Pope Benedict Vs. Francis: Part 15


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 the last post on this topic..


Benedict XVI…

…judges Francis’ idea that no one is saved alone

  • A hope that does not concern me personally is not a real hope; though an individualistic understanding of salvation is also incomplete

How could the idea have developed that Jesus’ message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the ‘salvation of the soul’ as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others? […] Life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. And life in its totality is a relationship with him who is the source of life. If we are in relation with him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we ‘live’. Yet now the question arises: are we not in this way falling back once again into an individualistic understanding of salvation, into hope for myself alone, which is not true hope since it forgets and overlooks others? Indeed we are not! Our relationship with God is established through communion with Jesus—we cannot achieve it alone or from our own resources alone. The relationship with Jesus, however, is a relationship with the one who gave himself as a ransom for all (cf. 1Tim 2:6). Being in communion with Jesus Christ draws us into his ‘being for all’; it makes it our own way of being. He commits us to live for others, but only through communion with him does it become possible truly to be there for others, for the whole. […] And however much ‘for all’ may be part of the great hope—since I cannot be happy without others or in opposition to them—it remains true that a hope that does not concern me personally is not a real hope. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe Salvi, nos. 16, 27, 28, 30, November 30, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the flesh of Christ and poverty as a theological category

  • The Word became man so that man might become a son of God

Incarnation derives from the Latin incarnatio. St Ignatius of Antioch — at the end of the first century — and, especially, St Irenaeus used this term in reflecting on the Prologue to the Gospel according to St John, in particular in the sentence ‘the Word became flesh’ (Jn 1:14). Here the word ‘flesh’, according to the Hebrew usage, indicates man in his whole self, the whole man, but in particular in the dimension of his transience and his temporality, his poverty and his contingency. This was in order to tell us that the salvation brought by God, who became man in Jesus of Nazareth, affects man in his material reality and in whatever situation he may be. God assumed the human condition to heal it from all that separates it from him, to enable us to call him, in his Only-Begotten Son, by the name of ‘Abba, Father’, and truly to be children of God. Saint Irenaeus stated: ‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God’ (Adversus Haereses, 3, 19, 1; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 460). (Benedict XVI. General Audience, January 9, 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea on evil in our times

  • A dictatorship of relativism – we however have a different goal: the Son of God

Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires. We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An ‘adult’ faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty… (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Homily at Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass, April 18, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christ at the Final Judgment

  • The Judge will return: we must not live as if good and evil were the same

The Judge who returns at the same time as Judge and Saviour has left us the duty to live in this world in accordance with his way of living. […] Since God can only be merciful we do not live as if good and evil were the same thing. This would be a deception. In reality, we live with a great responsibility. We have talents, and our responsibility is to work so that this world may be open to Christ, that it be renewed. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, November 12, 2008)

  • God is justice and creates justice: grace does not cancel out justice such that whatever one has done ends up being of equal value

The image of the Last Judgment is not primarily an image of terror, but an image of hope; for us it may even be the decisive image of hope. Is it not also a frightening image? I would say: it is an image that evokes responsibility, an image, therefore, of that fear of which Saint Hilary spoke when he said that all our fear has its place in love (cf. Tractatus super Psalmos, Ps 127:1-3). God is justice and creates justice. This is our consolation and our hope. And in his justice there is also grace. This we know by turning our gaze to the crucified and risen Christ. Both these things—justice and grace—must be seen in their correct inner relationship. Grace does not cancel out justice. It does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe Salve, no. 44, November 30, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on doing good

  • Charity needs to be practiced in the light of truth, else it be misconstrued and emptied of meaning

I am aware of the ways in which charity has been and continues to be misconstrued and emptied of meaning, […] Hence the need to link charity with truth not only in the sequence, pointed out by Saint Paul, of veritas in caritate (Eph 4:15), but also in the inverse and complementary sequence of caritas in veritate. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the ‘economy’ of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, no. 2, June 29, 2009)

  • Without truth, charity is without value and degenerates into sentimentality

Through this close link with truth, charity can be recognized as an authentic expression of humanity and as an element of fundamental importance in human relations, including those of a public nature. Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. […] A Christianity of charity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments, helpful for social cohesion, but of little relevance. In other words, there would no longer be any real place for God in the world. Without truth, charity is confined to a narrow field devoid of relations. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, nos. 3-4, June 29, 2009)

  • Atheism is one of the chief obstacles to human development – humanism which excludes God is inhuman

Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5) […] Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity. On the other hand, ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today. A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, no. 78, June 29, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on boasting of our sins

  • St. Paul is well aware that he is an earthen vessel in which God places the riches and power of his grace

What are the weaknesses that the Apostle is talking about? […] his attitude enables us to realize that every difficulty in following Christ and witnessing to his Gospel may be overcome by opening oneself with trust to the Lord’s action. St Paul is well aware that he is an ‘unworthy servant’ (Lk 17:10) — it is not he who has done great things, it is the Lord — an ‘earthen vessel’ (2Cor 4:7), in which God places the riches and power of his Grace. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, June 13, 2012)

  • St. Paul understands clearly how to face every event: God’s power is revealed at the very moment when we experience our own weakness

In this moment of concentrated contemplative prayer, St Paul understands clearly how to face and how to live every event, especially suffering, difficulty and persecution. The power of God, who does not abandon us or leave us on our own but becomes our support and strength, is revealed at the very moment when we experience our own weakness. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, June 13, 2012)

  • We must entrust ourselves to God as fragile earthen vessels, so that He may work miracles through our weakness

The Lord does not free us from evils, but helps us to mature in sufferings, difficulties and persecutions. […] Therefore, to the extent that our union with the Lord increases and that our prayers become intense, we also go to the essential and understand that it is not the power of our own means, our virtues, our skills that brings about the Kingdom of God but that it is God who works miracles precisely through our weakness, our inadequacy for the task. We must therefore have the humility not to trust merely in ourselves, but to work, with the Lord’s help, in the Lord’s vineyard, entrusting ourselves to him as fragile ‘earthen vessels’.(Benedict XVI. General Audience, June 13, 2012)

  • Sin ruins man’s relationship with God

Sin is the distortion or destruction of the relationship with God, this is its essence: it ruins the relationship with God, the fundamental relationship, by putting ourselves in God’s place. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, February 6, 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea on sin and mercy

  • The mercy of Jesus Christ takes nothing away from the gravity of sin

Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of God, has demonstrated this immense mercy, which takes nothing away from the gravity of sin, but aims always at saving the sinner, at offering him the possibility of redemption, of starting again from the beginning, of converting. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, October 31, 2010)

  • The pardon of the Lord incites us to acknowledge the gravity of sin

By experiencing the tenderness and pardon of the Lord, the penitent is more easily led to acknowledge the gravity of sin, is more resolved to avoid it in order to remain and grow in renewed friendship with him. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Confessors who serve in the four Papal Basilicas of Rome, February 19, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on communion to divorced in second union

  • The Church’s practice does not admit the ‘remarried’ to the sacraments: their condition contradicts Christ’s union with the Church, signified by the Eucharist

The Synod of Bishops confirmed the Church’s practice, based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10:2-12), of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, no. 29)

…judges Francis’ idea on the incapacity of the Church to resolve the crisis of the family

  • To safeguard the family: swim against the tide of prevalent culture

In today’s world, where certain erroneous concepts concerning the human being, freedom and love are spreading, we must never tire of presenting anew the truth about the family institution, as God has desired it since creation. […] In our day it is especially the stability of the family that is at risk; to safeguard it one often has to swim against the tide of the prevalent culture, and this demands patience, effort, sacrifice and the ceaseless quest for mutual understanding. Today, however, it is possible for husbands and wives to overcome their difficulties and remain faithful to their vocation with recourse to God’s support, with prayer and participating devotedly in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, May 13, 2006)

  • Be committed Christians: a culture favorable to the family flows from faith lived with courage

This pastoral commitment is made more urgent by the growing crisis of married life and the declining birth rate. […] It is within the complexity of these situations that you are called to promote the Christian meaning of life through the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, brought with gentle pride and great joy to the various milieus of daily life. From faith lived with courage, today as in the past, flows a rich culture of love for life, from conception until its natural end, the promotion of human dignity, of the elevation of the importance of the family based on faithful marriage and open to life, and of the commitment to justice and solidarity. The cultural changes taking place are asking you to be committed Christians. (Benedict XVI. Pastoral Visit to Aquileia and Venice: address to the Preparatory Assembly for the Second Ecclesial convention of Aquileia, May 7, 2011)

  • The duty of Pastors: presenting the extraordinary value of marriage

Your duty as Pastors consists in presenting in its full richness the extraordinary value of marriage, which as a natural institution is a ‘patrimony of humanity’. Moreover, its elevation to the loftiest dignity of a sacrament must be seen with gratitude and wonder. […] Today, it is necessary to proclaim with renewed enthusiasm that the Gospel of the family is a process of human and spiritual fulfilment in the certainty that the Lord is always present with his grace. This proclamation is often distorted by false concepts of marriage and the family that do not respect God’s original plan. In this regard, people have actually reached the point of suggesting new forms of marriage, some unknown to popular cultures in that its specific nature is altered. (Address to the participants of the Meeting of Presidents of Latin American Episcopal Commissions for the Family and Life, December 3, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on the harmony among good and evil

  • The unity of the first community of believers was nourished by the teaching of the Apostles

According to Acts, the unity of believers was seen in the fact that ‘they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers’ (Acts 2:42). The unity of believers was thus nourished by the teaching of the Apostles (the proclamation of God’s word), to which they responded with unanimous faith, by fraternal communion (the service of charity), by the breaking of the bread (the Eucharist and the sacraments), and by prayer, both personal and communal. It was on these four pillars that communion and witness were based within the first community of believers. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, no. 5, September 14, 2012)

  • The communion of the baptized is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety

It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion (cf. Lumen gentium, 13). He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of the Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer (cf. ibid; Acts 2:42). […] The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff (cf. CIC, can. 205; Lumen gentium, 13; 14; 21; 22; Unitatis redintegratio, 2; 3; 4; 15; 20; Christus Dominus, 4; Ad gentes, 22.) (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Contitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, November 4, 2009)

  • The Church: the place of unity and communion in truth

Jesus says: ‘When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth’ (Jn 16:13). Here, in speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus explains to us what the Church is and how she should live in order to be herself, to be the place of unity and communion in Truth; […] Dear friends, we must live in accordance with the Spirit of unity and truth and this is why we should pray that the Spirit illuminate and guide us so that we may overcome our fascination with following our own truths and receive the truth of Christ, passed on in the Church. (Benedict XVI. Homily Solemnity of Pentecost, May 27, 2012)

…judges Francis’ idea on the evils in our times

  • Dictatorship of relativism: the evil of our times

How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what Saint Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4:14) comes true. Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Mass Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice, April 18, 2005)

  • A satisfactory solution for problems requires the proclamation of the truth of Christ’s love in society

This dynamic of charity received and given is what gives rise to the Church’s social teaching, which is caritas in Veritate in re sociali: the proclamation of the truth of Christ’s love in society. This doctrine is a service to charity, but its locus is truth. Truth preserves and expresses charity’s power to liberate in the ever-changing events of history. It is at the same time the truth of faith and of reason, both in the distinction and also in the convergence of those two cognitive fields. Development, social well-being, the search for a satisfactory solution to the grave socio-economic problems besetting humanity, all need this truth. What they need even more is that this truth should be loved and demonstrated. Without truth, without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power, resulting in social fragmentation, especially in a globalized society at difficult times like the present. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, no. 5, June 29, 2009)

  • The present crisis challenges the Church devise effective ways of proclaiming the path of salvation

Among these, I would mention in the first place the need for a comprehensive study of the crisis of modernity. European culture in recent centuries has been powerfully conditioned by the notion of modernity. The present crisis, however, has less to do with modernity’s insistence on the centrality of man and his concerns, than with the problems raised by a ‘humanism’ that claims to build a regnum hominis detached from its necessary ontological foundation. A false dichotomy between theism and authentic humanism, taken to the extreme of positing an irreconcilable conflict between divine law and human freedom, has led to a situation in which humanity, for all its economic and technical advances, feels deeply threatened […] A third issue needing to be investigated concerns the nature of the contribution which Christianity can make to the humanism of the future., and thus of modernity, challenges the Church to devise effective The question of man, and thus of modernity, challenges the Church to devise effective ways of proclaiming to contemporary culture the ‘realism’ of her faith in the saving work of Christ. Christianity must not be relegated to the world of myth and emotion, but respected for its claim to shed light on the truth about man, to be able to transform men and women spiritually, and thus to enable them to carry out their vocation in history. (Benedict XVI. Speech to the participants in the First European Meeting of University Lecturers, June 23, 2007)

  • Disoriented youth need that the faith be proclaimed to them – the heart of the Church’s mission

To proclaim faith in the Word made flesh is, after all, at the heart of the Church’s mission, and the entire ecclesial community needs to rediscover this indispensable task with renewed missionary zeal. Young generations have an especially keen sense of the present disorientation, magnified by the crisis in economic affairs which is also a crisis of values, and so they in particular need to recognize in Jesus Christ ‘the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of human history’ (Gaudium et Spes, 10). (Benedict XVI. Homily, December 31, 2011)

  • Facing the ignorance of deepest spiritual roots: open yourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit so that no one is left without the indispensable spiritual food

I note with pleasure that one of the pastoral initiatives that you consider most urgently necessary for the Church in Ecuador is the realization of the ‘great mission’ […] The call that the Lord Jesus addressed to his disciples, sending them out to preach his message of salvation and to make disciples of all the peoples (cf. Mt 28: 16-20) must be a constant cause of meditation and the raison d’être of all pastoral action for the entire ecclesial community. Today too, as in all times and places, men and women need a personal encounter with Christ, in which they can experience the beauty of his life and the truth of his message. To face the numerous challenges of your mission amid a cultural and social environment that seems to forget the deepest spiritual roots of its identity, I ask you to open yourselves with docility to the action of the Holy Spirit so that under the impetus of his divine power the missionary zeal of the first Gospel preaching, as well as of the first proclamation of the Gospel in your regions, may be renewed. This requires that you make a generous effort to spread the Word of God in such a way that no one is left without this indispensable spiritual food, the source of life and light. The reading of and meditation on Sacred Scripture, in private or in the community, will lead to the intensification of Christian life, as well as to a renewed apostolic impulse in all the faithful. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Bishops of Ecuador on their ad limina visit, no. 2, October 16, 2008)