(LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis’s “four principles” – “time is greater than space, unity prevails over conflict, the whole is greater than the part, reality is more important than ideas” – are widely known, and often presented as structuring his theology. Despite their insignificance and even their triviality, they have been touted as the pillars of the social doctrine of the Church, even being hailed as new elements of the magisterium of the Church and signs of a deeply original approach by the Argentinian pope.
But what do they mean? Where do they come from? Even more importantly, what goals do they serve?
Much has been written about them, but surely we owe the most accurate and in-depth study of the “four principles” to a former French reporter, Jean-Pierre Moreau. Moreau traveled at length in South America where he was sent together with another journalist and a filming team by the Figaro-Magazines to investigate the proponents of South American Liberation Theology, on which he was and is an authority.
Because Moreau is also a convinced Catholic with a profound love for the Church, he has never stopped observing the realities of Liberation Theology and also of the Theology of the People, which is the name behind which it hides in Argentina, and of which Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is a prominent representative.
LifeSite is pleased to present Jean-Pierre Moreau’s study of Pope Francis’s “Four principles,” which clearly identifies where they originated – and it is not where the Pope’s “hagiographers” and close collaborators say they did. They are, Moreau explains, criteria and principles of action for gaining and keeping power, and they can primarily be found in the thought of Argentina’s “justicialist” president, General Juan Perón. He calls them “a political scam,” and shows just how they are linked to the “Theology of the People.”
In order to understand the present Pope’s actions, political preferences, and peculiar form of spirituality – and dislike for the traditional forms of doctrine and worship – this text is truly paramount.
Translated from the French by Jeanne Smits for LifeSiteNews
“Progress in building a people in peace, justice and fraternity depends on four principles related to constant tensions present in every social reality. These derive from the pillars of the Church’s social doctrine, which serve as ‘primary and fundamental parameters of reference for interpreting and evaluating social phenomena’” (Evangelii Gaudium 221).
What are these four principles? Chances are that even without having read Evangelii Gaudium, where they appear in paragraphs 221, 226, 231 and 234, you have already heard them, given that Francis is wont to repeat them:
- Time is greater than space.
- Unity prevails over conflict.
- The whole is greater than the part.
- Reality is more important than ideas.
But contrary to what the Pope has often said, these principles have nothing to do with the social doctrine of the Church.
A look at the reference given by the Pope (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 161) will immediately show that this text does not mention them in any way.
On the other hand, in the previous number, no. 160, it mentions “the permanent principles of the Church’s social doctrine which constitute the true foundations of Catholic social teaching,” namely:
- The principle of the dignity of the human person… which is the foundation of all the other principles and content of the Church’s social doctrine.
- The principle of the common good.
- The principle of subsidiarity.
- The principle of solidarity (numbered by us).
The Compendium further specifies: “These principles (are) the expression of the whole truth about man known by reason and by faith…” It adds, “In the course of history and with the light of the Spirit, the Church has wisely reflected within her own tradition of faith, and has been able to provide an ever more accurate foundation and shape to these principles, progressively explaining them in the attempt to respond coherently to the demands of the times and to the continuous developments of social life.”
The intellectual and philosophical discrepancy between Francis’ “principles,” which he presents as “related to bipolar tensions,” and those of the Compendium is striking!
This discrepancy was pointed out by Father Giovanni Scalese who was, among other things, professor and rector at the Collegio Querce in Florence: “It is hard to grasp the derivation of the four postulates of ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ from the aforementioned ‘permanent principles’ of the social doctrine of the Church” (on Sandro Magister’s blog, May 19, 2016).
Father Scalese quotes the Pope himself from Amoris laetitia: “Since time is greater than space, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case until the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth” (cf. Jn 16:13).
There is a very strong connection between this comment by the Pope and Liberation theology, and theology of the people, which makes it possible perfectly to understand the meaning of these words. This is modernism at its height! According to the Chilean Jesuit, Jorge Costadoa, “considering history as a ‘locus theologicus’ is the most important preconception of Latin American liberation theology.”
This can be clearly seen in the expression “until the Spirit…” These words constitute the crude identification of a “telos” or purpose of history, and institute the relativism that is at the very heart of the four principles!
How is this possible? Giulio Meattini, a learned Benedictine monk, explains:
“It therefore comes as no surprise that these postulates should be the object of critical analysis today, in part because they do not stem in any way from divine revelation nor have any foundation in the Sacred Scriptures, but are a mere product of the human mind, which Pope Francis however is audaciously elevating as driving principles of the life of the Church.”
Indeed, according to Meattini, “One gets the impression that the affirmation of the superiority of time over space serves an interest: that of starting processes.” He notes, further on: “In any case we can say that, under the banner of this principle, the effect has taken hold: there has begun, following the post-synodal exhortation on the family, a series of ‘processes’: debates, controversies, diametrically opposed interpretations, polarizations, perplexities of faithful and priests, uncertainties in the episcopal conferences” (The blog of Sandro Magister, August 23, 2016).
To this could be added the Synod on Amazonia, the destruction of the Catholic Church in China, and so on.
But we should first go back to the source of the “four principles” provided by Francis himself. In the Courrier de Rome No. 600 of June 2017, Father Renaud de Sainte Marie wrote: “When reading the 2004 Compendium of Social Doctrine referred to in the excerpt we just quoted, you will literally not find a single one of the four principles enunciated by the pope. The implication is that these four principles are intellectual syntheses that are the brainchild of Francis himself. The one remarkable correspondence between the two texts that can be found precisely is the reference to the concept of time. We can already note the following: the Pope relies on the authority of a text published by one of his predecessors to give these four principles a reference value that would be identical to those of the Compendium… The principles of Francis, on the other hand, are proclaimed out of the blue and it is difficult to incorporate them into the relatively coherent whole of the Compendium… We do not believe that the principles are in fact drawn from the Compendium.”
This raises two questions. Why is the Pope hiding behind the authority of his predecessor? What does he want to conceal that he should need this kind of cover, even at the risk of an obvious anachronism? Father de Sainte-Marie is the only one to venture an indication of a date (note 11, page 2): “If we are to believe the words of an Argentinian Jesuit, Scannone, his confrere Bergoglio was already using these four principles in the 1970s.”
Like so many others, we have been wandering about, trying to identify the origin of these four principles. But after extensive research we can confirm that they are a scam that provides a pseudo-framework for a large part of the first papal exhortation. Father Scannone was right: Pope Bergoglio embraced this pretense of intellectual coherence around “four principles” as early as 1974.
Before such a much-needed return to their roots – where do these principles really come from? – it is necessary to understand the pontifical strategy as a whole, in the way it is being expressed today.
The conciliar ideology
Having emerged victorious from the Council, the conciliar ideology spread throughout the world, especially in Latin America, all of whose leading figures had studied in Europe. But coming in the wake of the decolonization conflicts and class struggle, the revolution within the Church had a Marxist character that was overly conspicuous.
In its bid for power, the modernist party needed recruits to spread the ideology according to which spiritual power and temporal power are not distinct but belong to the clergy and the laity, since these act together in a single struggle for justice and for the poor. We should remember in passing that in the political parties that claim to be the bearers of “social justice,” the proletariat is in reality the mass of maneuverers that is entirely subject to the party.
In this context, the ideologists in Argentina invented a sociological category born from their national experience, a “proletariat” that they would call the people of God. They claimed the Council as their source of inspiration and constituted this “people” as the leading edge of the new Church. This people would subsequently be declared infallible in credendum because it carries a sense of social and political justice that is any other institution.
In 1974, in line with this approach, Father Bergoglio pronounced the separation between the magisterium of the Church and the devotion of the faithful to the Virgin Mary, and between the faith of the Church and its historical interpretation. This unheard of innovation further radicalized the theology of the people and established it, if we can put it that way, as a “primary theology.”
It reappeared as soon as Bergoglio had become pope. In July 2013, in an article published by the Brazilian newspaper Estadão, Leonardo Boff perfectly summarized the novelty of the pontificate, under the title “Pope Francis, toward a new springtime for the Church.” It listed seven changes: From the winter of the Church to springtime, from a fortress to an open house, from the Pope to the bishop of Rome, from the palace to the guesthouse, from doctrine to experience, from exclusion to inclusion, from the Church to the world.
It is clear that those who have argued that Pope Francis is not a proponent of Liberation theology (they were trying to reassure themselves on the cheap!), would do well to seek the opinion of this Brazilian ex-Franciscan who is one of its major representatives!
This brings us to one of the essential points of this reflection. While the LT-TOP (liberation theology – theology of the people) moves forward under the cover of theology, philosophy and culture, the party of the theology of the people, like all political parties, aims at achieving the conquest of power. It therefore seeks, especially in Argentina, the political means to win over the people: there it had only to retrieve the people that Perón, whether present or not in Argentina, had turned into a sacred category since 1945!
On September 19, 2016, Eduardo de la Serna, an Argentine liberationist priest, published the text of a conference he gave at the Jesuits’ in Bogotá. It is a theological demonstration of the liberationist character of the “people of God” that substitutes itself for the Mystical Body of Christ. In this conference he stated that in his youth Pope Francis was always close to “the Iron Guard” and to Juan Perón, and that because of this closeness some have described him as a populist. Obviously, this word does not have the meaning that French politics gives it: it simply designates special attention given to the people as an electoral force.
But that is not the most important thing.
The most extraordinary thing here, and this is what makes Eduardo de la Serna so eminently sympathetic, is that he does not just assert a fact, he actually gives proof of it. And this changes everything!
The truth is that biographers of Pope Francis simply copy each other, asserting that the Pope has a certain affiliation with Peronist ideas. But these are always mere allusions and they insist that he did not join the movement or… that he was young!
Here below is note no. 11 published by de la Serna following the text of his conference: it is this note that put us on the right track:
“His (Pope Francis’) assertions about time and space, reality and ideas, unity and conflict, are characteristic of groups like the Iron Guard. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he repeated them in every conference he made in 2005 (VIIIth Day for Social Ministry, June 25) and in 2010 (Bicentenary of Justice and Solidarity 2010. We as Citizens, We as People).”
It may seem strange, but for us it was this note, this footnote that opened the door behind which the source of Pope Francis’ political practice was hidden. It has nothing to do with theology or philosophy, but with rules borrowed from a political party for the conquest and retention of power. These rules, once transposed to the liberationist fight, are applied not only in order to change the Catholic Church, but mainly, on the longer term, to give it new synodal foundations.
Obviously, no one has ever stopped to think about this key pitch in the pontifical symphony. No one, not even those in Argentina who could have enlightened us.
Argentina and General Perón
Before setting forth what we have found, we must enter into the Argentine mentality, into the spirit of the Argentine nation.
The Argentinian character is so exceptional that it is not to be found in any other Latin American country. The Argentines are a recognized exception among other Latin American nations. Their way of pronouncing the Spanish language is also unique!
The Argentinian’s attachment to General Perón goes beyond any reasonable expression. Eleven years after Perón’s exile in 1955, a truck driver actually said to us, “In Perón’s time, workers were kings!”
More recently, in 2002, it was still not uncommon to see Argentinians weeping at the memory of Evita Perón while listening to the iconic song: « No llores por mi Argentina, mi alma esta siempre contigo » ; “Don’t cry for me Argentina, my soul is always with you…” Only lately an Argentinian told us that when a politician doesn’t know what to say, he quotes Perón… and gets a huge round of applause!
Proud and tender, the Argentinian is borne by the dream of Perón’s justicialism and by the woman who still embodied it fifty years after her death!
It could be said that Peronism is consubstantial to the Argentinians and that the speeches of the “conductor” (not the conducator) and those of his wife have enchanted them, in a magical sense. The very word “people” brings back all past glory. Peronism is both anti-Marxist and anti-capitalist; it is revolutionary and socialist, and then justicialist (justice + socialism).
The agents of subversion in the Argentinian Church had only to draw on a body of political doctrine to adapt Liberation theology… to the Argentinian people.
It is not possible to present here the whole of “Peronism”. We are only seeking to situate it in the history of contemporary Argentina. We will be content with quotes taken from a doctoral thesis presented in 2011 by Alicia Poderti: Perón, the construction of a political myth, 1943-1955, at the National University of La Plata.
“… the semantic inventions of his (Perón’s) speeches have spilled over into the sphere of the symbol, with a vocabulary and images that will be difficult to remove from the memory of Argentinians,” she wrote.
Elsewhere, she speaks of “the ideological metamorphosis of words.” This emotional charge was so strong that when Perón was ousted from power in 1955, the new government passed laws and decrees prohibiting the use of any words, images, etc., related to Perón, and punished violators very severely. It has been said that the father of the young Bergoglio forbade him to wear Perón’s insignia!
The social, popular, cultural and labor union substance of Peronism would be fully absorbed into the “theology of the people.” On May 9, 2001, the Argentinian newspaper La Nación published an article titled: “The priests of the slums: preachers of the theology of the people.”
Perón invented popular culture in the face of official culture through laws similar to those of the Popular Front in France.
“The great difference between the Argentina we have received and the one we are going to hand over to future generations is very simple and also very profound: in the New Argentina, the people will decide their own destiny,” he said in his speech on May 1, 1951. Perón also invented the “happy homeland,” which is still very much alive in Argentinian memories!
As for Evita, she compared her husband to Jesus:
“Why don’t the humble men of my country, the workers of my country, react like ordinary men, who understood and believed Perón? The explanation is simple: they only had to see Perón to believe in him, in his sincerity, in his loyalty, in his honesty. They saw him and they believed. Thus, what happened in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago is renewed. The first to believe were the humble; not the rich, nor the wise, nor the powerful.”
This language is understood by all: “Cada uno en su casa y Dios en la de todos” (Everyone in his own home and God in the home of all), said Perón, but it would be a great mistake to imagine that we are dealing with a Christian party here! It was socialist and revolutionary. It addressed the heart more than it addressed the head. The “descamisados” (the “shirtless people”) were its electors! Perón gave women the right to vote.
The conductor lead his people like Moses. He was the law and the prophets. He was by no means uneducated. He was passionate about the history of the great captains, from Antiquity to the present day.
In February 1947, he made his first great speech to the delegates of the General Constituent Congress of the Peronist Party. Politics (he said) are at the service of the nation. The Party is intelligent, idealistic and humanistic. It gathers men of good faith “to collaborate with our project,” and “to advance along the path of truth and reality.” “Peronism is humanism in action: unity, tolerance, loyalty, sincerity.” This is a complete political program, 288 page-long!
On July 16, 1947, Perón presided over the UN Security Council and appealed to the peoples of the world in favor of justicialism, a “third position” between the two imperialisms that had emerged from World War II.
On April 9, 1949, he delivered his speech on “The Organized Community,” the philosophical and historical foundation of what would become Peronism. This speech was given in Mendoza during the first National Congress of Philosophy.
He excelled in the lectures he gave at the creation of the Peronist Superior School, starting on March 1, 1951. This school was intended for the training of Justicialist Party leaders. In these lectures, Juan Perón explained the art of “political conduct.” They were later collected in a book, La conducción de la política.
As was his wont, he offered a demonstration of his amazing historical and political knowledge. He quoted Plutarch and Clausewitz, Lycurgus and Darius, Alexander the Great and Alphonsus the Wise, not forgetting Seneca. But also Scheler, Husserl and Heidegger; Michelangelo, Murillo and Raphael! And, of course, Napoleon.
His methods of presentation were essentially military: strategy and tactics.
It is in this collection that the couple “time and space” appeared for the first time.
It appears as such on page 33 in the very title of chapter II, “The Characteristic of Modern Leadership” (the political art par excellence of conducing the nation towards its unity and greatness):
“In the same way as history, conduct must have as its perfect framework time and space; it must evolve with the evolution of man, with the evolution of science and with the evolution of the arts. Each new discovery alters and modifies conduct. For this reason, to be able to understand conduct it is necessary to position oneself in conditions of time and place. Of time, because of evolution; and of place, because of the characteristics of conduct itself, in its own environment.”
These essential concepts were taken up again in the substantial chapter on “The economy of forces.” The concept of time was here enhanced by a comparison with the preparation of the “French Revolution, which was meticulously and wonderfully prepared by the encyclopedists.”
Perón’s articles, signed Descartes, also included the couple “time and space” in February and April 1951.
Our purpose is not to go into the details of this training course, but to understand where “the principles” come from.
As we have already mentioned, all of Perón’s thought revolves around military art. So, after a long search, we found the answer in this area. Juan Perón had read all the stories of the great captains. He had a special admiration for Napoleon, whom he readily used to quote in his advice to his party members.
When bringing these words and their use as a pair into the sphere of “strategy,” we find that Napoleon wrote on January 7, 1814 to Stein, a Prussian minister: “Strategy is the art of using time and space. I am less sparing of the latter than of the former. We can reclaim space, but never lost time. The loss of time is irreparable in war.”
Perón’s determination to regain power had remained intact since his eviction in 1955. In 1969 he was faced with the task of reconstituting the great popular movement that had brought him to power in 1946. Its activists were scattered across the Argentine political spectrum from the most militaristic portions of the right wing to the most revolutionary part of the left. The bulletin Las Bases collected General Perón’s thoughts and guidelines for the year 1968-1969. Confronted with the chaos into which the union sector had fallen and the disorganization of the political branch, the “Comando Superior…” (Perón and the leaders of the movement), gave preference to the political branch while safeguarding the possibility of at the same time maintaining contacts with the labor union groups that had maintained unity and loyalty to Peronism.
The 36 guidelines set out by Perón were as always ordered according to the following military concept: strategy and tactics. Number 30 states: “The organ of execution of the strategic conduct for the country is the one devolved to the Delegate of the Superior Peronist Commando.”
Perón once again included all the party’s theories in a 238-page book entitled Conducción Politica in 1974, in which he also quoted the reference from his speech at the Escuela Superior Peronista on March 1, 1951.
The reference to space and time appears on page 26 and is repeated on pages 59 and 130. The principle “unity prevails over conflict” is developed on pages 75 and 157 under the title “Solución de los conflictos: la unidad.”
We have thus established with absolute certainty the origin of the superiority of time over space in the Peronist doxa, and as a consequence in the statements of Father Bergoglio. These dates are noteworthy, as well as the date of July 1969, when Perón addressed the women’s branch of the party with regard to Eva Perón’s action: “Each one of us has the obligation and responsibility to perpetuate it in time and to extend it in space as the best school from which we can draw inspiration.”
More recent testimonies bear witness to the fact that these principles are to be found exclusively among the survivors of Peronism.
- On February 27, 2016, during the Party Congress, Gustavo Menéndez told Radio REAL POLITIK FM 89.5: “At every moment of our meeting we understood the need for unity and took into account that unity always prevails over conflict and that the whole is superior to the parts.”
- When the Pope received Peronist trades unionists on September 14, 2016, one of them stated, “Peronism is our backbone and only unity prevails over conflict.” A union representative from the group then thanked the pope for having “opened the door to the divorced”– no doubt thinking of Perón who had legalized divorce. The delegation presented the pope with a copy of the Peronist Doctrine edited by the youth branch of the Argentine CGT labour union.
- On October 13, 2016, the Laudato si’ support group quoted the statement of one of its members, Fernando “Pino” Solanas: “We have come here to say that unity prevails over conflict. It was General Perón who established dialogue.”
What, then, of Francis’ four principles or causes, or hooks, or criteria or postulates or cornerstones or axioms or priorities? How can it be that the pope was able to cite three of the four “principles” in 1974 if, by his own account, he only developed them from the work of Romano Guardini in 1986?
February 18, 1974
Father Bergoglio, provincial of the Jesuits since July 31, 1973, instructed his brothers in the new religion: the religion of the Society, the religion of the theology of the people, the religion that corresponds to his personal vision. The recension of his remarks of February 18, 1974 was published twice: in Meditaciones para religiosos, pages 47 and 48, and in the Bulletin of Spirituality, Charism and Institution of April 1978, number 55, Society of Jesus–Argentina. The lead article in this issue was written by Father Arrupe himself.
It was followed by the entire conference given by Bergoglio in 1974. In it we find these words:
“The great criteria for conducting processes are these: unity prevails over conflict; the whole is greater than the part, time is superior to space; these are the criteria that must inspire our work. Only in this way can we have unity of action.”
Father Bergoglio again took up the notions of space and time in the continuation of a talk in 1978 in a similar setting (see pages 54 and 57 in Meditaciones).
There is absolutely no doubt that the only source of these four principles is to be found in General Perón’s instructions to his supporters. Three of them were reproduced without change; the fourth, “reality is more important than ideas,” did exist, but in a different form; we shall see why it was not quoted at the time.
In the face of the evidence of this Peronist origin, why did universal misinformation take place and why does it still persist today?
The fabrications with which the deception is concealed
- The first book to spread a “fable” about the four principles is The Great Reformer, written by the Pope’s official historian, Austen Ivereigh. Although well aware of page 47 of the Meditaciones, he deliberately separated it from page 48. He gives the impression that he is well acquainted with Peronism, and curiously he discusses the contents of page 47 on page 111 of his own book, but does not quote page 48 until page 200 of his own book. It is as if the two pages of the Meditaciones were unrelated!
Ivereigh links the Pope’s principles to Congar’s principles and to his True and False Reform in the Church. Austen Ivereigh also considers them to be Christian principles of government (‘A series of governing ‘Christian principles’.”) “They were principles deduced from various of his heroes – the early companions of Saint Ignatius, the Paraguay missionaries, even the nineteenth century caudillo Rosas – and one major source; what he called ‘the special wisdom of the people whom we call faithful, the people which is the people of God’” (The Great Reformer, pages 200-201). (original English text: note 1).
Note 1: “In 1974, when he addressed the provincial congregation, they were three: unity comes before conflict, the whole comes before the part, time comes before space. By 1980, he added a fourth, anti-ideological principle: reality comes before the idea. They were principles deduced from various of his heroes – the early companions of Saint Ignatius, the Paraguay missionaries, even the nineteenth century caudillo Rosas – and one major source; what he called “the special wisdom of the people whom we call faithful, the people which is the people of God.”
The reader obviously has no way of knowing all these sources of inspiration spread over four centuries!
- Fortunately, Father Juan Carlos Scannone, JSC – seventy years at the service of Liberation theology – had a brilliant idea that Austen Ivereigh did not dare develop. JSC would repeat it many times, in Spanish, Portuguese and French:
“These are criteria for discernment. I would say that these four principles have been exhumed from the history of Argentina. The Pope adopted them when Father Tito Lopez Rosas identified them in a letter from Juan Manuel Rosas to Facundo Quiroga. He communicated them to Bergoglio, who was enthusiastic about them and developed them [emphasis added]. Alcira Bonilla told me that this letter was kept in I don’t know in which archive, stained with blood: the blood of Facundo Quiroga who received this letter days before he was murdered. He had it on him in the battle of Barranca Yaco” (note 2).
Note 2: “Son criterios de discernimiento. Diría que estos cuatro principios fueron desenterrados de la historia Argentina. El Papa los adopta cuando el padre Tito Lopez Rosas los identifica en una carta de Juan Manuel de Rosas a Facundo Quiroga. Se lo comunica a Bergoglio, y él se entusiasma, ampliándolos. Me dijo Alcira Bonilla que esa carta se conserva, no sé en qué archivo, manchada con sangre: la sangre de Facundo. Quiroga recibió la carta días antes de su asesinato. La llevaba consigo en el asalto de Barranca Yaco” (Factor Francisco : Juan Carlos Scannone, un cérebro universal, 01/12/2019).
In another instance, in 2014, JSC stated that “from what they say,” the Rosas letter was about the Argentine national organization. “The principles are not explicit but they are contained implicitly.” He provided the place and date of the letter: Hacienda de Figueroa en San Antonio de Arceo, December 20, 1834.
In 2015, in an interview given to Ihu.unisinos in Brazil, JCS stated the same thing: “Segundo se diz:” according to what they say. Elsewhere, in response to a question, he evoked Romano Guardini and a vague inspiration.
To defend the undefendable, the former professor of the novice Bergoglio was willing to invent just about anything!
He went on to repeat the story of the letter from Rosas to Quiroga in 2017, in his book on The Theological Roots of Pope Francis, page 142 note 41 and page 242 note 7. Even better, he referred to the oral testimony he had received from his informant, the Jesuit Father Lopez Rosas.
The latter was the author of an article on the Christian Values of Peronism in the CIAS (Jesuit Center for Information and Social Action) magazine in August 1974. Here he wrote, among other things: “We live out our national being’ and our ‘Christian being’ in a close synthesis, because Christianity in no way tends to take us out of space and time, but instead makes us see Christ in the immanence of our own personal history and that of the Argentine people… Our incorporation into the people of God is intimately linked to our incorporation into the Argentine people” (page 16).
To verify the truth of this origin there was only one thing to be done: to consult Argentina’s national archives! This document can be found in Correspondencia entre Rosas, Quiroga y Lopez (Libreria Hachette, Argentina, 1975, pages 94 to 105).
We have reread this letter three times: it is impossible to affirm that any formula or situation mentioned here could have given rise to any kind of “principle.” When “time” is evoked by Rosas, it is an indeterminate time.
Two French authors have distinguished themselves in providing “information” regarding these principles.
First, Nicolas Senèze of the daily La Croix: for him, the principles “are drawn from Argentine history, in particular Juan Manuel Rosas” (in Les mots du pape, page 12).
Second, Nicolas Tenaillon, a specialist in political theology, shelters behind Father de Charentenay S.J.: “He drew from his readings of Guardini the few principles that he enunciates in Evangelii Gaudium; they are not social principles, but ontological principles” (interview with the author, Dans la tête du pape, page 49, note 2).
The fourth principle
One last point still needs to be clarified. Why, in 1974, did Father Bergoglio not mention the fourth principle: “Reality is more important than ideas?” Was it because Perón omitted to use this brilliant expression?
The truth is that Perón did not say this because he was not a philosopher. He was a leader of men who analyzed history, politics and economics. He gave a lesson of conduct to the members of his party, who would never stop to think about the relationship between reality and ideas.
The Boletín Informativo Perónista No. 7 of March 1972, under the heading “Preparatory Archives and Preliminary Documents,” referred to a letter written by General Perón which appeared in number 7 of the magazine Las Bases of February 16, 1972: La única verdad es la realidad (The only truth is reality).
It appeared with the general’s autographic signature.
In this letter, he provided a critical assessment of the economic situation in Argentina – at that point he had not yet returned from Spain. He made no show of complacency and spoke out against those who had miracle solutions that were sure to be ineffective. At the end of his letter, he wrote: “I do not feel that I am infallible, and even less a ‘prophet of truth’, but my great experience makes me sense an urgent truth for which we will be forced to pay dearly if we fail to seize the opportunity to implement it.”
And indeed, the subtitle of the letter is “La única verdad es la realidad.” The sole reality is the catastrophic economic situation and it is the only truth in the face of the denials of those who are incapable of dealing with it!
At this stage, the testimony of the Pope himself is definitely disturbing:
“Even though I was not able to complete my thesis, the studies I did at the time helped me a great deal with what came afterward, including the apostolic exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium,’ seeing that the whole part on social criteria in it is taken from my thesis on Guardini” (quoted by Sandro Magister, The four hooks on which Bergoglio hangs his thought, May 19, 2016).
Massimo Borghesi (MB), Father Bergoglio, and Romano Guardini (RG)
Massimo Borghesi is the Italian author of an “intellectual biography” of the Pope.
The third part of his book deals mainly with the theory of bipolar opposition in the work of Romano Guardini and its supposed use by Father Bergoglio.
To make it clear that he had a good grasp of the chronology of the encounter between the pope and the German theologian, he transcribed a recording of the pope himself on January 3, 2017 (opus cit. page 117) :
“At the beginning of ‘86, I became interested in Guardini first by way of spiritual reading, in his books The Lord, The Mother of the Lord, etc. My reading took a different turn when I had in hand Der Gegensatz, (‘Polar opposition’), the work of philosophical anthropology published by Guardini in 1925.” [Der Gegensatz was never translated into English, nor was Die Mutter des Herrn, “The Mother of the Lord.”]
Massimo Borghesi twice certified that this was indeed, at that moment, a discovery. According to Austen Ivereigh and Massimo Borghesi, Der Gegensatz was a revelation that made it possible to avoid Hegelian dialectics. Romano Guardini retains oppositions, and moves beyond them through a confrontation that brings about “fertile tension” to create “concrete unity.” Massimo Borghesi provided two speeches by Cardinal Bergoglio from 2005 and 2010 as a reference for this affiliation.
Such an attempt to link Romano Guardini with the four principles does not hold, nor does the suggestion that they were elaborated by Father Bergoglio, the cardinal or the Pope.
In an article published on guardiniromano.blogspot on October 6, 2014, Professor Carlos Alberto Sampedro wrote: “Therefore (unless if Francis will provide us with explicit indications of Guardini’s role in his formation or magisterium), for now it is not possible to find a direct and structuring influence of Guardini on Francis’s thinking.”
The professor gave four examples of quotes of Guardini by the pope. He added a comment from one of the pope’s followers, Marcelo Larraquy, who had suggested Guardini might be a visible source for “Bergoglio’s teachings on freedom and obedience in the exercise of authority.”
The professor concluded: “However, this is not enough to determine that there is a decisive influence, as one might think from his interest in completing a doctoral thesis on the theology of Romano Guardini.”
Massimo Borghesi presented the Portuguese translation of his book, The Mind of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s Intellectual Journey, in 2018, at a conference at the Brazilian Jesuit Institute UNISINOS, one of the greatest hotbeds of modernist subversion in the Latin American continent.
The bottom line is disturbing…
First, we have a reference to the Denzinger that is impossible to find (1974). Next, a reference to the correspondence of Rosas, that is just as impossible to find. Lastly, a reference to a thesis that nobody has ever seen or read!
Comparing the dates of the “making” of the principles, 1974 or 1986, reveals an inconsistency that cannot escape objective analysis.
Two assessments of the principles by Catholic thinkers
Two other papers shed a definitive light on the philosophical content of the pope’s principles. They were published by the journal Courrier de Rome.
- “Axes de lecture philosophique de textes du pontificat actuel” (“Directions for a philosophical reading of texts of the present pontificate”) by Professor Giovanni Turco, November 2016, #593.
This assessment should be read by every cleric and lay person, so many insights does it contain into the entire intellectual and moral crisis of our time. It includes all the elements required for responding to all the deviations that we describe in this book.
“In every field of thought, the attitude towards the truth is decisive. It is decisive not only from an intellectual point of view, but also from a moral point of view. From the intellectual point of view, the way truth is considered reveals the relation of thought to being and the internal relation of thought itself between act and content. The priority of thought over being, like the priority of act over content, reduces truth to the result of an activity that is always in the process of becoming, that is to say, it empties it of its own consistency. On the contrary, the fundamental character of being, and similarly of content in relation to the act, brings about the emergence of the priority of truth, as a substance and as a criterion.
“When considered as a whole, these assertions, and not principles, appear in reality as presuppositions, that is to say, assertions that have been posited, but not discussed in themselves. In their essence, they appear as points of view. These are points of view for the sake of themselves, and that are not verified, be it from a philosophical or from a theological perspective.
“From all the texts we have mentioned, emerges the notion that truth consists of a relationship, comes from a relationship, and never exists without a relationship. As such it is not the criterion of the relationship, but the product of the relationship. It does not distinguish between relationships, but it takes its source in the relationship and returns to it. In this sense truth, precisely in so far as it has its origin in the relationship, can only be relative. (…)
“These points of view are neither intrinsically nor extrinsically self-evident, and they are asserted only in view of the consequences that can be drawn from them. They are not principles of a metaphysical, gnoseological or ethical nature. They do not refer to being as such, they are not significant from the perspective of the very nature of thought, they do not touch the foundations of action. They do not themselves refer to the truth nor to the good. The question of their veracity is not addressed, but their explicitation is developed in relation to praxis. In the end, they stand out as postulates of praxis in view of the objectives of praxis itself. In other words, they do not constitute, strictly speaking, principles, i.e. objective criteria for the understanding of reality, but functional points of view, precisely insofar as they make it possible to work (E.G., 223). In the end, such an attitude does not correspond to the theoretical attitude, but to an ideological behavior.” (Emphasis added.)
- Time superior to space. Analysis of the latent heracliteanism of Pope Francis, by Father Renaud de Sainte Marie (Courrier de Rome, June 2017, no. 600, previously cited):
“Analyzing the words of Francis and understanding the extreme gravity of what is happening before our eyes cannot be done without discovering something of the content of the philosophy that drives the current pontificate. Indeed, many still refuse to see the truth, so we felt it necessary to show the abyss towards which we are being led with soothing words and seemingly fruitful aphorisms.”
[Heracliteanism is the philosophical system of Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who died in the 5th century B.C.].
“For Heraclitus, the fixity and stability of the elements of the world were a delusion, a semblance. The only reality was that of becoming, and nothing that was could remain.
“Without going into the depths of the present similarity of the sayings of Heraclitus and those of the pope, our reflection will focus on the principle of space and time. This principle, expressed and commented by the Pope, is from our point of view the most important one, because it relates to the problem of being and becoming. It is thus the whole metaphysical question that is at stake, and ultimately, the capacity of human intelligence to know God.”
“… to associate God with movement, with evolution ut sic, leads almost necessarily to pantheism since any form of specific worship, of dogmatic content that is exclusive of its opposite is a kind of betrayal of the divine dynamism, of its original polymorphism. Far from revealing God to us, such an intellectual position makes Him incomprehensible to us and associates Him with all the possible delusions of humanity in terms of theological affirmation. Resorting to this kind of phraseology – it would be difficult to call it a system of thought – you could say: leaving time to do its work allows the conquest of new spaces; woe betide he who seeks to safeguard the heritage of the past, woe betide he who delimits God in any form whatsoever, or under any dogmatic definition. What remains of the revealed deposit when such principles are adopted? What can be said of God if one adopts such a position in all its rigour? Nothing…
“Moreover, Heraclitus fully assumed dialectics as the essence of the world, chaos being the father of all things. The Pope does not claim this heritage, but in a way he assumes its consequences. We do not deny that the Pope’s intention is peaceful. But he cannot escape the logic of destruction and chaos of thought that he has consciously or unconsciously embraced. There is no peace in Heracliteanism, there is no place for a God who would be love.”
In the background of this grand cover-up of the origins of the “papal” principles, we must remember Emilce Cuda’s expression: “Theology of the people is the national and popular mode of Liberation theology.”
Note: “Teología y politíca en el discurso del papa Francisco,” Nueva sociedad No. 248 Nov-Dec 2013. This journal is connected with the German Friedrich Ebert Socialist Foundation.
For all their efforts and formulations, the TOP theologians have not been able to disengage themselves from the “Hegelian purpose of history.” They tried to hide their “Heracliteanism” behind nation or culture. The thinker of the system, Father Scannone, gave a name to this school of thought: Liberation Theology based on cultural praxis. When the members of COEPAL (Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care in Argentina) met with the advanced wing of the TOP, they were directly infected with the most politicized theological categories, that are also those of shantytown parish priests and the Movement of Priests for the Third World. If the theology of the people makes a distinction between class proletariat and the people, this does not in practice prevent the people from being one and the same. The theology of pastoral praxis does makes differentiate the identities of the two discourses: the revolutionary discourse and cultural praxis.
The origin of the principles compels us to formulate the following remarks:
- When Father Bergoglio addressed his confreres in February 1974, he was 38 years old. He had been the Provincial for six months. He was undoubtedly seduced by the conquering language of General Perón who, operating from Madrid, led his troops to regain power in 1973; but Perón died on July 1, 1974. And despite these principles, his successors were unable to achieve civil peace in Argentina.
- Father Bergoglio was faced with a Society of Jesus that was divided for religious and political reasons. He found in the lessons of Perón the codes that seemed to him to be the most effective for bringing together his Jesuits, and later the Argentine nation.
- His government of the Argentine province proved to be very conflictive, to the point that he was sent to Córdoba for two years in 1990-1991. He had acquired a taste for power at a time when the distinction between the temporal and the spiritual was dissolving in the confusion created by the theology of the people.
- He was to put these principles into practice in the politico-religious turmoil that Argentina was experiencing, notably as auxiliary bishop, then as cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires. He had neither the theological culture, nor the philosophical culture, nor the political culture to judge these principles. He was formatted directly by Peronism, by Liberation theology and by the theology of the people.
- When he became Pope, he did not know anything other than what he had already practiced. His apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is a barely modified copy of his addresses to his dioceses and to all of Argentina. This is obvious, because this exhortation is constructed in the manner of a political manifesto that designates the enemies that have been infiltrated into the camp of the people of God: paragraphs 93 to 104 of E.G., from spiritual worldliness to the demands for the legitimate rights of women. It is also a political and economic agenda, accompanied by a contemplative and “mystical fraternity” which is capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbour…” (§ 92)
- What Perón did not achieve in Argentina, the Pope is seeking to achieve in the Church of which he has become the leader. He remains convinced of the effectiveness of principles that have not saved a single society to date! The gross philosophical error of these principles is in complete opposition to the metaphysics of Aristotelianism and Thomism. They are the principles of a specific political action derived from Peronism, and are in no way principles derived from the Social Doctrine of the Church.
These principles are a means for Pope Francis to keep and extend his power, in view of transforming the Church into a temple of the theology of the people.
The four principles: the bottom line
We consider the fraud of the Jesuit Father Ernesto Lopez Rosas, who wanted to win the faithful over to Perón and away from Liberation theology and who made a farcical exegesis of a letter by Juan Manuel Rosas from 1834, to be an intellectual scandal.
But the fact that Father Bergoglio, Cardinal Bergoglio, Pope Bergoglio, took it over for his confreres, his diocesan colleagues and the faithful of the universal Church is a major deception that was to be endorsed by Father Scannone and the journalists, writers and biographers of all countries.
We speak here of the four principles stated in Evangelii Gaudium of November 24, 2013, nos. 222-235: time is superior to space, unity prevails over conflict, reality is more important than ideas, the whole is greater than the part.
According to Father Scannone, these are four “Bergoglian” priorities in view of the construction the conduct of the people.
In the article in which he told this story, he wrote: “According to what they say, they were taken from the letter of Juan Manuel Rosas, Governor of Buenos Aires, to Facundo Quiroga, Governor of La Rioja in Argentina, on the organization of the Argentine nation, written from the hacienda of Figueroa in San Antonio de Arceo (December 20, 1834), in which Rosas did not make them explicit but implicitly manifested them. Later – as Pope – Francis would introduce the last two priorities in the four-handed encyclical Lumen Fidei (nos. 55 and 57). Ultimately, he developed and detailed them in EG 217-237, presenting them as a contribution of Christian social thought ‘for the building of a people (primarily for the peoples of the world, but also for the people of God)’” (Razón y Fé, 2014, t.271, no. 1395).
In Theology of the People, Theological Roots of Pope Francis, Scannone wrote, in 2017:
“… They are found put into practice in implicit ways in the advice given by J. M. de Rosas, and the Argentine Jesuit Ernesto Lopez Rosas has provided their explanation:” “I refer to the oral testimony I received from Father Lopez Rosas” (see above, page ***).
On December 1, 2019, under the title Juan Carlos Scannone: a universal spirit full of the faith of our people, the journalist of Factor Francisco asked him about the four principles. This journalist made no secret of his surprise at Father Scannone’s staging of the Manuel de Rosas story. He posed a further question which led to an utterly staggering answer from Father Scannone:
(The journalist:) – Would it be very bold to say, however, that Rosas, in a mysterious way, is now present in the magisterium of the universal Church?
JCS – “If this is true, it is necessary to hold today that his principles were first practiced in politics. They were recommendations for the organization of the nation. But today they are principles of universal value. And this illustrates that reality is better seen from the periphery than from the center.”
To return to Father Bergoglio, who was “enthusiastic” about the “principles” mentioned above.
When Perón returned in 1973, he had not ceased during his exile to circulate instructions and information through his networks of followers in Argentina in order to regain control of a fragmented party. He called for unity.
The new provincial applied the three Peronist recipes in his opening speech to the 14th Provincial Congregation on February 18, 1974… “for our liberating designs.”
Having become Archbishop of Buenos Aires the previous year, Bergoglio concluded his homily for his first National Day Te Deum in his Cathedral on May 25, 1999, with these words: “Let us be convinced, once again, that ‘the whole is greater to the part, time is greater than space, reality is more important than ideas, and unity prevails over conflict.”
He took up his principles again in 2005 during the 8th Pastoral Day in his speech A Nation to be built. Utopia, reflection and commitment. And again on October 16, 2010, in Towards a Bicentennial of Justice and Solidarity: We as Citizens, We as People.
In this proclamation he explained that time is superior to space by way of a commentary of the Gospel, the episode of the encounter of the mother of the sons of Zebedee with Christ. She asked for her sons that one sit on his right and the other on his left. The cardinal clarified for his audience that the mother asked “that in the sharing he give them a big slice of the pizza,” in Spanish “un pedazo grande de la pizza.” His commentary continued: she asked for a space and Jesus answered, “Now is not the time.” This answer does not exist in the Gospels…
The cardinal went on to quote the Gospel once more:
“Can you go where I am going, can you suffer what I am going to suffer?” He then commented on this quote, saying “It means that it is time that decides” (“es decir, le marca el tiempo”).
First of all, it should be noted that neither Matthew nor Mark speaks of going and suffering, but that both Evangelists have the same text: “You know not what you ask. Can you drink of the chalice that I drink of?”
I have verified in the Catena Aurea that none of the commentaries collected by St. Thomas Aquinas on this episode include any talk about space or time.
Nor do the texts of two Spanish bibles, including a pastoral bible used in base communities, contain such incidences.
In order to get this so-called principle through, the cardinal actually “tinkered” with the Gospel in defiance of the text.
Our own research allows us to say that he sometimes has curious ways of reading texts!
Making the mother of the children of Zebedee… and the Evangelists certify the organizational concepts of General Peron is truly unparalleled.
But since 1974, François had read a lot. In 2010, he remembered the universals, the idealists and the nominalists, and he simply quoted Plato in Gorgias and brought the problem back to aesthetics and rhetoric in order to justify that unity prevails over conflict!
From Zebedee’s mother to Gorgias, truly nothing could stop the cardinal!
And so, the man who found the implicit principles of Manuel de Rosas admirable – to the point of giving them an unheard-of extension – was incapable, after so many years, of saying a word or making an allusion to the famous letter of an Argentine president, even in the exceptional circumstance of the bicentennial! This would have showcased a president known for his laws and his mass killings! And for good reason…
In truth, the objective was to conceal at all costs what had been borrowed from Juan Domingo PERÓN.
Only Italians such as Professor Turco, or Father Giovanni Scalese, and Father Julio Meiattiniou brought to the attention of the public by Sandro Magister – who speaks of the four hooks upon which Bergoglio hangs his thought – and the Courrier de Rome of June 2017 with Father Renaud de Sainte Marie, have shown the unbearable intellectual stupidity of these so-called principles, that stem in reality from a second-rate Heracliteanism.
Here is one last example in paragraph 57 of Lumen fidei. It reads: “Space hardens processes, whereas time propels towards the future and encourages us to go forward in hope.”
The Greeks, for their part, well knew that Chronos devours his children. He devoured Napoleon, Perón and will devour the Great Reformer who seeks to change the Church of Christ by means of the organizing virtue of General Perón.
A certain Julio Maspero did not hesitate to write: Time superior to space: a fundamental theological principle for Christian action.
So low have we sunk!
Juan Domingo Perón has become the theologian of the theology of the people, through the Jesuits! Fraud and deceit are the pillars of this Church of the poor, the Church of mercy, of encounter and dialogue!
Saint Thomas Aquinas, S.Th., 2a 2ae, q.33, art.4 ad 2 m.
“Whether a man is bound to correct his prelate?”
Answer: “Yes, but privately and respectfully.” “However, if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.”
Canon Law 1983, Book II: Title I, can. 212 §3
- 3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.