Fr Hunwicke implies a question. Benedict's abdication and 'Benevacantism' aside, does Francis even believe he is Pope?
Oh dear! Last night, I put the finishing touches to a piece, in advance, about Pope S Leo II, scheduled to pop up next Monday ... and now PF has got his reply in first, explaining why, in his view, I'm wrong.
Let me put my cards upon the table.
"My" conception of the Petrine Ministry is what was defined by Vatican I in 1870. I believe, ex animo, that the Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of S Peter so that, by His revelation, they should propagate new doctrines, but so that, with His help, they should devoutly hand on the Tradition, the Deposit of the Faith, which they have received through the Apostles.
I condemn what Vatican I condemned both because Vatican I gives me the authentic Teaching of the Catholic Church which demands my unconditional adherence and because (happily for me) it coheres with my own understanding of the Catholic Faith.
Pastor Aeternus of Vatican I got things right. When I teach the same, I am getting things right. When PF teaches the opposite, he is getting things wrong.
PF says he going to tell us all about S Paul's Letter to the Galatians. But you don't need to wait for him to do this. Even in this pontificate, you are allowed to read the Epistles of S Paul for yourself. And here is the programmatic statement which launches this magnificent Epistle on its way:
"If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received [par' ho parelabete], let him be accursed [anathema esto]."
S Paul says in Galatians precisely what Vatican I taught. "What you received" Rules OK. If anyone teaches the opposite, Anathema.
PF's approach is the same now as it was in his 2017 homily at the Easter Vigil, which I analysed in Defending the Faith Against Present Heresies (pp 207ff). PF claims that those who disagree with his own new dogmas are in a situation analogous to that of those who disagreed with the Lord ... or (in this recent address) disagreed with S Paul.
But this is not only arrogant almost beyond belief. It is also blasphemous. PF is not Jesus. There is to be no Third Age with new teaching. Moses' version of the Law was "fulfilled" by that of Jesus, but PF is not a Third Lawgiver sent to supersede Jesus.
PF is so determined, so aggressive, so persistent, and so offensive when he attacks his critics that I suspect him, deep down, of knowing that he is wrong. But, having dug himself into a hole, he sees no alternative but to keep digging. However, there is an alternative: it is called metanoia, Repentance. The reason why Pride is such a disastrous sin is that it makes metanoia so terribly difficult.
PF has read parts of the New Testament, and has come up with a formula "The baddies are those who adhere rigidly to the Old and will not hear the New". Because. prima facie, this fits the teaching of Jesus and the reaction of those who opposed Him, PF is cheerfully confident that he can fit the same hermeneutical template onto this present period within his own pontificate ... with himself centre stage, covered in grease paint and doing an Olivier in the comfortable role of Jesus.
The reason why he cannot do this (and must not be allowed to get away with this tawdry trick) is that what he, PF, so constantly attacks is the New; the Good News which lives in the Gospel words of Jesus and in the witness of S Paul.