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Saint Athanasius is counted as one of the four Great Doctors of the Church.
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This reprint from a blogger has to do with the Holy Father's understanding and interpretation of Vatican II. In a letter sent to Abp. Agostino Marchetto in October and made public earlier this month, Francis praised Marchetto's work as a historian and interpreter of the Council, notably in his book, The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council:
"You have demonstrated this love [of the Church] in many ways, including by correcting an error or imprecision on my part - and for this I thank you from my heart - but above all it has been manifested in all its purity in your studies of Vatican Council II. I have said this to you once, dear Archbishop Marchetto, and I want to repeat it today, that I consider you the best hermeneut of Vatican Council II."
Marchetto's interpretation of the Council, as a description of his 2010 book indicates, is most certainly in keeping with the perspectives of John Paul II and Benedict XVI: "Archbishop Marchetto critiques the Bologna School, which, he suggests, presents the Council as a kind of 'Copernican revolution,' a transformation to 'another Catholicism.' Instead Marchetto invites readers to reconsider the Council directly, through its official documents, commentaries, and histories." This is no small matter, as anyone who follows such debates knows well.
And now another letter has come to light, this one from Francis to Card. Walter Brandmller on the subject of the 450th anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent, which is December 4th. After reflecting on the great significance of Trent and its "rich doctrine," Francis writes (this from the translation by Fr. Z):
Harking closely to the same Spirit, Holy Church in this age renews and meditates on the most abundant doctrine of the Council of Trent. In fact, the hermeneutic of renewal [interpretatio renovationis] which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI explained in 2005 before the Roman Curia, refers in no way less to the Council of Trent than to the Vatican Council. To be sure, this mode of interpretation places under a brighter light a beautiful characteristic of the Church which is taught by the Lord Himself: She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia offering them his Christmas greetings 22 December 2005).
That alone should give pause to all those progressives who have been claiming that Francis is a torch bearer for the "spirit of Vatican II". In fact, the two letters are something of a "one-two" combo to the jaw of that less-than-sacred "spirit".
Third, there is the recent homily, given on November 18th, that contained some rather startling language--even for a pontiff who has often been startling in his language. Asreported by http://www.news.va:
And referring again to the passage in the Book of Maccabees, in which all nations conformed to the kings decree and adopted customs foreign to their culture, the Pope pointed out that this is not the beautiful globalization, unity of all nations, each with their own customs but united, but the uniformity of hegemonic globalization, it is he said - the single thought: the result of secular worldliness
And Pope Francis warned that this happens today. Moved by the spirit of worldliness, people negotiate their fidelity to the Lord, they negotiate their identity, and they negotiate their belonging to a people that God loves.
And with a reference to the 20th century novel Lord of the World that focuses on the spirit of worldliness that leads to apostasy, Pope Francis warned against the desire to be like everyone else and what he called an adolescent progressivism. What do you think? he said bitterly that today human sacrifices are not made? Many, many people make human sacrifices and there are laws that protect them.
It's nigh impossible to say (at least with any sense of integrity or seriousness) that such language comes from "Francis the Liberal."