“Down the Ladder of Depravity”, Anthony Esolen (Crisis)

OK guys, plain English.

Ever since the coming of Pope Francis there has been a noticeable relief (glee, exhilaration) from various “conservative’ (faithful) Catholics, headed by the certain bloggers and article writers, that now, finally, we can, ourselves, descend down the “depravity ladder” and meet folks on the various steps, offer up Jesus, and tell them that salvation has come to them on this step – fully, without expectation — mercy “spooned” to them without a whiff of judgment of their behavior on that particular step.

The EFFECT of Pope Francis has throned mercy above all choices and acts; it has become a meta-law above all the Natural Laws of creation, including those that constitute PERSONHOOD. The Francis (Mercy) EFFECT is nearing the theological stage of eternal determinism or predestination. Think that’s what I see in it – a universal condemnation to Mercy: that men and women are so depraved in their ability to know and to receive God’s absolute mercy that they are consigned to it as the final status and state of their lives whether they chose it or not, and certainly regardless of their behavior as the causal consequences of their reason and will.

In short (the soft blogging Catholics seem to be saying) our behavior on whatever step of the “depravity ladder” is the content of God’s Mercy. (Our constructed identity mingled with God’s life.)

You see, they seem to be saying, mercy, doctrine, ethics, hooking up with God via Jesus, it is all about personal identity ratified and affirmed by Mercy. If transgressing and trans-morphing the Natural Law of Sex, for instance, is the constitution of my personal identity than so be it; God, in his “lawless” mercy will met (better yet, conjoin) me there, confirming, supporting the creaturehood of my constructed identity. If I say there is no “he” or “she” but the “fluidity of gender” than God, who is the essence of fluidity, knows and conjoins. Now I see that my fluidity images God’s. Thank God the Francis’ EFFECT, winging off the fluttering of the V2 Spirit, has come to save us from boundaries and definitions. Yes, I know, Pope Francis had to insert this and that in his Exhortation about abortion and marriage, but didn’t you detect the wink and nod. That winking and nodding was right there, blinking in the PROGRESSIVE LANGUAGE he used when talking about politics and economics. His chosen language communicated; one can almost call it the language of the ladder.

According to these soft Catholic bloggers and writers, Jesus simply sits with you no matter what step on the ladder you are at. (Howdy buddy! No expectations here.)

Where I live there is a CATHOLIC leather/bondage/S&M fellowship group. They’ve been glad-handing since Francis’ arrival. They are quite excited (and comforted) that the Pope Francis EFFECT and blown into town, putting its imprimatur of their particular brand of titillation. (Isn’t Christ’s pain much like ours when we lay our and down the whips and chains?) Who would have known that the breath of Vatican 2 would be exhaling this.

Take me seriously, guys, I’m serious. The Francis EFFECT has set loose a malicious confusion across the land.

No matter how one reads it, Pope Francis was mostly invested in the political and economics enthusiasms of his exhortations. In that, he missed addressing (evangelizing) the Spirit of the Age.

ASSIGNMENT: go to the “American Thinker” and read Daren Jonescu’s article “Catholics and Communists”. (12/3/13) READ IT, it pertains.

You see, I’m coming to the point where I don’t give a damn about being nice. I’ve been, not only on the last step of the depravity ladder, but under it. Thank God the Francis EFFECT has not blown into town; that I had enough reason and will to understand that God’s Mercy would not confuse the filth upon which I lay with salvation. I know, sunk as I was deep in the muck beneath the ladder, what I needed to be saved from. Hollywood & Vine was no place house the Mercy of God. It’s habitat was tabernacled elsewhere.


I will rewrite my response.  Has glaring errors and its wording can be clarified with some rewording.  Pay more attention to the authority (that is, the Thomist “itness”) of words.  Yet, do not think its points or argument will change.  Mercy (as doctrine or spiritual ether) has center staged recent Catholic conversation, long before Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. Martin’s now infamous little book burden’s blame – shining its bright light on Dr. von B.’s often brittle illuminations.  In this instance, on his web spinning around the notion “that all may be saved”.


In my reading of the controversy this, shook down to its fundamentals, is an argument over predestination – that all are predestined to the eternal ends of Mercy.  (This is a far different question than the teaching of the universal offer and calling of Grace.)


I find that Evangelii Gaudium, in its emanations, gives, if unintended, qualified support to this newfangled doctrine of Mercy Predestination: if only recycled from the debate between Luther and Erasmus, or Augustine and the Pelagians.  It should not be overlooked, if only because it feeds this over-the-top enthusiasm over the Francis EFFECT.  Once more, taking up the article’s image of the “Depravity Ladder”, the implied revelation is of God’s Mercy affirming the state and acts of each step of that ladder, finding that the only missing ingredient – movement of God – is for that state and those acts to be taken up, infused by God’s Life.  Mercy Predestination requires it. The enthusiasts of the Francis EFFECT demand it!  No state, no act is beyond God’s taking up and affirmation. Any talk of states and acts being transformed is only a slight-of-hand.  To test that observation tell the Francis EFFECT enthusiasts that the Enthroned Jesus Christ will dive bomb God’s Righteous Justice down on San Francisco onto Folsom Street the next time the city revels in its Leather & Bondage Fair (with no thought of sparing the Catholic Leather Fellowship).


Don’t underestimate the Ancient One’s strong right arm. Often He operates his Justice via human proxy.  Maybe, once more, through the West’s, the Church’s, traditional Scourge of God – that is Islam.  When Islam jihads into town with its sharia law Folsom Street will be vacant of revelries in the month of October.  Think that proxy is no way near?  You have not cocked an ear to that city’s rulers.  They are loathe to insult the violence of THAT arm!


But what a horror that will be.  There will be no islamic mercy to the Folsom revelers.  Better to give ear to the FULL WORD of Jesus to the PERTINENT thief at that bloody hour of Redemption.


In the telling of that story I read nothing of Mercy Predestination.


Did Pope Francis’ Exhortation wiggled room for that?  That is my question. It is an honest one.


Cadavera Vero Innnumero