General Secretariat of the Synod, the preparatory phase has at its purpose the consultation of the People of God on the theme of the Synod Assembly.]]
- What is a “sense” of the faith? The faith is univocally provided supernaturally by the Holy Spirit, the same for all, for pope and priest and parishioner. When by a process of conscience, something is presented for the judgment of conscience (such as whether we are to repent for our sins), this decision is pushed, if you will, by the grace of faith supernaturally provided. But that “sense” of the faith on our part is fallible inasmuch as we are fallen, having all the weaknesses and fears of original sin and our own sin. We rush to suppress the faith unless, taking on this cross of weakness and fear, by grace we assent to all that which is good and holy. This is all true for parishioner and priest and pope alike.
- What does it mean to be infallible? The only difference for the Successor of Peter is that he is utterly expendable before the eternal truth of God who is not at all expendable. That Successor of Peter is the only one tasked among all the baptized to be in that position as the father of the family of faith on earth, not the other bishops, not the priests, not the sheep of the Lord’s Little Flock, just the Successor of Peter. It is not something that can be called a revelation or a charism or a special inspiration. No, nothing positive like that. It is a negative provision. That’s it. Everyone, including the pope, has the same “sense of the faith” and we can be wrong about the faith, including the pope, because of our weakness and fear consequent to original sin and our own sin. It’s just that the pope is in a unique teaching position established by the Lord. The pope cannot be wrong about faith and morals when he pronounces some teaching as already being revealed in the two-fold source of revelation, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and does this as the Successor of Peter for the entire Church. If he were to make such an infallible ex-cathedra pronouncement and be incorrect, heretical, well, actually, it is not the truth that is expendable, but rather the pope, in such manner that he will not be able to pronounce such heresy. He will either drop dead before it can happen (Pope Sixtus V) or be incapacitated or stopped in some providential manner. The pope is expendable, not the Truth of the Living God.
- What does it mean to be infallible in believing: “infallibile in credendo“? One can be entirely correct in believing. The Blessed Virgin Mary, because of her Immaculate Conception, had such purity of heart and agility of soul, clarity of spiritual vision, such profundity of understanding, and was so entirely lacking in unhealthy fear that she was correct in her believing. But that’s not to say she was infallible. She wasn’t ever meant to be a subject of infallibility, which is a kind of divine gag-order on the stupidity and imprudence of whatever pope might want to go against the faith. The phrase “infallible in believing” is non-sensical in that not even a pope correctly pronouncing a dogma of the faith as already present in Sacred Revelation is necessarily infallible in believing. That’s WHY there is such a protection of the church over against any pope who may well not be a believer at all, but who may try to say something against the faith. That a pope is infallible is a protection for the church that will be effected regardless of whether or not that particular pope is a believer.
But – Hey! – don’t believe me! Regardless of what is said for the Synod on Synodality, I, Father George, am not infallible!
Instead – Hey! – why not let’s look at Sacred Scripture and see the treasures that are there? Yes, let’s do that.
Warning: this analysis is not something you will find amongst the Orthodox, nor among “ecumenists” who want to pander to the Orthodox. This analysis is not something you will find among any commentary on the Scriptures that I have ever seen. No one wants to see infallibility for what it is. We are all that fearful, and therefore stupid. So – Hey! – let’s just look at what the actual words are, getting the finest nuance provided under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the Evangelist Saint Matthew. Let’s look at the dreaded Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18. Let’s be usefully pedantic.
- Matthew 16:19a — “Whatever you may bind at any given time (second person singular [Peter alone] subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular [Peter alone] indicative future middle) already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in the heavens.”
What do the verbs mean in this context?
Second person singular subjunctive aorist active –
- The second person singular refers to Peter alone, not to all, not even the other Apostles: Peter alone.
- The subjunctive here is not so much a kind of conditional or wishfulness, but rather depicts the state of actually choosing an option; from the perspective of the actor, there is freedom to the choice: “Whatever you may bind at any given time.”
- The aorist time frame, whatever delusion your introductory Greek grammars insist on providing to you, is literally “without borders”, that which can happen in the past, present or even future (as is the case here: see below), though usually something which itself happens in a defined time frame, such as the choice to bind something.
- Active simply refers to something simply being accomplished.
Third person singular indicative future middle –
- The third person singular refers to any given object of the action, its state of being.
- It will simply be what it is (indicative)
- at that time (future).
- The middle voice is here used to indicate the status quo to which the actor is also subject, that is, retroactively to his decision to bind something, the truth of that which is described by the following verb, which this singular indicative future middle (“will”) helps to describe.
Nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive —
- The nominative neuter singular refers to the object which is being bound (passive)
- that is, in an ongoing fashion (participle)
- in a perfect manner (perfect); mind you, in Greek, “perfect” never refers to a perfectly accomplished action at one point in time and that’s the end of it, but rather to an action which starts in a perfect manner and perfectly continues in this perfection since its inception: it always was and will be this way, perfectly, with no change: “already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way.” This “perfect” action structures the capacity of the actor, Peter, to act subjunctively, preempting all choices of Peter except for the one which is consonant which the truth which has always been this way in the heavens. Whatever he may choose to bind at any given time will already have been the case, is the case, and will always continue to be the case in the heavens. Peter cannot choose anything which is not already perfectly established in the heavens. What is in heaven is not an affirmation of what Peter might pronounce; what is in heaven simply is what it is, absolute truth. If Peter is wrong about what he intends to pronounce upon, he simply will not be able to pronounce upon it. He is utterly expendable for the sake of the Lord’s Little Flock.
And this is why there is misinterpretation of this passage is that people are afraid of Peter being expendable. That would mean this is all very serious, and that they themselves have to pay attention to doctrine and morality themselves. That’s what people don’t want to see. They run away by saying it means that Peter can say whatever the hell he wants and heaven will have to kowtow to him. Instead, Peter risks life and limb pronouncing infallibly. Almost no popes have done this. The Orthodox and others shouldn’t be envious of infallibility. Not at all.
The bit about loosing is exactly the same, verbatim:
- Matthew 16:19b — “Whatever you may loose at any given time (second person singular subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in the heavens.”
Let’s review Matthew 18:18 in utterly pedantic translation, as this is where it gets really interesting as to whether all the baptized are infallible or not:
- Matthew 18:18a — “Whatever ye may bind at any given time (second person plural subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be things perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in heaven.”
- Matthew 18:18b — “Whatever ye may loose at any given time (second person plural subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be things perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in heaven.”
There are some differences besides the plural heavens and singular heaven. Matthew 18:18 is addressed also to the laity about any number of things that may be under dispute. But the verbs and their meanings are exactly the same. The important thing to notice is that the context does not grant any infallibility for this other crowd, that is, for anyone except Peter (and his successors). Let’s see how:
Firstly, in Matthew 16:19, where Peter alone among the Apostles is addressed, only Peter is given the keys of the Kingdom of the Heavens. There is no reference at all to such keys for anyone else in Matthew 18:18. That they have the same access to the understanding of the faith as does Peter is contingent for them in agreeing with Peter, for, as we see in context, the process of a dispute will bring them right back to the Church for a decision of Peter. They are not infallible, he is. If they rebel they are ipso facto no longer Catholic. This is what people also forget in this equation, that we are all of us also expendable if we so choose. Peter was certainly judged by the Lord right quick:
- Peter to Jesus: God forbid! The cross is not for you!
- Jesus to Peter: Get behind me, Satan!
In the end, Peter also manifested in his own life, being crucified, that love and truth is stronger than our weakness, stronger than our darkness, stronger than death. Love and truth live! And Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.
- “Father George! Father George! Why are you so disrespectful to Pope Francis in your pedantic clarity! You certainly ARE infallible Father George! Just like all of us! Pope Francis said so! Stop being such an old meanie! Pope Francis should excommunicate you for, like, saying stuff, contradicting him!”
But – wait… what? – I thought he thought I was infallible, so I can’t be wrong, right?
Now, if all that seems very dark, let me leave you with a wonderful note on all of this:
Remember the guy at the end of Matthew 18:15-17, the rebel, who didn’t listen to any correction from a friend, nor from multiple witnesses, nor from the church, but just kept rebelling, how Jesus said to treat that rebel like a tax collector? Yes, well, the one writing that account was Matthew himself, he being that rebel, a one-time tax collector, and Jesus says to treat that rebel guy like a tax collector, that is, how Jesus treated such rebels, that is, by making him, now repentant into an apostle and evangelist. I love that. Jesus is the best.
And if that is not sufficient to speak to my own attitude toward Pope Francis, I challenge any priest or bishop in the world to offer more publicly announced Mass intentions – the whole Mass, not just a mention in the Canon or in the prayers of the faithful – than I do. I do that, a lot. I pray for the very person of Pope Francis. I want to see him in heaven. I want to go to heaven. If I didn’t want to see him in heaven I wouldn’t go to heaven. I pray for the grace to be close to Jesus myself. I pray for him, that he has the grace to be close to Jesus.
I extend this challenge also to laity, to have more Masses caused to be offered for the person of Pope Francis than I myself have been doing.
I’m not gonna say that I’m infallible on this[!], but I think that this is the right attitude to have in regard to Pope Francis.