From the SSPX:
Pope Francis' Plan to Reform the Church
In a recent speech, Pope Francis referred to a "reform of the Church", but what he intends by this remark pertaining to doctrine is still unclear.
On November 10, in Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Pope Francis met with the participants of the Fifth National Ecclesial Convention meeting to discuss the theme “In Jesus Christ the New Humanism”. Francis said both Pelagianism (a heresy which denies original sin), and Gnosticism (which denies Christ’s divinity) are temptations that defeat a true Christian humanism.
In a 49-minute speech, in front of some 2,200 people from 220 dioceses, Francis said Catholics must realize: "We are not living an era of change but a change of era."
Pelagianism, the pope told the faithful, “prompts the Church not to be humble, selfless and blessed. And it does so with the appearance of being a good.” Such an approach, he added, “brings us confidence in structures, organizations, in perfect planning because it’s abstract.”
“It leads us also to take a controlling, hard, regulatory style,” he said. “The law gives to the Pelagian security to feel superior, to have a precise orientation. This is its strength, not the light of the breath of the Spirit.”
“In facing ills or the problems of the Church,” the pope went on, “it is useless to look for solutions in conservatism and fundamentalism, in the restoration of practices and outdated forms that even culturally aren’t able to be meaningful.”
"Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives—but is alive, knows being unsettled, enlivened," said the pope. "It has a face that is not rigid, it has a body that moves and grows, it has a soft flesh: it is called Jesus Christ."
"The reform of the Church then, and the church is semper reformanda …does not end in the umpteenth plan to change structures," he continued. "It means instead grafting yourself to and rooting yourself in Christ, leaving yourself to be guided by the Spirit—so that all will be possible with genius and creativity."
A second temptation to “defeat” Christian humanism is that of Gnosticism, the pope continued. “It leads us to trust in logical and clear reasoning, but has lost sight of the tenderness of the flesh of one's brother.”
“The difference between Christian transcendence and any form of Gnostic spiritualism is in the mystery of the Incarnation,” the pope added. “Not to put into practice, not to lead the Word into reality, means building on sand, remaining in theoretical ideas and degenerating into intimacies that bear no fruit, that make sterile its dynamism.”
What does this mean for the nature of Catholic doctrine, which is unchanging in itself? Our commentary will come in the near future.
Sources: VIS/National Catholic Register/National Catholic Register
I can't resist some comments on this.
Pelagianism is not just the denial of original sin, it's the radical denial of the necessity of grace for good works and salvation. Pelagius, slippery like all heretics, dodged around on this and was prepared to admit the helpfulness
of grace, especially exterior
graces (e.g. doctrinal instruction and good example), but he refused to admit the dogma that man requires interior
strengthening in order to enable him to perform supernaturally meritorious works. The implications of this heresy are profound and widespread in both doctrine and spirituality. In sum, Pelagianism is essentially naturalism, and it leads inevitably to practical contempt for the means of salvation, especially prayer and the sacraments, and of course to rampant pride.
The character of Francis strikes one as Pelagian. He too is a naturalist, his focus on natural good works, not supernatural ones, and he manifestly lacks the devotion to the sacraments and sacramentals which all serious Catholics inevitably develop and display. His disparaging comment some time ago regarding the counting up of rosaries, and his constant preaching on questions of this-worldly justice or otherwise (poverty, discrimination, the environment, etc.), reveal his naturalistic outlook. Pelagianism is absolutely the spirit of Pistoia and of Vatican II, and Francis is a true child of our Modernist era.
In leveling the charge of Pelagianism at traditional Catholics, as he does in the comments above, Francis is therefore engaged in several deceptions at once. The first is to mis-define Pelagianism, by focusing on the one aspect of pride which it fosters, to the exclusion of its more fundamental and characteristic aspect - naturalism, the denial of the necessity of grace. All
heresy comes from and in turn fosters pride. When one observes a doctrinal complex leading to pride in its devotees, one does not necessarily think of Pelagianism as the source. Accusing traditional Catholics of pride, and then sheeting this home to Pelagianism, is (to put it charitably), clumsy and vacuous. It's the kind of "analysis" one might expect of a twelve year old. But Francis is highly intelligent...
What marks traditional Catholics is not self-sufficiency but the very opposite. We are not in our own view superior to others, but rather we are radically conscious of our need for God's grace, and convinced of the value of the traditional means of grace provided by the Church. It's incredible that the situation should be so inverted so as to make those who insist upon retaining access to sound doctrine, the mass, the sacraments and sacramentals, and formal prayer, all aids to salvation and therefore in every case an implicit recognition of insufficiency in those who desire them, into men who feel themselves justified, like the Pharisee in the parable.
So the Pelagian with the faux, ostentatious, humility, mis-defines the heresy, then levels it against those to whom surely it least
Nearly everything this man says is deceptive and nasty. He contends that Pelagianism "leads us also to take a controlling, hard, regulatory style." Actually, the traditional (and absolutely essential) insistence on doctrinal purity leads to an atmosphere of liberty impossible in any other environment. This is because the Faith is a standard, fixed and clear, to which all must adhere. This frees the humblest Christian from any possibility of tyranny by those above him, and even positions him to correct
those above him if necessary! It is the arbitrary and vague doctrinal chaos of Francis and his ilk which results, entirely naturally and therefore inevitably, in tyranny. Without a common standard, nobody is safe. Again, this is observable in Francis's own management style - he is well known to brook no opposition and to impose ruthlessly his own ideas and policies.
He does the same thing with Gnosticism that he does with Pelagianism. Gnosticism is a system of secret and obscure doctrines, usually involving dualism (two gods, one good and one evil). Francis says that Gnosticism "leads us to trust in logical and clear reasoning," which is not the character of Gnostic mysticism at all. The very opposite is the case. Gnosticism does value knowledge as such over actions, but it is a gross error to imagine that this praise of knowledge led to logical or clear reasoning. The very opposite was the case. Again, Francis here is engaged in several deceptions. He is attempting to smear those who love traditional theology, especially the work of St. Thomas and the other schoolmen, with the accusation of Gnosticism. In order to do so, he mis-defines Gnosticism as if it were an intellectual system like Greek philosophy. It wasn't. It was an arcane system like Freemasonry, offering the allure of secret, deeper, knowledge to its adepts, as they progressed through its degrees. It hated the light, and could not therefore defend itself intellectually.
Gnostic literature consists largely in works of fiction and its clearest mark is the constant use of ambiguous mystical expressions which can be taken any way one likes. The purpose of Gnostic literature was as much to protect its doctrines from profane eyes, as to expose them to initiates. There was nothing logical or clear about. What is striking is how similar in style Francis himself is to the Gnostics
. Like them, he cannot - or chooses not to - express himself unambiguously. Like them he loves metaphors, and hates direct affirmations of truth. And like the Gnostics, he insinuates that he has arcane and superior knowledge which cannot be communicated in crisp and cogent statements, but which is accessible by following his magic formula: "leaving yourself to be guided by the Spirit—so that all will be possible with genius and creativity."