Francis, Bishop of Rome, gave a speech to the leadership of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean today as World Youth Day 2013 draws to a close. He spoke of four temptations which turn the Gospel into an ideology and which the Church must resist – sociological reductionism, psychologizing, the Gnostic solution, and the Pelagian solution.
He sure is blunt. Look at what he says to those in the last two categories, the elitist progressives and the restorationist traditionalists, whom he labels Gnostic and Pelagian respectively:
c) The Gnostic solution. … is ordinarily found in elite groups offering a higher spirituality, generally disembodied, which ends up in a preoccupation with certain pastoral “quaestiones disputatae.” It was the first deviation in the early community and it reappears throughout the Church’s history in ever new and revised versions. Generally its adherents are known as “enlightened Catholics” (since they are in fact rooted in the culture of the Enlightenment).
d. The Pelagian solution. This basically appears as a form of restorationism. In dealing with the Church’s problems, a purely disciplinary solution is sought, through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful. In Latin America it is usually to be found in small groups, in some new religious congregations, in (exaggerated) tendencies to doctrinal or disciplinary “safety.” Basically it is static, although it is capable of inversion, in a process of regression. It seeks to “recover” the lost past.