All the attempts that have been made to address the severe problems posed by the synods on marriage and the family and the post-synodal apostolic exhortation have been completely ignored by Rome.
But with the advent of the “Four Cardinals Letter” and Cardinal Burke’s subsequent — and extremely significant — explanatory interview, it seems that the closest allies of Pope Francis are closing ranks and circling the wagons.
In a series of seemingly unrelated moves, we are seeing strong reactions against the faithful Catholic resistance.
#AmorisLaetitia: The Pope has “clarified”. Those who don’t like what they hear pretend not to hear it! Just read…
The offending tweet appears now to have been deleted. In its place were two others. This:
— Antonio Spadaro (@antoniospadaro) November 15, 2016
— Antonio Spadaro (@antoniospadaro) November 15, 2016
The second tweet links to a partial transcript of Fr. Spadaro’s “conversation” with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn about Amoris Laetitia, in which the Viennese cardinal — tasked by Pope Francis with the official interpretation of AL — famously said, “It is obvious that this is an act of the magisterium: it is an Apostolic Exhortation.”
The thin-skinned Fr. Spadaro has since blocked me for my own response to him:
You oppose Christ. And so, however much power you may have at the moment, you will fail. You cannot win. https://t.co/FcRHWlckr9
— Steve Skojec (@SteveSkojec) November 15, 2016
I’m afraid in this matter, I’m unable to be a journalist. I’m a partisan.
Elsewhere, Cardinal-elect Cupich of Chicago, when asked about bishops distancing themselves from Francis and his vision for the Church, responded:
Surely, there are some who are struggling with the vision offered by the pope, and, yes, sadly, there are some who are opposed to him and do not like him, as Cardinal Wuerl said. I use the word sadly, not in terms of it being sad for the pope, but for those who oppose him or working against him because in reality they lack an understanding of what it means to be a bishop in the Catholic Church.
At Rorate Caeli, we are treated to a partial translation of a blog post by Vaticanista Sandro Magister, who has uncovered an Orwellian attempt to monitor Catholic professors who do not toe the line on Amoris Laetitia:
Sandro Magister reveals it today in his personal blog, and calls it a “Sodalitium Franciscanum“, in reference to the “Sodalitium Pianum” (SP) St. Pius X supposedly established as an underground network to find Modernists infiltrated in the Church. The main difference, of course, is that the supposed “SP” tried to do a good thing (that is, avoid the spread of errors and novelties that attempted against the Faith and Morals the Church has always professed), while the Pope’s new Banana-Gestapo (like the actual Gestapo or the KGB) tries to do a bad thing: expel from Catholic institutions those who simply want to teach Catholic Faith and Morals as the Church has always taught them — and warns all that they are being monitored secretly in their classrooms in order to toe the new pro-adultery and pro-cohabitation line.
Magister transcribes the letter received by faculty in the Pontifical Institute John Paul II for Studies on Marriage and the Family (linked to the Lateran University). The threats contained in it are not hollow, because Francis himself intervened earlier this year to completely subject the board of the Institute to HIS new view of marriage (as opposed to Jesus Christ’s and John Paul II’s), putting strong henchmen in their place. Men who would not mind following orders, even if absurd.
And in Germany, Cardinal Lehman — a long time dissenter from Catholic teaching and vocal proponent of Pope Francis — says that now is the time to accomplish the agenda he favors — because Francis will allow it:
Liberal-minded Cardinal Karl Lehmann is urging his fellow German bishops to change Church discipline quickly while Francis is still Pope.
In an interview with German website katholisch.de, he pressed the bishops to use the “freedom that has been granted by the Pope.”
“Francis wants us to explore new paths. Sometimes you don’t have to wait until the large tanker begins to move,” he added, alluding to the alleged slowness of the Curia in making changes, an attack often uttered by German liberal churchmen.
The remark was geared toward the discussion of the possibility for admitting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to Communion.
Lehmann strongly opposes Humanae Vitae and is one of the signatories of the “Königsteiner Erklärung.” He has continuously supported the promotion of admitting “remarried” divorced Catholics to the Eucharist, according to his own account. He also supports the German bishops’ refusal to accept St. John Paul’s admonishment of the “Beratungsscheine,” counseling certificates that allow women in Germany to undergo legal abortion.
In this most recent interview with katholisches.de, Lehmann also supported abolishing celibacy for clergy on the basis of an alleged lack of priests. “What actually hinders us from ordaining married permanent deacons, who do a great service to the Church, so that they may also take on priestly services?”
I’ve already written that the schism is here, just not fully developed yet. These movements both for and against Christ’s teaching within the highest echelons of Church power are indicative that the pace of the split in the Church is accelerating.
If you haven’t started praying that God rescue and reform His Church — and for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart — now is a good time to start.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.