The Thinking 

More Rhetorical Fog from Jorge Bergoglio

January 6, 2014



MODERNIST Catholic theologians and pontiffs have often used inflated and unclear language to convey revolutionary ideas. Jorge Bergoglio is, as we all know, a master at diffusing this rhetorical fog. His famous interviews and first “apostolic exhortation” were riddled with revolutionary code words and familiar phrases newly defined, as well as new terms of his own, such as “self-absorbed promethean neo-Pelagianism.” See Atila Sinke Guimarães analysis of some of Bergoglio’s “papal slang.”

“Pope” Francis’s most recently published “interview,” comprised of comments he made during a conversation with Superiors General of various religious orders on Nov. 29, 2013, is no exception to this trend. There is much that is disturbing in it, but I offer today only one excerpt from the conversation as recorded by the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, S.J.:

“I am convinced of one thing: the great changes in history were realized when reality was seen not from the center but rather from the periphery. It is a hermeneutical looked at from the periphery, and not when our viewpoint is equidistant from everything. Truly to understand reality we need to move away from the central position of calmness and peacefulness and direct ourselves to the peripheral areas. Being at the periphery helps to see and to understand better, to analyze reality more correctly, to shun centralism and ideological approaches.”

Therefore: “It is not a good strategy to be at the center of a sphere. To understand we ought to move around, to see reality from various viewpoints. We ought to get used to thinking. I often refer to a letter of Father Pedro Arrupe, who had been General of the Society of Jesus. It was a letter directed to the Centros de Investigación y Acción Social (CIAS). In this letter Father Arrupe spoke of poverty and said that some time of real contact with the poor is necessary. This is really very important to me: the need to become acquainted with reality by experience, to spend time walking on the periphery in order really to become acquainted with the reality and life-experiences of people. If this does not happen we then run the risk of being abstract ideologists or fundamentalists, which is not healthy.”

“Periphery” is not a term found in Catholic teaching so we cannot know for sure what he means by it. However, it seems safe to conclude that the center, which Bergoglio disparages, is objective truth, which stands equidistant from all things that are contrary to it. The periphery is closer to contrary ideas. One can infer, given other things Bergoglio has said, that this periphery is closer to other religions, which are not to be judged as false in the ecumenist world order.

“Truly to understand reality we need to move away from the central position of calmness and peacefulness and direct ourselves to the peripheral areas. Being at the periphery helps to see and to understand better, to analyze reality more correctly, to shun centralism and ideological approaches.”

Like other promoters of Vatican II and its heresies, Bergoglio believes uncertainty and existential doubt are important ideals, not things we overcome, but worthy conditions in their own right. As Bergoglio has said before, one does not truly believe unless one doubts. Therefore, truth that is clear is not truth at all. “I would not speak about ‘absolute’ truths, even for believers,” he has said elsewhere. Those who adhere to immutable truths are, in this conversation once again, “abstract ideologists and fundamentalists.”

But “periphery” also suggests two other things: the borderline of Catholic moral life and the marginalized of society. His discussion of the periphery leads into his talk of the importance of living on the street, part of his repeated insistence that to be an authentic Catholic one must experience the borderline of society, a sort of anti-society, and experience the poor directly. Those who live by the commandments, strive for virtue and live orderly lives are not, we can infer, in touch with reality. This idealization of poverty and sinfulness is a familiar feature of Vatican II theology and its quasi-Marxist orientation.

In Ecclesia, part of Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabacthani?, his indispensable series of books on the thinking of Vatican II, Guimarães discusses the radical concept of the “Church of the Poor,” which has been promoted from the papacy of Pope John XXIII continuously until now. It is a revolutionary idea intended to turn attention away from the sacrality of the Church and toward “social justice.” The Church of the Poor looks not toward complete elimination of poverty, but also an adaptation to it through a despoilment of the Church’s pageantry and a “miserabilist” mentality.

Guimarães writes in Ecclesia:

One would be wrong to suppose that the aim of the progressivists in divesting the Church of her riches is to end poverty in the world…

In fact, various progressivist authors defend poverty — and even misery — as an ideal to be achieved by every Catholic. According to that visualization, wealth should be abolished not so that the poor might become less poor, but so that all would become poor. It is, without doubt, a quite unusual affirmation. In its favor, however, it at least has the courage to unveil the deepest desire of Progressivism: the installation of miserabilism in the Church and the world. [Ecclesia, p. 152]

Miserabilism is opposed to a visible Christian society, with solemnity, pomp and beauty. It is radically egalitarian in nature.

Tomorrow, I will offer some analysis, based on Guimarães’s masterful study, of Bergoglio’s use of the expression “People of God.”

— Comments —

Edward writes:

Do you think it would be more appropriate to call Bergoglio’s latest “Apostolic Exhortation” by a more accurate name? It’s really more of an “Apostatical Exhortation,” in my humble Pelagian Restorationist opinion (as if an exhortation to further apostasy in the Novus Ordo is really necessary).

Laura writes:

That is the appropriate term, at least among us fundamentalists and ideologues.

Dr. Thomas F. Bertonneau writes:

Regarding the Pope’s latest postmodern effusion, the Holy Father should perhaps ask himself the question, Where was Truth at Calvary — in the center or on the periphery?

Alan M. writes:

Happy New Year!

After reading the transcripts of the interview and uttering out loud to myself, “What!?”, I was going to ask you if it was just me who had this response. However, I expected you to share your thoughts and I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw in the “fog of words” a trojan horse of inscrutable babble carrying a poisonous payload.

Laura writes:

Happy New Year to you.

It’s mind-blowing stuff.

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