The ‘bergoglian synthesis’: one year of Denzinger-Bergoglio
A year ago, a group of diocesan priests undertook this initiative, without foreseeing how far it has gone. 365 days later, with God’s grace and their daily dedication to this task amidst many pastoral cares, the Denzinger-Bergoglio has made waves in the Catholic world.
Throughout this year of labor, we have kept our sights on an objective which has encouraged us to overcome the obstacles of an altogether thankless task. Thankless, in the sense that we are aware that its enormous doctrinal profundity is lost on many of the media-enslaved public of our days, some of whom (due to narrow-mindedness, or triviality) fail to comprehend our ideological outlook, and have hurled sticks and stones at us.
Nonetheless, we have also witnessed our own perspective evolve conspicuously over these months. At first, it had seemed necessary to tend to our own sheep with regards to a series of statements and gestures that confused many and that have fomented the present-day faith crisis. Yet, to discern whether the font of these affirmations was acting consciously — poisoned at the root by a noxious or deficient formation, or simply stirred by the quirks of a somewhat unusual personality — was beyond our grasp.
However, after 128 analyses (and with many others still on the way – our Spanish counterparts have already crossed the 145 mark) this initial concept has evolved… and things have become painfully clear. Though the undertaking emerged with no such intent, its process has gradually led us to the discovery that many declarations, albeit apparently accidental and haphazard, follow a very systematic plan: Francis continually and repeatedly reiterates his ideological bas-fond which, although obscure to the casual listener, is very real and clear to him. And, as we have noted along this year, it is of a very limited circumscription…making it easy for an attentive eye to delineate its contours: from our experience, one need not expect to find vast horizons in Bergoglian thought. The truth is that there is “nothing new under the sun” – the Church has already refuted it all in one way or another.
However, as simple priests, it is not our duty to decree sentences; we merely provide doctrinal resources so that, some day, concrete measures may perhaps be taken. Far be it from us to pose as judges – there are already 169 judges involved: the Old and New Testaments, 59 popes, 31 Fathers of the Church, 14 Ecumenical Councils, 14 Synods, 16 Roman congregations, 15 Doctors, the 8 fundamental texts of the Church, and many other Catholic authors. We have already cited hundreds of documents from more than 1260 written works, indicating all the sources. The list of books consulted is more than 2000 titles long, among which is the Denzinger, in its various editions, the whole pontifical and Episcopal Magisterium, as well as that of various dicasteries, the principal sources of patristic literature, the Summa Theologica and other works of St. Thomas Aquinas, and a long etcetera. We have also included elucidative documents from other religions such as the Koran, Luther’s writings, and works of various Anglican authors.
Perhaps, in the future, someone will be able to systematically disclose the obscure Bergoglian doctrine, as Saint Pius X did so brilliantly with modernism in the past. In the meanwhile, we offer this article, a summary and synopsis of the posts to date, as a humble contribution toward an undertaking we hope to later witness. We remind our readers that a free download of the first 100 studies is available here in PDF format. And the complete list in English (128 studies to date) can be seen here.
This article seeks to provide a summary of Francis’ principle doctrines, analyzed and categorized throughout this first year of studies of the Denzinger-Bergoglio. As such, it is a mere index of his doctrines, each of which refers to deeper studies. Given the extensiveness of the affirmations involved, it was necessary to include numerous endnotes, where the reader will find links to the complete analyses mentioned.
The first noticeable aspect in Francis is his affinity with certain pro-Communist and Socialist leaders and movements, especially among South American countries. We recall how he promoted them through the venues of the “World Meeting of Popular Movements” organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, gathering the worst of the social agitators from that continent. His showy friendship with several Bolivarian Socialist leaders, his Socialist idea of equality, and his peculiar concept of “private property” was particularly evident. With regard to gestures, no one has been able to forget the scandal caused by his tolerant attitude toward the blasphemous Communist crucifix which Evo Morales presented to him, to which he responded declaring “for me it wasn’t an offense”, as well as his idea that the Communists can be proud of having carried the banner of the poor, just as the Church does. Perhaps the culmination of all these ideas was the Encyclical — if the Communo-environmentalist declaration Laudato Si’ may be referred to as such — widely critiqued as it is for its populist line of thought, considered more appropriate to a United Nations technician, and entirely beyond the Papal ambit. In drawing up the document, Francis sought the counsel of a plethora of eco-communist leaders, completely alien to pastoral concerns. On the contrary, we encounter surprising and unsettling references to a mysterious “ecological spirituality” far removed from the true religiosity proper to a Catholic. Francis is indeed untiring in his explanations. And he always insists on two points in his political activism: the Social Doctrine of the Church, and the care for the poor.
However, in spite of his insistence, it has been demonstrated how Francis, employing his famous sloganeer themes – private property and the free market, the poor and the Social Doctrine of the Church – clearly and deliberately muddles concepts , especially when he calls upon the Social Doctrine of the Church itself to support his own theories.
There is a second fundamental aspect that summarized Francis’ objective in all he does: “I want a Church which is poor and for the poor” Thus, he does not refer to the eradication of poverty in order to promote the dignity of the poor, but rather, as he himself affirms, to elevate the preferential option for the poor to a “theological category”, assuming it as a state of life that must be imposed on all. And to this end, a populist and demagogic note is ever-present in his salvific vision of the faith. For Francis, “to live the Christian faith denotes service to the person, as a whole and to all peoples, starting with those living on the margins”. These are mysterious words, the deeper meaning of which is difficult to grasp, although they may be considered in the context of a “revolutionary faith”, inconformity, and “making a racket”. And this class struggle is clearly extended even toward God, quite shockingly, because according to Francis, to question God is to pray .
Regarding all of these doctrines, one wonders…what’s next? Or perhaps we could say: what can’t be expected of Francis? In the Denzinger-Bergoglio there are dozens, not to mention hundreds, of surprising affirmations. Some are, doubtlessly, just demagogic expressions. However, we find between the lines actual doctrines which require deeper analysis. What does the reader imagine to be hidden behind the statement that to ‘have the odor of the people and of the street’ is a condition to be a good theologian? Or the famous phrase: when I am faced with a clericalist, I suddenly become anti-clerical? And this one that seems so innocent: “No one is saved alone as an isolated individual”? In these citations we cannot fail to notice a populist fanaticism in all things and with all pretexts. This can be seen by following the links in the endnotes. The terms “odor” and “people” border on obsession in Bergoglio’s subconscious, whether he is discerning the will of God in the cry of the people, and the ‘fragrance’ of men’, or whether indicating this as the criterion of aptitude for the Episcopacy. Thus, so many things should leave the clerical sphere, as “spiritual direction is a charism of the laity”. According to Francis, the Church has “the ‘sinful habit’ of focusing too much on itself and being self-referential”; it would be necessary to put an end to the idea of papal preeminence , with the current notion of the Roman Curia forged throughout the centuries of ecclesial wisdom, because it is the “leprosy of the papacy”. In this sense, Francis’ strong aversion to the all things curial is most evident, going as far as diminishing the importance of the exhortations given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Francis wants a democratic Church… although one wonders if this is really so, because it is unclear if Francis would actually renounce his power or means of coercion all that easily. Many could tell of the “mercy” that underlines the “papal beatings” received by those who show signs of hesitation toward the new style of Church that Francis promotes. And this brings us to Francis’ special concept of “sinodality”, according to which one must be in perfect agreement with Francis himself without which it is imposible to practice “sinodality” entirely! Once again, it is this curious “sinodality” that strikes out at anyone who dares to express contrary opinions. Officially it could be said that with the foundation of the famous G9, Francis marked “the beginning of a horizontal Church”, which, he claims, was outlined in Vatican Council II…  One tends to ask whether this would be the beginning of the “humbling oneself” that he desires for the Church? And whether a sign of this “humiliation” would be the long series of requests for pardon, such as the incomprehensible mea culpa to the natives of America for having brought them the faith in Jesus Christ!!. We will surely witness so many others in the future, along with the apologies he already made to Protestants, Muslims, and Jews. Will he eventually beg the UN for pardon for the fact that Catholics have contributed to the landfill crisis with their part in the production of garbage waste? Anything is possible with Francis….
3. Surprising innovations
Clearly this Bergoglian vision of society and the Church would necessarily have grave consequences on Catholic dogmas. It suffices to say that Francis makes his own the Modernist concept of “one’s own construction of the Faith”, as well as clearly expressing another concept – so characteristic of all heresies – in objecting against those who seek “doctrinal clarity and security” in their thought. Without beating about the bush, he affirms that we may never speak about “absolute truth”, and that God “is the spirit of the world, and everyone can interpret him in his own way”.
But, unfortunately it doesn’t end there… Indeed, not even the sacred figure of our Savior himself escapes the implacable interpretations of Francis, who does not hesitate to corrode the deepest foundations of the faith and Catholic piety by presenting Jesus Christ as unreal, and molded in keeping with the mode he deems currently appropriate. Consequently, Francis brazenly proclaims Jesus’ imperfection in his “escapade in the Temple”, affirming that “for this adventure Jesus probably had to ask the forgiveness” of his parents’, and that he came into world to “learn how to be a man”, and of course, he never became angry for any reason, for he was all mercy . What is odd, in all of this, is that Francis’ fury is only aimed at those who do not accept his system of thought. But that is not the only problem; sadly, we must mention the specific affirmation which has most confused people’s faith: “Regarding the loaves and fishes, I would like to add a new perspective. They didn’t multiply, no, that’s not true” . The Denzinger-Bergoglio study on this statement has been one of the most popular – in it we show Francis’ opposition to all the preceding Magisterium and the tradition of the Church. And to make matters worse, there were further points that shocked the poor faithful, such as his Lutheran idea of the Bread of Life, and his peculiar concept that, without the poor (the poor again!), the message of Jesus Christ is incomprehensible.
But if Francis has such a personal idea of Jesus Christ, one wonders what idea he has of God himself. These are murky waters indeed, likely to shock our readers. Many may consider these controversial expressions as something to be taken lightly, perhaps just considering them as ideas typical of someone from his region of Argentina, and therefore mere idiosyncrasies. How we wish it were so… Because, if not, we will have to realize that we are faced with something inadmissible for anyone who wishes to profess the Catholic Faith. How can we interpret his doubts about the omnipotence of God?  What are we to think when he defends the pantheistic theory of divine immanence in all things?  Or when he affirms “there is no such thing as a Catholic God”, and that Catholics and Muslims pray to the same Being?!! What could explain his conception that Catholics, Jew and Muslims give glory to the same God, or his asking non-believers to send him “good vibes” instead of prayers? This alone would justify all kinds of concerns about Francis… But what is most worrisome is that this is just the tip of the iceberg…
4. A Pope for all consciences
If you, dear reader, are a Catholic, you must be getting dizzy at this point in the ordeal. Such a quantity of deformations of our religion is truly unthinkable. But perhaps you feel otherwise, and are currently despising us for having perturbed your conscience. This is just one big calumny, you may be saying to yourself. But the truth is quite different. As you have already seen very well, we invent nothing; our studies are based entirely on the unchangeable Magisterium of the Holy Church. You are aware that we carefully examine Francis’ affirmations in official sources, in the original language (generally Spanish), and in their entirety. And there is no point in thinking: ‘These affirmations are taken out of context.’ Have a little intellectual honesty… and prove it for yourself! It will suffice to take a look at the endnotes (necessarily numerous) of this article to verify the origin of each of Francis’ statements, and its respective analysis. We have conducted one study every three days over the period of a year…
But how can we judge him, if he himself claims to be incapable of judging even the gays? Why do we not find him the epitome of humility, since he renounces his very role as mediator between God and humanity? The truth is that Francis has gone too far; and, after three years, Catholics cannot fail to recall a certain Anderson’s tale from our childhood, and echo the candid cry: “but the Emperor’s got nothing on!”… We are sorry for you, admirer of Francis. This perhaps comes to you right when your dilemma regarding eternity had just become so easy – just when you were promised that “everyone is saved”, and that eternal condemnation is outside of the path of the Church, and that “God never condemns”. You had perhaps reveled in Francis’ guarantee that the Judge, the One we invoke in the Creed, will not really judge us; and that your soul would not be punished, if you were to die impenitent. For Francis, punishment is nothing more, nothing less than the annihilation of the soul. Do we exaggerate? Calumniate? See for yourself in the endnotes, to avoid judging rashly.
5. Appalling confusion
With regard to the laws of the Church, according to Francis we should think in the following manner: We should not dream of “a monolithic doctrine”; “the Church becomes Pharisaical” when it wants to take charge of consciences. For Francis, the “conscience is free.”
What is piety to Francis? This is a truly difficult question… If he always considered the Eucharistic fast as “a dictatorship of the Church,” we should not be surprised that he considers the pious practice of praying the Rosary to be out of date,  or that he criticizes asceticism, silence and penance as distorted. But it is not only in exterior matters that Francis sees popular piety differently. For example, he considers the essence of “First Holy Communion as being communion” with other non-Catholic Christian confessions. Prayer will always be something abstract, since “one can never know how or where to encounter God” with “all certainty”.
And what about the deepest matters of the spiritual life? How does Francis see suffering, for example? Surprisingly, faced with this aspect of human existence so proper to our faith and to this “vale of tears”, Francis says we must challenge God with a “Why?” because “there are no answers” for the problem of suffering.
But there is still much more. What is the grace of God that we receive in Baptism? For Francis it is very simple, it is a “light existing in the soul”, and one can never know whether or not one is touched by it. And is it really through Baptism that we are made children of God? According to Francis there are nuances: he affirms that “atheists or members of any religion are also children of God”. This is because “God is in everyone’s life”, and “even the most blasphemous person is loved by God”. This brought up great concern, which is not surprising. In that case, what is the Catholic Church good for? Francis’ great message is very clear: “atheists can do good”. In summary, if you one of those people who avoided sin, you probably have not heard the latest, that “our sins are a privileged place to encounter God”? We are not quoting Luther here… but Francis!
Someone could object that at least we must admit that Francis is quite Marian. We answer that someone who manages to deform the idea of God and Jesus Christ, will not find it especially difficult to do the same with Mary Immaculate, affirming without a qualm that she affirmed that she “was deceived by the Angel Gabriel”.
Whoever imagines that this was as far as Francis would go, in sorely mistaken. The Denzinger-Bergoglio team can assure you that the flow is incessant, and if one day he could surprise us all by affirming that the Divine Office is a Jewish prayer, we are not also to be surprised with his formula for happiness (“live and let live”), nor his putting Catechism, yoga and zen on the same par, nor his affirmation that “capital punishment is against divine mercy and justice”.
6. Destruction of the family
Of course, this whole collection of ideas is reflected in Francis’ peculiar concept of the family. We need only recall the mess he got us into with the Synod. For him, the family is just a cultural concept. And as he believes that there exists the possibility of an “irreversible failure in the matrimonial bond”, he also does not reject marriages of second union. He declared that he does not like such unions “to be called irregular”. For this same reason he considers it normal for young people to prefer living together without marrying, and plainly states that the Church “does not have the recipe” to resolve such problems. But there is one thing that is very clear to Francis, and that is that “to be a good Catholic it isn’t necessary to have children like rabbits”.
What practical consequences does this have for Francis? It is very simple: Francis rasises hopes with the idea, later denied, of wanting to re-open the doors to divorced persons in a second union, and begins by announcing that the exclusion of these people from the sacraments is not a punishment, because “the sacraments should be seen as a remedy, not as a reward”. According to him, the Church “should never close doors, not even to the sacraments”, because after all, “the Lord never condemns, always pardons”.
And what to think of Francis’ idea of sin? For him, sin is not so much an offense against God, but a reason to boast. To Francis, sin is relative, because each person’s own conscience dictates what is right and wrong. To top it all off, he affirms (speaking to consecrated religious) that if “one does not sin, one is not entirely human”.
7. The new morality
So let’s get to the bottom of this. Francis wants to switch incense for “the smell of sheep”. It is above all in “shepherding” that he wants to be unique in 2000 years of Church history. And of course, the poor could not fail to be present at the base of Francis’ pastoral activity – the poor who are to him the “suffering Christ”, the “flesh of Christ” itself, and a new “theological category”. Francis affirms that he would be happy to have to sell all the Churches to feed the poor, because to him, material charity is a deeper sign of love than theological studies. That is why, for Francis, the worst evils of our day seems to be “unemployment, poverty and corruption” (quite a demagogic trilogy), and the concept of the formation of youth is worthy of the president of a non-confessional NGO: “education, sports, and culture”. So, we are not surprised when he affirms that “it is not necessary to insist on such topics of morality such as homosexuality and contraceptives, because [such an insistence] will tire people”, all the more so since we should not reproach people who act in a morally illicit manner in ways condemned by the Church. Behind all of Francis’ “pastoral” activity one can perceive the desire to change the way of relating to God and to others within the Church, insisting on the enigmatic “existential peripheries”, never condemning anyone, and always being ready to “get our hands dirty”. It does not come as a surprise that he insists on caring for material necessities above all else, reflected in his concern with eliminating hunger, and educating “without concern for religion”. Francis insists ad nauseam on the idea that one should never fall into the “downright nonsense of proselytism”. He shares the ideas of many who, ever since the 1960’s, insist that the Church should go back to its roots, small and poor, as the yeast that leavens the mass …a leavened mass that must, however, lower itself. What a curious contradiction…
8. ‘Bridges instead of walls’
The basis of the new Bergoglian philosophy is found in that which Francis calls the “culture of encounter”. What, exactly, would this be? It is simply to embrace others “without any type of prejudice”, renouncing any principle or axiom that might contradict the other. According to Francis, the Church “has built up walls over the centuries, and now is the time to build bridges”, without excluding anyone, be they “atheists, divorcees in second unions, or socialists”. To him, it seems, “a closed Church – (as any other society) – is a sick Church”, for which reason the Church will emerge – because of him, we gather – from an illness that cost it 2000 years of supposed inactivity. Isn’t this a mission fit for a new “Messiah”?
Francis wants to establish the idea that the Gospel cannot be spread without “sweetness”. Effectively, “encounter” means “rereading the Gospel in light of contemporary culture”, which will be the beginning of peace for humanity.
Could there be a more astounding Messianic mission
One of the first declarations of Francis as Bishop of Rome was that “it is my firm intention to pursue the path of ecumenical dialogue” (Clementine Hall, March 20, 2013), and he promoted it ever since the beginning as something bearing a mutual benefit at its base, “in which both parts can be purified and enriched”. Besides the doctrine of “encounter” which we just commented on, ecumenism is the sign of a new era within the Church, the era of Francis.
His gestures and attitudes toward any sect will always show his recognition and admiration, whether by asking for prayers, or blessings, both of which he recognizes as valid and even valuable. Surely, this matter of ecumenism has been the greatest cause for perplexity, due to his doctrine’s explicit opposition to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
To better understand the topic, we will subdivide this heading into three main points:
Francis bases himself on the metaphor of the polyhedron to express his idea of a totality made up of all the Christian religions which separated themselves from the Catholic Church. Needless to say, this so-called “polyhedron”, issuing from Francis’ lips, seems to have esoteric insinuation and to smell of New Age. In this geometrical figure each facet is different and necessary to its totality. In Francis’ ecumenical theology, the division between the various Protestant sects and the Catholic Church “is a scandal” which should not continue. This purported scandal would be in great part caused by the Church for not having accepted the individuality of each side. Obviously, he does not wish us to seek unicity and union in Catholicity. To Francis, each one should maintain its “originality”. In this way the perfect polyhedron is achieved. Nothing is dissolved, and everything remains integrated. It is the confluence of all partialities, however contradictory they may be.
According to Francis, this would be the desire of the Holy Spirit, since uniformity “is not Catholic”. Therefore in relation to the other religious confessions, the objective “does not necessarily mean doing everything together or thinking in the same way. Nor does it signify a loss of identity”.
Who can forget the concept of “ecumenism of blood” that Francis brought up on many occasions? It is the same doctrine taken to the ambit of martyrdom. But, to achieve such a feat the theologians should have very little say; in Francis’ opinion it will be a matter for the Holy Spirit and not for theology, since the “differences between Catholics and Protestants are merely interpretations”. It is sufficient to recall the Catholic chalice he gave to a Lutheran pastor, as he affirmed this doctrinal aberration…
In Buenos Aires, Francis had previously worked and prayed with the Protestants to achieve their acceptance by the faithful. Thus, years later, as Bishop of Rome, he reached the extreme of calling a so-called Lutheran woman ‘bishop’ “dear sister”, setting himself as a “brother in the faith”. The same sequence always takes place: while a prodigious flattery toward the “separated brethren” is inevitable ever since March of 2013, the Catholics who want to follow the true religion are treated with a most hurtful severity and coldness. Ecumenism of bridges, ecumenism of “encounter,” ecumenism of embraces, ecumenism of smiles and concessions — toward everyone but the Catholics.
Besides showing his great humility, whether on the covers of the most prominent magazines of the world, or in receiving dubious celebrities, Francis likes to be in everyone’s good books. In relation to Islam, he always wished to teach us that we should not mistrust the goodwill of the followers of this religion. He strives, at all cost, to forestall all precaution toward the followers of Mohamed, assuring us that Islam is a religion of friendship, and that the Koran is a “prophetic book of peace”. It is true that their increasing proofs of violence, in the international political scene, leave him in a very awkward situation…
But his unabashed fondness for Mohamed makes him come out with phrases of a tenderness that would stupefy any baptized soul. The flippancy with which he affirms that Catholics and Muslims “share the same faith” is shocking. Or that Islam “conserves part of Christian teachings” and that “Jesus and Mary are deeply revered by Muslims”. Or even that with the Koran and the Bible “we adore the same God”. Further, that Ramadan is a source of “spiritual fruit” and that the prayers of the Muslims give glory “to the Almighty” Certainly no Grand Mufti would ever uphold similar teachings…
Nonetheless, it is in relation to Judaism that Francis is most sweeping and clear in his statements. It should not surprise us how, on the very day of his election by the cardinals, he wrote to Riccardo Di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome: “On this day of my election as Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the Universal Church, I send you my cordial greetings. […] Trusting in the protection of the Most High, I strongly hope to be able to contribute to the progress of the relations that have existed between Jews and Catholics since Vatican Council II in a spirit of renewed collaboration and in service of a world that may always be more in harmony with the Creator’s will” (March 15, 2013 – Vatican Information Service). These words bear one and the same constant that lends the ecumenical relations of Francis with the Jews its tone: the ignoring of the one and only Redeemer and Savior. Among our studies produced to date, there is a truly clear and conclusive one regarding Francis’ heterodoxy in defending the idea that the Old Covenant is still valid, and that Judaism is an effective way to salvation.
c. with non-Christians
But Francis in not content with just that. He will not be satisfied until he has spanned the whole world, and even then, he may find it too small. That is why he is the “Pope for the popeless”. He holds that “the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true” and defends laicity as something good in itself. The followers of any religion in the world ought to be happy with Francis, since he holds that “God’s working in non-Christians tends to produce sacred expressions which in turn bring others to a communitarian experience of journeying towards God”. Hence he expressed the desire to continue onward in the search for all that religions have in common. Can anyone fail to appreciate, therein, a veritable desire for candidature as leader of the coveted universal religion? Here we see, in Francis’ ecumenical strivings – which is one of his priorities – a strange mission with messianic airs being outlined: Francis gradually takes on the characteristics of the absolute world leader of a kind of pan-religion, mixing not only all types of creeds, but also ideologies, ways of life, etc. Will we see it come about? Time – and God – will tell.
We conclude this overview of one complete year of the Denzinger-Bergoglio, with a reflection on the future. As we said at the start, we do not wish to pronounce sentences. We do, however, trust that someone will take action. And may they do so promptly. In what state will our religion find itself at this time next year? If it is to follow its present course, we dare not even imagine… Nonetheless, with God’s help, the Denzinger-Bergoglio will continue its elucidative endeavor, reminding consciences of what the sacred Magisterium teaches. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all those whose unwavering friendship and support has made this endeavor possible; to the many priests who have rendered their assistance, whether with translations into English or documental research — a warm and fraternal embrace.
As for those who do not share our stance, and wish to oppose us, we pardon them and bear no grudge; but we urge them to be understanding. After all, the one solely responsible for this whole Denzinger-Bergoglio is Francis himself, who spurs us on to “make a racket”!