Sunt Nomina Rerum. (There are names for things)
Let us recall to our readers attention the two affirmations made by Bergoglio which touch at the very heart of Our Faith, the Incarnation and the Redemption.
Let us take the first of these, citing the Interview he made with Scalfari, the Italian Atheist-journalist from the communist newspaper, La Repubblica, to begin our examination of some peculiar views Bergoglio has of the Incarnation, as he has expressed and repeated them in his catecheses and discourses.
Christ did not « become incarnate to pour forth in the soul of men the sentiment of brotherhood », rather, He became incarnate to redeem men, upon the Cross, from the slavery of original sin, re-generating them in His Resurrection, which is the only possible reason for the authentic brotherhood, which is not that coined by humanists, not that which emerges from Bergoglio’s discourses! And the « love of each of us for all the others » cannot be the way of salvation, even if you call it the Agape indicated to us by Jesus, because, if we are not first rooted in Him and liberated, healed and transformed by Him, we can never be capable of that Agape which makes us brothers in Christ. The love of each of us for all the others is not the point of departure, it is the point of arrival in Christ.
Moreover, we are not all the sons of God: we are all creatures. The Son of God is one alone and He was not created, but generated before all the ages and He became man as Jesus of Nazareth, not in all men, even if He did assume the same human nature to redeem us, which Redemption makes possible a Christian brotherhood (and not only this), but which does not « give us a sentiment of brotherhood » ... Christ the Lord does not give us sentiments, He changes our nature, transforms it with His grace, which we receive principally in the Sacraments; all of which renders us capable of experiencing such a sentiment and of acting accordingly.
Indeed, Christ is the Word, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, generated and not created, consubstantial with the Father, who became Man as the Man, Jesus Christ, not as or in all men.
Thus, we are sons only in the Son and only if we accept Him. Hence, men, though only and always creatures according to the image and likeness of God, become sons and receive the divine sonship through adoption, that is in being incorporated and transformed, but not by a substitution of their human nature, and only if they accept Christ the Lord. The Prologue from the Gospel of St. John teaches us this in vv. 12-13: « But inasmuch as they have accepted Him, He gave them power to become sons of God: to whose who believe in His Name, who have been generated not from blood, nor by the will of the flesh, not by the will of man, but by God ». Thus, men are not created, but inserted into the eternal generation of the Beloved Son, in Whom the Father takes His good pleasure because He recognizes in them His own true image, to which they have been configured.
His own, that is, we Catholics, become sons by adoption - and not by nature - and we receive the gift to become every more configured to Him (by a transformation of our nature, not a substitution), in the sense St. Paul taught in 2 Cor. 3:18. This is what the Fathers of the Church call Theosis, by means of the effect of the grace which the life of faith and fidelity to it give us by means of prayer and the munus sanctificandi of Holy Mother Church. It is precisely this distinction between adoptive-participation in Christ and the order of nature which makes the difference between the Catholic doctrine and Bergoglio’s creed. And it seems to be that he is causing a confusion of the natural and supernatural orders in the minds of many, by omitting this distinction.
All men share the quality of being creatures and are made to the image of the Trinue-Creator, but the quality of sharing in the Divine Nature, which quality is our configuration to the Jesus, as the Only-Begotten Son, this we receive in and from the Church. This does not mean that Christ did not become incarnate for all or that He did not die to save all; but that the salvation He won for us is not an automatic given: it must be gathered up. And it is the function of the Church, entrusted to Her by Her own Lord, to announce and dispense this, otherwise, what purpose would the Church have?
Second, the comments made by Bergoglio in his Discourse to handicapped children, at Assisi (Oct. 4, 2013 A. D.). His words were truly touching, humane and engaging, as much as one would want on such an occasion, but we need to give special attention to the theologic context in which he spoke:
In regard to recurrent and hammered theme of the “poor”, we can recall that it is a sacrosanct duty of Catholics to condemn a faith which refuses the Incarnation, but we cannot ignore the authentic meaning of “evangelical poverty” which is that of the “poor in spirit”, which is in those who recognize their own need of help and seek it from God. Moreover, the expression: “The poor are the Gospel” or “Jesus is present in the Eucharist, which is the Flesh of Jesus; Jesus is present among us, this is the Flesh of Jesus”, but the Presence of the Lord in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under the Sacred Species on the same level as that of the disabled. Such a confusion enables the sacralization of the flesh of suffering men in a improper manner. It sounds well as a slogan (but not even as that), but the words of the Pope have an improper theological signification, clear and unequivocal. In contrast to the Catholic Faith which can recognizes can in the “flesh of the poor” that of Christ, only through an analogy [per analogiam], while in the Eucharist, we confess and have in truth the Lord, Living and True [in re].
It is true, that Jesus has said, « what you do to one of these little brothers of mine, you have done to me » (Mt. 25:40). Jesus says that when we feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the imprisoned, we do it to Him. This is what moves and is experienced by him who performs the works of charity by reason of his life of faith lived every more maturely and fully. And if this is what moves the conscience and heart of the Pope, whether as man or as Supreme Pastor, it is, then, what the Church has always taught and practiced, but never exclusively in reference to material poverty. The danger to be avoided is the anthropocentrism of faith and the risk of idolizing the poor man. The fact that we do to the poor what we would do to Christ does not signify that the poor man is Christ, and the fact that the Gospel teaches us poverty and to love the poor, does not signify that the Good News is the poor or poverty. Moreover, the love and care which is owed to the poor and which in the poor is given to Christ Himself, cannot be confused with or equated to the adoration of Christ, in Himself, or in the Eucharist. Otherwise, we would be forgetting, and this does not come from Christ, that the care for the “poor” of every kind is born only from a living faith, generated and nourished by participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in a sacramental life, in adoration and from that which the Lord works in us. It is a gift of self, like that which Christ performed, but not a generic humanitarianism.
Let us return to the theme of the Incarnation. We cannot accept the affirmation that “these persons and their wounds are the Flesh of Jesus”. The Incarnation took place in only one Man, Who is also God, that is, in the individual known as Jesus Christ.
We do not run the risk of thinking that Christ is incarnate in humanity: even though there is a Conciliar document (Gaudium et Spes, 22) which declares that Jesus with His incarnation is « in a certain manner » united to all men. But we do not let ourselves be fooled by this imprecision, because, though it be true that the Word assumed the Human Nature of the Man, Jesus - which nature is, according to its essence not its existence, common to our own - yet, this Nature, assumed, is not that of all men, but that of the Man, Jesus of Nazareth. And it is by means of His meritorious work as the God-Man and by means of adhering to this that we receive salvation and adoption as sons. In fact, the Incarnation regards the God-Man and embraces all men on the condition that they embrace It and believe in His Name, because “those who accept Him and believe in His Name..become sons of God”, as we read above (Prologue to the Gospel of St. John, vv. 12-13).
Otherwise, what need would there be of a Church, as His mystical body, other than being merely a people of God in pilgrimage, as His bearer until the end of time? And what purpose would there have been of 2000 years of Magisterium, or even of the Gospel itself?
Can we forget what was established by the infallible Ecumenical Councils of Ephesus and Chacedonia? That the assumption of the individual and perfect substance of Jesus of Nazareth was accomplished on the part of the Word, or that the Union of natures was in the Word, or that the two natures remain perfect and distinct? For this reason we cannot arrive at the ambiguity of the words of Gaudium et Spes (“in a certain manner”), by concluding that we are all present in the incarnate Word, not in the manner proposed from of old by our Faith, but inasmuch as the Word is present in all, being that He was incarnate in all, even if in a vague manner. This would be a true and proper overthrow of the Catholic Dogma.
For the rest, let us recall what is written in the New Catechism, n. 467:
We want to hear that which the Church has always taught, and this from the Throne of St. Peter, not by means of the telephone or from Santa Marta, and much less by means of newspapers or interviews with more or less Christian laymen!