Wednesday, May 1, 2019
“We therefore request that your Lordships urgently address the situation of Pope Francis’s public adherence to heresy… We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church.” —A group of 19 Catholic priests and academics in a 20-page open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church, asking the bishops to denounce Pope Francis publicly as a heretic
“There is overwhelming support for Francis in the global Church on one side, and a tiny fringe of extremists trying to paint Francis as a Pope who is heretic. The problem is that there is very little legitimate, constructive critique of Francis’ pontificate and his theology.” —Professor Massimo Faggioli, a professor of historical theology at Villanova University on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, in an email to Reuters commenting on the open letter of the 19 priests and academics
“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” ―Blaise Pascal, Pensées
Accusations of heresy and the Pope we have
The Catholic Church today has a very particular Pope in Jorge Bergoglio, 82, who took the name “Francis” upon his election to the papacy on March 13, 2013, more than six years ago now.
And now a number (for the moment, just a small number) of thoughtful Catholics are publicly accusing this very particular Pope of… being a heretic, that is, of teaching, not the orthodox doctrine of the Church, but false doctrine.
A dramatic charge, indeed!
Even more dramatically, these Catholics are addressing the Church’s bishops, appealing to them to recognize the “errors” of Francis, and then to seek
his removal for this reason from the office of Pope.
Why is this happening, and how important is it?
Good questions! I must confess, I do not (of course) have any complete answers… which would require a type of omniscience available only to God. (Only God could know all of the motives and reasonings of Pope Francis, of his inner circle, of his critics, and of others, more or less in the shadows, who may for various reasons be supporting or instigating divisions between the Pope and his vast flock.)
It does seem clear is that there has been certain breakdown in communication.
Serious, well-meaning Catholics — including cardinals — have expressed perplexity about some of Francis’s words and actions, yet Francis has not sought to address these “perplexities” in a wide-ranging, serious, effective way.
Consequently, “perplexities” which might have been dispelled have instead festered.
And now a certain spiritual disease has not only incubated, but has begun to metastasize.
That is worrisome.
The spiritual disease is characterized by distrust: the Pope distrusts (it seems clear) the motives and good will of his critics; and the Pope’s critics (clearly), though still relatively few, distrust the motives and good will of the Pope, and of his inner circle.
We now face a situation which could grow more polarized. This could at some point threaten the unity of the Church.
But the great challenges of our time require a united Church — “one” as the Creed puts it — just as they also require a Church that is “holy, apostolic, and catholic.”
In such a situation, it seems needful to do what is possible in hopes of avoiding a further polarization.
This might include making an appeal to Pope Francis and his inner circle to explain (teach) more clearly, but also to make an appeal to his critics to discern still more profoundly their understanding of Francis, and of his mind and teaching, and of the needs of the Church at the present moment.
Below I attempt to set this situation in a certain context (inevitably incomplete), and to provide several texts in an effort to shed some light on a situation which seems to be spinning toward a tragic outcome.
Francis the Mystic
Pope Francis, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a product of Jesuit training, is someone whose spirituality is rooted, in a profound way, in a specific mystical experience he had on September 21, 1953.
That experience was the catalyst for his priestly vocation.
Recalling that he had this mystical experience, we can understand that he he places “encounter,” the direct contact of the soul with God, ahead of rational argument — as important as rational argument may be.
Francis has said that, like St. Augustine, he believes human beings are “made for God.”
“From the depths of my being, something attracts me toward Someone who looked for me first, is waiting for me first, is the ‘almond flower’ of the prophets, the first to bloom in spring,” Francis once said. “It is the quality which God possesses and which I take the liberty of defining by using a Buenos Aires word: God, in this case Jesus Christ, always primerea, goes ahead of us. When we arrive, He is already there waiting.”
The deep point here is that the Christian faith, in its essence, is not about finger-pointing, which can make people turn away.
It is rather about looking upon people with the love of Christ, the same love with which He looked upon us, when we were far from Him.
This is why, as we observe his papacy, it may be important to keep in mind what Pope Francis says he experienced mystically on September 21, 1953, when he was 16, and felt “the mercy of God” descend upon him in an almost physical way after he went to confession.
Here is a piece from Zenit, September 21, 1917, by French journalist Anita Bourdin, which describes this mysterious experience. (link)
Pope Francis’ Vocation at 16 on September 21, 1953
“I Don’t Know What Happened”
Zenit, September 21, 2017
By Anita Bourdin
Young Jorge Mario Bergoglio was 16 on St. Matthew’s feast in 1953, when he had a decisive experience that changed the course of his life. Today Pope Francis transmits to young people the experience of his youth with discretion and modesty.
On the eve of the feast of the Apostle and Evangelist St. Matthew, the Holy Father greeted young people as usual at the end of the General Audience of September 20, 2017.
“May his conversion be an example, dear young people, to live your life with the criteria of the faith,” he exhorted.
The pontiff has never forgotten that Confession that changed his life, on the feast of St. Matthew in 1953, in Buenos Aires. Born in 1936, he would be 17 the following December 17. Father Carlos B. Duarte Ibarra was there, at Flores. “I had no doubts that I should be a priest,” Pope Francis said.
Austen Ivereigh recounts it in his biography of Pope Francis (Francis the Great Reformer): “’God passed before him’ on September 21, 1953. Walking down Rivadavia Avenue, he passed in front of St. Joseph’s Basilica, which he knew well. He then felt a strange need to enter it. ‘I went in, I felt it was necessary that I enter — those things you feel in you without knowing what it is,’ he explained to Father Juan Isasmendi at the parish. He continued: ‘I looked, it was dark, it was a morning in September, perhaps 9 o’clock, and I saw a priest walking, I didn’t know him, he was not part of the priests of the parish. And he sat down in one of the Confessionals, the last one on the left when one looks at the altar. I don’t know at all what happened next. I had the impression that someone pushed me to enter the Confessional. Of course I told him certain things, I went to Confession — but I don’t know what happened. When I finished my Confession, I asked the priest where he was from, because I didn’t know him, and he said: “I come from Corrientes and I live very close to here, at home. I come to celebrate Mass here every now and then.” He had cancer – leukemia – and died the following year.
“I knew there that I would become a priest. I was sure and certain of it.
“Instead of going out with the others, I returned to the house because I was submerged.
“Afterwards, I pursued my studies and all the rest, but I now knew where I was going.”
“In a letter of 1990, to describe this experience, he explains that it was as if he had been thrown from his horse,” continues Ivereigh…
However, for more than a year Jorge Bergoglio said nothing at home. His ideas were clear. He confided to Oscar Crespo, of the chemistry laboratory where he worked: “I’m going to finish the Technical College with you, the lads. However, I won’t be a chemist. I’ll be a priest, but not a priest in a Basilica. I will be a Jesuit because I want to go out to the districts, to the villas, to be with the people.”
The fundamental words of Bergoglio’s mission were already there: “go out” to be “with the people.”
He recounted how he had an “experience of divine mercy,” and that he felt “called,” at the urging of St. Matthew and St. Ignatius of Loyola.
The Gospel of the feast of St. Matthew recalls Jesus’ call in his regard: “Jesus left Capernaum and saw, in passing, a man named Matthew sitting at his desk of tax collector. He said to him: ‘Follow me.’ The man got up and followed him.”
The Pope is fascinated by Christ’s gaze that settles on Levi, on himself, on each one. He often invites to let oneself be looked at by Christ, to act under Christ’s gaze…
Francis the Mourner
Francis on numerous occasions has spoken about the brokenness of human lives.
He has become famous for his teaching that serious sins, serious breaches of the moral law, may be forgiven.
Of course, this is Christ’s teaching, and it is the teaching of the Church.
But what Francis brings to situations of brokenness and woundedness (sinfulness) is a personal passion that distinguishes him.
I sense that one reason for this is the fact that a woman Francis worked with, became friends with, and cared deeply about, was arrested and killed by the Argentine military government in 1977, when Francis was 41.
I suspect that the bitter sorrow Francis experienced when he learned of the death of this woman — who was a committed Communist — influenced his spirituality deeply.
He reacted to her death by intensifying his desire, I believe, to reach out to “lost sheep” who had strayed from the traditional path of the Christian faith. (The story of their relationship is below.)
JOIN DR. ROBERT MOYNIHAN FOR AN EXTRAORDINARY PILGRIMAGE IN IRELAND IN AUGUST…
Here follow five texts on this controversial open letter accusing Francis of heresy, the last one of them the complete text of the letter itself:
(1) A Reuters report by Phil Pullella (overview from the perspective of a major secular news agency)
2) A LifeSiteNews report by Maike Hickson (also an overview, but from the perspective of a writer favorable to the initiative of the open letter)
(3) A piece posted on Rorate Caeli written by Italian Professor Roberto de Mattei which sharply critiques the decision of Pope Francis to sign a document along with a leading Muslim theologian
(4) An article from The Guardian newspaper from December 11, 2013, which describes the deep friendship between the young Jorge Bergoglioand Esther Careaga. The article details how Careaga came from her native Paraguay to Argentina in the late 1950s as a political exile because of her socialist activism in her home country. In Argentina, she worked alongside a young Bergoglio in a chemistry laboratory in the mid-1950s, when Bergoglio was in his late teens and had not yet entered seminary to study for the priesthood. Twenty years later, Careaga was one of thousands of people who “disappeared” between 1976 and 1983. She, along with two other mothers and two French nuns, was abducted on December 8, 1977. Then, after days of torture, she was evidently executed by being thrown out of an airplane into the ocean from thousands of feet above the harbor of Buenos Aires. In 2005, forensic anthropologists dug up her body from an unmarked grave that contained the remains of victims who had washed up on shore in late December 1977 near the beach resort of Santa Teresita, south of Buenos Aires. DNA testing is said to have confirmed that the bodies were those of Careaga and the other four women arrested with her.
(5) A link to the complete text of the “open letter” of the 19 Catholic priests and academics (link)
(1) The Reuters overview report (link)
Here is an overview report on the open letter by Phil Pullella of Reuters.
MAY 1, 2019
Conservatives want Catholic bishops to denounce pope as heretic
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A group of 19 Catholic priests and academics have urged bishops to denounce Pope Francis as a heretic, in the latest ultra-conservative broadside against the pontiff over a range of topics from communion for the divorced to religious diversity.
The most prominent of the group is Father Aidan Nichols, a 70-year-old British priest of the Dominican order who has written many books and is one of most recognized theologians in the English-speaking world. The others are less well known.
“We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church,” they said in a 20-page open letter.
The letter attacks Francis for allegedly softening the Church’s stance on a range of subjects. They say he has not been outspoken enough against abortion and has been too welcoming to homosexuals and too accommodating to Protestants and Muslims.
It was published on Tuesday by LifeSiteNews, a conservative Catholic website that often is a platform for attacks on the pope. Last year, it ran a document by the Vatican’s former ambassador to Washington, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, calling on the pope to resign.
A Vatican spokesman had no comment on the letter, which includes dozens of footnotes, Bible verses, pronouncements by previous popes, and a separate bibliography. The letter invites people to join an on-line signature drive.
Addressing the bishops, the letter says “We therefore request that your Lordships urgently address the situation of Pope Francis’s public adherence to heresy.”
It asks them to “publicly to admonish Pope Francis to abjure the heresies that he has professed.”
Deciding whether a Church member is a heretic is the job of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog department.
Massimo Faggioli, a well-known professor of historical theology at Villanova University in the United States, said the letter was an example of the extreme polarisation in the Church.
“There is overwhelming support for Francis in the global Church on one side, and a tiny fringe of extremists trying to paint Francis as a pope who is heretic. The problem is that there is very little legitimate, constructive critique of Francis’ pontificate and his theology,” he said in an email.
A significant part of the letter concentrates on “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love), a 2016 papal document that is a cornerstone of Francis’ attempt to make the 1.3 billion-member Church more inclusive and less condemning.
ULTRA CONSERVATIVES TAKE AIM
In it, Francis called for a Church that is less strict and more compassionate towards any “imperfect” members, such as those who divorced and later remarry in civil ceremonies.
Under Church law they cannot receive communion unless they abstain from sex with their new partner, because their first marriage is still valid in the eyes of the Church, unless they have received an annulment. The Church does not allow divorce.
Francis has opened the door to some exceptions, allowing the decision whether the person can be fully re-integrated and receive communion to be made by a priest or bishop jointly with the individual on a case-by-case basis.
After Amoris Laetitia was published, four conservative publicly challenged the pope, accusing him of sowing confusion on important moral issues. He has thus far not responded to their demands that he clear up their doubts.
The new letter lists pages of what it calls “Evidence for Pope Francis being guilty of the delict (crime) of heresy.”
It attacks him for having once said that the intentions of Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, “were not mistaken”. It says he has not condemned abortion strongly enough and is too lenient with homosexual Catholics.
The letter criticized Francis for signing a joint statement with Lutherans in 2016 in which the pope said Catholics were grateful for the “theological gifts” of the Reformation.
It attacked the pope for a common statement with a prominent Muslim leader in Abu Dhabi in February which said the pluralism and diversity of religions was “willed by God.” Conservatives say the Roman Catholic Church is the only true one and that members are called to convert others to it.
Reporting by Philip Pullella, Editing by William Maclean
(2) The LifeSiteNews overview report (link)
Here is a report from LifeSiteNews, which first posted the open letter on the internet, by Maike Hickson.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Prominent clergy, scholars accuse Pope Francis of heresy in open letter
By Maike Hickson
Note: May 1, 2019 update: 12 more names have been added to list of signers of the open letter, bringing total up to 31.
April 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Prominent clergymen and scholars including Fr. Aidan Nichols, one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world, have issued an open letter accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy. They ask the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation” of a pope committing this crime.
The authors base their charge of heresy on the manifold manifestations of Pope Francis’ embrace of positions contrary to the faith and his dubious support of prelates who in their lives have shown themselves to have a clear disrespect for the Church’s faith and morals.
“We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church,” the authors state. The open letter is available in Dutch, Italian, German, French, and Spanish.
Among the signatories are well-respected scholars such as Father Thomas Crean, Fr. John Hunwicke, Professor John Rist, Dr. Anna Silvas, Professor Claudio Pierantoni, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, and Dr. John Lamont.
The text is dated “Easter Week” and appears on the traditional Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena, a saint who counseled and admonished several popes in her time.
The 20-page document is a follow-up to the 2017 Filial Correction of Pope Francis that was signed originally by 62 scholars and which stated that the Pope has “effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church,” especially in light of his 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
The authors of the open letter state in a summary of their letter (read below) that it has now become clear that Pope Francis is aware of his own positions contrary to the faith and that the time has come to go a “stage further” by claiming that Pope Francis is “guilty of the crime of heresy.”
“We limit ourselves to accusing him of heresy on occasions where he has publicly denied truths of the faith, and then consistently acted in a way that demonstrates that he disbelieves these truths that he has publicly denied,” the authors state.
They clarify that they are not claiming Pope Francis has “denied truths of the faith in pronouncements that satisfy the conditions for an infallible papal teaching.”
“We assert that this would be impossible, since it would be incompatible with the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit,” they state.
In light of this situation, the authors call upon the bishops of the Church to take action since a “heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil.”
For this reason, the authors “respectfully request the bishops of the Church to investigate the accusations contained in the letter, so that if they judge them to be well founded they may free the Church from her present distress, in accordance with the hallowed adage, Salus animarum prima lex (‘the salvation of souls is the highest law’). The bishops can do this, the writers suggest, “by admonishing Pope Francis to reject these heresies, and if he should persistently refuse, by declaring that he has freely deprived himself of the papacy.”
The authors first present in detail – and with theological references to substantiate their claims – the different positions against the faith Pope Francis has shown himself to hold, propagate, or support, including “seven propositions contradicting divinely revealed truth.”
One of the heresies the authors accuse Pope Francis of committing is expressed in the following proposition: “A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.” Many of these heretical statements touch on questions of marriage and the family and are to be found in Amoris Laetitia, but there is also a new claim made by Pope Francis in 2019 – namely, that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God” – that is listed in the open letter.
In one section of the open letter, the authors list the many prelates as well as lay people, who, despite openly dissenting from Catholic doctrine and morals — either by word or by deed — have been by Pope Francis either publicly praised (such as Emma Bonino) or raised to influential positions (such as Cardinal Oscar Rodrigez Maradiaga). On this list are names such as Cardinal Blase Cupich, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, and Bishop Juan Barros.
The fact that Pope Francis never responded to the dubia (questions) concerning Amoris Laetitia published by Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Joachim Meisner, Walter Brandmüller, and Raymond Burke is mentioned. Moreover, the authors point out that Pope Francis has changed the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life to such an extent that orthodox Catholic experts have been replaced by heterodox experts, such as Father Maurizio Chiodi.
Addressing the bishops of the world – among whom are to be found all the present 222 cardinals – the authors of the open letter express their gratitude toward those bishops who have defended Catholic doctrine by their own personal witnesses.
“We recognise with gratitude that some among you have reaffirmed the truths contrary to the heresies which we have listed, or else have warned of serious dangers threatening the Church in this pontificate,” they state. Here, the dubia cardinals, but also Cardinal Willem Eijk, are mentioned. The authors also thank Cardinal Gerhard Müller for his Manifesto of Faith.
The authors believe, however, that at this time in history, six years into the Francis pontificate, more is needed, namely a more direct and authoritative approach. They recognize their own limits when they tell the bishops: “Despite the evidence that we have put forward in this letter, we recognise that it does not belong to us to declare the pope guilty of the delict of heresy in a way that would have canonical consequences for Catholics.”
“We therefore appeal to you as our spiritual fathers, vicars of Christ within your own jurisdictions and not vicars of the Roman pontiff, publicly to admonish Pope Francis to abjure the heresies that he has professed. Even prescinding from the question of his personal adherence to these heretical beliefs, the Pope’s behaviour in regard to the seven propositions contradicting divinely revealed truth, mentioned at the beginning of this Letter, justifies the accusation of the delict of heresy. It is beyond a doubt that he promotes and spreads heretical views on these points. Promoting and spreading heresy provides sufficient grounds in itself for an accusation of the delict of heresy. There is, therefore, superabundant reason for the bishops to take the accusation of heresy seriously and to try to remedy the situation,” they state.
The authors make it clear that it is up to the bishops to take action and that they do not need a majority among the bishops to do so.
“Since Pope Francis has manifested heresy by his actions as well as by his words, any abjuration must involve repudiating and reversing these actions, including his nomination of bishops and cardinals who have supported these heresies by their words or actions. Such an admonition is a duty of fraternal charity to the Pope, as well as a duty to the Church,” they state.
“If – which God forbid! – Pope Francis does not bear the fruit of true repentance in response to these admonitions, we request that you carry out your duty of office to declare that he has committed the canonical delict of heresy and that he must suffer the canonical consequences of this crime,” they add.
Thus, the authors state, “these actions do not need to be taken by all the bishops of the Catholic Church, or even by a majority of them. A substantial and representative part of the faithful bishops of the Church would have the power to take these actions.”
The full 20-page document may be read here. A select bibliography to support the case made in the open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church about Pope Francis’ heresies may be read here.
A petition launched by the organizers of the open letter to support their initiative can be found here.
Summary of open letter to bishops as presented by the authors themselves:
The Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church is the third stage in a process that began in the summer of 2016.
At that time, an ad hoc group of Catholic clergy and scholars wrote a private letter to all the cardinals and Eastern Catholic patriarchs, pointing out heresies and other serious errors that appeared to be contained in or favoured by Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.
The following year, after Pope Francis had continued by word, deed, and omission to propagate many of these same heresies, a ‘Filial Correction’ was addressed to the pope by many of the same people, as well as by other clergy and scholars. This second letter was made public in September 2017, and a petition in support of it was signed by some 14,000 people. The authors of that letter stated however that they did not seek to judge whether Pope Francis was aware that he was causing heresy to spread.
The present Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church goes a stage further in claiming that Pope Francis is guilty of the crime of heresy.
This crime is committed when a Catholic knowingly and persistently denies something which he knows that the Church teaches to be revealed by God.
Taken together, the words and actions of Pope Francis amount to a comprehensive rejection of Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual activity, on the moral law, and on grace and the forgiveness of sins.
The Open letter also indicates the link between this rejection of Catholic teaching and the favour shown by Pope Francis to bishops and other clergy who have either been guilty of sexual sins and crimes, such as former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, or who have protected clergy guilty of sexual sins and crimes, such as the late Cardinal Godfried Danneels.
This protection and promotion of clerics who reject Catholic teaching on marriage, sexual activity, and on the moral law in general, even when these clerics personally violate the moral and civil law in horrendous ways, is consistent enough to be considered a policy on the part of Pope Francis. At the least it is evidence of disbelief in the truth of Catholic teaching on these subjects. It also indicates a strategy to impose rejection of these teachings on the Church, by naming to influential posts individuals whose personal lives are based on violation of these truths.
The authors consider that a heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil. It strikes at the basic good of the Church and must be corrected.
For this reason, the study concludes by describing the traditional theological and legal principles that apply to the present situation. The authors respectfully request the bishops of the Church to investigate the accusations contained in the letter, so that if they judge them to be well founded, they may free the Church from her present distress, in accordance with the hallowed adage, Salus animarum prima lex (‘the salvation of souls is the highest law’).
They can do this by admonishing Pope Francis to reject these heresies, and if he should persistently refuse, by declaring that he has freely deprived himself of the papacy.
While this Open letter is an unusual, even historic, document, the Church’s own laws say that “Christ’s faithful have the right, and, indeed, sometimes the duty, according to their knowledge, competence, and dignity, to manifest to the sacred pastors their judgment about those things which pertain to the good of the Church” (Code of Canon Law, canon 212.3).
While Catholics hold that a pope speaks infallibly in certain strictly defined conditions, the Church does not say that he cannot fall into heresy outside these conditions.
The signatories to the Open Letter include not only specialists in theology and philosophy, but also academics and scholars from other fields. This fits well with the central claim of the Open Letter, that Pope Francis’s rejection of revealed truths is evident to any well-instructed Catholic who is willing to examine the evidence.
The signatures of Fr Aidan Nichols OP and of Professor John Rist will be noted. Fr Nichols is one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world, and the author of many books on a wide range of theological topics, including the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Joseph Ratzinger. Professor Rist, who is known for his work in classical philosophy and the history of theology, has held chairs and professorships at the University of Toronto, the Augustinianum in Rome, the Catholic University of America, the University of Aberdeen, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The Open Letter is released just after the celebration of Holy Week and Easter Week, in the hopes that the present ‘passion’ of the Church will soon give way to a full resurrection of God’s saving truth.
Clergy and academics who wish to sign the open letter may send their name and credentials to organizers at this email address: [email protected]. All requests will be thoroughly vetted.
List of signers:
• Georges Buscemi, President of Campagne Québec-Vie, member of the John-Paul II Academy for Human Life and Family
• Robert Cassidy, STL
• Fr Thomas Crean, OP
• Matteo d’Amico, Professor of History and Philosophy, Senior High School of Ancona
• Deacon Nick Donnelly, MA
• Maria Guarini STB, Pontificia Università Seraphicum, Rome; editor of the website Chiesa e postconcilio
• Prof. Robert Hickson, PhD, Retired Professor of Literature and of Strategic-Cultural Studies
• Fr John Hunwicke, former Senior Research Fellow, Pusey House, Oxford
• Peter Kwasniewski, PhD
• John Lamont, DPhil (Oxon.)
• Brian M. McCall, Orpha and Maurice Merrill Professor in Law; Editor-in-Chief of Catholic Family News
• Fr Cor Mennen, JCL, diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), canon of the cathedral Chapter. lecturer at the diocesan Seminary of ‘s-Hertogenbosch
• Stéphane Mercier, STB, PhD, Former Lecturer at the Catholic University of Louvain
• Fr Aidan Nichols, OP
• Paolo Pasqualucci, Professor of Philosophy (retired), University of Perugia
• Dr. Claudio Pierantoni, Professor of Medieval Philosophy, University of Chile; former Professor of Church History and Patrology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
• Professor John Rist
• Dr. Anna Silvas, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education, University of New England
• Prof. dr. W.J. Witteman, physicist, emeritus professor, University of Twente
Names added May 1, 2019
• Fr William Barrocas
• Pedro Erik Carneiro, PhD
• Michael J. Cawley III, PhD, Psychologist
• Fr Gregory Charnock, Ba LLB, Diocesan Priest, St Bartholomew Catholic Parish,Western Cape, South Africa
• Ernesto Echavarria, KSG
• Sarah Henderson, DCHS BA MA
• Edward T. Kryn, MD
• Alan Moy, MD, Scientific Director and Founder, John Paul II Medical Research Institute
• Jack P. Oostveen, Emeritus Assistant Professor Geomechanics, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; Acting President of the International Federation Una Voce, 2006-2007
• Harriet Sporn, hermit
• Dr. Zlatko Šram, Croatian Center for Applied Social Research
• Professor emeritus Dr. Hubert Windisch, Pastoral theologian, Graz/Freiburg/Regensburg, Germany
(3) A piece posted on Rorate Caeli written by Italian Professor Roberto de Mattei which sharply critiques the decision of Pope Francis to sign a document along with a leading Muslim theologian (link)
De Mattei: “The most terrible schism the world has ever seen”
By Prof. Roberto de Mattei
May 1, 2019
On February 4, 2019, at Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmad Al- Tayyeb, signed the document on “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.”
The declaration opens in the name of a God, who, if he has to be a God common to all, cannot be anything other than the Allah of Muslims.
The God of Christians, in fact, is one in nature, but Triune in persons, equal and distinct, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Since the time of Arius and thereafter, the Church has been battling the anti-Trinitarians and the Deists who deny, or set aside this mystery, which is Christianity’s greatest.
Islam, on the contrary, rejects it in horror, as the Sura “of authentic worship” proclaims: “He, God, is one! God, the Eternal One! He will not generate, nor was he generated, and none is equal to him!” (Koran, 112, 2,4).
Actually, in the Abu Dhabi declaration, worship is not given either to the God of Christians or to the God of Islam, but to a secular divinity, “human fraternity,” “which embraces all men, unites them and renders them equal.”
We are not dealing here with “the spirit of Assisi” which in its syncretism recognizes, nonetheless, the primacy of the religious dimension over that of the secularist — but with an affirmation of indifference.
In no point, in fact, is a fundamental metaphysic of the values of peace and fraternity mentioned, but these are continually referred to.
The document, when it affirms that “pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sexuality, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings,” does not profess the ecumenism condemned by Pius XI in Mortalium animos (1928), but the religious indifferentism condemned by Leo XIII in the encyclical Libertas (June 20, 1888), which he defines as “a doctrinal system teaching each is free to profess the religion he likes and even not to profess any at all.”
In the Abu Dhabi declaration, Christians and Muslims submit themselves to the core principal of Freemasonry, whereby the French Revolution values of liberty and equality should find their synthesis and attainment in universal brotherhood.
Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, who along with Pope Francis drew up the text, is a hereditary sheik of the Confraternity of Sufis for Upper Egypt, and, in the Islamic world, Al Azhar, the university of which he is rector, is characterized for its proposal of Sufi esotericism, as “an initiatory bridge” between Eastern and Western Freemasonry (cfr. Gabriel Mandel, Federico II, il sufismo e la massoneria, Tipheret, Acireale 2013).
The document in an insistent and repetitive manner, calls upon “the leaders of the world as well as the architects of international policy and world economy, intellectuals, philosophers, religious figures, artists, media professionals and men and women of culture in every part of the world,” to work strenuously to spread “the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace,” expressing “the firm conviction that authentic teachings of religions invite us to remain rooted in the values of peace; to defend the values of mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence.”
These values, it stresses, are the “anchor of salvation for all.”
Thus, “the Catholic Church and Al Azhar” ask that “this Document become the object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of formation, thus helping to educate new generations to bring goodness and peace to others, and to be defenders everywhere of the rights of the oppressed and of the least of our brothers and sisters.”
On April 11, at Santa Marta in the Vatican, the Abu Dhabi document was sealed by a symbolic gesture. Francis prostrated himself on the ground before three Muslim leaders from Sudan and kissed their feet, imploring peace.
This gesture should be judged not so much for what it affirms: the submission of the Church to Islam, but for what it negates: the rejection of the Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who represents Christ, in Whose Name every knee shall bend in heaven and on earth (Philippians 2:10) must receive homage from men and nations and not pay homage to anyone.
The words of Pius XI in the encyclical Quas primas (1925) resonate: “Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! “Then at length,” to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, “then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.”
The gesture made by Pope Francis at Santa Marta also negates a sublime mystery: The Incarnation, Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only Savior and Redeemer of mankind.
By denying this mystery, the salvific mission of the Church — called to evangelize and civilize the world — is denied. Will the Amazonian Synod which takes place next October, be a new phase in this rejection of the Church’s mission, which is also the rejection of the Vicar of Christ’s mission? Will Pope Francis kneel before representatives of the indigenous people? Will he ask them to transmit to the Church their tribal wisdom of which they are carriers?
What is certain is that three days later, on April 15, the Cathedral of Notre Dame (a descriptive image of the Church) went up in flames that devoured the spire, leaving the foundation intact. Does this not signify that, despite the collapse at the very top of the Church, Her Divine structure endures, and nothing will be able to demolish that?
A week later, other events shook up Catholic public opinion. A series of terrorist attacks, incited by the followers of that same religion Pope Bergoglio submits to, transformed Easter of the Resurrection into a day of Passion for the universal Church, with 310 dead and more than 500 wounded. Even before it consumed the bodies, the fire consumed the illusions of those Catholics, who with applauds and guitars intone the alleluia, while the Church is experiencing Her Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Some may object that the bombers in Sri Lanka, even if they were Muslim, do not represent Islam. Yet not even the Imam of Al Ahzar, who signed the document of peace and fraternity, represents all of Islam. Pope Francis, on the other hand does certainly represent the Catholic Church. But for how long?
There is no true fraternity outside the supernatural, which does not come from relationships among men, but from God (1 Thessalonians 1:4). In the same way, there is no peace possible outside that of Christian peace, since the source of true peace is Christ, Incarnate Wisdom, Who “preached peace to you that were afar off, and peace to them that were nigh” (Ephesians 2:17). Peace is a gift from God, brought to mankind by Jesus Christ, Son of God and Sovereign of Heaven and Earth. The Catholic Church founded by Him, is the supreme depositary of peace, since She is custodian of the truth and peace is founded on truth and justice.
Neo-Modernism, entrenched at the very top of the Church, preaches false peace and false fraternity. But false peace brings war into the world, just as false fraternity brings schism, which is war inside the Church. St. Luigi Orione had dramatically foreseen it all on June 26, 1913: “Modernism and semi-Modernism cannot go on — sooner or later it’s going to be Protestantism or a schism in the Church which will be the most terrible that the world has ever seen.” (Writings, vol.43, p.53).
Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana
(4) An article from The Guardian newspaper from December 11, 2013, which describes the deep friendship between the young Jorge Bergoglio and Esther Careaga (link)
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Pope Francis and the missing Marxist
The new Pope survived Argentina’s brutal dictatorship but his close friend Esther Careaga wasn’t so lucky. We reveal the story of an extraordinary friendship
By Uki Goni
He was in his late teens and still some years away from entering the Jesuit Order. She was in her mid-30s, a revolutionary and a feminist far ahead of her time. They met around 1953 or 1954 in the most unlikely of places – a laboratory where she worked as a pharmaceutical biochemist and he as an apprentice chemical technician. The two could not have been more dissimilar. Yet they cemented a unique friendship that bridged decades as well as deep political and religious chasms.
The woman was Esther Careaga, a non-believer who, because of her Marxist ideals, disappeared under Argentina’s dictatorship in 1977. The man was Jorge Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis in March this year.
Careaga had arrived in Buenos Aires as a political exile from neighbouring Paraguay a few years before meeting Bergoglio. She had been a fiery socialist orator and the founder of Paraguay’s first feminist movement in the 1940s. “She toured the towns in the countryside of Paraguay pleading for people’s rights in general, but especially the rights of women,” says her daughter Ana María Careaga.
Careaga was one of thousands of people who “disappeared” between 1976 and 1983, a bloody spree that stopped only after Argentina entered into a losing war with Britain in 1982 over the Falkland Islands. Victims were taken to secret camps, tortured and thrown from military planes – drugged but still alive – into the South Atlantic Ocean. It was an unsuccessful tactic because sometimes the bodies washed up on shore days later.
I had frequent contact with Careaga in the months before her abduction on 8 December 1977. I was a young journalist; she was 59. By that time Argentina had fallen behind a wall of silence. Denial had become part of the fabric of society. Torture and death were meted out to those who dared speak out against the murder machine. Clerics and journalists were routinely slaughtered. Most of the press and the clergy clamped their mouths shut.
The newspaper where I worked, the small English-language daily Buenos Aires Herald, was the exception. Its brave British editor, Robert Cox, had decided to make a stand. “It was an honour to scream when everybody else held silence,” says Cox from his retirement home in South Carolina.
The Herald was visited almost daily by mothers whose sons and daughters had been plucked from their homes by men with machine guns. I found myself derailed into a dark parallel universe where I held hands with the distraught women who came to us – a small newspaper in a foreign language – because nobody else would listen.
Careaga first came to us in July 1977 to report the disappearance of her pregnant 16-year-old daughter Ana María. I was immediately struck by this woman with a steady gaze, who spoke with such soft authority. Unlike the other mothers, who were distraught beyond coherence, she remained in full command of her emotions.
We discovered later that her daughter had been taken to the basement of a police building where more than 1,500 people languished in chains. “They put on cassettes of Hitler speeches to drown out the screams while they tortured us,” Ana María says now. Swastikas abounded there, and Jewish victims were singled out for extra-cruel punishment.
It was an agony that few returned from. However, whether because her captors took pity on her or because the Herald reported her case, the teenager was released after suffering four months of horror.
Ana María immediately left for Sweden, where she was accepted as a political refugee, but her mother refused to leave. By this time Careaga had joined the “Mothers of Plaza de Mayo” – the mothers who marched every Thursday at the Plaza de Mayo in front of the presidential palace to draw attention to their plight.
I was surprised when Careaga reappeared at the Herald, and I wondered why she wanted to keep risking her life even after her daughter had been saved. “We have to keep fighting for all the other missing children,” she said.
Shortly before she disappeared, Careaga called Bergoglio, asking him to come and administer the last rites to a dying relative. This struck her old friend as unusual because the Careagas were not a religious family.
Arriving at Careaga’s house, Bergoglio discovered that Careaga was being careful because she didn’t want to reveal the truth over the phone. “My parents had a large library of political books – books on Marxism and philosophy – and she asked him to hold them in safekeeping,” says Ana María. Bravely, Bergoglio did so, even though being found with such literature would have meant death back then.
Later, Ana María gave birth to a baby girl in Sweden. “We called home only to hear that mother had been kidnapped three days before,” she says. “We thought it was terrible but we never thought …” Her voice trails off. “The last thing you lose is hope.”
Careaga’s daughter eventually returned to Argentina and met with Bergoglio. “I don’t remember any details, you can imagine the condition I was in,” she says. She never found out what happened to her mother’s books. “There was so many more important things to deal with, we never asked.” The rest of the Careaga family did not have the same kind of close relationship with Bergoglio. “He was a personal friend of my mother, it wasn’t a family relationship.”
Later it transpired that Careaga had been taken to the ESMA Navy School of Mechanics – which doubled as a detention centre – where she was brutally tortured, and then flown to her watery death, along with two other Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and two French nuns who helped them.
Bergoglio, ordained Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, was in shock. “I was badly pained, I tried to communicate with some relatives but I couldn’t, they were in hiding,” Bergoglio testified at the ESMA trial in 2010. Asked by a lawyer acting on behalf of the Careaga family if he had spoken to any authorities on her behalf, Bergoglio said, “No authorities, I did what I could.”
I testified at the same trial on behalf of Careaga and others, including the father of a missing person who was kidnapped on the same day as Careaga. One of the defendants was a Navy captain named Alfredo Astiz, once dubbed the “Blond Angel” because of his light hair and baby face. We learned that he had infiltrated the mothers by pretending to have a missing brother. The mothers adored him. His true identity had come to light during the 1982 Falklands War, when his landing on South Georgia island became the first act of aggression in that war. The mothers were aghast when they saw a picture of him surrendering to British officers.
Astiz was taken to the UK, and although the French government asked prime minister Margaret Thatcher to hold him until they could charge him with the disappearance of the two French nuns, Astiz was repatriated to Argentina. He was finally brought to justice and sentenced to life in 2011.
Before then, in 2005, forensic anthropologists dug up some bodies that had been buried in an unmarked grave after washing ashore in late December 1977 near the beach resort of Santa Teresita, south of Buenos Aires. DNA testing identified them as being the bodies of the mothers that Astiz had kidnapped: Careaga was among them.
Luis Bianco – the son of Maria Bianco, one of the other mothers buried alongside Careaga – was chosen by the victims’ relatives to ask Bergoglio for permission to bury their remains in the gardens of the Church of the Holy Cross, the Irish community church in the city of Buenos Aires, from where they had been kidnapped.
Bergoglio seemed hesitant. He was puzzled, asking why they should be buried at the church instead of in a cemetery. “I touched his knee,” says Bianco. “I told him that one of the mothers was Careaga.”
Bergoglio shook with emotion.
“Careaga was a good friend and a great woman and I am sure your mother was the same,” he said.
Within a week permission was granted for Careaga and the other mothers to be buried there.
(5) A link to the complete text of the “open letter” of the 19 Catholic priests and academics (link)
An invitation to walk down the Appian Way outside of Rome, where Peter met Christ and said to him, “Quo vadis, Domine?”…
Visit our new pilgrimage website for a complete list of our pilgrimages.