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A journalist's report may have unlocked the key to everything going on in Rome. The proverbial "North Star," the guiding light of all that is going on in the Church, may have just been revealed.
Archbishop Viganò has publicly stated "Christ is absent" from the synod's working document. Cardinal Burke has described the synod as "a direct attack on the Lordship of Christ." German Cdl. Müller adds that Jesus has been "chased out of the Synod," and that various leaders of the synod view Our Lord as an "out of touch man."
Indeed, German Cdl. Reinhard Marx, himself head of the German bishops, asked the rhetorical question in a homily, "If Christ were here today, would he say what he said two thousand years ago?"
Those comments taken in view of the claim by an Italian reporter that Pope Francis told him Jesus was not divine while on earth now cast this synod in an entirely different light.
In fact, everything going on here in the Amazon Synod needs to take a back seat to this most pressing question because it is from this central issue that everything else revolves.
What comes out of the synod in the form of the final report by the Pope expected early next year is what comes out, and there's not a blessed thing authentic Catholics can do about it.
But, whether it's an encyclical or exhortation or whatever, if what is undergirding the final communication from the Pope is a belief here in Rome that Jesus, while He was on earth, was not divine, that is the game-changer.
The final report will more than likely be this vaguely worded, easily interpreted to mean whatever you want it to mean, document, just like Laudato Si' and Amoris Laetitia.
All the controversy and confusion will go on and on like usual, and a new normal will have been set in the Church. The new normal is a lack of clarity.
Truth is, this has been the case for a while now, but in the past few years, it's gone into hyperdrive here in Rome.
The lack of clarity, precise language saying this or that, not open to interpretation, is precisely the problem with the Vatican response to the growing controversy over exactly what the Pope said or did not say to Scalfari.
Those criticisms resulted in a final statement at today's press conference, a somewhat free-wheeling statement by the prefect for Vatican Communications, Paolo Ruffini.
This isn't the first time Scalfari has reported the Pope told him he believed something opposed to Catholic doctrine.
The controversy last year over the Pope supposedly telling him "human souls do not go to hell because they are just annihilated" was kind of blown over in short order.
After all, there wasn't something in that alleged comment that most people in the world would actually disagree with.
Even a majority of Catholics, including Bp. Robert Barron, seem to reject the idea that anyone really goes to Hell, so it fits an anti-Hell theology if you were to say the two or three humans in history who did not make it to Heaven, like Hitler — everyone's favorite example — don't actually burn for eternity, they are just annihilated — poof, no longer exist.
Heck, in a way, that's kind of comforting, which is why the Pope allegedly believing that got headlines for a day and then it was forgotten.
This claim, however, by Scalfari, that the Pope does not believe in the divinity of Christ, is a much, much larger deal. And here, we must make a distinction, a very important distinction, because the Catholic mind makes distinctions.
The claim is not being made that Jesus isn't divine at all, although certainly, some here in Rome believe that.
It's the hair-splitting claim that while He was on earth, He was not divine. So, the Gospel accounts we have of what Our Lord said are, in the end, not true — and in some cases can be used to prove he wasn't divine.
For example, Scalfari says he discussed various Scripture passages with the Pope, which Scalfari pointed to prove Jesus was not divine.
One such passage, he says, was the agony in the garden where Our Lords prayed to the Father. Scalfari says that is proof from Scripture Jesus was not divine.
Then he drops the bomb: "When I happened to discuss these phrases, Pope Francis told me: 'They are the definite proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even if he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not God at all.'"
Scalfari adds, "Pope Francis conceives Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, a man, not God incarnate. Once incarnated, Jesus ceases to be a God and becomes a man until his death on the cross."
That is such a scandalous claim by a reporter, that the vicar of Christ believes Christ was not divine, that this time, an indirectly worded press release from the Vatican simply does not suffice.
This goes straight to the heart of the Faith — the very heart — and it needs to be completely and directly disavowed and the record set straight.
But here is a warning, this errant theology — and it doesn't even rise to the level of theology — has been floating around in the Church for decades. Chances are you have encountered it multiple times.
The most important point, the most direct attack on Catholic doctrine, would be this: If Jesus was just a man walking around on earth, then the Eucharist is not the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, because He instituted the Eucharist the night before He died on the cross while He was still just a man.
Your mind begins to boggle at the consequences of this.
Mass is, therefore, not a sacrifice.
Confession is pointless, seen as being necessary for those in mortal sin before receiving Holy Communion.
Lutherans receiving Holy Communion is just fine.
In fact, the entire Church collapses as a result of this.
The goal of evangelization changes entirely, from converting people to the Faith so they can receive Our's Lord body and blood, to an international effort to create a man-centered kingdom here on earth.
And you get a synod where creation and Mother Earth are talked about in terms of being divine. You can let your mind simply open up to the devastating consequences of all this.
The gospels amount to little else than stories from followers of Our Lord who mistakenly thought He was divine while He was among them.
So, those "miracles" really aren't miracles.
Those various commands about divorce and adultery don't actually come from God Himself, but just a good man, who probably wouldn't say those things if he were alive today.
Likewise, since He was just a man, the Church He founded on Peter isn't anything more special or significant than the "church" Martin Luther or John Calvin founded because they were men as well, just like Jesus.
As you survey all that has taken place in this pontificate — indeed on a local level for the past half-century — it all becomes very clear when viewed in the light of this belief, that Jesus was not God when He was walking around in Galilee 2,000 years ago.
If that is the commonly held belief by those here at the Vatican, what happens at this synod doesn't matter in the slightest.
There is a much, much deeper evil present.
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