Seventh_ecumenical_council_(Icon)

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Over the last few decades orthodox Catholics have clung to the idea that things were worse during the Arian Crisis or in the late eighteenth century. Louis XVI is supposed to have remarked when it was suggested that Archbishop Lomenie de Brienne be translated to Paris “No. The Archbishop of Paris is different. He should believe in God.” Just before the Reformation things seem to have been pretty bad too. It is difficult to believe that there is not at least a very large minority of English bishops and clergy today who do not have the faith. In Belgium and Austria it is hard to believe it is not a majority.
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Certainly, one has feared over the years that the post-conciliar popes harboured some dubious private theological opinions but they seem to have clearly marked them in their own minds as private theological opinions. I have, over the years, laboured to believe various unorthodox conservative and liberal clerics and bishops did have the faith despite every spiritual faculty screaming that they did not. I have now seen enough of them overtly repudiate their orders and the faith to stop bothering.
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In the Arian crisis it seems the great majority of bishops in the world were heretics. Liberius wobbled and threw Athanasius under the bus (allegedly). Some Popes have denied that he fell into heresy, but he does have the rather glaring distinction of being the first pope not to be listed as a saint in the Roman Martyrology.
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Honorius I gets a much more severe roasting from Constantinople III “and in addition to these [Monophysites] we decide that Honorius also, who was Pope of Elder Rome, be with them cast out of the Holy Church of God, and be anathematized with them, because we have found by his letter to Sergius that he followed his opinion in all things and confirmed his wicked dogmas” and “to Honorius, the heretic, anathema!” This sentence was confirmed by Nicaea II and Constantinople IV.
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Honorius wimpishly fudged in his letter to Sergius but there isn’t really evidence he vigorously proselytised for his errors. John XXII it seems is different, he really did push for his weird heresy concerning the beatific vision and taught it repeatedly through the organs of his ordinary magisterium.
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Francis seems to combine elements of John XXII and Honorius I. Unlike John XXII but as with Honorius his error is not an obscure question but a matter that strikes to the core of the beliefs and threatens immediately to compromise the faith of great swathes of the faithful. Unlike Honorius but as with John XXII he is making a serious effort to foist it on the whole church. That is, he combines the worst elements of both. He is holding back on an explicit declaration concerning the matter before the synod but he has already overtly taught error in Evangelii-Gaudium §254 and appears to have questioned the sinlessness of the Blessed Virgin in his sermon of 20th December 2013. Unlike Liberius, Pope Francis is not being bullied into submission to the errors of the day but is an enthusiast for them. Like Liberius he is surrounded by a more general apostasy.
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So it looks like we are going to have to give up on the consoling parallels. This is the worst crisis in the entire history of the church. Modernism is the synthesis of all heresies and this is the mother of all assaults on the faith of our fathers.
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Perhaps the Pope is planning to surprise us all and declare that of course marriage is indissoluble and sodomy cries out to heaven for vengeance. Perhaps its all a rather weird plot to get the Modernists to show their hand so they can be hunted to destruction. But it doesn’t seem very likely does it?

When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days; and that there may be already in the world the ‘Son of Perdition’ of whom the Apostle speaks (II. Thess. ii., 3).