Apostolic Exhortation or Aggravation?

By David Martin

In an apparent move to rebut conservative allegations that the pope has been denying tenets of the Faith—a crisis that culminated during Holy Week with the pope’s alleged denial of hell and the immortality of the soul—Pope Francis on April 8 issued his newest Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate“ (Rejoice and Be Glad), in which he bewails the “defamation and slander” being spread online by traditional Roman Catholic journalists and bloggers.

In this newest document, the pope repeatedly mentions Satan, but seemingly with the implication that tradition-minded journalists and clergy who challenge his ideas are guided by the devil. He speaks of the “wiles of the devil”, “the spirit of the devil”, “keeping the devil at bay”, how to “banish the devil”, and “snares and temptations of the devil,” in apparent reference to “defamation and slander” that have “become commonplace” on the Catholic blogosphere.

Praised by Radicals

The fact that Gaudete et Exsultate has been praised by the liberal media and by gay-advocates like the notorious Fr. James Martin—known for the scandal he has caused by his disgraceful sodomite aspirations—is quite telling. “By their fruits you shall know them.” (Mt. 7:20)

This shouldn’t surprise us when we consider that Gaudete et Exsultate is about dismissing doctrinal and moral absolutes. And whereas the document is replete with quotations from the saints and Holy Scripture, this is apparently done for cosmetic reasons to turn the faithful against tradition so that they will be more open to the temptation of change.

According to Francis, those who resist this change are led by evil. “This is all the more important when some novelty presents itself in our lives. Then we have to decide whether it is new wine brought by God or an illusion created by the spirit of this world or the spirit of the devil. At other times, the opposite can happen, when the forces of evil induce us not to change, to leave things as they are, to opt for a rigid resistance to change.”

Any Interpretation Goes

Against the exhortations of past popes, Francis advocates a diversity of interpretations of doctrine. “Here I would note that in the Church there legitimately coexist different ways of interpreting many aspects of doctrine and Christian life; in their variety, they ‘help to express more clearly the immense riches of God’s word.’”

Clearly, the document does not think with the God of tradition. Under the guise of advancing holiness, it discounts the fear of God and the keeping of his laws while advocating a passive flow with the so-called renewal in the Church. The problem with this is that today’s renewal is not from God but from the devil who “entered the temple of God.” (Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1972)

In Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis states: “Not infrequently, contrary to the promptings of the Spirit, the life of the Church can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few.  This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting.”

So, the pre-Vatican II Church with its set rules and religious customs was a dead museum piece void of the Holy Spirit which catered to the interests of a select few? And were all the saints and popes who subscribed to this religion a bunch of Pharisees too? If so, what does Francis consider a spirit-filled Church, one which foments heresy and runs after strange gods and spirits as seen in today’s so-called Charismatic Renewal?

According to the document, the Church does not have all the answers and shouldn’t tell people how to live. “When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road. They may well be false prophets, who use religion…to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives.” According to Francis, any religion will do, evidenced by his constant dictating that we should never try to convert Jews and outsiders to the Catholic Faith.

Luther’s Idea

In the spirit of Luther, Gaudete et Exsultate also teaches that Heaven is not gained by merit. In Protestant fashion, it preaches that man is not justified by works (52-57), even calling “Pelagians” those who obediently exert their free will to please God. “Still, some Christians insist on taking another path, that of justification by their own efforts, the worship of the human will and their own abilities… an obsession with the law.”

Naturally, it is Christ Himself who justifies and saves, but he doesn’t save anyone unless they obey his laws and commandments to the letter. “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” (Romans 2:13) The Savior reminds us that “he will render to every man according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27)

As seen many times, we again see Francis holding the keepers of the law as hypocrites who separate their obedience from a true desire to abide with Christ. “I regret that ideologies lead us at times to two harmful errors. On the one hand, there is the error of those Christians who separate these Gospel demands from their personal relationship with the Lord, from their interior union with him, from openness to his grace.” (100)

What this does is to turn people against the law where they do things their own personal or “Pelagian” way. If Catholics obey the Gospel demands, it is precisely to preserve “their personal relationship with the Lord” and “their interior union with him.” Why suspect them?

Francis continues, “The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters.” (101)

This line is deeply concerning for several reasons.  For one thing, it denies that there is an actual “superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist, or populist” agenda being implemented in the realm of social engagement.  For another, it opens the way for placing all social issues, whether it be abortion, immigration, environmentalism, or homosexuality, on the same equal footing … an opening through which he passes in the very next line.

Hindering Immigration No Less Sinful than Abortion

In the document, Pope Francis abets the global cause of a borderless one-world government and goes so far as to say that the political issue of migration shouldn’t be seen as “secondary” or “lesser” to “‘grave’ bioethical questions” (abortion) and that helping “victims” of “every form of rejection” (homosexuals, Jihad migrants) is just as important as defending the unborn. (102)

So according to Francis, hindering migrant insurgents from trespassing our borders is just as serious as murdering a baby! This would seem to contradict St. John Paul II’s encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, where in paragraph 58, he said:

Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an “unspeakable crime”.

Doctrine Can Be Questioned

Clearly, Gaudete et Exsultate is not about allegiance to doctrine, but about advancing a fake mysticism aimed at belittling doctrine and befogging the faithful about their duties in life. Therein, the pope even dubs “Gnostics” those who earnestly seek to know and follow the absolute truth of God. (36-42) According to Francis, doctrine can be questioned. (43)

“Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence.” (41) Francis says, “In effect, doctrine, or better, our understanding and expression of it, is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts.” (44)

So in other words, the dubia cardinals arrogantly “presume to control God’s transcendence” because they humbly request clarification on Francis’ often ambiguous statements about Christ’s doctrine—a doctrine which they rightfully understand is a closed system of absolute truths which one may never question or doubt.

What is odd is that nowhere in this 98-page exhortation on “holiness” does the pope prescribe the true path to holiness, which is a childlike submission to doctrine and tradition. The document is rather loaded with little digs and resentments against those who humbly stand apart from the world and live only for God.

For example, Francis appears to take an indirect crack at Cardinal Sarah, known for his love of prayerful solitude and his criticism of the busy-body religion advocated by Francis. “It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while disdaining service. Everything can be accepted and integrated into our life in this world.” (26)

This radically dissents from Christ’s teaching. According to the Savior, the noise and chatter of this world should never be “integrated into our life,” since “the friendship of this world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

In an apparent attempt to imply that the “hypocrites” of tradition who follow their own will should accept correction from others, Francis quotes St. John of the Cross out of context, saying, “Always prefer to be taught by all, rather than to desire teaching even the least of all” (GE 117), but when the true teachers of humility try to gently correct the pope, his love of being taught suddenly turns to rage as he starts blowing fuses and making insinuations that he is a martyr who is persecuted by the proud.

Unfortunately, the most influential people surrounding Pope Francis are global elitists at the United Nations who murder the unborn and who seek to enslave humanity under a borderless one-world government. His repeated recommendations that we listen to population-control experts like Jeffrey Sachs and Ban Ki moon clearly demonstrate this. In Laudato Si, he even says, “There is urgent need of a true world political authority.”

In Gaudete et Exsultate, Francis—who has abetted anti-life forces, betrayed the underground Church in China, sacked loyal priests, empowered homosexuals, rewarded abortionists, praised heretics, blessed adultery, profaned the Eucharist, and denied dogma—has set out to correct our faults and teach us the way of “holiness.” To him the Lord says, “And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

Our prayer is that Francis will first remove the beam of pride from his own eye so that he will better be able to remove the spec from the eyes of others. And if he can bring himself so far, let him make the teacher of the saints and popes his teacher, and let him flow with the same spirit that guided all the saints, popes, martyrs, and holy hermits for 2000-years without change.  When this is done, then he can truly Gaudete et Exsultate!


David Martin gave up a promising career as a concert pianist in 1980 so he could commit himself to the defense of the Faith and the propagation of Catholic prophecy. He has authored three books, and has written numerous articles which have appeared in publications like the Remnant and OnePeterFive.com. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where he lives a single and celibate life.