[People] think of [the Catholic Church] as a passe, archaic institution. People find the Bible obtuse... even hokey. Now in an effort to disprove all that the church has appointed this year as a time of renewal... both of faith and of style. For example, the crucifix. While it has been a time honored symbol of our faith, Holy Mother Church has decided to retire this highly recognizable, yet wholly depressing image of our Lord crucified. Christ didn't come to Earth to give us the willies... He came to help us out. He was a booster. And it is with that take on our Lord in mind that we've come up with a new, more inspiring sigil. So it is with great pleasure that I present you with... The Buddy Christ.

This is how Cardinal Ignatius Glick (George Carlin) described his "Catholicism Wow!" campaign in the 1999 comedy, Dogma, a film that Roger Ebert described as having "an irreverent modern Catholic sensibility" that sits on the "line between theological rigidity and secular reality, which is where so many Catholics find themselves."

The Buddy Christ

Nearly two decades later, the comedic parody is hardly distinguishable from reality, and it would hardly be surprising to hear such words uttered from the Vatican or the rest of the modernist Novus Ordo hierarchy. After all, it was Antipope Francis who traveled to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with the hierarchy of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, established a papal commission to "study the role of female deacons in the church," opened the door for "remarried" to receive Communion, and so on. James Martin, a Jesuit like Francis, openly espouses—with the support of his superiors—the "Gospel of Gay," suggesting the Church should be "inclusive" of wanton and unrepentant Sodomites. Franciscan friars in Boston have been seen attending "gay pride" events with signs reading, "Who am I to judge?"—mirroring words uttered by Francis in response to him being questioned about his appointing Monsignor Battista Ricca, an active homosexual, to the Vatican Bank.

Papa Frank and homosexual Monsignor Battista Ricca

The latest and most egregious example involves Francis changing the Catechism to reflect his personal view that capital punishment is "an attack" on human dignity, is never admissible, is always immoral, and must be abolished worldwide by Catholics. This extends to life-long prison sentences, which Francis has said are little more than "a hidden death sentence." At first blush, opposition to the death penalty may seem like a somewhat small matter relative to celebrating Protestantism or embracing sodomy, but, to date, Francis and Co. have largely relied on a certain amount of ambiguity. Whether Francis's messages are disseminated to the media through third parties or the Vatican issues statements to reinterpret his public words after the fact, there is always some reason for apologists to say, "There is no heresy here." The line between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, however, cannot be so easily blurred this time with Jedi mind tricks, "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

This is because the Catechism is not merely a statement made in the moment to an individual or even to a reporter. It is the summary of the faith as promulgated by the Pope, a tool used to teach the faith to Catholics around the world. Countless children and adult converts will now be taught that the death penalty is intrinsically wrong despite the fact that this flies in the face of scripture and tradition. For example, Genesis 9:6 tells us, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image." Similar calls for the death penalty can be found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Beyond the context of capital punishment, we also find the Father commanding the faithful to wage war so as to wipe out their enemies (Numbers 33:50-55, Hosea 13:16).

How can Francis's new teaching be reconciled with the Bible and the teaching of the Church for the last two millennia? The truth is that this circle cannot be squared as the two sides are mutually exclusive. If God has commanded the death penalty for things He deems abominations yet the death penalty is always immoral, then does it not follow that God lacks morality? If Holy Mother Church has been wrong for the last 2,000 years, by heeding the Word, would that not subvert the entire idea of her teaching authority and the authority of the Word itself? What else might God and the Church have gotten wrong up to this point? Can we expect that Francis and/or his successors will find other teachings where secular leftists were right the whole time?

Some Novus Ordo apologists have attempted to defend this blatant changing of the Church's teachings by asserting that the Church has similarly changed its position regarding torture. To this end, Quando per ammirabile disposizione, a motu proprio issued by Pope Pius VII on 6 July 1816, has been cited as having "perpetually abolished" torture. This is placed in contrast to Deuteronomy 25:2 authorizing a criminal to be beaten, Pope Innocent IV allowing torture of heretics under certain circumstances in Ad extirpanda, St. Thomas Aquinas viewing torture as legitimate, the Council of Vienne accepting torture as a valid part of the Inquisition, and so on. It is thus held by such "neotraditionalists" that Pius VII changed the Church's teaching by perpetually abolishing the practice, that the modernist Catechism of 1992 further condemned torture, and that Francis has declared torture to be a mortal sin.

The problem with this line of argument is two-fold. Firstly, Pius VII did not speak to the morality of torture or the lack thereof at all. Rather, Quando per ammirabile disposizione dealt solely with the governance of the Papal States, and the article in question (96) merely stipulated that torments and, more specifically the strappodo, would not be used by criminal tribunals within the Papal States. This was an entirely administrative decision with no moral teaching at all. Secondly, once we remove Pius VII from the equation, we can see that the apologists must rely only on modernist declarations made since 1965, which means they are highlighting other examples where the modernists up to and including Francis have concerned themselves with personal opinions and modern sensibilities rather than preserving the perpetual teachings of the Church. Paul VI or John Paul II committing the same sort of heretical act against Church teaching as Francis is hardly a defense for the latter.

Interestingly, the issues of capital punishment and torture are intrinsically linked within Church teaching. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt—per both scripture and tradition—that the death penalty can be moral and appropriate, and it follows then, and has been held as such, that torture is valid as an afflictive punishment because whipping (Deuteronomy 25:2), mutilation (Deuteronomy 25:12), and the death penalty (Genesis 9:6 et al) are all valid and equally afflictive or more so. That Paul VI, John Paul II, and Francis are united in ignoring the Word and Church tradition in favor of modern sensibilities speaks to the heresy of modernism. Pointing to the "change on torture" only serves to highlight precisely why the "change on capital punishment" is heretical and cannot be dismissed or excused as "personal" or "pastoral."

Taken together, it seems that the modernist Antipopes think of the Church as a passe, archaic institution, and they seemingly find the Bible obtuse, even hokey. They seek to "update" and "modernize" the Church's teachings so that they are not "wholly depressing" and do not give people "the willies." They look back at the Crusades, and they rush to kiss the feet of Muslims. They look upon heretics, and they denounce efforts to preserve the true faith. They think of the Church spreading the Gospel and civilization around the world, and they ask savages to forgive us for colonialism.

James Martin, poster child for the Church of Buddy Christ

This new "church" is not Catholic, and that should be obvious since they spend so much of their time denouncing the first two millennia of Catholicism. This "church" is not of the Lord, but it is rather of Buddy Christ, a false idol that sounds remarkably similar to Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky. This "church" does not correct errors, but it instead comforts sinners and embraces them on their own terms. This "church" does not have an Inquisition, but it does have drug-fueled gay orgies in the former palace of the Holy Office. This "church" does not send friars to preach truths against falsehoods and wickedness, but it does have friars march in "gay pride" parades.

This is not simply a matter of personal error, discipline, or anything else that neotrads so easily dismiss. The Novus Ordo is covered in gangrene and buboes, but the apologists keep telling us that it is just a flu that will pass rather than the Black Death that we can all so readily recognize. The symptoms may seem trivial and easily dismissed when viewed in a vacuum, but they all point to an inescapable truth—the modernists are now and always have been heretics with a heretical agenda. Now is the time to call a spade a spade, not pretend that nothing is wrong while praying that you can avoid the plague-carrying fleas while lying down with sick dogs.