Pope Francis’ talk to Jesuits in Portugal, and why Catholics should rebuke him

Commentary and Call to Action by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

When the Roman Pontiff speaks as a private theologian he is not protected by the charism of infallibility. There have been celebrated cases of this in recent history, such as Ratzinger’s books written while he was Pope, where he said that God is not only charitas and amor, but also eros, which is a blasphemy since eros is lust.

Then there was John Paul II who said that he doubted there was anyone in Hell.

Pope Francis during his anti-papacy said enough things to scandalize Catholics until the end of time, but it is the things he says now in his Papacy, that we have a grave moral duty to respond to. That is, when he is in error, to rebuke him or denounce him.

The duty to rebuke Peter to his face when he is in error, is of Apostolic Tradition, as it began with St. Paul the Apostle, Doctor of the Gentiles, who after his conversion by the intervention of Jesus Christ Himself, on the Road to Damascus, is held by all the Fathers never to have sinned, even though he was not present at Pentecost.

The objectionable statements by Pope Francis took place in his private meeting with the Jesuits of Portugal. It is obvious that he was speaking freely and with little consideration for theological precision. Like always, he was pushing his narrative of progress.

But nevertheless any error which leaps out from the lips of the man who is the Pope ought to be corrected. And the Faithful have a duty to remonstrate with him.

For the complete conversation, see the article above. I presume here the English translation is correct; but it may be manipulated by Spadaro. So let’s be cautious.

So without more ado, I cite one of the passages which is clearly erroneous and leads the listener most likely to contradict de Fide truths, without which one cannot be saved. There are many more, but I do not want to wax Jesuit by citing them all here.

First a question by a Jesuit, then the response by Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis):

Pope Francis, I would like to ask you a question as a religious brother.[4] I am Francisco. Last year I spent a sabbatical year in the United States. There was one thing that made a great impression on me there, and at times made me suffer. I saw many, even bishops, criticizing your leadership of the Church. And many even accuse the Jesuits, who are usually a kind of critical resource of the pope, of not being so now. They would even like the Jesuits to criticize you explicitly. Do you miss the criticism that the Jesuits used to make of the pope, the Magisterium, the Vatican? 

You have seen that in the United States the situation is not easy: there is a very strong reactionary attitude. It is organized and shapes the way people belong, even emotionally. I would like to remind those people that indietrismo (being backward-looking) is useless and we need to understand that there is an appropriate evolution in the understanding of matters of faith and morals as long as we follow the three criteria that Vincent of Lérins already indicated in the fifth century: doctrine evolves ut annis consolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimetur aetate. In other words, doctrine also progresses, expands and consolidates with time and becomes firmer, but is always progressing. Change develops from the roots upward, growing in accord with these three criteria.

Let us get to specifics. Today it is a sin to possess atomic bombs; the death penalty is a sin. You cannot employ it, but it was not so before. As for slavery, some pontiffs before me tolerated it, but things are different today. So you change, you change, but with the criteria just mentioned. I like to use the “upward” image, that is, ut annis consolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimetur aetate. Always on this path, starting from the root with sap that flows up and up, and that is why change is necessary.

You have been to the United States and you say you have felt a climate of closure. Yes, this climate can be experienced in some situations. And there you can lose the true tradition and turn to ideologies for support. In other words, ideology replaces faith, membership of a sector of the Church replaces membership of the Church.

Bergoglio is fond of misquoting St. Vincent of Lerins, whose chief criterion for progress in doctrine is “according to the same doctrine, the same meaning, and the same judgment”, a passage Bergoglio never cites, as far as I know. There is a discussion on his habitual manipulation of the text, here, which for the sake of argument could be because he was taught an erroneous view of St. Vincent’s doctrine, and is in invinceable ignorance at present of the matter.

So let me address the errors in order.

“It is a sin to possess atomic bombs”

Every statement should be understood according to the meaning of its terms. And each word can have different senses, especially when heard by persons of different levels of education.

“Sin”, in common parlance is an act which was morally deficient or faulty. But in the Bible a “sin” is the obstruction put between you and God, in some passages at least.  So sin can be considered (1) as the deviation from the right moral order, whether that order be known by revelation from God or man’s own ability to discern by the use of reason a moral deviation; or it can be considered (2) as the act which contains this deviation; or as (3) the fault which arises from the act which is perpetrated, or as (4) the liabilty for punishment which is merited by the full or partial consent to that act.

Pope Francis does not define his terms. But the common man knows of “sin” only in the first sense.

Then again, “possess” can mean to have legal title, or de facto control over a thing, directly or through its physical location on his physical property or by legal claim, title, etc.. Thus you can possess a thing in one sense because it is in your hand, in your pocket, in your car, in your garage, or listed among your legal possessions in a juridical act, such as a last will and testament. But just because it is possessed in any one of these senses, does not mean that it is possessed in any one or all of the others. Otherwise, when a zealous merchant put an apple in your hand, you would have to buy it, even if you did not want it; or when a kind aunt asked you to take some candy to your niece and gave it to you for that purpose, that you could eat it on the way to your niece’s home.

But most people understand possession in the sense of belong to you as your property with right to dispose of it.

An atomic bomb is a nuclear weapon, that is, one in which a reaction of nuclear fission or fusion causes a massive exothermal explosion, when triggered.

With the terms defined, let us examine the error in the statement.

In the common sense, the statement is erroneous, as can be seen by the fact, that if in a war, in which one side had no nuclear weapons, and another which had them, the armed forces of the side without them — with no intention ever to use them — came upon a warehouse with the atomic weapons of the other side, and captured them, then it would be no sin for the unarmed side to capture and take possession of them. — For if it is a sin to possess them with intent to use them, then it must not be a sin to take possession of them from such an owner. This is a police action. And thus the statement is false and erroneous, and even self contradictory, because if it is a sin to own them, then there would be no way of ridding oneself of that sin but by destroying them on one’s own initiative. — Perhaps in a ideological world — which Pope Francis exhorts us to reject — there could be no crime because ever criminal would rectify his behavior without police intervention. But that world is not our world.

So there has to be cases in which possession of atomic bombs is not a sin. Indeed, there are cases when it is a virtue, that is, when it is used to deter the use of them by others who have them, for in that case possession is had to prevent the use of the legal title to them in war by another.

Is this error, in the above statement, a denial of a revealed doctrine?

This is an important question, because only in such a case would such an affirmation be a heresy. For each and every denial of revealed doctrine is formally a heresy, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, transmitting the perennial magisterium of the Church on this topic.

Answer: No, simply because in Scripture and Tradition there is no affirmation that possessing atomic bombs is of God’s will for man, simply because there were no atomic bombs in the ancient world, so the topic does not even come into consideration. So we have to have recourse to moral principles and revealed truths about God’s will for man and creation.

Could the statement of Jorge Mario Bergoglio be understood in a Catholic sense? Yes, if “sin” is taken in the Biblical sense of something which is an obstacle between man and God.

In this sense, one says that possessing pornography is a sin, meaning to say, possession with intent to use it. If it were illegal to posses, it would not be a sin for the police to take it from you or keep it for evidence, for example.

In this sense, one can say in a very wide sense, that it is a sin for mankind to possess atomic bombs, because no good can come from it. But no good can come from renouncing atomic bombs, so long as the entire human race has not renounced using them. Again, yes atomic bombs are contrary to God’s will and plan for man in the natural world, because He put us here to build it up not to destroy it.

But just because I personally can imagine a sense in which the statement could be understood soundly, does not mean that the statement should be excused or ignored. As stated it is so badly stated as to induce error directly and immediately. And that is immoral. For a pope, it is gravely immoral since everything he says could harm every human person on the planet now and until the end of time.

Now to the next phrase …

“The death penalty is a sin. You cannot employ it, but it was not so before.”

Here we must have recourse to the same distinctions regarding the meanings of the word “sin”.

But in this case, we can see that there is a logical error in the statement, in addition to other errors. Because “capital punishment” is a non-concrete term, that is, it refers to a category of punishment not to a thing, thus it is not a thing nor a moral act. So it cannot be a “sin” in any sense I mentioned above, since for a proper logical statement the thing in the subject of the sentence must be logically withing the grasp of the term in the predicate of the sentence.

Moreover, God commanded capital punishment for many offenses in the Old Testament. Therefore it cannot be of itself a “sin” in any sense as mentioned above.

God also authorized Saints and sinners to impose capital punishment, according to the infallible teaching of St. Paul, “To Caesar God has given the sword to punish evildoers”. And I am sorry, but I will remind all Jesuits, that St. Paul’s authority trumps even than of a Jesuit Roman Pontiff, since it pertains to the Deposit of the Faith which the Roman Pontiff must guard and protect and serve, not alter.

In what sense could the phrase not be an error? Not in any obvious sense, in my opinion. Perhaps one could have wanted to say, that “The indiscreet, indiscriminate and hasty recourse to capital punishment for most crimes would be a sin of injustice, because correction can well amend and make reparation for such crimes.” — This I think would be the Jesuit counter-argument, at least. But it neglects that the reaffirmation of the eternal unchanging moral law of God in certain cases does require that the perpetrator be put to death, even IF he is sorry and completely penitent for his crime. Thus it is an objectively good thing, in all times and places, to put certain kinds of horrible criminals to death, by public execution, even. Pope Sixtus V put 5000 brigands to death. And I know of no Catholic writer before the Council who faulted him for it. Nay, he was universally praised for making the highways of the Papal States safe for travelers.

If one denied that capital punishment of itself is justly imposed by proper authorities for proper crimes, then one would have to say that the Death of Christ itself was entirely and in every sense unjust, and that therefore His Sacrifice of no avail before the Altar of His Father.

While the capital punishment of no criminal rises to such a pure state as the Crucifixion of Christ, it is important to note that no Catholic Author has ever impugned the sentence of capital punishment issued by Pontius Pilate against Christ Jesus, the Living God, on the grounds that “capital punishment is a sin to employ”, simply speaking.

Thus we have two grave errors when understood commonly and without specification.

Therefore, all Catholics have the duty to remonstrate with Pope Francis by some means, directly or indirectly, as they may be able to do, to obtain from him a correction for his words which will cause scandal to soul, if not the total corruption of their personal grasp of the moral law or Church teaching.

Is this second error a heresy. I think it is such a bad error as to definitely impugn Pope Francis as a possible heretic. But because of the syntactical error of calling “capital punishment” a “sin” when it is not a moral act, means that it is a phrase of ignorant propaganda, which is morally scandalous, rather than formally a heresy.


Since such a scandal is a moral fault which Catholic should publicly distance themselves from, I do believe that we all have the duty in our own way, in conversation, correspondence, to friends and superiors to bring to their attention these errors and scandals. While we should not correct a superior in public without light reason, the weighty reasons, mentioned by St. Thomas, of defending the Faith and protecting little ones from being led astray, authorize such action in this case. — I would suggest you bring the matter to the attention of those Cardinals and Bishops who may welcome your petitions. Canon 212 gives you the right to speak out on this matter.

As regards my comments on the Papacy of Pope Francis in the last six months, I will only briefly comment that what Pope Francis has said in this interview, on this topic and on other topics such as sodomy, is so scandalous, that he is hastening the day of his own terrible personal judgement before the Throne of God, for Whom religion is not a game of politics, as it is for Jorge Bergoglio. Yes, he has avoided heresy; but no, he has given grave scandal, because it is obvious that he does not have much good will to avoid it.

This article is an example of how a Catholic approaches a public scandal perpetrated by the Roman Pontiff. Compare it to how Sedevacantists might respond, in coming days, to this same news.

With Globalist Censorship growing daily, No one will ever know about the above article, if you do not share it.

6 thoughts on “Pope Francis’ talk to Jesuits in Portugal, and why Catholics should rebuke him”

  1. https://rumble.com/v39wgwb-rofim-international-mega-event-have-you-stopped-trusting-yet.html?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

    unidentified guest; ‘it seems ti be a real thing’- she refers to deaths on coney island – ‘but the news is not reporting it’.

    ‘what do you think it is?’- she asks John O looney

    time stamp 1 hr 15

    He talks about 5g hypothesis [in its manipulation of the elements in the jab in the recipients body] and states; ‘whatever they need to get people to have another injection.’

    1. You can write a heart felt letter to Pope Francis. Here is his address:

      Pope Francis
      Apostolic Palace
      Vatican City

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