Father Spadaro and the New Arianism, child of modernism

In this blog and in InfoCatólica in general, we have pointed out on several occasions the worrying statements of some of Pope Francis' closest collaborators: from Bishop Paglia to Bishop Sanchez Sorondo, Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Hollerich, the (almost) Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, the new Archbishop of La Plata or the new pro-euthanasia, pro-abortion or pro-contraceptive members of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Due to the confusion that often accompanies their words, it is not always easy to say what exactly these ecclesiastics believe, but there is little doubt that these beliefs deviate substantially from what the Church has always taught on various topics.

Without true doctrine, he is only in it for the ride-  down the Synodal Highway

To complete this cast of contributors, I thought it appropriate to bring to the blog the latest article by Fr. Spadaro SJ in the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano. In the article, the Jesuit and director of La Civilta Cattolica displays what we could call the new Arianism, which, without expressly denying the divinity of Christ, conceives him in practice as a mere human being, fallible and full of defects and limitations like the other children of Adam.

The article refers to last Sunday's Gospel, which recounts the episode of our Lord's healing of the daughter of a Canaanite woman, who was tormented by a demon. In the Gospel text, it is described how Jesus makes Himself heard before granting the woman what she asks for, something that the Tradition of the Church has always interpreted as an example of the pedagogy of Jesus, who wants to arouse greater faith in the Canaanite woman. As St. Augustine said, Christ acted in this way with her "not to deny her mercy, but to kindle her desire".

The scene that Spadaro paints for us, instead, is completely different. When the woman pleads with him, "Jesus remains indifferent" to the astonishment of his disciples. "Jesus does not care" and gives the Canaanite woman an "angry and insensitive response", in which "the hardness of the Master is unshakable", because "Jesus plays the theologian" (something that, in Spadaro's vocabulary, is clearly negative) and considers that "mercy is not for her".

As if this were not enough, when the Canaanite woman says "Lord, help me!", thus recognizing his authority, Jesus "responds in a mocking and disrespectful way towards that poor woman", with "a fall in tone, style and humanity". According to Spadaro, "Jesus seems blinded by nationalism and theological rigorism". There is no pedagogy of Jesus here, as in the interpretation of the Church Fathers, but rather a manifestation of serious defects and limitations of Jesus himself, due to the contagion of his time, which prevent him from responding with mercy.

In the face of Jesus' lack of humanity, the words of the Canaanite woman, humbly saying that even the little dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters' table, change everything. They are "few words, but well put and capable of upsetting Jesus' rigidity, of confusing him, of 'converting' him to himself".

That is to say, although the daughter is cured by Jesus, the true savior is the woman, because "Jesus also appears cured and in the end shows himself free from the rigidity of the dominant theological, political and cultural elements of his time". It was Jesus who needed to be cured of something much more serious and, when he receives that healing and "gives reason" to the pagan woman, that fact is "the seed of a revolution".

Spadaro's explanation is, evidently, the opposite of the one the Church has always given. Instead of appearing as Master, Jesus appears as disciple; instead of liberating, he is freed from his rigidity; instead of arousing faith and conversion in the Canaanite woman, it is Jesus who needs to be converted; instead of being Love itself made flesh, Jesus acts in a mocking, disrespectful, indifferent and angry way; instead of being Truth incarnate, he shows himself to be just another mistaken and "blinded" man, who in the end has to prove the woman right; instead of being the only one who knows the Father and reveals him to us, he "plays the theologian" and puts his foot in his mouth; instead of being the Logos himself, the divine and eternal wisdom, Christ shares the prejudices of his time until a woman shakes him out of them and finally gets him to think the same way as Fr. Spadaro.

At no time is it said that Jesus is not God, but, in practice, as Fr. Spadaro understands it, there is nothing divine in Him: He is sinful, ignorant, obstinate, rigid, worldly, inhuman, in need of conversion and a blind man who guides other blind men. This provides a perfect criterion for dismissing everything that is uncomfortable or too unfashionable in the Gospel, attributing it simply to things in which Jesus was mistaken, "blinded" by the mentality of his time, something that we can judge with the advantage of living in an epoch in which the Gospel was "blinded" by the mentality of his time, something that we can judge with the advantage of living in an epoch in which Jesus was "blinded" by the mentality of his time.

Unfortunately, this idea is not something isolated, much less exclusive to the famous Jesuit. It is essentially the same thing for which, in previous pontificates, Pagola, Queiruga, Arregui, Küng, Boff, Jon Sobrino and so many others up to Loisy or Tyrrell were condemned or disavowed. The new Arianism, in fact, is the child of modernism and is not placed on the rational terrain of dogmatic affirmations, but on the purely emotional terrain of what is suggested and implied (always against faith and in favor of the world), the systematic omission of the divinity of Christ and every supernatural element of the Gospel, practical unbelief, the feeling of superiority over everything ancient and the satisfied and smug chuckle in the face of Tradition and the faith of the faithful.

The result, as can be seen in the article in question, is rather poor, contradictory and often ridiculous. Spadaro attributes to Christ precisely the things he accuses his enemies of, such as rigidity or fidelity to theological truths. I am so old that I still remember times when being compared to Christ was a compliment, but it seems that now there are other standards. 

The lack of coherence and rationality of the new Arianism of Fr. Spadaro and company, however, makes it even more dissolving than the old and much more dangerous, because it is not subject to anything outside of it, including reason. Tradition, Scripture and the Magisterium are of value to these authors only insofar as they can be twisted to suit the modernist mentality and are irrelevant when they are obviously opposed to that mentality. It is about a new faith, irrational and dogmatic, for which the new and progressive is always better than the old and everything, absolutely everything, including Jesus Christ himself, must bow the knee before the saving and omniscient postmodernity.