My own research has shown that this incident occurred at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and that it was Cardinal Gerhard Müller himself who now has to obey these peremptory new orders. Additionally, I was able to discover that the three priests involved are, respectively, of a Slovakian-American, French, and Mexican nationality. (One of my sources is a friend of one of these three theologians.) However, the last of these three might now, after all, be able to remain a little longer in his current position at the Congregation.
Let us now consider some of the specific details of what Marco Tosatti himself has perceptively gathered for us. He starts his article with a reference to Pope Francis’ usual rebuke of the Roman Curia at his Christmas address to the Curia and detects the pope’s obvious anger in his words and gestures. When looking over to the Curia itself, however, Tosatti perceives something else than a reciprocal anger to be present among the curial members: “It is not about their resistance, but about their fear, their discontent, and a kind of feeling that belongs to another context altogether.”
Tosatti then refers to a credible source who told him several recent episodes occurring at the Vatican. Two of them appear to be of great importance and might also give us some additional glimpses into Pope Francis’ own authoritarian methods as well as his somewhat indirect way of ruling the Church. But, we should now first concentrate on the new personnel matter at the Congregation for Doctrine, which Tosatti himself says is “decisively sadder.” Here is Tosatti’s report:
“The head of a dicastery has received the order to remove three of his employees (all of whom have worked there for a long time), and it was without any explanation. He [the Prefect] received these official letters: “….I request that you please dismiss ….” The order was: send him [each of them] back into his diocese of origin or to the Religious Family to which he belongs. He [the Prefect of the Congregation] was very perplexed because it was about three excellent priests who are among the most capable professionally. He first avoided obeying and several times asked for an audience with the pope. He had to wait because that meeting was postponed several times. Finally, he was received in an audience. And he said: “Your Holiness, I have received these letters, but I did not do anything because these persons are among the best of my dicastery… what did they do?” The answer was, as follows: “And I am the pope, I do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions. I have decided that they have to leave and they have to leave.” He got up and stretched out his hand in order to indicate that the audience was at an end. On 31 December, two of the three [men] will leave the dicastery in which they have worked for years, and without knowing the why. For the third, there seems to be a certain delay. But then, there is another implication which, if true, would be even more unpleasant. One of the two had freely spoken about certain decisions of the pope – perhaps a little bit too much. A certain person – a friend of a close collaborator of the pope – heard this disclosure and passed it on. The victim received then a very harsh telephone call from Number One [i.e., the pope]. And then soon came the dismissal.” [emphasis added]
In this passage, Tosatti piercingly speaks about an “autocratic fever that seems to have broken out in the Vatican.” [my emphasis] And he concludes his report with the following words:
“Thus it is not so astonishing when the atmosphere behind the walls and in the palaces is not really serene. And one may now ask oneself what kind of credit this fact gives altogether to all the elaborate and sustained fanfare about mercy.” [my emphasis]
Thus Tosatti adds another piece of the puzzle concerning Pope Francis’ manner and methods of governance through which he seemingly aims at removing – or marginalizing – orthodox prelates, priests, and laymen from positions of formative influence in the Vatican.
Moreover, with specific regard of the Congregation for Doctrine, another source had told me the following, more than a month ago:
“One source in Rome says that all those who work for the Holy See are afraid to talk about anything for fear of being chopped because of the presence of informants everywhere. He compared it to Stalinist Russia. He said two priest friends of his, good men, have been fired from the CDF because they were accused of being critical of Pope Francis.”
This same Rome source, who is personally very honest and well informed, reports that these two priests here mentioned (who do not seem to be the same ones who are involved in the recent three personnel cases) fear that they will not be the only ones to be removed. They see their own removal to be just the beginning of a “massive overhaul” [my emphasis] within the Doctrine Congregation, “not unlike what happened recently to Cardinal Sarah’s Divine Worship Congregation.” (Here we might be reminded of the fact that it was Marco Tosatti himself who had earlier called these recent changes at the Congregation for Divine Worship a “Purge.”)
We have also recently reported about the pope’s earlier decision to remove the members of the Pontifical Academy of Life, which is widely known for its strong stance in defense of human life. Here is what one well-informed source had reported to me then about this incident:
“At the end of 2016 the Pontifical Academy for Life was closed and all its members dismissed. The Academy will be reconstituted in 2017 with new statutes and the Academy will be repopulated. The process for naming new members of the Academy is not known.”
During this forthcoming year of 2017 – the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima – may the Blessed Mother increasingly be our help and our trustworthy refuge. May she help us with those graces we shall need to defend the truth more fully and to manifest Christ’s love, as well, even in the face of fear. Source
The following narrative, written in our desperation as lowly members of the laity, is what we must call an accusation concerning your pontificate, which has been a calamity for the Church in proportion to which it delights the powers of this world. The culminating event that impelled us to take this step was the revelation of your “confidential” letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires authorizing them, solely on the basis of your own views as expressed in Amoris Laetitia, to admit certain public adulterers in “second marriages” to the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion without any firm purpose of amending their lives by ceasing their adulterous sexual relations.
You have thus defied the very words of Our Lord Himself condemning divorce and “remarriage” as adultery per se without exception, the admonition of Saint Paul on the divine penalty for unworthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament, the teaching of your two immediate predecessors in line with the bi-millenial moral doctrine and Eucharistic discipline of the Church rooted in divine revelation, the Code of Canon Law and all of Tradition. [from Part 1]
Click here to read all three parts of the Letter & Liber of Accusation at Catholic Family News. The page opens at Part III, with links to Parts 1 & 11.
From the Gospel of St Matthew…
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi, and He asked His disciples, saying Whom do men say that the Son of Man is? But they said “Some, John the Baptist, and other some, Elias, and others, Jeremias or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them: but whom do you say that I am?
Simon Peter answered, and said: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus answering said to them: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in heaven: and I say to thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and to thee will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matthew: 16:13-19)
This is a Feast Day thread with a difference. It is posted to mark the Feast, with bloggers encouraged to discuss all and any relevant issues connected with this holy day, as usual, and to post favourite prayers, hymns, stories, even jokes (in the “good clean fun” category). That’s what we normally do on Feast days.
In addition, however, this time, I wish to draw attention to the fact that a home-schooling family asked me if it would be possible to draw on the great knowledge of the Faith displayed by our bloggers, to answer some questions about key teachings on this centrally important Feast of the Church; the doctrine of indulgences was mentioned since they’d been learning about indulgences in a lesson recently – and, naturally, I said “yes, of course”. Ask away!
I will email the link to that family and then it’s over to our committed team of bloggers to deliver the goods and services…
Happy Feast day to all readers, bloggers and visitors to this site!
Fr. Hans Küng, the Swiss theologian, has told The Tablet that he has received a letter from Pope Francis that responds to his “request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility”.
The Tablet has been unable to confirm the existence of the letter as Küng refused requests by The Tablet and the National Catholic Reporter to the Swiss theologian to view a copy of the letter.
“On 9 March, my appeal to Pope Francis to give room to a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion on the problem of infallibility appeared in the leading journals of several countries. I was thus overjoyed to receive a personal reply from Pope Francis immediately after Easter. Dated 20 March, it was forwarded to me from the nunciature in Berlin.”
Küng said that in the Pope’s reply, Francis makes the following points which “are significant” to the Swiss theologian: “The fact that Pope Francis answered at all and did not let my appeal fall on deaf ears; the fact that he replied himself and not via his private secretary or the Secretary of State; that he emphasises the fraternal manner of his Spanish reply by addressing me as Lieber Mitbruder (Dear Brother) in German and puts this personal address in italics, that he clearly read the appeal, to which I had attached a Spanish translation, most attentively.
“[And] that he is highly appreciative of the considerations which had led me to write in which I suggest theologically discussing the different issues which the infallibility dogma raises in the light of Holy Scripture and Tradition with the aim of deepening the constructive dialogue between the ‘semper reformanda’ 21st century Church and the other Christian Churches and post-modern society.”
“Pope Francis has set no restrictions,” Küng added. “He has thus responded to my request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility. I think it is now imperative to use this new freedom to push ahead with the clarification of the dogmatic definitions which are a ground for controversy within the Catholic Church and in its relationship to the other Christian Churches.
The Swiss theologian said in his statement to The Tablet that the letter is part of the “new freedom” that Pope Francis has brought to the Vatican.
“I am fully convinced that in this new spirit a free, impartial and open-ended discussion of the infallibility dogma, this fateful key question of destiny for the Catholic Church, will be possible,”Küng said. “I am deeply grateful to Pope Francis for this new freedom and combine my heartfelt thanks with the expectation that the bishops and theologians will unreservedly adopt this new spirit and join in this task in accordance with the Scriptures and with our great church tradition.
Full text of Fr. Hans Küng statement. Translation: Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, Vienna
The Pope answers Hans Küng
On 9 March, my appeal to Pope Francis to give room to a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion on the problem of infallibility appeared in the leading journals of several countries. I was thus overjoyed to receive a personal reply from Pope Francis immediately after Easter. Dated 20 March, it was forwarded to me from the nunciature in Berlin.
In the Pope’s reply, the following points are significant for me:
– The fact that Pope Francis answered at all and did not let my appeal fall on deaf ears so to speak;
– The fact that he replied himself and not via his private secretary or the Secretary of State;
– That he emphasises the fraternal manner of his Spanish reply by addressing me asLieber Mitbruder(Dear Brother) in German and puts this personal address in italics,
– That he clearly read the appeal, to which I had attached a Spanish translation, most attentively;
– That he is highly appreciative of the considerations which had led me to write Volume 5 in which I suggest theologically discussing the different issues which the infallibility dogma raises in the light of Holy Scripture and Tradition with the aim of deepening the constructive dialogue between the “semper reformanda” 21st century Church and the other Christian Churches and post-modern society.
Pope Francis has set no restrictions. He has thus responded to my request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility. I think it is now imperative to use this new freedom to push ahead with the clarification of the dogmatic definitions which are a ground for controversy within the Catholic Church and in its relationship to the other Christian Churches.
I could not have foreseen then quite how much new freedom Pope Francis would open up in his Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Already in the introduction he declares “that not all doctrinal discussions, moral or pastoral, need to be resolved with interventions of the Magisterium.” He takes issue with “cold bureaucratic morality” and does not want bishops to continue behaving as if they were “arbiters of grace”. He sees the Eucharist not as a reward for the perfect but as “nourishment for the weak”. He repeatedly quotes statements made at the Episcopal Synod or at national bishops’ conferences. Pope Francis no longer wants to be the sole spokesman of the Church.
This is the new spirit that I have always expected from the Magisterium. I am fully convinced that in this new spirit a free, impartial and open-ended discussion of the infallibility dogma, this fateful key question of destiny for the Catholic Church, will be possible. I am deeply grateful to Pope Francis for this new freedom and combine my heartfelt thanks with the expectation that the bishops and theologians will unreservedly adopt this new spirit and join in this task in accordance with the Scriptures and with our great church tradition. Source – The Tablet
That Hans Küng is a heretic par excellence is beyond dispute. He is no stranger to controversy on all sorts of topics. His support for euthanasia is well known, and so it comes as no surprise that he doesn’t believe in “an eternal Hell”. Yet, despite the fact that he is officially not allowed to teach as a “Catholic theologian”, he appears to have easy access to the pope of the day. In September, 2005, Pope Benedict invited Father Küng to dinner at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, where, according to Küng, they spent four hours together in a relaxed, warm discussion in the Pope’s private study and dining room. Now, we have Pope Francis apparently willing to put the dogma of infallibility on the table for discussion aka challenge.
The Tablet admits that “Küng refused requests by The Tablet and the National Catholic Reporter to the Swiss theologian to view a copy of the letter.”
So we’re asked to take the word of this anything-but-Catholic “theologian” that the Pope is prepared to admit a challenge to the dogma of infallibility. Well. Who’s ever gonna believe THAT?