Pope Francis vs The Church Fathers – The Battle Over Mary!

Recently, Pope Francis has come out to say some frightening words regarding the Theotokos that would make an Orthodox Catholic cringe. In an interview with the chaplain of the Padua – Father Marco Pozza – he stated: “From the moment she was born until the Annunciation, to the moment she encountered the angel of God, I imagine her as a normal girl, a girl of today, I can’t say she a city-girl, because she is from a small town, but normal, educated normally, open to marrying, to starting a family.” Link.

These are an interesting use of words considering that this statement not only contradicts the ancient dogmatic faith of the Church regarding the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, but it also lowers the Theotokos to the status of an ordinary female when he stated: “I imagine her as a normal girl, a girl of today.”

“I imagine her as a normal girl.”

In the East, we sing unto Mary in the ‘Axion Estin’ that she is “Higher in honor than the cherubim, far more glorious than the seraphim” since she is even superior to the angels for giving birth to God within her womb – which even caused St. Gabriel to have fear of her out of reverence.

“Gabriel is on his way to announce the glad tidings to the Virgin; He is ready to cry out in fear and wonder: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with You!” – (Feast of the Annunciation, Troparion Tone 4, Byzantine Rite). If she as the Theotokos was a “normal girl”, this would mean that she is equal to all other women and vice versa, also meaning that she isn’t “Blessed Among Women” as St. Gabriel the Archangel solemnly declared.

If Pope Francis truly means that Mary was a ‘normal girl’, it would seem to suggest that he believes that she had sinful inclinations. Not only that, but it would seem that he is also suggesting that she had worldly cares when stating that she was open to “starting a family”.

Such a suggestion would contradict the words of St. Augustine when he taught that Mary willed and chose to be a Virgin all of her life. “In being born of a virgin who chose to remain a virgin even before she knew who was to be born other, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And he wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom he took upon himself the form of a slave (Holy Virginity 4:4 [A.D. 401]).

“A girl of today.”

What’s also dangerous is the fact he stated that he imagines her as a “girl of today”. But when we look around us in this fallen world of today, what exactly do we see when we come across young teenage girls and young women? Do we not see young women dressing impurely and taking half – naked pictures for ‘likes’ on social media? Not that this applies to all young females, but we cannot deny that this is an unfortunately reality in today’s society within the secular west. To suggest that Mary would have been like a girl of today’s age – and a teenager at that – would be a sacrilegious rationalist ideology.

A scary quotation from Gustavo Raffi, the former Grand Master of the Masonic lodge of Rome, stated “With the election of Pope Francis nothing will be the same again.” (Thursday, March 21, 2013). See here.

Continue to pray for the church in these dark times we live in. St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

For more information on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, click here.

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Married clergy in the East

If you belong to the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, you may find the idea of married priests strange. This is because the majority of priests within the Catholic Church belong to the Latin/Roman Catholic Church. 
 In the Eastern rites of the Catholic Church, it is commonly misunderstood that priests can get married. 

Just like in the Latin Church, priests are not allowed to become married. However, married men are allowed to be ordained to the priesthood. 

Therefore, it is typical to see married men in the seminary of the Eastern Rites piously preparing to become successors of the apostles and presbyters of God’s Holy Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XIV piously stated in his encyclical ‘Allatae Sunt’ in 1755 the following:  

“Another example is the freedom enjoyed by priests of the Oriental and Greek church to remain married to their wives after their ordination (see can. Aliter, dist. 31 and chap. Cum olim, de Clericis Conjugatis). 

Considering that this practice was at variance neither with divine nor natural law, but only with Church discipline, the popes judged it right to tolerate this custom, which flourished among Greeks and Orientals, rather than to forbid it by their apostolic authority, to avoid giving them a pretext to abandon unity. So does Arcudius assess the matter.” (Concordia bk. 7, chap. 33)

Apologetics 1.3 : Latinization and the Eastern Catholic Churches 


What is Latinization, and why is it bad for Eastern Catholics?

Latinization is the practice of making Eastern Rite Catholic Churches more like the Roman Catholic Church by replacing Eastern Catholic customs and practices with Latin practices. A good example of this would be the replacement of Eastern Chants with Gregorian Chant, the replacement of Eastern Catholic vestments with Roman Catholic vestments, the replacement of icons with statues, the unfair banning of Eastern Catholic priests from public ministry because of their giving into marriage prior to their ordination (common in the early 1900’s within the USA), the replacement of Hyssop with the Latin Rite sprinkler for the Holy Water rites, etc.

 

Latinized Coptic Catholic Liturgy

While it is still very common, the abuse has died down within many Eastern Catholic Churches. The abuse of Latinization has come from Catholics ignorant of the Eastern Catholic Churches and their dignity. It was believed that they  were less Catholic because of their differences in practices from the Roman Church. This was especially present among missionaries of the Roman Church that went to evangelize North Africa, The Middle East, and East Europe.

“We gather from many other indications that Latin missionaries devote thought and care to destroying or at least weakening the Oriental rite in the course of converting Orientals from the error of schism to the unity of the Holy Catholic Religion; they induce Oriental Catholics to embrace the Latin rite…” (Pope Benedict XIV, Allatae Sunt, July 26, 1755.)

The missionaries have even come to the point where they demanded that those within the Eastern Rites must become Latin Rite in order to be completely Catholic. Therefore, Pope Leo XIII condemned this practice in his encyclical ‘Orientalium Dignitas’ by stating the following:

” Any Latin rite missionary, whether of the secular or religious clergy, who induces with his advice or assistance any Eastern rite faithful to transfer to the Latin rite, will be deposed and excluded from his benefice in addition to the ipso facto suspension a divinis and other punishments that he will incur as imposed in the aforesaid Constitution Demandatam. That this decree stand fixed and lasting We order a copy of it be posted openly in the churches of the Latin rite.”

However, the Popes have made it know that the Eastern rites aren’t less Catholic.

Pope Benedict XV asserted in the encyclical, Dei providentis, May 11, 1917: “The Church of Jesus Christ is neither Latin nor Greek nor Slav, but Catholic; accordingly she makes no difference between her children and Greeks, Latins, Slavs and members of all other nations are equal in the eyes of the Apostolic See.”

Pope Leo XIII in his Apostolic letter, Orientalium dignitas, published on November 30, 1894, declared:

“The maintenance in being of the Eastern rites is of more importance than might be imagined. The august antiquity, which lends dignity to these various rites is an adornment of the whole church and a witness to the divine unity of the Catholic faith. Perhaps nothing, in fact, better proves the note of Catholicity in the Church of God than the singular homage paid by these ceremonies which vary in form, which are celebrated in languages venerable by their antiquity, and which are still further hallowed by the use that has been made of them by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.”


Pope Pius XII took a keen and abiding interest in the Ruthenian people. On May 21, 1939, at his direction, a solemn Triduum begun in Rome was concluded in the Vatican Basilica with services according to their own rite. This was in celebration of the 950th anniversary of the baptism of St. Vladimir, the great Ruthenian ruler.

“Each and every nation of Oriental rite must have its own rightful freedom in all that is bound up with its own history and its own genius and character, saving always the truth and integrity of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. … They will never be forced to abandon their own legitimate rites or to exchange their own venerable or traditional customs for Latin rites and customs. All these are to be held in equal esteem and honour, for they adorn the common Mother Church with a royal garment of many colors. Indeed this variety of rites and customs, preserving inviolate what is most ancient and most valuable in each, presents no obstacle to a true and genuine unity.” Orientalis ecclesiae— April 9,1944.

So what does the Church teach in regards to Latinization? Are there any consequences? Absolutely. As a matter of fact, the Church has condemned the mixing of rites as a whole.

Pope Benedict XIV: “Canon Law decrees that the Oriental and Greek rite should not be mixed with the Latin rite. See the entire Decretal of Celestine III in Gonzales, chap. Cum secundum: de temporibus Ordinationum; in the decretal of Innocent III, see chap. Quanto: de consuetudine; chap. Quoniam: de Officio Judic. Ordinar.; and the Decretal of Honorius III, chap. Literas: de celebrat. Missar.” – ALLATAE SUNT, July 26, 1755.


Therefore, regardless of what Sui Juris Church we belong to, we are all equally Catholic because of our unity of faith in Jesus Christ, His Church, and the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.