Rorate Caeli

Archbp. Hector Aguer: The position of Francis and Fernandez is "absolutely contrary to the historical depth of the ecclesial care of the Faith"

Former heads of the DDF / CDF / Inquisition

Argentines in Rome

+ Hector Aguer
Archbishop Emeritus of La Plata
July 28, 2023

What a paradox! A country like Argentina, without currency, with an inclusive language imposed by the grammatical ignorance of politicians, and with unarmed forces -- that is, almost a non-country, according to the characterization of country offered by General De Gaulle -- has colonized papal Rome. The Supreme Pontiff is Argentine, and now so will be the Prefect of the most important Dicastery, that of the Doctrine of the Faith.

The letter from the Successor of Peter to his chosen one implicitly intends to redo the history of the former Holy Office. Fernández, the addressee, stated in declarations that "that name, or that of the Inquisition -- as it was also called -- is a bit scary, because it was a place of persecution of heretics; Pope Francis says that at times immoral methods were used, as a sort of intelligence and control and even at some point torture."

The first thing that comes to mind is that this very distant allusion forgets centuries of ecclesial history, and it halts before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- later Benedict XVI -- during two decades of John Paul II's pontificate. Ratzinger is the author of monumental theological work, in the process of being published in full, and not a few books on spirituality. This work combines theological knowledge, philosophical penetration, asceticism and mysticism and a very broad culture. This reference to Ratzinger's personal work is appropriate, since it contains the genuine criteria for his performance as Prefect. The office includes the examination of the ideas disseminated, and the need to weigh what is disseminated in the Church in the light of her authoritative Tradition.

Archbishop Fernandez -- who until now was Archbishop of La Plata -- continues to transmit what Francis told him, which "is very clear. You have to take care of the teaching of the Church but not by controlling or persecuting, but by making it grow, deepening the reflections, trying to go to the depth of the subject. That makes us all grow. If there is a problem or someone is accused of having said something out of place, we talk about it and we talk about it."

The new Prefect also points out that the Pope's insistence that he accept the position "shows his enormous delicacy and the respect he has for people's consciences." According to these references, they ponder the "very great novelty," which would also be reflected in the next synod, in which "a multitude of themes will emerge because it is planned with an openness never seen before; it is a unique space where the Pope sits, not to lower the line, but to listen to the diversity of opinions and to try to reach some consensus." He continued: "There is a mission, and it is that I have to make sure that the things that are said are coherent with what Francis has taught us. He gave us a look, a broader understanding, and we cannot respond today the same way we responded 40 years ago."

I translate: there is absolute freedom for all the inventions and machinations; you just have to beware of the "backwardists" who stubbornly follow the ecclesial Tradition. To those with good understanding, this explains the meaning of the current pontifical ideology, according to which the papal monarchy persecutes and liquidates those who do not keep up with the doctrinal relativism professed by the Latin American (Argentinian, we should say) officialdom.

The position that I have outlined -- based on actual statements, which have been collected by the newspapers -- is absolutely contrary to the historical depth of the ecclesial care of the Faith, since the time of the Apostles. Even in times when the pontifical power was exercised by cretins, womanizers, worldly men, or victims of imperial meddling, it always took care that the Truth that Christ has entrusted to the Church not be sullied.

Let us review the apostolic teaching recorded in the New Testament. I limit myself to a single quotation: "I adjure you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in the name of his Manifestation and his Kingdom: proclaim the Word of God, insist with occasion or without occasion, argue, reprove, exhort, with untiring patience and with eagerness to teach. For the time will come when men will no longer endure sound doctrine; on the contrary, carried away by their inclinations, they will seek out a multitude of teachers to flatter their ears, and will turn away from the truth to listen to fanciful things [the Greek text says myths]. You, on the other hand, watch carefully....." Thus wrote the Apostle Paul to his disciple Timothy (2 Tim 4:1-5).

The Fathers of the Church also fought against errors; in the first six centuries the catalogs of heresies multiplied, reproving them. Let us recall, for example, the Adversus haereses by St. Irenaeus of Lyons, the De haeresibus by St. Augustine, and other works of the same name by various authors. The Councils included in their decisions the condemnation of people who spread errors. It is a constant attitude. The duty is not only to deepen, enlighten, and spread the Truth; the Truth must be vindicated when it is undermined. This has always been done. And doing it requires vigilance. In the quotation from 2 Tm 4, 5 it is said, in Greek: sy de nēphe en pasin; it is a laborious and all-embracing occupation.

As an aside, I refer to a non-Catholic case. The philosopher of existence Soeren Kierkegaard, a Lutheran in continuous search of authentic Christianity, in his Diary, which occupies 19 volumes of his work, takes up this vigilance against the modern world and its errors, which imply the abolition of Christianity.

Argentines in Rome. In a recent commentary on the situation of our country, Francis has said that "we Argentines are the problem." Yes, but today we have colonized papal Rome! One last piece of news: the Supreme Pontiff has summoned a young Argentine priest to help him as his personal secretary.