Two histories: The Spiritual Franciscans and Pope Celestine V (Saint Peter Celestine), and the Quietism and Blessed Innocent XI, Pope
Orlando Fedeli
The recent approval of the Neo-Catechumenate Statutes has been interprete d by many as being an approval of the heterodox doctrines taught by Kiko and Carmem to the catechizers of this movement, in their excessively “discreet” booklets.

Now, the simple approval of these Neo-Catechumenate Statutes is not, in any way, a certificate of the orthodoxy of their leaders and doctrines. The fact that the Neo-Catechumenate had their Statutes approved by the Holy See does not imply in the approval of Kiko’s doctrine about the “crumbs” of the Holy Host; neither does it mean that from now on it is allowed the practice, confessed by members of this movement, of dancing over the remaining or fallen particles of the consecrated hosts. Neither the communitarian confession should be praised instead of the auricular confession.

The pretension that the mere approval of the Neo-Catechumenate Statutes would be a doctrinal approval lacks any juridical basis and reveals a great deal of ignorance about the doctrine of the papal infallibility and about the History of the Church.

In order to put some light upon this question, we will tell, today, two important episodes of Church’s History, that involves two saint Popes – Saint Peter Celestine, the Pope Celestine V, and Blessed Innocent XI.

Saint Peter Celestine (13th century) had protected the heretical Spirituals Franciscans, whose errors had already been condemned by earlier popes, and founded for them a Religious Order. This protection by a saint Pope upon the heretics surely did not mean the approval of the millenarist and Joachimite errors of this heretical group.

Blessed Innocent XI (17th century), for some time, deceived by the fame of piety of certain people, had protected the Quietists followers of Michael of Molinos, but, thanks to God, ended up by condemning them later.

These two historical cases, which have happened to two saint Popes, show that even saint Popes can make mistakes of appreciation about people and movements, not affecting the dogma of infallibility nor the personal sanctity of such Popes.

First history:
Heretical Franciscan movements

Saint Francis was one of the greatest saints ever seen in the history of the Holy Church. He has been so great that his example has converted crowds. Few saints have had so-eminent graces such as the “poverello” of Assisi. His most holy life is well known and it will always be a Sun enlightening Roman Apostolic Catholic Holy Church’s heaven.

However, if saint Francis is incomparable, and if the Order he founded was an abundant cellar of Saints for the Church of God, it does not change the historical truth that the Franciscan Order, maybe more than any other, has suffered, since its beginning and even when Saint Francis was still alive, most grave doctrinal crises, giving birth to extremely devilish heretical movement, such as the heresy of the Spirituals, of the Dolcinians or Pseudo-Apostolorum, followers of Segarelli and Fra Dolcino, and even the Beghardos, who had the heretic Peter John Olivi as their leader.

Being Saint Francis so great saint and being the Order of Friars Minor, which he founded, follower of his sublime example, it is natural and logical that the devil would seek to destroy it more than any other Order, raising internal outbreaks and heretical movements. The devil, for huge faker that he is, only seeks to forge money of great value. Only mad men would forge the Bolivian peso. The intelligent forger forges the American dollar.

The heresy of the Spirituals, which has contaminated the best elements of the Franciscan Order still in its beginning, was caused by the abuses of the General Superior that the very Saint Francis at the hour of his death, in October 3th, 1226, had indicated as the General Minister or Vicar to succeed him in the govern of the Order of Friars Minor: Friar Elias of Cortona.

This Friar Elias undertook the Order’s government, soon diverting away from the Order’s Rule which settled a rigorous poverty for the friars of the Saint of Assisi. Friar Elias had allowed his friars to ride carriages with trimmed-up horses, while Saint Francis had settled that the friars must always walk by foot. Elias had accepted large donatives and caused the Order to lose its initial poverty that was its greatest feature. Moreover, Elias did politics in order to praise the majors of his time, and persecuted friars who wanted to remain loyal to the ideal of poverty given and preached by Saint Francis. The most virtuous friars, those who better imitated the founder of the Order, those were the most persecuted.

The abuses of Friar Elias were such that he ended up being deposed from the post of general of the Order, after one year of govern.

Saint Anthony of Padua was part of this fight, fighting Friar Elias of Cortona.

In 1227, the General Chapter of the Order gathered in Assisi, in the presence of Pope Gregory IX, elected Friar John Parenti, O.F.M., to replace Friar Elias as General Minister.

But Friar Elias did not accept his defeat and plotted in order to try to recover the direction of the Order. He achieved his intent in the General Chapter of 1232, when he was elected General Minister. For seven years, against what the Rule determined, Father Elias did not convoke a new General Chapter, remaining as general minister in an unlawful and tyrannical way. At this time, he dispersed those who opposed him and who accused him of violation of poverty by the acceptance of donatives, and for allowing the building of expensive churches and convents.

The Franciscan Narrative says: “In the year of the Lord of 1237, Friar Elias sent visitors to each of the provinces, suitable to his own purposes, and due to the irregularity of such visits, the friars had become even more enraged against him” (ChronicaFrater Jordanis a Jano, p. 18, apud Nachman Falbel, A Luta dos Espirituais Franciscanos e sua Contribuição para a Reformulação da Teoria Tradicional acerca do Poder Papal, Tesena Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras da USP, Boletim no 3,São Paulo, 1978, p.82).

In the General Chapter of 1239, Friar Elias lost again the post of General Minister. In this Chapter, again presided by the Pope Gregory XI, measures were taken to ensure the Order against new abuses: it was settled that there would be a General Chapter every three years and that the Provincials would be elected by the friars, and not nominated by the General Minister.

Friar Elias joined Emperor Frederic II, well-known enemy of the Church. Their opponents in the Order had even accused him of practicing of Alchemy. He died in 1253, out of the Order, but reconciliated with the Church that had excommunicated him.

The fight between the followers of Friar Elias and their enemies will be the source of a division that will end up with the creation of the Spirituals sect that, reacting to the laxity of Elias’ followers, they ended up falling in heresy, with the Spirituals group who desired to take Franciscanism to an excessive severity.

The main leaders of the Spirituals were: Friar Corrado d’Offida, Friar John of Parma, Hugh of Digne, Friar Gerard of Borgo San Donnino's, Michael of Cesena, Ubertino of Casale, Fra Salimbene and Thomas of Celano.

The main errors defended by them were:

1. Being Saint Francis the higher saint of the history, being he marked with Christ’s stigmas, the rule made by him could not be changed, not even by the Pope, because Saint Francis’ rule was the Gospel’s rule, and the Pope does not have power to change the Gospel.

2. The rule of poverty should be absolutely and radically obeyed, and in the same degree that Saint Francis practiced it. Due to that, the Franciscan Order should not have churches made of rock, neither convents. The friars could not have books for mass, prayer or study. They could only have customs made of tow. This custom was to be used by the friar until it got rotten. The custom must not reach the feet, because this would be surplus and an unnecessary luxury.

3. By means of Friars Hugh of Digne, John of Parma and Gerard of Borgo San Donnino's, the errors of Joachim of Fiore (1155-1202) – already condemned in the IV Latran Council – penetrated the Franciscan order.

4. Saint Francis and Saint Dominic were the two eyewitnesses mentioned in the book of Apocalypse.

5. The Antichrist would come in 1248 – they set up, later on, other dates to the Franciscan Bagarre – and he would be Emperor Frederic II or an anti-Franciscan Pope (for example, John XXII).

6. There would be a huge punishment – the TFP would say “Bagarre” – in which most part of humanity would be eliminated. Even a big part of Franciscan friars would perish, only surviving a few ones that would fashion the Kingdom of the Holy Spirit.

7. This spiritual kingdom would be that of the monks, which would replace the clergymen order. A great Pope would arise – the “Pastor angelicus” that many Popes intended to be – and a great Emperor who would establish the Kingdom of the Holy Spirit.

8. Just like the Church had replaced the Synagogue, there would be a new Church, spiritual, egalitarian (lacking hierarchy) and poor, lacking any property, similar to that foreseen recently by Brazilian ex-friar Boff and friar Betto, which would substitute the Rich Church, founded by Christ.

9. God’s Law would be suppressed, and the Love’s Law should be established.

10. The Eternal Gospel, which Abbot Giochino da Fiore spoke about, would be the ensemble of the works from the abbot who had affirmed himself to be a prophet.

These ideas were exposed in the work Introductorius ad Evangelium Aeternum, from Friar Gerard of Borgo, published in Paris in 1251, and condemned by Pope Alexander IV in 1255.

The condemnation of Gerardo of Borgo caused the discredit of the Franciscan General Minister Friar John of Parma.

What turned the error of the Spirituals even more dangerous was the fact that the most famous friars for virtue belonged to this faction, while his opponents were, generally, the most laid-back. A laudable exception was Saint Bonaventure, who was elected General Minister of the Order in 1257 and took a clear position against the Spiritual errors, without yielding to the laid-back ones. He set even the prison of John of Parma, what caused the anger of the Spirituals, such as Angelo Clareno, who have accused Saint Bonaventure of organizing the fourth general persecution against the “real followers of Saint Francis”.

The Spirituals situation had a big political advantage with the election of Saint Peter Celestine as Pope – the Pope Celestine V.

His name was Peter of Morrone. He had found a hermit Order – the Celestines – and took himself a recluse life in a mountain, and had fame of sanctity.

Whereas in Rome the cardinals had not come to an agreement for the Pope’s election caused by the quarrels between Guelphs and Ghibelines, in Italy, it was proposed the election of this saint hermit as pope. He was elected, but resisted a lot before accepting it. He entered in Rome mounted on a little ass, and took the name Celestine V. He was a man of a very saint life, but who did not know how to govern, neither did he understand about politics. The Ghibelines controlled him and forced him to take measures that would cause damage to the Church. He, perceiving his errors, regretted. At last, verifying that he did not know how to govern, he threatened renunciation to the pontific throne, something not desired by the Gibelinos, as they took advantage of the lack of governing skill from this saint Pontific.

This is when the Spirituals, Angelo Clereno and Peter of Macerata got closer to Pope Saint Celestine V.

Saint Peter Celestine had known, for a long time, the Franciscans Spirituals and received them with goodwill. He listened to their complaints and served them beyond reason: he detached them from all obedience towards the Franciscan Order; and authorized them to live in hermitages that an Abbot from the Celestine Order would dispose for them, so that they could there observe the Rule and the Testament of Saint Francis. In order not to hurt the Franciscans with these concessions, Saint Peter Celestine did not allow them to call themselves Minors or Franciscans, but gave to these new Hermits that he housed the name of Poor Hermits, and put them under protection of Cardinal Napoleon Orsini (Cfr. Gratien, Historia de la Fundación y evolución de la orden de frailes menores en el siglo XIII, Buenos Aires: Desclée, 1947. pag 378).

It was a saint Pope – Saint Peter Celestine – who supported the (diverted) disciples from another great saint – Saint Francis of Assisi – who were accused of heresy.

One can imagine the triumph it was, for the Spirituals, such approval from a saint pope.

Yet, this “statuary” approval of the Spirituals was not the approval of their errors and heresies.

The triumph of the heretic Spirituals was short: Saint Peter Celestine, noticing he was not able to govern, renounced to Papacy.

On December 24, 1284, Cardinal Benedito Gaetani was elected pope, in succeeding Saint Peter Celestine, who assumed the name Boniface VIII, and who was extremely against the Ghibelines and the Spiritual Franciscans.

“Bonifacio VIII, as soon as he wore the tiara on, abolished all the concessions granted by his predecessor”.(Llorca, Garcia Villoslada, Montalban, Historia de la Iglesia Catolica, Madrid: Bac, 1963, vol II, p.562) and the Spirituals fell again in disgrace.

On April 8, 1295, he put the Spirituals, who took refuge among the Celestines, again under jurisdiction of General Franciscan Minister. After this, by the Bula Ad Augmentum (November/1295), he gave power to General Minister to deal with the question, and forbidding the Spirituals to appeal to Rome because their matter had already been judged. (Cfr. Graciano, Historia de la Fundación y evolución de la orden de frailes menores en el siglo XIII, Buenos Aires: Desclée, 1947. pp. 378-379.).

The quarrel against the Spiritual Franciscans would not finish there. It would extend itself for a long time. The great condemnation against them would be finally pronounced by Pope John XXII, who condemned the erros and heresies of the Spirituals in 1318. (Cfr. The principal errors of Spirituals Franciscans condemned by John XXII, in Denzinger 484-490).

One may see through this story that the approval of the practice of a saint’s Rule by a saint pope does not mean the approval of the heresies of those who hide themselves behind a Rule or a saint.

How weaker is then the approval of Neo-Catechumenate Statutes!




Second history:
The Quietism and Blessed Innocent XI, Pope.

A second story will make us comprehend, once more, that even a saint Pope can make a mistake in his political and administrative decisions, even when they echo in the doctrinal field. In order to do that, we will take the case of the Quietism in the 17th century.

Quietism is the doctrine that states that the highest perfection of man consists in annihilating one’s own “me” so that everybody’s “me” could be absorbed in Divinity, even during one’s lifetime.

As our readers can see, neither priest Zundel, nor Hinduism, nor Master Eckhart, nor the Gnostics have said different thing. Gnosis is repetitive.

The great leaders of this heresy were priest Miguel of Molinos, Oratorian Pier Matteo Petrucci, priest La Combe and madam Guyon. Fénelon took part on this heretic movement, but his quietism has not reached Molinos‘ radicalism. But, even this moderate Quietism was condemned by Pope Innocent XII, in the Brief Cum alias, in 1699. (Cfr Denzinger, 1327-1349).

The roots of these mystical heresies are in the subterranean diffusion of the errors of reformist mystics, besides, of course, the hidden publicity of Gnosis. Many of these Quietist errors have clear relationship with the heresies of Master Eckhart and the Brothers of the Free Spirit, just as with Protestant mystics.

In Spain, where Protestantism had more difficulty to make its way due to the Catholic resistance propelled by great saints of the Counter-Reform, such as Saint Ignatius of Loyola and saint Teresa of Avila, the protestant spirit disguised itself with the clothes of piety and the mantle of mysticism. In consequence, Quietism was a heresy related with the life of prayers, disseminating egalitarian, naturalist and antinomist ideas, which links it straight to Gnosis.

The first signs of this heresy showed up among the Spanish Alumbrados, yet in the 16th century.

"The Illuminated or Alumbrados are found since the 16th century at different points of the [Iberian] Peninsula; they were generally obscure masters who made such ideas known. Through the distances of time and places, some ideas in common come across, as if, by subterranean ways, a tradition of error was being communicated. None, or very few works were preserved". (A. D'Alès, Dictionnaire Apologétique de la Foi Catholique, Beauchesne, Paris, 1928, vol. IV, entry: Quiétisme).

Still in the 16th century, mystical doctrines which proudly stated a superiority of those who practiced mental prayer were spread in Spain, excusing them from common obligations of the faithful.

"Affronting and perverse spirits considered mental pray as precept; and that the elected people of God should not work with the body, neither venerate images, nor undergo prescribed fastings, nor attend mass, nor honor the saints, and that they had permanently the vision of God, and that, to them, there would be no luxury sin anymore”. (A. D'Alès, Dictionnaire Apologétique de la Foi Catholique)

The antinomism, the pride and the spirit of independence shown up in this ideas point clearly to the existence of a Gnostic sect secretly acting in Spain at that time. Those who defended these ideas judged themselves superiors regarding common people, dispensing themselves from moral obligations and from common external devotional practices. In consequence, they segregated themselves from normal people, from the Catholic life in the parishes, forming detached sectarian cores.

The first important authors responsible for the diffusion the typical ideas from Quietism, in Spain, were Fathers Juan Falconi and Miguel of Molinos. The last was the great responsible for the diffusion of Quietism throughout Europe.

Father Juan Falconi, from the Mercedaries Order, had an exemplar and pious life, and wrote some important works about devotion and mystical life. He died in 1638, leaving the fame of a superior spiritual life. In his ascetic and pious works, Falconi insists on the necessity and facility of mental prayer for everyone, indistinctly. Falconi considers that the important is not to reflect, but simply to love. For him, if one surrenders oneself to God’s Will, one can reach the greatest virtues and prays continually.

The mistake there consists on judging that it is possible to love without reflecting, as if love was something apart from comprehension, when actually it is only possible to love what we know. This persistence in love, without reflection – so common nowadays – is likely to take us to a purely sensitive love, when not sensual, exposing the soul to the greatest dangers.

Besides, the denial of intelligence’s value is against what teaches the Church, and it is a typically gnosticizing position.

As it is said, Falconi does not seem to be engaged to any sectary group. However, the receipts that he employed, and the imprecision of his doctrine will open the doors to most serious errors. There were some others who made use of his works, giving them an openly heretic sense. Specially abused was the “Letter to a recluse”, which Falconi wrote in 1629, and that father Miguel of Molinos explored a lot. It was only after Molinos’ condemnation that Falconi’s works were put in the Index of Forbidden Books in 1688.

As said above, the great propagandist of Quietism was Father Miguel of Molinos, who was born in 1628, near Zaragoza. He studied with Jesuits and became a priest. He lived in Spain until 1664, when he left to Rome for defending a canonization cause until 1684. Molinos would remain in Rome, place where he would cultivate his fame as master in spirituality by publishing his work “Dux spiritualis” (Spiritual Guidance) (1675).

In this book, Molinos emphasizes, from the beginning, some ideas:

There are two ways to reach God: meditation and contemplation. Meditation should lead to contemplation; otherwise, it would have failed.

Meditation seeds and searches. Contemplation harvests and finds.

There are two sorts of contemplation: infuse and obtained. The infuse one is given by God and cannot be taught.

The end of the "Spiritual Guide" is to bend the souls in order for them not to resist to God’s graces.

This presentation of Molinos’ ideas, based on the Dictionnaire quoted above, looks insufficient to us. One could have a much better picture if the errors of Molinos were resumed, as they are found condemned by Innocence XI, which are seen in Denzinger 1321-1388.

From the sixty-seven propositions condemned by Pope Innocence XI, we will emphasize just some of them, in order to get a most coherent idea of the heresies of Molinos’ and from Quietism (In the future, we intend to write a more circumstantial narration of Quietist heresy, because of its repercussions in our days among Catholics).

Here are some of the most important errors of Molinos, condemned by Innocence XI:

"It is necessary for man to annihilate his potencies and that is the internal path” (Denzinger, 1221) (...) "in the internal path, all reflection is harmful” (Denz. 1229).

[This curious formulation reminds us what Pietist Novalis preached, when he found Romanticism: the real path is the internal path; in the same manner that Romanticism also placed emotion above reflection. For the Romanticism hated reason].

Molinos will insist on condemning reason, conceptualization and discourse, to the point of desdaining Philosophy and even Theology:

"That who, in prayer, uses proper images, figures, species and concepts, adores not God in spirit and truth” (Denz. 1238).

"That who loves God as reason enlarges and understanding comprehends, loves not the true God" (Denz. 1239).

"It is ignorance to affirm that one person should help oneself, in prayer, by means of the speech and thought, when God does not speak to the soul. God never speaks; His locution is operation and always acts in the soul, when it intercepts Him not with its speeches, thoughts and operations” (Denz. 1240).

In another excerpt, Molinos states that “Faults emerge from reflection” (Denz. 1278).

As one can see, Quietism, just like Gnosis, condemned intelligence.

Hence, following the condemnation of Reason – that Luther had called “mad prostitute” – there would come the condemnation of works, exactly as Luther did.

"Willing to act actively is to offend God (...)" (Denz. 1222) [That remind us, we repeat, Luther’s condemnation of the good works].

"By not doing anything, the soul annihilates itself and returns to its beginning and origin, that is the essence of God, in which it remains transformed and divinized, and so God can remain in Himself, because at that time, there are not two things that are united, but one only thing, and in this way God lives and reigns in us and the soul can annihilate itself in the operating being” (Denzinger, 1225). [This doctrine reminds us the thought of Master Ecckhart and Zundel’s doctrines about transubstantiation of the “self” into God, joining subject and object, because, for Zundel, the “Myself is the other”].

Molinos condemned religious vows (Denz. 1223); and he used to affirm that "nature is enemy of grace" (Denz. 1224).

Molinos’ antinomism was clear. He stated that one should not fear temptations, “neither give them any other resistance but denial” (...) "and if nature moves itself, one should let it move, because it is nature  (Denz. 1237). [What leads us to the conclusion that nature is bad and by itself it is only capable of sinning].

The antinomism of Molinos was clear: “God permits and wants that (…) to some perfect souls, (…) the devil make violence to their bodies and obligate them to commit fleshly acts, even in vigil state and free of mind obfuscation, physically moving their hands and other parts of the body, against their will. And the same is said about the other acts, sinful in themselves, but that in the circumstance are not sins, for there is not consent in them ". (Denz. 1261). [And on Denz. 1267, one finds even more scandalous writings].

Besides these moral absurdities, Molinos defended the thesis that certain souls that reached perfection would became unsinable: “Through the contemplation acquired, one reaches the state in which one does not commit mortal nor venial sins” (Denz. 1277) [I had myself met a false prophet who asserted to have reached the state of original innocence, and said to have turned unsinnable, unmistakable, immortal … so one can see that theses errors have perpetuated themselves throughout History...].

Molinos condemned the ascetic and the preoccupation about growing in virtue, attacking devotion to the saints and even – just like we see in all heretic doctrines – the devotion to Our Lady: " It does not suit a soul that takes the internal path to make any kind of action, even if virtuous, according to their own will and activity, because otherwise they would not be dead. Neither should they make acts of love to the blessed Virgin, to saints or even to Christ’s humanity, for as these are sensible objects, so is the love to them”. (Denz. 1255).

"No creature, neither the blessed Virgin, nor the saints should take seat in our heart, because God wants to occupy it and possess it all” (Denz. 1256).

Despite these doctrinal absurdities, Molinos’ work was received with kindness, because of the excellent reputation of purity and high spirituality of the author. This work by Molinos’ had the Imprimatur from the very Master of the Apostolic Palace, that is, from the official theologian of Pope Clement X (1675). It received, also, the fortunate judgment of six theologians. With all this support, Molinos’ work spread all around Europe, and had many editions in many languages and different countries.

In 1676, one year after the publication of Dux Spiritualis of Molinos, Cardinal Odescalchi was elected Pope, under the name of Innocent XI.

Molinos’ work was soon after criticized by the Jesuits, especially by Father Segneri and Father Bell'uomo, and also by teatino Father Alexandre Reggio, who related Molinos’ errors to those of Begardos.

On the other hand, Molinos was supported by Oratorian Father Pier Matteo Petrucci, man of great fame, who would later become Bishop (1681) and Cardinal (1686), by nomination of Blessed Innocent XI. Petrucci wrote a treaty about "Acquired Contemplation ", work in which he clearly defends Molinos’ Spiritual Guide.

In France, Molinos strongly influenced the mystical works of Father La Combe, who, in his turn, influenced the thoughts and heterodoxy mystic of Madam Guyon.

La Combe accepted the antinomistc doctrine of Molinos regarding the devil’s violence over the souls elected by God, violence that would even lead these elected souls to violate God’s Law, but with no fault.

In La Combe’s prosecution it was confirmed that he commited luxury sins with people directed by him and even with Madam Guyon.

"And there are plenty of texts by Madam Guyon to establish that she, also, professed the dogma of moral passivity and of purifying virtue of sin committed by consent to God’s irresistible will”. (A.D'Alès, Dictionnaire Apologétique de la Foi Catholique).

It is not hard to realize the relation between this antinomistic doctrine of Quietism and Gnostic-Kabalistic doctrine of sanctity of sin and also the moral principle Lutheran: “Believe firmly and sin many times”, the justification of faith through sin.

This famous and esoteric mystic, Madam Guyon, was practically the advisor of the famous Bishop of Cambrai, Fenélon, tutor of France’s Crown heir Prince.

All this demonstrates the huge influence and diffusion that these immoral and heretic doctrines of Quietism had in Europe, and also the renown that they had attained.

In the controversy roused among the theologians, in Italy, after the publication of Molinos’ book, Petrucci ended up by winning because the three opponents of Molinos, that we quoted above, had their works put in the Index.

Molinos triumphed.

For some time.

Despite the placement of their works in the Index, Molinos’ opponents kept on refusing the "new doctrine of contemplation", and they were backed by many other Jesuits and theologians from many Religious Orders. Rome’s vicars would also struggle against Molinos’ doctrine. Pope’s confessor himself, Father Maracci, denounced in writing the errors of the new contemplation.

The protection from Blessed Pope Innocent XI, who hesitated in condemning a man said to be excellent by Cardinal Petrucci, was the factor that most helped postponing Molinos’ condemnation.

When many Cardinals manifested themselves against Molinos and, afterwards, were supported by many Bishops in Italy, Blessed Innocent XI decided to act: Molinos ended up condemned to prison in the Holy Office in 1685.

The legal prosecution against Molinos ran by two years, yet. In the end, the evidences of his antinomistic doctrines and the dilatation of scandals, all that caused the condemnation of Molinos’ doctrine by the same Pope who, by mistake, had protected him. In the Bull "Caelestis Pastor", Blessed Innocent XI solemnly condemned the doctrines of the man who, for a long period of time, had abused of his reliance, and who had deceived a Saint Pope. The Bull condemned 63 propositions extracted from Molino’s works and letters, which he recognized as his propositions of his authorship and which he confessed to be the exact expression of his thoughts. According to Molinos, the perfection of internal life consisted in perfect passivity. This would cause true internal peace, the union with God and divinization.

"Proper activities, proper wishes, proper thoughts would be the greatest enemies of soul (...).  Resisting temptations, winning indulgences, practicing penitence, saying over and over again vocal prayers, [all this] would be useless at this stage. The soul that is dead [to itself], does not think of itself, but is fixed on God. The sleep does not interrupt its contemplation, such as the acts, apparently sinful, do not break its fidelity to [God’s] love. This elected soul no more knows two opposite laws. It knows only one law: God’s, which is its center, its light and its peace. Capable of knowing sin, in fact it does not sin, even though it may seem to man’s earthly and crude eye that it [the soul] violates God’s and Church’s Commandments. By an unfathomable purpose, God, in order to deprive a soul from itself, induces it, by means of diabolic violence, to fall into sins that most horrifies it. "(A.D'Alès, Dictionnaire Apologétique de la Foi Catholique).

Molinos not only taught that to his pupils and directed people: he performed such acts and led his pupils to practice them as well.

"For more than twenty years, he lived in luxury, without confessing; when he wrote his Spiritual Guide, he already lived in this ignominy, so as he admitted, in his prosecution" (A.D'Alès, Dictionnaire Apologétique de la Foi Catholique).

Molinos’ prosecution and the condemnation of his Spiritual Guide implied in another prosecution: Cardinal Petrucci’s.

On this matter, the Dictionary says, under the entry Quietism, which we are here summarizing:

"At last, and in spite of the great hesitations from Innocent XI – a saint Pope, but who had made a mistake about Quietism! – Molinos’ prosecution implied on Petrucci’s (1687-1688)".

"The Cardinal commission, in charge of the case, gained from Pope Innocent XI the subjugation of Petrucci to a secret retraction of 54 propositions extracted from his books, and that all the works of this prelate were put in Index (1688).

We can also see in this second historical episode, how a Pope’s particular approval – even from of a saint Pope – to a movement, does not mean, itself, that this movement has true doctrine.

A Pope, even being saint, can make mistakes, in his particular, personal and concrete judgment, regarding a movement or a person. The pontifical infallibility is not affected at all in these cases, because the Pope is infallible when he pronounces ex cathedra, that is, when he deals with faith or moral, with the authority of Vicar of Christ, teaching to the whole Church, with the will of defining an issue, approving a thesis s right and condemning the opposite as wrong. In an absolutely personal position, the Pope acts as a particular person, and, although his opinion deserves all respect, in these cases it is not infallible.

The approval of Neo-Catechumenate statutes, for an experimental period of five years, although one must respect the decision of the papal authority, it is not an ex cathedra definition, that approves as orthodox and right Kiko’s and Carmen’s ideas. Such ideas, violating the Catholic doctrine, sooner or later, inexorably, will be condemned, one day. Just as were condemned the Franciscan Spirituals and Quietists ideas.

Until then, from Kiko’s and Carmen’s ideas, "libera nos Domine!”

São Paulo, July 2nd, 2002.

Orlando Fedeli

    Para citar este texto:
"Two histories: The Spiritual Franciscans and Pope Celestine V (Saint Peter Celestine), and the Quietism and Blessed Innocent XI, Pope"
MONTFORT Associação Cultural
Online, 17/04/2024 às 19:34:55h