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…Who Am I to Judge?
During a return from Brazil’s World Youth Day, 2013 on July 29, Pope Francis I while answering a press question regarding the Sodomite Cabal in the Vatican replied: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” This was a very telling answer because despite many rhetorical questions throughout the history, such as Pilates answer to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the embodiment of Truth, regarding: What is Truth, this response of the Pope signaled a noticeable shift from his predecessor and offered another sign that the new pope is committed to changing the church’s approach to historically marginalized groups.
However, the larger aspect of this is that with this statement the Pope in essence abdicated his authority as the Successor of St. Peter, because if the Pope, the highest authority of the Church and the Vicar of Christ on earth, cannot judge the sinful and immoral actions of man, than who can? It makes one wonder if he ever read the Holy Scriptural account of Ananias and Sapphira? As told at the beginning of Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 5, Ananias and Sapphira, following Barnabas’ example, also sold their land but withheld a portion of the profit. Ananias presented his donation to Peter. Peter replied, “Why is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Ghost?” Peter pointed out that Ananias was in control of the money and could give or keep it as he saw fit but had withheld it from Peter and lied about it. Peter stated that Ananias had lied not only to him but also to God. Ananias died on the spot and was carried out. Everyone who heard about the incident feared the Lord. Three hours after Ananias’ death his wife arrived, unaware of what had happened. Peter asked her the price of the land that she and Ananias had sold, and she stated the same untruthful price that Ananias had given. She also fell dead, apparently a punishment for deceiving God. Obviously, Peter, as Supreme Pontiff, judged the sinful nature of the lying pair and forthwith the Lord punished them. This action unequivocally declared and demonstrated the power of the Popes to bind and loosen on earth and heaven. Certainly, Christ’s installing Peter as head of His Church was enough for any orthodox (small “o”) believing Christian to understand that inherent in the office is the power to judge; to underscore this, the story of Ananias and Sapphira illustrated this power. Now Peter’s successor denies the power and relinquishes his authority, thus, implying that such a renunciation might also apply to other aspects of Papal Authority. This would vindicate Vatican Council II’s wrongful and unprecedented collegiality of the bishops and reinforces the schismatic stand of the Orthodox Christians that the Pope is merely first among equals.
Now, a second side to this coin is the reaction of traditional Catholics to this profoundly evil assertion of Pope Francis I of the power to judge, individually and corporately, the members of the Church; indeed even those outside the Church. In this regard, the silence was deafening. Virtually, no reaction was heard especially from the backbone of the traditional Catholic Movement, the SSPX. In prior times the Society would have soundly criticized, and rightly so, this denial of the Pope. So while they and others claim that nothing has changed within the SSPX, such silence is a glaring example that something is amiss. Are prospects of regularization really over? Is the situation of the Society still status quo? Do they still resist the Vatican to the face? Or does their silence indicate that the apparent still waters harbor intentions of renewed talks once the recalcitrant are removed from their ranks or are conditioned to accept an agreement which permits a watered-down traditional Catholic order?
While it remains to be seen what is really occurring, doubtless, the time is fast approaching where personal decisions will have to be made as to which side you are on. Are you on the side of the City of God, or the City of Satan? Sooner or later conditions will be so apparent that the canard of, I don’t want to confuse my kids, I can do more good from within the Society than without, or, we still have the Tridentine Mass will no longer be viable.
A final thought on this subject is while the Pope apparently cannot justify his authority to judge those who commit one of the sins that cry to the heavens for justice, how is it that the SSPX leadership, can judge a fellow bishop, priests, and faithful who’s only fault is to decry the new approach of the SSPX, which is a political and not a moral or sinful issue in the least? Faithful have been denied Communion (usually reserved for egregious public sinners), expelled from the society of their friends and families, and are generally shunned for merely stating that we must remain true to the principles of the holy founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, that is, for adhering to the traditional Catholic Church of all time. Think about it, which fruits of the Holy Ghost are exemplified by such actions of the leaders of the traditional Catholic Movement? Perhaps this is just the conformation of Catholic tradition to Pope Francis I’s recent comparison of traditional Catholics to “old wineskins”, which must be discarded to hold the “new wine”. The trouble is this new wine would not be recognized or savored by the saints, popes, doctors, and teachers of the Church down through history … and even by Jesus Christ and His apostles.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.