On October 20th, 2015, as the second half of the Synod on the Family was underway, I wrote:
It has long been my concern that Francis will make an end-run around the restrictions of papal infallibility by not making a decision that is binding, but rather by delegating the decision on matters as important as Holy Communion given to the unrepentant to Bishops, who must determine their own “pastoral process.” We know what this would lead to.
The link in that quote was to an essay about the schism in the Church — not the one that was coming, but the one that was already here. And the questions we were tackling then as hypotheticals are the ones we’re wrestling with right now as realities:
This is the reality Catholics around the world are struggling with right now. They don’t know what to think. We’re all papists, we faithful sons of the Church. But when do you say to Peter: “I’m sorry, your holiness, I can’t follow you down this road.”?
I’ve seen people — real, actual, non-hypothetical people — asking what they are to do if, at the conclusion of this year’s portion of the Synod, one of the following scenarios plays out:
Pope Francis blesses some document or language allowing the divorced and remarried to receive communion after some prescribed process that does not involve removing themselves from the adulterous relationship, or
Pope Francis does not make such a decision, but rather delegates the discretionary power to do the same to either the regional bishops conferences or the local ordinary.
As it turns out, the answer was both 1 and 2. And with every passing week, we get more confirmation of this fact. From Schönborn to Cupich, Argentina to Germany to Rome, it couldn’t be more clear that our fears have come to pass almost exactly as we expected. The latest example comes from Bishop (soon to be Cardinal) Kevin Farrell, the new head of a new Vatican division for Laity and Family:
Speaking in an NCR interview Thursday, Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell said he has a hard time understanding why some bishops have reacted negatively to Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love.”)
“I honestly don’t see what and why some bishops seem to think that they have to interpret this document,” said Farrell, the head of the new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and who last Sunday was announced as one of 17 prelates selected by Francis to join the church’s elite College of Cardinals.
“I believe that the pope has spoken,” said the cardinal-designate, referring to news last month that Francis wrote a letter praising a group of Argentine bishops who had drafted concrete guidelines about circumstances in which divorced and civilly remarried couples might eventually be allowed to receive Communion.
“I think that the document Amoris Laetitia is faithful to the doctrine and to the teaching of the church,” said Farrell, referring next to a 1981 exhortation on family life written by one of Francis’ predecessors: “It is carrying on the doctrine of Familiaris Consortio of John Paul II. I believe that passionately.
“Basically this is the Holy Spirit speaking to us,” the cardinal-designate continued.
“Do we believe that the Holy Spirit wasn’t there in the first synod?” he asked. “Do we believe he wasn’t in the second synod? Do we believe that he didn’t inspire our Holy Father Pope Francis in writing this document?”
“We need to be consequential here,” said Farrell. “I firmly believe this is the teaching of the church. This is a pastoral document telling us how we should proceed. I believe we should take it as it is.”
We see this again and again, and we will continue to see it handled this way. This demands serious ecclesiastical resistance. You may recall Cardinal Burke’s disappointing initial response to Amoris Laetitia. Particularly troubling were the accusations he made against those who saw the exhortation as the doctrine-destroyer that it really is:
The secular media and even some Catholic media are describing the recently-issued post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “On Love in the Family,” as a revolution in the Church, as a radical departure from the teaching and practice of the Church, up to now, regarding marriage and the family.
Such a view of the document is both a source of wonder and confusion to the faithful, and potentially a source of scandal not only for the faithful but for others of good will who look to Christ and his Church to teach and reflect in practice the truth regarding marriage and its fruit, family life, the first cell of the life of the Church and of every society.
It is also a disservice to the nature of the document as the fruit of the Synod of Bishops, a meeting of bishops representing the universal Church “to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world” (Canon 342). In other words, it would be a contradiction of the work of the Synod of Bishops to set in motion confusion regarding what the Church teaches, and safeguards and fosters by her discipline.
So now, six months later, when it is crystal clear that those who are creating “wonder and confusion” and “a source of scandal” for the faithful are the pope and his bishops, will Cardinal Burke recall his duty and aim these admonitions where they belong, rather than at the concerned faithful? Will he remember what he said in February of 2015?
Cardinal Burke: I cannot accept that Communion can be given to a person in an irregular union because it is adultery. On the question of people of the same sex, this has nothing to do with marriage. This is an affliction suffered by some people whereby they are attracted against nature sexually to people of the same sex.
Question: If perchance the pope will persist in this direction, what will you do?
Cardinal Burke: I shall resist, I can do nothing else. There is no doubt that it is a difficult time; this is clear, this is clear.
It is past time, your eminences and excellencies. The Galatians 2 moment was here months ago — even before Amoris Laetitia was published. Things are now far, far worse. When will you stand and defend your sheep?
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher 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 eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.
The last question was rhetorical, right?
Sure seems that way.
We’ve had bad popes ever since VII which indicates clearly that VII was not a good Council & must be rescinded. This particular one is the most demonic & fulfils Our Lady’s prophesy that Rome would lose the faith & the one who should speak (BP?) will fall silent. It was never forecast, though, that when this would happen the whole of the episcopacy would also be involved & that we would have no-one to denounce such evil. The thirteen signatories to ‘that letter’ have been silenced & according to Fr. Thomas Rosica many have distanced themselves from it. I am still awaiting the names of the retractors which I requested on reading his rebuke to Fr. Raymond De Souza.
Satan’s men are winning at the moment, but we know they will lose the battle. What we don’t know is how & when they will succumb.
you must be mad! John XXIII, and John-Paul II are saints, Benedict XVI was super great, and Paul VI did a great job at a difficult time… these are really good Popes…. Francis is dealing with life in the post clerical sex scandal era, when the persecution is ramping up…so he’s trying to avoid direct confrontation vis-a-vis a hostile secular world, which appears to have several demonically possessed political leaders. I do think that Francis is an interim pope, and the real heavy player is coming next, and sooner than you might expect too!
You might replace your pontifical judgements with a] naïve at best, if not mendacious; b] flawed; c] cowardly and lastly, d] inept.
Francis is Alinsky in a white cassock, creating the mess he feeds on.
he’s the first Jesuit Pope. We aren’t used to that. What’s important? rules and regulations? or selfless love of the other person?
Be assured, good sir, there is nothing of “selfless love” in providing a safe-space, an erroneous zone, for individuals to rest in concupiscence — in slavery to their own personal claim to each of the seven deadly sins. To think otherwise is to be duped or to be a willingly subscriber to delusion.
Christianity has not been waiting for the revelation of aberrant Jesuits, nor of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, for the last two thousand years. To entertain the idea that we have been misguided all, much, or even for a significant portion of Christian history is to pass a judgement that renders Roman Catholicism erroneous and Jesus Christ fraudulent.
Those who have engineered the hijacking of Roman Catholicism since 1958, and those who are pushing that agenda to its fulfillment today are perfectly aware of this. Their design is close to its accomplishment.
The dismantling of religious instruction was accomplished for a purpose. It is my hope that you, and the mass of those of your stripe, are the innocent victims of fifty-one years of Church life where catechesis, evangelization, was substituted with pop psychology and Marxist social analysis. Your innocence is only in proportion to your lack of awareness and the degree to which you have been deceived without cognizance.
The current cozy endorsed and enhanced by the Bergoglian fraudulence
is lethal. Be aware.
“By their fruits you shall know them.”
Pope Francis stands apart from the other popes. He even distorts and misuses Vatican II documents.
“Why Pope Francis Is A False-Prophet” @traditionalcatholicpriest.com
If he was just an interim then why is he allowing questions about so many tenants and truths of the faith? Why does he say one thing one day and the opposite soon after? Why does he depose faithful prelates? Why does he allow a statue of the heretic luther in the Vatican?
because he doesn’t know he is interim…in the big scheme of God’s will.
When I read this, but before I read your rejoinders to criticism below, I assumed yours was sarcasm, a clever parody of some kind. But no. It’s unsettling to realize there are still Catholics about us who can say things like, “Francis is dealing with life in the post clerical sex scandal era, when the persecution is ramping up…so he’s trying to avoid direct confrontation….” Tell me, what is at all oblique about Francis’ having thrown in with the likes of Angela Merkel concerning “refugee” resettlement? With Al Gore and radicals of his ilk concerning “climate change”? Rather than trying to avoid direct confrontation, Francis would seem to have decided the best tactic is to join the enemy’s charge!
don’t bundle issues together. “climate change” is a deliberate obfuscation. Now what is really important is species depletion and habitat degradation. So many species are endangered – and because humans are inter-connected to these other species – we are endangered too…No one talks about that much. It’s not due to fossil fuel use as much as it is due to general disregard for nature. The big problem with fossil fuel use is that we could run out of it. The planet has several ways of dealing with increases in CO2. But once a species is lost, and it’s habitat gone evolution will do something that we can’t predict. So, the Popes have been definitely on top of that issue….The refugee problem has a cause…and that is unjust war in the Middle East. But the West’s ditching of Christianity is also a cause of the immigration. Birth rate in Europe will not sustain the culture. It’s almost a law of physics: high pressure expands into low pressure. DEAL WITH IT because you caused it. How deal with it? Lovingly.
I won’t debate you because I have neither the patience nor inclination to do so. Suffice it to say I think most everything you say in your rejoinder is bunk. The notion, for instance, that the recent invasion of Europe by mostly healthy young Muslim males is due to “unjust war in the Middle East” is perfect nonsense. There have been many wars there, just and unjust, for decades, but only the pusillanimous response to wholesale invasion by “leaders” like Merkel and Hollande has sparked this European crisis. The pope’s suggestions and remedies concerning this political disaster have not been helpful, to put criticism charitably. And the answer to the post-Christian decline in births on the continent is most certainly NOT to import millions of practitioners of a false and violent religion. So deal with what you will “lovingly,” but please spare us all further pettifoggery and intellectual legerdemain.
the same phenomenon is happening across the US southern border as is happening in Europe. And for the same reason(s). It’s social physics. High “density” moves to “lower density” – density in this case being not only population density, but moral, and ethical “density” too. Another analogy may be ants attacking a carcass. Do I need to elaborate that? Or do you see my point instantly?
I stand 100% by what I said above, no additions, no subtractions. Why do I always have the uneasy feeling that I’m reading IKEA instructions when I read your answers?
if the Pope is doing as you suggest, then maybe that is the best response – as much as it seems counterintuitive.
I understand that the more than 40 prelates and others who asked for ‘clarification’ of Amoris are now feeling the heat and persecution. To even question brings retribution. This is not right! We see faithful clergy, institutes, and others marginalized, deposed, and exiled. That is not from a place of holiness but from a place of hard fisted power of a certain agenda.
If I were one of those prelates suffering heat & persecution I would wear it like a badge. Their consecration to high office in the CC means they must stand for Christ & His teaching & not the Marxist/Masonic/Modernism agenda we have been given for the past sixty odd years. What are they afraid of? They don’t have families to worry about, their pensions are secure, even if they lose high office they won’t go without as so many Christians have to in to-day’s world. We know that PF & his cronies are not Catholic – he has admitted that by saying there is no Catholic God & everyone can get to Heaven even the unbaptised, & the prelature by their silence are supporting him. He is not upholding the Deposit of Faith, Magisterium or Tradition of the CC as Popes are charged with doing, so why was he elected to the Papal Office & why can’t the Cardinals who collectively did elect him not now require his resignation? If PB could resign then so can PF!
This is no surprise to anyone who considers that Francis is creating his Freemason based indifferentism religion. All religions are just different paths to God hence no need for conversion and approval of sin. Read AA1025. Diabolical ambiguity is used to fool the faithful and it is working fabulously. Wimpy prelates do nothing. It’s all planned and very intentional. That’s why, before October 13 in 2017 we will see fire falling from the sky as stated at Akita. I can’t wait. Only Divine intervention will save us.
Yes, we may see intervention. So many souls being led astray: The ‘elect’ as noted in holy Scripture. But the intervention will not be pretty and remember that many of the good will perish too.
We *will* see intervention and no later than the 100th anniversary of the Fatima miracle. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.
Apparently this gentleman is a displaced Irish reptile.
You write: “But when do you say to Peter: ‘I’m sorry, your holiness, I can’t follow you down this road.’? And obviously the time to say that has come. But if Amoris Laetitia is teaching of the ordinary magisterium, and it certainly seems to be, and since the Church teaches that Catholics must give submission of mind and will to teachings of the ordinary magisterium, and since because we are Catholics we cannot give submission to AL, 1) how can this be authentic Church teaching? and 2) how can Jorge Bergoglio, who teaches it, actually be the Pope?
If Bergoglio as Pope can teach error for all of the Church to accept, then any other Holy Father can and could have in the past. How can the faithful contradict papal teaching? How is this man “sweet Christ on earth” when he teaches error? How can he be a true Pope if our Faith forces us to deny what he teaches?
Bergoglio has made me a sede-vacante in spite of myself. I think the See of Rome is vacant and Francis is actually an antipope. May you and/or your readers talk me out of this conclusion.
The simple answer is that your understanding of the authoritativeness of the Ordinary Magisterium is flawed. I recently ran a piece in which I excerpted at some length the work of two theologians on this exact question. Their quotes would be a bit long for the comment box, but since this topic is really important, I’m going to paste big chunks of them here. (Go here to see my full post with longer excerpts, and links to the originals: https://onepeterfive.wpengine.com/three-must-read-articles-zero-dangers-amoris-laetitia/)
Dr. E. Christian Brugger:
Dr. Jessica M. Murdoch:
You are kind to reply. And it also seems that my understanding of a prerogative of the papacy is wrong. Dr. Brugger wrote: “We must always consider these teachings of the Church in the light of what we already know to be true concerning Catholic faith and morals. If after careful consideration we conclude that some teaching of the pope or bishops is inconsistent with the teaching of Christ or with moral or pastoral issues that the Church has already authoritatively and rightly settled, then we have no obligation to assent to it and we may be obliged to oppose it.” So I can conclude that a true Pope’s teaching is wrong? It has become easy to be “more Catholic than the Pope,” thanks to Francis. Perhaps you are correct, but the Pope’s job description seems limited. What good is he if we can’t trust him? And how do we know if and when this or that issue has been “authoritatively and rightly settled”?
No need for you to rehash any argument. I will be considering your response.
there’s also a gremlin in the works that might be applicable w Francis…Pope John-Paul II made strict rules to govern the conclave. If the cardinals broke these rules they would be automatically excommunicated ! One of the main rules was not to have pre-conclave agreements on whom to vote for. I think they did exactly that, which is why Francis was elected so quickly in two votes. Which means those cardinals – a liberal cabal – were excommunicated de facto…which affects the Petrine ministry of Francis….He may be the Pope, and an Archbishop, but it doesn’t mean he is graced with the privileges of infallibility or inerrancy. Notice: Francis has not attempted to make an infallible proposition, as of yet (11/2016). As much of a concern as things are now, they can get infinitely worse if, (and when?), Francis goes off the edge which he has been treading – using footnotes for apparent definitive statements aka Vatican II did on Fr. Feeney – and really imposes his will ex cathedra.
The great heresy of our day, Modernism… this will make the Arian heresy look minor in comparison. The wolves are in the henhouse!!!
“Therefore, as it is lawful to resist the Pope, if he assaulted a man’s person, so it is lawful to resist him, if he assaulted souls or troubled the state (turbanti rempublicam) and much more if he strove to destroy the Church. It is lawful, I say, to resist him by not doing what he commands, and hindering the execution of his will.”
Saint Robert Bellarmine
“If a future pope teaches anything contrary to the Catholic Faith, do not follow him.”
Pope Pius IX
The following recent statement from Card. Burke helps me understand better what perhaps he was trying to say earlier:
The comment of a thoroughly emasculated individual.
We need to follow pre-Vatican II Church doctrine and ignore Pope Francis’ confusing thinking entirely. Trying to sift the true and the false from his remarks is not good for your spiritual life. It only results in anger and frustration. Pray for Pope Francis, don’t listen to him.
From whom does confusion and division originate?
From Pope Francis who listens to modernist theologians like Cardinal Kasper.
@jean_o_brien Prayer whenever faced with error, even that emanating from Rome. https://twitter.com/TheWarOurTime/status/752590528114413568
1) Two popes teaching on the same matter: Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Francis. The former in FC and the latter in AL.
2) Their teaching and practice they propose on divorced and civilly remarried receiving the sacraments cannot be reconciled.
3) Either they are both wrong or only one is right.
4) Pope St. John Paul II says he affirms perennial Church teaching and practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, therefore Pope St. John Paul II affirmation [and teaching] is the right one.
5) Both popes have exercised their papal magisterium [papal teaching authority] through the means of an Apostolic Exhortation.
6) Since one is right and the other is wrong, and from Pope’s Francis’ own words that he didn’t intend to teach definitively, his exhortation was therefore not exercised through nor covered under papal infallibility per Vatican I, therefore it is liable error, and it is in fact erroneous as it contradicts perennial Church Teaching and practice.
7) No Christian faithful can be “faithful” by embracing faith and error at the same time [A person cannot be faithful and cheat on their spouse at the same time]. Recall Jesus’ teaching on a person serving two masters. A person must firmly reject error even if coming from a Pope.
Bishops who remain Catholic sometimes give interviews or personal comments on issues. I think the time for interviews, open letters and personal comments is far over. We have the right to demand a clear, official, un-ambiguos statement, signed by a group of Bishops declaring the heresies of Amoris Laetitia, the errors (heresies) of a big list of pontifical verbal statements, ask for clarification into a limit time (72 hs), and the consequences. If they don´t do that, then we have the right to think that they are part of the thing.
Beware, Bishops, your time is running out. You will be in front of Our Lord anyday, as anyone. And His Mercy will be a terrible burden on you.
It appears from Card. Burke that they did so, but privately – https://thewarourtime.com/2016/08/22/amorislaetitia-card-burke-formal-calls-for-clarification-are-in-process-and-they-simply-will-demand-a-response/ It appears Pope Francis responded by endorsing the Argentine Bishops’ document on AL.
A relativist – by definition of the word – CAN”T offer a statement that is binding except by force. If everything is relative, then why not just let’s everyone get along? There’s (1) no Truth and (2) no eternity – just earthly existence which should be maximized. Remembering, maximization can only be exercised to the extent others have power over you. Hey, let’s have a One World Religion Organization, an umbrella group, as it were. Agree to be just one-happy-family? Hey, I know someone who could serve as the head of the organization – he’s got a huge world wide bureaucracy that could organize events and such.
The idea that a post-synodal document is the Holy Spirit speaking is blasphemous. It belies a total misunderstanding of the nature of Revelation. This is the result of Papolatry and Ultramontanism taken to to its logical conclusion. I will allow that some of Christ’s teachings can be difficult to understand (e.g. the parable of the unjust steward) but “whosoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery” is not one of them.
Until Catholics stand up and expose the rot in Rome, we will suffer popes such as Francis. We need an Italian Julian Assange.
If a spirit is speaking through Amoris Laetitia, I don’t think it is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enlightens, this document obscures. Pope Francis has repeatedly been asked publicly for clarification. As many times as he has been asked publicly, I am certain he has been asked privately many more times. When he does offer clarification, he points towards clearer positions that are not in accordance with the Church’s teachings.
It should be common sense that you cannot commit adultery, and that the Church’s teachings on marriage, divorce, remarriage, and adultery are not changeable. If Pope Francis, or any other person tells you otherwise, they’re clearly wrong. The doctrine of Papal Infallibility does not excuse the faithful from thinking.
“Basically this is the Holy Spirit speaking to us,” He’s right except he got the “Spirit” wrong.
The truth is…”Basically this is the SATANIC SPIRIT speaking to us”.
When are these gutless office warmers going to find their spines and shut this creature from the black lagoon down- when he declares syncretism the official world religion with the Catholic Church being equal to mooslim goat humpers and every other moon howler in the world, this is beyond sickening.
Pope Francis is a heretic, and Church doctrine, as well as the great saints like Thomas Aquinas, demand that we all resist him and his legion of modernist, apostate clergy. They are: Cardinals Farrell, Tobin, Kasper, Wuerl, Schonborn, Lehman and co. They should all be sacked.