Pope Benedict Vs. Francis: Part 14


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 that the Pope should not judge

  • The Pope bears the highest responsibility for Catholic Christianity

But the invitation to give this address was extended to me as Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, who bears the highest responsibility for Catholic Christianity. In issuing this invitation you are acknowledging the role that the Holy See plays as a partner within the community of peoples and states. Setting out from this international responsibility that I hold, I should like to propose to you some thoughts on the foundations of a free state of law. (Benedict XVI. Address, Visit to the Federal Parliament, the Budenstag, in the Reichstag Building, Berlin, September 22, 2011)

  • Christian faith and ethics do not wish to stifle love, but to make it healthy

Christian faith and ethics do not wish to stifle love but to make it healthy, strong and truly free: this is the exact meaning of the Ten Commandments, which are not a series of ‘noes’ but a great ‘yes’ to love and to life. Human love, in fact, needs to be purified, to mature and also to surpass itself if it is to be able to become fully human, to be the beginning of true and lasting joy, to respond, that is, to the question of eternity which it bears within it and which it cannot renounce without betraying itself.

This is the principal reason why love between a man and a woman is only completely fulfilled in marriage. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants of the Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome, June 5, 2006)

  • There is a biological basis of the difference between the sexes

Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes. I am thinking, for example, of certain countries in Europe or North and South America. Saint Columban stated that: ‘If you take away freedom, you take away dignity’ (Ep. 4 ad Attela, in S. Columbani Opera, Dublin, 1957, p. 34). Yet freedom cannot be absolute, since man is not himself God, but the image of God, God’s creation. For man, the path to be taken cannot be determined by caprice or willfulness, but must rather correspond to the structure willed by the Creator. (Benedict XVI. Address to the the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the Traditional Exchange of New Year Greetings, January 11, 2010)

  • Profound falsehood of the ‘anthropological revolution’ in the new philosophy of sexuality of our times

While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: ‘one is not born a woman, one becomes so’ (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: ‘male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. (Benedict XVI. Address, Christmas Greetings to the members of the Roman Curia, December 21, 2012)

  • Denying the natural structure of marriage between a man and a woman brings serious harm to justice and peace

There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society. These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the 46th World Day of Peace, January 1, 2013)

  • A radical denial of the nature of the creature

The most dangerous snare of this current of thought is in fact the absolutization of man: man wants to be ab-solutus, freed from every bond and from every natural constitution. He claims to be independent and thinks that his happiness lies in his own self-affirmation. ‘Man calls his nature into question…. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be’ (Discourse to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2012). This is a radical denial of the nature of the creature and child in man, which ends in tragic loneliness. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, January 19, 2013)

… judges Francis’ ideas on the evangelization of the Americas

  • The priceless treasure of Latin America is faith in God – not a political ideology

This is the priceless treasure that is so abundant in Latin America, this is her most precious inheritance: faith in the God who is Love, who has shown us his face in Jesus Christ. You believe in the God who is Love: this is your strength, which overcomes the world, the joy that nothing and no one can ever take from you, the peace that Christ won for you by his Cross! This is the faith that has made America the ‘Continent of Hope.’ Not a political ideology, not a social movement, not an economic system: faith in the God who is Love—who took flesh, died and rose in Jesus Christ—is the authentic basis for this hope which has brought forth such a magnificent harvest from the time of the first evangelization until today… (Benedict XVI. Holy Mass for the inauguration of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida – Homily, May 13, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church reduced to a minority

  • The principal task of the Church is evangelization

The Church is missionary by nature and her principal task is evangelization, which aims to proclaim and to witness to Christ and to promote his Gospel of peace and love in every environment and culture. […] The Church is also called in the military world to be ‘salt’, ‘light’ and ‘leaven’, to use the images to which Jesus himself refers, so that mindsets and structures may be ever more fully oriented to building peace, in other words, to that ‘order planned and willed by the love of God’ (Message for World Day of Peace, 1 January 2006), in which people and peoples can develop to the full and see their own fundamental rights recognized (ibid., n.4). (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the Fifth National congress of Military Ordinariates, October 26, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on Communism

  • The wounds of Communism have not yet completely healed

Venerable Brothers, the Lord has chosen you to work in his vineyard in a society that only recently emerged from the sad winter of persecution. While the wounds that Communism inflicted on your peoples have not yet completely healed, the influence of a secularism that exalts the mirages of consumerism and makes man the measure of himself is growing. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Bishops of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia on their ad limina visit, June 23, 2006)

  • A hardened regime, but it could not make the Church bow down

Blessed Alojzije Stepinac responded with his priesthood, with the episcopate, with the sacrifice of his life: a unique ‘yes’ united to that of Christ. His martyrdom signals the culmination of the violence perpetrated against the Church during the terrible period of communist persecution. Croatian Catholics, and in particular the clergy, were objects of oppression and systematic abuse, aimed at destroying the Catholic Church, beginning with its highest Authority in this place. That particularly difficult period was characterized by a generation of Bishops, priests and Religious who were ready to die rather than to betray Christ, the Church and the Pope. The people saw that the priests never lost faith, hope and charity, and thus they remained always united. This unity explains what is humanly inexplicable: that such a hardened regime could not make the Church bow down. (Benedict XVI. Celebration of Vespers with Bishops, Priests, Religious and Seminarians and prayer at the tomb of Blessed Alojzije Viktor Stepinac, June 5, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on equality as the source of justice and happiness

  • The Marxist reproach of charity in the name of ‘justice’ is mistaken

Since the nineteenth century, an objection has been raised to the Church’s charitable activity, subsequently developed with particular insistence by Marxism: the poor, it is claimed, do not need charity but justice. Works of charity—almsgiving—are in effect a way for the rich to shirk their obligation to work for justice and a means of soothing their consciences, while preserving their own status and robbing the poor of their rights. Instead of contributing through individual works of charity to maintaining the status quo, we need to build a just social order in which all receive their share of the world’s goods and no longer have to depend on charity. There is admittedly some truth to this argument, but also much that is mistaken. It is true that the pursuit of justice must be a fundamental norm of the State and that the aim of a just social order is to guarantee to each person, according to the principle of subsidiarity, his share of the community’s goods. This has always been emphasized by Christian teaching on the State and by the Church’s social doctrine. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 26, December 25, 2005)

  • The socialization of means of production left behind a trail of appalling destruction

He [Marx] simply presumed that with the expropriation of the ruling class, with the fall of political power and the socialization of means of production, the new Jerusalem would be realized. Then, indeed, all contradictions would be resolved, man and the world would finally sort themselves out. Then everything would be able to proceed by itself along the right path, because everything would belong to everyone and all would desire the best for one another. […] True, Marx had spoken of the interim phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessity which in time would automatically become redundant. This ‘intermediate phase’ we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction. Marx not only omitted to work out how this new world would be organized—which should, of course, have been unnecessary. […] He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favourable economic environment. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe Salvi, no. 21, November 30, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the immortality of the soul

  • A distinguishing mark of Christians: they know that their lives will not end in emptiness

You must not ‘grieve as others do who have no hope’ (1Thess 4:13). Here too we see as a distinguishing mark of Christians the fact that they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness. Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well. So now we can say: Christianity was not only ‘good news’—the communication of a hitherto unknown content. In our language we would say: the Christian message was not only ‘informative’ but ‘performative’. That means: the Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spes salvi, no. 2, November 30, 2007)

  • The Judge has entrusted talents to us – now we must work so that the world may be open to Christ

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. He has entrusted his talents to us. Our third conviction, therefore, is responsibility before Christ for the world, for our brethren and at the same time also for the certainty of his mercy. Both these things are important. 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)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s omnipotence

  • We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution

We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. (Benedict XVI. Homily of the Mass of the Imposition of the Pallium and conferral of the Fisherman’s Ring at the beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome, April 24, 2005)

  • The notion of creation must transcend our naturalistic ways of thinking and speaking about the evolution of the world

Thomas Aquinas taught that the notion of creation must transcend the horizontal origin of the unfolding of events, which is history, and consequently all our purely naturalistic ways of thinking and speaking about the evolution of the world. Thomas observed that creation is neither a movement nor a mutation. It is instead the foundational and continuing relationship that links the creature to the Creator, for he is the cause of every being and all becoming (cf. Summa Theologica, I, q.45, a. 3). (Benedict XVI. Address to members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 31, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on the formation of consciences

  • Forming upright consciences receptive to the demands of justice

Yet one of the tasks of the Church in Africa consists in forming upright consciences receptive to the demands of justice, so as to produce men and women willing and able to build this just social order by their responsible conduct. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus, no. 22, November 19, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on knowing God’s will from the people

  • Christ’s voice rings out in the preaching of the Apostles and their successors

How can we listen to the voice of the Lord and recognize it? In the preaching of the Apostles and of their successors in which Christ’s voice rings out, calling us to communion with God and to the fullness of life. As we read today in the Gospel of Saint John: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand’ (Jn 10: 27-28). The Good Shepherd alone tends his flock with deep tenderness and protects it from evil, and in him alone can the faithful put absolute trust. (Benedict XVI. Regina Caeli, World Day of Prayer for Vocations, April 25, 2010)

  • St. Paul did not preach an à la carte Christianity, nor shrink from the commitment to proclaiming the whole of God’s will – that’s our mission

This is important; the Apostle did not preach an à la carte Christianity to suit his own inclinations, he did not preach a Gospel to suit his own favourite theological ideas; he did not shrink from the commitment to proclaiming the whole of God’s will, even an inconvenient will and even topics of which he was personally not so enamoured. It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity. But it is important that we teach and preach — as Saint Paul says here — and really propose the will of God in its entirety. […]Thus we must make known and understood — as far as we are able — the content of the Church’s Creed, from the Creation until the Lord’s return, until the new world. Doctrine, liturgy, morals, prayer — the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church — indicate this totality of God’s will. (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina, Meeting with the Parish Priests of the Rome Diocese, March 10, 2011)

  • God himself speaks through His Word, Jesus, who continues his ministry passing through the Apostles

And lastly, proclamation: the one who proclaims does not speak on his own behalf but is sent. He fits into a structure of mission that begins with Jesus, sent by the Father, passes through the Apostles the term ‘apostles’ means ‘those who are sent’ and continues in the ministry, in the missions passed down by the Apostles. The new fabric of history takes shape in this structure of missions in which we ultimately hear God himself speaking, his personal Word, the Son speaks with us, reaches us. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, December 10, 2008)

  • The wisdom of God often appears to be foolishness in the eyes of the world            

This is a point that every Christian must understand and apply to himself or herself: only those who first listen to the Word can become preachers of it.

Indeed, they must not teach their own wisdom but the wisdom of God, which often appears to be foolishness in the eyes of the world (cf. 1Cor 1: 23). (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the International Congress on the 40th Anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, September 16, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on contemplative life

  • The religious have at their disposal a wisdom that the world does not possess

Men and women who withdraw to live in God’s company acquire by making this decision a great sense of compassion for the suffering and weakness of others. As friends of God, they have at their disposal a wisdom that the world — from which they have distanced themselves — does not possess and they amiably share it with those who knock at their door. I therefore recall with admiration and gratitude the women and men’s cloistered monasteries. Today more than ever they are oases of peace and hope, a precious treasure for the whole Church, especially since they recall the primacy of God and the importance, for the journey of faith, of constant and intense prayer. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, December 1, 2010)

  • In a world growingly incapable of silence, the charism of the Charterhouse is a precious gift

In recent decades, moreover, the development of the media has spread and extended a phenomenon that had already been outlined in the 1960s: virtuality risks predominating over reality. Unbeknownst to them, people are increasingly becoming immersed in a virtual dimension because of the audiovisual messages that accompany their life from morning to night. […] Some people are no longer able to remain for long periods in silence and solitude. I chose to mention this socio-cultural condition because it highlights the specific charism of the Charterhouse as a precious gift for the Church and for the world, a gift that contains a deep message for our life and for the whole of humanity. (Benedict XVI. Liturgy of Vespers in the church of the Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno, October 9, 2011)

  • Your place is not on the fringes – you are in the heart of the Church

This is why I have come here, dear Brothers who make up the Carthusian Community of Serra San Bruno, to tell you that the Church needs you and that you need the Church! Your place is not on the fringes: no vocation in the People of God is on the fringes. We are one body, in which every member is important and has the same dignity, and is inseparable from the whole. You too, who live in voluntary isolation, are in the heart of the Church and make the pure blood of contemplation and of the love of God course through your veins. (Benedict XVI. Liturgy of Vespers in the church of the Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno, October 9, 2011)

  • Deep bond between pastoral service and the contemplative vocation

I would like our meeting to highlight the deep bond that exists between Peter and Bruno, between pastoral service to the Church’s unity and the contemplative vocation in the Church. Ecclesial communion, in fact, demands an inner force, that force which Father Prior has just recalled, citing the expression ‘captus ab Uno’, ascribed to St Bruno: ‘grasped by the One’, by God, ‘Unus potens per omnia’, as we sang in the Vespers hymn. From the contemplative community the ministry of pastors draws a spiritual sap that comes from God. ‘Fugitiva relinquere et aeterna captare’: to abandon transient realities and seek to grasp that which is eternal. These words from the letter your Founder addressed to Rudolph, Provost of Rheims, contain the core of your spirituality (cf. Letter to Rudolph, n. 13): the strong desire to enter in union of life with God, abandoning everything else, everything that stands in the way of this communion, and letting oneself be grasped by the immense love of God to live this love alone. Dear brothers you have found the hidden treasure, the pearl of great value (cf. Mt 13:44-46). (Benedict XVI. Liturgy of Vespers in the church of the Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno, October 9, 2011)

  • The prayer of contemplatives sustains the fervor of the priesthood

In certain places in Africa, a monastery of contemplative religious has been established in the vicinity of the major seminary. Is it not especially meaningful that those who saw the necessity of promoting vocations to the priesthood, so as to enable the young churches to become fully implanted in the native soil, also professed their conviction that only the grace of God, humbly sought in constant prayer, could sustain the fervor of the priesthood? I ask you therefore, as a special request on this occasion, to make it one of the primary intentions of your prayers, to beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (cf. Mt 9:38). (John Paul II. Address to the Sisters of the Order of Carmel, Nairobi, May 7, 1980)

  • An apostolate of greatest ecclesial and redemptive value – example Saint Theresa of Lisieux: the ‘Patroness of the Missions’

Following the steps of Saint Benedict, or Saint Bernard, Saint Clare of Assisi or Saint Teresa of Avila, cloistered nuns assume, full time, this service of divine praise and intercession in the name of the Church. This form of life is also an apostolate of greatest ecclesial and redemptive value, which Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus illustrated magnificently in the course of her short existence in the Carmel of Lisieux. Let us not forget that Pope Pius XI proclaimed her as ‘Patroness of the Missions.’ (John Paul II. Address to women religious gathered in the Carmel of Kinshasa, Zaire, no. 4, May 3, 1980)

  • You accompany the apostolic mission of evangelizers, your collaboration in the new evangelization is particularly important

Dear sisters, you are the representatives of the special vocation of contemplative life that has passed through the history of the Church, reminding everyone of the urgency of constantly walking toward the definitive encounter with God and the blessed. […] How precious is your vocation of special consecration! It is truly a gift situated in the heart of the mystery of ecclesial communion, accompanying the apostolic mission of so many in their efforts to announce the Gospel. The collaboration that you are called to offer in the new evangelization is particularly important. (John Paul II. Address to cloistered religious, Loreto, September 10, 1995)