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…

Pope Francis on the Fruits of New Mass…Walter Mitty Stuff – Brace Yourself…

Pope Francis gave an address on the liturgical reform of Pope Paul VI today, speaking to participants of the 68th Italian National Liturgical Week. In it, Francis declares: “After this magisterium, after this long journey, we can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.”

Francis’ remarks ironically read like a Quo Primum for the Novus Ordo. Pope St. Pius V’s Quo Primum (1570), which has never been revoked or abolished by any pope, decreed that the Traditional Latin Mass, which the saintly pontiff promulgated in accord with the directives of the Council of Trent, would be “valid henceforth, now, and forever” and “cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force.” Furthermore, St. Pius V warned that if anyone, including any future pope (by implication), would alter his missal, they would “incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul”. 

Pope Benedict XVI, in Summorum Pontificum, reiterated that the Traditional Latin Mass “was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.” Benedict continued: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

For Francis, however, not the Traditional Latin Mass, but the reforms that deformed it are what are truly “irreversible.”

Below are relevant translated excerpts of Pope Francis’ address:

There are two directly linked events, the Council and the Reform, which did not flourish suddenly but after long preparation. What was called the liturgical movement testifies to it, and the answers given by the Supreme Pontiffs to the hardships perceived in ecclesial prayer; when a need is sensed, even if the solution is not immediate, there is a need for it to be put in motion. 

[…] 

The Second Vatican Council made later to mature, as good fruit from the tree of the Church, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC), whose lines of general reform respond to real needs and to the concrete hope of a renewal; it desired a living liturgy for a Church completely vivified by the mysteries celebrated. 

[…] 

The direction traced by the Council took form according to the principle of respect for sound tradition and legitimate progress (cf. SC 23) [9] in the liturgical books promulgated by Blessed Paul VI , well received by the same bishops who were present at the Council, and for almost 50 years universally used in the Roman Rite. The practical application, led by the Episcopal Conferences of their respective countries, is still ongoing, since it is not enough to reform the liturgical books in order to renew the mentality. The books reformed according to the decrees of Vatican II have introduced a process that demands time, faithful reception, practical obedience, wise celebratory implementation, first of all, on the part of ordained ministers, but also of other ministers, cantors, and of all those who participate in the liturgy. In truth, we know, the liturgical education of pastors and the faithful is a challenge to face ever anew. The same Paul VI , a year before his death, told the cardinals gathered in Consistory: “The time has now come definitely to leave aside divisive ferments, which are equally pernicious on both sides, and to apply fully, in accordance with the correct criteria that inspired it, the reform approved by Us in application of the wishes of the Council.” [10]

And today, there is still work to do in this direction, in particular by rediscovering the reasons for the decisions made with the liturgical reform, by overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, partial receptions, and practices that disfigure it. It is not a matter of rethinking the reform by reviewing its choices, but of knowing better the underlying reasons, even through historical documentation, of internalizing its inspirational principles and of observing the discipline that governs it. After this magisterium, after this long journey, we can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible. 

The task of promoting and guarding the liturgy is entrusted by right to the Apostolic See and to the diocesan bishops whose responsibility and authority I rely on very much at the present moment; National and diocesan liturgical pastoral bodies, training institutes and seminaries are also involved.  

[…] 

Among the visible signs of the invisible Mystery there is the altar, a sign of Christ, the living stone, rejected by men but it has become a cornerstone of the spiritual building where worship is offered to the living God in spirit and truth (cf. 1 Pt 2.4; Eph 2:20). Therefore, the altar, at the center toward which our churches converge, [11] is dedicated, with chrysm, incensed, kissed, venerated: towards the altar, the eyes of those praying, the priests and the faithful, are called together by the holy assembly around it [the altar]; [12] Upon the altar is placed the Church’s offering, which the Spirit consecrates to be a sacrament of the sacrifice of Christ; from the altar the bread of life and the cup of salvation are bestowed upon us “for we become one body and one spirit in Christ” (Eucharistic Prayer III).
[…]

[9] The reform of the rites and the liturgical books was undertaken immediately after the promulgation of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium and was brought to an effective conclusion in a few years thanks to the considerable and selfless work of a large number of experts and bishops from all parts of the world (Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 25). This work was undertaken in accordance with the conciliar principles of fidelity to tradition and openness to legitimate development (cf. ibid . , 23); and so it is possible to say that the reform of the Liturgy is strictly traditional and in accordance with “the ancient usage of the holy Fathers” (cf. ibid. , 50; Institutio generalis Missalis Romani, Prooemium, 6). ( John Paul II , Lett. Ap. Vicesimus quintus annus, 4). 

[10] “The pope’s attention is drawn today once more to a particular point of the Church’s life: the indisputably beneficial fruits of the liturgical reform. Since the promulgation of the conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium great progress has taken place, progress that responds to the premises laid down by the liturgical movement of the last part of the nineteenth century. It has fulfilled that movement’s deep aspirations for which so many churchmen and scholars have worked and prayed. The new Rite of the Mass, promulgated by Us after long and painstaking preparation by the competent bodies, and into which there have been introduced-side by side with the Roman Canon, which remains substantially unchanged, other Eucharistic Prayers, has borne blessed fruits. These include a greater participation in the liturgical action, a more lively awareness of the sacred action, a greater and wider knowledge of the inexhaustible treasures of Sacred Scripture and an increase of a sense of community in the Church. The course of these recent years shows that we are on the right path. But unfortunately, in spite of vast preponderance of the healthy and good forces of the clergy and the faithful, abuses have been committed and liberties have been taken in applying the liturgical reform. The time has now come definitely to leave aside divisive ferments, which are equally pernicious on both sides, and to apply fully, in accordance with the correct criteria that inspired it, the reform approved by Us in application of the wishes of the Council.” (Alloc . Gratias ex animo, June 27, 1977: Teachings of Paul VI, XV [1977], 655-656, in Italian 662-663). 

[11] Cfr. General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n. 299; Rite of the Dedication of an Altar, Preface, nn. 155, 159

[12] “Around this altar, we are nourished by the body and blood of your Son to form your one and holy Church” (Rite of the Dedication of an Altar, n. 213, Preface).

Pope St. Pius V, “Quo Primum” July 14, 1570

by this present Constitution, which will be valid henceforth, now, and forever, We order and enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed within it under the penalty of Our displeasure. 
[…]
Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force notwithstanding the previous constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, as well as any general or special constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the practice and custom of the aforesaid churches, established by long and immemorial prescription – except, however, if more than two hundred years’ standing.
[…] 
Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Would anyone, however, presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.  Source – Rorate Caeli 

Comment:

Mass before the “reform”…

I think it goes without saying that, contrary to what Pope Francis believes about his “magisterial authority”,  the “liturgical reform” – the new Mass – is absolutely NOT irreversible.  It is eminently reversible; one cardinal has even hinted that it would be gone in a generation.  

Share your thoughts on the subject …

Pope Francis Confidence Vote – Yes? No?

The Pope’s Council of Advisors Declares that it supports “His Magisterium”
But what about the Magisterium? Not so much.
by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 17, 2017  
Pope Francis - transgressing the limits of THE Magisterium...

Pope Francis – transgressing the limits of THE Magisterium…

One of Francis’ first acts as Pope was to create a Council of Cardinal Advisors, commonly known as “C9”, to advise him on ecclesial affairs. The “advice,” however, appears to constitute little more than an echo chamber for whatever Francis wishes to say.

To recall, the members of the Council are: Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa; Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro, secretary to the Council; Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias; German Cardinal Reinhard Marx; Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga; Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello; U.S. Cardinal Sean O’Malley; Australian Cardinal George Pell; and Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya. 

All of the nine, with the exception of Pell, are radical progressives by any historical standard of Catholicism, whereas Pell, a “moderate” progressive, appears to be hanging on to his position by his fingernails.  Meanwhile, he has already been removed from the Congregation for Divine Worship, which oversees the Church’s sacred liturgy, along with Cardinal Burke, the de facto spokesman for the four cardinals who have published the dubia concerning Amoris Laetitia. (Burke has just been shuffled off to Guam.)

The C9 has leapt into action as opposition to Francis’ relentlessly progressive agenda mounts among concerned clergy and laity throughout the Catholic world, including protest posters plastering Rome and a spoof of L’Osservatore Romano wherein “Francis” answers ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to each of the four cardinals’ dubia.  The C9 have issued an extraordinary “vote of confidence” in Francis, as if he were the head of a parliament, in the form of a Note published as part of the Vatican press briefing of February 13. The pertinent portion (my translation from the Italian) is quite striking:

“In relation to recent events, the Council of Cardinals expresses full support for the work of the Pope, assuring at the same time its adhesion to and complete support of His person and His Magisterium.”

“[In relazione a recenti avvenimenti, il Consiglio di Cardinali esprime pieno appoggio all’opera del Papa, assicurando al tempo stesso adesione e sostegno pieni alla Sua persona e al Suo Magistero.]”

Note first of all the curious typography in the Italian original, not present in the Vatican’s own English translation: “His person and His Magisterium.”  In contemporary Vatican usage the pronoun “his” is no longer capitalized even when used in reference to God.  (See, for example, this section of the Catechism at the Vatican’s website.) But the traditional usage in reference to God suddenly reappears in reference to Francis!

More significant is the reference to “His Magisterium.” Why not “the Magisterium,” which is the teaching office of the Church, not of a particular Pope?  The Church does not have a different Magisterium with each Pope, but the same Magisterium to which all Popes are bound. Thus, on the very day he was installed as Pope, Benedict XVI declared his intention to subsume his personal ideas to the Magisterium of all time:

“The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism….”

So, again, why “His magisterium” rather than “the Magisterium”? The answer should be obvious at this point in the crisis provoked by what Antonio Socci has aptly termed “Bergoglianism”: the Magisterium and the teaching of Francis are not one and the same thing.  That is why the four cardinals have posed their dubia. That is why alarm is spreading throughout the Church. That is why protest posters have appeared in Rome, along with the mock edition of L’Osservatore Romano. And that is why the Council of Cardinals has issued its “vote of confidence” in a Pope who is clearly eliciting a vote of “no confidence” from a growing number of the faithful.

The liberal John Allen frets that “one could ask whether such a statement lends a significance to the anti-Francis blowback that heretofore was debatable. From the beginning, most commentators have been cautioning against exaggerating the dimensions of such resistance… By engaging it in such a high-profile way, it’s at least worth mulling whether the cardinals have inadvertently done it a favor.”

Liberals like Allen, along with the members of the C9 echo chamber, would like to bury the “anti-Francis blowback,” which is just a pejorative for “Catholic defense of orthodoxy.” But as Our Lord said when the Pharisees demanded that He rebuke His disciples for praising His “mighty works”: “I say to you, that if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40) That is, the truth of the Magisterium cannot be silenced even if the hierarchy fails in its duty to defend it.

As for Francis and “His Magisterium,” in God’s good time it will pass from memory just as surely as the errors of Honorius, who was posthumously anathematized by an ecumenical council and a successor Pope, and John XXII, who was denounced for preaching heresy from the pulpit before he retracted his error on his deathbed. Both of these Popes, though validly elected, nonetheless transgressed the limits of the Magisterium. Much the same thing, but far worse, is happening today at this turning point in the history of the Church and the world.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! 

Comment:

How would YOU vote, if the faithful were given the chance to show confidence or no confidence in Papa Francis? There’s no shortage of reasons to vote “no confidence”, but if you can tell us the MAIN reason for your decision, that would be interesting.  If, on the other hand, you’d vote “yes, confidence” – choose your words carefully… We’re jes dyin’ to hear from you…