Head of the Jesuits: “Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much”

Yesterday I posted an entry with the title: Has the head of the Jesuits jettisoned doctrine and the words of the Lord in Scripture?

The General of the Jesuits effectively said that doctrine has no fixed meaning and that we must reinterpret everything, from Scripture to dogmas, according to our own exigencies.

Today I’ve read more.

I must now answer my question: Yes, the head of the Jesuits jettisoned doctrine and the words of the Lord in Scripture.

Sandro Magister has the whole exchange at his place. Thus, with my emphases and comments:

Why such adamant silence from the pope on words of Jesus [about adultery] that are so unequivocal? [The Five Dubia of the Four Cardinals are still out there… unanswered.]

One clue toward a response is in the interview that the new superior general of the Society of Jesus, the Venezuelan Arturo Sosa Abascal, very close to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has given to the Swiss vaticanista Giuseppe Rusconi for the blog Rossoporpora and for the “Giornale del Popolo” of Lugano.

Here are the passages most relevant to the case. Any commentary would be superfluous.

Q: Cardinal Gerhard L. M?ller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, has said with regard to marriage that the words of Jesus are very clear and “no power in heaven and on earth, neither an angel nor the pope, neither a council nor a law of the bishops has the faculty to modify them.”

A: So then, there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said. At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words. What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized, they are expressed in a language, in a specific setting, they are addressed to someone in particular.

Q: But if all the worlds of Jesus must be examined and brought back to their historical context, they do not have an absolute value.

A: Over the last century in the Church there has been a great blossoming of studies that seek to understand exactly what Jesus meant to say… That is not relativism, but attests that the word is relative, the Gospel is written by human beings, it is accepted by the Church which is made up of human persons… So it is true that no one can change the word of Jesus, but one must know what it was!

Q: Is it also possible to question the statement in Matthew 19:3-6: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder”?

A: I go along with what Pope Francis says. One does not bring into doubt, one brings into discernment. . .

Q: But discernment is evaluation, it is choosing among different options. There is no longer an obligation to follow just one interpretation. . .

A: No, the obligation is still there, but to follow the result of discernment.

Q: However, the final decision is based on a judgment relative to different hypotheses. So it also takes into consideration the hypothesis that the phrase “let man not put asunder…” is not exactly as it appears. In short, it brings the word of Jesus into doubt.

A: Not the word of Jesus, but the word of Jesus as we have interpreted it. Discernment does not select among different hypotheses but listens to the Holy Spirit, who – as Jesus has promised – helps us to understand the signs of God’s presence in human history.

Q: But discern how?

A: Pope Francis does discernment following St. Ignatius, like the whole Society of Jesus: one has to seek and find, St. Ignatius said, the will of God. It is not a frivolous search. Discernment leads to a decision: one must not only evaluate, but decide.

Q: And who must decide?

[NB] A: The Church has always reiterated the priority of personal conscience.

Q: So if conscience, after discernment, tells me that I can receive communion even if the norm does not provide for it…

A: The Church has developed over the centuries, it is not a piece of reinforced concrete. It was born, it has learned, it has changed. This is why the ecumenical councils are held, to try to bring developments of doctrine into focus. Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much, it brings with it the image of the hardness of stone. Instead the human reality is much more nuanced, it is never black or white, it is in continual development.

Q: I seem to understand that for you there is a priority for the practice of the discernment of doctrine.

A: Yes, but doctrine is part of discernment. True discernment cannot dispense with doctrine.

Q: But it can reach conclusions different from doctrine.

A: That is so, because doctrine does not replace discernment, nor does it the Holy Spirit.

Discernment = When you are about to do something you know you shouldn’t do, twist a previously crystal clear teaching of the Church until it means whatever the hell you want it to mean in order to salve your conscience.

We’ve seen dark days in the Church before, friends.  But we haven’t seen anything quite like these dark days.

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  1. dans0622 says:

    I’ll happily stick to what Dei Verbum says about the truth of Scripture (e.g., in art. 18-19). There seems to be a desire, among some, to create burdensome duties of “discernment” and lay them upon the faithful when the only right answer is already plainly spelled out in Revelation.

  2. Neal says:

    “We’ve seen dark days in the Church before, friends. But we haven’t seen anything quite like these dark days.”

    Interesting. So either the Church is in crisis, or the Church has never been in crisis. But has the Pope declared that the Church is in crisis, or is that no longer required?

  3. Christopher Meier says:

    So in essence, General Abascal says we cannot have certainty about what is true.

    This is demonstrably false, because I am certain of this: What this guy’s saying is a load of hooey.

  4. acardnal says:

    Perhaps it’s time to suppress the Jesuit Order . . . again. But with a Jesuit Pope what are the chances?

  5. Dan says:

    I have never understood the argument, it is not black and white, when it comes to God and morality. the Four last things come to mind, Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. Heaven and Hell sound pretty black or white to me. Heaven Hell, Right Wrong, Black white, true or false, 1 or 0.
    It is either adultery or it is not adultery, sin or not sin. Being personally comfortable with my sin does not make it any less sin.

  6. michael says:

    Matthew {24:35} Heaven and earth shall pass: but my words shall not pass.

  7. Eugene says:

    where are all the faithful Jesuits?..they should be in revolt
    if this golf shirt wearing collarless “superior general’s” words are allowed to stand without correction then they truly have become the society of Judas..How long Lord Jesus

  8. majuscule says:

    I am just a layperson and I don’t even have a college education. I have not studied theology and I don’t think I’m even very well read.

    However, even though the Gospel was “written by human beings” it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity, in other words, God, and He is outside of time and He is all knowing and all powerful, why would He not be able to inspire the Gospel writers to write down the unchanging truth? Anything other than that must be from…we can guess who.

    And what about Matthew 9:18 about Moses allowing divorce but it was not so in the beginning… Are we now to discern ourselves back to the time of Moses and hardness of heart?

    When I feel like I’m praying as much as I possibly can, I realize all of us need to need to pray and fast even more! What else can we do?

    I never said I wanted to live in interesting times.

  9. mepoindexter says:

    So the head of the Jesuits is a heretic. Plain and simple. What are we going to do about it?

    [A more important question is what are YOU going to do about it. Have you made your plans for Lent?]

  10. WVC says:

    This gives the term “Jesuitical” an entirely different connotation. Where did the folks go who would happy argue and quibble over the tiniest letter of the law? It’s like a brain-ectomy has occurred.


    Put your hope in the many little Clunys that are out there now. The FSSP, the Clear Creek monks, various groups of religious, small bands of Homeschool families passing on the Truth and training the youth . . . the future will eventually spring forth from these scattered but rich nurseries. The sentimental Gotterdamerung of hipster geezers will draw to an end. We are Catholics. We must always think not in terms of moments or minutes but centuries.

    That being said, I’ll still enjoy quite a hearty beverage when the Prelature of the SSPX is officially announced. Hope it’s soon!

  11. Joseph-Mary says:

    I can well believe that this man, the head of the Jesuits no less, does not accept nor believe in doctrine. There are many others of that institute who are likely the same. And then there are a few saints….

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  13. MarkJ says:

    I have a dream… about a day in the future when Cardinal Sarah is elected to the Papacy, and his first act as Pope Peter II is to remove the General of the Jesuits for manifest heresy and apostasy, appointing Bishop Fellay of the SSPX to serve as remedial head the order, to lead the Society back to the Eternal Truth. I can dream, can’t I?

  14. Terry J says:


  15. anilwang says:

    As a general rule, I’m increasingly distrustful of anyone who speaks in a way that cannot be understood by a 7 year old. Let any 7 year old listen to any interview from Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Muller, or Cardinal Sarah, or Bishop Athanasius Schneider and he’d be able understand what is being said. Sure the child might need help on a few words or be given a bit more context on the situation being talked about, but it’s crystal clear.

    Reading the trash spewed out by these postmodernists leaves even an educated person scratching his head. So many mealy mouthed ambiguous words are used to say scarcely a word. The whole verbal diarrhea above can be summed up in the declaration “non serviam”.

  16. iPadre says:

    The next pope should take the name Clement. Clement XIV – Santo Subito!

    [No, no! He should take the name Clement XIV Ganganelli … with the Ganganelli… just to drive the point home.]

  17. Benedict Joseph says:

    As I said yesterday, I am not at all shocked at this. I briefly stated that Fr. Sosa Abascal that his obvious adherence to Marxist social analysis was boldly present in his resume when his election was reported several months back. Hand in hand with his secular materialism of course rides a diminishment of the three pillars of theological reflection, Holy Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the perennial Magisterium of the Church.
    Without hesitation I assert that hidden in the underbrush of academic speak is a denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ and a silent repudiation of Trinitarian Christianity.
    But perhaps more to the point is that his perspective has been widely held by priests since I was in high school in sixties. It was boldly on display in the theology department during college. I am surprised that anyone is surprised by this. Scratch the surface and it has been in place since before the Council.
    In the middle of the night the kitchen light has been switched on, the vermin are all over the place but somehow many of us maintain closed eyes.
    “They aren’t there.”
    “This isn’t happening.”
    It is happening.
    Arturo Sosa Abascal has been in place a long time. He didn’t just come up with these notions. His crew is legion. Their confections are the jewel in their crown. They now have pride of place and they are running the show.
    What is a layman to do?

  18. Benedict Joseph says:

    And I have just read at Rorate that Cardinal Muller could very likely be replaced by Cardinal Tagle this summer… [Nah… I strongly doubt that rumor.]

  19. CPT TOM says:

    It’s like he’s become everything the protestant fringe/conspiracy theory types have accused the Jesuits of for years. Stuff like this does not make it easier to engage with our separated bretheran. It is far past time for the Pope to take old Yeller out back and put him out of our misery. Saint Ignatius of Loyola needs to make a visitation to his wayward son, and put the fear of God into him, otherwise I fear for his mortal soul. Sts Ignatius and Francis Xavier pray for him.

  20. Lavrans says:

    Yes, one must follow one’s conscience, but as everyone ought to know, one has a duty to form one’s conscience according to the Truth, which Jesus Christ gives us through His Mystical Body, the Catholic Church. If a person should find himself in falsehood and sin, he ought not to rationalize it away nor despair, for grace is available to those who seek it through the means that have been provided by Christ Himself. I hate to even utter it, but if anyone (and hopefully no one, for that matter) says that God has commanded us to do the impossible, and has not given us grace to do what He commands, that would, he blasphemes God. It would be heretical, to put it mildly, as well. I hope and pray that Fr. Sosa does not actually believe such a thing. It would imply that Jesus Christ is either impotent against sin and evil, and therefore not truly God omnipotent, or that Jesus Christ is cruel and given to emotional and uncharitable diatribes, as recorded in Sacred Scripture, that modern folks can simply ignore. What is more, such a dim view of Sacred Scripture would imply that one doesn’t believe it to be inspired by the Holy Spirit (the principal author), but merely the work of human hands (the instrumental authors), making the entire collection fallible, errant, and a dusty reminder of ancient, flawed times. Again, I hope Fr. Sosa would reject all of this, because to be perfectly frank, such views are not Christian.

  21. paladin says:

    “At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words. What is known is that the words of Jesus […]”

    I take it that the head of the Jesuits subscribes to the Bultmann school of “we can’t be sure what Jesus said, but that’s okay, since the fundamentals don’t depend on them” interpretation of Scripture?

  22. Thomistica says:

    Indeed: The Five Dubia of the Four Cardinals are still out there… unanswered.

    But at what point does it become dereliction of duty for these Cardinals not to issue a fraternal correction? Yes, there may be considerations and complexities behind the scenes that explain why they have not done so. At some point, however, these become moot.

    When is that point?

  23. LarryW2LJ says:

    Golf shirt? Really?

    It would appear these days, that looking for a Jesuit who is faithful is becoming akin to the search for hen’s teeth. Maybe faithful Jesuits need to go on an Endangered Species list?

  24. mepoindexter says:

    Oh I love lent. Its my one time of the year to throw three sheets to the wind.

  25. Serviam says:

    Ah! This boils down to a misunderstanding of what “discern” means.

    Discern: to perceive, recognize, distinguish something that already IS (I.e. Truth, God’s will, etc) and apply it to our selves.

    Not the other way around, which is to “decide” by making up our own mind for ourselves what God’s will should be and bend, twist or cajole the Truth to our liking.

    It really comes down to who is in charge: God (discern) or us (we decide)?

    Answer: God! duh…..

    Honestly, this just keeps getting scarier, and scarier.

    Prayers up, people!!

  26. inviaadpatriam says:

    Regarding the jettisoning of the traditional discipline surrounding communion and those who may partake, I can only quote from one theologian whose words seem particularly apt at this moment: “Yet, it is not a sign of a strong church but of one that has become weak and feeble if church discipline is not exercised. In that case, together with the holiness of the Church, God’s holiness is not taken seriously either. Who plays God’s mercy against His holiness has also misunderstood mercy.”

  27. Ivan says:

    When shall we start to call all of them with their real name?

  28. Lindy says:

    Ay-yi-yi…This certainly SHOULD be an interesting Lent…Get loaded for bear, uh, PRAYER, and hunker down folks!

  29. Traductora says:

    I thought I was getting pretty inured to these things, but this has seriously bothered me, because not only does it reflect Jesuit thinking, but it is obviously what is the basis for Francis’ thinking – or lack thereof, since, after all, he has declared that doctrine is beyond him.

    One thing I haven’t noticed in these shocking statements is a comment on the strange observation, “after all, there were no recording devices at the time.” In other words, the good father is saying that Jesus may have been misquoted, maybe never said any of this stuff, maybe said other stuff, etc….and it is up to us to “discern” this.

    He appears to be unaware that the Gospel canon – from which we get the words of Our Lord – was carefully examined, verified against all sources, recognized individually (because of the connection with the Apostles) and then examined and re-examined and finally recognized as a whole. There were other “gospels” that were rejected. So Christian doctrine – including that of the Protestants, although of course they were busy doing discernment and could skip a lot of it – is based on is the work of the Church in codifying the Gospels. This is what Catholic doctrine is based on, and the idea that somehow this is inaccurate and Francis and the Black Pope have come along to set us right after all these thousands of years should be condemned IMMEDIATELY by everyone.

    I am very discouraged because I can’t see why there is such silence on this.

  30. colospgs says:

    ” Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Matthew 5:37

  31. hwriggles4 says:

    It is sad that the good Jesuits like Fr. Mitch Pacwa have had to find assignments outside of their order. If good Jesuits were in leadership positions, the order could be experiencing a Renaissance. I have heard that within the past 10 years there is a crop of Jesuit novices and scholastics that are more conservative than the majority of the Jesuit order.(Sidebar: the Eastern Province Dominicans have experienced a Renaissance, as have the Fathers of Mercy. 25 years ago, CPM had only six priests – thank Fr. Casey for his leadership. )

    It’s also a disappointment that out of several Jesuit affiliated colleges in the United States, none are recommended by the Newman Guide. I am helping my nephew find a good engineering school, and Marquette, Georgetown, Boston College, and several others are not on his list. I am trying to steer him towards some state funded institutions within an 8 hour drive from his home that have a good Catholic Student Center. My Alma mater had one that was a big help in my reversion story.

  32. Terry J says:

    After careful discernment I will start researching the possibility of filing a petition with the Vatican against Marquette University similar to the petition filed by William Peter Blatty against Georgetown university seeking enforcement of canon law. All Catholic universities run by Jesuits should find themselves in a similar position. Time to contact friends at the local Cardinal Newman Society

  33. Matt Robare says:

    Will Father Sosa Abrascal be forced to resign and an apostolic delegate appointed to oversee the Jesuits’ spirituality? Somehow I doubt it.

  34. Imrahil says:

    Dear Thomista,

    the fraternal correction has already happened when Their Eminences published the unanswered dubia. No more can be asked of them.*

    [*There was a theory at some website around, Rorate?, that in the case of a material heresy of a Pope, the fraternal correction would have to be followed by a formal admonishment, without which there be no canonical crime of heresy. Be that as it may in the case of actual material heresy, none of the established teachings the dubia claim deviation from is technically de fide – they are at most fidei proximum, or also sententia certa – so that question doesn’t arise.

    On an aside, I think it is straightforward to see that the contradiction dubium 4 claims does not in fact exist. That doesn’t mean, though, that the other dubia are not well-posed.]

  35. Ultrarunner says:

    Father Arturo Sosa Abascal’s words, while disturbing, provide a definitive and frankly damning perspective into the Francis Papacy.

    Like Abascal, at the very beginning of our existence, Satan reinterpreted the Word of God for man, and his deception resulted in the immediete downfall of all of mankind.

    “Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.” Gen 3:1-5

    Fast forward to today, and in a desire to reinterpret divinely inspired Truth, the words of Father Arturo Sosa Abascal eerily echo those of Satan in the Garden of Eden.

    In exactly the same manner, Satan is tempting every Cardinal, Bishop and Priest in the world today by inviting each of them individually and collectively, through the agency of Pope Francis no less, to reinterpret and replace Christ’s clear teachings with heretical and schismatic interpretations gleaned from Amoris Latitia.

    Father Abascal’s interview is definitive in that it explicitly enumerates the deadly strategy presently employed within the Church against all Catholics, ie, the age old deception of substituting God’s divinely inspired Word with falsehoods.

  36. ml1948 says:

    The great physicist Richard Feynman said, in the context of science, “the easiest person to fool is yourself.” If this is the touchstone of quality science, how much more should it be applied to our spiritual lives? Without the support and constraints of doctrine, it’s all too easy to convince ourselves that what we’d like to do is what God wants us to do.

  37. tzard says:

    I found it disturbing the more I read of this… drivel. What’s the faithful to do now?

    I then found myself looking-up the scriptural passages about divorce and the commandments. I kept on reading further, and I started to feel startlingly more at peace. Strange how that works.

    I think I”ll add a little more scripture reading to my lenten activities.

  38. Kerry says:

    Commenters here, of course, believe what the Church proposes for our belief. And we are therefore dumbfounded anyone could believe the above foolishness from the General of the Jesuits. I suggest that he does not really believe what the church believes.

  39. Amante de los Manuales says:

    1. He says “true discernment cannot dispense with doctrine,” yet he agrees with the claim that “it can reach conclusions different from doctrine.”

    Is that even coherent? How can I avoid dispensing with doctrine if I accept conclusions that disagree with it? If I accept them, I dispense with doctrine.

    2. He says “human reality is . . . never black or white.”

    Yet he thinks the truth of the proposition itself is a black or white matter.

  40. marthawrites says:

    One answer to “What’s a layman to do?” is the Nineveh 90 program–increased prayer, fasting, personal sacrifices, Consecration to Mary, etc.–all for one’s own spiritual growth as well as for the good of the Church and our country. I recommend it as a way to realize that you can never do enough when others are doing nothing.

  41. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    “Not the word of Jesus, but the word of Jesus as we have interpreted it.”


  42. Ann Malley says:

    Bill Clinton didn’t like the word “is” very much either, but there we are.

  43. ubicaritas3 says:

    Pray for an increase in vocations to religious orders like Miles Christi (https://www.mileschristi.org) who live out the spirituality of St Ignatius and preach the Exercises in a most beautiful way!

  44. hwriggles4 says:

    A few weeks ago, Life Site News carried an article that in November 2016, the Holy Father was at a meeting and said that he was worried about too many vocations coming from a single parish. The Holy Father also mentioned that it worried him that certain orders were thriving with vocations.

    This thinking reminds me that it’s 1978, when I was a young Altar Boy. Our parish was like, “oh, the Deacon does everything”, “the Church is changing”, “we can go to counseling, not confession”, “peace and justice”, “we can have snack time at CCD and meditate (we did that one day in 6th grade CCD -no fooling), and “life is all peaches and cream”.

    The Church does not need a repeat of 1978. Orthodoxy begets vocations.

  45. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    The next Pope needs to take the name “Michael.”

    Like the Archangel who cast Satan and the rest of the fallen angels out of Heaven, that Pope will need to cast members of the hierarchy out of the Church.

  46. excalibur says:

    Is this not heresy, denying inspired Scriptures?

    At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words. What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized, they are expressed in a language, in a specific setting, they are addressed to someone in particular.

  47. thomas777 says:

    It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Do they really mean to dispense with the actual words that came from the mouth of wisdom? Is the Incarnation of no value now? They were told not to do this and they are doing it anyway. You don’t think they will actually try to do Vatican III, even though they were warned of the likely outcome, do you? Please God let them be smarter than that! Or maybe the words of the Virgo Potens means nothing to them either?

  48. robtbrown says:

    Perhaps the Superior General should review St Ignatius Loyola’s Rules for Thinking with the Church

  49. DisturbedMary says:

    Not just fake theology…..VERY fake theology.

  50. Hidden One says:

    Please tell me St. Ignatius wrote something suitable for responding to this situation.

  51. seeker says:

    I am curious as to what the Black Pope would say about the 10 Commandments, the 6th in particular. Since we don’t have a tape recorder of Yahweh giving them to Moses, maybe Moses’ interpretation needs to be revisited within the context of modern culture.
    I would also like to know how the 5th commandment might lend itself to discernment. What might the “not black and white” of human reality look like there?

  52. Rich says:

    Without using the word “doctrine”, Jesus accepted truths as unchangeable and told others they “were quite wrong” (Mark 12:27) when they believed and put forth arguments which contradicted these truths, as with the Sadducees who questioned him from the stance that there was no resurrection.

    I will take Jesus as my standard as opposed to this spasmodic need to “reflect” on things when they get in the way of making people feel OK with sin.

  53. Gerhard says:

    But we do have a tape recorder, and way better than that even. The 10 commandments were twice carved in stone (a rigid medium, huh?). They were kept in the Arc of the Covenant. And who was that? Mother Mary of course. We got play-back with no crackle and fuzz at Fatima, Garaison, Lourdes, rue de Bac, La Salette, Ile Bouchard etc. etc. etc. etc.

  54. romanrevert says:

    Many ask “What shall we do? What is a faithful Catholic to do?” I have asked that questions and I received excellent advice from a holy priest:

    Remember your station in life and do your best to live it out appropriately. Go to Mass – preferably a traditional Latin Mass. Go to Confession frequently. Pray the Rosary daily. Pray for our priests and bishops. And pray for our Pope – even when he doesn’t act like the Pope.

    This is not our battle. Our battle is stay holy and to stay in a state of grace ALL THE TIME. That is all that matters in the end… dying in a state of grace.

    If you can remember those things, then you will be at peace when the world and the Church seems to be crumbling around you. For if you die in a state of grace, then you have fulfilled your station in life.

  55. Grumpy Beggar says:

    So Henry VIII decided to follow the priority of personal conscience . . .and he had St. Thomas More executed for believing in doctrine.

    Fr. Abascal: “Doctrine is a word I don’t like very much.”

    Hmmm . . . seems like doctrine is a word that Henry VIII didn’t like very much either.

  56. excalibur says:

    Yes, maybe the golden calf wasn’t so bad after all. There’s the logical progression. Indifferentism at its finest.

    Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed, what was He thinking!

  57. mo7 says:

    Consider this statement and all the talk about the orthodox being akin to atheists and faithful seminarians being rigid as well as anyone else who tries to live the faith: It can all mean only one thing: they are building up a case for some really big change. Hold onto to your hats folks its going to be a bumpy ride.

  58. mimicaterina says:

    Mamma mia! The Jesus Seminar! Goodness, I thought they had run their course decades ago!!

  59. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Benedict Joseph,

    Yes, the Rusconi introductory note includes, “è stato provinciale venezuelano (con simpatie per Hugo Chavez) dal 1996 al 2004.” (Is ‘Rossoporpora’ some kind of wordplay suggesting Marxist Cardinals?)

    Amante de los Manuales says, “Yet he thinks the truth of the proposition itself is a black or white matter.” Yes, he says, “Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much,” but seems to revel in being rigorously doctrinaire about his unquestioned assumptions.


    You help me see with a new clarity how “Satanas transfigurat se in angelum lucis” (2 Cor. 11:14)!

    All this reminds me of how, at the least, various of Joachim of Fiore’s followers went wild with an idea of this being the Third Age, the Age of the Holy Spirit.

    It would be interesting for us inadequate Italian speakers if someone translated the whole interview.

  60. benedetta says:

    I suppose when clerics and their assigns or laity responsible for it (perhaps even anyone) does not teach authentic doctrine they interfere with conscience and one’s ability to freely decide or choose religion in their lives. Not to mention the spirituality that goes with it. This is also known as coercion. Arguably it is no different from forced coercions or threats. This process can be a very subtle one which does nothing to recommend it.

    One should never make the mistake, particularly in these times, and particularly where the scandalizing of children are concerned, of believing that if one omits to teach the doctrine of the Church that one has been rendered, somehow, more, and not less, free, or free thinking, or rationally minded, or un-bothered by mere doctrine. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, and that neglect has powerful, wide ranging, personal, and devastating consequences. There are of course many doctrines and dogmas competing for one’s soul and in our times are winning with respect to ownership and free ranging domination of the rational minds and empathetic hearts of our children which permits not good, trustworthy, and healthy doctrine to even be considered. So it’s interesting. One wonders how some who have benefited from a free inquiry and where discernment and God’s Providence has led could refuse another, less resourced and more vulnerable, the opportunity.

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  62. TNCath says:

    It’s going to be a long Lent.

  63. Poor Yorek says:

    I’m imagining two Jesuits and a spoof of the Mitchell & Webb comedy skit “Are We the Baddies?”

  64. jaykay says:

    hwriggles4: “The Church does not need a repeat of 1978.”

    Apart from a repeat of October 16th of that year, that is… ;)

  65. James in Perth says:

    I have no idea what it means to be Catholic anymore if the Church’s teaching authority is … subservient to my own discernment unmoored from the words of the Savior.

  66. Jim R says:

    “The Church has always reiterated the priority of personal conscience.”

    That, of course, is not correct. What the Church has reiterated is the priority of “personal informed conscience.” That is quite a difference.

    “Informed” makes all the difference in the world.

    What Fr., has proposed is nothing short of voluntarism. What the Church proposes is an obvious statement. An individual, in matters of faith and morals, is always called to believe and act in accordance with the Faith – even if there are temporal consequences.

    An informed conscience corrects error. It discerns Truth. It is a great bulwark against false doctrine…say Arianism, Nestorianism or thew other heresies historically, e.g. It is always consistent with dogma, the Deposit of Faith…revealed Truth. A personal informed conscience resists voluntarism because it is so in tune with the will of God. A personal ill-informed conscience leads to error, sin and, perhaps, ultimately to apostasy. A personal informed conscience leads us to God.

  67. IloveJesus says:

    Fr. Abascal: “Doctrine is a word I don’t like very much.”

    “A Church which is poorer in doctrine is not more pastoral, but only more ignorant.” —Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  68. frmgcmma says:

    The Jesuit Father General suffers from the kind of skepticism that he learned from his confere, Father Bernard Lonergan, S.J., whose personal variety of Kantian Idealism included a power grab: if doctrines and dogmas are enunciated in historical contexts, then in order to understand the doctrines and dogmas, we have to understand the “horizons” of the historical contexts in which they were formulated. But, of course, the bishops and the Pope are just too busy with their work to get to the bottom of all that. We need the academics to come to the rescue! They alone have the skills and brains needed to tell us (and tell the Pope and the bishops) what all that historical and linguistic research can yield! They alone can help formulate the “new meanings” of these old doctrines and dogmas. It’s a power grab called the “Magisterium of the Academics”.

    There are limits, of course, to “discernment”, not unlike the limits of arguments. Aristotle admits there are limits to syllogisms and arguments. If someone doubt that grass is green, you don’t argue with the man, you take him outside and give him a sense experience. Then Aristotle gives a remarkable example: if a man doubts if he should honor his father, he doesn’t need an argument. He needs punishment. Aristotle also knew that there are some human acts that can never be justified. And he listed them: murder, theft and adultery.

    We have no need for Father Abascal’s brand of “discernment”.

    Related to this is how Blessed Paul VI answered the skeptics of transubstantiation when they wanted to “discern” new ways of understanding the Eucharist and invent new words to express it. The Pope insisted that the word transubstantiation has been canonized since it doesn’t depend on a school or some historical context. Rather, he said:

    “…these formulas present that part of reality which necessary and universal experience permits the human mind to grasp and to manifest with apt and exact terms taken either from common or polished language. For this reason, these formulas are adapted to men of all times and all places. But the most sacred task of theology is, not the invention of new dogmatic formulas to replace old ones, but rather such a defense and explanation of the formulas adopted by the councils as may demonstrate that divine Revelation is the source of the truths communicated through these expressions.
    “They can, it is true, be made clearer and more obvious; and doing this is of great benefit. But it must always be done in such a way that they retain the meaning in which they have been used, so that with the advance of an understanding of the faith, the truth of faith will remain unchanged. For it is the teaching of the First Vatican Council that ‘the meaning that Holy Mother the Church has once declared, is to be retained forever, and no pretext of deeper understanding ever justifies any deviation from that meaning.’ ”

    Thanks, but no thanks, Father General.

    Similarly, we have clear and reliable testimony to the truth of the Gospels as they have been given to us by Christ through the Church. And his revelation there contains clear teachings (like the one about the indissolubility of marriage, which clear teaching merited crucifixion for him, btw) and subsequent explanations and confirmations from the authority of the Church for 20 centuries that we need not fall into the Jesuitical, casuistic Kantian trap.

  69. Alcuinus says:

    Defound Planned Jesuithood…

  70. Pingback: International Answer The Dubia Day! - Telzilla

  71. dallenl says:

    I can see now why the Almighty inspired the establishment of the Dominicans (OP). Someone had to preach the gospel.

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