From: Boyd Cathey [Email him]
I have received a number of inquiries following the incendiary comments made earlier today by Pope Francis directed at Donald Trump. Francis basically said in one of his [in]famous commentaries that anyone who would build a border wall and thus inhibit "free immigration" is not a Christian . Trump responded, and for the record, I believe Trump's response was measured and absolutely correct (I would have used much stronger language.)
I am a very traditional, Latin Catholic. Indeed, for a number of years I studied Catholic theology and philosophy in Europe at one of the finest seminaries in the world, and I have actually authored theological essays in the past.
Now a few comments that I hope will clarify this matter:
In at least a couple of articles published last year (e.g., at THE UNZ REVIEW), I have been highly critical of Francis. With all due respect to the papal office, I consider his praxis, his public pronouncements, his off-hand "remarks" given liberally to prying reporters aboard airplanes, to be not only gravely harmful to the Church and to the faithful, but also scandalous and a source of chagrin, sadness, and justified anger.
For those not familiar with the way Catholic teaching is expressed, let me explain: first, not every statement or sermon uttered by an occupant of the Chair of Peter enjoys indefectibility. (What is popularly called “Papal Infallibility”. )Indeed, ONLY when such preachments, sermons, allocutions and statements confirm and echo the constant and ancient teachings of the Church in her Magisterium can such utterances be held to express the "mind of the Church," and thus worthy of true respect and concurrence. Nevertheless, when a pope speaks Catholics normally listen and give such commentary some respect. But the key word here is "normally," and we do not live in normal times.
The problem here is that Francis has during the entirety of his papacy in his words and actions skirted at the very extreme edge of doctrine on a number of issues, including marriage, divorce, and now contraception, among other questions. Although practically all of his utterances have not been formal statements of faith, that is, they haven't risen to the level of formal teaching, nevertheless, they have in their summation and cumulative effect indicated a mindset and an outlook that is extremely troubling, and, as I said earlier, scandalous to the faithful believer, and, in effect, truly dangerous to the maintenance of the faith.
On the particular issue of immigration, specifically illegal immigration, Francis's words and his totally unjustified "attack" on Donald Trump, clearly indicate that he ignores the consistent teaching of the Church (at least up until the 1960s) of the right of a country to defend itself against interlopers (modeled on the microcosm of the family and its analogous ability to resist interlopers, and based in Natural Law which dates back to the earliest Fathers of the Church). Francis exposes an agenda that, in praxis, has little to do with the historic Catholic faith. Very simply, it is totally and abysmally outrageous for any pontiff to make the assertions about some mythical "universal right" to immigrate. There is no such "right" in historic Catholic theology or Catholic doctrine.
Yes, in recent years increasing numbers of bishops and religious leaders have posited such a "right," but their theology is faulty and their history is false.
Francis was trained in theology, and, I regret if I offend some here, he is bound to know what I have just written. That he ignores the teachings, Natural Law, and historic and consistent Church practice can hardly be ascribed to invincible ignorance. Rather, it appears that he has spoken ideologically—and culpably— and in so doing he mocks not only of the faith he purports to represent and speak for, but his attempt to disqualify anyone who opposes his false and dangerous "opinion" as "not a Christian" incriminates him before millions of believers and before the judgment of history.
For anyone interested, there is a major Appeal, signed by hundreds of thousands of traditional Catholics asking that Francis resign his papal office, indicting him for the immense and far-reaching damage that he committed and continues to commit, and for the embarrassment, the scandal to the Faith, and the anguish he has caused. I have signed it, and I append a link to it here: An Urgent Appeal to Pope Francis to Either Change Course or Renounce the Petrine Office, December 8, 2015
The "mysterium iniquitatis"—the Mystery of Iniquity—prevails in the world today. But if we maintain with courage our baptismal faith unblemished and the Credo passed on to us as a Sacred trust from our ancestors and from Our Lord Himself, we cannot go wrong.
Dr. Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctoral degree from the University of Navarra in Spain (as a Richard M. Weaver Fellow), and an MA from the University of Virginia (where he was a Jefferson Fellow). He served as assistant to the late Dr. Russell Kirk, and recently retired as State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives. He has published in several languages on historical, musical, and cultural topics. You can read his articles at The Unz Review.