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February 11, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — “Weaponized ambiguity” has become a common term in recent discussions about the crisis in the Church. It refers to ambiguous terms that were supposedly inserted into Vatican II as preparation for the chaos we now see around us. Leaving aside the question of whether ambiguity is the main problem of Vatican II (as opposed to contradiction of Church teaching), let us look at another concept, “weaponized orthodoxy,” which has been used against sincere Catholics for decades.

Last month, Pope Francis said:

[Vatican II] is the Magisterium of the Church. Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the Council or you interpret it in your own way, as you desire, you do not stand with the Church. [There can be] no concessions to those who seek to present a catechesis that does not agree with the Magisterium of the Church.

Rather than wrangling over the content of Vatican II, or putting some fanciful interpretation on what Francis says (such as that he is defending a “hermeneutic of continuity”), let’s be real and consider what this statement is intended to do.

It is intended to browbeat conservative Catholics into accepting Vatican II and its “Spirit,” to frighten them away from traditionalist positions that reject or question these things, and to ostracise traditionalists as somehow “outside the Church.” And left unsaid but lurking in the background is the great and fearsome dogma (that really only conservatives and traditionalists believe) that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.

How do we know that this is Francis’s intention? We can ask ourselves the simple questions: since when does he care about people being subject to the Magisterium? Since when does he care about people being outside the Church?

His indifferentism is well documented and doesn’t need to be repeated here.

We all know that resolved traditionalists will ignore these condemnations from the “Pope of Mercy” and these excommunications from the “Pope of Openness.” Resolved traditionalists know what they are about; they know that they are members of the Catholic Church and will not be threatened into accepting contradictions and dangerous errors. As St. Paul said: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).

Further, threats like these don’t mean anything to modernists, who care little for the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation and care little for the need to be subject to the Roman Pontiff. They also know they can go beyond Vatican II with impunity: Francis isn’t speaking to them.

The real targets are the “conservatives” — those who think of themselves as “orthodox,” who try to accept everything from Francis and the Vatican, and who strive to live pious and virtuous lives in the bosom of the “official Catholic Church.” For whatever reason, they don’t see the contradictions and dangers of Vatican II. They know that there are problems around, but perhaps they dare not dig too deep or make too clear a claim lest they fall into some sort of schism.

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Remarks attributed to Pope Francis (and, not denied by the Vatican) in support of homosexual civil unions have caused grave scandal to the faithful.

Please SIGN this urgent petition which asks Pope Francis to clarify and rectify these heterodox and scandalous remarks on homosexual civil unions, and which will be delivered both to the Vatican and to the Papal Nuncio of the United States (the Pope's official representative in the U.S.).

As the last guarantor of the Faith, the Pope should clarify and rectify these remarks, which go against the perennial teaching of the Church, even including the teaching of his living predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

"What we have to create is a law of civil coexistence [meaning civil union law, for homosexuals]...," Pope Francis is reported to have remarked, in what is arguably his clearest statement of public support for a practice morally prohibited by official Catholic Church teaching.

In fact, the Church has been crystal clear in Her opposition to homosexual unions.

Just in 2003, Pope Saint John Paul II approved a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, titled 'Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons' and written by Cardinal Ratzinger (now, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), which concludes with the following:

"The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself."

It could not be more clear: the Church is calling people to repentance, not to be left to indulge in grave sin.

Since becoming public, several senior prelates as well as other notable Catholic figures have voiced their opposition to these remarks attributed to the Pontiff.

Cardinal Raymond Burke stated: "It is a source of deepest sadness and pressing pastoral concern that the private opinions reported with so much emphasis by the press and attributed to Pope Francis do not correspond to the constant teaching of the Church, as it is expressed in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition."

Cardinal Gerhard Müller commented: "Where there is tension between the plain and obvious Word of God and the infallible interpretation on the one hand, and private expressions of opinion even by the highest church authorities on the other, the principle always applies: in dubio pro DEO [When in doubt, be in favor of God]."

And, Catholic theologian and apologist Scott Hahn, without directly quoting Pope Francis, shared on Facebook the 'Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,' published by the CDF in 1986, with the statement: "Holy Father, respectfully and humbly, I beg to differ... if that is indeed what you said. In any case, please clarify and rectify your statement, especially in view of the official teaching of our Lord through the magisterium of His Church."

But, the silence from the Vatican has been deafening, with no clarification forthcoming.

We must, therefore, ask the Pope for clarification in this serious matter.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks Pope Francis to clarify and rectify remarks attributed to him in support of homosexual civil unions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Cdl. Burke: Pope’s homosexual civil union remarks ‘contrary’ to Scripture, Tradition' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/cardinal-burke-on-popes-homosexual-civil-union-remarks-contrary-to-the-teaching-of-sacred-scripture-and-sacred-tradition

'Cardinal says Catholics ‘can and should’ disagree with Pope’s ‘opinion’ on gay civil unions' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/cdl.mueller-popes-words-on-gay-civil-unions-purely-private-expression-of-opinion-which-every-catholic-can-and-should-freely-contradict

'Archbishop Vigano, Bishops Tobin and Strickland respond to Pope’s approval of homosexual civil unions' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/archbishop-vigano-and-bishops-tobin-strickland-respond-to-popes-approval-of-homosexual-civil-unions

'Pope’s comments on gay civil unions cause shockwaves around the world' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/deepest-sadness-cardinal-burke-condemns-pope-franciss-remarks-supporting-civil-unions

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What is weaponized orthodoxy?

While it has been long said that “Satan’s masterstroke is to have succeeded in sowing disobedience to Tradition through ‘obedience,’” this use of weaponized orthodoxy is less often discussed.

The telltale sign is the selective use of a principle that only a conservative or traditional Catholic would accept — and as with Francis above, these principles are often not even accepted by the person citing them.

In 2017, Francis said that “we can state with confidence and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” Certainly, very few things have seemed to be irreversible under the reign of Francis. But if he has such confidence and such magisterial authority, why does he use it for things like this, and not to speak against things like the legalization of abortion in Argentina and Ireland? Why not use it to galvanize the Catholics of these countries?

It’s because his “magisterial authority” is to be used against those who believe in it, not for them or for the Faith. It is to be used to keep them collaborating.

Try to name everyone decreed by Rome to have been excommunicated from 1969 to 2000. Most people will be able to name only the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and perhaps the other bishops from the 1988 consecrations. Why were they declared excommunicated, and not the most egregious of the modernists following Vatican II? Why can we name them, but none of the Chinese communist bishops, also excommunicated?

Because of weaponized orthodoxy: it makes an example of traditionalists, to put the fear in conservatives. It is a system of divide and rule.

It is the same on the local and online levels. A conservative friend of mine was apparently advised that Masses offered by priests of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) are invalid (an unusual claim) and are comparable to attending Anglican services. All very frightening — who wants to tumble into heresy and schism by being involved with an invalid Anglican service? Then one realizes that his parish had actual ecumenical services with Anglicans at the same time.

Incidentally, when do we think Anglicans themselves are told that they should not be attending their invalid Anglican services — before, during, or after ecumenical activities?

How about the old situation where people were frightened away from traditionalist groups by fears of other “invalid sacraments,” be they marriages or confessions? Let’s ask ourselves: how many cohabiting or adulterous couples are given this sort of treatment?

On the contrary, Amoris Laetitia says that under some circumstances, they are to be admitted to Holy Communion, and according to Francis, “there are no other interpretations” of this doctrine.

On that note — if the validity of marriage is so unimportant to these people, why should we care if these “rad trad” marriages are invalid? Which group of people typically will care about such issues? Conservative Catholics. Which group of people might be tempted by what traditionalists in general have to offer, if they were not frightened away by this selective use of apparent orthodoxy? It is a system of divide and rule.

Further, how many other teachings has Francis clarified like this? Why are we being compelled to accept this particular teaching of Amoris Laetitia, but established Catholic dogmas are all up for grabs?

Because it’s to frighten conservatives into continuing collaboration.

So what should be done?

Don’t waste your time complaining about hypocrisy, because nobody cares.

Instead, watch and pray, and take notice when someone is selectively using orthodox principles to influence you. Instead of allowing yourself to be frightened into obedience, ask yourself if the principle is really being applied correctly. We must all use Catholic principles to make our way through the crisis, but sometimes true principles can be used falsely. Those sabotaging the Church can use selective orthodoxy to keep hesitant conservative Catholics under control.

We help no one by collaborating with saboteurs. For example, if you are against Eucharistic ministers and Communion in the hand, do you really think you will edify anyone or change anything by being a Eucharistic minister yourself? Staying in these situations does not build up the Church; in fact, the more pious and virtuous someone might be, the more scandal he causes by collaborating.

No circumstances whatsoever could ever justify leaving the Catholic Church — but rather than collaborating, or fighting with the parish, why not just find a Catholic Mass that has no Communion in the hand, for example? The most dangerous thing that could happen to the decaying edifice of sabotaged Catholicism is for Catholics to vote with their feet. Lockdowns have already done part of the job: some parishes are still closed, and those who made little effort to provide the sacraments and the Faith may well find that their parishioners will make little effort to provide financial support.

But to our dear conservative friends, regardless of the outcomes of these closures: Do not put up with being browbeaten by modernists with their weaponized orthodoxy. Rather, laugh in their faces and double down on what is good, true, and beautiful. And consider the old Second World War phrase: “When you’re catching flak” — or here, mere rhetorical pressure to keep you from tradition — “you might well be over the target.”

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