2018: The Year of Formal Schism?

THE REMNANT UNDERGROUND: Headed up by Bishop Athanasius Schneider and two other Archbishops from Kazakhstan, a total of 6 bishops and 1 cardinal have now signed a statement of opposition to the pope-approved interpretations of Amoris Laetitia that non-repentant public adulterers can return to the sacramental life of the Church. This is revolution and counterrevolution in a Catholic Church in total crisis. Plus, looking ahead to October’s Synod of Young People in Rome—will the Church deep six Humanae Vitae? Will the Vatican give the green light to so-called ‘gay unions’? Finally, an old Jimmy Stewart movie, “Call Northside 777”, includes a sobering reminder of what it used to mean to be Catholic–something Pope Francis would do well to consider.

Comments invited… 

Pater Noster: Lord’s Prayer, Not Pope’s…

Somebody forgot to say this prayer!

 

From the Editor, Catholic Truth…

When the news broke of Pope Francis’ criticism of the “Our Father”, I dismissed it as a blog topic, certain that nobody in their right mind would give it a second thought, let alone take it seriously enough to change this ancient prayer. I forgot about the Scottish Bishops.  Alerted to the incredible news that the Bishop of Paisley, (John-wasn’t-Martin-Luther-a great-guy-Keenan), and  former Bishop of Galloway, (the notorious Maurice-I’m-proud-of-my-part-in-creating-the-awful-liturgical-texts-for-new-Mass-Taylor), are sympathetic to the possibility of changing the Lord’s Prayer to suit Pope Francis’ latest shocking whim,  and might thus seek to influence the rest of the Bishops, I decided to launch this thread.  Me? I’ll say this latest “new” prayer, like, never. What about you?  Click here to check out the “cautious welcome” given to the Pope’s proposal to change the Pater Noster by these two outright modernists,  and then read the excellent commentary from the Fatima Center (Canada) website below. 

From the Fatima Center Staff: And Lead Us Not Into Stupidity…

How obtuse and inattentive have been the custodians of the Faith these past two thousand years! We and our ancestors have apparently been permitted, even enjoined, to recite the Our Father in an inaccurate and misleading way. Resonating through the corridors of time, from the first century until our own, are the words, “lead us not into temptation.” (ne nos inducas in tentationem — in the Latin Vulgate)
At last, however, in this year of Our Lord 2017, we have a Pope who is prepared to lead us out of the traditional Lord’s Prayer and into a new and improved version that will save us from the misunderstanding we have presumably labored under through the millenia.

Just what is this misunderstanding that requires correction? It is, according to Pope Francis, the idea that God tempts us to sin. “A father doesn’t do that,” the Pope said in a recent television interview. “He helps you get up right away. What induces into temptation is Satan.”

Did we not know this already? Does it require the Pope’s critique of an ancient translation to enlighten us in the matter? All authorities agree that the traditional translation from the New Testament Greek is accurate, and it has never posed a problem — until now.

But does it really pose a problem at all?

We have all prayed the Our Father countless times and repeated the words “lead us not into temptation” with the clear knowledge that we are asking Our Lord to save us from falling into sin. We have prayed these words with the understanding that we are asking for the grace to help us resist the lies of satan, and the attractions of the world and the flesh that are laid before us and that tempt us to forget we have an immortal soul and an eternal destiny.

Have any of us actually thought that God wants us to sin? That Our Lord is trying to induce us to transgress His laws and harm our souls so that He may damn us? How absurd! Yet, Francis is admittedly worried that such may be the case. How ought we to respond to the Pope’s desire to change the words of the Our Father?

We are forced, by common sense, to doubt the genuine nature of Francis’ expressed concerns. It cannot be that a Vicar of Christ, a highly educated Jesuit, really believes that the words of the Our Father have been misinterpreted for two thousand years and that a corrective is needed at this particular time. To take the Pope’s words at face value we must impugn either his intelligence or our own. Francis is not a stupid man, and Catholics are not so doctrinally benighted as he seemingly fears.

So what is this new commotion regarding possible changes to the Our Father really about?

Many things were changed following Vatican II: liturgy, discipline, customs, catechesis, prayers. Many of these changes appeared to be gratuitous, others gravely troubling. But the overall import of the changes was to unsettle the Catholic mind and heart. Once we accepted that anything and everything was subject to change, we were more likely to accept with acquiescence whatever novelties authority proposed. We simply got used to having the ground shift beneath our feet with such frequency that we no longer minded the large and little earthquakes that shook the Church.

All of these changes were merely cosmetic, we were told: an updating of language and discipline to keep pace with the times. Nothing of substance was being lost, we were re-assured time and again. But imagine someone cut off from the Church, say from 1960 until the present. Would he recognize as Catholic anything that he might see going on today in his parish? Would he not be dumbfounded by the words of the post-conciliar popes? Would he not regard Pope Francis as incomprehensible and outrageous? Would he not, like Mary Magdalene at the tomb, say in pain and confusion, “What have they done with my Church?”

What would he make of the vernacular Mass, the changed words of the Consecration, lay men and women distributing the Blessed Sacrament, people receiving Holy Communion in their hands or drinking the Precious Blood from the Chalice? What would he make of the typical Novus Ordo funeral Mass, which is now a falsely jolly ceremony of canonization? What would he make of Amoris Laetitia? Of the pedophile scandals among the clergy? What would he think of a notorious homosexual prelate being placed in charge of the papal residence and serving as the papal representative to the corrupt Vatican bank? What would he make of Pope Benedict’s resignation? We could go on. But we all know how vast and deep have been the so-called reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council. The Church is hardly recognizable from what it was a half-century ago and from what it has been throughout the ages.

And there is no end in sight for the “updating” that is deemed so necessary to keep the Church relevant to the modern world. Now, we are told that the Our Father may need to be updated, too. France has taken the lead and its bishops have already changed the phrase the Pope finds theologically troubling. “Ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation” (do not let us give in to temptation) has already been adopted. So, the Pope can rest easy that at least the Catholics of France, or the diminishing remains of them, will not be misled.

As for the rest of us, we are apparently still in need of further instruction and the habits of a lifetime may have to be broken, for our own good, presumably. But does any of this nonsense about the words of the Our Father have to do with genuine pastoral concern? Is the Holy Father really worried that spiritual harm will befall us unless he intervenes to change the custom that has persisted for two millennia? It may be doubted, to put it politely.

Even the most mild and conciliatory of Catholic commentators are clearing their collective throats about this latest of the Pope’s initiatives. “Pope Francis has made a habit of throwing things into confusion, and this is one of them. It just makes you wonder, where does it stop, what’s up for grabs. It’s cumulative unease.” So says Philip Lawler, editor of Catholic World News and a compliant apologist for any number of post-conciliar novelties. Perhaps, if Mr. Lawler and others had not allowed their unease to accumulate but had addressed it immediately, we would not be faced with the present absurdity, which even they feel compelled to address, albeit in their restrained and ineffectual way.

The Protestant world, however, is not so restrained. According to a report in the New York Times, R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said he was “shocked and appalled” by the Pope’s remarks. “This is the Lord’s Prayer. It is not, and has never been, the Pope’s prayer…”

But Southern Baptists probably fall within the spectrum of those fundamentalists for whom the Pope has repeatedly expressed his disdain, so he is unlikely to be deterred by his otherwise keen ecumenical sensitivities. Still, Mohler’s remarks are refreshing in their frankness when set beside the timid reservations of Lawler’s “cumulative unease.”
During her final years, Sister Lucy said that we must take the initiative in prayer and penance and not look to those in authority to lead us in these things. Those who have seen the full Third Secret, such as Cardinal Ciappi, have told us that apostasy in the Church will begin “at the top.” Has it not begun? All we can do is follow Sister Lucy’s advice. And when we pray, let us pray the words of Our Lord, “lead us not into temptation.”  Source – Fatima Center Staff

Comment:

Well – will YOU ever say the new Our Father?  Even if you are attending the new Mass, praying the new rosary, reading the new catechism, accepting the new morality, supporting the new canonisations, new everything.  Will you draw the line at this outrageous change?  Or do you agree that Christians have been idiots for two thousand years and didn’t understand the meaning of this simple prayer  – thus, now we need to grow up and get with the papal programme, which appears to be to leave nothing, absolutely nothing unchanged. Let’s hear it… 

Perplexing Pope … IS Francis Actively Waging War Against Truth Itself?

Comment:

Pope Francis’ history of causing mayhem in the Church is neatly, and painfully amusingly,  summed up in the above video. Select your own “favourite” and tell us why, in your view, it is so bad – that is, if you can , in fact, “select” from the scandals of which we are reminded in that satirical  “interview”.  

Concern Over Pope Francis Grows: Schism Looms – Cardinals MUST Act!

From One Peter Five…

Pope’s Letter on Argentinian Communion Guidelines for Remarried Given Official Status

A letter from Pope Francis praising episcopal guidelines that would allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion in some cases while living in a state of objective grave sin has now been added to the official acts of the Apostolic See, conferring official status on what was formerly considered by many to be merely private communication — and raising the stakes on the Amoris Laetitia debate significantly.

Of the guidelines issued by the bishops of the Buenos Aires region that would open “the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist” in “complex circumstances” where “limitations that lessen the responsibility and guilt” of couples who will not make the commitment to “live in continence” despite living in an objectively adulterous situation, the pope said in his letter that “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations.”

In August of this year, this letter was added to the Vatican website as a papal document available for public reference. Concerns were raised that what had previously been viewed as only private correspondence — and thus, completely outside the realm of papal magisterium — was being given the appearance of an official papal act.

Others were quick to point out that the presence of such a letter on the Vatican website, while troubling in itself, did not grant the document any status, but only publicity. The concern, as I speculated at the time, was that the letter seemed likely therefore to find its way into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis  (AAS) — the journal of the official acts of the Apostolic See. Such a move would confer an official, and at least quasi-authoritative status to the document, in as much as the AAS “contains all the principal decrees, encyclical letters, decisions of Roman congregations, and notices of ecclesiastical appointments. The contents are to be considered promulgated when published, and effective three months from date of issue.”

As Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti reported yesterday, the addition of the letter to the AAS has now been confirmed*:

[T]he “private” letter of Pope Francis to the Argentine bishops was published in the October 2016 edition of Acta Apostolicae Sedis, after they had issued directives for the application of chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia (the chapter with the famous footnotes on giving communion to the divorced and remarried). Directives which, as has been noted and emphasized here, are anything but clear.
The publication of this letter in the Acta is accompanied by a brief note from the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, together with an official rescript from a papal audience in June 2017, announcing that the Pope himself wanted the two documents — the guidelines and the letter — published on the website of Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

The announcement can only serve to further fuel the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the controversial apostolic exhortation as well as the Pope’s way of doing things, which yet again appears to be a far cry from the clarity and straightforwardness that many of the faithful would expect [from the Holy Father]. He has given no response to the dubia Cardinals, no response to the letters, petitions and other initiatives written by scholars, theologians, and ordinary faithful people who have been confused by the deliberate ambiguity of the document. Yet, at the same time, he has given a veneer of officiality to one letter sent to one member of one bishops’ conference.

To what end? To obligate all to give religiosum obsequium [religious assent] to a magisterium expressed in oblique and ambiguous forms, or to respond without committing himself in a direct response which would express the mind of the Pope in an unequivocal manner to the doubtful and perplexed? One is given the feeling that the only thing this does is cause the simple believer annoyance with the Pope’s comportment, which may be defined as a “pretext” in the worst sense of that term.

You can view only the relevant section of the October 2016 edition of the AAS here (Spanish/Latin PDF). (The full edition is available here, but a word of caution – it’s a huge PDF document at nearly 1,200 pages and with a 300MB file size.)

Some outlets are already reporting that the presence of the Buenos Aires letter in the AAS elevates it to the level of “authentic Magisterium,” which would therefore require the aforementioned religious assent of mind and will (cf. Lumen Gentium 25). Others are not so sure. We asked for an assessment from Dr. John Joy, co-Founder and President of the St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies and a specialist in Magisterial authority. “It means that it is an official act of the pope,” Joy said, “rather than an act of the pope as a private person. So it cannot be dismissed as a merely private endorsement of their implementation of AL. It is an official endorsement. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the letter to the Argentine bishops is itself magisterial” and thus requiring religious submission of will and intellect. Such a requirement, Joy said, would only apply if the document intended to teach on matters of faith and morals.

Inasmuch as the letter was in praise of pastoral guidelines that were anything but concrete, this seems unlikely.

Dr. Joy pointed out that adding the letter to the AAS could, in fact, damage the credibility of Amoris Laetitia by potentially removing the possibility that it could be interpreted in an orthodox way through establishing, via its publication in the official acts of the Apostolic See, that the unorthodox interpretation is the official one.
Marco Tosatti says that even some who have been ideological supporters of the pope are allegedly losing patience with his brashness:

And further, if what we have learned from two different sources is true, this annoyance extends to the Vatican. A cardinal of great renown, a former diplomat, who has served an impressive career at the head of Congregations and in high offices in the Secretariat of State, is said to have reproved the Pope for his actions [as Pope], saying to him essentially, “We elected you to make reforms, not to smash everything.” News of this conversation — if it can be called a conversation — has spread through the Vatican, because it took place at a high decibel level, which carried through the fragile barrier of the doors and walls. The cardinal in question was one of those who supported the candidacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the conclave of 2013.

It would not be the first time such dissent has been reported from within the pope’s own camp. In March, The London Times reported that some of the cardinals who helped to elect Francis wanted Francis to step down out of fear that his agenda might cause a schism “more disastrous” than the one wrought by Martin Luther, and that the Church could consequently be “shattered as an institution”. That story indicated that at least some of the group had an interest in replacing the pope with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who heads up the aforementioned Secretariat of State.

Earlier this week, we also told you about a new book, The Dictator Pope, which alleges that many cardinals who helped elect Francis are experiencing “buyer’s remorse,” in part because Francis “is not the democratic, liberal ruler that the cardinals thought they were electing in 2013, but a papal tyrant the like of whom has not been seen for many centuries.”

It seems difficult to believe that just over a year ago, we were attempting to ascertain the veracity of the papal letter to the Argentinian bishops — which had been called into question nearly immediately after its publication — and we now learn that it was only the following month that it became an official act of the Apostolic See.

As reported in The Dictator Pope, the English Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor told journalist Paul Valley in 2013, “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things.” Every day, we receive new evidence that this might have been a significant understatement.   Source – One Peter Five…

* Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino

Comment: 

Discussing this development after Mass today, one of our bloggers twisted my arm to post this thread because, he argued, next to the new Mass, this is the single biggest catastrophe to afflict the post-Vatican II Church.  Explain why you do, or do not agree…

Cardinal Müller Warns of Schism…

From La Croix International: Cardinal Müller ‘bitter and concerned’ with Church’s direction – 29 November, 2017… 

Cardinal Müller 

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller / Alberto PizzolI / AFP
“There is a front made up of traditionalist groups as well as a number of progressives, who would like to see me lead a movement against the pope, but I will never do it.”

These were the words of Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to Massimo Franco, columnist at the Italian daily Il Corriere dela Sera, in an interview published on Sunday, November 26.

Müller, who has previously distanced himself from a series of pontifical moves, revealed that he was both bitter and concerned with the direction the Church is taking.

Insisting that he believed in “the unity of the Church”, Cardinal Müller nevertheless called on Church authorities “to listen to those who have serious questions and fair complaints”.

“We must not ignore them or, worse, humiliate them,” he emphasized.

“If not, without intending it, the risk of a slow separation may grow and lead to a schism by a section of the Catholic world that feels disoriented and disappointed,” Cardinal Müller warned.

Schism looming? 

The history of Martin Luther’s Protestant schism 500 years ago should indicate the kind of mistakes we need to avoid,” he said.

Although he had previously harshly criticized his dismissal as the head of the Congregation for the Faith, he revealed several new aspects of this in his Corriere interview.

Pope Francis reportedly said to him that “certain people have told me anonymously that you are my enemy”.

“After forty years of service to the Church,” he lamented, “gossips are making such absurd comments, creating doubts in the mind of the pope when they would have done better to visit a psychiatrist.”

Reaffirming his loyalty to Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller claimed that the pontiff’s “real friends are not those who flatter him” but “those who assist him with the truth and with theological and human expertise”.

He had severe words for the “detractors” whom he blamed for his departure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Refuting the notion of a plot against the pope as “an absolute exaggeration”, he admitted that significant “tensions” exist in the Church at present.

“I believe that the cardinals who expressed their doubts on Amoris Laetitia or the 62 signatories to a letter making critical comments about the pope, including some which were excessive, should be listened to and not swept aside with the back of the hand as if they were Pharisees or malcontents,” Cardinal Müller said.

What is needed is “free and frank dialogue,” he added.

Instead, he feared that people within the pope’s “magic circle” are “worried primarily about spying on perceived enemies, preventing open and balanced discussion”.

In a sign of his good faith, Cardinal Müller recently issued a public defense of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the family, which has crystallized the various conflicts.

“To classify all Catholics as ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ of the pope is the greatest evil that they cause to the Church,” Cardinal Müller insisted.

“People are perplexed when they see a well-known journalist, who is also an atheist, claim to be a friend of the pope, while a Catholic bishop and cardinal like me, is defamed as an opponent of the pope.

“I don’t think that these people are in a position to give theology lessons on the primacy of the sovereign pontiff,” he said.

Compared to Benedict XVI’s pontificate, the Church now seems “weaker,” Cardinal Müller continued.

“There are fewer and fewer priests yet we are offering answers that are more organizational, political or diplomatic than theological and spiritual,” he said.

“The Church is not a political party based on power struggles. We need to discuss existential issues about life and death, the family, and religious vocations and not always ecclesiastical politics,” he added.

“Pope Francis is popular and that’s a good thing. However, people are no longer receiving the sacraments. And his popularity among those Catholics who enthusiastically quote him, unfortunately, does not change their false convictions,” the cardinal insisted.

It is now necessary to go beyond the notion of a Church as a “country hospital”, Cardinal Müller said, citing an expression popularized by Pope Francis.

He said, instead, that the world needs a “Silicon Valley” Church.

“We need to become the Steve Jobs of the faith and transmit a powerful vision in terms of moral and cultural values,” the cardinal claimed. [Emphases added]     Source – La Croix International

Comment:

Is the Cardinal over-egging the crisis?  Or do you agree that we are in danger of schism? 

Priest Sacked For Criticising Bullying And, Apparently, Prideful Pope Francis…

Somebody forgot to say that prayer!


NewsCatholic ChurchWed Nov 1, 2017 – 5:27 pm EST

U.S. bishops ask theologian to resign after letter criticizing Pope

November 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A former doctrine chief for the U.S. Bishops was asked to resign as their consultant after telling Pope Francis in a letter his papacy is marked by “chronic confusion,” and that the pope teaches with “a seemingly intentional lack of clarity.”

That lack of clarity “inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth,” the priest wrote.

Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy said as well the pope’s manner “seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine.”

And he told Francis that believers are scandalized – not just by his appointment of bishops who not only “hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them” – but also by the fact he seems “silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice.”   

As a result, Weinandy told Pope Francis, many among the faithful “are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

Because of the letter, “the USCCB asked him to resign from his current position as consultant to the bishops, and he has submitted his resignation,” Catholic World Report (CWR) revealed.

“In making such a request, the USCCB, it would appear, reinforces Fr. Weinandy’s very point about fearfulness and lack of transparency” in the Church, CWR noted.

Weinandy, a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, also criticized Francis, along with some of the pope’s advisors, for calumny against those attempting to interpret Chapter 8 of his controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition, and also for the pope’s resentment of criticism – and the fear that has created within the episcopate.

He also told Francis his papacy has given “license and confidence” to those with “harmful theological and pastoral views,” inviting them to emerge from their previous cover of darkness.

In recognizing the darkness, Weinandy wrote, “the Church will humbly need to renew itself, and so continue to grow in holiness.”

Father Weinandy’s letter is dated July 31, the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the pope’s Jesuit order, CRUX reports, and made public Wednesday.

After receiving a response to the letter in mid-October from Holy See Deputy Secretary of State Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the reply dated September 7 and confirming Weinandy’s letter had made it to Pope Francis, Weinandy provided the text to Crux and other media outlets.

Weinandy was the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices from 2005 to 2013.

He had a hand in the 2011 USCCB review of Fordham theologian Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s book Quest for the Living God, which condemned the book as “undermin[ing] the Gospel” and misrepresenting “authentic Catholic teaching on essential points.”

Pope Francis named Father Weinandy to the International Theological Commission in 2014. The Commission is the primary advisory body for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Francis also awarded Weinandy the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal in recognition of service to the Church in 2013.

Weinandy told CRUX he did not write his letter in any official capacity and that he alone is responsible for it. He did not want the letter associated with the USCCB or the American bishops, saying “its publication will be news to them.”

He was somewhat critical of the filial correction of Pope Francis issued in late September by a group of Catholic clergy and lay scholars.

The correction charges the pope with “the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions.”  Weinandy said he was not invited to sign the letter, had only heard rumors about it, and he wouldn’t have signed it if he’d been asked, stating, “I don’t think it was theologically helpful, or presented in an effective manner.”

Still, after telling the pope his July 31 letter to him was written “with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office,” and recognizing him as the Vicar of Christ, Weinandy first addressed the “chronic confusion” of the Francis pontificate, citing “the disputed Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.”

“The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love,” Weinandy told the pontiff.

“Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate,” he said. “The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions.”

“I need not share my own concerns about its content,” Father Weinandy said of the exhortation’s eighth chapter. “Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that.

“The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching,” he said. “In Amoris Laetitia, your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.”

“To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth,” he wrote. “The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it.”

Weinandy protested Pope Francis’s proclivity for insulting his critics, denouncing this as unbecoming for the pope.

“You seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism,” he said. “This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.”

Weinandy also made note of the fact that Francis’s closest allies also partake in this behavior, and how this suggests that his teaching does withstand examination.

“Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions,” added Weinandy. “Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by ad hominem arguments.”

Francis’s manner “seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine,” Weinandy said, writing to the pope, “Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life.”

“But it is precisely Christian doctrine,” he said, listing a number of the Church’s central beliefs, “that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel.”

He went on to state, “faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.”

“What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice,” he continued. “This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being.

“As a result,” Weinandy stated, “many of the faithful, who embody the sensus fidelium, are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

He told the pope his actions and words too often seem intent on weakening the unity of Body of Christ.

The final concern Weinandy addressed was transparency, reminding the pope that he’d frequently encouraged people, in particular bishops at the two Synods on the Family from which Amoris Laetitita generated, to speak their mind without fear of what the pope may think.

“But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent?” Weinandy questioned. “Why is this?”

“Bishops are quick learners,” he stated, “and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it.”

“Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you,” Weinandy told the pope, “and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises. Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.”

He attributed the current climate of confusion and chaos in the Church ultimately to Christ’s desire to expose the lapse in faith within the Church at all levels.

“Why has Jesus let all of this happen?” Father Weinandy said he often asks. “The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops.”

“Ironically,” he told the pope, “your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness. In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.  [Emphases added]


The full text of Father Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis
July 31, 2017
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office. You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church. All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth. The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.
Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate. The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions. This fosters within the faithful a growing unease. It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace. Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

First there is the disputed Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia. I need not share my own concerns about its content. Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that. The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching. In Amoris Laetitia, your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching. As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means. To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it. Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul. Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry. Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions. Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by ad hominum arguments.

Second, too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine. Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life. Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology. But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel. Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth. What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Third, faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them. What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice. This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being. As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the sensus fidelium, are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.

Fourth, the Church is one body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity. But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite. Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion. Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Holy Father, this brings me to my final concern. You have often spoken about the need for transparency within the Church. You have frequently encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think. But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent? Why is this? Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it. Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises. Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?” The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops. Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness. In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church.

Sincerely in Christ,
Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.

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Comments invited…

Fatima: Our Lady Got It SO Wrong…

The following extract is taken from a website providing links to the much publicised  Filial Correction

A 25-page letter signed by 40 Catholic clergy and lay scholars was delivered to Pope Francis on August 11th. Since no answer was received from the Holy Father, it is being made public today, 24th September, Feast of Our Lady of Ransom and of Our Lady of Walsingham. The letter, which is open to new signatories, now has the names of 62 clergy and lay scholars from 20 countries, who also represent others lacking the necessary freedom of speech. It has a Latin title: ‘Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis’ (literally, ‘A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies’). It states that the pope has, by his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, and by other, related, words, deeds and omissions, effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church. These 7 heresies are expressed by the signatories in Latin, the official language of the Church.

We’ve discussed this ‘Correction’ on our blog elsewhere; I went on record as being in opposition to the idea of restricting the signatories to “lay scholars” and resolved not to sign it, despite being in possession of academic qualifications – two Degrees (Education and Theology) to be precise. Another blogger argued that I should sign for a number of reasons, so I allowed myself to be persuaded and submitted my signature, academic qualifications and humble status as Editor of Catholic Truth (Scotland).  I thought, heck if nothing else, they’ll want at least ONE signature from Bonnie Scotland.  I was wrong.  My signature did not make it and neither, interestingly, did the signature of the academic who coaxed me to sign in the first place.*   We’re regarded as being too outspoken, short on the diplomatic front, because we tend to call out those responsible for the dire state of the Church where we live and move and suffer the consequences of the modernist mayhem around us.  The general opinion of our friends seems to be that it is this outspokenness that has caused our signatures to fail the censorship process.  There are, you see, traditionalists and there are “traditionalists” –  the Pontius Pilate  School of Silent Complicity tends not to approve of the outspoken among us. Remember, some of those behind this Filial Correction kept mighty quiet during the reigns of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, when the rest of us were raising grave concerns about the errors and scandals which abounded during those pontificates.  In fact, at least one of the signatories on the ‘Correction’ waited for an entire year into the pontificate of Papa Francis before raising a voice of mild concern.
* [Ed: quite some time later, our signatures were, in fact, added to the Filial Correction. So, I’m not sure if this is a case of I owe the organiser(s) an apology or “wonders will never cease”…]

Anyway, today, in discussion, one humble gentleman without a single Degree to his name, pointed out that when God sent His mother to earth with messages for mankind of one sort or another, including the Fatima prophecies which are coming true before our very eyes, He chose unlettered children, not “scholars”.   Indeed, Our Lady told Lucy of Fatima to learn to read… she didn’t wait until Lucy was able to read before appearing to her.  The same is true of other important revelations when Our Lady appeared to children. Bernadette of Lourdes is another very good example of how God seems to by-pass the clever-clogs among us, to communicate with the humble, simple and unlettered.  There has to be a reason.  OR…

Comment:

Did Our Lady get it so wrong?  SHOULD she have appeared to some highly qualified scholars at Fatima, rather than 3 un-schooled, shepherd children who were never going to get anywhere in life, who wouldn’t make it to university?