Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pope Francis and "Immanentizing the Eschaton"

It is my determination that we are living at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to our culture, where little light shines upon us from above. I am not declaring that no light shines from above, but little. The absolute fact of man's original sin manifests itself in many different ways over the centuries. I think that we live in cultural cycles where man suffers enough by his own sin that he eventually looks up and realizes that God has been there all along and that he has committed a grave evil by ignoring him. It is then that man is able to be drawn back to the top of a more civilized, Godly, moral culture.

We find ourselves now looking downward turned in upon ourselves. We as men look once again to build our own utopia on earth believing we have no need for God. Every time in history man turns his back on God and seeks to build a utopia it is a catastrophic failure, resulting in another 'massacre of the innocents.'  I was reading William F. Buckley recently and he cleverly said this myopic, worldly mentality was man's attempt to "immanentize the eschaton." I thought to myself, what a splendid phrase! What does this mean you ask, as I did.  It describes the efforts of man as he looks to deny the transcendence of God. Man elevates his own work in time to be the measure of all things. This is the very definition of anti-Christ. It is man saying to God in so many words or actions, "I will not serve", or "I will serve only myself, I am the measure of all things." We call this arrogance the sin of pride. This results not only in the prevalence of vice and sin in contrast to virtue and holiness, but it results in the denial that any moral absolutes exist! It also denies the need for conversion to any transcendent God. Thus all that remains is man and his own delusional ideas of building a perfect world. The world is his only end.

It is not so surprising anymore to see this in the public square where God has been relegated to a mere superstition, having no relevance in the "real world." However, what is completely appalling is the Catholic Church's unraveling belief in any transcendent, unchangeable God, and replacing it with a worldly philosophy which has its end in the world. This is readily apparent by the open rejection of doctrine and dogma by many bishops, priests and laity in the Church, and the adoption of the ideal of "social justice." I will get to that question in a moment. But, we have reached an even lower level of the metaphorical barrel which I spoke of earlier. We now have a Pope who insists that man is the center of all things, and we now have a God who is not concerned with doctrine, dogma, moral absolutes or right worship. The world takes precedent over the divine, as we saw with the Vatican light show. We have a Pope who now constantly "immanentizes the eschaton."

Now back to the social justice question. If we are to talk of social justice we must define what its proper place is in reference to the eschaton. While all Catholics should express a concern and duty to provide for the poor, or stand up for the unjustly oppressed, today's Church, including Pope Francis seem to be fixated on "social justice" alone. As we know, good works are only the result of the participation in God's grace. Without this, there are no "good works" in the context of flowing from God's grace. This means that as a practicing Catholic, man must have faith in God as He has revealed Himself through His one and only Church. That is He is first a transcendent being, first mover, sustainer of man who cannot change and who is due right worship. Thus doctrine, dogma, faith and the works that man does cannot be separated. Social justice is not something we do, its part of the very fabric of being a believer. But to be clear, to lose the Transcendent in favor of the works of man in time for an end that exists only in time, is to reject the true eschaton, or end, which is God. How has Pope Francis manifested this prevailing worldly mentality to the world? In many ways.

For one, he never espouses a traditional Catholic viewpoint of eschatological action. Pope Francis rarely if ever calls anyone to conversion into the Catholic Church. Instead he gives a false impression when he meets at these interfaith dialogues, where he says things like, "Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God,” In fact, in the true sense of what the Church has defined as "children of God", is defined as those who are children by grace. This means that unless one possesses divine faith and divine grace, one is not a "child of God." Again Pope Francis addresses this is a worldly sense, that since we are created by God, we are then children of God. This is true only in the order of creation, not in the order of divine affiliation, which is what a Catholic should be addressing. To further my point, Pope Francis dos not ask for prayer for the conversion of sinners. Instead he says my "prayer request this month: that sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce fruits of peace and justice. I have confidence in your prayers.” What is this other than "immanentizing the eschaton?"

I want to stop for a moment and look at Pope Francis' recent decision to commemorate the horrific and scandalous event of the Protestant Reformation. This heretical event has largely been responsible for the collapse of Western Christendom, and the strong moral principles that were built upon it. Pope Francis frequently talks about unity, but what is his idea of unity? It hardly seems that his definition of unity is the same as the Church's definition. Again, Francis adopts the theological tendencies of Cardinal Kasper, who expressed numerous times that he does not believe in the "Ecumenism of the return." That is, it is not the goal of ecumenism to convert anyone to Catholicism. Of course Kasper cleverly says that he distinguishes between the role of ecumenism and evangelism, but it is clear that he only espouses the prior, not the later. This is also the case with our Pope. He rarely if ever speaks of conversion, instead focusing on worldly unity done for the purpose of "peace and justice."

I could go on and on ad-nauseam with numerous examples, but I want to point out one last example of the Pope's attempt to "immanentize the eschaton." Pope Francis recently spoke about the event of Jesus being found in the temple. The Pope gave his thoughts on the event and came to the conclusion that Jesus probably apologized for making the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph come look for Him! This of course would be impossible since it would involve Jesus committing a sinful act, for which He would have had to apologize for. I do not have the time to go into the full ramifications of this proclamation of the Pope. I recommend that you read Fr. Brian Harrison's article on this. One thing is clear however, and that is Pope Francis looks upon Jesus and this event in a very worldly way, once again demonstrating how Pope Francis attempts to "immanentize the eschaton"


Michael Dowd said...

"Immanentizing the Eschaton" is exactly what Pope Francis and his followers are all about. Thanks for drawing attention to this radical departure from truth on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. Where did all the truth seekers go? Perhaps into the irrelevance of relevance which is our Modernistic culture and unfortunately the disease of our Church.

MM said...

The phrase "immanentize the eschaton" comes from the philosopher Eric Voegelin, who wrote books about the subject, which were fashionable in conservative circles in the 1960s.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Thanks. Interesting. I came across the term when reading Buckley, who of course traveled in those conservative circles.