Pope Benedict Vs. Francis: Part 9


The English Denzinger site (which was run by (20) priests, and which (strangely??) has not been active for a few years, was invaluable and priceless in terms of comparing everything Francis claimed to what authentic Church Teaching says.

The following is an example of one article I had saved. It is very long, so I will post just a few bits every day. The following continues from yesterday’s post.


Benedict XVI…

…judges Francis’ idea on sects forming part of the Church

  • If the Movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they must be inserted into the one Church

Since the Church is one, if the Movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they must, naturally, be inserted into the Ecclesial Community and serve it so that, in patient dialogue with the Pastors, they can be elements in the construction of the Church of today and tomorrow. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of Communion and Liberation Movement on the 25th anniversary of its Pontifical Recognition, March 24, 2007)

  • Sects are not stable

And we know that these sects are not very stable: at any given time, it may be all very well to proclaim prosperity, miraculous healings, etc., but after a while, it becomes clear that life is difficult, that a human God, a God who suffers with us is more convincing, more real, and offers greater help for life. It is also important that we have the structure of the Catholic Church. We do not proclaim a small group that after a certain time becomes isolated and lost, but we enter into this great universal network of catholicity, which is not only trans-temporal, but above all, it is present as a great network of friendship that unites us and also helps us to overcome individualism so as to arrive at this unity in diversity, which is the true promise. (Benedict XVI. Interview during the flight to Africa, March 17, 2009)

  • The sects have the upper hand because they appear with a few simple certainties and say: ‘This suffices’

In this atmosphere of a rationalism closing in on itself and that regards the model of the sciences as the only model of knowledge, everything else is subjective. Christian life too, of course, becomes a choice that is subjective, hence, arbitrary and no longer the path of life. It therefore naturally becomes difficult to believe, and if it is difficult to believe it is even more difficult to offer one’s life to the Lord to be his servant. […] On the other hand, the sects that present themselves with the certainty of a minimum of faith are growing, and the human being seeks certainty. Thus, the great Churches, especially the great traditional Protestant Churches, are truly finding themselves in a very deep crisis. The sects have the upper hand because they appear with a few simple certainties and say: ‘This suffices’. (Benedict XVI. Address to diocesan clergy of Aosta in the Parish Church at Introd, July 25, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • Christ, innocent, took upon himself the wounds of injured humanity – Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our pain is worthy of faith

Suffering, evil, injustice, death, especially when it strikes the innocent such as children who are victims of war and terrorism, of sickness and hunger, does not all of this put our faith to the test? Paradoxically the disbelief of Thomas is most valuable to us in these cases because it helps to purify all false concepts of God and leads us to discover his true face: the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity. Thomas has received from the Lord, and has in turn transmitted to the Church, the gift of a faith put to the test by the passion and death of Jesus and confirmed by meeting him risen. His faith was almost dead but was born again thanks to his touching the wounds of Christ, those wounds that the Risen One did not hide but showed, and continues to point out to us in the trials and sufferings of every human being. […] These wounds that Christ has received for love of us help us to understand who God is and to repeat: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith. (Benedict XVI. Urbi et Orbi Message, April 8, 2007)

  • Why does the suffering of innocents exist? In the mysterious designs of Providence, God draws a greater good even from evil

If God is supremely good and wise, why do evil and the suffering of innocents exist? And the Saints themselves asked this very question. Illumined by faith, they give an answer that opens our hearts to trust and hope: in the mysterious designs of Providence, God can draw a greater good even from evil. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, December 1, 2010)

  • Through the wounds of Christ, we are able to see the evils that afflict humanity with eyes of hope

Dear sick and suffering, it is precisely through the wounds of Christ that we are able to see, with eyes of hope, all the evils that afflict humanity. In rising again, the Lord did not remove suffering and evil from the world, but he defeated them at their root. […] St. Bernard observed: ‘God cannot suffer but He can suffer with’. God, who is Truth and Love in person, wanted to suffer for us and with us; He became man so that He could suffer with man, in a real way, in flesh and blood. (Benedict XVI. Message for the Nineteenth World Day of the Sick, November 21, 2010)

  • We can try to limit suffering but we cannot eliminate it

Like action, suffering is a part of our human existence. Suffering stems partly from our finitude, and partly from the mass of sin which has accumulated over the course of history, and continues to grow unabated today. […] Indeed, we must do all we can to overcome suffering, but to banish it from the world altogether is not in our power. This is simply because we are unable to shake off our finitude and because none of us is capable of eliminating the power of evil, of sin which, as we plainly see, is a constant source of suffering. Only God is able to do this: only a God who personally enters history by making himself man and suffering within history. We know that this God exists, and hence that this power to “take away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29) is present in the world. […] We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 36, November 30, 2007)

  • What heals us is not fleeing from suffering, but our capacity for accepting it

It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater. It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 37, November 30, 2007)

  • Mary’s self-restraint prevents us from plumbing the depths of her grief

At the foot of the Cross, the prophecy of Simeon is fulfilled: her mother’s heart is pierced through (cf. Lk 2:35) by the torment inflicted on the Innocent One born of her flesh. Just as Jesus cried (cf. Jn 11:35), so too Mary certainly cried over the tortured body of her Son. Her self-restraint, however, prevents us from plumbing the depths of her grief; the full extent of her suffering is merely suggested by the traditional symbol of the seven swords. (Benedict XVI. Homily on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions at Lourdes, September 15, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea that man is the center of christian life

  • The Popes of the XX century proclaimed Jesus as the centre of the cosmos, of history, of the Christian faith

The Year of Faith which we launch today is linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path over the last fifty years: from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, yesterday, today and forever. Between these two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, there was a deep and complete convergence, precisely upon Christ as the centre of the cosmos and of history, and upon the apostolic eagerness to announce him to the world. Jesus is the centre of the Christian faith. The Christian believes in God whose face was revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the fulfilment of the Scriptures and their definitive interpreter. Jesus Christ is not only the object of the faith but, as it says in the Letter to the Hebrews, he is ‘the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith’ (Heb 12:2). (Benedict XVI. Homily during the Mass for the opening of the Year of Faith, October 11, 2012)

  • In pierced side of Christ, we deposit our faith

In my first Encyclical on the theme of love, the point of departure was exactly ‘contemplating the pierced side of Christ’, which John speaks of in his Gospel (cf. 19: 37; Deus Caritas Est, n. 12). And this centre of faith is also the font of hope in which we have been saved, the hope that I made the object of my second Encyclical. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, June 1, 2008)

  • To live the faith implies daily sacrifice, implies suffering

The theology of the Cross is not a theory it is the reality of Christian life. To live in the belief in Jesus Christ, to live in truth and love implies daily sacrifice, implies suffering. Christianity is not the easy road, it is, rather, a difficult climb, but one illuminated by the light of Christ and by the great hope that is born of him. St Augustine says: Christians are not spared suffering, indeed they must suffer a little more, because to live the faith expresses the courage to face in greater depth the problems that life and history present. But only in this way, through the experience of suffering, can we know life in its profundity, in its beauty, in the great hope born from Christ crucified and risen again. (Benedict XVI. General audience, November 5, 2008)

  • All the ways of holiness are important in God’s eyes

Hence there is a fundamental will of God for us all, which is identical for us all. However its application is different in every life, for God has a specific project for each person. Saint Francis de Sales once said: perfection, that is, being good, living faith and love, is substantially one but comes in many different forms. The holiness of a Carthusian and of a politician, of a scientist or of a peasant, and so forth, is very different. Thus God has a plan for every person and I must find, in my own circumstances, my way of living this one and, at the same time, common will of God whose great rules are indicated in these explanations of love. […] Thus each person will find different possibilities in his life: he may devote himself to volunteer work in a community of prayer, in a movement or in the activity of his parish, in his own profession. Finding my vocation and living it everywhere is important and fundamental, whether I am a great scientist or a farmer. Everything is important in God’s eyes: life is beautiful if it is lived to the full with that love which really redeems the world. (Benedict XVI. Address during the meeting with the youth in preparation for World Youth Day, March 25, 2010)

  • The Saints’ lives are hymns to God, despite their thousand different tones

In the Encyclical published last Wednesday, by referring to the primacy of charity in the life of Christians and of the Church, I wanted to recall that the privileged witnesses of this primacy are the Saints, who made their lives a hymn to God-Love despite their thousands of different tones. We celebrate them every day of the year in the liturgy. I am thinking, for example, of those whom we are commemorating in these days: the Apostle Paul with his disciples Timothy and Titus, Saint Angela Merici, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John Bosco. These saints are very different: the first belong to the beginnings of the Church and were missionaries of the first evangelization; in the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas is the model of a Catholic theologian who found in Christ the supreme synthesis of truth and love; in the Renaissance, Angela Merici presented a path of holiness also to those who were living in a secular environment; in the modern epoch, Don Bosco, inflamed with love for Jesus the Good Shepherd, cared for the most underprivileged children and became their father and teacher. In truth, the Church’s entire history is a history of holiness, animated by the one Love whose source is God. Indeed, only supernatural love, like the love that flows ever new from Christ’s heart, can explain the miraculous flourishing down the centuries of Orders, male and female religious Institutes and other forms of consecrated life. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, January 29, 2006)

  • Each one receives at baptism a personal vocation in accordance with the Father’s particular plan of love

Today, through the sacrament of Baptism, he consecrates them and calls them to follow Jesus, through the realization of their personal vocation in accordance with that particular plan of love that the Father has in mind for each one of them; the destination of this earthly pilgrimage will be full communion with him in eternal happiness. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 9, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on selling off churches to feed the poor

  • There are many forms of poverty other than material poverty

Fighting poverty requires attentive consideration of the complex phenomenon of globalization […] Yet the reference to globalization should also alert us to the spiritual and moral implications of the question, urging us, in our dealings with the poor, to set out from the clear recognition that we all share in a single divine plan […] This perspective requires an understanding of poverty that is wide-ranging and well articulated. If it were a question of material poverty alone, then the social sciences, which enable us to measure phenomena on the basis of mainly quantitative data, would be sufficient to illustrate its principal characteristics. Yet we know that other, non-material forms of poverty exist which are not the direct and automatic consequence of material deprivation. For example, in advanced wealthy societies, there is evidence of marginalization, as well as affective, moral and spiritual poverty, seen in people whose interior lives are disoriented and who experience various forms of malaise despite their economic prosperity. On the one hand, I have in mind what is known as “moral underdevelopment”, and on the other hand the negative consequences of “superdevelopment”. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the 42nd World Day of Peace, no. 2, January 1, 2009)

  • The witness of charity must go together with the proclamation of the truth of the Gospel

The witness of charity, practiced here in a special way, is part of the Church’s mission, together with the proclamation of the truth of the Gospel. Human beings do not only need to be physically nourished or helped through moments of difficulty; they also need to know who they are and to understand the truth about themselves and their dignity. […] With her service for the poor the Church is committed to proclaiming to all the truth about man who is loved by God, created in his image, redeemed by Christ and called to eternal communion with him. A great many people have thus been able to rediscover and are still rediscovering their dignity, lost at times because of tragic events; they rediscover trust in themselves and hope in the future. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Hostel of the Diocesan Caritas of Rome, February 14, 2010)

  • To change unjust structures we must focus attention on eternal salvation

Yet changing unjust structures is not of itself sufficient to guarantee the happiness of the human person. Moreover, as I affirmed recently to the Bishops gathered in Aparecida, Brazil, the task of politics ‘is not the immediate competence of the Church’ (Address to the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, 13 May 2007). Rather, her mission is to promote the integral development of the human person. For this reason, the great challenges facing the world at the present time, such as globalization, human rights abuses, unjust social structures, cannot be confronted and overcome unless attention is focused on the deepest needs of the human person: the promotion of human dignity, well-being and, in the final analysis, eternal salvation. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants of the 18th General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis, June 8, 2007)

  • When the so-called paupers’ movement rose up against a rich and beautiful Church, the Mendicant Orders opposed them

Francis of Assisi and Dominic of Guzmán […] were able to read ‘the signs of the times’ intelligently, perceiving the challenges that the Church of their time would be obliged to face. A first challenge was the expansion of various groups and movements of the faithful who, in spite of being inspired by a legitimate desire for authentic Christian life often set themselves outside ecclesial communion. They were profoundly adverse to the rich and beautiful Church which had developed precisely with the flourishing of monasticism. In recent Catecheses I have reflected on the monastic community of Cluny, which had always attracted young people, therefore vital forces, as well as property and riches. Thus, at the first stage, logically, a Church developed whose wealth was in property and also in buildings. The idea that Christ came down to earth poor and that the true Church must be the very Church of the poor clashed with this Church. The desire for true Christian authenticity was thus in contrast to the reality of the empirical Church. These were the so-called paupers’ movements of the Middle Ages. They fiercely contested the way of life of the priests and monks of the time, accused of betraying the Gospel and of not practising poverty like the early Christians, and these movements countered the Bishops’ ministry with their own ‘parallel hierarchy’. Furthermore, to justify their decisions, they disseminated doctrine incompatible with the Catholic faith. For example, the Cathars’ or Albigensians’ movement re-proposed ancient heresies such as the debasement of and contempt for the material world the opposition to wealth soon became opposition to material reality as such, […] Both Franciscans and Dominicans, following in their Founders’ footsteps, showed on the contrary that it was possible to live evangelical poverty, the truth of the Gospel as such, without being separated from the Church. They showed that the Church remains the true, authentic home of the Gospel and of Scripture. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, January 13, 2010)

  • Love does not calculate; Judas’ calculation is a disguise for egoistic lack of dedication

Mary of Bethany ‘took 300 grams [a pound] of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair’ (cf. 12: 3). Mary’s gesture is the expression of great faith and love for the Lord; it is not enough for her to wash the Teacher’s feet with water; she sprinkles on them a great quantity of the precious perfume which as Judas protested it would have been possible to sell for 300 denarii. She did not anoint his head, as was the custom, but his feet: Mary offers Jesus the most precious thing she has and with a gesture of deep devotion. Love does not calculate, does not measure, does not worry about expense, does not set up barriers but can give joyfully; it seeks only the good of the other, surmounts meanness, pettiness, resentment and the narrow-mindedness that human beings sometimes harbour in their hearts. […] Mary’s action is in contrast to the attitude and words of Judas who, under the pretext of the aid to be given to the poor, conceals the selfishness and falsehood of a person closed into himself, shackled by the greed for possession and who does not let the good fragrance of divine love envelop him. Judas calculates what one cannot calculate, he enters with a mean mindset the space which is one of love, of giving, of total dedication. And Jesus, who had remained silent until that moment, intervenes defending Mary’s gesture: ‘Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial’ (Jn 12: 7). (Benedict XVI. Homily, for the Fifth anniversary of the death of John Paul II, March 29, 2010)

  • Evangelization is the proclamation of Jesus as the one Saviour – without a reductive sociological understanding

The more ardent the love for the Eucharist in the hearts of the Christian people, the more clearly will they recognize the goal of all mission: to bring Christ to others. Not just a theory or a way of life inspired by Christ, but the gift of his very person. Anyone who has not shared the truth of love with his brothers and sisters has not yet given enough. The Eucharist, as the sacrament of our salvation, inevitably reminds us of the unicity of Christ and the salvation that he won for us by his blood. The mystery of the Eucharist, believed in and celebrated, demands a constant catechesis on the need for all to engage in a missionary effort centred on the proclamation of Jesus as the one Saviour. This will help to avoid a reductive and purely sociological understanding of the vital work of human promotion present in every authentic process of evangelization. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 86, February 22, 2007)

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Remnant Disciple

Traditional Catholic; member of Jesus' Remnant Army; leader of a Jesus to Mankind Prayer group since 2010. Prayer group leader for about 25 years.