This is really nothing new, as we already know that Vatican II sees non-Catholic religions as having value in the order of salvation, indeed as means of salvation, which is an explicit heresy.
What is interesting about Bergoglio’s statement, however, is that he openly approves of freedom of conscience, that is, the right to choose whatever religion you want and to practice it.
In order to respect diversity, dialogue must seek to promote every person’s right to life, to physical integrity, and to fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of conscience, of thought, of expression and of religion. This includes the freedom to live according to one’s beliefs in both the private and public spheres. In this way, Christians and Muslims – as brothers and sisters – can work together for the common good.
What Bergoglio states here was solemnly condemned by Pope Pius IX in Quanta Cura. What is significant, however, is that he repeats not only Vatican II’s call for the freedom to practice one’s religion, but also freedom of conscience.
Conscience is none other than man’s intellect in the act of determining the morality of an act to be done here and now. Conscience is not a faculty which discovers the truth, but instead is merely the application of the law to a determined act. Consequently the conscience is not free to choose what it pleases, but is necessarily bound to the law which it must apply to the acts we perform.
Freedom of conscience is therefore an impious doctrine, since it releases the intellect from its duty to know the law of God and to apply it. Man has no right to freedom of conscience. Why? Because
God has revealed a religion and a law, and all consciences must accept and obey this religion and this law.
The Catholic Church does not exclude, provided there be serious reasons which justify it, a toleration of false religions, but it can in no way condone the tenet that one has a right to a false religion. For all right is based in God and emanates from God. Right is a moral faculty — ability — to posit an act which is morally correct, that is, which is in conformity with God’s law. The very thought that God would posit a right in someone to defy Him by embracing a false religion is blasphemy.
In a recent letter commenting on clerical sex abuse, Ratzinger said that the cause of it was the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.
This is a stunning statement. Why? Because it is the mission and purpose of the Church to resist moral corruption, and especially to protect the clergy from it. The clergy should practice mortification of their sexual passions, devoted as they are — and canonically obliged — to celibacy and perfect chastity. One could just as easily say: “The monks are all fat because of the eating revolution.” Are they not supposed to practice mortification? It would be the equivalent of saying that the Titanic sank because there was an iceberg in front of it. The reality is that the Titanic sank because the crew was recklessly speeding at 22 knots (at that time very fast for an ocean liner) through “Iceberg Alley” in the springtime when icebergs are most commonly seen. The crew had also committed gross negligence in ignoring the warnings of ice by other ships.
On the Fatima Centerwebsite, Mr. Ferrara attacked the sedevacantists for what he calls self-contradiction, a “fatal ﬂaw” in their thinking. He first accurately sums up the sedevacantist position:
So, according to sedevacantist thinking, one cannot legitimately recognize yet resist a true Pope because while not every papal magisterial act is infallible, every papal magisterial act is (1) authoritative, (2) binding on consciences, (3) safe to follow, and (4) free from pernicious error. [emphasis added]
He then proceeds to attack this position as containing a contradiction.
What the sedevacantists are really saying, then, is that a Pope who errs in his teaching on a matter of faith and morals, even once, ceases to be Pope (or never was Pope) because every exercise of the papal magisterium must be free from error.
Notice that the word pernicious has disappeared. In leaving this word out, Mr. Ferrara has manifested that he does not understand the whole point of the sedevacantist argument.
Recently the camp of the Novus Ordo conservatives, or neocons, as they are commonly called, seems to have descended into a panic.
Up to now they have bent over backwards to maintain the principle that Vatican II did not change anything substantial in the Catholic Faith. While they may prefer pre-Vatican II rites and ceremonies, they refuse to call what has come out of Vatican II a new and false religion, as we call it.
Consequently we have seen over the years mostly an ostrich approach to anything that seems to contradict this thesis of theirs.
On February 4th, Bergoglio signed a document, together with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, entitled A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. Most of it is what we heard over fifty years ago from Paul VI: what we call bom-fog. This is short for “brotherhood of man; fatherhood of God.” Put simply, it means that the naturalistic (and masonic) brotherhood of man cannot succeed without the help of religion. It is an implicit denial of the royalty of Christ, and of the necessity to be submitted to His rule in order to be saved and in order to achieve peace in this world. It is to affirm that the brotherhood of man can be achieved on purely naturalistic principles, but that it needs a spiritual dimension which only religion — any religion — can give. The Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes is loaded with this idea. It places the Church at the service of the naturalistic world which is trying to save itself without Christ, a fallen race placing its hope in its own ability to pull itself up from the depths of sin and its effects. It is atheistic inasmuch as it sees as the goal to be achieved only the purely natural goal of man: international peace, prosperity for all, human rights, and so forth. This is why Paul VI in 1965 told the United Nations that it was “the last hope of the world.”
Bergoglio, however, used the occasion to create a new heresy and blasphemy, namely that God wills the pluralism of religions. Here is the quotation:
Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race, and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept.
There has been a good deal of outrage recently about the very liberalized abortion laws which were passed in New York and Virginia, permitting the child to be murdered even as it is in the process of being born. In Virginia the governor said that, even if the child survived the abortion, the parents and the abortionist “would have a discussion,” implying very clearly that if the parents did not want the child, the abortionist would kill it.
I do not understand the outrage, since all of the logic for performing the heinous crime has been with us since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. In fact, it has been with us since the legalization of artificial contraception.
The Catholic doctrine is that sexual intercourse has a single purpose, which is the procreation of a human being. Notice that the word is procreation and not creation, since the prefix pro means that the parents are accomplishing the creation of a child for God. This means that the parents are given a role in the production of a human being, in which they provide the flesh, whereas God provides the immortal soul. The result is a human being, who has, on the one hand, a body, like that of the animals, but on the other hand, an immaterial and immortal soul, like the angels. This soul is what makes human beings different from animals, possessing as it does an intellect and will. These faculties enable the soul to know immaterial things, and to freely choose to do good things. Animals choose their good things by being programmed by God through instinct, and their choices are not free.
Hence the Catholic doctrine sees the child as primarily and essentially the work of God the Creator, and as something which is rightfully God’s. The parents have a merely vicarious role in the order of creation, permitted as they are to provide the material part of the child. Consequently, the entire reproductive process is under God’s direct control, and must be ordered according to God’s law, which is the natural law.
God the Creator has attached pleasure to the reproductive act in order that human beings be motivated to propagate the human race. The pleasure is therefore something entirely subject to the use of sexual activity according to the rules of nature.
Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Casti Connubii, said that the parents act “as ministers, as it were, of the Divine Omnipotence.”
Listen to the same pope in the same encyclical:
Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.
To sum up: (1) Sexual intercourse is is essentially ordered to reproduction; (2) the pleasure associated with it is essentially ordered to reproduction, and exists only to promote reproduction; (3) the entire reproductive act, from conception to birth, is completely under the control of God, and must be carried out in accordance with the natural law; (4) the child, from conception to birth, is God’s child primarily, and continues to be God’s child forever; (5) The parents have a merely vicarious role in the creation of a child inasmuch as God permits them to partake in His creative process; (6) it is therefore the role of the parents to conceive according to nature, and to protect the unborn child until birth, and thereafter to rear the child both in regard to his or her spiritual needs and temporal needs.
The atheistic/materialistic/secularistic/evolutionistic view is the complete opposite. Human beings are essentially animals, having evolved from gorillas or gorilla-like animals. They have no immaterial or immortal souls. Their intellects and free wills are functions of their material brains. There is no judgment after death, no reward for virtue, and no punishment for moral depravity. Like animals, human beings exist to have pleasure, and the most pleasurable thing is sex. Reproduction is a side effect of the pleasurable sex act. The conception and bearing of children is completely under the control of the woman, who bears a child as a part of her own body. It is entirely her possession and she makes all the decisions concerning its conception, and its survival after conception.
So it is evident that contraception is at bottom the cause of abortion. If reproduction is entirely under the control of the woman, and if we are merely animals, then what is the harm in terminating the life of the child, either through contraception or by abortion? Why should there be any limit on the time of abortion? Indeed, what stops a mother, in this macabre logic, from ordering the death of her child even when it has exited the womb, and has become physically independent from her? How would it differ from putting a litter of unwanted puppies to death?
The only reason why some are horrified by these new abortion laws in New York and Virginia is that a late term abortion seems more grotesque and monstrous. The steely liberal logic, however, puts its blessing upon it.