Pope Bergoglio’s “Politically Correct” Peace
[for Italian daily] Libero
September 14, 2014
|Moving with the new winds?|
Pope Bergoglio’s pilgrimage to the Memorial for the victims of the First World War in Redipuglia is an event rich in meaning and can’t be reduced to a generic and predictable appeal for “world peace”. Also, since his tones were dramatic: “perhaps we can speak of a third world war fought 'in parts,' with crimes, massacres and destruction…” This warning is a lot like an ill omen which cannot leave you indifferent. Also because it is the second time in a few days he has mentioned “a third world war”. It bears reflection.
Benedict XVI, in his first general audience on the 27th April 2005, had explained the choice of his name with a surprising historical reference to the Great War:
“I wanted to be called Benedict XVI in order to create a spiritual bond with Benedict XV, who steered the Church through the period of turmoil caused by the First World War. He was a courageous and authentic prophet of peace and strove with brave courage first of all to avert the tragedy of the war and then to limit its harmful consequences. Treading in his footsteps, I would like to place my ministry at the service of reconciliation and harmony between persons and peoples, since I am profoundly convinced that the great good of peace is first and foremost a gift of God, a precious but unfortunately fragile gift to pray for, safeguard and build up, day after day, with the help of all.”
In that reference to history by Ratzinger (a Pope of extraordinary wisdom) there was a precise philosophy and historical theology. In fact we are now at the end of a tragic cycle which began exactly one hundred years ago.
ONE HUNDRED DARK YEARS
1914 truly symbolized the opening of Pandora’s Box, the one of Greek Mythology which contained all the evils that started to spread all over the world. Since then, the demons (not only Dostoyevsky’s) have been roaming about the planet.
It was in fact in 1914 – exactly one hundred years ago – that the First World War broke out; the first global conflict to have a terrifying number of victims, which devastated the European koiné and caused the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, including all the tragic consequences we are well aware of in the diffusion of Communism worldwide with hundreds of millions of victims.
That war caused the advent of Fascism in Italy as well, and – shortly after – National-Socialism in Germany. As a result, it consigned the most satanic totalitarianisms to the world and set up the premises for the Second World War with the Shoah, the atomic bomb and all the rest that followed. Everything began in 1914. However, only the Church realized this. Pope St. Pius X had “prophesized” it a number of times, saying to his collaborators who gave testimony to him: “the Big War is coming” (and in effect it was called the Great War). The holy Pope died of a broken heart a month after the conflict broke out.
Amidst the general madness that shook Europe up, only the voice of the Church was raised, through the new Pope Benedict XV, elected in September 1914, to warn humanity of the abyss it was about to precipitate into. In the same way, all of the Popes of the second half of the 20th century had warned humanity against a sort of final bang from an unthinkable nuclear catastrophe.
THE RIGHT TO LIFE
According to the Church’s Magisterium, the foundation of peace is the defense of the values of human life and the rights of man. These values are threatened by totalitarianisms and fundamentalisms. Today though, also by a “dictatorship of relativism” which is spreading among the political elite and intellectuals of the West and causes disorientation in the peoples. Subsequently they are without direction, confused even in their good sentiments. This can be seen nowadays in the news stories and in the [changed] habits [of people].
This week, for example, the massacre of three Italian nuns in Burundi was acknowledged in general indifference, contrasted against the National tragedy, still ongoing, of the accidental death of a bear in Trentino. It is a collective phenomenon which is more shocking if you compare it to the general lukewarm reaction to the massacres of thousands of human beings (mainly Christians ) occurring right now in different parts of the world.
On the other hand, we have seen a progressive devaluation of human life for decades now, primarily - which is even graver - in State laws. They began first in the totalitarian states and the democratic ones followed suit.
Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI understood clearly this poisoned legacy from the 20th century and they linked it inextricably to the themes of war and peace.
Along with the pontiffs, Mother Theresa of Calcutta – who lived her entire life in the existential peripheries – repeated for years that, “abortion was the worst threat to peace in the world.” If we take a look at statistics it is difficult to say she was wrong: 50 million abortions every year - a number of victims equal to those of the Second World War. In the space of thirty years at least a billion lives have been swept away (as well as mothers wounded through this practice by the indifference of the world). The Church up until Benedict XVI, faced with such a massive slaughter, had cried out forcefully so as to awaken minds and hearts. She also had always claimed vigorously the right to religious liberty in totalitarian or fundamentalist regimes.
By contrast, Bergoglio has completely changed direction. He declared in the “Corriere della Sera”, March 20, 2014, that he didn’t understand [this] “non-negotiability” in the battle for life, which is at the base of all human rights and peace. In the interview with Father Spadaro he depicted the Church that insisted on these themes as “obsessed”. Then he remained silent at the request for human rights and religious liberty to the Islamic and Communist regimes.
It is a shift in the Church that is making the faithful very disorientated and has provoked the curious phenomenon of sudden “conversions” to “Bergoglianism” among churchmen and intellectuals.
One of the most surprising cases concerns an influential “opinion leader”, Father Livio Fanzaga, the longtime Director of Radio Maria and from whose microphones, had thundered for years on positions he has always defined as “Ratzingerian” (“In theology I follow Ratzinger’s Catholic orthodoxy” June 29 , 2009).
Until a few months ago, he had thundered against the ecclesiastics who were not following the Church’s battle on “the non-negotiable principles”. In a book written last year, but published this year, he was still thundering away, in his colorful style, against “false peace” and wrote:
“The Devil proposes universal peace, in exchange – for example – of the surrender on the non-negotiable principles, sustaining that it is no longer necessary to continue discussions and polemics, when it would be sufficient to give free way to every ideology in support of abortion, divorce, euthanasia, and homosexual 'marriage', etc., in order to see harmony among men finally achieved. In this context, how do we react? We need to be intransigent, by not giving into compromises with the truth of the Gospel, by being a light in the world and salt to the earth, by announcing always and everywhere that only Christ is our peace and without God there is no way to true peace in the world.”
Father Fanzaga also added a notation which – if read today – could be interpreted as a very harsh criticism of Bergoglio:
“So, let us therefore, be careful each time we are applauded or complimented, because we might be on the road of false peace, made up of false ecumenism, compromises, silences and betrayals of the truth. In the end, it is Jesus Himself who offers us the criteria of truth in the Gospel by forewarning us: 'They have persecuted me, they will also persecute you' (John 15, 20). If we are persecuted, we will know that we are following in the footsteps of Christ - in the truth.”
Yet, these are no longer the tones you hear on the most listened to of all Catholic Radios. Its Director seems to have become all of a sudden an enthusiastic supporter of Bergoglio’s way.
If this failure of the Church in the defense of life and man himself is confirmed, it will be an epochal turning-point. Tragic for everyone.
[Source. Translation: contributor Francesca Romana]