‘’ Domine , ad quem ibimus ? Verba vitae aeternae habes ?’’

 Is there a greater question to pose than that Peter directed to the Divine Son after his Eucharistic discourse in the synagogue at Capharnaum ?’’Lord , to whom shall we go ? You have the words of eternal life ? ‘’ [ John 6: 69 ] If we know already by Faith who it is who not only has the words of eternal Life but also  himself is  the very Word of eternal life , manifesting in his Person , as in his teaching , the message of redemption he had been sent by the Eternal Father to proclaim in his  Incarnate Life , taken of his Virgin Mother ; and if we also know that his words and teaching are carefully preserved by the Holy Spirit  in Sacred Scripture ,  and that those words and that teaching alone   form the one path to eternal life ,  should we not regard all and any in the Church who undermine , contradict or in any way presumptuously challenge his sacred word as his enemies and ours ?

      The Church is Christ’s , not in any degree is it a fiefdom of the pope who is strictly bound by the three well known commissions from his Divine Master . There is a wonderful subtlety in Christ’s creation of the Petrine Office . In respect of implementing the Commissions with which he has been entrusted the pope is endowed with the divinely given plenitudo potestatis , which , as Innocent 111 rightly observed , places him    ‘’ medius inter Deum et hominem constitutus ‘’ but he has no authority at all to act outside those commissions and for the manner in which he has or has not been faithful to his charge he must answer before the Gate of Heaven , the Gate of the Sheep , which is Christ himself .    [ John 10 : 7 ] The Pope is ‘’Ostiarius ‘’ only , the gate keeper . The content and meaning of the Commissions is preserved in Sacred Scripture , the fulness of whose meaning  has been  revealed in time to the Church by the Holy Spirit , who proceeding from Christ as from the Father teaches Christ to the Church , and the things that are his . [ John 16:14-15 ] He teaches , as the Father intended , the Message which is indeed Christ himself  and his sacred word . In this way the majesty of the First and Greatest Commandment , on which all else hangs , is preserved , as is what I shall call the Divine Integrity. When Christ’s truth , his message , is observed there is no question but that there must be obedience to superiors.  This the Divine Will .Where is Christ’s truth in Amoris Laetitia , In Pachamama worship , in the  failing to rid Amazonia of paganism but rather indulging that very paganism  in the Vatican halls and in Saint Peter’s itself ? Where is it in granting approval to the Document on Human Fraternity against all that is implicit and explicit in the Revelations of both Covenants? Where is it in receiving sexual deviants of one and another kind when Christ blessed only the order established at Creation ?  In all these things Bergoglio , presently occupying Peter’s Chair ,  has shown himself Christ’s enemy and thereby the enemy of the Blessed Trinity , setting himself as master of the Church on his own terms , and in so doing making manifest his own want of belief in  justification in Christ  . No-one who hopes that the justificatioin in Christ as Redeemer ,  from original and actual sin  ,wrought by his Baptism  ,  will produce a faith made fruitful in good works , that is a faith of true obedience to Christ , could even have toyed with such travesties of the Divine Message he had been appointed to guard  . There have , at times , been successors of Peter whose personal lives have been unworthy of their calling but who have retained the obedience of the Faithful because they did not presume to challenge the deposit of Faith . Bergoglio has treated it with contempt , and perhaps nowhere with greater contempt than in this Year’s Annuario Pontificio where the office of Vicar of Christ is placed among what he has chosen to designate as historical titles . He appears to be presenting himself as merely Bishop of Rome , a position in itself devoid of universal authority , the authority that only Peter provides .

         There remains , however , a dimension in Christ’s teaching  whose magnitude cannot be calculated and of whose very existence Bergoglio would seem to be ignorant . It is that of Christ’s revelation to the Samaritan woman ; and in that dimension  is the  uniqueness of Catholic Christianity , entirely dedicated to  encompassing the fulfilment and faithful observance of that very teaching,  and of maintaining the worship of the  one true  God revealed by and in Christ is . One is moved to assert that never has so much been conveyed in so few words :-

         Spiritus est Deus : et eos qui adorant eum in spiritu et veritate oportet  adorare . [ John 4 : 24 ]

It is wholly impossible for Man to manipulate the  God who is Spirit in any way . There is nothing of earth  by whose offering he can be bought . His substance is a ‘’stuff’’ to which Man has access solely by his mercy and at the divine discretion , Man being by original  and actual sin  almost without the spiritual nature once his , and dominated by sensuality , that is , the tyranny of the senses . When God , as repeatedly he has done , shows mercy to man , nothing is negotiable .His mercy is a free gift , never a ‘’trade off’’  with his sacred commands,  or with  any word at all that he has uttered . He is ever mindful , despite those on Earth who are not  , that the spirit that infuses his word is food for the life that             endures :-  ‘’– non in solo pane vivat homo , sed in omni verbo quod egreditur de ore Dei .’’ [ Deut. 8 : 3 ] . Any wilful diminution  of the divine word is ‘’ bread ‘’ , a convenience of Earth .  There is no mercy at all in  modifying divine commands for these are in themselves part of the divine mercy to man so that in the fulness of time he may turn to the true light [Lumen de Lumine ] who is Christ and who of his union with the Father , as of his own majesty , commands whatever the Father commands  .[ cf. Matth. 19: 17 ] Whatever , moreover , God does , kindly read Blessed Trinity unless  a  Person is specified , is done in truth and righteousness [ iustitia – one holds with Augustine concerning iustitia , I.e ‘’justice ‘’ is not an appropriate translation ] . It cannot be changed . These things were known to  Israel , were repeatedly proclaimed by Christ . They are , it seems , beyond Bergoglio’s compass .Israel , however , had only pointers to the spiritual nature of God [ see e.g. Psalm 49 ] The Samaritan revelation is of the limitless perfections of him who spoke the Divine Name to Moses , ‘’Ego sum qui sum .’’ [ Ex. 3 : 14 ] Bergoglio does not tremble . He modifies this , undermines that , spurns the uniqueness of the God he should worship with his talk of  human fraternity , and even the path to eternal life with that one true God , purchased for us by the Divine Son , by the promulgation of spurious mercy .

Christ’s earlier exchange in his meeting with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s Well is a statement , solemn in its simplicity , of the spiritual purpose which should be the primary goal of his Church : –

       Omnis qui bibit ex aqua hac sitiet iterum : qui autem biberit ex aqua quam ego dabo ei , non sitiet in aeternum:  sed aqua quam ego dabo ei , fiet in eo  fons aquae salientis in vitam aeternam . [ John 4 : 13-14 ]

In the Matthaean passage mentioned above [ 19: 17 ] he has warned his followers that if they would enter into life the commandments must be kept. This is in itself a divine command , full of truth and righteousness . It cannot be supposed that the new and spiritual life of Heaven can conceivably be lived by those who elect an antinomian approach to the Commandments [ as is done in Amoris Laetitia ] which are  the work of the Divine and Merciful Paedogue [ if one may borrow a Pauline image ] and then hold it righteous to expect from an absolutely righteous  God the blessings of eternal life , here and hereafter .

       For Peter’s Successor , and whatever Bergoglio may say or do , so the Pope is , the script has been divinely written by the one God who is spirit and truth . It cannot be altered. [ Is this  certain script  the motive force of the ‘’adjustments’’ in the 2020 Annuario Pontificio ? ] One hopes that that happy day will dawn when the falsehood of the Church’s manoeuvre of ‘’aggiornamento’’ will be acknowledged . The God who is spirit and truth is necessarily ‘’up to date ‘’ at any time . [ It was the Church’s approximation to Christ , or otherwise , which should have been scrutinized . ] The papal task is not to adjust the script to the Zeitgeist but rather to modify the Zeitgeist by ensuring the primacy and purity of the divine word ; and that all necessary change in the Church  conforms to the sacred deposit of faith .[ Pope Pius 1X stands with those of Peter’s successors who have admirably performed this task .] The task  requires fidelity and percipience such as was also  shown by popes  in the early thirteenth century in their patronage and protection of new and orthodox religious orders. What is not required is a so -called pope with his own agenda . And  , Peter’s successor must indeed be Servus servorum Dei as Chief Guardian of the Faith  or he is in a realm where light years separate him from the  Divine  Master who brought that Faith to its consummation with his blood . { John 19 : 30 ]

Maire Wilkinson

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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