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We Accuse Pope Francis

An Open Appeal to the Cardinals of the Catholic Church

By Various

Pope Francis has revised the Catechism of the Catholic Church to read, “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” This statement has been understood by many, both inside and outside the Church, to teach that capital punishment is intrinsically immoral and thus is always illicit, even in principle.

Though no Catholic is obliged to support the use of the death penalty in practice (and not all of the undersigned do support its use), to teach that capital punishment is always and intrinsically evil would contradict Scripture. That the death penalty can be a legitimate means of securing retributive justice is affirmed in Genesis 9:6 and many other biblical texts, and the Church holds that Scripture cannot teach moral error. The legitimacy in principle of capital punishment is also the consistent teaching of the magisterium for two millennia. To contradict Scripture and tradition on this point would cast doubt on the credibility of the magisterium in general.

Concerned by this gravely scandalous situation, we wish to exercise the right affirmed by the Church’s Code of Canon Law, which at Canon 212 states:

The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

We are guided also by the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, who states:

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, Part II-II, Question 33, Article 4, ad 2)

Hence we, the undersigned, issue the following appeal:

To their Most Reverend Eminences, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church,

Since it is a truth contained in the Word of God, and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Catholic Church, that criminals may lawfully be put to death by the civil power when this is necessary to preserve just order in civil society, and since the present Roman pontiff has now more than once publicly manifested his refusal to teach this doctrine, and has rather brought great confusion upon the Church by seeming to contradict it, and by inserting into the Catechism of the Catholic Church a paragraph which will cause and is already causing many people, both believers and non-believers, to suppose that the Church considers, contrary to the Word of God, that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, we hereby call upon Your Eminences to advise His Holiness that it is his duty to put an end to this scandal, to withdraw this paragraph from the Catechism, and to teach the word of God unadulterated; and we venture to state our conviction that this is a duty seriously binding upon yourselves, before God and before the Church.


Hadley Arkes
Edward N. Ney Professor in American Institutions Emeritus
Amherst College

Joseph Bessette
Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics
Claremont McKenna College

Patrick Brennan
John F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies
Villanova University

J. Budziszewski
Professor of Government and Philosophy
University of Texas at Austin

Isobel Camp
Professor of Philosophy
Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas

Richard Cipolla
Diocese of Bridgeport

Eric Claeys
Professor of Law
Mason University

Travis Cook
Associate Professor of Government
Belmont Abbey College

S. A. Cortright
Professor of Philosophy
Saint Mary’s College

Cyrille Dounot
Professor of Legal History
Université Clermont Auvergne

Patrick Downey
Professor of Philosophy
Saint Mary’s College

Eduardo Echeverria
Professor of Philosophy and Theology
Sacred Heart Major Seminary

Edward Feser
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Pasadena City College

Alan Fimister
Assistant Professor of Theology
St. John Vianney Theological Seminary

Luca Gili
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Université du Québec à Montréal

Brian Harrison
Scholar in Residence
Oblates of Wisdom Study Center

L. Joseph Hebert
Professor of Political Science
St. Ambrose University

Rafael Hüntelmann
Lecturer in Philosophy
International Seminary of St. Peter

Fr. John Hunwicke
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Robert C. Koons
Professor of Philosophy
University of Texas at Austin

Peter Koritansky
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Prince Edward Island

Peter Kwasniewski
Independent Scholar
Wausau, Wisconsin

John Lamont
Fellow of Theology and Philosophy
Australian Catholic University

Roberto de Mattei
The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story

Robert T. Miller
Professor of Law
University of Iowa

Gerald Murray
Archdiocese of New York

Lukas Novak
Lecturer in Philosophy
University of South Bohemia

Thomas Osborne
Professor of Philosophy
University of St. Thomas

Michael Pakaluk
Professor of Ethics
Catholic University of America

Claudio Pierantoni
Professor of Medieval Philosophy
University of Chile

Thomas Pink
Professor of Philosophy
King’s College London

Andrew Pinsent
Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre
University of Oxford

Alyssa Pitstick
Independent Scholar

Donald S. Prudlo
Professor of Ancient and Medieval History
Jacksonville State University

Anselm Ramelow
Chair of the Department of Philosophy
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

George W. Rutler
Archdiocese of New York

Matthew Schmitz
Senior Editor
First Things

Josef Seifert
Founding Rector
International Academy of Philosophy

Joseph Shaw
Fellow of St Benet’s Hall
University of Oxford

Anna Silvas
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow
University of New England

Michael Sirilla
Professor of Dogmatic and Systematic Theology
Franciscan University of Steubenville

Joseph G. Trabbic
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Ave Maria University

Giovanni Turco
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Udine

Michael Uhlmann
Professor of Politics & Government
Claremont Graduate University

John Zuhlsdorf
Diocese of Velletri-Segni

Additional signatories:

Dame Colleen Bayer DSG, Founder, Family Life International NZ

James Bogle Esq., TD MA Dip Law, barrister (trial attorney), former President FIUV, former Chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain

Fr. John Boyle JCL

Judie Brown, President, American Life League

Fr. Michael Gilmary Cermak MMA

Fr. Linus F Clovis, Ph.D, JCL, M.SC., STB

Hon. Donald J. Devine, Senior Scholar, The Fund for American Studies

Dr. Maria Guarini, editor of the website Chiesa e postconcilio

John D. Hartigan, retired attorney and past member, Public Policy Committee of the New York State Catholic Conference

Dr. Maike Hickson, journalist

Dr. Robert Hickson, Retired Professor of Literature and Strategic-Cultural Studies

Fr. Albert Kallio, Professor of Philosophy at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery, New Mexico

Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta STD

Dr. Robert Lazu, Independent Scholar and Writer

Dr. James P. Lucier, Former Staff Director, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Dr. Pietro De Marco, former professor of Sociology of Religion, University of Florence

Dr. Joseph Martin, Associate Professor of Communication, Montreat College

Dr. Brian McCall, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Director of the Law Center, Orpha and Maurice Merrill Professor in Law, University of Oklahoma

Fr. Paul McDonald, parish priest of Chippawa, Ontario

Dr. Stéphane Mercier, former lecturer in Philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium)

Fr. Alfredo Morselli, SSL, parish priest in the diocese of Bologna

Maureen Mullarkey, Senior Contributor, The Federalist

Fr. Reto Nay

Dr. Claude E. Newbury M.B., B.Ch., D.T.M&H., D.O.H., M.F.G.P., D.C.H., D.P.H., D.A., M. Med; Former Director of Human Life International in Africa south of the Sahara

Giorgio Nicolini, Writer, Director of Tele Maria

Dr. Paolo Pasqualucci, retired Professor of Philosophy, University of Perugia, Italy

Prof. Enrico Maria Radaelli, Philosopher

Richard M. Reinsch II, Editor, Law and Liberty

R. J. Stove, Writer and Editor

Fr. Glen Tattersall, Parish Priest, Parish of Bl. John Henry Newman, archdiocese of Melbourne; Rector, St Aloysius’ Church

Dr. Thomas Ward, Founder of the National Association of Catholic Families and former Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life

New Signatories:

On August 15, 2018

Fr. Claude Barthe, Diocesan priest

Donna F. Bethell, J.D. Washington, DC

Prof. Michele Gaslini, Professor of Public Law at the University of Udine

Brother Andre Marie, M.I.C.M., MA (Dogmatic Theology), Prior of Saint Benedict Center, New Hampshire

Fr. John Osman, diocese of Birmingham, England

Fr. Alberto Strumia, retired professor of Mathematical Physics, University of Bari, Italy

Guillaume de Thieulloy, PhD in political science, editor of the French Blog Le Salon Beige

Marco Tosatti, Journalist, Vatican observer

Christine Vollmer, former member of the Pontifical Council for Family and the Pontifical Academy for Life

(Source: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/open-appeal-to-cardinals-urge-pope-to-restore-catechism-to-truth-on-death-p)

Anatomy of a Cover Up: An Open Letter to Pope Francis
Written by Elizabeth Yore

“It is the Argentine attitude: Suppress and ignore”—V.S. Naipaul

'I was part of the problem,' Pope Francis was quoted telling the Chile abuse victims.

Your Holiness,

No. You weren’t part of the problem, you are the entire problem. You appointed and elevated a predator protector. For three years, you steadfastly protected him despite overwhelming evidence that he should be removed as Bishop and from priestly ministry.

You suppressed and ignored a tsunami of requests, pleas and evidence about Bishop Juan Barros’ complicity and involvement with predator priest, Fr. Fernando Karadima. In 2011, Karadima was removed of his priestly duties and banished to a life of penitence after a guilty finding at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Defense of the Faith.

You made a mockery of your self proclaimed, “zero tolerance policy.”

Your arrogance and clericalism blinded you to the obvious and sustained pleas of the abuse victims of Karadima and Barros.

You dismissively scorned all the protestations from Chile, like the clever dictator pope that you are. You believed that threatening and deriding victims would silence them. After all, your Bergoglian strong arm tactics worked so well throughout your years in Buenos Aires as Bishop and Cardinal. As you told your buddy, Rabbi Skorka in the book On Heaven and Earth, "In my diocese it (clergy sex abuse allegations) never happened to me.”

Nothing there, says Bergoglio.

Yet, the Argentine media was replete with dozens of clergy sex abuse cases during the years that Bergoglio was Bishop and Cardinal in Buenos Aires.

So you employed your cover up tactics, employing well worn denials and name calling with the Barros scandal.

And you almost got away with it.

Except for a photograph…..

You foolishly misjudged these Karadima/Barros victims. Clergy sex abuse victims are some of the most broken and traumatized of sex abuse victims. They seldom possess the perseverance and strength to challenge Church bureaucracy, especially the Vatican hierarchy, and the Pope himself.

You arrogantly thought that if you lashed out at them, calling them ‘slanderers’, and haughtily dismissed their protests, that they would fade away, like most clergy sex abuse victims. It worked in the past for you as Cardinal of Buenos Aires. Better yet, now, you are the powerful Pope, the Vicar of Christ.

Yet, you misjudged these Karadima survivors. These men are damaged, but unbowed. They were not intimidated by your notorious temper and scurrilous scorn. These men had survived the worst imaginable abuse and they were not going to be silenced by your repeated empty threats and vicious verbal assaults.

You never expected that the Karadima/Barros victims would outsmart you. Despite the vicious abuse they suffered, these men are smart, persistent, and wily. They possessed power; it’s called the Truth.

They knew that they needed demonstrable proof that you, Pope Francis were aware of the specific allegations of horrendous abuse by Fr. Karadima while Bishop Barros watched and did nothing. Imagine, the anger and shock felt by these victims toward a priest who watched their abuse and did nothing. Nothing. Imagine their fury when they learned that you honored and elevated Barros, as Bishop of Osorno?

You were cornered when the world saw the photograph of the envelope detailing the abuse suffered at the hands of Fr. Karadima by Juan Carlos Cruz. The photographic evidence and documentation handed to Cardinal Sean O’Malley by Marie Collins in April 2015. Gotcha.

You were cornered when Cardinal O’Malley told the victims that Juan Carlos Cruz’s letter was given to Pope Francis.

It would be nearly 3 more years when that photograph would finally surface for all the world to see that you were given evidence, the sordid evidence of Barros' utter unsuitability for any clerical role.

Below is the timeline of your coverup. It establishes uncontrovertibly that you possessed knowledge about the reprehensible conduct and unsuitability of Juan Barros. You waged a personal, very public, media campaign to destroy any critics of Bishop Barros. You personally defended Barros and excoriated the Barros victims. Your own Congregation for the Defense of the Faith (the CDF) investigated this case had reams of files and documents about the Karadima case and Bishop Barros. You refused to listen to anyone who possessed the facts and the truth.

This is the case against Pope Francis for ignoring and failing to adhere to his own zero tolerance guidelines:

Jan. 31, 2015 Letter from the Chilean Bishop Conference to the Vatican protesting the appointment of Bishop Barros- Ignored and Suppressed

Feb. 2015-A month later, over 1300 Catholics in Osorno, along with 30 diocesan priests, and several members of the Chilean Parliament sent a letter to Pope Francis urging him to rescind the appointment of Bishop Barros which was scheduled for March 21, 2015. The letter was given to Pope Francis, yet the appointment was not rescinded by Francis. As the Osorno Catholics would soon learn, Church internal politics trumps the will of the people in the pews.

Ignored and Suppressed.

Feb. 3, 2015-Juan Carlos Cruz delivers a letter to Vatican Ambassador objecting to the appointment of Bishop Barros, detailing Barros’ protection of Fr. Karadima. Ignored and Suppressed.

Mar. 21, 2015- Barros Installation Mass Protest-Global Media carried footage of the massive protest by Chilean Catholics over the appointment of Barros. Ignored and Suppressed

March 31, 2015-Francis’ Vatican publicly defends Bishop Barros saying it “carefully examined the prelate’s candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment.” Ignored and Suppressed.

April 2015-Members of the Pope’s Commission for the Protection of minors relate that in April 2015, they sent a delegation to Rome specifically to hand-deliver a letter to the Pope about Barros. Marie Collins gave the letter to Cardinal O’Malley and click the photo was taken and O’Malley conceded that he gave the letter to Francis. Suppressed and Ignored.

May 2015 A video surfaces of Chileans in St. Peter’s Square personally plead with Pope Francis to rescind the appointment of Barros: On video, Pope Francis angrily calls them ‘stupid.’ Suppressed and Ignored.

May 2015-Chilean Supreme Court issues a subpoena to the Vatican for information regarding Bishop Barros. Suppressed and Ignored

January 2018-Papal Chilean Trip. Pope Francis again defends Barros appointment in an airplane press conference.

Pope Francis says that “The day that they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, then I will speak. There is not a single piece of proof against him. Everything is slander. Is that clear?” He also said: “no one has come forward, they haven’t provided any evidence for a judgment. This is all a bit vague. It’s something that can’t be accepted.” In the Barros’ case, it was studied, and it was restudied. And there is no evidence…I don’t have any evidence to convict.” Suppressed and Ignored.

January 2018 Papal return trip to Vatican on plane…confronted by an AP reporter, the pope said: “You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward.” Suppressed and Ignored.

This author has investigated many clergy sex abuse cases. I witnessed the lies, threats, and hard ball tactics of episcopal cover ups. This is nothing new or particularly complex. The intimidation tactics of Pope Francis demonstrate the classic insidious cover up by a Bishop….the Bishop of Rome.

Francis was forced to relent and concede defeat because of photo of an envelope, full of sordid and violent allegations of a notorious predator who preyed on minors. Pope Francis was handed “the evidence and the proof” by his very own Cardinal, head of the Commission for the Protection of Children. Pope Francis was handed “the evidence and the proof” in April of 2015.

When the photo emerged in February 2018, the papal cover up gig was up.

Francis could stonewall no more.

He thought he could deny, suppress, and ignore the baleful pleas of wounded victims, like he did so many times in Argentina.

Francis, and only Francis, is personally and authoritatively responsible for this contemptible coverup.

Using the power and prestige of the Holy Office of the Papacy, Francis has repeatedly denied allegations, covered up the evidence and when he is caught in his web of lies, what does he do?

Francis now blames and scapegoats the 34 Chilean Bishops of the Chilean Episcopal Conference, a number of whom had originally protested the appointment of Juan Barros.

Zero Tolerance is an empty trope, unless Pope Francis resigns in shame and spends his remaining years in penitence for his failure to protect Chilean children and respond to the pleas of faithful Chilean Catholics, clergy abuse victims and countless Chilean priests.

How much more could the victims and Chilean Catholics have done to bring this matter to the Pope’s attention? They used every means humanly possible to stop this dangerous appointment. In response, Francis derided them, scoffed at them and insulted them repeatedly. Some Holy Father. So much for the Pope of Mercy.

The College of Cardinals should immediately convene and remove Francis, the Bishop of Rome for his gross and grave negligence and personal complicity in the systematic flouting and abuse of his own zero tolerance policy causing a scandal of epic proportions brought upon the global Catholic Church and the Chilean Catholic Church. In Francis’ new Motu Proprio Guidelines on Bishop Removal the standard for removal is “In the case of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults it is enough that the lack of diligence be grave.” § 3. Three years of papal stonewalling and coverup is the definition of grave.

It is easily arguable that the Francis coverup timeline demonstrates overwhelming evidence of a pernicious and wanton breach of ecclesiastic duty to ensure the protection of children and the moral integrity of the episcopacy. For once, will the Princes of the Church protect the little children? Or will they continue to quake in their mitres in the face of the dictator Pope?

Next installment: The coverup continues…

Elizabeth Yore is an international child advocate attorney who has investigated clergy sex abuse cases.

(Source: https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/3909-anatomy-of-a-cover-up-an-open-letter-to-pope-francis)
May 25,2018

Hintergrundinformationen zum pastoralen Aufruf für Priester und andere Interessierte

Was wir von Priestern verlangen:

Bitte entschließen Sie sich, den Aufruf zu unterschreiben und eine Kopie an Ihren Bischof zu senden (siehe www.curapastoralis.org). Aufgrund seiner Natur als Akt der Seelsorge und des priesterlichen Zeugnisses für Christus und sein Evangelium ruft der Appell zu persönlichem Engagement und nicht zu Anonymität auf. Darüber hinaus können wir nicht anonym bleiben, während wir die Bischöfe auffordern, die Herausforderungen des öffentlichen Handelns

Die Priester, die unterschreiben, engagieren sich in einer pastoralen Initiative, nicht in einem politischen Unterfangen. Sie handeln in ihrem eigenen Namen, nicht als Mitglieder einer Gruppe oder einer Bewegung innerhalb der Kirche. Wir bitten darum, dass sie bei der Diskussion des Aufrufs klarstellen, dass sie für sich selbst sprechen, nicht aber für die anderen, die unterschrieben haben.

Wir sind uns bewusst, dass es Priester geben können, die mit den Grundanliegen und den Bekräftigungen des Evangeliums übereinstimmen, die im Aufruf zum Ausdruck gebracht werden, sich jedoch aus legitimen Gründen der Klugheit dafür entscheiden, nicht zu unterschreiben. Wir bitten in diesem Fall um ihre Gebete.


Der Aufruf beruht auf zwei beobachteten Tatsachen und einem daraus resultierenden pastoralen Urteil. Die Fakten sind diese:

1. das ernste pastorale Problem und der Schaden, der durch das Wiederaufleben eines schädlichen und lange abgelehnten Zugangs zur christlichen Moral verursacht wird.

2. die Unzulänglichkeit vergangener und gegenwärtiger kirchlicher Bemühungen, diesen falschen Ansatz zu beenden.

Das pastorale Urteil lautet: In Anbetracht dieser Geschichte brauchen wir jetzt eine formelle Korrektur dieser Irrtümer und eine erneute Bekräftigung der Lehren des Evangeliums, die mit der vollen Autorität des apostolischen Amtes zum Ausdruck gebracht wird. Andernfalls wird sich die ohnehin schon nachteilige Situation erheblich verschlechtern.

Es ist wichtig zu beachten, dass dieser schädliche Ansatz nicht neu ist, und dass seine Grundsätze von der Kirche wiederholt und präzise korrigiert wurden. Daher würde die pastorale Unterstützung, die wir im Aufruf fordern, keine tiefere Untersuchung seitens eines Bischofs erfordern, sondern allein, dass er seine volle apostolische Autorität dazu verwenden möge, die Lehren Christi und die Korrektur gegenläufiger Irrtümer durch die Kirche zu bekräftigen. Diese Form des apostolischen Zeugnisses für Christus und sein Evangelium hat eine einzigartige Wirksamkeit zur Überwindung des Schadens, der vom Irrtum angerichtet wurde, denn das Zeugnis ist ein göttlich feststehendes und vorgeschriebenes Mittel, um seine Gnade und Wahrheit der Menschheit zu bringen und diese in den Glauben und das Leben der Kirche einzugliedern (vgl. Lk 10,16; Mt 28,18-20; Apg 2,42; 1 Thess 2,13).


Als Priester, die auf den Schaden reagieren, den der falsche Ansatz in der Moraltheologie mit sich
bringt, wünschen wir:

1. öffentlich Zeugnis für Christus und seine Lehren zu geben und damit denjenigen, die zweifeln oder irregeführt werden, mit Rat beizustehen, Solidarität denjenigen auszudrücken, die unter schwierigen Umständen dem Evangelium treu bleiben, und Ermutigung unseren Mitbrüdern, den Priestern zu schenken, damit diese mit Mitgefühl, Ausdauer und dem authentischen Evangelium wirken, statt Ungeduld, Passivität oder absichtlicher Mehrdeutigkeit nachzugeben.

2. auf die jahrzehntelangen pastoralen Bemühungen der Kirche aufmerksam zu machen, die sich mühte, durch die Korrektur dieser Fehler den Schaden zu heilen.

3. in Anbetracht der Unzulänglichkeit dieser vergangenen Bemühungen zu verlangen, dass jeder Bischof seine volle apostolische Autorität in Anspruch nimmt, um das Evangelium zu bekräftigen und die Irrtümer zu widerlegen.

4. unsere pastoralen Anliegen darzulegen und auf brüderliche und kindliche Weise an unsere Bischöfe zu appellieren.

Stil und Umfang:

Die Sprache ist pastoral und religiös, während der Gebrauch von Fachterminologie aus
Theologie und kanonischem Recht minimiert wird.

Dies spiegelt am ehesten den Kern unserer Sorge wider, die, obwohl sie sich auf Angelegenheiten der Lehre bezieht, vor allem darauf gerichtet ist, denjenigen, die durch die erwähnte gefährliche
Zugangsweise zum christlichen Leben verletzt werden, zeitnah und effektiv zu helfen.

Wir glauben, dass dieser Stil auch der brüderlichen und kindlichen Natur des Aufrufs entspricht.
Die zehn Bekräftigungen der Lehren des Evangeliums, die im Aufruf enthalten sind, sind positive
Äußerungen des katholischen Glaubens, die einigen der grundsätzlichen Fragen, die durch die irrige Herangehensweise aufgeworfen wurden, begegnen sollen. Sie dienen nicht dazu, eine umfassende Analyse oder Widerlegung dieser falschen Ansichten zu geben.

Text und Übersetzungen:

Den offiziellen Text in englischer Sprache und weitere autorisierte Übersetzungen finden Sie unter

Full text of Kazakhstan Catholic Bishops statement on Amoris Laetitia

Profession of the immutable truths about sacramental marriage

After the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris laetitia” (2016) various bishops issued at local, regional, and national levels applicable norms regarding the sacramental discipline of those faithful, called “divorced and remarried,” who having still a living spouse to whom they are united with a valid sacramental matrimonial bond, have nevertheless begun a stable cohabitation more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse.

The aforementioned rules provide inter alia that in individual cases the persons, called “divorced and remarried,” may receive the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion, while continuing to live habitually and intentionally more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse. These pastoral norms have received approval from various hierarchical authorities. Some of these norms have received approval even from the supreme authority of the Church.

The spread of these ecclesiastically approved pastoral norms has caused a considerable and ever increasing confusion among the faithful and the clergy, a confusion that touches the central manifestations of the life of the Church, such as sacramental marriage with the family, the domestic church, and the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist.

According to the doctrine of the Church, only the sacramental matrimonial bond constitutes a domestic church (see Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 11). The admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” faithful to Holy Communion, which is the highest expression of the unity of Christ the Spouse with His Church, means in practice a way of approving or legitimizing divorce, and in this meaning a kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.

The mentioned pastoral norms are revealed in practice and in time as a means of spreading the “plague of divorce” (an expression used by the Second Vatican Council, see Gaudium et spes, 47). It is a matter of spreading the “plague of divorce” even in the life of the Church, when the Church, instead, because of her unconditional fidelity to the doctrine of Christ, should be a bulwark and an unmistakable sign of contradiction against the plague of divorce which is every day more rampant in civil society.

Unequivocally and without admitting any exception Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ solemnly reaffirmed God’s will regarding the absolute prohibition of divorce. An approval or legitimation of the violation of the sacredness of the marriage bond, even indirectly through the mentioned new sacramental discipline, seriously contradicts God’s express will and His commandment. This practice therefore represents a substantial alteration of the two thousand-year-old sacramental discipline of the Church. Furthermore, a substantially altered discipline will eventually lead to an alteration in the corresponding doctrine.

The constant Magisterium of the Church, beginning with the teachings of the Apostles and of all the Supreme Pontiffs, has preserved and faithfully transmitted both in the doctrine (in theory) and in the sacramental discipline (in practice) in an unequivocal way, without any shadow of doubt and always in the same sense and in the same meaning (eodem sensu eademque sententia), the crystalline teaching of Christ concerning the indissolubility of marriage.

Because of its Divinely established nature, the discipline of the sacraments must never contradict the revealed word of God and the faith of the Church in the absolute indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage. “The sacraments not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called “sacraments of faith.” (Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 59). “Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1125).

The Catholic faith by its nature excludes a formal contradiction between the faith professed on the one hand and the life and practice of the sacraments on the other. In this sense we can also understand the following affirmation of the Magisterium: “This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 43) and “Accordingly, the concrete pedagogy of the Church must always remain linked with her doctrine and never be separated from it” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).

In view of the vital importance that the doctrine and discipline of marriage and the Eucharist constitute, the Church is obliged to speak with the same voice. The pastoral norms regarding the indissolubility of marriage must not, therefore, be contradicted between one diocese and another, between one country and another. Since the time of the Apostles, the Church has observed this principle as St. Irenaeus of Lyons testifies: “The Church, though spread throughout the world to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the Apostles and their disciples, preserves this preaching and this faith with care and, as if she inhabits a single house, believes in the same identical way, as if she had only one soul and only one heart, and preaches the truth of the faith, teaches it and transmits it in a unanimous voice, as if she had only one mouth” (Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2). Saint Thomas Aquinas transmits to us the same perennial principle of the life of the Church: “There is one and the same faith of the ancients and the moderns, otherwise there would not be one and the same Church” (Questiones Disputatae de Veritate, q. 14, a. 12c).

The following warning from Pope John Paul II remains current and valid: “The confusion, created in the conscience of many faithful by the differences of opinions and teachings in theology, in preaching, in catechesis, in spiritual direction, about serious and delicate questions of Christian morals, ends up by diminishing the true sense of sin almost to the point of eliminating it” (Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitenia, 18).

The meaning of the following statements of the Magisterium of the Church is fully applicable to the doctrine and sacramental discipline concerning the indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage:

• “For the Church of Christ, watchful guardian that she is, and defender of the dogmas deposited with her, never changes anything, never diminishes anything, never adds anything to them; but with all diligence she treats the ancient doctrines faithfully and wisely, which the faith of the Fathers has transmitted. She strives to investigate and explain them in such a way that the ancient dogmas of heavenly doctrine will be made evident and clear, but will retain their full, integral, and proper nature, and will grow only within their own genus — that is, within the same dogma, in the same sense and the same meaning” (Pius IX, Dogmatic Bull Ineffabilis Deus)

• “With regard to the very substance of truth, the Church has before God and men the sacred duty to announce it, to teach it without any attenuation, as Christ revealed it, and there is no condition of time that can reduce the rigor of this obligation. It binds in conscience every priest who is entrusted with the care of teaching, admonishing, and guiding the faithful” (Pius XII, Discourse to parish priests and Lenten preachers, March 23, 1949).

• “The Church does not historicize, does not relativize to the metamorphoses of profane culture the nature of the Church that is always equal and faithful to itself, as Christ wanted it and authentic tradition perfected it” (Paul VI, Homily from October 28, 1965).

• “Now it is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ” (Paul VI, Encyclical Humanae Vitae, 29).

• “Any conjugal difficulties are resolved without ever falsifying and compromising the truth” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).

• “The Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm [of the Divine moral law]. In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).

• “The other principle is that of truth and consistency, whereby the church does not agree to call good evil and evil good. Basing herself on these two complementary principles, the church can only invite her children who find themselves in these painful situations to approach the divine mercy by other ways, not however through the sacraments of penance and the eucharist until such time as they have attained the required dispositions” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34).

• “The Church’s firmness in defending the universal and unchanging moral norms is not demeaning at all. Its only purpose is to serve man’s true freedom. Because there can be no freedom apart from or in opposition to the truth” (John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 96).

• “When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the ‘poorest of the poor’ on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality, we are all absolutely equal” (emphasis in original) (John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 96).

• “The obligation of reiterating this impossibility of admission to the Eucharist is required for genuine pastoral care and for an authentic concern for the well-being of these faithful and of the whole Church, as it indicates the conditions necessary for the fullness of that conversion to which all are always invited by the Lord” (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration on the admissibility to the Holy Communion of the divorced and remarried, 24 June 2000, n. 5).

As Catholic bishops, who — according to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council — must defend the unity of faith and the common discipline of the Church, and take care that the light of the full truth should arise for all men (see Lumen Gentium, 23 ) we are forced in conscience to profess in the face of the current rampant confusion the unchanging truth and the equally immutable sacramental discipline regarding the indissolubility of marriage according to the bi-millennial and unaltered teaching of the Magisterium of the Church. In this spirit we reiterate:

• Sexual relationships between people who are not in the bond to one another of a valid marriage — which occurs in the case of the so-called “divorced and remarried” — are always contrary to God’s will and constitute a grave offense against God.

• No circumstance or finality, not even a possible imputability or diminished guilt, can make such sexual relations a positive moral reality and pleasing to God. The same applies to the other negative precepts of the Ten Commandments of God. Since “there exist acts which, per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 17).

• The Church does not possess the infallible charism of judging the internal state of grace of a member of the faithful (see Council of Trent, session 24, chapter 1). The non-admission to Holy Communion of the so-called “divorced and remarried” does not therefore mean a judgment on their state of grace before God, but a judgment on the visible, public, and objective character of their situation. Because of the visible nature of the sacraments and of the Church herself, the reception of the sacraments necessarily depends on the corresponding visible and objective situation of the faithful.

• It is not morally licit to engage in sexual relations with a person who is not one’s legitimate spouse supposedly to avoid another sin. Since the Word of God teaches us, it is not lawful “to do evil so that good may come” (Romans 3, 8).

• The admission of such persons to Holy Communion may be permitted only when they with the help of God’s grace and a patient and individual pastoral accompaniment make a sincere intention to cease from now on the habit of such sexual relations and to avoid scandal. It is in this way that true discernment and authentic pastoral accompaniment were always expressed in the Church.

• People who have habitual non-marital sexual relations violate their indissoluble sacramental nuptial bond with their life style in relation to their legitimate spouse. For this reason they are not able to participate “in Spirit and in Truth” (see John 4, 23) at the Eucharistic wedding supper of Christ, also taking into account the words of the rite of Holy Communion: “Blessed are the guests at the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Revelation 19, 9).

• The fulfillment of God’s will, revealed in His Ten Commandments and in His explicit and absolute prohibition of divorce, constitutes the true spiritual good of the people here on earth and will lead them to the true joy of love in the salvation of eternal life.

Being bishops in the pastoral office, who promote the Catholic and Apostolic faith (“cultores catholicae et apostolicae fidei,” see Missale Romanum, Canon Romanus), we are aware of this grave responsibility and our duty before the faithful who await from us a public and unequivocal profession of the truth and the immutable discipline of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage. For this reason we are not allowed to be silent.

We affirm therefore in the spirit of St. John the Baptist, of St. John Fisher, of St. Thomas More, of Blessed Laura Vicuña and of numerous known and unknown confessors and martyrs of the indissolubility of marriage:

It is not licit (non licet) to justify, approve, or legitimize either directly or indirectly divorce and a non-conjugal stable sexual relationship through the sacramental discipline of the admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion, in this case a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.

By making this public profession before our conscience and before God who will judge us, we are sincerely convinced that we have provided a service of charity in truth to the Church of our day and to the Supreme Pontiff, Successor of Saint Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth.

31 December 2017, the Feast of the Holy Family, in the year of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.

+ Tomash Peta, Archbishop Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

+ Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop of Karaganda

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana


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 hominemarguments.

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.

Ehemalige Muslime, die katholisch geworden sind, und deren Freunde, an Seine Heiligkeit Papst Franziskus, über seine Haltung gegenüber dem Islam

Hier ist der Text eines offenen Briefes an Papst Franziskus, den Sie unterschreiben können, wenn Sie es wünschen. Wir werden ihn dem Papst zusenden, sobald er eine signifikante Anzahl von Unterzeichnern erreicht hat. Ich wäre Ihnen dankbar, wenn Sie ihn weiter verbreiten könnten. Für alle praktischen Zwecke erinnern wir: „Entsprechend ihrem Wissen, ihrer Zuständigkeit und ihrer hervorragenden Stellung haben sie (die Gläubigen) das Recht und bisweilen sogar die Pflicht, ihre Meinung in dem, was das Wohl der Kirche angeht, den geistlichen Hirten mitzuteilen und sie unter Wahrung der Unversehrtheit des Glaubens und der Sitten und der Ehrfurcht gegenüber den Hirten und unter Beachtung des allgemeinen Nutzens und der Würde der Personen den übrigen Gläubigen kundzutun.“ (Can. 212 § 3):

Heiliger Vater,

Viele von uns haben wiederholt und seit mehreren Jahren versucht, Sie zu kontaktieren, ohne das wir je eine Empfangsbestätigung unserer Briefe oder Bitten um ein Treffen erhalten haben. Sie mögen keine weltlichen Floskeln, und wir auch nicht, so erlauben wir uns Ihnen offen zu sagen, dass wir Ihre Lehre über den Islam nicht verstehen, so wie wir sie in den Paragraphen 252 und 253 von Evangelium gaudium lesen, weil sie nicht in Betracht zieht, dass der Islam NACH Christus entstanden ist, und so nichts anderes sein kann als ein Antichrist (Vgl. 1 Joh 2.22) und einer der gefährlichsten von allen weil es sich als die Erfüllung der Offenbarung darstellt (von der Jesus nur ein Prophet gewesen sein soll). Wenn der Islam an sich eine gute Religion ist, wie Sie zu lehren scheinen, warum sind wir dann katholisch geworden? Stellen Ihre Worte nicht unsere gut begründete Wahl in Frage … die wir auf die Gefahr unseres Lebens getroffen haben? Der Islam schreibt die Tötung von Abtrünnigen vor (Koran 4.89, 8.7-11). Wissen Sie das nicht? Wie ist es möglich, islamische Gewalt mit so genannter christlicher Gewalt zu vergleichen? „Wie steht Christus im Einklang mit Belial? Was haben Licht und Finsternis gemeinsam? Oder welche Anteil hat der Gläubige gemeinsam mit den Ungläubigen?“ (2 Kor 6,14-15). In Übereinstimmung mit Seiner Lehre (Lk 14,26) bevorzugten wir Ihn, Christus, unserem eigenen Leben. Sind wir nicht in der richtigen Lage, um mit Ihnen über den Islam zu sprechen?
In der Tat, solange der Islam will, dass wir sein Feind sind, sind wir es, und alle unsere Freundschaftsbeteuerungen können nichts daran ändern. Im guten Stil des Antichristen besteht der Islam nur darin, der Feind aller zu sein: „Zwischen uns und euch gibt es nur Feindschaft und Hass für immer, bis ihr ausschließlich an Allah glaubt!“ (Koran 60,4) Für den Koran, sind die Christen „nichts anders als Unreinheit“ (Koran 9,28), „die Übelsten der Schöpfung“ (Koran 98,6), sie sind alle zur Hölle verurteilt (Koran 4,48), so muss Allah sie vernichten (Koran 9.30). Man darf sich nicht von den als tolerant bezeichneten Koranversen täuschen lassen, denn sie sind alle durch die Sure des Schwertes aufgehoben worden (Koran 9,5). Während das Evangelium die gute Nachricht Jesu verkündet, der gestorben und auferstanden ist für das Heil aller, als die Erfüllung des mit dem hebräischen Volk eingegangen Bundes, hat Allah nichts anderes zu bieten als den Krieg und das Töten von „Ungläubigen“ in Gegenleistung seines Paradieses: „Sie kämpfen auf Allahs Weg, sie töten und werden getötet“ (Koran 9.111). Wir vermischen nicht den Islam mit den Muslimen, aber wenn für Sie der „Dialog“ der Weg des Friedens ist, ist er für den Islam ein anderer Weg, um Krieg zu führen. So wie es angesichts des Nazismus und Kommunismus war, ist Blauäugigkeit gegenüber dem Islam selbstmörderisch und sehr gefährlich. Wie kann man von Frieden sprechen und den Islam unterstützen, wie Sie es zu tun scheinen: „Wir müssen die Krankheit, die unser Leben vergiftet, aus unseren Herzen ausmerzen (…) Diejenigen, die Christen sind, sollen es mit der Bibel tun und die, die Muslime sind, sollen es mit der Koran tun“ (Rom, 20. Januar 2014)? Dass der Papst den Koran als einen Weg der des Heils vorzuschlagen scheint, ist das nicht beunruhigend? Sollten wir zum Islam zurückkehren?
Wir bitten Sie, im Islam keinen Verbündeten zu suchen für den Kampf, den Sie gegen die Mächte führen, die die Welt zu beherrschen und zu versklaven suchen, weil sie alle tatsächlich die gleiche totalitäre Logik üben, die sich auf die Verweigerung des Königtums Christi stützen (Lk 4,7). Wir wissen, dass das Tier der Apokalypse, das versucht, die Frau und ihr Kind zu verschlingen, viele Köpfe hat … Allah verbietet auch solche Bündnisse (Koran 5,51)! Und vor allem haben die Propheten Israel immer getadelt für sein Willen, Bündnisse mit fremden Mächten einzugehen, auf Kosten des absoluten Vertrauens, das man in Gott haben muss. Sicher, stark ist die Versuchung zu glauben, dass eine islamophile Haltung den Christen in muslimischen Ländern zusätzliches Leiden ersparen werde, doch Jesus hat uns nie auf einen anderen Weg hingewiesen als den des Kreuzes, so dass wir auf diesen unsere Freude finden werden, und ihn nicht zu fliehen mit allen Verdammten, wir haben keinen Zweifel, dass nur die Verkündigung der Wahrheit uns mit dem Heil die Freiheit bringen wird (Joh 8,32). Unsere Pflicht ist es, Zeugnis zu geben für die Wahrheit „mit und gegen die Zeit“ (2 Tim 4,2) und unsere Ehre ist es, mit den hl. Paulus zu sagen: „Denn ich hatte mir vorgenommen nichts anderes unter euch zu wissen als Jesus Christus, und Jesus Christus als Gekreuzigten“ (1 Kor. 2.2).
Im Zusammenhang mit der Ansprache Eurer Heiligkeit über den Islam, und selbst dann als Präsident Erdogan, unter anderen, seine Mitbürger aufforderte, sich nicht in ihre Gastländer zu integrieren, Saudi-Arabien und alle Petro-Monarchien keinen einzigen Flüchtling aufnehmen, sind dies Ausdrücke unter anderen des Projekts der Eroberung und Islamisierung Europas, das seit Jahrzehnten offiziell von der OIC (Organisation für Islamische Zusammenarbeit) und anderen islamischen Organisationen ausgerufen wurden. Heiligster Vater, Sie predigen die Aufnahme von Migranten ohne darauf zu achten, dass sie Muslime sind, während das apostolische Gebot dies verbietet: „Wenn einer zu euch kommt und diese Lehre nicht bringt, den nehmt nicht auf in das Haus und sagt ihm auch nicht den Gruß; wer ihm den Gruß entbietet, macht sich teilhaftig seiner bösen Werke“ (2 Joh 1,10-11); „Wenn jemand euch ein anderes Evangelium verkündet, als ihr empfangen habt, so sei er verflucht!“ (Gal 1,9).
Jesus hat nie gesagt: „Ich war ein Eindringling und ihr habt mich aufgenommen.“ Oder gar: „Ich war ein Fremder und ihr habt mich aufgenommen.“ Genau wie „Ich war hungrig und ihr habt mir kein Essen gegeben“ (Mt 25,35), kann nicht bedeuten, dass Jesus gerne ein Parasit gewesen wäre, auch „Ich war ein Fremder und ihr habt mich nicht willkommen geheißen“, kann nicht bedeuten „Ich war ein Eindringling und du hast mich nicht willkommen geheißen“. Aber „Ich brauchte deine Gastfreundschaft für eine Weile, und ihr habt sie mir gegeben“. Das Wort ξένος (Xenos) im Neuen Testament bezieht sich nicht nur auf die Bedeutung des Fremden, sondern auf die des Wirtes (Röm 16,23, 1 Kor 16,5-6, Kol 4,10, 3 Joh 1,5). Und wenn YHWH im Alten Testament befiehlt, Ausländer gut zu behandeln, weil die Hebräer selbst Ausländer in Ägypten waren, so ist es unter der Bedingung, dass sich der Ausländer so gut in das auserwählte Volk integriert, indem er seine Religion und die Kultausübungen übernimmt … Nie geht es um die Tatsache, einen Fremden aufzunehmen, der seine Religion und seine Sitten beibehält! Wir verstehen auch nicht, dass Sie die Muslime auffordern, ihre Religion in Europa auszuüben. Die Interpretation der Heiligen Schrift darf nicht den Befürwortern der Globalisierung überlassen werden, sondern aus der Treue zur Tradition hervorgehen. Der Gute Hirte verjagt den Wolf, er führt ihn nicht in die Schafherde ein.
Die pro-islamische Ansprache Eurer Heiligkeit führt uns dazu, die Tatsache zu bedauern, dass Muslime nicht eingeladen werden, den Islam zu verlassen, dass viele Ex-Muslime, wie Magdi Allam, die Kirche verlassen, angewidert von Feigheit, verwundet von zweideutigen Gesten, verwirrt durch den Mangel an Evangelisierung, empört über das Lob, das dem Islam gegeben wird… So werden unwissende Seelen irregeführt, und die Christen werden nicht vorbereitet auf die Konfrontation mit dem Islam, zu dem der hl. Johannes Paul II. Aufgerufen hatte (Ecclesia in Europa, Nr. 57). Wir haben den Eindruck, dass Ihr Mitbruder Bischof Nona Amel, ein aus Mosul verbannter chaldäischer Erzbischof, in der Wüste ruft: „Unsere gegenwärtigen Leiden sind der Auftakt für diejenigen, die ihr, Europäer und westliche Christen, in naher Zukunft erleiden werdet. Ich habe meine Diözese verloren. Der Sitz meiner Erzdiözese und mein Apostolat wurde von radikalen Islamisten besetzt, die wollen, dass wir konvertieren oder sterben. (…) Sie nehmen in ihrem Land immer mehr Muslime auf. Sie sind auch in Gefahr. Sie müssen starke und mutige Entscheidungen treffen (…). Sie denken, dass alle Menschen gleich sind, aber der Islam sagt nicht, dass alle Menschen gleich sind. (…) Wenn sie das nicht sehr schnell verstehen, werden sie zu den Opfern des Feindes, den sie in ihrem Haus aufgenommen haben“ (9. August 2014). Es geht um Leben und Tod, und jede Selbstgefälligkeit gegenüber dem Islam ist Verrat. Wir wollen nicht, dass der Westen sich weiter islamisiert und dass Ihre Handlungen dazu beitragen. Wohin sollten wir gehen, um erneut Zuflucht zu suchen?
Erlauben Sie uns, Eure Heiligkeit zu bitten, schnell eine Synode über die Gefahren des Islam einzuberufen. Was ist von der Kirche übriggeblieben, wo sich der Islam niedergelassen hat? Wenn ihr noch Stadtrecht gewährt wird, dann ist es in Dhimmitude (als Schutzbefohlene), vorausgesetzt, dass sie nicht evangelisiert, dass sie sich deshalb selbst verleugnen muss… Im Interesse von Gerechtigkeit und Wahrheit muss die Kirche offen zeigen, warum die Argumente des Islam, den christlichen Glauben zu lästern, falsch sind. Wenn die Kirche den Mut dazu hat, bezweifeln wir nicht, dass Millionen, Muslime und andere Männer und Frauen, die den wahren Gott suchen, sich bekehren werden. Wie Sie in Erinnerung gebracht haben: „Wer nicht zu Christus betet, betet zum Teufel“ (14.03.13). Wenn die Menschen wüssten, dass sie zur Hölle gehen würden, würden sie ihr Leben Christus geben (vgl. Koran 3.55).
Mit der tiefsten Liebe zu Christus, der durch Sie seine Kirche führt, bitten wir, Katholiken aus dem Islam konvertiert und unterstützt von vielen unserer Glaubensbrüder, besonders den Christen des Ostens, und von unseren Freunden, Eure Heiligkeit, unsere Bekehrung zu Jesus Christus, wahrer Gott und wahrer Mensch, einziger Erlöser, durch eine offene und rechte Ansprache über den Islam zu bestätigen. Wir versichern Ihnen unsere Gebete im Herzen der Unbefleckten, und erbitten Euren Apostolischen Segen.
Liste der Unterzeichner und entsprechende E-Mail-Adressen (Wahrscheinlich werden nicht alle ehemaligen Muslime diesen Brief unterschreiben aus Angst vor möglichen Repressalien…).


"Denn so wie die Untergebenen der Natur gemäß die Pflicht haben, ihren Vorgesetzen in allen vom Gesetz vorgesehenen Dingen zu gehorchen, so haben sie das Recht, dass ihre Vorgesetzten danach regieren. Durch das Gesetz Christi:
Denn Sein Geist hat den Apostel Paulus inspiriert, Petrus öffentlich zurechtzuweisen, als dieser nicht gemäß der Wahrheit des Evangeliums handelte (Gal 2). Der heilige Thomas von Aquin stellt fest, daß diese öffentliche Zurechtweisung eines Untergebenen gegenüber seinem
Vorgesetzten legitim war aufgrund der unmittelbar drohenden Gefahr eines Ärgernisses für den Glauben (Summa Theologiae IIa IIae, 33, 4 ad 2), und die “Glosse des heiligen Augustinus” fügt hinzu, dass bei dieser Gelegenheit “Petrus selbst den Oberen das Beispiel gab, sich nicht darüber zu empören, von den Untergebenen zurechtgewiesen zu werden, wenn sie vom rechten Weg
abweichen sollten“ (ibid). Auch das Gesetz der Kirche zwingt uns dazu, da es besagt, dass die „Gläubigen [...] entsprechend ihrem Wissen, ihrer Zuständigkeit und ihrer hervorragenden Stellung das Recht (haben) und bisweilen sogar die Pflicht, ihre Meinung in dem, was das Wohl der Kirche angeht, den geistlichen Hirten mitzuteilen“ (Codex Iuris Canonici, Can. 212, § 2 und 3; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, Can. 15, § 3)."
Correctio filialis

Zurechtweisung wegen der Verbreitung von Häresien

„Durch diese Worte, Taten und Unterlassungen und durch die oben genannten Stellen im Dokument Amoris laetitia hat Eure Heiligkeit auf direkte oder indirekte Weise (mit welchem und wieviel Bewusstsein wissen wir nicht noch wollen wir das beurteilen) folgende falschen und häretischen Thesen unterstützt, die in der Kirche sowohl mit dem offiziellen Amt als auch durch private Handlungen propagiert werden:

1.) Eine gerechtfertigte Person hat nicht die Kraft mit der Gnade Gottes die objektiven Gebote des Göttlichen Gesetzes zu halten, so als wären einige der Gebote unmöglich zu halten für jene, die gerechtfertigt sind; oder als würde die Gnade Gottes, indem sie ein Individuum rechtfertigt, nicht unveränderlich und durch ihre Natur die Bekehrung von jeder schweren Sünde bewirken; oder daß sie nicht ausreichend wäre für die Bekehrung von jeder schweren Sünde.

2.) Die Christen, die zivilrechtlich die Scheidung vom Ehegatten erhalten haben, mit dem sie gültig verheiratet sind, und standesamtlich eine neue Ehe mit einer anderen Person eingegangen sind (während ihr Ehegatte noch lebt), die also more uxorio mit ihrem standesamtlichen Partner zusammenleben und entschieden haben, in vollem Bewusstsein der Natur ihrer Handlung und mit voller Zustimmung des Willens in diesem Status zu verbleiben, befinden sich nicht unbedingt im Stand der Todsünde, können die heiligmachende Gnade empfangen und in der Liebe wachsen.

3.) Ein Christ kann die volle Kenntnis eines Göttlichen Gesetzes haben und willentlich entscheiden, es in einer schwerwiegenden Sache zu verletzten, und dennoch nicht als Folge dieser Handlung im Stand der Todsünde sein.

4.) Während sie dem Göttlichen Gesetz gehorcht, kann eine Person kraft desselben Gehorsams gegen Gott sündigen.

5.) Das Gewissen kann wirklich und richtig beurteilen, dass sexuelle Handlungen zwischen Personen, die eine standesamtliche Ehe eingegangen sind, obwohl eine oder beide sakramental mit einer anderen Person verheiratet sind, manchmal moralisch gut, erforderlich oder von Gott geboten sind.

6.) Die moralischen Grundsätze und Wahrheiten, die in der Göttlichen Offenbarung und im Naturrecht enthalten sind, enthalten keine negativen Verbote, die bestimmte Arten von Handlungen, die aufgrund ihres Objekts immer auf schwere Weise unzulässig sind, absolut verbieten.

7.) Unser Herr Jesus Christus will, dass die Kirche ihre immerwährende Disziplin aufgibt, den wiederverheirateten Geschiedenen die Eucharistie zu verweigern und den wiederverheirateten Geschiedenen, die keine Reue wegen ihres Lebensstandes zeigen und keinen festen Vorsatz sich zu ändern, die Absolution zu verweigern.

Alle diese Thesen widersprechen von Gott offenbarten Wahrheiten, die Katholiken durch Zustimmung zum Göttlichen Glauben zu glauben haben. Sie wurden bereits in der Petition zu Amoris laetitia als Häresien identifiziert, die von 45 katholischen Gelehrten den Kardinälen und den Patriarchen der Ostkirchen übermittelt wurde. Für das Wohl der Seelen ist es nötig, dass sie erneut von der kirchlichen Autorität verurteilt werden. Mit der Auflistung dieser sieben Thesen wollen wir keine vollständige Liste aller Häresien und Irrtümer vorlegen, die der Leser bei einer objektiven Lektüre von Amoris laetitia, gemäß seinem natürlichen und offensichtlichen Sinn, feststellen würde, da sie durch das Dokument behauptet, nahegelegt oder in begünstigt werden. Vielmehr beziehen wir uns auf jene sieben Thesen, die Eure Heiligkeit durch Worte, Taten und Unterlassungen – wie bereits dargelegt – effektiv unterstützt und verbreitet, und dadurch einen große und unmittelbare Gefahr für die Seelen verursacht hat.

Deshalb wenden wir uns in dieser kritischen Stunde an die cathedra veritatis, die Römische Kirche, die durch das Göttliche Gesetz Vorrang vor allen Kirchen hat und deren loyale Söhne wir sind und immer sein wollen. Respektvoll beharren wir darauf, dass Eure Heiligkeit öffentlich diese Thesen zurückweist und so den Auftrag erfüllt, den Unser Herr Jesus Christus dem Petrus und durch ihn allen seinen Nachfolgern übertragen hat bis zum Ende der Welt: ‚Ich aber habe für dich gebetet, dass dein Glaube nicht erlischt. Und wenn du dich wieder bekehrt hast, dann stärke deine Brüder‘ (Lk 22,32).

Respektvoll bitten wir um Euren Apostolischen Segen und versichern Sie unserer kindlichen Ergebenheit in Unserem Herrn und unseres Gebets für das Wohl der Kirche.“

Nähere Informationen: www.correctiofilialis.org
Deutsch: www.katholisch-bleiben.de

„Unser Gewissen drängt uns …“

Heiliger Vater,

mit einer gewissen Beklemmung wende ich mich an Eure Heiligkeit während dieser Tage der Osterzeit. Ich tue dies im Namen der Kardinäle Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Burke, Joachim Meisner und in meinem eigenen.

Es ist unser Wunsch, vor allem unsere absolute Hingabe und unsere bedingungslose Liebe zum Stuhl Petri und für Eure Person zu erneuern, in der wir den Nachfolger des Petrus und den Stellvertreter Jesu anerkennen: den „süßen Christus auf Erden“ wie die hl. Katharina von Siena zu sagen liebte. Uns ist nicht im Geringsten die Position jener zu eigen, die den Stuhl des Petrus für vakant erachten noch jene, die auch anderen die unteilbare Verantwortung des Petrinischen „Munus“ zuschreiben wollen. Uns drängt allein durch das Bewußtsein einer großen Verantwortung getrieben, die vom „Munus“ der Kardinäle herrührt: Berater des Nachfolgers Petri in seinem souveränen Amt zu sein. Und des Sakraments des Episkopats: „Gebt Acht auf euch und auf die ganze Herde, in der euch der Heilige Geist zu Bischöfen bestellt hat, damit ihr als Hirten für die Kirche Gottes sorgt, die er sich durch das Blut seines eigenen Sohnes erworben hat“ (Ap 20,28).

Am 19. September 2016 haben wir Eurer Heiligkeit und der Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre fünf „Dubia“ übergeben und Euch gebeten, Unsicherheiten zu zerstreuen und Klarheit zu einigen Punkten des nachsynodalen Apostolischen Schreibens Amoris laetitia zu schaffen.

Da wir keinerlei Antwort von Eurer Heiligkeit erhalten haben, sind wir zum Entschluß gekommen, Euch respektvoll und demütig um Audienz zu bitten, wenn es Eurer Heiligkeit gefallen sollte. Wir fügen, wie es üblich ist, ein Audienzgesuch bei, auf dem wir die beiden Punkte nennen, über die wir mit Euch sprechen möchten.

Heiliger Vater,

inzwischen ist ein Jahr seit der Veröffentlichung von Amoris laetitia vergangen. In dieser Zeit wurden öffentlich Interpretationen zu einigen objektiv zweideutigen Stellen des nachsynodalen Schreibens gegeben, die vom beständigen Lehramt der Kirche nicht nur abweichen, sondern diesem widersprechen. Obwohl der Präfekt der Glaubenskongregation mehrfach erklärte, daß sich die Lehre der Kirche nicht geändert hat, sind zahlreiche Erklärungen von einzelnen Bischöfen , Kardinälen, ja sogar von Bischofskonferenzen erfolgt, die gutheißen, was das Lehramt der Kirche nie gutgeheißen hat. Nicht nur der Zugang zur Heiligen Eucharistie von jenen, die objektiv und öffentlich in einem Zustand der schweren Sünde leben und darin bleiben wollen, sondern auch ein Verständnis des moralischen Gewissens, das der Tradition der Kirche widerspricht. Dadurch geschieht – wie schmerzvoll ist es, das festzustellen! –, daß das, was in Polen Sünde ist, in Deutschland gut ist, was im Erzbistum Philadelphia verboten ist, auf Malta erlaubt ist, und so weiter. Es kommt einem die bittere Feststellung von Blaise Pascal in den Sinn: „Diesseits der Pyrenäen Wahrheit, jenseits Irrtum; Gerechtigkeit am linken Flußufer, Ungerechtigkeit am rechten Flußufer.“

Zahlreiche kompetente Laien, die die Kirche auf das Innigste lieben und loyal zum Apostolischen Stuhl stehen, haben sich an ihre Hirten und an Eure Heiligkeit gewandt, um in der Heiligen Glaubenslehre zu den drei Sakramenten der Ehe, der Buße und der Eucharistie bestärkt zu werden. Gerade in diesen Tagen haben in Rom sechs Laien aus allen Kontinenten eine sehr gut besuchte Studientagung abgehalten mit dem aussagekräftigen Titel „Klarheit schaffen“.

Angesichts dieser schwerwiegenden Situation, in der sich viele christliche Gemeinschaften spalten, spüren wir die Last unserer Verantwortung und unser Gewissen drängt uns, Sie demütig und respektvoll um Audienz zu bitten.

Mögen Eure Heiligkeit unser im Gebet gedenken, so wie wir Euch versichern, es in unseren zu tun. Wir bitten zudem um das Geschenk Eures Apostolischen Segens.

Carlo Kardinal Caffarra

Rom, 25. April 2017
Fest des heiligen Evangelisten Markus

Einleitung/Übersetzung: Giuseppe Nardi
Bild: MiL/Vatican.va (Montage)


With Burning Concern - We Accuse Pope Francis

September 19, 2016
Feast of Saint Januarius in the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Your Holiness:
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.

Christopher A. Ferrara
Lead Columnist, The Remnant

Michael J. Matt
Editor, The Remnant

John Vennari
Editor, Catholic Family News


By the grace of God and the law of the 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 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. You simply ignore the theological and moral decrepitude of the Vatican’s Protestant “partners” in “ecumenical dialogue”—so-called churches that reject fundamental dogmas of the one true religion established by Christ in the Catholic Church, including the primacy of Peter, a sacrificial priesthood limited to men, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the existence of seven sacraments. These same man-made religions have totally collapsed morally, approving divorce, contraception, abortion and even the abomination of “homosexual unions” founded on the habitual practice of sodomy. It is a mockery of the Gospel, and contrary to reason itself, to declare that those who profess these grievous errors belong to the same Church as faithful Catholics.

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).”

An Absurd Whitewash of Islam

Assuming the role of a Koranic exegete in order to exculpate Mohammed’s cult from its unbroken historic connection to the conquest and brutal persecution of Christians, you declare: “Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” [Evangelii gaudium, 253]
You ignore the entire history of Islam’s war against Christianity, continuing to this day, as well as the present-day barbaric legal codes and persecution of Christians in the world’s Islamic republics, including Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. These are regimes of oppression intrinsic to Sharia law, which Muslims believe Allah has ordained for the whole world, and which they attempt to establish wherever they become a significant percentage of the population. As you would have it, however, Muslim republics all lack an “authentic” understanding of the Koran!

You even attempt to minimize outright Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, Africa and the very heart of Europe by daring to posit a moral equivalence between Muslim fanatics waging jihad—as they have since Islam first emerged—and imaginary “fundamentalism” on the part of the observant Catholics you never cease publicly condemning and insulting. During one of the rambling in-flight press conferences in which you have so often embarrassed the Church and undermined Catholic doctrine, you uttered this infamous opinion, typical of your absurd insistence that the religion founded by God Incarnate and the perennially violent cult founded by the degenerate Mohammed are on equal moral footing:

I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence, because every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy … this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law … and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence ... I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists. Fundamentalists. We have them. When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language—the Apostle James says this, not me—and even with a knife, no? I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence.

It defies belief that a Roman Pontiff would declare that random crimes of violence committed by Catholics, and their mere words, are morally equivalent to radical Islam’s worldwide campaign of terrorist acts, mass murder, torture, enslavement and rape in the name of Allah. It seems you are quicker to defend Mohammed’s ridiculous and deadly cult against just opposition than you are the one true Church against her innumerable false accusers. Far from your mind is the Church’s perennial view of Islam expressed by Pope Pius XI in his Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart: “Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God.”

A Reformist “Dream,” Backed by an Iron Fist

All in all, you appear to be afflicted by a reformist mania that knows no bounds beyond your “dream” of the way the Church should be. As you declared in your unprecedented personal papal manifesto, Evangelii gaudium (nn. 27, 49):

I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation….

More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat” (Mk 6:37).

Incredibly enough, you profess that the immemorial “structures” and “rules” of the Holy Catholic Church were cruelly inflicting spiritual starvation and death before your arrival from Buenos Aires, and that now you wish to change literally everything in the Church in order to make her merciful. How are the faithful to see this as anything but the sign of a frightening megalomania? You even declare that evangelization, as you understand it, must not be limited by fear over the Church’s “self-preservation”—as if the two things were somehow opposed!

Your gauzy dream of reforming everything is accompanied by an iron fist that smashes any attempt to restore the vineyard already devastated by a half-century of reckless “reforms.” For as you revealed in your manifesto (Evangelii gaudium, 94), you are filled with contempt for tradition-minded Catholics, whom you rashly accuse of “self-absorbed Promethean neopelagianism” and of “feel[ing] superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past.”

You even ridicule a “supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline” because, according to you, it “leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others…” But it is you who are constantly classifying and analyzing others with an endless stream of pejoratives, caricatures, insults and condemnations of observant Catholics you deem insufficiently responsive to the “God of surprises” you introduced during the Synod.

Hence your brutal destruction of the thriving Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate on account of a “definitely traditionalist drift.” This was followed by your decree that henceforth any attempt to erect a new diocesan institute for consecrated life (for example, to accommodate displaced members of the Friars) will be null and void absent prior “consultation” with the Holy See (i.e., de facto permission that can and will be withheld indefinitely). You thus dramatically diminish the perennial autonomy of bishops in their own dioceses even as you preach a new age of “collegiality” and “synodality.”

Targeting cloistered convents, you have further decreed measures to compel the surrender of their local autonomy to federations governed by ecclesial bureaucrats, the routine breaking of the cloister for external “formation,” the mandated intrusion of laity into the cloister for Eucharistic adoration, the outrageous disqualification of conventual voting majorities if they are “elderly,” and a universal requirement of nine years of “formation” before final vows, which is certain to stifle new vocations and ensure the extinction of many of the remaining cloisters.

God help us!

A Relentless Drive to Accommodate Sexual Immorality in the Church

But nothing exceeds the arrogance and audacity with which you have relentlessly pursued the imposition upon the Church universal of the same evil practice you authorized as Archbishop of Buenos Aires: the sacrilegious administration of the Blessed Sacrament to people living in adulterous “second marriages” or cohabiting without even the benefit of a civil ceremony.

From almost the moment of your election you have promoted the “Kasper proposal”—rejected repeatedly by the Vatican under John Paul II. Cardinal Walter Kasper, an arch-liberal even among the liberal German hierarchy, had long argued for the admission of divorced and “remarried” persons to Holy Communion in “certain cases” according to a bogus “penitential path” that would admit them to the Sacrament while they continue their adulterous sexual relations. Kasper belonged to the “St. Gallen group” that lobbied for your election, and thereafter you royally rewarded his persistence in error, with the press happily dubbing him “the Pope’s theologian.”

You began preparing the way for your destructive innovation by a resort to what can only be called demagogic sloganeering. As your manifesto (Evangelii gaudium, 47) declared in November of 2013: “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators.”

This blatant appeal to emotion caricatures the worthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament in a state of grace as “a prize for the perfect” while seditiously insinuating that the Church has for too long deprived “the weak” of Eucharistic “nourishment.” Hence your equally demagogic accusation that the Church’s sacred ministers have acted cruelly as “arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators” by denying Holy Communion to “the weak” as opposed to “the perfect,” and that you must remedy this injustice with “boldness.”

But, of course, the Holy Eucharist is not “nourishment” or “medicine” for the obviation of mortal sin. Quite to the contrary, its knowing reception in that state is a profanation deadly to the soul and thus cause for damnation: “Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:27-29).”

As any properly catechized child knows, Confession is the medicine by which mortal sin is remedied, whereas the Eucharist (aided by regular recourse to Confession) is spiritual nourishment for maintaining and increasing the state of grace following absolution so that one does not fall into mortal sin again but rather grows in communion with God. But it appears that the very concept of mortal sin is absent from the corpus of your formal documents, addresses, remarks and pronouncements.

Leaving no doubt of your plan, only a few months later, at the “extraordinary consistory on the family,” you arranged events so that none other than Cardinal Kasper was the only formal speaker. During his two-hour address on February 20, 2014—which you wished to be kept secret but was leaked to the Italian press as a “secret” and “exclusive” document—Kasper presented his insane proposal to admit certain public adulterers to Holy Communion while alluding directly to your slogan: “the sacraments are not a prize for those who behave well or for an elite, excluding those who are most in need [EG 47].” You have not since wavered in your determination to institutionalize in the Church the grave abuse of the Eucharist you permitted in Buenos Aires.

In this regard it seems you have little regard for sacramental marriage as an objective fact as opposed to what people subjectively feel about the status of immoral relationships the Church can never recognize as matrimony. In remarks which alone will discredit your bizarre pontificate until the end of time, you declared that “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null” whereas certain people cohabiting without marriage can have “a true marriage” because of their “fidelity.” Are these remarks perhaps a reflection of your divorced and “remarried” sister and cohabiting nephew?

This opinion, which a renowned canonist rightly called “preposterous”, provoked worldwide protest on the part of the faithful. In an effort to minimize the scandal, the Vatican’s “official transcript” altered your words from “great majority of our sacramental marriages” to “a part of our sacramental marriages” but left intact your disgraceful approbation of immoral cohabitation as “true marriage.”

Nor do you seem concerned about the sacrilege involved in public adulterers and cohabiters receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. As you told the woman in Argentina to whom you gave “permission” on the telephone to receive Communion while living in adultery with a divorced man: “A little bread and wine does no harm.” You have never denied the woman’s account, and it would only be consistent with your refusal to kneel at the Consecration or before the exposed Blessed Sacrament even though you have no difficulty kneeling to kiss the feet of Muslims during your grotesque parody of the traditional Holy Thursday mandatum, which you have abandoned. It would also comport with your remarks to a Lutheran woman, in the Lutheran church you attended on a Sunday, that the dogma of transubstantiation is a mere “interpretation,” that “life is bigger than explanations and interpretations," and that she should “talk to the Lord” about whether to receive Communion in a Catholic Church—which she later did following your evident encouragement.

In line with your scant regard for sacramental marriage is your precipitous and secretive “reform” of the annulment process, which you foisted upon the Church without consulting any of the competent Vatican dicasteries. Your Motu Proprio Mitis IudexDominus Iesuserects the framework for a veritable worldwide annulment mill with a “fast-track” procedure and nebulous new grounds for expedited annulment proceedings. As the head of your clandestinely contrived reform later explained, your express intention is to promote among the bishops “a ‘conversion’, a change of mentality which convinces and sustains them in following the invitation of Christ, present in their brother, the Bishop of Rome, to pass from the restricted number of a few thousand annulments to that immeasurable [number] of unfortunates who might have a declaration of nullity…”

Thus does “the Bishop of Rome” demand from his fellow bishops a vast increase in the number of annulments! A distinguished Catholic journalist later reported on the emergence of a seven-page dossier in which curial officials “juridically ‘picked apart’ the Pope’s motu proprio… accuse the Holy Father of giving up an important dogma, and assert that he has introduced de facto ‘Catholic divorce.’” These officials deplored what this journalist describes as “an ecclesialized ‘Führerprinzip,’ ruling from the top down, by decree and without any consultation or any checks.” The same officials fear that “the motu proprio will lead to a flood of annulments and that from now on, couples would be able to simply exit their Catholic marriage without a problem.” They are “‘beside themselves’ and feel obligated to ‘speak up’…”

But you are nothing if not consistent in pursuing your aims. Early in your pontificate, during one of the in-flight press conferences at which you have first revealed your plans, you stated: “The Orthodox follow the theology of economy, as they call it, and they give a second chance of marriage [sic], they allow it. I believe that this problem must be studied.” For you, the lack of any “second chance of marriage” in the Catholic Church is a problem to be studied. You have clearly spent the past three-and-a-half years contriving to impose on the Church something approximating the Orthodox practice.

A distinguished canonist who is a consultant to the Apostolic Signatura has warned that as result of your reckless disregard of the reality of sacramental marriage:

a crisis (in the Greek sense of that word) over marriage is unfolding in the Church, and it is a crisis that will, I suggest, come to a head over matrimonial discipline and law…. I think the marriage crisis that he [Francis] is occasioning is going to come down to whether Church teaching on marriage, which everyone professes to honor, will be concretely and effectively protected in Church law, or, whether the canonical categories treating marriage doctrine become so distorted (or simply disregarded) as essentially to abandon marriage and married life to the realm of personal opinion and individual conscience.

Amoris Laetitia: The Real Motive for the Sham Synod

That crisis reached its peak following the conclusion of your disastrous “Synod on the Family.” Although you manipulated this event from beginning to end to obtain the result you desired—Holy Communion for public adulterers in “certain cases”—it fell short of your expectations because of opposition from the conservative Synod Fathers you demagogically denounced as having “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.”

In a brutal abuse of rhetoric, you likened your orthodox episcopal opponents to the Pharisees, who practiced divorce and “remarriage” according to the Mosaic dispensation. These were the very bishops who defended the teaching of Christ against the Pharisees—and your own designs! Indeed, you seem intent on reviving a Pharisaical acceptance of divorce by way of a “neo-Mosaic practice.” A renowned Catholic journalist known for his moderate approach to analysis of Church affairs protested your reprehensible behavior: “For a pope to criticize those who remain faithful to that tradition, and characterize them as somehow unmerciful and as aligning themselves with hard-hearted Pharisees against the merciful Jesus is bizarre.”

In the end, the “synodal journey” you extolled was revealed as nothing but a sham concealing the foregone conclusion of your appalling “Apostolic Exhortation,” Amoris Laetitia. Therein your ghostwriters, principally in Chapter Eight, employ artful ambiguity to open wide the door to Holy Communion for public adulterers by reducing the natural law forbidding adultery to a “general rule” to which there can be exceptions for people who “have great difficulty in understanding ‘its inherent values’” or are living “in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently… (¶¶ 2, 301, 304)” Amoris is a transparent attempt to smuggle a mitigated form of situation ethics into matters of sexual morality, as if the error could be thus confined.

Your evident obsession with legitimating Holy Communion for public adulterers has led you to defy the constant moral teaching and intrinsically related sacramental discipline of the Church, affirmed by both of your immediate predecessors. That discipline is based on the teaching of Our Lord Himself on the indissolubility of marriage as well as the teaching of Saint Paul on the divine punishment due to the unworthy reception of Holy Communion. To quote John Paul II in this regard:

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.” [Familiaris consortio, n. 84]

You have ignored the worldwide pleas of priests, theologians and moral philosophers, Catholic associations and journalists, and even a few courageous prelates among an otherwise silent hierarchy, to retract or “clarify” the tendentious ambiguities and outright errors of Amoris, particularly in Chapter Eight.

A Grave Moral Error Now Explicitly Approved

And now, moving beyond a devious use of ambiguity, you have authorized explicitly behind the scenes what you have condoned ambiguously in public. The scheme was brought to light with the leaking of your “confidential” letter to the bishops of the pastoral region of Buenos Aires—where, as Archbishop, you had already authorized mass sacrilege in the villas (slums).

In this letter you praise the bishops’ document on “Basic Criteria for the Application of Chapter Eight of Amoris Laetitia”—as if there were some duty to “apply” the document so as to produce a change in the Church’s bimillennial sacramental discipline. You write: “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations.” Is it a coincidence that this document comes from the very archdiocese where, as Archbishop, you had long since authorized the admission of public adulterers and cohabiters to Holy Communion?

What was only clearly implied before is now made explicit, and those who insisted Amoris changes nothing have been made to look like fools. The document you now praise as the only correct interpretation of Amoris radically undermines the doctrine and practice of the Church your predecessors defended. In the first place, it reduces to an “option” the moral imperative that divorced and “remarried” couples “live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.” According to the bishops of Buenos Aires—with your approval—it is merely “possible to propose that they make the effort of living in continence. Amoris Laetitia does not ignore the difficulties of this option.”

As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared definitively only 18 years ago during the reign of the very Pope you canonized: “if the prior marriage of two divorced and remarried members of the faithful was valid, under no circumstances can their new union be considered lawful and therefore reception of the sacraments is intrinsically impossible. The conscience of the individual is bound to this norm without exception.” This is the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for two millennia.

Moreover, no parish priest or even a bishop has the power to honor in the so-called “internal forum” the claim of one living in adultery that his “conscience” tells him that his sacramental marriage was really invalid because, as the CDF further admonished, “marriage has a fundamental public ecclesial character and the axiom applies that nemo iudex in propria causa (no one is judge in his own case), marital cases must be resolved in the external forum. If divorced and remarried members of the faithful believe that their prior marriage was invalid, they are thereby obligated to appeal to the competent marriage tribunal so that the question will be examined objectively and under all available juridical possibilities.”

Having reduced an exceptionless moral norm rooted in divine revelation to an option, the bishops of Buenos Aires, citing Amoris as their only authority in 2,000 years of Church teaching, next declare: “In other, more complex circumstances, and when it is not possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, the aforementioned option may not, in fact, be feasible.” A universal moral norm is thus relegated to the category of a mere guideline to be disregarded if a local priest deems it “unfeasible” in certain undefined “complex circumstances.” What exactly are these “complex circumstances” and what does “complexity” have to do with exceptionless moral norms founded on revelation?

Finally, the bishops reach the disastrous conclusion you have contrived to impose upon the Church from the beginning of the “synodal journey”:

Nonetheless, it is equally possible to undertake a journey of discernment. If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), particularly when a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (cf. notes 336 and 351). These in turn dispose the person to continue maturing and growing with the aid of grace.

With your praise and approbation, the bishops of Buenos Aires declare for the first time in Church history that an ill-defined class of people living in adultery may be absolved and receive Holy Communion while remaining in that state. The consequences are catastrophic.

A “Pastoral Practice” at War with Doctrine

You have approved as the only correct interpretation of Amoris a moral calculus that would in practice undermine the whole moral order, not just the norms of sexual morality you obviously seek to subvert. For the application of virtually any moral norm can be deemed “unfeasible” by a talismanic invocation of “complex circumstances” to be “discerned” by a priest or bishop in “pastoral practice” while the norm is piously defended as unchanged and unchangeable as a “general rule.”

The nebulous criterion of “limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability” could be applied to all manner of habitual mortal sin, including cohabitation—which you have already likened to “true marriage”—“homosexual unions”—whose legalization you have refused to oppose—and contraception, which, incredibly, you have declared is morally permissible in order to prevent the transmission of disease, which the Vatican later confirmed is in fact your view.

Thus the Church would “in certain cases” contradict in practice what she teaches in principle regarding morality, meaning that the moral principle is practically overthrown. In the midst of the synodal sham, but without mentioning you, Cardinal Robert Sarah rightly condemned such a specious disjunction between moral precepts and their “pastoral application”: “The idea that would consist in placing the Magisterium in a nice box by detaching it from pastoral practice—which could evolve according to the circumstances, fads, and passions—is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology.”

Yet, as you would have it, based on “discernment” by local priests or ordinaries, certain people living in an objective condition of adultery can be deemed subjectively inculpable and admitted to Holy Communion without any commitment to an amendment of life even though they know the Church teaches that their relationship is adulterous. In a recent interview the renowned Austrian philosopher Josef Seifert, a friend of Pope John Paul II and one of the many critics of Amoris whose private entreaties for correction or retraction of the document you have ignored, has publicly noted the moral and pastoral absurdity of what you now explicitly approve:

How should that be applied? Should the priest say to one adulterer: “You are a good adulterer. You are in the state of grace. You are a very pious person, so you get my absolution without changing your life and you can go to Holy Communion.” And in comes another, and he [the priest] says: “Oh, you are a real adulterer. You must first confess. You must revoke your life. You must change your life and then you can go to Communion.”

I mean, how should that work?.... How can a priest be a judge of the soul [and] say that one is a real sinner and the other is only an innocent, good man? I mean that seems completely impossible. Only a priest who would have a kind of Padre Pio vision of souls could possibly say that, and he [Padre Pio] wouldn’t say that….

With your praise and approval, the bishops of Buenos Aires even suggest that children will be harmed if their divorced and “remarried” parents are not permitted to continue engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage while they profane the Blessed Sacrament. One casuitical defender of your departure from sound teaching surmises that this means adultery is only a venial sin if one partner in adultery is under “duress” to continue engaging in adulterous sexual relations because the other partner threatens to leave the children unless he is given sexual satisfaction. According to that moral logic, any mortal sin, including abortion, would be rendered venial merely by one party’s threat to end an adulterous relationship if the sin is not committed.

Even worse, it that were possible, the bishops of Buenos Aires, relying solely on your novelties, dare to suggest that people who continue habitually to engage in adulterous sexual relations will grow in grace while sacrilegiously receiving Holy Communion.

You have thus contrived no mere “change of discipline” but rather a radical change of underlying moral doctrine that would effectively institutionalize a form of situation ethics in the Church, reducing universally binding, objective moral precepts to mere general rules from which there would be innumerable subjective “exceptions” based on “complex circumstances” and “limitations” that would supposedly reduce habitual mortal sins to venial sins or even mere faults posing no impediment to Holy Communion.

But God Incarnate admitted of no such “exceptions” when He decreed by His divine authority: “Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery (Lk 16:18).” Every one.

Moreover, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under John Paul II declared in rejecting the “Kasper proposal” that has clearly been your proposal all along: “This norm [excluding public adulterers from the sacraments] is not at all a punishment or a discrimination against the divorced and remarried, but rather expresses an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion.”

That is, the Church can never permit those living in adultery to be treated as if their immoral unions were valid marriages, even if the partners in adultery implausibly claim subjective inculpability while knowingly living in violation of the Church’s infallible teaching. For the resulting scandal would erode and ultimately ruin the faith of the people in both the indissolubility of marriage and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. With your full approval, however, the bishops of Buenos Aires have rejected John Paul II’s admonition in Familiaris consortio that “if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

At this very moment in Church history, therefore, you are leading the faithful “into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.” Indeed, so determined are you to impose your errant will upon the Church that in Amoris (n. 303) you dared to suggest that God Himself condones the continued sexual relations of the divorced and “remarried” if they can do no better in their “complex” circumstances:

Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.

In explicitly approving Holy Communion for select public adulterers in your letter to Buenos Aires you also undermine the ability of more conservative bishops to maintain the Church’s traditional teaching. How can bishops in America, Canada and Poland, for example, continue to insist on the Church’s bimillenial discipline, intrinsically connected to revealed truth, when you have dispensed with it in Buenos Aires on the authority of your “apostolic exhortation”? On what ground will they stand against a swarm of objections now that you have removed the ground of Tradition from beneath their feet?

In sum, after years of artful ambiguity regarding the standing of public adulterers with respect to Confession and Holy Communion, you now just as artfully declare the purported overthrow of the Church’s doctrine and practice of the Church by employing a “confidential” letter you must have known would be leaked, sent in response to a document from Buenos Aires you may well have solicited as part of the process you have been guiding since the sham “Synod on the Family” was announced.

As the Catholic intellectual and author Antonio Socci has written: “It is the first time in the history of the Church that a Pope has placed his signature on an overturning of the moral law.” No previous Pope has ever perpetrated such an outrage.

“Exceptions” to the Moral Law Cannot be Confined

Curiously enough, however, your novel moral calculus does not seem to apply to the other sins you constantly condemn while carefully observing the bounds of political correctness. Nowhere, for example, do you indicate that “complex circumstances” or “limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability” would excuse the Mafiosi you have rhetorically “excommunicated” en masse and warned of Hell, the rich you condemn as “bloodsuckers” or even the observant Catholics you ludicrously accuse of “the sin of divination” and “the sin of idolatry” because they will not accept “the surprises of God”—meaning your novelties.

Your entire pontificate seems to have centered on declaring an amnesty for sins of the flesh only, the very sins that, as Our Lady of Fatima warned, send more souls to hell than any other. But what makes you think the moral genie you have let out of the bottle, which you call the “God of surprises,” can be confined only to those moral precepts you deem overly rigid in application? To create exceptions to one exceptionless moral precept is effectively to undo them all. Your novelty attacks the foundations of the Faith and threatens to topple the Church’s entire moral edifice “like a house of cards”—the very outcome you accused observant Catholics of promoting on account of their supposed “rigorism” and attachment to “small-minded rules.”

But you are heedless of such obvious consequences. When asked about your approach to opposition from “ultra-conservatives,” meaning orthodox bishops and cardinals, you repliedwith the insouciant arrogance that is a hallmark of your governance of the Church: “They do their job and I do mine. I want a Church that is open, understanding, that accompanies wounded families. They say no to everything. I go ahead, without looking over my shoulder.”

In an astonishing display of haughty contempt for the Church of which you were elected head, you have dared to say: “the Church herself sometimes follows a hard line, she falls into the temptation of following a hard line, into the temptation of stressing only the moral rules, many people are excluded.”

Never before has a Pope declared that he will personally remedy the Church’s lack of openness and understanding and her “temptation” to take a “hard line” on morality so as to “exclude” people. Such alarmingly hubristic pronouncements give rise to the distinct impression that your unexpected election represents an almost apocalyptic development.

Ignoring All Entreaties, You Forge Ahead with Your “Revolution”

As you have gone about your work of destruction, you have ignored every private entreaty addressed to you, including innumerable requests that you affirm that Amoris Laetitia does not depart from prior teaching, as well as a document prepared by a group of Catholic scholars who identified heretical and erroneous propositions in Amoris and pleaded with you to condemn and withdraw them. It is evident you have no intention of accepting fraternal correction from anyone, not even the cardinals who have requested that you “clarify” the conformity of your teaching with the infallible Magisterium.

On the contrary, the more alarmed the faithful become, the more boldly you act. Continuing your programmatic loosening in practice of the Church’s moral teaching concerning sexuality, you have authorized the Pontifical Council for the Family to publish the first classroom “sex education” program ever promulgated by the Holy See. One of the associations of lay faithful that has risen to defend the Faith in the face of the hierarchy’s general silence before your onslaught of dissolvent novelties has published asummary of this horrific curriculum, which blatantly violates the Church’s constant teaching against any form of explicit classroom “sex-education”:

• Handing the sexual formation of children over to educators while leaving parents out of the equation.

• Failing to name and condemn sexual behaviors, such as fornication, prostitution, adultery, contracepted-sex, homosexual activity, and masturbation, as objectively sinful actions that destroy charity in the heart and turn one away from God.

• Failing to warn youths about the possibility of eternal separation from God (damnation) for committing grave sexual sins. Hell is not mentioned once.

• Failing to distinguish between mortal and venial sin.

• Failing to speak about the 6th and 9th commandments, or any other commandment.

• Failing to teach about the sacrament of confession as a way of restoring relationship with God after committing grave sin.

• Not mentioning a healthy sense of shame when it comes to the body and sexuality.

• Teaching boys and girls together in the same class.

• Having boys and girls share together in class their understanding of phrases such as: “What does the word sex suggest to you?”

• Asking a mixed class to “point out where sexuality is located in boys and girls.”

• Speaking about the “process of arousal.”

• Using sexually explicit and suggestive images in activity workbooks (here, here, and here).

• Recommending various sexually explicit movies as springboards for discussion….

• Failing to speak about abortion as gravely wrong, but only that it causes “strong psychological damage.”

• Confusing youths by using phrases such as “sexual relationship” to indicate not the sexual act, but a relationship focused on the whole person.

• Speaking of “heterosexuality” as something to be “discover[ed].”

• Using [a “gay” celebrity] as an example of a gifted and famous person.

• Endorsing the “dating” paradigm as a step towards marriage.

• Not stressing celibacy as the supreme form of self-giving that constitutes the very meaning of human sexuality.

• Failing to mention Christ’s teaching on marriage.

The same association observes that the curriculum “violates norms previously promulgated by the very same pontifical council.” Another lay association protests that it “makes frequent use of sexually explicit and morally objectionable images, fails to clearly identify and explain Catholic doctrine from elemental sources including the Ten Commandments and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and compromises the innocence and integrity of young people under the rightful care of their parents.” Lay leaders in the Catholic family movement have rightly denounced it as “thoroughly immoral,” “entirely inappropriate,” and “quite tragic.” As one of them declared: “Parents must not be under any illusion: the pontificate of Pope Francis marks the surrender of the Vatican authorities to the worldwide sexual revolution and directly threatens their own children.”

But this radical departure from prior teaching and practice is only in keeping with the novelties of Amoris, which proclaims “the need for sex education” in “educational institutions” while completely ignoring the Church’s traditional teaching that parents, not teachers in classrooms, have the primary responsibility to provide any necessary instruction to their children in this most sensitive area, taking care not to “descend to details” but rather to “employ those remedies which produce the double effect of opening the door to the virtue of purity and closing the door upon vice.”

Your “revolution” is hardly confined to matters sexual, however. You have also recently convened a commission, including six women, to “study” the matter of women “deacons,” which was already studied by a Vatican commission in 2002. That commission concluded that the diaconate belongs to the ordained clerical state along with the priesthood and the episcopacy and that so-called “deaconesses” in the early Church were not ordained ministers but only ecclesial helpers with no more authority than nuns, who performed limited services for women, but certainly not baptisms or marriages. The “deaconettes” you seem to contemplate would thus be nothing more than women masquerading in clerical garb, as women cannot possibly receive any degree of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

As you continue to undermine respect for the utter seriousness and supernatural character of sacramental marriage it seems you are preparing to undermine further an already drastically diminished respect for the male priesthood. What is next? Perhaps a “relaxation” of the apostolic tradition of clerical celibacy, which you have already declared is “on my agenda.”

And now, as your “revolution” continues to accelerate, you prepare to depart for Sweden in October, where you will participate in a joint “prayer service” with a married Lutheran “bishop,” head of the pro-abortion, pro-“gay marriage” Lutheran World Federation, to “commemorate” the so-called Reformation launched by Martin Luther.

It is inconceivable that a Roman Pontiff would dignify the memory of this maniac, the most destructive heretic in the history of the Church, who shattered the unity of Christendom and opened the way to endless violence and bloodshed and the collapse of morals throughout Europe. As Luther infamously declared: “If I succeed in doing away with the Mass, then I shall believe I have completely conquered the Pope. If the sacrilegious and cursed custom of the Mass is overthrown, then the whole will fall.” It is supremely ironic that the arch-heretic you intend to honor with your presence uttered those words in a letter to Henry VIII, who led all of England into schism because the Pope would not accommodate his desire for divorce and “remarriage,” including access to the sacraments.

We Must Oppose You

At this point in your tumultuous tenure as “Bishop of Rome” it is beyond reasonable dispute that your presence on the Chair of Peter represents a clear and present danger to the Church. In view of that danger, we must ask:

Are you not in the least troubled by the scandal and confusion your words and deeds have caused concerning the salvific mission of the Church and her teaching on faith and morals, particularly in the area of marriage, family and sexuality?

Does it never occur to you that the world’s endless applause for “the Francis revolution” is precisely the ill omen of which Our Lord gave warning?: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets (Lk 6:26).”

Have you no sense of alarm about the divisions you have provoked within the Church, with some bishops departing from the teaching of your predecessors on the divorced and “remarried,” solely on your purported authority, while others attempt to maintain the bimillenial doctrine and practice you have labored without ceasing to overthrow?

Do you think nothing of the numberless sacrilegious communions that will result from your authorization of Holy Communion for objective public adulterers and others in “irregular situations,” which you had already permitted en masse as Archbishop of Buenos Aires?

Do you even recognize that reception of Holy Communion by people living in adultery is a profanation, a direct offense against “the Body of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:29)” worthy of damnation as well as a public scandal that threatens the faith of others, as both Benedict XVI and John Paul II insisted in line with all their predecessors?

Do you really think you have the power to decree “merciful” exceptions in “certain cases” to divinely revealed moral precepts in order to suit your personal notion of “inclusion,” your evidently benign view of divorce and cohabitation and your false notion of what you call “pastoral charity” in your letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires? As if it were uncharitable to require adulterers and fornicators to cease their immoral sexual relations before partaking of the Blessed Sacrament!

Have you no respect for the contrary teaching of all the Popes who preceded you?

Finally, have you no fear of the Lord and His judgment, which you constantly minimize or deny in your sermons and spontaneous remarks, even declaring—exactly contrary to the Creed—that “the Good Shepherd… seeks not to judge but to love”?

We must agree with the assessment of the aforementioned Catholic journalist concerning your insane pursuit of Holy Communion for people in immoral sexual relationships: “This whole affair is bizarre. No other word will do.” Beyond this, however, your entire bizarre pontificate has given rise to a situation the Church has never seen before: an occupant of the Chair of Peter whose remarks, pronouncements and decisions are blows to the Church’s integrity against which the faithful must constantly guard themselves. As the same writer concludes: “I say this in sorrow, but I’m afraid that the rest of this papacy is now going to be rent by bands of dissenters, charges of papal heresy, threats of – and perhaps outright –schism. Lord, have mercy.”

Yet almost the entire hierarchy either suffers in silence or exultantly celebrates this debacle. But so it was during the great Arian crisis of the 4th century, when, as Cardinal Newman famously observed:

[T]he body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism; [and] at one time the Pope, at other times the patriarchal, metropolitan, and other great sees, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth; while, on the other hand, it was the Christian people who, under Providence, were the ecclesiastical strength of Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius of Vercellae, and other great solitary confessors, who would have failed without them.

If we are to be faithful to our baptism and our Confirmation oath, we members of the laity, unworthy sinners though we are, cannot remain silent or passive in the face of your depredations. We are compelled by the dictates of conscience to accuse you publicly before our fellow Catholics as demanded by revealed truth, the divine and natural law, and the ecclesial common good. To recall the teaching of Saint Thomas cited above, there is no exception for the Pope to the principle of natural justice that subjects may rebuke their superior, even publicly, when there is “imminent danger of scandal concerning faith.” Quite the contrary, reason itself demonstrates that, more than any other prelate, the Pope must be corrected, even by his subjects, should he “stray from the straight path.”

We know that the Church is no mere human institution and that its indefectibility is assured by the promises of Christ. Popes come and go, and the Church will survive even this pontificate. But we also know that God deigns to work through human instruments and that, over and above the essentials of prayer and penance, He expects from the members of the Church Militant, both clergy and laity, a militant defense of faith and morals against threats from any source—be it even a Pope, as Church history has demonstrated more than once.

For the love of God and the Blessed Virgin, Mother of the Church, whom you profess to revere, we call upon you to recant your errors and undo the immense harm you have caused to the Church, to souls, and to the cause of the Gospel lest you follow the example of Pope Honorius, an aider and abettor of heresy anathematized by an ecumenical council and his own successor, and thus bring down upon yourself “the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”

But if you will not relent in the pursuit of your vainglorious “vision” of a more “merciful” and evangelical Church than the one founded by Christ, whose doctrine and discipline you seek to bend to your will, let the cardinals who regret the mistake of electing you honor their blood oaths and at least issue a public demand that you change course or relinquish the office they so improvidently entrusted to you.

Meanwhile, we are duty bound to oppose your errors according to our own station in the Church and to exhort our fellow Catholics to join in that opposition, using every legitimate means at our disposal to mitigate the harm you seem determined to inflict upon the Mystical Body of Christ. All other recourses having failed, no other way is open to us.

May God have mercy on us, His Holy Church, and on you as its earthly head.

Mary, Help of Christians, Pray for Us!

Please Pray for the Holy Father

This Statement of Accusation is being posted/published simultaneously in The Remnant and Catholic Family News all this week. It will appear in toto in the next print/E-edition of The Remnant -- a double issue to hit the stands over the weekend.

(Source: http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php)

Full text of 4 cardinals’ letter to Pope Francis with explanatory notes and 5 questions

November 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Four Cardinals have released an historic September 19, 2016 letter to Pope Francis in which they pleaded with him for clarity regarding his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The letter asked the pope 5 short questions which call for ‘yes or no’ answers which would immediately clarify the meaning of the confusion-plagued document. See LifeSite introductory article.

Following is the full text of the letter and accompanying explanatory notes and the 5 questions:

Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in "Amoris Laetitia"

1. A Necessary Foreword

2. The Letter of the Four Cardinals to the Pope

3. The “Dubia”

4. Explanatory Note of the Four Cardinals



Doubt number 1:
Doubt number 2:
Doubt number 3:
Doubt number 4:
Doubt number 5:
1. A Necessary Foreword
The sending of the letter to His Holiness Pope Francis by four cardinals has its origin in a deep pastoral concern.

We have noted a grave disorientation and great confusion of many faithful regarding extremely important matters for the life of the Church. We have noted that even within the episcopal college there are contrasting interpretations of Chapter 8 of "Amoris Laetitia".

The great Tradition of the Church teaches us that the way out of situations like this is recourse to the Holy Father, asking the Apostolic See to resolve those doubts which are the cause of disorientation and confusion.

Ours is therefore an act of justice and charity.

Of justice: with our initiative we profess that the Petrine ministry is the ministry of unity, and that to Peter, to the Pope, belongs the service of confirming in the faith.

Of charity: we want to help the Pope to prevent divisions and conflicts in the Church, asking him to dispel all ambiguity.

We have also carried out a specific duty. According to the Code of Canon Law (cc. 349) the cardinals, even taken individually, are entrusted with the task of helping the Pope to care for the universal Church.

The Holy Father has decided not to respond. We have interpreted his sovereign decision as an invitation to continue the reflection, and the discussion, calmly and with respect.

And so we are informing the entire people of God about our initiative, offering all of the documentation.

We hope that no one will choose to interpret the matter according to a “progressive/conservative" paradigm. That would be completely off the mark. We are deeply concerned about the true good of souls, the supreme law of the Church, and not about promoting any form of politics in the Church.

We hope that no one will judge us, unjustly, as adversaries of the Holy Father and people devoid of mercy. What we have done and are doing has its origin in the deep collegial affection that unites us to the Pope, and from an impassioned concern for the good of the faithful.

Card. Walter Brandmüller

Card. Raymond L. Burke

Card. Carlo Caffarra

Card. Joachim Meisner

2. The Letter of the Four Cardinals to the Pope
To His Holiness Pope Francis

and for the attention of His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller

Most Holy Father,

Following the publication of your Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris Laetitia", theologians and scholars have proposed interpretations that are not only divergent, but also conflicting, above all in regard to Chapter VIII. Moreover, the media have emphasized this dispute, thereby provoking uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation among many of the faithful.

Because of this, we the undersigned, but also many Bishops and Priests, have received numerous requests from the faithful of various social strata on the correct interpretation to give to Chapter VIII of the Exhortation.

Now, compelled in conscience by our pastoral responsibility and desiring to implement ever more that synodality to which Your Holiness urges us, we, with profound respect, permit ourselves to ask you, Holy Father, as Supreme Teacher of the Faith, called by the Risen One to confirm his brothers in the faith, to resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity, benevolently giving a response to the "Dubia" that we attach to the present letter.

May Your Holiness wish to bless us, as we promise constantly to remember you in prayer.

Card. Walter Brandmüller

Card. Raymond L. Burke

Card. Carlo Caffarra

Card. Joachim Meisner

Rome, September 19, 2016

3. The “Dubia”

1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of "Amoris Laetitia" (nn. 300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance and thus to admit to Holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person "more uxorio" (in a marital way) without fulfilling the conditions provided for by "Familiaris Consortio" n. 84 and subsequently reaffirmed by "Reconciliatio et Paenitentia" n. 34 and "Sacramentum Caritatis" n. 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in note 351 (n. 305) of the exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live "more uxorio"?

2. After the publication of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" (cf. n. 304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" n. 79, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

3. After "Amoris Laetitia" (n. 301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (cf. Mt 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration, June 24, 2000)?

4. After the affirmations of "Amoris Laetitia" (n. 302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" n. 81, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

5. After "Amoris Laetitia" (n. 303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" n. 56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

4. Explanatory Note of the Four Cardinals

"Dubia" (from the Latin: “doubts”) are formal questions brought before the Pope and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking for clarifications on particular issues concerning doctrine or practice.

What is peculiar about these inquiries is that they are worded in a way that requires a “yes” or “no” answer, without theological argumentation. This way of addressing the Apostolic See is not an invention of our own; it is an age-old practice.

Let’s get to what is concretely at stake.

Upon the publication of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" on love in the family, a debate has arisen particularly around its eighth chapter. Here, specifically paragraphs 300-305, have been the object of divergent interpretations.

For many - bishops, priests, faithful - these paragraphs allude to or even explicitly teach a change in the discipline of the Church with respect to the divorced who are living in a new union, while others, admitting the lack of clarity or even the ambiguity of the passages in question, nonetheless argue that these same pages can be read in continuity with the previous magisterium and do not contain a modification in the Church’s practice and teaching.

Motivated by a pastoral concern for the faithful, four cardinals have sent a letter to the Holy Father under the form of "Dubia", hoping to receive clarity, given that doubt and uncertainty are always highly detrimental to pastoral care.

The fact that interpreters come to different conclusions is also due to divergent ways of understanding the Christian moral life. In this sense, what is at stake in "Amoris Laetitia" is not only the question of whether or not the divorced who have entered into a new union can - under certain circumstances - be readmitted to the sacraments.

Rather, the interpretation of the document also implies different, contrasting approaches to the Christian way of life.

Thus, while the first question of the "Dubia" concerns a practical question regarding the divorced and civilly remarried, the other four questions touch on fundamental issues of the Christian life.


Doubt number 1:

It is asked whether, following the affirmations of "Amoris Laetitia" (nn. 300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to Holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person "more uxorio" (in a marital way) without fulfilling the conditions provided for by "Familiaris Consortio" n. 84 and subsequently reaffirmed by "Reconciliatio et Paenitentia" n. 34 and "Sacramentum Caritatis" n. 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in note 351 (n. 305) of the exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live "more uxorio"?

Question 1 makes particular reference to "Amoris Laetitia" n. 305 and to footnote 351. While note 351 specifically speaks of the sacraments of penance and communion, it does not mention the divorced and civilly remarried in this context, nor does the main text.

Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris Consortio", n. 84, already contemplated the possibility of admitting the divorced and civilly remarried to the sacraments. It mentions three conditions:

- The persons concerned cannot separate without committing new injustices (for instance, they may be responsible for the upbringing of their children);

- They take upon themselves the commitment to live according to the truth of their situation, that is, to cease living together as if they were husband and wife ("more uxorio"), abstaining from those acts that are proper to spouses;

- They avoid giving scandal (that is, they avoid giving the appearance of sin so as to avoid the danger of leading others into sin).

The conditions mentioned by "Familiaris Consortio" n. 84 and by the subsequent documents recalled will immediately appear reasonable once we remember that the marital union is not just based on mutual affection and that sexual acts are not just one activity among others that couples engage in.

Sexual relations are for marital love. They are something so important, so good and so precious, that they require a particular context, the context of marital love. Hence, not only the divorced living in a new union need to abstain, but also everyone who is not married. For the Church, the sixth commandment “Do not commit adultery” has always covered any exercise of human sexuality that is not marital, i.e., any kind of sexual acts other than those engaged in with one’s rightful spouse.

It would seem that admitting to communion those of the faithful who are separated or divorced from their rightful spouse and who have entered a new union in which they live with someone else as if they were husband and wife would mean for the Church to teach by her practice one of the following affirmations about marriage, human sexuality, and the nature of the sacraments:

- A divorce does not dissolve the marriage bond, and the partners to the new union are not married. However, people who are not married can under certain circumstances legitimately engage in acts of sexual intimacy.

- A divorce dissolves the marriage bond. People who are not married cannot legitimately engage in sexual acts. The divorced and remarried are legitimate spouses and their sexual acts are lawful marital acts.

- A divorce does not dissolve the marriage bond, and the partners to the new union are not married. People who are not married cannot legitimately engage in sexual acts, so that the divorced and civilly remarried live in a situation of habitual, public, objective and grave sin. However, admitting persons to the Eucharist does not mean for the Church to approve their public state of life; the faithful can approach the Eucharistic table even with consciousness of grave sin, and receiving absolution in the sacrament of penance does not always require the purpose of amending one’s life. The sacraments, therefore, are detached from life: Christian rites and worship are in a completely different sphere than the Christian moral life.


Doubt number 2:

After the publication of the Post-synodal Exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" (cf. n. 304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" n. 79, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

The second question regards the existence of so-called intrinsically evil acts. John Paul II’s Encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" 79 claims that one can “qualify as morally evil according to its species … the deliberate choice of certain kinds of behavior or specific acts, apart from a consideration of the intention for which the choice is made or the totality of the foreseeable consequences of that act for all persons concerned.”

Thus, the encyclical teaches that there are acts that are always evil, which are forbidden by moral norms that bind without exception (“moral absolutes”). These moral absolutes are always negative, that is, they tell us what we should not do. “Do not kill.” “Do not commit adultery.” Only negative norms can bind without exception.

According to "Veritatis Splendor", with intrinsically evil acts no discernment of circumstances or intentions is necessary. Uniting oneself to a woman who is married to another is and remains an act of adultery that as such is never to be done, even if by doing so an agent could possibly extract precious secrets from a villain’s wife so as to save the kingdom (what sounds like an example from a James Bond movie has already been contemplated by St. Thomas Aquinas, "De Malo", q. 15, a. 1). John Paul II argues that the intention (say, “saving the kingdom”) does not change the species of the act (here: “committing adultery”), and that it is enough to know the species of the act (“adultery”) to know that one must not do it.


Doubt number 3:

After "Amoris Laetitia" (n. 301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (cf. Mt 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration, June 24, 2000)?

In paragraph 301 "Amoris Laetitia" recalls that: “The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations.” And it concludes that “hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

In its Declaration of June 24, 2000, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts seeks to clarify Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that those who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” The Pontifical Council’s Declaration argues that this canon is applicable also to faithful who are divorced and civilly remarried. It spells out that “grave sin” has to be understood objectively, given that the minister of the Eucharist has no means of judging another person’s subjective imputability.

Thus, for the Declaration, the question of the admission to the sacraments is about judging a person’s objective life situation and not about judging that this person is in a state of mortal sin. Indeed subjectively he or she may not be fully imputable or not be imputable at all.

Along the same lines, in his encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia", n. 37, Saint John Paul II recalls that “the judgment of one’s state of grace obviously belongs only to the person involved, since it is a question of examining one’s conscience.” Hence, the distinction referred to by "Amoris Laetitia" between the subjective situation of mortal sin and the objective situation of grave sin is indeed well established in the Church’s teaching.

John Paul II however continues by insisting that “in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved.” He then reiterates the teaching of Canon 915 mentioned above.

Question 3 of the "Dubia" hence would like to clarify whether, even after "Amoris Laetitia", it is still possible to say that persons who habitually live in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, such as the commandment against adultery, theft, murder, or perjury, live in objective situations of grave habitual sin, even if, for whatever reasons, it is not certain that they are subjectively imputable for their habitual transgressions.


Doubt number 4:

After the affirmations of "Amoris Laetitia" (n. 302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" n. 81, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

In paragraph 302, "Amoris Laetitia" stresses that on account of mitigating circumstances “a negative judgment about an objective situation does not imply a judgment about the imputability or culpability of the person involved.” The "Dubia" point to the Church’s teaching as expressed in John Paul II’s "Veritatis Splendor" according to which circumstances or good intentions can never turn an intrinsically evil act into one that is excusable or even good.

The question arises whether "Amoris Laetitia", too, is agreed that any act that transgresses against God’s commandments, such as adultery, murder, theft, or perjury, can never, on account of circumstances that mitigate personal responsibility, become excusable or even good.

Do these acts, which the Church’s Tradition has called bad in themselves and grave sins, continue to be destructive and harmful for anyone committing them in whatever subjective state of moral responsibility he may be?

Or could these acts, depending on a person’s subjective state and depending on the circumstances and intentions, cease to be injurious and become commendable or at least excusable?


Doubt number 5:

After "Amoris Laetitia" (n. 303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" n. 56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

"Amoris Laetitia" n. 303 states that “conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God.” The "Dubia" ask for a clarification of these affirmations, given that they are susceptible to divergent interpretations.

For those proposing the creative idea of conscience, the precepts of God’s law and the norm of the individual conscience can be in tension or even in opposition, while the final word should always go to conscience that ultimately decides about good and evil. According to "Veritatis Splendor" n. 56, “on this basis, an attempt is made to legitimize so-called ‘pastoral’ solutions contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium, and to justify a ‘creative’ hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept.”

In this perspective, it will never be enough for moral conscience to know “this is adultery,” or “this is murder,” in order to know that this is something one cannot and must not do.

Rather, one would also need to look at the circumstances or the intentions to know if this act could not, after all be excusable or even obligatory (cf. question 4 of the "Dubia"). For these theories, conscience could indeed rightfully decide that in a given case, God’s will for me consists in an act by which I transgress one of his commandments. “Do not commit adultery” is seen as just a general norm. In the here and now, and given my good intentions, committing adultery is what God really requires of me. Under these terms, cases of virtuous adultery, lawful murder and obligatory perjury are at least conceivable.

This would mean to conceive of conscience as a faculty for autonomously deciding about good and evil and to conceive of God’s law as a burden that is arbitrarily imposed and that could at times be opposed to our true happiness.

However, conscience does not decide about good and evil. The whole idea of a “decision of conscience” is misleading. The proper act of conscience is to judge and not to decide. It says, “This is good,” “This is bad.” This goodness or badness does not depend on it. It acknowledges and recognizes the goodness or badness of an action, and for doing so, that is, for judging, conscience needs criteria; it is inherently dependent on truth.

God’s commandments are a most welcome help for conscience to get to know the truth and hence to judge verily. God’s commandments are the expression of the truth about our good, about our very being, disclosing something crucial about how to live life well. Pope Francis, too, expresses himself in these terms when in Amoris Laetitia 295: “The law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception.”

(Translation by Matthew Sherry)

Dear Pope Francis,
they keep on saying you want a Church for the poor. Don't we all. The problem with that: this Church does not exist. Here in Germany, the dioceses are multi-billion Euro companies (!) which are a far cry away from being a Church of the poor. From what I hear the Vatican itself has not laid open its wealth so far either (not to mention giving it away), so nobody really knows how much belongings you have. What you are saying sounds nice - like everything you say and do - but the local bishops don't seem to mind much. Besides, the Bible does not only talk of the "materially poor", but most of all the poor in Spirit. For this reason a healthy catechises might be best to begin with. Few Catholics know what the Church really teaches and why. From what I get to hear from you and the cardinals and bishops, I am not really surprised though. For decades instruction in the faith has been neglected. Liberal theology has gained ground. Now we have a pick-and-choose cafeteria Catholicism where almost everything goes. And it gets worth. You as the Bishop of Rome and the Pope are in charge right now and responsible for the Church. As such I ask you to step down to prevent further damage for the Body of Christ. The Catholic Church is in its worst shape at the moment and much of it has been caused by you. Hugging kids in front of cameras is nice, but it certainly is not enough to lead 1,2 billion Catholics.