Heresy, Cults

Whatever that was, it wasn’t a ‘stunt’

By Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer
October 22, 2019

0D436026-B326-4085-B445-A02DAF27AA46A few days ago men removed some female figurines (centerpieces for several weird ceremonies in Rome the last few weeks) from a church and tossed them into the Tiber River. Vatican spokesman Paolo Ruffini dismissed the act as a “stunt”. Regardless of how one assess this act, however, I think it not accurate to describe it as a mere “stunt”.

A “stunt” is a gesture that calls attention to a problem but does not itself solve the problem. For example, chaining oneself to a lamppost could call attention to the plight of the unjustly imprisoned but does not itself free the imprisoned. Standing on the corner with one’s mouth duct-taped might call attention to the suffering of the voiceless but does not itself give them a voice. Such acts are stunts, good stunts or bad, but in the end, stunts. What the Tiber men did was different.

Removing these figures from a church and tossing them into the Tiber does not simply call attention to the problem of setting up such objects in a church it also removes the statues from the church and thus solves the problem of having them set up in a sacred place. Such an act, good act or bad, is more than a “stunt”, it is form of direct action against a problem.

The Vatican having ruled out the possibility that the nude statues might represent the Virgin Mary or ‘Our Lady of the Amazon’, it is disputed whether the figurines portray the Amazon pagan goddess Pachamama or (at least per a handful of Vaticanisti) merely some vague “life force”. It is not for me to opine on who or what the objects actually represent and if someone wants to argue that chanting to and bowing before figurines of naked women does not count as worshiping strange gods, well, who am I to say?

But a fuller assessment of the act of these two men does not rest solely on whether the figures are demonic or merely faddish. Canon 1210, addressing the dignity of Catholic holy places in general, states: “Only those things which serve the exercise or promotion of worship, piety, or religion are permitted in a sacred place; anything not consonant with the holiness of the place is forbidden…” And Canon 1220 § 1, addressing churches specifically, states: “All those responsible are to take care that in churches such cleanliness and beauty are preserved as befit a house of God and that whatever is inappropriate to the holiness of the place is excluded.”

Theses canons, in my view, do not simply preclude the placement of obviously demonic or pagan artifacts in our churches, but rather, require those in charge of sacred places to set up objects that are positively conducive to Christian prayer and worship. If, as the Congregation for Divine worship stated in 1987(*), the mere fact that that some music is admittedly beautiful does not justify its performance in churches, then all the more so should church authorities be on guard against setting up objects widely and reasonably seen as representing pagan deities in Catholic sacred spaces. I suggest (and more to the point, the Code of Canon Law understands in, say, Canon 214), that the faithful have the right to trust that what they see in Catholic sacred places is actually there in service to the sacred and is not simply a gesture toward some form of political correctness or the latest cause du jour, to say nothing of it possibly being simply evil. Ignoring concerns about the proper use of sacred space with a shrug and a ‘we don’t really know what it is’ is to ignore the positive duties that Church leadership owes to the faithful.

As a man of law I am also a man of order and, as a rule, I hold that removing objects from private property is not an act of good order. But then, neither is setting up idols (whether to demons or to secular causes) in Catholic churches an act of good order. Over time the disregard of law by those in charge eventually brings about disregard of law by those subject to it. And that in turn can result in acts that are much more than mere “stunts”.

* See Cong. for Divine Worship (Mayer), excerpt from let. “Qua in mentem quaedam normae quoad ‘Concerti nelle chiesa’ revocantur” (05 nov 1987), Communicationes 19 (1987) 179-181.

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Did the Pope Deny Jesus was God?

by Steve Ray on October 10, 2019

According to an interview he gave (see below) the Pope denied the divinity of Jesus. If he did we have a serious problem. If he did not, then why doesn’t he step forward, clarify what he said and clearly affirm the teaching of Scripture and the constant teaching/dogma of the Church? Either way — if he said it or if he doesn’t speak out clearly — either way we have a serious problem.

i do not believe for a moment that the pope denies the divinity of Christ and I hope he corrects the record soon. The facts and issues are stated clearly below — at least what we know at this point. Written from Rome by a good and trusted friend Thomas Williams.

The Vatican Refutes Pope’s Denial of Christ’s Divinity

ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty

ROME — The Vatican issued a statement Wednesday refuting claims Pope Francis had denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, saying the words attributed to the pontiff were a “free interpretation” of what he actually said.

886EC4E1-5BBB-4206-AFB3-8387418349F6On Wednesday, journalist Eugenio Scalfari published an essay in the Italian daily La Repubblica declaring, among other things, that the pope told him that he believes that Jesus of Nazareth was an exceptional man, but not God incarnate.

“As has already been stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during talks with him cannot be considered a faithful account of what was actually said, but represent rather a personal and free interpretation of what he heard, as is quite evident from what was written today about the divinity of Jesus Christ,” reads the statement by papal spokesman Matteo Bruni.

According to Scalfari, founder of La Repubblica, “Pope Francis conceives the Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, a man, not God incarnate. Once he took flesh, Jesus ceased to be a God and became a man until his death on the cross.”

For the whole article click here .

Another article here.

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Edward Pentin interviewed Professor John Rist as to why he signed the controversial letter along with 85 other prominent theologians and scholars. Frankly, I admire these men who stood up and spoke out. They may not have proven formal heresy (which is something I leave to experts and canon lawyers) but the silence in the face of the papal confusion and seemingly intentional ambiguity and silence from the Pope and the Vatican is frustrating and divisive and to hear voices decrying such is refreshing. Where are the bishops?

Professor-John-Rist-CUAOne of many questions in Pentin’s interview with Risk is this: “What other concerns do you have that prompted you to sign the letter?”

Rist replied: I am concerned above all else to expose double-talk, which is how the present Pope has been evading charges of heresy. Uttering ambiguous and/or contradictory remarks on important issues must ultimately be viewed as a planned attempt to change doctrine by stealth. Had such ambiguities/contradictions been occasional, they could be attributed — in accord with the canonical principle of benignity — to “mere” muddle. Prolonged ambiguity on this scale requires that a sadder conclusion be drawn: that there is a design to achieve by stealth what could not be achieved by openly and unambiguously un-Catholic decrees.

What do you say to the various criticisms of the letter: that it represents an “extreme” and “intemperate” approach which “overstates” the case — as some see it — and this makes further criticism of this pontificate harder?

Criticisms of intemperance, etc., whatever their intent, can only have the effect of diverting attention from the main concerns: that the Pope is deliberately using ambiguity to change doctrine and that the attitude he adopts over appointments indicates that he is out of sympathy (to put it mildly) with traditional Catholic teachings on a whole range of subjects. Fussing about “extremism,” etc. seems like fiddling while Rome burns; what it shows is that even many conservatives do not want to grasp the gravity of a situation where the Pope seems bent on turning the Church into a vaguely spiritually flavored NGO.

Another criticism is that the signatories are not in a position to accuse the Pope of heresy, that only bishops can hold him to account for such a charge, and that the letter would have been better just calling on bishops to investigate the alleged heresies rather than accusing the Pope of them. What is your response to this view? 

But calling on the bishops is precisely what the letter does! The signatories are not in a position to convict a pope of heresy; they are in a position to “prosecute” the charge, and we judged it was our duty to do so. The letter is primarily and immediately a challenge to the bishops to act rather than ignore or wring hands only.

What is your view of the critique that it’s not yet possible to accuse Pope Francis of specific formal heresy, but he can be accused of deliberate ambiguity and confusion, or “drift” toward heresy, and that that might have made a better critique?

See my answer above. I am not a canonist, nor (see above) a judge. What I am is someone who believes he can recognize intended heresy in word [and] also how the words are confirmed by the actions.

For the whole interview in National Catholic Register here.

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Update: Scholars accuse Pope Francis of Heresy

May 3, 2019

This is a significant and important 20 page letter written to the Pope by a group of scholars. I hope Rome takes it seriously. I am in Rome right now two blocks away from the Vatican. I’d love to go over and beg Pope Francis to consider this letter seriously.  I am not saying that […]

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Is Paganism Making a Comeback? Steve on The Catholic Current with Fr. McTeigue SJ

April 5, 2019

Based on my talk “Swimming Upstream: Living a Catholic Life in a Pagan World,” Steve and Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ discussed how paganism is coming back in a big way in the Western World. Christianity is being abandoned and alternative “spiritualities” are filling the void. It was a lively discussion about what paganism is, why the West […]

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Vatican Releases New Document on Salvation — Good Read!

March 6, 2018

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has released a new document–which it does not do too often. It was written by the head of the congregation Archbishops Luis Ladaria at the request of Pope Francis. It addresses two problematic tendencies in the modern world that relate to the heresies of Gnosticism and Pelagianism. Jimmy […]

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Is Pope Francis Teaching Heresy? 66+ Scholars and Bishops Say “Yes”

September 25, 2017

I am not expressing any opinion here. I am just posting three of the many articles about a Papal Correction which is taking the Catholic world by storm. Because Pope Francis is refusing to explain his teachings there is a justified response and request for clarification or correction. Read and consider this historical situation and […]

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You Know You Are a Heretic when…

September 24, 2015

You decide you know more, you have a new previously unknown truth…

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For those following the Geocentrism Debate – I especially enjoyed the one on Pitfalls of Over-literal Interpretation

February 28, 2015

From my friend David Palm who runs the website www.GeocentrismDebunked.com. It almost seems crazy to post blogs debating whether the sun rotates around the earth, or that the earth is the center of the universe with everything revolving around IT. But there are actually people out there with aluminum foil caps with antennas :-)  who […]

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Have They Discovered a New “Lost Gospel” that Says Jesus was Married?

November 13, 2014

Jimmy Akin writes: It’s getting near Christmas, and you know what that means. That’s right! It’s time for another book to be released telling us the sensationalistic “truth” about Christianity. This time we have The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson. […]

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Heretic for Desiring Women’s Ordination?

October 31, 2014

Since, you asked, Walter, no, you are not a heretic, but… by Dr. Edward Peters Walter Sandell. … “I wonder if I’m a heretic for believing in, and supporting, the ordination of women. I would be a hypocrite if I kept silent about this issue …” I don’t know (and it doesn’t matter) who “Walter […]

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Mormons Changing Their Museum to Better Suggest They are “Christian”

September 25, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – “The Mormon Church History museum is closing for one year for a total renovation of the 30-year-old building. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says the Salt Lake City museum will close on Oct. 6, following the biannual general conference. It is scheduled to reopen in the fall […]

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