Wherein Fr. Hunwicke identifies a serious problem

Alexander VI, not Fr. Hunwicke

You strong supporters of Francis and you sharp critics of anyone who raises questions about certain of his actions and words should pay close attention to the following.

Over at his amusing and erudite Mutual Enrichment, Fr. John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate, has an observation.

The heart of Bergoglianity

The heart of the Bergoglianist error is, in my fallible opinion, to be found in such texts as the letter Archbishop Nichols wrote last year to PF, assuring him that English Catholics believe that his election was the work of the Holy Spirit [not in my name, Vincent], and that the Holy Spirit guides him daily [ditto]; vide similar statements by now-Cardinal Farrell linking the Pope to the Holy Spirit … Mgr Pio of the Rota … …

Now one of the Church’s leading and most extreme hyperultrapapalists, the papolatrous Cardinal Maradiaga, has encapsulated that error in a single lucid sentence and, in so doing, has pushed the error a few notches further up the scale … or even, you may feel, off the scale. Here are his reported words:

“To ask for the resignation of the pope is, in my opinion, a sin against the Holy Spirit, who ultimately is the guide of the Church.”

I need not remind you that the “sin against the Holy Spirit” is, according to the words of the Lord, the unforgivable sin: unforgivable both in this world and in the next (Mt 12:31 sqq et parr).

Not even, apparently, merely a sin canonically reserved to the Holy See. A sin … unforgivable!

[…]

Think about what they are saying.

Francis does something like change a paragraph of the CCC so that it says something that the Church has never before said and, indeed, appears to contradict directly what the Church has taught on the matter and, when people raise objections or ask questions, his supporters say that they sin against the Holy Spirit.

Francis teaches something in an encyclical which seems to say that people in the state of mortal sin should be admitted to Communion – which no saint or theologian in their right mind would have suggested in centuries past – or that they cannot live up to the ideas of morality that the Church teaches and, when people object, they are accused of sin against the Holy Spirit.

Ratzinger once answered that the role of the Holy Spirit in the conclave was not to be the Super Elector of the new Pontiff, but rather to ensure that the decision the poor little mortals make will not be total disaster for the Church.  The Holy Spirit did not control the Evangelists with automatic writing.  Neither does the Holy Spirit impose Popes.  Or would the papaltrous require us to believe that the Holy Spirit imposed Sergius III, John XII or Alexander VI?   Do we sin against the Holy Spirit – unforgivably – if we insist that men chose every Pope after Peter and that the Third Person made sure they couldn’t destroy the Church?

The Holy Spirit surely is at work in the Church and He without question offers assistance to us all, each according to our vocations.

However, those who claim “sin against the Holy Spirit” against their opponents or critics should be aware that what they are doing is weaponizing the Holy Spirit, instrumentalizing God, which is not to be tolerated.

God is not mocked. Galatians 6:7.

If you are one of those who claim that to resist anything Francis does is sinning against the Holy Spirit, you had better look carefully into your own soul.  You’ve gone too far.

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34 Responses to Wherein Fr. Hunwicke identifies a serious problem

  1. Thomas S says:

    Sad irony that we’d actually be better off with Rodrigo Borgia. At least he didn’t teach error, but actually punished heresy.

    [That is true. He may have been a pretty awful Catholic, but as far as doctrine was concerned, he wasn’t an awful Pope. I think he would have admitted that he was a pretty awful Catholic, too.]

  2. tho says:

    In my opinion, the Holy Spirit is guiding Archbishop Vigano. Although we shouldn’t play fast and loose with the actions of the Holy Ghost, the word spirit reminds me of the fruit of VII, although, it seems that spiritual intervention is at work here. St. Catherine of Siena comes to mind.

  3. clare joseph says:

    What is being described here – the accusation of sinning against the Holy Spirit when someone disagrees or raises a question – is one more way, and an especially bad way, of trying to twist and torment someone’s already-troubled conscience. Nuh-uh. This will not fly. How sorrowful it is to lose one’s ‘religious innocence’ in a Church whose leaders deeply betray one’s trust, then blame US – when at first all we were aware of was the profound beauty of Catholic doctrine in its sublime reality. But the Holy Spirit is completely capable of healing wounded innocence, and this will happen as the House gets thoroughly cleansed.

  4. Mallu Jack says:

    If someone accuses you of sinning against the Holy Spirit by criticizing the Pope, you can quote Pope Francis himself in your defense: “It is reductive simply to consider whether or not an individual’s actions correspond to a general law or rule, because that is not enough to discern and ensure full fidelity to God in the concrete life of a human being.” (AL 304)

  5. frmgcmma says:

    Fr Z. asks: “… would the papaltrous require us to believe that the Holy Spirit imposed Sergius III, John XII or Alexander VI?”

    I continue the thought: “And what about Clement XIV?”

    [Ahhh, yes. Papa Ganganelli. He did his best! Subsequent Popes undid his good day’s work, alas.]

  6. Dismas says:

    What about the Holy Spirit’s action in the election of Pope John Paul I?

    Holy Spirit according to the Usual Suspects: “It is imperative that Luciani be elected. Sure, he’ll be dead before he does anything, but this MUST happen.”

  7. If the Holy Spirit elected this pope then he elected the prior two, also — whose magisterium is currently in disfavor. The argument fails easily, having its only possible resolution in relativism.

  8. robtbrown says:

    tho says:

    In my opinion, the Holy Spirit is guiding Archbishop Vigano. Although we shouldn’t play fast and loose with the actions of the Holy Ghost, the word spirit reminds me of the fruit of VII, although, it seems that spiritual intervention is at work here. St. Catherine of Siena comes to mind.

    Ghost is of Germanic origin–cf. Geist.

    Spirit is from the Latin Spiritus.

  9. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    “However, those who claim “sin against the Holy Spirit” against their opponents or critics should be aware that what they are doing is weaponizing the Holy Spirit, instrumentalizing God, which is not to be tolerated.”

    Fr. Z., are you specifically referring to Pope Francis’ allies like Maradiaga, Schoenborn, Kasper, Wuerl, etc.? Or are you referring to anyone who suggests their opponents/critics are sinning against the Holy Spirit is weaponizing the Holy Spirit?

    I say that because it could be shown that Pope Francis and his allies are promoting sin against the Holy Spirit. By writing that, I don’t think I am weaponizing God; I am merely publicly identifying a reality and rebuking the Pope, Cardinals, etc. at the same time for their most grievous sins.

    For example, Fr. Z. rightly says that it “appears” (by now it is no longer an appearance) as though Pope Francis is promoting the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist by those in the state of mortal sin. Reception of the Most Holy Eucharist in the state of mortal sin is itself grave matter and likely a mortal sin, too; thus, Pope Francis would be promoting sin as if it is God’s will. By promoting or condoning sin, Pope Francis would then be both promoting and committing a sin against the Holy Spirit.

    If a Pope, Cardinal, etc. directly or indirectly says that sin is “God’s will”, then that Pope, Cardinal, etc. is both promoting and committing a sin against the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit “convince(s) the world concerning sin…” (John 16:8), it would be a sin against the Holy Spirit if one “anti-convinces” the world concerning sin. Saying “sin is good” or “sin is sometimes God’s will” is “anti-convincing” the world concerning sin and is indeed a sin against the Holy Spirit.

  10. robtbrown says:

    I wonder whether Maradiaga thinks that the Holy Spirit was at work when the pope made McCarrick a Bishop and a Cardinal.

    Following Maradiaga’s link of thought, if Francis resigns, it will be because he was guided by the Holy Spirit. In that case, those who have urged him to resign will have been moved by the Holy Spirit. Nb: God moves through instrumental causes.

  11. Sawyer says:

    So _c_atholic progressives are now using the Holy Spirit (as they have Scripture and doctrine) in the same manner as Leftist politicians have been using the Constitution: it means whatever you want it to mean to support your aims, even if you have to twist, distort, contort or ignore its meaning to get it to say what you want.

    The Left doesn’t support the Constitution; it’s merely a means to and end if it’s useful, and if it isn’t useful it’s conveniently ignored. _c_atholic prograssives don’t support the Holy Spirit; he’s only to be invoked if useful, and if not then ignored.

  12. Malta says:

    That is too funny! I guess I “sin against the Holy Spirit” everyday because a pray to the Holy Spirit for this ‘pope’ to resign!

  13. Simon_GNR says:

    I like Fr Hunwicke’s blog and read it often. He has a witty, pithy way of expressing himself and I bet his sermons are generally worth listening to. He has a made an important point here about Cardinal Maradiaga’s nonsensical opinion. Maradiaga needs to do a bit more research before reaching any conclusions about what constitutes a sin against the Holy Spirit. How men like him get to be bishops, let alone cardinals, is a mystery to me. I suppose it’s all about patronage, sycophancy and mutual back-scratching.

    It’s concerning that Cardinal Maradiaga will probably be a voting Cardinal at the next papal conclave. No doubt there are many like him, so the next pope is unlikely to be the sort of man who would win the confidence of conservative, tradition-minded Catholics [I don’t count myself as a Traditionalist as such] like me. At least history shows us that the capacity of fallible men to damage the Church is actually quite limited.

  14. ex seaxe says:

    “The Holy Spirit did not control the Evangelists with automatic writing.” No, indeed, but some of those who taught me (I am 80) appeared to hold that view, and they were (to grossly oversimplify) of the Right and not of the Left. Ultramontanism has, as far as I know, never previously been espoused by the ‘Progressives’. We live in very confusing times.

  15. Pingback: Wherein Fr. Hunwicke identifies a serious problem | Fr. Z’s BlogFr. Z’s Blog – Trump:The American Years

  16. rcg says:

    Is it too late to change his name to Pope Canute?

    [You may want to review Canute’s story, the whole thing about the tide. Canute did what he did to demonstrate how limited his powers were. Canute is a great name, however.]

  17. robtbrown says:

    Should be: Maradiaga’s line of thought

  18. bobbird says:

    And amazingly, such a comment breaks the ONE SIN we have pounded upon us: JUDGMENTALISM! And … what about all those dissenters during the JP II pontificate? I guess they’re all going to Hell after all, any repentance or conversion be damned. The Anti-Catholic Distorter (aka “Fishwrap”) would conveniently ignore them in their new-found demands of loyalty to PF.
    My, my.

  19. JMody says:

    [quote]the role of the Holy Spirit in the conclave was not to be the Super Elector of the new Pontiff, but rather to ensure that the decision the poor little mortals make will not be total disaster for the Church[/quote]
    HA! As it was once explained to me, if going North is good and going South is evil, all the Holy Spirit does at the conclave is make sure that there is no southerly component in the course they choose, but that still leaves quite a few points on the compass.

    But, I guess if the Holy Spirit selects the Pope, we are to believe that He occasionally uses even bribery? Which of the seven gifts covers that, and would it also cover extortion?

  20. PetersBarque says:

    The fact that the Holy Spirit guided the men who chose PF is a non sequitur with regard to denouncing anyone who questions his actions. Judas was chosen by Jesus Christ Himself. From the onset of his Pontificate, PF came out swinging against much of what the Church holds sacred, and he obstinately continues down that path, which suggests that his Pontificate is fueled by an agenda: his own or another’s. “Thus you will you know them by their fruits.” Matt. 7:20

  21. “If you are one of those who claim that to resist anything Francis does is sinning against the Holy Spirit, you had better look carefully into your own soul. You’ve gone too far.”

    AMEN!

  22. Dismas says:

    Pope Francis is a man. Pope Francis will die at some point. All things considered, should Pope Francis renounce from papacy before stacking the Cardinal Electors to 90-95% homosexual Communists, I’d consider that an act of Divine Intervention. Considering the demographics, that isn’t far off.

    I hope that Pope Francis does enjoy a conversion (can you imagine the journalistic hysteria?). That said, I am open to whatever the Lord deems necessary. For all we know, this crisis is necessary so that things become so truly horrid that the Mass in the OF is effectively abolished. I just don’t know.

    Come whatever may, I am a Catholic. I am a lousy Catholic, to be sure, but one happy to know where he stands, and where the goalposts really are.

  23. GregB says:

    When I read the Old Testament I can see prophetic messages speaking of the coming of the suffering servant and a new covenant. God gave Israel plenty of advanced notice of upcoming changes. There were also incidents recorded in the New Testament where the Father’s voice was heard endorsing Christ. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was sent. There is no place in the New Testament where I can see any notices that there would be any revisions to Christ’s New and Eternal Covenant. I do see warnings of false prophets. We have had the appearance of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are no further Persons of the Holy Trinity left to send to usher in a new dispensation. The current claims of the God of surprises are contrary to God’s prior conduct as recorded in Holy Scripture. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Can the progressives provide any?

  24. Benedict Joseph says:

    In the face of Cardinal Parolin, presently engaged in selling Chinese Catholicism into the hands of brutal atheist Communists thugs, announcing sometime back a “New Paradigm.” [Roman
    Catholicism is now the “New Paradigm.” Kind of like a secular materialist mega church?]
    In the face of Father Rosica, CSB, attaché of the Holy See Press Office, writing boldly and without restraint a few weeks ago that Pope Bergoglio is not constrained by “disordered attachments” like Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition — “he thinks for himself.” And the Pope himself commenting some years back that everything he puts forth is “magisterium.”
    In the face of just these few events how could it come as a shock that Cardinal Maradiaga would find himself unrestrained by common sense, human reason or the perennial Magisterium from contributing such an absurdity as he has? It is not only absurd but pastoral deception. It is malpractice.
    They make it up as they go along as it suits them. It’s all been in evidence for years, for the past five it is center stage, and provides extraordinary credence for those who regard what is on our hands with deep disappointment, grief – and horror.

  25. GregB says:

    The “New Paradigm” is the paradigm of pastoral laxity. Pastoral laxity has played a major role in the current clerical abuse crisis.

  26. Hidden One says:

    Did anyone ever ask Pope St. Celestine V to resign?

  27. Charles E Flynn says:

    This quotation from Cardinal Maradiaga is the single most perverse misapplication of sacred scripture I have ever seen.

  28. TonyO says:

    The Holy Spirit did not control the Evangelists with automatic writing.” No, indeed, but some of those who taught me (I am 80) appeared to hold that view, and they were (to grossly oversimplify) of the Right and not of the Left.

    The proper teaching is, and has always been, that the Holy Spirit inspired and infused the minds and hearts of the Gospel writers that what they intended to write was true, that they wanted to write what God wanted set down, and that they did set down held what God wanted revealed. The Holy Spirit did not “force” them or dictate to them, He inspired them so that they produced what God intended for the Gospels.

    This understanding has been mis-characterized by the Left so often that it hardly ever is heard any more. But it was standard fare a great many years ago.

  29. fmsb78 says:

    Typical of liberal approach: If you can’t win the discussion, then label your opponent as a racist / bigot / homophobic. Just that “Sin again Holy Spirit” fills in for the aforementioned adjectives.

  30. HvonBlumenthal says:

    I have been wondering lately what the fans of Pope Francis understand by the term “clericalism”.

    I understand it to mean attributing to clerics authority to which they are not entitled.

  31. HvonBlumenthal says: what the fans of Pope Francis understand by the term “clericalism”.

    It does indeed seem that there are varying and competing definitions.

  32. tho says:

    I am so tired, and saddened by those who incrementally want change for the sake of change. If describing the Holy Spirit as the Holy Ghost was good enough for English speaking Saints and scholars for hundreds of years, why the fuss about using it. There is an island in the south pacific named Espiritu Santo, I don’t propose changing it’s name to Holy Ghost. Give me a break.
    While on the subject of change, Faith, Hope, and Charity was understood with clarity by all English speakers. Now we have Faith, Hope, and Love, many languages break Love down into different categories, but in English an adulterer, or a fornicator can be described as making love, he certainly isn’t being charitable.

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    I ask this question in all ignorance. Do seminarians actually take a course in pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit)? I mean, to my knowledge, there is no standard textbook (and don’t cite me Charismatic literature or Congar).

    Maybe someone should write one. It would prevent a lot of nonsense from being said.

    I cannot claim to speak for the Holy Spirit, so, let me quote someone who can:

    “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: `The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

    “`I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead.

    [2] Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God.
    [3] Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.
    [4] Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
    [5] He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
    [6] He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

    The Chicken

  34. Semper Gumby says:

    Thank you Fr. Hunwicke and Fr. Z for this article and post. The point of Peak Papolatry appears to be approaching. My guess is that fmsb78 above is on to something.

    “…weaponizing the Holy Spirit…” indeed.