Debate Magazine

Despotism: Bishop Adviser to Pope Francis Claims Papal Infallibility Over Climate Change

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

First, a Vatican insider — Archbishop Salvatore “Rino” Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization — threatened to “automatically excommunicate” Catholics who commit “verbal violence” (whatever that means) against Pope Francis, whose real name is Jorge Bergoglio.

Now, another Vatican insider and close adviser to Pope Francis — Argentinean Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences — invokes papal infallibility for Bergoglio’s pronouncements on the pseudo-science of man-made climate change.

Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo at Acton Institute conf., 12-3-2015

As reported by John-Henry Westen for LifeSiteNews, at an Acton Institute conference at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome on Dec. 3, 2015, Bishop Sorondo said that Pope Francis’ declarations on the gravity of global warming as expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’ are magisterial teaching equivalent to the doctrinal teaching that abortion is sinful. Sorondo said Bergoglio’s “judgement [on climate change] must be considered Magisterium – it is not an opinion.

The Catholic Church maintains there are several concepts important to the understanding of infallible, divine revelation: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Sacred Magisterium. The infallible teachings of popes are part of the Sacred Magisterium. As the authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia defines it, “Infallibility means more than exemption from actual error; it means exemption from the possibility of error.”

However, not all teachings of popes are infallible.

To begin, papal teachings must be based on, or at least not contradict, Sacred Tradition or Sacred Scripture. As defined by the (first) Vatican Council of 1869-1870papal infallibility is “a divinely revealed dogma” that “the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra . . . is, by reason of the Divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed in defining doctrines of faith and morals….”

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, papal infallibility is not attributed to every doctrinal act of the pope, but only to his ex cathedra teaching. The conditions required for ex cathedra teaching are:

  1. The pontiff must teach in his public and official capacity as pastor and doctor of all Christians — as spiritual head of the Church universal.
  2. When, in his capacity as spiritual head of the Church universal, the teaches some doctrine of faith or morals.
  3. When the pope “wishes to determine some point of doctrine in an absolutely final and irrevocable way“.
  4. When it is clear that the pope intends to bind the whole Church, that is, “to demand internal assent from all the faithful to his teaching under pain of incurring spiritual shipwreck (naufragium fidei)” via “a literally universal promulgation”.

By equating Pope Francis’ teachings on abortion being sinful — which is a long-held doctrine of the Catholic Church — with his views on the alleged empirical phenomenon of global warming/climate change, Bishop Sorondo in effect is saying those views are “final and irrevocable” absolute truths. But empirical science is the opposite of absolute, being porous and always open to new and dissenting evidence. By claiming papal infallibility over climate change, Bishop Sorondo is also demanding that all Catholics assent to those views “under pain of incurring spiritual shipwreck”.

All of which would explain the heated exchange between Sorondo and other participants at the conference, including:

  • Journalist Riccardo Cascioli, who maintained Catholics can follow their individual consciences on theoretical scientific matters like climate change. To that, Sorondo responded, “If you were a scientist and had a serious (difference of) opinion,” then you could follow your conscience, “but since you are a journalist it is better you follow the opinion of the Pope!”
  • Acton Institute founder and President Father Robert Sirico, who rightly pointed out there are other experts or scientists with different opinions on the matter of global warming. Sorondo responded, “But don’t follow them, follow these. Just like in philosophy, there are many philosophers… But the Magisterium of the Church follows the philosophy of the being, the person. There are many who say the person does not exist – the Pope does not follow them…. I say it is Magisterium.”

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the founder of Ignatius Press who obtained his doctorate in theology under Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI), told LifeSiteNews:

Neither the pope nor Bishop Sorondo can speak on a matter of science with any binding authority, so to use the word ‘magisterium’ in both cases is equivocal at best, and ignorant in any case.”

All of which is most ironic since Pope Francis refuses to abide by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal — the Catholic Church’s instructions governing the celebration of Mass. N. 274 of the Roman Missal says:

During Mass three genuflections are made by the priest celebrant: namely, after the showing of host, after the showing of the chalice and before Communion.

Ann Barnhardt was the first to notice this: On March 14, 2013, when Jorge Bergoglio said his first Mass as Pope Francis, he did not genuflect in accordance with the Roman Missal‘s specification. In the video of that Mass below, the consecration of the host into the Body of Christ happens at the 51:47 mark; the consecration of the chalice or wine into the Blood of Christ happens at 52:32.

To this day, an official explanation as to why Pope Francis does not genuflect at the consecration has not been offered. While the Church makes exemptions for priests whose health makes genuflecting or kneeling difficult or impossible, that is not the case with Pope Francis who often has been seen kneeling.

Indeed, if you do a “google” search for images of Pope Francis kneeling, you’ll find plenty. Here are two:

Pope Francis kneelsPope Francis kneels1

See also:

  • Pope Francis calls for a new global authority to combat ‘climate change’
  • Catholic Church under Pope Francis: Critics censored, threatened with excommunication
  • The Rotten Fruits of Pope Francis: church schism, conservative rebellion, and approval of Iran nuke deal
  • Open letter to Pope Francis by member of Roman Curia, central administration of the Holy See
  • Pope Francis’ Vatican put on a pagan light show on the feast day of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception
  • The Illegitimate Pope: Election of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis was contaminated by lobbying in violation of papal laws,


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