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Pope names new Vatican bishop who claims Jesus didn’t ‘establish rules’

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew

August 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pope Francis has consecrated as a bishop a Portuguese priest who claims that Jesus didn’t “establish rules” and who promotes the theology of a dissenting nun who defends the legalization of abortion and homosexual “marriage.” 

José Tolentino Mendonça, a priest and poet who was the vice-rector Catholic University of Lisbon, will now be heading the Vatican Secret Archives for Pope Francis, a post he will assume in September of this year. 

“The Holy Father expects of me that I will continue to be an instrument of dialogue and of rapprochement between the Church and the culture,” Mendonça told the Portuguese news service SAPO 24. “That is what I will do, apart from the Apostolic Library, undoubtedly placing my talents and my way of doing things at the service of the Church, and writing is a form of communication I will continue to bet on as the place of representation, of communication of Jesus in the world of today.”

Asked by SAPO 24 if he was open to the pope’s reforms, Mendonça answered that his appointment “certainly is to place me in close proximity with his message, with his program for the Church of our time.”

Tolentino Mendonça is yet another theologian associated with Pope Francis who has close ties with homosexual advocacy. Mendonça has associated himself closely with Teresa Forcades, a Spanish nun who has become famous for claiming that homosexual “marriage” should be legal and that abortion should be permitted as part of a right of “self-determination.”

In the earlier part of the 2010s, Mendonça worked in an LGBT “Catholic” ministry that served homosexuals who embrace the “gay” identity but were left to their own spiritual guidance. Regarding the ministry, Mendonça told the Portuguese publication Publico in 2010 that “the Church isn’t a place of fullness, it’s a place of searching. Our condition is thirst and desire. It isn’t here and now that we realize our dreams. The Church is this common road, not exempt from imperfections, open to a kind of progressivity.” He added that the Church had to welcome people in a way that is “unconditional.” The Publico article implied that members of the group were continuing to engage in homosexual acts. 

Mendonça was invited by Pope Francis to preach and give spiritual guidance at his Lenten retreat this year, from February 18 to February 23. In addition to the pope, other high Vatican officials were also in attendance. 

READ: Pope Francis chooses pro-LGBT priest to guide Lent retreat who holds Jesus didn’t ‘establish rules’

Following the retreat Francis thanked Mendonça for having “shown how [the Holy Spirit] works in non-believers, in ‘pagans,’ in people of other religious confessions” and that the Holy Spirit “is universal, it is the Spirit of God, which is for everyone. . . Thank you for this call to open ourselves, without fear, without rigidity, to be pliable to the Spirit and not mummified in our structures that enclose us.” 

Opposition to 'traditionalism' in the Church 

In his 2013 introduction to the Portuguese translation of her book, “Feminist Theology in History,” Mendonça compares LGBT activist Teresa Forcades to St. Hildegard of Bingham.  He writes that her theology is expressed in “a form that is symbolic, open, and sensitive about addressing the real” as opposed to the Church’s traditional way of speaking in clear, non-metaphorical terms, which he calls “the triumphal univocal grammars that we know.”

“It’s necessary that the doctrinal narrative understands itself to be more of a reading than a writing, more like a voyage than a place, because the memory that transports is not reducible to a legal code, a vision, something automatic,” writes Mendonça, claiming that such a theology is given to us by Forcades. “It is precisely here that the frightening [provoking] work of Teresa Forcades i Vila, Feminist Theology in History, which the reader has in his hands, comes to our aid,” he writes.

“Teresa Forcades i Vila reminds of that which is essential: that Jesus of Nazareth did not codify, nor did he establish rules,” writes Mendonça. “Jesus lived. That is, he constructed an ethos of relation, somatized the poetry of his message in the visibility of his flesh, expressed his own body as a premise.”

In 2016, Mendonça gave an interview to the Lisbon Radio station Renascença, in which he denounced Catholics, and particularly cardinals, who have criticized Pope Francis’ deviations from traditional Catholic doctrine,  dismissing their views as “traditionalism,” which he claims actually contradicts the Church’s tradition. 

“Today, we see Pope Francis being contradicted by a more conservative wing of the Church and by some important names, even cardinals, which in a certain way are willing to place traditionalism above the tradition,” said Mendonça.

Regarding Pope Francis “welcoming” attitude towards those who are stubbornly living in gravely sinful situations of homosexuality and adultery, Mendonça told the interviewer, “No one can be excluded from the love and mercy of Christ. And that experience of mercy has to be taken to everyone, whether they are Christians who are remarried, wounded by disastrous matrimonial experiences, whether it be the reality of new families, whether it be homosexual persons, who in the Church must find a space to be heard, a place of welcome and mercy.”

Also in 2016, Mendonça introduced his new book, “Towards a theology of the senses,” at a press conference in which he was joined by Forcades.

Vatican archivist position crucial in project to revise doctrine on contraception

The position of Vatican Archivist given to Mendonça is a key one in the current context of Vatican politics. In recent months Pope Francis has been giving exclusive and unprecedented access to the Vatican Secret Archives to a small group of scholars who appear bent on altering the Catholic Church’s doctrine regarding contraception.

The scholars, including Gilfredo Marengo of the Pontifical John Paul Institute, Pierangelo Sequeri, president of the same institute, Philippe Chenaux, a professor of Church history at the Pontifical Lateran University, and Angelo Maffeis, president of the Paul VI Institute of Brescia, are in the process of creating a revisionist history of the formulation of the papal encyclical Humanae vitae, which reiterated the Catholic Church’s perennial condemnation of artificial birth control. 

As a step in this process, Marengo has recently produced a book that claims Humanae Vitae was devoid of “any tone of doctrinal and disciplinary rigor” and instead focused on “the perspective of accompanying couples, who are invited to progressively adhere to the fullness of the Christian form of their mutual love,” an interpretation that dovetails with Pope Francis’ agenda of making moral absolutes into “ideals” which Christians are not expected nor required to fulfill. 

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