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Tag Archives: Pope Francis

June 17th, 2017

Papal Purge of Pro-Lifers

In a week when Italian history professor Roberto de Mattei has predicted that  Pope Francis is to “revisit” Pope Paul’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, the Holy Father  has purged the  Pontifical Academy of Life of dozens of  members renowned for their fidelity to Catholic teaching. These include Australian professor John Finnis who had criticised the Pope’s encyclical Amoris Laetitia,  German philosopher Robert Spaemann—a longtime friend of Pope Benedict XVI—Englishman Dr Luke Gormally  who had asked the Pope to remove a problematical section on contraception from the preparatory document for the Synod on the Family,  and three eastern Europeans who were influenced greatly by John Paul II.

[Back in the 1990s Drs Finnis and Gormally spoke at a meeting in Maynooth and criticised in vitro fertilisation. My wife  Stramentaria covered this rather dodgy conference for the old Ballintrillick Review, and editor Doris Manly headlined her article  “Take-Away Babies with Maynooth Sauce”.]

The Pope’s 17 new appointments to the Academy include Nigel Biggar, an Anglican professor of moral and pastoral theology who has expressed support for legalised abortion up to 18 weeks, and qualified support for euthanasia; and  Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, an Italian moral theologian and professor who has openly criticized Catholic teaching on life issues, including Humanae Vitae

Last November the Holy Father  released new statutes for the Pontifical Academy for Life, in which members are no longer required to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. He also expanded the Academy’s mandate to include a focus on the environment.

According to Professor de Mattei a commission has been nominated by Pope Francis to “reinterpret” Humanae Vitae in the light of his own encyclical Amoris Laetitia . Next year will see the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s condemnation of artificial contraception. The Commission has been ordered to procure from the Vatican archives the documentation on the preparatory work on the encyclical, lasting  three years.  In 1966 the “experts” delivered their conclusions to Pope Paul VI, and suggested  opening the doors to birth control. After two years of wavering, the Pope followed the perennial teaching of the Church and rejected the idea in Humanae Vitae. As the philosopher Romano Amerio said, it was the most important act of his pontificate.

The Commission is to be co-ordinated by Mgr Gilfredo Marengo, who has made it clear in his writings that he supports the view of Pope Francis that  one should “abandon models of of life derived from too abstract and artificially constructed theological ideals”.  Professor de Mattei believes this indicates that praxis rather than doctrine will be followed in this “reinterpretation” of Humanae Vitae. And he wonders whether any Catholic theologian will have the courage to declare “heresy” when faced with this reinterpretation.

 

 

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May 22nd, 2017

Trump and Bergoglio: Birds of a Feather

More about how much Pope Francis and Donald Trump have in common.

A reader who prefers to remain anonymous (and has sound reasons for this) has drawn my attention to further clear similarities between the two world leaders…

Neither Trump nor Bergoglio are readers of serious books on theology or politics/economics. In fact, both hold academics in low esteem and aren’t bothered by their ignorance or verbal errors that follow.

Both tend to take disagreement personally and to slag off opponents, often with crude and unjust insults, never publicly used by previous office holders.

Both men tend to act as dictators, riding roughshod over laws and established custom when they think they are in a winning position.

Both are outsiders who have made little effort to adapt themselves to the demands of the office, thereby giving their staff the unending task of putting some kind of consistency to their sometimes contradictory remarks.

May 20th, 2017

A Trump-Bergoglio Love-In?

That very insightful blog “Ignatius His Conclave” notes that there has been much speculation about the forthcoming meeting between Pope Francis and President Donald Trump.

Liberals have been portraying Trump and Francis as opposites in some Manichaean struggle. Francis is seen as the Anti-Trump whose wisdom, mercy and compassion contrast with the bluster and belligerence of the President. Francis is the bridge-builder; Trump the unchristian builder of walls.

Most of this is nonsense.

Far from being a cataclysmic confrontation, the meeting is likely to be a huge success. The two men will discover how much they have in common.

Both are shameless populists; both are foolishly garrulous; and both prefer to govern by diktat rather than consensus. Both are pursuing a reformist agenda with little time to spare. Both have a declared aim to “drain the swamp”; and both are faced with an apparently immoveable bureaucracy.

With so much in common, the things upon which they disagree – like capitalism and Islam – can easily be set aside in the ensuing love-fest.

February 7th, 2017

Where’s Your Mercy, Holy Father?

Image result for Francis anonymous posters

This poster has appeared in lots of places all over Rome. It says , in Roman working-class patois: “Hey, Frankie, you’ve  policed congregations, removed priests, beheaded the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate,  ignored Cardinals … but where is your mercy?” Progressive bloggers say the posters are the work of “conservatives”; Cardinal Ouellet,  (usually regarded as a “conservative”) says they are the work of the devil and show that the pope is doing right. The city authorities are pasting them  over with notices saying the posters are “illegal”.

I met a young man after Mass on Sunday who told me that the atmosphere in Rome is such that supporters of one traditional priestly society are wondering whether, like the Israelites of old, they should  smear blood on the lintels of their doors, so that the angel of death—or in this case Mercy—will pass them by. When this priestly society organised a pilgrimage to Rome last year, they were given the smallest possible church the authorities could find. But this turned out very well for them because the church was crammed with Trads; and this was duly noted by the media. If they’d been allowed the use of some vast basilica, the attendance would have looked rather sparse, and any publicity would have far less favourable.

Interestingly, criticism of this pontificate has now spread far beyond Trad organs like The Remnant.  The broadly conservative New Oxford Review goes so far as to describe Pope Francis’s style of Church governance as vindictive, and says some observers are comparing the mood in and around Rome to that of post-revolutionary Bolshevik Russia.    The NOR has become quite militant in its alliterative reaction to our beloved Holy Father’s refusal to clear up the ambiguity and confusion over Amoris Laetitia.  Requests  for clarity, it says, have been met with “rage, reprimands, and threats of repression. Welcome to Francis’s Vatican, where fury, fear and fractionalisation rule the day.”

I think you’ll agree that this is pretty strong stuff.

 

 

 

January 19th, 2017

O Worship the Pope!

If you haven’t yet chosen the blog Eccles Is Saved as one of your favourites, as I have suggested you should, you will have missed this post. Warning: depending on your temperament, the video may induce intense anger, a strong desire to vomit, or a fit of howling maniacal laughter.

We strongly recommend this video by Emily Clarke, which has been produced in honour of Pope Francis, due to visit Ireland next year in order to see whether there are any Catholics remaining there. It shows the best of modern Catholicism, pushing aside Jesus Christ in favour of an unqualified adoration of the Holy Father. According to the lyrics, “The Lord kept his promise to us and sent us a treasure to see us safely home.” This treasure being, er, the pope.

Papa Francis 1

Shine, Francis, Shine!

Of course the pope, being a humble and modest man, has angrily written to sister Emily to tell her to delete her video, which anyone but the most arrogant of people would find rather embarrassing. Luckily we still have some screen captures to see us safely home.

Papa Francis 2

A quick change of dress mid-song, and we pose in front of the Tabernacle.

Actually, dear Emily may not have changed her dress in the middle of the song; it may be a trick of the light, like that ambiguous dress which, according to the Daily Mail, has “baffled the Internet” because nobody is sure what colour it really is. And nobody really cares.

Papa Francis 3

The first ascent of the north face without ropes. And another change of dress.

According to the song, the pope was chosen by God, as a leader for our times. Well, it was either God or the St Gallen Mafia, and we still haven’t sorted out all the contradictions in the apostolic exhortation Austenis Iveria. But let’s be charitable and suppose that the Holy Spirit spoke through Cormac Murphy-O’Connor when Francis was chosen.

Papa Francis 4

Very dignified. Very tasteful. Oh, and the dress – what there is of it – is red.

Well, thank you very much, Emily. We’ll let you know.

For those whose collection of Pope St Francis memorabilia is still not complete, we have another exhibit.

Santo sùbito! A miraculous medal.

Well, that’s enough papalistic adoration for now. In fact, the medal I was given says “Insult us” on the back, and that does seem to be a more likely prospect.

However, we can report that the crisis involving the Knights of Malta seems to have been resolved. You will recall that it had reached an impasse, with the conversation reduced to “You have no authority to judge us.” “Oh, yes we have!” “Oh no, you haven’t!” etc. Finally, following my personal intervention, we have a solution.

pope squares up to Fra' Matthew Festing

Pope Francis and Fra’ Matthew Festing decide to settle things by sumo wrestling.

January 14th, 2017

From Foot-Washing to Coprophagia

The website LifeSite News has done us all a great favour by cataloguing the main eyebrow-raisers perpetrated by the Holy Father during 2016. I’m reproducing them here. You should be able to access most of the sources by clicking on each item.

January 18, 2016

Pope: Catholics who say “it’s always been done that way” have a “closed heart,” “will never reach the full truth,” and are “closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit.”

January 21, 2016

Pope Francis changes Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual to include women. Christ washed the feet of his all-male apostles at the Last Supper.

February 8, 2016

Pope calls Italy’s foremost abortion promoter one of nation’s ‘forgotten greats’In an interview with Corriere Della Sera Pope Francis praised Italy’s unrepentant leading abortionist and proponent of abortion, Emma Bonino, as one of the nation’s “forgotten greats,” comparing her to great historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman.

February 18, 2016

Pope Francis’ uncorrected remarks on contraception interpreted worldwide as a shift in Church teachingOn his return flight from Mexico Pope Francis was asked about “avoiding pregnancy” in areas at risk of Zika virus transmission. “Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape,” he said.  After reiterating that abortion is never morally justified, he said, “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”

Vatican confirms that Pope Francis was approving use of contraceptives and condoms in grave cases. (However, to do so would contradict the clear teaching of previous popes.)

March 2, 2016

Pope changes Vatican protocol to allow for Catholic Heads of State in irregular marital unions to be able to meet the Pope along with their partner.

April 8, 2016

Pope issues apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, creating an ongoing storm in the Church.

April 14, 2016

Pope Francis warns against those who resist the Spirit with “so-called fidelity to the law.”

April 16, 2016

Pope visits migrants on Greek island of Lesbos, then takes 3 Muslim families back to the Vatican, but no Christian families.

April 29, 2016

Pro-abortion U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Vatican event on adult stem cells.

May 3, 2016

Archbishop close to Pope says Pope wanted to conceal his support for communion for remarried divorceesArchbishop Bruno Forte, the Special Secretary for the synods on marriage and family, claims publicly that Pope Francis said, “If we speak explicitly about communion for the divorced and remarried, you do not know what a terrible mess we will make. So we won’t speak plainly, do it in a way that the premises are there, then I will draw out the conclusions.”

May 12, 2016

Pope says the Church should study ordaining women as deacons.

May 16, 2016

Pope Francis compares radical Islam to Catholic evangelization: “It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”

May 29, 2016

Pope Francis gives award to Hollywood pro-abortion, anti-marriage advocates Richard Gere, George Clooney, and Salma Hayek.

June 2, 2016

Pope laments too much focus on Christ’s words to adulterous woman “go and sin no more”: “Sometimes I feel a little saddened and annoyed when people go straight to the last words Jesus speaks to her: ‘Go and sin no more’. They use these words to ‘defend’ Jesus from bypassing the law.”

June 9, 2016

Pope Francis: “Rigid… this or nothing” Catholics are “heretical” and “not Catholic.”

June 17, 2016

Pope Francis: Cohabitations are “real marriage” and “have the grace of real marriage.”

June 21, 2016

Pope Francis says there’s an absolute ban on the death penalty: “The commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty…. One sign of hope is that public opinion is manifesting a growing opposition to the death penalty, even as a means of legitimate social defence… It is an offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person; it likewise contradicts God’s plan.”

Pope says all of Amoris Laetitia is sound doctrine: “For your own peace of mind, I have to tell you that everything that is written in the exhortation [Amoris Laetitia] – and here I refer to the words of a great theologian who once was a secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Schönborn, who presented it [Amoris Laetitia] – everything is Thomistic, from the beginning to the end. It is sound doctrine.”

June 26, 2016

Pope Francis misrepresents the Catechism on homosexualityOn the return flight from his visit to Armenia, Pope Francis said Catholics should apologize to gays. “I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally,” said the Pope. “The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well…this is what the catechism says, a clear catechism,” the Pope added. The Catechism’s teaching on homosexuality is given in three paragraphs comprising just over 220 words. The Pope’s response references only 20 words from the middle of the second paragraph, ignoring the numerous passages warning against the harmful sexual behaviour.

July 7, 2016

Pope Francis named Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich to serve as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.

Pope Francis distances himself from ‘very conservative’ bishops.

July 18, 2016

Vatican issues quick dismissal of Cardinal Sarah’s call for Mass facing East.

July 26, 2016

Pope: Martin Luther’s intentions were not mistaken, he was a reformer.

July 27, 2016

At World Youth Day, Vatican releases teen sex-ed program that leaves out parents and mortal sin and includes sexually explicit photos and films.

August 2, 2016

Pope’s deaconess commission includes women’s priesthood supporter.

August 23, 2016

Leaked e-mails show George Soros paid leftist groups to influence Pope’s USA visit. The e-mails name key papal adviser Cardinal Maradiaga as a potential contact.

September 1, 2016

Pope Francis: Go to confession for not recycling, repent of excess plastic and paper, ecological conversion and new works of mercy.

September 9, 2016

Pope: There’s “no other interpretation” of Amoris Laetitia than allowing communion for divorced/remarried in some cases.

Pope Francis: “Division is the weapon the devil employs most to destroy the Church from within.”

September 29, 2016

Report reveals that some of the 45 signatories are feeling the heat over their letter urging clarification of ‘Amoris Laetitia’.

October 1, 2016

Pope Francis says it is a “very grave sin” to try to convert the Orthodox: “There is a very grave sin against ecumenism: proselytism.”

October 2, 2016

Pope Francis calls woman with sex-change operation a “man” and calls partners “married”.

October 6, 2016

Pope: True doctrine is not a rigid attachment to the Law, which bewitches as ideologies do.

October 9, 2016

Pope to replace Cardinal Sarah for speech at John Paul II Institute’s inauguration, and the Cardinal is not permitted to speak at another event.

In “seismic shift” Pope appoints very liberal Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich and 2 more U.S. progressives among 17 new cardinals. He also appoints the liberal Belgian Jozef de Kesel as cardinal.

October 13, 2016

Pope receives a statue of Luther in the Vatican and gives a new definition of “lukewarm.” Pope Francis told pilgrims to the Vatican “it is not licit” to “convince [non-Christians] of your faith.” “You must give testimony of your Christian life; it will be your testimony that will stir the hearts of those who look at you,” he added. And he concluded: “It will be the Holy Spirit that moves the heart with your testimony – that is way you ask – and regarding that you can tell the ‘why,’ with much thoughtfulness. But without wanting to convince.”

In that meeting, the pope also offered a novel definition of “lukewarm,” which according to Pope Francis is when Christians “are keen to defend Christianity in the West on the one hand but on the other are averse to refugees and other religions.”

October 24, 2016

Pope Francis said ‘…beneath rigidity there is something hidden about a person’s life. Rigidity is not a gift of God.

October 28, 2016

Pope Francis again elevates Church progressives in a complete overhaul of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship.

November 1, 2016

Pope proposes ‘new beatitudes for a new age’.

November 8, 2016

Pope Francis again welcomes visit from Italy’s leading abortion advocate.

November 10, 2016

Pope: Pontifical Academy for Life members no longer required to sign pro-life declaration.

November 11, 2016

Pope Francis on the young who like Latin Mass: ‘Why so much rigidity?’ Pope Francis said he wonders why some young people, who were not raised with the old Latin Mass, nevertheless prefer it. “And I ask myself: Why so much rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something, insecurity or even something else. Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.”

In an interview Pope Francis said, “What we want is a battle against inequality, this is the greatest evil that exists in the world.

Eugenio Scalfari reports Pope Francis’ response to a question, “It is the Communists Who Think Like Christians“. The Vatican, as usual, does not issue any clarification.

November 18, 2016

In wake of 4 Cardinals letter, Pope Francis rebukes ‘legalism’ of Amoris Laetitia critics.

Vatican expert: Sources say Pope Francis ‘boiling with rage’ over Amoris criticism.

November 27, 2016

Pope publicly uses the scatalogical terms coprophagia and coprophilia.

December 21, 2016

Pope launches an investigation of the Knights of Malta after they fired top official over condom scandal.

In his annual Christmas address to the Roman Curia, Pope Francis says that ‘malicious resistance’ to his reforms that ‘takes refuge in traditions’ is from the devil.

December 29th, 2016

Pope Frankenstein and the Brandsma Review

It was a pleasant surprise to receive Issue 141 of the Brandsma Review a day or two before Christmas. With a gap of over a year  since Issue 140, I presumed the magazine had already come to  an end, without so much as  T.S. Eliot’s proverbial whimper. Not so.

However, editor Peadar Laighléis warns that in the not-too-distant future he will be giving up the print edition of the BR.  This I think is an immense pity, as it’s the only proper traditional/orthodox conservative Catholic publication in Ireland, apart from some devotional magazines. With an increased  workload as a civil servant in taxation, he has struggled manfully to keep the BR  going, but I have to say that he seems to have ignored much of the advice I gave him when I handed over the editorship some years ago. I told him then that if he didn’t make a priority of bringing the magazine out in time, or nearly in time, his readership base would disappear. I also advised him to be sure to notify readers when their subscriptions were due. These are the only ways to prevent a fatal haemorrhaging of subscribers.

There are several problems with confining oneself to an electronic publication. The most serious is that there are still many people who don’t have access to the internet—and why should they? Peadar is offering to investigate the possibility of printing individual copies for such readers, but I doubt if he will have more than a handful of takers. An electronic magazine amounts to little more than a lengthy blog post.

The layout in the latest issue has improved, but is still pretty dire. There are several excellent articles: perhaps the most notable are by Joe McCarroll and Fr Brendan Purcell. The former’s piece is a review of the latter’s book Where Is God in Suffering? which impressed me so much that I am going to order it. Fr Brendan’s article is on the murder by Moslems of Fr Jacques Hamel.

Peadar’s German correspondent Monika Barget, a convert from Lutheranism, has a strong attack on the country’s new right wing party Alternative für Deutschland which has crossed swords with the country’s Catholic hierarchy. While I hold  no particular brief for this party, it seems a bit over the top to mention Bismarck in the same breath as the  AfD, and when she reminds people that Adolf Hitler started with  similarly low ballot results, warning all German Christians to be on their guard, she just loses me entirely.  That’s scaremongering. And it’s not as if the corrupt, heterodox and grotesquely wealthy state-funded German Catholic Church had anything to boast about these days.

Peadar covers the 1916 anniversary commemoration in a very well balanced manner. He himself  broadly approves of  the Rising, and deplores the way secularists have appropriated the executed leaders to their own cause, when in fact many of these leaders were motivated by their Catholic faith. Hibernicus, on the other hand, points out that while 1916 cannot be retrospectively abolished, it may be reassessed. He is certainly right to remind readers that the Rising violated the traditional Catholic requirements for a just war or rebellion,  was the work of a self-proclaimed messianic group, and has caused periodic mayhem ever since.

Unfortunately Peadar has still failed to tackle the problem now facing every orthodox Catholic. I refer of course to Pope Frankenstein the Merciful. (That’s not original; I stole it from an anonymous priest-correspondent of Ann Barnhardt’s.)  Mel Cormican has an article praising the Holy Father’s “covert critique of Islam”, which contains some good points about the evils contained in the Koran. But really: what is the point of the pope’s “pulling the rug” from under Islam, as Mr Cormican puts it, if very few people—and certainly not the Moslems—are aware that this is what Pope Francis is doing? There is already a hideous persecution of Christians in countries where the crescent holds sway. Plain unequivocal speaking in relation to Islam would hardly make this much worse.

I am strongly of the opinion that if Mr Laighléis were to grasp the nettle firmly and question some of the Pope’s unorthodoxies—such as his promotion of Holy Communion for unrepentant adulterers—his circulation would not suffer at all. Peadar’s hope is that the BR, in whatever form it takes, will be a beacon in the darkness. It goes against the grain to criticise a reigning pontiff, but in the appallingly chaotic  situation in which Catholics now find themselves such criticism is indispensable. Unless the Review can summon the moral courage to do this, whatever light it manages to shine will be dim indeed.

 

December 13th, 2016

Pope Commends Luther’s Laxative

The other day, my eldest grandson asked me if I had noticed  that many traditional Catholic blogs had recently become quite scatological in content. I said this was hardly surprising, in view of the example set by His Holiness.

It occurs to me that Pope Francis may have got his strange metaphor about faeces-eating  from the British author D.H. Lawrence who, I recall,  referred to some of his critics as “coprophagous baboons who make the filth they feed on”. Charming.

The founder of Protestantism suffered grievously from constipation, to such an extent that he had to set up an office in his privy.  John Osborne, one of the luminaries of the “kitchen sink” drama of the 1950s  wrote a play about Martin Luther in which he portrays the reformer, agonising over his sins during a marathon session on the loo, suddenly receiving the insight that man is justified by faith alone, so that his sins don’t really matter. At the same instant his bowels are set free. What a wonderful double relief!

Damian Thompson of The Spectator believes the Holy Father may be losing his marbles and should consider retirement.  This weekend  the Pope will turn 80, which means he is about three weeks older than I am.  But a blog  called Ignatius His Conclave, which deserves to be better known, speculates that this obsession with matters cloacal may be caused by the state of the Holy Father’s bowels, rather than by any  incipient senility. Here’s how he develops his thesis….

is

Is Pope Francis constipated?

The question – a strange one – arises from his recent repeated use of the term ‘coprophagia’ in an attack on irresponsible journalists.

Commonly encountered only in dogs, faeces eating is an unusual image, even when applied to the paparazzi.

Says Arnold Dubekker, the distinguished clinical psychiatrist: ‘Though rarely used, such imagery is most common among those who themselves have reason to be fixated on excretion – typically the victims of chronic constipation. Another common symptom is talkativeness. Victims habitually compensate for inability in the one area by laxity in the other’.

Dr Dietrich Hartlieb, a Reformation history specialist of the University of Jena, concurs. ‘Both conditions are to be found in Martin Luther. Shared symptoms may well account for Pope Francis’s obvious affection for the founder of Protestantism.’

Yes, our Holy Father certainly has a great deal in common with Luther.  After all, on one of his mid-flight press conferences he even went so far as to say:  “And today Lutherans and Catholics, Protestants, all of us agree on the doctrine of justification. On this point, which is very important, he did not err. He made a medicine for the Church.”

I conclude with an appalling pun: What sort of medicine had the Pope in mind? A laxative, of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 19th, 2016

Pope Francis ‘Boiling with Rage’

Remember Edward Pentin? He’s the reporter who proved conclusively, using his tape recorder,  that Cardinal Walter Kasper was not only a liar but a racist as well. Thanks to Mr Pentin we know that Kasper doesn’t like African prelates: they tend to be far too orthodox.

It now appears that Ed Pentin has got another scoop. His sources within the papal residence Santa Marta have told him the Holy Father is “boiling with rage”  about the questions on Amoris Laetitia  put to him by four Cardinals, including Cardinal Raymond Burke.

After the cardinals went public with their yes-or-no questions, or dubia, Pope Francis seems to have been shamed into giving some kind of evasive non-answer in La Stampa, without mentioning the four cardinals, but criticising “a certain legalism”.  “Some people”, he said,  thought issues were “black and white”, but in  the course of life we were called upon to “discern”. Which reminds me of the pro-aborts during the original Eighth Amendment debate, who kept on telling us that abortion was not “a black and white issue”.

At the consistory this weekend, the Holy Father cancelled a preliminary session, where cardinals are  accustomed to raise issues of concern.  No reason was given, but you won’t be surprised to learn there is speculation that other cardinals besides the Four may have wanted to ask Pope Francis about the dubia.

November 15th, 2016

Pope Snubs Faithful Cardinals

At last! Four faithful cardinals have stuck their necks out and  challenged Pope Francis to explain exactly what he means in Amoris Laetitia. Is he saying it’s sometimes OK to commit adultery or is he not? Yes or No?

They wrote the letter privately on September 19. As it’s now quite clear the Holy Father has no intention of replying, they have gone public.

What can one conclude from the papal silence? There’s only one possible answer: As St Thomas More said at his trial, “Silence gives consent”.  The Pope  doesn’t want to clear up the ambiguities, because he prefers confusion to clarity, darkness to light. Theologians, priests and bishops can go on giving different interpretations. That way, there is a doubt, and some of those living in irregular situations will take advantage of the doubt and receive Holy Communion. But as far as the Holy Father is concerned, it’s a case of the old Irish expression: “Mind you, I’ve said nothing.”

It is contemptible.

The four cardinals are Raymond Burke (of course!), Walter Brandmüller,  Carlo Caffarra, and Joachim Meisner. Cardinal Burke is the only one who is not retired.  Fr John Hunwicke says it must be a matter of grief that other Cardinals and locorum Ordinarii have felt unable to join this initiative because they still have diocesan or curial responsibilities. The Holy Father has several times shown his willingness to sack those who decline to go long with his novel ideas. Maybe we should call him the Merciful Martinet.

The Cardinals’ letter tells the Pope of the “uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation among many of the faithful” stemming from Amoris Laetitia. They explain that they are “compelled in conscience by our pastoral responsibility” to call on Pope Francis “with profound respect” to give answer to the questions posed,  reminding him that as Pope he is “called by the Risen One to confirm his brothers in the faith” and to “resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity”.

UPDATE ON NOVEMBER 18th: I am grateful to a reader identifying himself as “James”, who sent me an article from the New Oxford Review, which he submitted as a comment. I quote two short extracts here:

Cardinal Raymond Burke has said it may be necessary to make a “formal act of correction” if Pope Francis doesn’t answer a letter from four cardinals asking him to clarify aspects of Amoris Laetitia. In an interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, Cardinal Burke said that if the Pope were to teach error or heresy, “It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.”….

…Such an act of formal correction would be extremely unusual. One example is the challenge to Pope John XXII in the 1330s. He had publicly taught – though only as his personal opinion – that souls in heaven would not actually see God until the Final Judgment, a teaching contrary to Church doctrine.

In response, several theologians challenged Pope John. A few were punished, but the Pope backed down after a joint letter by theologians from the University of Paris, under the leadership of Paludanus, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. The letter professed total obedience to John, but affirmed that the teachings being attributed to him were contrary to the Catholic faith. Before his death John withdrew his heretical opinion.