For the first time in the history of the Roman Church has an encyclical been written jointly by a sitting incumbent, Francis I (who styles himself the Bishop of Rome), a Jesuit, and a retired Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI. It brings to light, again for the first time in the last 400 year history of the Roman Church, at least, the inability of a reigning “pontiff” to put together any solid matter of the class of Catholic teaching, let alone doctrine, relevant to the present time, and so Benedict’s brains had to be borrowed.
As an ex student of the Jesuit run St. Vincent’s High School, Pune, I received the finest catechesis encompassing Penny’s Basic Catechism, church history, essential doctrine, knowledge of the contemporary encyclicals of Pius XII, and apologetics – the last imparting the ability to defend the Catholic Faith. The Jesuits of the nineteen-forties were the best trained in the history, doctrine, dogma, and the scholastic studies of the Doctors of the Church. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) has seen the erosion of seminary formation right round the world to create a new church without doctrine, dogma or morality on the hypothesis of the abiding “love of God,” and so there has been the emergence of a new Jesuit order with new priorities, agendas, and another corpus of knowledge related more to sociology and the contemporary world.
Francis I is the product of this new order to the extent that his daily homilies at St. Martha’s Hotel, Vatican City, need to be censored by the editorial staff of L’Osservatore Romano before they can be published lest they flounder on the absurd like his recent one that even atheists can be saved. Marcelo González, of Panorama Católico Internacional, who knows the Church of Argentina well enough, has written on him: “accustomed to the use of coarse, demagogical, and ambiguous expressions, it cannot be said that his magisterium is heterodox, but rather non-existent for how confusing it is.”
John Vennari, lawyer of international repute who takes up cases at the Roman Rota, and who edits Catholic Family News, USA, has written that Francis I is the last person he will ever enlist to teach his children catechism.
The Examiner, July 13-19, has graciously acknowledged the role of Benedict XVI in the encyclical by including his photograph on the cover.