With Burning Concern: We Accuse Pope Francis
"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. "
From Michael Matt, Christopher Ferrara & John Vennari
A Joint Declaration from The Remnant and Catholic Family News
(Posted in three parts. What follows is Part I)
September 19, 2016
Feast of Saint Januarius in the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
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 bimillenial moral doctrine and Eucharistic discipline of the Church rooted in divine revelation, the Code of Canon Law and all of Tradition.
You have already provoked a fracturing of the Church’s universal discipline, with some bishops maintaining it despite Amoris Laetitia while others, including those in Buenos Aires, are announcing a change based solely on the authority of your scandalous “apostolic exhortation.” Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of the Church.
Yet, almost without exception, the conservative members of the hierarchy observe a politic silence while the liberals exult publicly over their triumph thanks to you. Almost no one in the hierarchy stands in opposition to your reckless disregard of sound doctrine and practice, even though many murmur privately against your depredations. Thus, as it was during the Arian crisis, it falls to the laity to defend the Faith in the midst of a near-universal defection from duty on the part of the hierarchs.
Of course we are nothing in the scheme of things, and yet as baptized lay members of the Mystical Body we are endowed with the God-given right and the correlative duty, enshrined in Church law (cf. CIC can. 212), to communicate with you and with our fellow Catholics concerning the acute crisis your governance of the Church has provoked amidst an already chronic state of ecclesial crisis following the Second Vatican Council.
Private entreaties having proven utterly useless, as we note below, we have published this document to discharge our burden of conscience in the face of the grave harm you have inflicted, and threaten to inflict, upon souls and the ecclesial commonwealth, and to exhort our fellow Catholics to stand in principled opposition to your continuing abuse of the papal office, particularly where it concerns the Church’s infallible teaching against adultery and profanation of the Holy Eucharist.
In making the decision to publish this document we were guided by the teaching of the Angelic Doctor on a matter of natural justice in the Church:
“It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, ‘Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects’.” [Summa Theologiae, II-II, Q. 33, Art 4]
We have been guided as well by the teaching of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, regarding licit resistance to a wayward Roman Pontiff:
“Therefore, just as it would be lawful to resist a Pontiff invading a body, so it is lawful to resist him invading souls or disturbing a state, and much more if he should endeavor to destroy the Church. I say, it is lawful to resist him, by not doing what he commands, and by blocking him, lest he should carry out his will…” [De Controversiis on the Roman Pontiff, Bk. 2, Ch. 29].
Catholics the world over, and not just “traditionalists,” are convinced that the situation Bellarmine envisioned hypothetically is today a reality. That conviction is the motive for this document.
May God be the judge of the rectitude of our intentions.
Michael J. Matt
Editor, The Remnant
Christopher A. Ferrara
Columnist for The Remnant and Catholic Family News
Editor, Catholic Family News
LIBER OF ACCUSATION
By the grace of God and the law of Church, a complaint against Francis, Roman Pontiff, on account of danger to the Faith and grave harm to souls and the common good of the Holy Catholic Church.
What Sort of Humility Is This?
On the night of your election, speaking from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica, you declared: “the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome.” Even though the crowd before you consisted of people from around the world, members of the Church universal, you expressed thanks only “for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.” You also expressed the hope that “this journey of the Church that we begin today” would be “fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.” You asked the faithful present in the Saint Peter’s Square to pray, not for the Pope, but “for their Bishop” and you said that the next day you would “go to pray the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.”
Your strange remarks on that historic occasion began with the banal exclamation “Brothers and sisters, good evening” and ended with an equally banal intention: “Good night and sleep well!” Not once during the first address did you refer to yourself as Pope or make any reference to the supreme dignity of the office to which you had been elected: that of the Vicar of Christ, whose divine commission is to teach, govern and sanctify the Church universal and lead her mission to make disciples of all nations.
Almost from the moment of your election there began a kind of endless public relations campaign whose theme is your singular humility among the Popes, a simple “Bishop of Rome” in contrast to the supposed monarchical pretensions of your predecessors and their elaborate vestments and red shoes, which you shunned. You gave early indications of a radical decentralization of papal authority in favor of a “synodal Church” taking its example from the Orthodox view of “the meaning of episcopal collegiality and their experience of synodality.” The exultant mass media immediately hailed “the Francis revolution.”
Yet this ostentatious display of humility has been accompanied by an abuse of the power of the papal office without precedent in the history of the Church. Over the past three-and-a-half years you have incessantly promoted your own opinions and desires without the least regard for the teaching of your predecessors, the bimillenial traditions of the Church, or the immense scandals you have caused. On innumerable occasions you have shocked and confused the faithful and delighted the Church’s enemies with heterodox and even nonsensical statements, while heaping insult after insult upon observant Catholics, whom you continually deride as latter-day Pharisees and “rigorists.” Your personal comportment has often descended to acts of crowd-pleasing buffoonery.
You have consistently ignored the salutary admonition of your immediate predecessor, who resigned the papacy under mysterious circumstances eight years after having asked the bishops assembled before him at the beginning of his pontificate to “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.” To quote your predecessor in his first homily as Pope:
“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.”
A Selective Meddling in Politics, Always Politically Correct
Throughout your tenure as “Bishop of Rome” you have shown scant regard for the limitations of papal authority and competence. You have meddled in political affairs such as immigration policy, penal law, the environment, restoring diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba (while ignoring the plight of Catholics under the Castro dictatorship) and even opposing the Scottish independence movement. Yet you refuse to oppose secularist governments when they defy the divine and natural law by such measures as legalizing “homosexual unions,” a matter of divine and natural law on which a Pope can and must intervene.
In fact, your many condemnations of social evils—all of them politically safe targets—are continually belied by your own actions, which compromise the Church’s witness against the manifold errors of modernity:
• Contrary to the constant teaching of the Church based on Revelation, you demand worldwide total abolition of the death penalty, no matter how grave the crime, and even the abolition of even life sentences, yet you have never called for the abolition of legalized abortion, which the Church has constantly condemned as the mass murder of innocents.
• You declare that the simple faithful are sinning gravely if they fail to recycle their household waste and turn off unnecessary lighting, even as you expend millions of dollars on vulgar mass events surrounding your person in various countries, to which you travel with large entourages in charter jets that emit vast quantities of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
• You demand open borders for Muslim “refugees” in Europe, who are predominantly military-age males, while you live behind the walls of a Vatican city-state that strictly excludes non-residents—walls built by Leo IV to prevent a second Muslim sack of Rome.
• You speak incessantly of the poor and the “peripheries” of society but you ally yourself with the wealthy and corrupt German hierarchy and pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexual celebrities and potentates of globalism.
• You deride greedy corporate profit-seeking and “the economy that kills” while you honor with private audiences and receive lavish donations from the world’s wealthiest technocrats and corporate heads, even allowing Porsche to rent the Sistine Chapel for a “magnificent concert… arranged exclusively for the participants,” who paid some $6,000 each for a Roman tour—the first time a Pope has allowed this sacred space to be used for a corporate event.
• You demand an end to “inequality” as you embrace communist and socialist dictators who live in luxury while the masses suffer under their yokes.
• You condemn an American candidate for the presidency as “not Christian” because he seeks to prevent illegal immigration, but you say nothing against the atheist dictators you embrace, who have committed mass murder, persecute the Church and imprison Christians in police states.
In promoting your personal opinions on politics and public policy as if they were Catholic doctrine, you have not hesitated to abuse even the dignity of a papal encyclical by employing it to endorse debatable and even demonstrably fraudulent scientific claims regarding “climate change,” the “carbon cycle,” “carbon dioxide pollution” and “acidification of the oceans.” The same document also demands that the faithful respond to a supposed “ecological crisis” by supporting secular programs of environmentalism, such as the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, which you have praised even though they call for “universal access to sexual and reproductive health,” meaning contraception and abortion.
A Rampant Indifferentism
While hardly a pioneer respecting the destructive post-conciliar novelties of “ecumenism” and “interreligious dialogue,” you have promoted to a degree not seen even during the worst years of the post-conciliar crisis a specific religious indifferentism that practically dispenses with the mission of the Church as the ark of salvation.
Respecting the Protestants, you declare that they are all members of the same “Church of Christ” as Catholics, regardless of what they believe, and that doctrinal differences between Catholics and Protestants are comparatively trivial matters to be worked out by agreement of theologians.
Given that opinion, you have actively discouraged Protestant conversions, including one “Bishop” Tony Palmer, who belonged to a breakaway Anglican sect that purports to ordain women. As Palmer recounted, when he mentioned “coming home to the Catholic Church” you gave this appalling reply: “No one is coming home. You are journeying towards us and we are journeying towards you and we will meet in the middle.” The middle of what? Palmer died in a motorcycle accident shortly thereafter. At your insistence, however, the man whose conversion you deliberately impeded was buried as a Catholic bishop—a mockery that was contrary to the infallible teaching of your predecessor that “ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.” [Leo XIII, Apostolicae curae (1896), DZ 3315]
As to other religions in general, you have adopted as a virtual program the very error condemned by Pope Pius XI only 34 years before Vatican II: “that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.” You have been utterly heedless of Pius XI’s admonition “that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.” In that regard, you have suggested that even atheists can be saved merely by doing good, thus eliciting delighted praise from the media.
It seems that in your view Rahner’s heretical thesis of the “anonymous Christian,” embracing virtually all of humanity and implying universal salvation, has definitively replaced the teaching of Our Lord to the contrary: “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; and he that disbelieves shall be condemned (Mk 16:16).”
Simultaneously published by The Remnant. Will also appear in full in print version of Catholic Family News, October 2016 edition.