Rorate Caeli

Guest Article: “The Great Loss: Or, the Pontificate of Jorge Bergoglio”

The following analysis, originally in German (here) and submitted to Rorate Caeli in an authorized English translation, is the finest synopsis of the pontificate and the theology of Pope Francis that I have yet seen. We are very pleased to present it here. ~ PAK

The "Abrahamic Family House" promoted by Pope Francis

The Great Loss: Or, the Pontificate of Jorge Bergoglio

By Vigilius[1]

Jorge Bergoglio’s pontificate is characterized by numerous ambivalences. For example, the Pope speaks out against the woke ideology, but continually receives representatives of this very milieu; he opposes “faggotry” in the seminaries and at the same time is the greatest promoter of the Church’s gay movement; he calls abortion murder and yet has his Curia Archbishop Paglia disseminate conspicuously restrained statements on this serious matter; he sends critical letters to the Synodal Way, but finally lets everything go with the Germans, while he dismisses Bishop Strickland, actively prevents the practice of the Ordo Antiquus and destroys conservative spiritual movements; he makes relativistic statements about religion and then retracts them, gives Eugenio Scalfari several interviews of extremely dubious theological content while giving catecheses that formulate opposing positions—and so on.

These ambiguities and the fact that the Pope has never formally claimed his magisterial primacy for the formulation of a heresy have often caused confusion in the conservative camp and – along with the concern not to damage the papal office—have encouraged the tendency to remain apparently nuanced despite all criticism of individual points. One of the frequently heard relativization narratives is that Francis is erratic in nature, primarily politically and practically oriented, not at all a systematic-theoretical mind and, incidentally, surrounded by bad advisors.

Now I do not wish to deny that these contradictions and inconsistencies exist. Nevertheless, I am not of the opinion that no systematic approach can be discovered in this pontificate.
There may be ambiguities in the personality of the pope himself and vestiges of tradition that emerge again and again, as well as irritatingly divergent Vatican pronouncements. I would like to leave open the question of whether and to what extent the strange incoherences are of a planned, tactical nature in order to reassure the conservatives from time to time and to contain the resistance to this pontificate. Presumably this is occasionally the case. On the whole, however, it seems to me that these are genuine confusions, but of the kind that do not happen simply due to a lack of an organizing center; they are precisely the intrinsic consequence of the system that I assume wants to completely redefine the existence of the Church and whose next consequences in an institution as old as the Catholic Church must be chaotic.

It is significant that Francis himself said that he “makes a lot of messes”, and at the same time called on others to create unrest and chaos.[2] Ultimately, however, chaos is not an end in itself, but both an inevitable consequence of the revolution and its means of self-realization. Thus, in a way, there is a revolutionary current beneath the ambiguities and the momentarily emerging traditional relics, a spiritual primary tendency that forms the actual defining center of the Bergoglian era – sometimes more, sometimes less openly apparent. One must not allow oneself to be blinded by documents such as Dignitas infinita.

“Any great thought is unjust,” says Nicolás Gómez Dávila. This is because one could of course always differentiate more, claim further accentuations, nuances and ambiguities. Nevertheless, its constitutional injustice does not invalidate the fundamental truth of the idea. Moreover, we need such thoughts, because without them we would lose our perspective and lose ourselves in the thicket of that eagerness to differentiate that is widespread in the academic field and is quite capable of differentiating until the phenomenon has disappeared and we can no longer see anything at all. It is the task of thinking to make the phenomenon as clear-cut as possible.

In the following, I would like to deal with the Bergoglian system, of whose existence I am convinced. This is by no means to say that Francis is an important theologian. He is certainly not; in truth, Jorge Bergoglio has never formulated any propositions of note. In fact, the most impressive feature of this pontificate is precisely the insistence with which Bergoglio, unscrupulous and self-assured as only mediocre minds can be, pushed an old project that he by no means invented towards its completion. Ironically, his only historical significance lies precisely in this merely catalytic effectiveness, which will weigh on his memory like a dark curse.

Fratelli tutti

There is a remarkable little speech by Francis from the early phase of his pontificate, which he spoke to his friend, the Anglican-Episcopalian clergyman Tony Palmer, who later died in an accident in 2014, on his cell phone so that Palmer could present this message to the participants of a Pentecostal congress[3]. At the beginning of this video, which presents itself as spontaneous but is nevertheless systematically planned, the Pope apologizes for not speaking English but Italian, only to follow up with a deliberate sentimental change of category, saying that he did not want to speak English or Italian at all, but “heartfelt” with “the grammar of love”.

This is brilliantly staged. Instead of rational-distinctive theological terms, which could enable an argumentative dispute and thus legitimate opposition for the sake of the question of truth, the emotional level is used, which is a clever tactical manoeuvre with which possible opponents of the substantive position advocated by Francis are delegitimized a priori and eliminated from the field. The emotionalized coordinate system established by the speaker without further ado opens up a highly moral discourse in which all objections must immediately appear hard-hearted and hurtful. Francis sets the rules of the game even for his opponents. At the same time, this “speech from the heart” corresponds precisely to the core concern presented, which is both secured and realized through the chosen rhetorical method: unity across borders and unconditional fraternity. According to the Bishop of Rome, he is already realizing both of these with what he explicitly calls his “bishop-brother Tony Palmer”. In this scenario, the critic of such emphases of unity can no longer be anything other than a villain. In his hardening, the critic disregards Pope Francis’ explicitly stated “longing to embrace” the brethren of other denominations, preferring instead those theological distinctions that the Pope explicitly and without differentiation identifies as sinful divisions.

In the further course of his speech, which is governed by the grammar of love, the Pope turns to the Old Testament story of Joseph, which forms the organizing center of his entire address. Joseph’s brothers, driven by hunger, go to Egypt to buy bread. Their money, Francis remarks with a loaded expression, is not enough for them to eat. But then they find something even more important than bread, namely reunion with their brother. “All of us have currency,” says Francis, “the currency of our culture, our history, we have a lot of cultural riches, and religious riches, and we have diverse traditions.” And now comes the big confrontation: “But we have to encounter one other as brothers.” According to the Pope, it is the “tears of love,” longing for communion, that bring us together and which are much more important than the aforementioned secondary riches of particular religious traditions, which form the inauthentic sphere of theological questions of truth and the corresponding lines of conflict. To put it more precisely: The “tears of love” do not make us brothers first and foremost, but allow us to discover the actual treasure hidden beneath the doctrinal propositions of particular traditions, namely, that we have always been brothers already.

This formulates the simple and yet extremely consequential basic axiom of the Bergoglian world view. It is dominated by the idea that universal brotherhood, beyond secondary religious traditions, is the most important principle of all for morality and concrete political action, but also for the theology and spiritual practice of individuals and the Church as a whole.

During his term of office to date, Pope Francis has expanded the guiding category of universal fraternity to include the aspect of ecological responsibility for “Mother Earth”. However, both motifs are only two sides of the same coin. In his two writings “Laudato Si” and “Laudate Deum”, concern for the planet becomes the central focus of the Church’s attention. Once again, apart from the serious problem that the Pope is here making himself the custodian of scientifically highly controversial economic and climate-ecological positions and is thus definitely overstepping the precisely defined area of magisterial competence, Francis is attempting to give the ecological paradigm theological centrality—far beyond its merely natural and ethical relevance.

This is why the Pope’s famous statements at a Focolare meeting celebrating the international day of action to raise awareness against environmental pollution, known as “Earth Day”, are so significant. When Francis proclaims here that our common humanity is the decisive factor—as when he says: “‘But I belong to this religion, or to that other one ...’ That is not important!”[4]—this sentence is not remarkable because it claims that the specific religious affiliation is insignificant when it comes to the fight against environmental pollution. That would be trivial. Rather, it is relevant because Jorge Bergoglio fundamentally and unambiguously assumes that the fight against environmental pollution as an integral part of the fight for a better, i.e. a socialist world of brotherhood, is the most important concern of religion in general and that, consequently, the other differences between religious traditions are of marginal relevance.

The commitment to the idea of universal fraternity beyond particular religious traditions, established as the theological core of the church’s self-understanding and enriched by the socio-ecological idea of world transformation, forms the defining center of the Bergoglian universe. In the eyes of Jorge Bergoglio, it is, so to speak, the articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae that justifies the existence of the Church in the first place. The implications of this paradoxical position—that the essence of a particular tradition, i.e. the differentia specifica, consists in relativizing itself and thus negating it as such—are so monstrous for the Catholic Church that we must examine them separately in a next step. First, however, we need to make the phenomenon sufficiently visible.

How little exaggerated the assertion of this definitional center is, is shown by the fact that it has persisted throughout the entire pontificate even in such a way that—not least for political reasons—it has increasingly emerged as an all-impregnating principle. The most recent example is the Pope’s last Lenten message, in which he interprets Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt, returning allegorically to the Orient as he did ten years ago. The text, the reading of which can be called a true work of penance, bears the title “Through the Desert God Leads us to Freedom”.[5]

You can already guess everything, and you guess right. Pharaoh and the slave house stand for those “oppressive bonds” that deny “the brotherhood that originally binds us together”, while this brotherhood itself forms the “promised land”. There it is again, the “fraternità universale”, which is translated into German as “Geschwisterlichkeit” on the Vatican website itself and which forms the articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae bergogliensis. Accordingly, Francis deciphers the longing of the grumbling Israelites for the fleshpots of Egypt and the lingering reign of Pharaoh as a desire to return to “oppressive bonds”, which desire is identical to the “globalization of indifference” that, as Pope Francis explicitly reminds us, was criticized by him on his trip to the migrants in Lampedusa.

According to Jorge Bergoglio, Lent is about asserting the “dream of the promised land”—repeatedly referred to as such—against a “growth model that divides us” and “pollutes the earth, the water and the air”. However, Pharaoh’s kingdom, which is opposed to the promised land, is not only determined by economic ties and eco-ethical misconceptions, but at least as much by those ties that relate to “our position”, “tradition” or socio-cultural group. The “Lenten season” is intended to make us recognize these particular relationships that lead to inequalities, so that we can then abandon the economic, social, and religious-traditional “security of what we have already seen” in favour of moving out into the new world of “worldwide brotherhood and sisterhood”.

According to Jorge Bergoglio, this dream of the “new world” and “new humanity”, which is no longer “tied to money, certain projects, ideas, goals, our position, a tradition, or even certain people”, is nothing less than the “dream of God” himself: a dream of the “Promised Land towards which we are heading when we leave slavery”. God dreams the socialist dream of the rediscovery and reawakening of the universal fraternity that has always existed, in which the “darkness of inequalities” is dispelled and all become “companions”. It is a dream in which exclusivist claims to truth, religious dogmatics, distinctive religious community identities, and all circumscribed cultural and ethnic affiliations have lost their supposedly oppressive binding force. Freedom, on the other hand, is defined as being beyond the shackles of particularity, as identity with the generality of the cosmos of boundless brotherhood and sisterhood.

The Promised Land is realized in a processual way; we must work for it with all our strength and overcome our fixation on particular identities, which are considered to be egotistical. This means, not least, that we must fight against our temptation, coming from our need for security, to make a particular creed absolute beyond the universal fraternity that has always existed. The papal theory of fraternity makes it unavoidable that all the traditional theological beliefs must submit to it and be redefined accordingly. Any martyrdom for the sake of a creed must also be dissolved, as must any mission related to a specific creed; both will be transformed into the categories of “social commitment” and “listening dialog”, which will become the new guiding spiritual dimensions. The overcoming of “our ideas” and “our tradition” as well as the correlating classical-religious activities—in short: the overcoming of everything “backwardist” (“indietristic”) is declared to be the central religious commandment, God’s own will and mission.

It is an obvious fact that Pope Francis is an authoritarian man of power. However, my thesis is that his rule is exercised far less irrationally than is claimed in many descriptions of this pontificate. Pope Francis has a basic agenda, and it is the one I have described, which he is implementing in the Church with remarkable consistency. Francis is primarily neither a pragmatist nor a politician; in his own words, he is above all a “dreamer”. To put it less romantically: Jorge Bergoglio is primarily an ideologue.

The great loss

In the following, my aim is to shed light on the theological depth of the theory that religious traditions are only of secondary relevance, a theory that is held now even by a pope. It would presumably be difficult for many religious convictions to accept the Bergoglian theory of relativity; it is probably most compatible with Asian spiritualities. For the Catholic Church, however, it is devastating.

Crucially, it is the essential characteristic of the Catholic tradition that it does not see itself as a mere context of tradition. The tradition of the Church fundamentally understands the Church not as a structure of tradition-formations, i.e. of conscious ideas, formulas of faith, and symbolic practices, but as an inner moment of an ontological event from which these tradition formations logically emerge in the first place. Already with the texts of the New Testament, the ecclesial consciousness affirms and testifies to this decisive event of being, with which the Church stands and falls. If this traditional faith were to be replaced by faith in tradition itself, nihilism would have already taken hold and even the traditional context would disappear à la longue. If the reference to tradition is not supported by faith in the truth, i.e. in the very being of the object of Church tradition, tradition degenerates into a purely formal “traditionalism” that cannot sustain itself. It feeds on a faith that it has already lost. I know priests who were traditionalists with inquisitorial verve and enthusiastically celebrated the Old Rite, until their long-standing unbelief, which was obscuring itself in their own eyes, broke through so massively that they gave up their office and became equally hardened ideological gay activists. The two phenomena are only seemingly contradictory. In truth, they are merely different manifestations of identical nihilism.

The event to which the traditional faith of the Church fundamentally refers is that God has constituted a new, and therefore supernatural, context of being in Christ in an undeducible act of grace that reaches infinitely beyond the mere possibilities of created nature. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Cor 5:17). The novelty of this new being was described with great boldness by the Church Fathers as the theosis of man, in which man remains a creature, but in grace is lifted infinitely beyond the sphere of mere creation and receives such an inwardly transforming share in divine life, in God’s own holiness, that the mystic St. John of the Cross can compare man transformed in Christ to a log of wood which, when placed in a blazing fire, can hardly be separated from the ambient glowing embers. In the more prosaic language of scholastic theology, this means that the Holy Spirit becomes the principle of our spiritual acts and, in the visio beatifica, even of the human body.

As Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and John Duns Scotus already asserted[6], the human spirit is constitutionally characterized by an “appetitus innatus” that is oriented towards the supernatural life, which finds its inner completion in the unveiled contemplation of God. Although the desiderium in visionem beatificam is inherent in the human being, created nature is never able to achieve this supernatural goal of its own natural longing by itself. Moreover, nature has no right to its perfection; the gift of the goal remains pure grace, also in the sense of complete lack of entitlement. In other words, it is precisely part of man’s essential nature to be so dispossessed of himself and so lacking in autonomy that he is completely dependent, materially and formally, on an external, unavailable freedom for the perfection of his own nature, which may have mercy, but can also refuse this mercy. A relationship of dependence is formulated here that cannot be conceived in a more radical way.

What is of great relevance in our context is that the Catholic Church does not assume an extrinsic stance toward the supernatural being-in-Christ to which she bears witness. In her proclamation, she does not simply deal with something that is essentially different from herself, but rather, as I said earlier, understands herself as an inner moment of the ontological event outlined above. The new being-in-Christ is the Church herself. As his Spirit-filled body, she is nothing less than the supernatural communion of life with the incarnate Son, from whom, as her congregating supernatural head, she is the One, Holy, and Catholic, in which God’s Trinitarian communion of life is revealed to us. “Extra Christum nulla salus” is factually convergent to “extra ecclesiam nulla salus”.

Accordingly, human fraternity and the “unity of the human race” are indeed central topoi of the Christian faith, but they are so only in the context of this supernatural connection, which must be strictly observed. Leaving aside once again the question of whether it makes sense to say that we are always already brothers qua human beings and form a human family for reasons of original sin theology alone, the category of brotherhood becomes a substantially relevant dimension for the Catholic only under the supernatural consideration of the ecclesiologically formed being-in-Christ. It is entirely consistent with the New Testament that, for John of the Cross, even the bodily brotherhood of mankind is ontologically a radically secondary dimension.

Against this background, it becomes understandable why the Bergoglian position is destructive for the Church. It is destructive because the Pope wrongly determines the ontological status of tradition, and he wrongly determines it because he wrongly determines the actual object of faith. Francis allows the Church of Tradition to fall seamlessly into the category of logical subordination, because for him it is nothing other than a tradition—one among many. In this reductionistic sense, Bergoglio is a radical “traditionalist”: there is no reality that corresponds to the traditional confessions. For Jorge Bergoglio, they are all mere ideas and, in principle, arbitrary practices; one could also say that the tradition of the Church is a mere self-circulating discourse whose claim to truth was invented by people who, due to psychologically explainable needs for demarcation, like to lull themselves into a sense of security and construct detached clerical special worlds in which they perform liturgical operas in lace rochets.

The modern project of naturalizing Christianity

As a result of this pontificate, the immanentist propaganda of natural fraternity theology has become unrestrained and ubiquitous in the Church. Nevertheless, Jorge Bergoglio did not invent it. The project of naturalizing Christianity goes back to the 18th century and extends from the Enlightenment through German Idealism and liberal Protestantism as well as the various modernist propositions of the 19th century and politicizing theologies of the 20th century to the present day. One of its current manifestations is the idea, which has long been popular in theological circles, of viewing the New Testament as a mere internal continuation of the Old Testament and—as the Freiburg fundamental theologian Magnus Striet significantly likes to do—speaking primarily of the “Jewish Jesus”[7].  One could call this the Old Testamentization of the New Testament.

The punchline of this process is to strip the promises of salvation in the New Testament of their supernatural and therefore Christological character and to make Israel’s primarily this-worldly religious relationship absolute. In the Old Testament, God’s saving action essentially refers to inner-worldly dimensions: the one blessed by God has a long earthly life and has male offspring; the people of Israel are given a certain geographical territory as their homeland; the people’s lives are ordered by the divine will made into a legal code; God inflicts physical punishment on Israel when it is disobedient, just as he also frees Israel from earthly bondage; he stands by the people in battle with other peoples, and so on. Accordingly, Yahweh is identified as the true God in Jewish theology by the fact that, unlike the gods of the other nations, he actually helps—he proves his power empirically.

It was above all the Church Fathers who developed a pioneering Christological hermeneutic of the Old Testament. The Old Testament texts were primarily read prefiguratively and allegorically, as the Church still does today, for example in the liturgy of the Easter Vigil: the sacrifice of Abraham refers to the sacrifice of Christ, the crossing of the Red Sea is a symbol of baptism, the Promised Land is the eternal communion of life with the Risen One—and so on. In other words, this interpretation raises the theology of Israel and the covenant made at Sinai to that actually supernatural level of the relationship between God and the world, which is ontologically constituted exclusively in Christ, i.e. in the “unio hypostatica”. Israel as such is thus lifted into the Church as the mystical body of Christ. There is a context of reference between the two testaments, but it is organized in a strictly Christocentric way.

The much-vaunted sublimation of the Old Testament image of God in the discourse of the New Testament therefore does not mean that the New Testament God no longer bears any dark traits. In essence, the sublimation consists rather in the described process, namely, that the theological sphere of the Old Testament becomes a truly supernatural and mystical one: The center of the salvific action is the inner communion of life of man with God opened up by the gratia Christi, which has the visio beatifica as its essential goal. At the same time, from an epistemic point of view, this means that the Old Testament cannot be adequately understood by itself, but that Christ alone is its decisive hermeneutical approach.

In the course of the development of modern theology, this interpretative relationship has now been reversed insofar as the determination of Jesus’ salvific action and that of Jesus’ very being is undertaken in a merely linear continuum with the basic theological approach to salvation in the Old Testament. This means that the prefiguration context described above, which forms a peculiar complex of continuity and discontinuity, is abandoned in this new hermeneutic. However, this means nothing less than the loss of the theology of supernaturalism that has characterized the Church’s tradition of interpreting Holy Scripture, as seen especially in the liturgy. However, the intention behind this operation is by no means a specifically sought proximity to the faith of Israel. Rather, the Old Testament is strategically used for the sake of a general axial shift in the definition of the actual object of Christian faith. The aim is an inner-worldly Christianity whose focus is on empirical, natural-moral, psychological, and political contexts. As in the Pope’s Lenten address, God appears on this horizon only as the one who wants to bring about a changed world among us through our commitment, and to improve life in this world.

Recently, the blogger “Caminante” published a text entitled “They have robbed us of religion.”[8] Caminante refers directly to the new Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge García Cuerva, recently appointed by Pope Francis, who formulates an Easter greeting in a video published on the website of the Argentinian Bishops’ Conference. This episcopal sermon is characterized above all by the fact that he indiscriminately conflates the theological definition of Easter with the Old Testament Exodus and Passover. Caminante states that the bishop “does not mention the Lord Jesus Christ at all. He has been erased from the horizon of religion because He is politically incorrect. The Primate speaks only of a humanistic God, to which Voltaire and the fiercest representatives of anti-Christianity would have consented without hesitation.”

This episcopal address is one of the countless manifestations of the naturalization theology described above. It is only logical that the bishop, who is theologically very close to the incumbent pope and did not come to his post by chance, no longer speaks of Christ’s substitutionary atoning death, but only of “liberation” and the advent of a more just world, which he sees symbolized in Israel’s exodus from Egypt and, merely in a very vague sense, in Easter.

The extent to which this program has already been implemented in the Church through Pope Bergoglio’s catalytic effectiveness can be seen, to take some examples, in the equally emblematic events I would like to mention briefly. For example, the chief organizer of last year’s World Youth Day in Portugal, whom Francis has since made a cardinal, said that he did not want to convert anyone to Christ and the Church, but that the only essential thing was that everyone should simply be there and be accepted as they are in their natural state of existence. The decisive aspect is natural, boundless fraternity, which, according to Francis, implies ecclesiological inclusionism: “all, all, all” belong. The newly appointed Bishop of Hong Kong speaks in a similar vein, denying any proselytizing and missionary work, i.e. any Christocentric ambition of the Church, and instead speaks of only wanting to proclaim the all-encompassing divine love and mercy that extends unconditionally to all—just as Jesus supposedly did.

And since Mariology has been a function of Christology since the beginnings of the Church, the Vatican’s chief Mariologist, Father Cecchin, has now also demystified the Mother of God and, following the current magisterium of Pope Francis, adapted her to the emancipatory parameters prevailing today and to the transcultural ideal of reconciliation. Overall, according to Cecchin’s view, the essence of the figures of Jesus and Mary is to serve us fraternally as friendly models for a happy and fulfilled life, beyond disturbing messages[9]. The supernatural cosmos, from the talk of Mary’s mediation of grace to the theology of atonement, no longer appears in substance here. Thus, in all these phenomena, the same basic process of naturalization and secularization of originally supernaturally understood theological beliefs always appears, which have long since become embarrassing to those who would be called ex officio to proclaim and defend them.

Agere contra ecclesiam

Calling Jorge Bergoglio an ideologue may be a correct predication, but it is an objectifying attribution. It should never be overlooked that Francis does not see himself as an ideologue, but rather as an executor of the divine will, as Gladius Dei, who must take up arms against the enemies he has identified of the divine dream of the promised land. The pharaoh-like, divisive “backwardists” with their stubborn claims to truth must be fought. It is not without irony: Jorge Bergoglio believes he has a divine mission, and one that consists precisely in the abolition of the mission. Bergoglio is fighting the last of all wars, which consists precisely in the eradication of the enemies of peace, i.e. the tradition-obsessed enemies of universal fraternity, and this war to end all conflicts of truth and inequalities is, according to Carl Schmitt, the cruelest of all, because it must declare the opponent of unconditional, total harmony to be a moral monster[10]. It is a papal jihad, which alone can explain the constant rage against the representatives of religious dogmatism. That these representatives are the true enemies of God follows necessarily from the Bergoglian orthodoxy of natural fraternity universalism, which must now regard everything that was previously considered orthodox in the Church as heresy contrary to God and burn it at the stake of tenderness.

It seems to me that only the concept of Jorge Bergoglio as this Gladius Dei can adequately explain his political acts. The theological accusation made by opponents of this pontificate—that Francis is acting against the Church—is raised by Bergoglio himself, and intentionally seriously, against his critics. This is the “great inversion” of which Caminante spoke.[11] That is why I do not share Archbishop Viganò’s view that Jorge Bergoglio, on assuming the papal office, personally refused his consent to desire, with the office, what the Church desires: that it be used for the Church’s good. In no way does Francis deliberately want something bad for the Church. For that to be the case, Francis would have to be aware of the correct concept in principle, and consciously act against it. The opposite is true: he only wants the very best for the Church as he understands it, and to this end he makes full use of the possibilities of his office. He wants to save the Church precisely from the hands of those whose faith he, like Dom Hélder Câmara, considers to be nothing more than an ideological superstructure, an anti-Jesuanic invention of elitist, rigorist people who like to float in baroque worlds instead of taking care of global socialism, the promotion of gay conditions, environmental protection and climate change, as well as shipping as many Muslim migrants as possible to Europe, as the Gospel supposedly demands in the interpretation of universal fraternity theology.

Conversely, against this background, it not only becomes clear why Francis so vehemently campaigns against people like Cardinal Burke or Bishop Strickland, while Bishops Georg Bätzing and Franz-Josef Overbeck are still in office and can basically implement their agenda unhindered, but it also makes the Pope’s solidarity with the global financial elites more plausible. Recently, José Arturo Quarracino published a text in which he pointed out that Francis is not a Peronist, but rather a partisan of globalists such as George Soros.[12] Whatever the truth may be about Bergoglio’s repeatedly claimed Peronism, it is undeniable that Bergoglio has collaborated with the globalist elites. This is evidenced not only by the various political acts, such as the establishment of a rigid Vatican vaccination regime during the so-called “coronavirus pandemic” and the relevant appointments to the papal academies, but above all by Bergoglian theology itself. Whether Bergoglio’s assessment of these globalists and alleged “philanthropists” is correct remains to be seen. However, he obviously assumes that these people, with their global programs of inclusive capitalism, the ecological turnaround, climate protection, overcoming national borders, the promotion of a one-world religion, etc., are working on precisely the same project that is formulated in his own theory of universal fraternity and in his understanding of the Church as the custodian of the “promised land” of this natural fraternity.

The abandoned Christ

If one takes the Pope’s statements seriously, the conclusion is unavoidable that in his spiritual cosmos there is no longer that supernatural being-in-Christ for which the martyrs went to their deaths; for which the missionaries, starting with Paul, traveled the world under the harshest privations; for and by which the hermits turned their backs on the world and founded the contemplative religious life; that supernatural being-in-Christ that brought forth the sacramental priestly ministry as well as the liturgies and magnificent church architecture in which the supernatural context of life is communicated and celebrated. However, this also inevitably means that for Jorge Bergoglio, not only does the Church no longer exist as the mystical body of Christ, but fundamentally Christ himself no longer exists.

Eugenio Scalfari claimed after one of his interviews with Francis – nor was it denied by the Vatican—that the Pope did not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. In the context of Jorge Bergoglio’s actually verifiable statements, I consider it highly plausible that Scalfari is reporting correctly here. How could Francis believe in the divinity of Jesus if it is precisely this theological predicate that decisively makes the theology of universal natural brotherhood beyond secondary religious traditions impossible?

If Jesus is the Christ, the second divine person incarnate, then his work cannot be aimed at anything other than the constitution of that supernatural relationship of life which consists in the mystical unity with himself opened up by sanctifying grace. Then he himself, and he alone in person, is the divine truth; then his death is a vicarious act of atonement to make this very unity possible; then the question of eternal salvation and perdition is decided by him alone; then he himself is the central object of worship, and before him every knee must bow. If he is the Christ, then the sacraments are indispensable as his own action on man for salvation; then the Church is both the central mediator of salvation and the supernatural communion with Christ himself; then there must be a mission aimed at converting all men to him as the Christ. If he is the Christ, then there can be no ecclesial discourse on God without Christology, because he is the only way to the divinity, which, in its inner mystery of life, is revealed and made accessible only in him. If he is the Christ, then Mary is the Mother of God and has the sole task of leading us to her Son.

No one-world religion can be made with this Christ; in his absolutist claim about himself, he refuses to be relativized in any way. He is absolutely incomparable. In short: if Jesus is the Christ, then all the articulations, from the sentences quoted from Jorge Bergoglio to the countless statements by Bergoglian bishops, are logically impossible. Conversely, this means that these statements presuppose the conscious, albeit explicitly unacknowledged, negation of classical Christology, provided the gentlemen are still reasonably sane. The whole rhetoric of mercy and apparent closeness to Jesus in the Bergoglian interpretation of the New Testament cannot conceal this. Basically, in these exegeses Jesus appears—as he did with Goethe—as the authoritative opponent of Christ.

This brings us to a shocking finding. In contrast to popes such as John XXII or Honorius, who misunderstood individual elements of church dogma, Francis has the chutzpah to take on the whole of church tradition—to change the sign before the equation. Under such an ideology, the Catholic Church must completely collapse. The church of Jorge Bergoglio no longer has anything to do with the Church of which the tradition speaks; it is, in substance, something radically different.

From the perspective of the original Church, Francis should never elevate the natural fraternity category above the tradition of the Church, because in doing so he would only perpetuate a context that Paul calls—explicitly also with regard to questions of interpersonality—the “schemata tou kosmou toutou” (1 Cor 7:31). However, these forms of the old world are destined by God to become in Christ that supernatural context of brotherhood, that is, that new creation which the Catholic Church mediates in its sacramental acts and is already itself in intenso. Only She is the “promised land”. The work of a pope should be directed with all his strength precisely towards this dimension. While God himself is concerned with divinizing man in supernatural grace and bringing forth a new heaven and a new earth, the narrow-minded papal view focuses on the old world and degrades the new world—which has been the subject of Church tradition for two millennia—to a matter of secondary relevance. This is truly grotesque.

At the same time, the Church must draw the Pope’s attention to the fact that the deconstruction of Her mission, which the Pope places under the suspicious term of “proselytism,” fixates man on the old world, thus inhumanely depriving him of that supernatural sphere towards which he is precisely ordered in order to fulfil his humanity. Natural fraternity theology does not satisfy the aforementioned “appetitus innatus,” i.e. the actual hunger that is proper to man as man. This is why only the classical mission of the Church truly loves man.

However, after long attempts at repression and whitewashing, we must now finally admit that the theological tradition in which Francis stands has always intended precisely this transmutation. Incidentally, it would be an important undertaking to examine precisely what role the three relevant predecessor popes actually played in this process. This is much more complex, especially with regard to Joseph Ratzinger, than the conservative idolatries of Benedict would like to admit. One only has to ask oneself how it can be explained that after the joint pontificate of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, which lasted well over three decades, what we have now been suffering for 11 years could happen. This cannot be due only to poor personnel policy decisions and a lack of psychological judgment.

Whatever the reason, the Church has reached a state in which Christ has become offensive and embarrassing, and not just to many ministers. The spirit of the supernatural mystery has—with strong papal assistance—largely disappeared from the Church, which has degenerated into a pigsty. The Lord will not put up with this denial by his own Church on earth.


[1] Starting soon, the author runs his own blog, where essays on theological and philosophical topics will appear regularly:





[6] Cf. Rupert Johannes Mayer: "Zum desiderium naturale visionis Dei nach Johannes Duns Scotus, and Thomas de Vio Cajetan: Eine Anmerkung zum Denken Henri De Lubacs," in: Angelicum 85 (2008), 737-763.

[7] Striet is an excellent example of the theological tendency described here. There is nothing left of the classical Christology of the Church in Striet’s work. In Striet’s bleak attempts at theory, it, like all traditional convictions in general, is leveled into the Enlightenment flatlands. Cf. e.g. Walter Homolka, Magnus Striet, Christologie auf dem Prüfstand, Jesus der Jude—Christus der Erlöser, Freiburg 2019.



[10] Carl Schmitt, Der Begriff des Politischen, Berlin 92015, 35.