Prominent clergy, scholars accuse Pope Francis of heresy in open letter
April 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Prominent clergymen and scholars including Fr. Aidan Nichols, one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world, have issued an open letter accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy. They ask the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation” of a pope committing this crime.
The authors base their charge of heresy on the manifold manifestations of Pope Francis’ embrace of positions contrary to the faith and his dubious support of prelates who in their lives have shown themselves to have a clear disrespect for the Church’s faith and morals.
The big question now is whether this latest approach to deal with this problem pope will meet the same fate as previous attempts, notably the Filial Correction and the Dubia. Ignored. If this Open Letter is ignored, what next? And what will it tell us about the response – or lack of response – of the bishops around the world. Is it likely, she said tongue in cheek, that the Scottish hierarchy will respond helpfully to this initiative – or, indeed, the bishops of the wider UK? Am I right/wrong to be a tad cynical? Without betraying anyone’s trust or sources, or anything, she said coyly, but there IS concern about Papa Francis within the hierarchy of the UK – I won’t narrow it down any further – so what would you say to any wavering priest if you could speak to him privately in order to encourage him to sign? This is your chance! Go for it!
Here’s my private message to any priest with a conscience who knows perfectly well the damage being inflicted on the Church by this dreadful pope: Father X, you MUST sign this Open Letter. No excuses. Do you really want to be confronted at your judgement with the blank space where your signature should have been? Of course not. Unpopularity, disapproval, wagging fingers from brother priests who choose to remain complicit in this scandal, all will pass. Your responsibility before God must trump all such fears. Email your willingness to sign to email@example.com
JOHN PAUL II Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio AD TUENDAM FIDEM, by which certain norms are inserted into the Code of Canon Law and into the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches
PROTECT THE FAITH of the Catholic Churchagainst errors arising from certain members of the Christian faithful, especially from among those dedicated to the various disciplines of sacred theology, we, whose principal duty is to confirm the brethren in the faith (Lk 22:32), consider it absolutely necessary to add to the existing texts of the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, new norms which expressly impose the obligation of upholding truths proposed in a definitive way by the Magisterium of the Church, and which also establish related canonical sanctions.
1.From the first centuries to the present day, the Church has professed the truths of her faith in Christ and the mystery of his redemption. These truths were subsequently gathered into the Symbols of the faith, today known and proclaimed in common by the faithful in the solemn and festive celebration of Mass as the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
This same Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is contained in the Profession of faith developed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,(1) which must be made by specific members of the faithful when they receive an office, that is directly or indirectly related to deeper investigation into the truths of faith and morals, or is united to a particular power in the governance of the Church.(2)
2. The Profession of faith, which appropriately begins with the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, contains three propositions or paragraphs intended to describe the truths of the Catholic faith, which the Church, in the course of time and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit “who will teach the whole truth” (Jn 16:13), has ever more deeply explored and will continue to explore.(3)
The first paragraph states: “With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.”(4) This paragraph appropriately confirms and is provided for in the Church’s universal legislation, in canon 750 of the Code of Canon Law(5) and canon 598 of the Code of the Canons of the Eastern Churches.(6)
The third paragraph states: “Moreover I adhere with submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.”(7) This paragraph has its corresponding legislative expression in canon 752 of the Code of Canon Law(8) and canon 599 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.(9)
3. The second paragraph, however, which states “I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals,”(10) has no corresponding canon in the Codes of the Catholic Church. This second paragraph of the Profession of faith is of utmost importance since it refers to truths that are necessarily connected to divine revelation. These truths, in the investigation of Catholic doctrine, illustrate the Divine Spirit’s particular inspiration for the Church’s deeper understanding of a truth concerning faith and morals, with which they are connected either for historical reasons or by a logical relationship.
4. Moved therefore by this need, and after careful deliberation, we have decided to overcome this lacuna in the universal law in the following way: A) Canon 750 of the Code of Canon Law will now consist of two paragraphs; the first will present the text of the existing canon; the second will contain a new text. Thus, canon 750, in its complete form, will read:
Canon 750 – § 1. Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal Magisterium, which in fact is manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the guidance of the sacred Magisterium. All are therefore bound to avoid any contrary doctrines. § 2. Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmlyaccepted and held; namely, those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church.
Canon 1371, n. 1 of the Code of Canon Law, consequently, will receive an appropriate reference to canon 750 § 2, so that it will now read: Canon 1371 – The following are to be punished with a just penalty:
1° a person who, apart from the case mentioned in canon 1364 § 1, teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff, or by an Ecumenical Council, or obstinately rejects the teachings mentioned in canon 750 § 2 or in canon 752 and, when warned by the Apostolic See or by the Ordinary, does not retract;
2° a person who in any other way does not obey the lawful command or prohibition of the Apostolic See or the Ordinary or Superior and, after being warned, persists in disobedience.
B) Canon 598 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches will now have two paragraphs: the first will present the text of the existing canon and the second will contain a new text. Thus canon 598, in its complete form, will read as follows:
Canon 598 – § 1. Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal Magisterium, which in fact is manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the guidance of the sacred Magisterium. All Christian faithful are therefore bound to avoid any contrary doctrines.
§ 2. Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely, those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church.
Canon 1436 § 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, consequently, will receive an appropriate reference to canon 598 § 2, so that it will now read:
Canon 1436 – § 1. Whoever denies a truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or who calls into doubt, or who totally repudiates the Christian faith, and does not retract after having been legitimately warned, is to be punished as a heretic or an apostate with a major excommunication; a cleric moreover can be punished with other penalties, not excluding deposition. § 2. In addition to these cases, whoever obstinately rejects a teaching that the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops, exercising the authentic Magisterium, have set forth to be held definitively, or who affirms what they have condemned as erroneous, and does not retract after having been legitimately warned, is to be punished with an appropriate penalty.
5. We order that everything decreed by us in this Apostolic Letter, given motu proprio, be established and ratified, and we prescribe that the insertions listed above be introduced into the universal legislation of the Catholic Church, that is, into the Code of Canon Law and into the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, all things to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given in Rome, at St Peter’s, on 18 May, in the year 1998, the twentieth of our Pontificate. JOHN PAUL II
Read document at source here, including footnotes.
Here we have a clear sign that Pope John Paul II wished Canon Law to be enforced against dissenters, heretics and apostates. The above Motu Proprio spells it out clearly: reject Catholic truths and you set yourself against the teaching of the Catholic Church – we are, one and all, to avoid any contrary doctrines. Yet, Pope John Paul II himself did not apply it. Odd.
So, what happened? Why was it never invoked? Or, did I miss it? Whatever, is there any offender (or a million) at the present time, to whom, one might think, the penalties might be applied, which Pope John Paul II inserted to strengthen Canon Law against dissenters, heretics and apostates? Only asking, not least because Ad tuendam fidem seems to have disappeared into thin air, which is why we ask: Ad tuendam fidem, Ad tuendam fidem… wherefore art thou, Romeo, Ad tuendam fidem ?
DEERFIELD, IL, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Approximately 100 Catholics from the United States, Latin America, and Europe attended the 2018 Catholic Family News conference in northern Illinois last weekend.
Advertised as “The Weapons of Our Warfare,” the three-day long gathering at a Hyatt Regency hotel just outside Chicago featured talks by some of the most knowledgeable laymen and clergy engaged in the battle for and preservation of the Catholic faith, including renowned Church historian Roberto de Mattei.
The conference, which focused on Pope Francis and the family, was the first hosted by Catholic Family News, a Traditional Catholic newspaper, since 2016. John Vennari, the paper’s longtime editor who managed the organization since its founding in 1994, passed away after a long battle with cancer in April of 2017.
The crisis in the family
In his opening address, editor Matt Gaspers paid homage to his predecessor, assuring his audience that the fight for Tradition will continue. Gaspers then delivered a well-sourced, detailed speech, quoting Sr. Lucia and Our Lady in an effort to contextualize attacks presently being waged against the family.
“Although it is painful to witness this terrible crisis in the Church and the family, the fact that it is occurring should come as no surprise. Our Lady told us it would happen.” The “crisis in the Church and the family share the same root cause, namely, a crisis of fatherhood.”
Gaspers made special mention of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who in March said it is “dangerous” to speak of the family as “the domestic church.”
Archbishop Paglia’s credibility is “next to nothing,” Gaspers said. He has “thoroughly dismantled the Pontifical Academy for Life and has commissioned homoerotic paintings.” The family is a patriarchal hierarchy of baptized persons whose head fills the role of teaching, governing, and sanctifying. As such, it is a reflection and microcosm of the universal Church, he said.
Gaspers also detailed how marriage and the family are “powerful weapons” that must be used in the restoration of Holy Mother Church.
True and false mercy
Traditional Franciscan priest Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea spoke about Confession, a timely topic given the implementation of Amoris Laetitia across the world and Pope Francis’ constant invocation of mercy.
Extensively quoting St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), the patron saint of confessors, Fr. Relyea argued that there is a false sense of mercy being promoted in Rome. This sense of mercy is “twisted” and “disgusting,” he said.
Priests are “obliged to inform consciences” and to withhold absolution if the person confessing isn’t amending their life. You are “crazy” if you think you are being merciful by telling someone cohabitating in an adulterous union that they are pleasing to God, the priest said in a Brooklyn accent.
Fr. Relyea incorporated the Four Last Things — Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell — into his remarks as well, recalling that although God shows mercy to those who fear Him, for those who abuse His mercy, He exercises justice.
The New York-born priest described the Pope’s 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia as “wicked.”
Attendee Elizabeth Yore told LifeSiteNews she went to the conference because “It is incumbent upon the laity to mount a resistance, and to continue to mount a resistance to what is going on in the Vatican, especially now given that so few Bishops and Cardinals are willing to do so.”
Internet-based Catholic radio station Magnificat Media broadcast live from the hotel as well.
Prayer cards and literature on Freemasonry and Our Lady of Good Success were given to everyone who came.
Despite heresy, the Pope is still the Pope
Three speeches at the “Weapons of Our Warfare” conference focused on the papacy.
Church historian Roberto de Mattei said “true devotion” to the Chair of St. Peter requires Catholics to speak out against “the heresies” being promoted by Pope Francis, who, despite propagating heresy, remains the pope.
Canadian Dominican priest Fr. Albert Kallio O.P. echoed de Mattei’s words. “Even if the pope is a heretic…that does not at all mean that by that very fact, ipso facto as we say in English, he would cease being pope.”
Rejecting the claim that Pope Francis has lost his office, Fr. Kallio said, “Even those who hold that a pope who is manifestly a heretic loses automatically his office [believe] that the manifestation required before the pope would lose his office takes place by a declaration declared by the authority of the Church, namely the bishops.”
It seems God is allowing “a sort of eclipse” of the Church for the moment, he concluded.
Christopher Ferrara, a lawyer and prolific Catholic writer, delivered a strongly worded speech emphatically urging Catholics not only to put forth the Church’s perennial teachings but to expose the problematic teachings coming from Pope Francis.
Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Ferrara said “the most effective opposition to what has to be seen now as the most wayward pontificate in the history of the papacy will have to come from the upper hierarchy.”
Such an opposition would come in the form of a public statement made by a significant number of Cardinals that would declare Pope Francis is “in error, that he’s attempting to impose error upon the Church, that his effort to pass off these errors as ‘authentic magisterium’ is a fraud…and that the faithful cannot follow this pope in his errors,” Ferrara said.
Young Catholics need Tradition
Another talk particularly relevant to events taking place in the Church was that which was given by 21-year-old Alexandra Reis, Catholic Family News’ youth correspondent.
“What can the youth do to fight the devil?” Reis rhetorically asked. Not staying updated with every piece of world news and constantly attending protests, she argued. Rather, they can fight the devil by fulfilling their daily duties of state.
If you want “real penance” and if you want to truly change the world, she said, try doing dirty dishes, try “getting out of bed right when your alarm goes off in the morning. Offer that up to Our Lady. Mary wants us to offer sacrifices to her heart.”
Reis told LifeSiteNews that today’s youth aren’t being taught about the virtues of purity and modesty. Millenials view religion “as a cross” and rebel against “simple acts.” In truth, “it is through the little things that we convert the world.”
Other weapons of our warfare
Louis Tofari, owner of Romanitas Press, a publishing company that helps Catholics learn about the Roman Mass, delivered a talk on the liturgy.
Tofari told LifeSiteNews that the Roman Mass “needs to be used to convert souls to Christianity and to restore the Social Reign of Christ the King.”
Another fascinating topic covered at the conference was the life of Fr. Augustus Tolton, a former slave born in the mid 1800s who was ordained a priest in Rome because no seminary in the United States would accept him due to being African American.
Catholic Family News’ web editor Brendan Young pleaded with Catholics to consecrate themselves to the Blessed Mother during a thoughtful address about St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Militia Immaculata.
Dr. Andrew Childs from St. Mary’s Academy and College in St. Mary’s, Kansas gave an insightful lecture on music while Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X discussed the Traditional Latin Mass. Source (Ed: visit the Catholic Family News website if you are interested in purchasing any of the talks in CD-format.)
If – in your opinion – Pope Francis is not the worst ever pope in the history of the Church, tell us who you would nominate for that title.
V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia. Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia, For he whom you did merit to bear, alleluia,
V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia. Has risen as he said, alleluia.
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
From the Editor…
As well as being the usual facility to exchange Easter greetings, we might use this thread to discuss what on earth Pope Francis makes of Easter, since, apparently, according to recent reports, he thinks unrepentant souls just “disappear” – they don’t end up in Hell. What on EARTH is he celebrating this weekend, if there is no Hell? Why Good Friday? Why the need for the Saviour? What IS Christian salvation if not salvation from the eternal punishment of Hell?Read the following report, taken from the Rorate Caeli website which will leave you wishing, as it leaves me wishing that Papa Francis would “disappear” – like, yesterday!
From Rorate Caeli…
“THERE IS NO HELL” — new Francis revelation to atheist journalist just in time for Good Friday
In another informal interview with Italian atheist journalist (and founder of liberal newspaper Repubblica) Eugenio Scalfari, published today, Pope Francis reveals that “hell does not exist”.
His exact words below (full interview behind paywall here, most important excerpt below):
Title of the interview: “It is an honor for me to be called revolutionary.”
Excerpt on hell:
[Scalfari:] Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?
[Francis:] “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.” Source – Rorate Caeli
Was Pope Francis misquoted? Before you answer that, read this Catholic World Report including the following comment underneath: “I can’t believe people have not caught on yet. It is likely that Pope Francis told Scalfari that there was no hell. The fact that he said at other places and times that their IS a hell does not matter. What the Pope says changes from time to time. If Scalfari found it a stumbling block to believe in hell, then the Pope would have no trouble telling him there is no hell. The Pope was “accompanying” Scalfari, trying to move him closer to the church. If this involved the POPE denying or altering doctrine, then so be it. When Scalfari is ready to accept the idea of hell, the Pope will re-introduce it. It will appear again. What we just saw was the Pope’s idea of how to lead someone into the church. You deny or alter doctrine, if necessary. Then, when the person has accepted the fundamentals, you move the goalposts again, hell re-appears, and Voila! Now, the critical thing is that the POPE is endorsing this approach. Truth is situationally relative for the Pope, and he will say whatever he needs to say to get to his goal. He is flexible. Doctrine does not matter. So Germans want to give communion to divorced and remarried and bless gay marriage. Who cares? Not the Pope. So maybe Jesus did not rise from the dead. Who cares? Not the Pope.”
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”.
Discussing the question of Pope Francis’ possible heresy in the context of Amoris Laetitia, Fr Gleize, SSPX, writes…
To use the words of Saint Pius X himself from the encyclical Pascendi, the proponents of the new moral theology proceed with such refined skill that they easily take advantage of unwary minds. They promote heresy while giving the appearance of remaining Catholic.
“Promoting heresy”: this corresponds to the theological note that Archbishop Lefebvre believed he had to use in order to characterize the harmfulness of the Novus Ordo Missae .
“This rite in itself does not profess the Catholic Faith as clearly as the old Ordo Missae and consequently it may promote heresy….What is astonishing is that an Ordo Missae that smacks of Protestantism and therefore favenshaeresim [is promoting heresy] could be promulgated by the Roman Curia.” (Mgr Lefebvre et le Saint-Office”, Itinéraires 233 – May 1979, p. 146-1-47).
Without prejudice to any better opinion, we willingly had recourse to it in order to describe the major problem posed today for the conscience of Catholics by the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.
Fr. Gleize’s precise distinction will surprise more than one. In short, it seems that Pope Francis cannot be considered heretical, since none of the ambiguous statements in Amorislaetitia constitute “a rejection or contradiction of a truth that is not only revealed but also proposed as such by an infallible act of the ecclesiastical Magisterium.”
However, in the popular use of the word “heretical,” one who acts and talks in such a way that he encourages evil and favors heresy is considered heretical. “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck!” The popular expression is not a precise theological judgment; it is rather a common way of designating persons or ideas at odds with the deposit of faith.
The theological expression which can be properly applied to Pope Francis instead of “heretical” is favens haeresim or “promoting heresy.”
That does not change that the fact that the Holy Father is ambiguous in his declarations, refusing to clarify them, and – far from correcting evil- promotes it by practical disposition. It is what Fr. Gleize calls “the scandal of praxis.” Click here to read entire article
There’s really nothing new in the above article, nothing that we haven’t already discussed and concluded on this blog in past discussions, but since repetition is the mother of education, and with continued questioning of the status of Pope Francis, I thought it might be worthwhile revising the key points. Which part of the article do you find most useful – the commentary on the dubia? The definitions? The conclusion? What then?