King Sobieski of Poland sending the Pope a message about the Christian victory over the Muslims at Vienna
Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch recently wrote an interesting piece about the status of the Catholic Church today and Islam. In his article, he alludes to his frustration with Church leadership about Islam and their even complicit actions in allowing Islam to spread its agenda unchecked:
Msgr. Swetland has now helpfully supplied me with the remarks below, clarifying his position and supporting it with statements of various Popes and the Second Vatican Council. Msgr. Swetland contends that statements of recent Popes to the effect that Islam is a religion of peace fall into the category of teachings to which Catholics must give “religious assent,” as per the quotation below from the Second Vatican Council document Lumen Gentium.
If Msgr. Swetland is correct, then I am, as he puts it, “a dissenter from the papal magisterium.” So also, then, would be millions of other Catholics, including Catholics from the Middle East who have borne the brunt of Muslim persecution of Christians and know what Islam teaches, such as the gentleman from Lebanon who phoned in to the Mariani Show during my discussion with Msgr. Swetland. If Msgr. Swetland is correct, then Catholics must affirm that Islam is a religion of peace as part and parcel of being Catholic, and the Catholic Church will be requiring that its faithful affirm the truth of what is an obvious and egregious falsehood, as I demonstrated here and in many other places.
If Msgr. Swetland is correct, and it is Church teaching that all Catholics must accept that Islam is a religion of peace, then the Catholic hierarchy will have demonstrated that it does not have the authority or reliability in discerning and transmitting the truth that it claims to have; Papal claims to speak in the name of Christ will be eviscerated; and the Catholic Church as a whole exposed as a fraud. (source)
As a fellow Catholic, I can sympathize with his frustrations. There are many people in the Church today who are in support of Islam, including sadly, the current pope. That said, many of the problems one sees in the Church today came about following the “reforms” of Vatican II, that the Church’s long-standing position on Islam has never changed, and it will be only a matter of time before the truth finally comes out again after being wrongly ignored by certain members of the hierarchy.
For those who are not aware, the Vatican II council was a non-binding council and the decisions that it made were equally non-binding. In the words of even those who participated in the council, they will say from their own words that the council was “pastoral, not dogmatic.” This is a critical distinction because it is the difference between discipline versus doctrine- a doctrine is a formal teaching that explains a divinely revealed truth. A discipline, however, is a man-man rule or recommendations, usually done for the sake of facilitating a particular teachings, preventing an abuse, or to accommodate to a specific set of challenges, but what makes is difference is because it is wholly man-made and acknowledged as so.
Fun fact: Cardinal Carlo Martini, who was behind much of the radical “pastoral recommendations” that caused the wreckage from Vatican II (and again, all of which were non-binding and carried no theological weight whatsoever) was a Freemason and as such he was working as a traitor within the ranks of the Church. However, it was not just him, as there were many more traitors and suspected masons, such as Cardinals Anibale Bugnini and Jean-Marie Villot.
An example of doctrine and discipline is the teachings on the Eucharist versus the prohibition on married priests. The teachings on the Eucharist is a doctrine because it explains a dogma, which is that one must consume the body and blood of Jesus, per John 6, or else one does not have life within him. The understanding was, is, and always will be this means the literal body and blood as taught by all the great saints of the past, and is critical to salvation, but this has been taught consistently by all Christians up until the Protestant Revolution- even Martin Luther himself, the founder of the Revolution, emphasized that Christ was truly present in the Eucharist, saying that is was so clear from Scripture and the writings of the saints that it could not be plausibly denied:
Who, but the devil, has granted such license of wresting the words of the holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as thesign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men. Not one of the Fathers of the Church, though so numerous, ever spoke as the Sacramentarians: not one of them ever said, It is only bread and wine; or, the body and blood of Christ is not there present.
Surely, it is not credible, nor possible, since they often speak, and repeat their sentiments, that they should never (if they thought so) not so much as once, say, or let slip these words: It is bread only; or the body of Christ is not there, especially it being of great importance, that men should not be deceived. Certainly, in so many Fathers, and in so many writings, the negative might at least be found in one of them, had they thought the body and blood of Christ were not really present: but they are all of them unanimous.” (source)
By comparison, the prohibition on married clergy is a discipline. In the West, it has been a standard practice since the Council of Elvira in 304, and has been a formal discipline since it was established so by Pope St. Gregory VII in 1059. The reasoning behind clerical celibacy was to prevent the formation of dynasties, simony, and more importantly, to prevent issues with inheritance in the case of children. However, this is a uniquely Western phenomenon, as Eastern Catholics as well as the Orthodox do allow for married priests in certain cases.
This difference between doctrine and discipline, as well as the statement that Vatican II was not binding, should give us pause for another question- why is it then that Vatican II is spoke with such authority and taught as though it is binding? After all, if the documents were just pastoral statements and have no theological weight, why are they presented as having such?
Now this is where things get interesting.
Look to the most recent scandal with the “synod on the family” that took place. The synod, which many Catholics have described as a “sinod”, is because of the scandalous nature of what happened, and that is how many of the leaders of the synod, almost entirely from Germany or Germanic countries (and all who happened to be very, very close personal associates of Pope Francis) were pushing for the Church to acknowledge homosexual unions. This was something which, as many bishops pointed out, not only could they not do because it is forbidden permanently, but was a direct contradiction to Church teachings, and even if they did do it, it would not be legal and Catholics would be required to disobey it. Therefore, what happened with the controversy was not actually to change teachings, since that would be impossible, but to give the impression that a change had taken place when it really did not.
The heretical Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany, close friend of Pope Francis, supporter of violating Church teaching on sodomy and divorce, and manipulator of the Synod of the Family.
Think of the Catholic Faith as a trust fund. The deposit are the teachings given by Jesus, and the guarantor is God, who enjoined those teachings. The fund and its deposit of faith all belong to God, and no man can change them. As such, the Pope is simply a trustee- it is his responsibility to look after the good of the Faith and those who benefit from it (the faithful), and to make sure that it is being properly represented. However, he cannot add to or subtract from anything, since he does not have access to change this. The only malicious thing that he could do, if he really wanted to, is to lie about the contents of the deposit of Faith- this would not actually change what the Faith teaches, but it would give people an impression that things were different than they actually are. It’s like a trick that a mean big brother would play on his little brother- he would tell him that he has something that does not actually belong to him, or that things are different that what they really are.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, a modern day hero and one of the few voices at the Synod on the Family who stood up to Kasper’s heresies and Pope Francis’ refusal to intervene in a clear moral wrong.
This is not the first time this has happened. If you have any doubt about this, look into the entire scandal of distributing Communion in the hand. This practice was never permitted, and the only “exception” ever given was in extreme circumstances and was done at the insistence of certain disobedient (and Germanic) bishops. However, the practice soon took over the entire Church even thought it was not supposed to and is still wrong:
The practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand first began to spread in Catholic circles during the early 1960s, primarily in Holland. Shortly after Vatican II, due to the escalating abuses in certain non-English speaking countries (Holland, Belgium, France and Germany), Pope Paul VI took a survey of the world’s bishops to ascertain their opinions on the subject. On May 28, 1969 the Congregation for Divine Worship issued Memoriale Domini, which concluded: “From the responses received, it is thus clear that by far the greater number of bishops feel that the present discipline [i.e., Holy Communion on the tongue] should not be changed at all, indeed that if it were changed, this would be offensive to the sensibility and spiritual appreciation of these bishops and of most of the faithful.” After he had considered the observation and the counsel of the bishops, the Supreme Pontiff judged that the long-received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the faithful should not be changed. The Apostolic See then strongly urged bishops, priests and the laity to zealously observe this law out of concern for the common good of the Church.
Despite the vote, in 1969 Pope Paul VI decided to strike a compromise with his disobedient bishops on the continent. Given “the gravity of the matter,” the pope would not authorize Communion in the hand. He was, however, open to bestowing an indult – an exception to the law – under certain conditions: first, an indult could not be given to a country in which Communion in the hand was not an already established practice; second, the bishops in countries where it was established must approve of the practice “by a secret vote and with a two-thirds majority.” Beyond this, the Holy See set down seven regulations concerning communion in the hand; failure to maintain these regulations could result in the loss of the indult. The first three regulations concerned: 1) respecting the laity who continue the traditional practice (of receiving kneeling and on the tongue), 2) maintaining the laity’s proper respect of the Eucharist, and 3) strengthening the laity’s faith in the real presence. (source)
Fast forward to today, and re-apply this to the situation with Islam vis-a-vis the traditional teachings of the Church concerning Islam.
I have written a book- Lions of the Faith: Saints, Blesseds, and Heroes of the Catholic Faith in the Struggle with Islam, where I have meticulously documented how the Catholic Church is inherently, irreconcilably,100% opposed to Islam and is in fact the greatest obstacle to Islam’s global spread. I have written here how the Popes of the Catholic Church are historically the greatest warriors against Islam. I have written how the saints- the great men and women of the Catholic Church whose lives serve as models for the Faithful- are all against Islam for the same reasons. The fact is that no branch of Christianity is more anti-Islam than the Catholic Church.
Yet how do we explain what Pope Francis has done recently?
Pope Bl. Urban II, the man who instituted the Crusades.
Again, using the examples above and in combination with the history of the Church, Popes are humans- there are good ones and not good ones. Personally, and for far more serious reasons than his relationship with Islam, I do not like this pope- that does not make me “anti-Catholic,” nor does it make me a sedevacantist (one who believes that there is no real pope, which is a heresy and which some Catholics sadly believe). It does make me a man with an opinion- just as there are good popes, there are also not good ones.
Pope St. Pius V, the man who put together the Holy League to confront the Muslims at Lepanto and who instituted the Rosary to be said to fight against the Muslims.
Pope Francis clearly has an affinity for Islam. He can say whatever he wants as a part of his personal statements, which he has taken full liberty of to express his like of Islam and Muslims and even his disdain for Catholics who have large families (which is something the Church has always encouraged). Pope Francis, speaking as a man, can say whatever he wants- however, he cannot articular doctrine in such an informal way because he is not speaking as a teacher of faith an morals (called ex cathedra in the Church). Papal infallability is only when speaking as a teacher of faith and morals for the whole Church under certain very specific conditions– it has only been used twice in the last two centuries. One was for articulating the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception under Pius IX in 1854, and the other was for the doctrine of the Assumption under Pius XII in 1950. I should also like to add that both of these particular teachings are not new at all, but were and have been taught since the earliest days of the Church. This is a true usage, since using the example of the trust fund that I gave earlier, the Pope was neither adding to nor subtracting from Church teachings- he was articulating what was already there.
Pope Bl. Innocent XI, who coordinated the entire battle against the Muslims at Vienna on September 11th, 1683. Without his important work, it is likely that not only would the battle have not taken place, but it would be in such disarray that the Ottomans would have won.
What makes Pope Francis’ numerous “off the cuff” statements troubling is not so much that they are his own (and wrong) opinions, but that he is the Pope. While he is free to express his particular opinion, people to look to what he says seriously- many people and wrongly so take his words spoken in this context as doctrine unto itself. The effect is that Pope Francis has not actually changed any church teachings through his actions. However, he has given the impression that doctrine has changed and people start to do things that are wrong because they have been given the wrong impression.
This incident of Pope Francis washing the feet of Muslim refugees was unprecedented, and not in a good way. This is not about the dignity of the Muslim people, but the fact that (a) Islam rejects and hates Christ, (b) it appears to give support to a group of people whose beliefs hate the Faith this Pope is meant to uphold and defend, and (c) because the disciples were followers of Christ, the persons whose feet are being washed are meant to represent the original twelve, which is not the case. This was a complete scandal.
Tell me, do you think it is an accident that Pope Francis has not made one doctrinal statement while being Pope, but instead made a plethora of “off the cuff” and “pastoral” statements that have no binding theological weight? I do not believe so. I also find it very interesting and likewise not an accident that the Freemason lodges, who are the historical enemies of the Catholic Church, highly anti-clerical, behind the revolutions of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries in Europe, are praising Pope Francis, and how Pope Francis closely mingles with Freemasons. I also do not believe that it is an accident that his papacy comes at the coming of the 100th anniversary of Fatima, which spoke of the communist (and Freemason) infiltration of the Catholic Church.
The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendia. A must read (right here for free) booklet on Freemasonry, a centuries-old enemy of the Faith. The Freemasons have infiltrated the Vatican (as has been known for years), and Pope Francis’ open praise by the Freemasons is the first ever for a pope, which generates more questions than it answers.
While things are very bad today in the Church, perhaps even worse than they have ever been in history, remember that the Church has faced similar conflicts before. As we have discussed here before, during the 4th century the majority of Christians did not even believe that Jesus was God, even though Sacred Scripture clearly states so. This was the teaching of the heretical priest Arius, whose influence was so great that it was said that 80% or more of all bishops were also apostates. That said, there were good men and women who opposed him. One of them was the bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius. Other great men, such as Gregory Nazianzen and Nicholas, were equally in opposition. When all was said and done, orthodoxy overcame heresy and these men are recognized as saints today while Arius and his teachings are condemned for all time.
As much as I am concerned about the situation of Islam in the Church today, I am not as worried, because truth will always and inevitably prevail over heresy and evil, and as we have stated before, echoing the words of the great saints, Islam is simply a heresy- the culmination of all Christian heresies in their final and perfected form. That said, it does not mean that we simply “give up,” but taking heed from the Gospel of James, to live and perform deed that demonstrate our fidelity to the truth by our works, for:
First, the Church is promised in Sacred Scripture that as the rock founded upon Peter, the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
Second, that the Catholic Church is, was, and will continue to be the greatest warrior against Islam in world history.
Third, that if he really is frustrated with the problems in the Church with the apostates in the hierarchy, then consider going to the Latin Mass or the SSPX, both of which are fully in the Catholic Church and are opposed to the changes of Vatican II. Indeed, he would be very welcome.
St. John Capistrano, the scholar turned warrior who lead an army against the Muslims as an old man and defeated the Ottomans at the Siege of Belgrade in 1456.