Friday, September 13, 2013

Dimonds in the rough

Newspapers of the world are trumpeting the headline: "Pope says atheists can be saved".

Although it's becoming clearer by the day that Pope Francis is another Vatican II chameleon, to be honest he didn't say atheists can be saved he said they can be forgiven - albeit in verbose, but somehow still vague, modern Vatican-speak.

The Dimond Brothers of Most Holy Family Monastery whose articles and videos are well known to traditionalist Catholics usually do excellent work in exposing the rot in Rome; however, here they are guilty of misrepresenting the Pope(?)'s words:

Here is what Francis actually said:

To the question raised by Dr. Scalfari, a noted Italian atheist, in his newspaper, La Repubblica: "If a person does not have faith and commits what the Church calls a 'sin', will that person be forgiven by the Christian God?"  Francis replies: "First of all, you ask if the God of the Christians forgives those who do not believe and do not seek faith.  Given that - and this is fundamental - God's mercy has no limits if he who asks for mercy does so in contrition and with a sincere heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their own conscience. In fact, listening and obeying [one's conscience], means deciding about what is perceived to be good or to be evil.  The goodness or the wickedness of our behavior depends on this decision."

Latter day Catholics will recognize the style: lots of words meaning ???  One is gratified at least not to hear the Pope(?) bringing up the Age of Aquarius.  But Francis doesn't explicitly state that atheists can be saved, just forgiven; although this too is an error. Mercy and forgiveness are not the same thing and shouldn't be used interchangeably. A judge can show a killer some mercy - yet still sentence him to prison. And God can certainly show atheists mercy, which He does every day by allowing them to live, yet still send them to hell.

A bonafide Catholic pope would have replied: "No.  Logically, how can God forgive people that refuse to believe in Him or ask His forgiveness? And why should He? Today one hears endless talk about God's 'mercy'. We would do better to consider God's justice - which is fierce."

Other questions were raised by Dr. Scalfari in his letter to the Pope(?): "Secondly, whereas the believer accepts revealed truth, the nonbeliever thinks that there is no absolute truth, but only a series of relative, subjective “truths.”  Does the Church consider this way of thinking a sin, or only an unfortunate mistake?"

Francis replies with the following gymnastics: "...Now, the truth is a relationship! This is so true that each of us sees the truth and expresses it, starting from oneself: from one's history and culture, from the situation in which one lives, etc.  This does not mean that the truth is variable and subjective.... I think that today this is absolutely necessary in order to have a serene and constructive dialogue which I hoped for from the beginning."

Oh my! Where to begin with this gobbledegook? First, the lie is also a "relationship".  More so than the truth.  Truth proceeds from God, not from ourselves... nor from our "consciences". Truth is independent of anyone's opinions, history and culture. And "serene and constructive dialogue...."?  Observant Catholics will notice that as witnessed in Rome today only Catholicism must remain serene and constructive - Christ's enemies are allowed free reign to vent their hatreds.

A real Catholic pope would have replied: "What foolishness! Atheists absolutely believe in 'absolute truth'. When you get shortchanged on a purchase do you shrug your shoulders and say: 'There is no absolute truth; only a series of relative, subjective “truths.'?  No, the mode of thinking you describe is more than a sin, it's stupidity incarnate."

Third, Scalfari recalls Pope Francis’ words during his trip to Brazil for World Youth Day, remarking that our species will perish - like all things which have a beginning and an end.  Scalfari believes that too, but believes that with the disappearance of our species, the thought capable of reflecting on God will disappear, and with it, love will also disappear.

Here Francis actually musters some Catholic thinking - but with the customary verbosity: "God is a reality with a capital "R". Jesus reveals this to us - and He experiences the relationship with Him - as a Father of infinite goodness and mercy. God therefore does not depend on our thoughts. On the other hand, even when the end of life of man on earth should come - and for Christian faith - in any case the world as we know it now is destined to end, but man will not (become extinct) and, in a way that we do not know, neither will the universe created with him. The Scriptures speak of "new skies and a new land" and confirm that, in the end, at the time and place that it is beyond our knowledge, but which we patiently and desirously await...."

This, despite the obsessive wordiness, actually states Catholic belief correctly (though one wonders if Francis actually means a "New World Order" is coming). He then concludes his reverie with the following: "God will be "everything in everyone".... Well, everyone except for those condemned to hell - which according to Jesus and countless saints is going to be most people:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." - Matthew 7:13-14.
"Indeed a multitude will be saved. But compared to the multitude that is damned they will seem to be only a few." - St. John Vianney

"I beheld (the souls of the damned) falling into hell as thick as snowflakes in a midwinter blizzard." - St. Theresa of Avila

Catholics have by now learned to expect empty, feel good jabber from popes, prelates and priests. "I'm OK, you're OK!" is the new dogma... errh... mantra.  The Church must apologize for all its sins, but humbly accept that reciprocity isn't warranted or necessary. After decades of confused and confusing babble one does begin to get the uneasy feeling that perhaps the wolves have taken over guarding the sheep.

I'll conclude this by stating that in spite of their usually excellent work the Dimond Brothers need to be read and heard with care. It seems they believe that very,very few people, specifically themselves, will ever enter that narrow gate. They may be right in claiming that Francis I is an apostate pope; but they're bearing false witness when they claim he said atheists can get to heaven.