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Remaining Dubia Cardinals Take the Next Step Toward Formal Correction

One year ago today, on November 14, 2016, four cardinals took formal step of publishing a set of five dubia  — inquiries about doubtful theological propositions — that they had issued directly to Pope Francis two months earlier. The dubia pertained to the pastoral guidelines for divorced and “remarried” Catholics living more uxorio (engaging in sexual relations) as outlined in the pope’s magnum opus, the 264-page, nearly 60,000 word post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL). Today, after an intervening year without a single response or audience granted — a year in which two of the four dubia cardinals have died — Cardinal Burke in a new interview indicated that the pope’s silence is an insufficient response to the grave confusion and concern his exhortation has caused.

In a November 14 interview with the National Catholic Register, Cardinal Burke made a “final plea” to Pope Francis, citing the “continually worsening” gravity of the situation that has followed in the wake of the exhortation.

Burke says that the concern of the dubia cardinals has always been “to determine precisely what the Pope wanted to teach as Successor of Peter”, and he reiterated his initial analysis of the document, saying that “By their very nature, affirmations that lack this clarity cannot be qualified expressions of the magisterium.” Burke continues:

It is evident that some of Amoris Laetitia’s indications regarding essential aspects of the faith and of the practice of the Christian life have received various interpretations that are divergent and at times incompatible with each other. This incontestable fact confirms that these indications are ambivalent, permitting a variety of readings, many of which are in contrast to Catholic doctrine. The questions we Cardinals have raised thus regard what exactly the Holy Father has taught and how his teaching harmonizes with the deposit of the faith, given that the magisterium “is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed” (Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, n. 10).

Seemingly referring to Professor Josef Seifert’s analysis that the logical consequence of the application of certain principles suggested in AL would be a destruction of the entire edifice of Catholic moral teaching, Burke said that “To understand how far-reaching these proposed changes are, it is enough to think of what would happen if this reasoning were to be applied to other cases, such as that of a medical doctor performing abortions, of a politician belonging to a ring of corruption, of a suffering person deciding to make a request for assisted suicide…”

Saying that the “sense of the ecclesial sacramental practice is increasingly eroding in the Church,” Burke admitted that he was making, as interviewer Edward Pentin asked him, a “final plea” to the pope, perhaps signaling that the next step would not simply be another warning:

Yes, for these grave reasons, one year after rendering public the dubia, I again turn to the Holy Father and to the whole Church, emphasizing how urgent it is that, in exercising the ministry he has received from the Lord, the Pope should confirm his brothers in the faith with a clear expression of the teaching regarding both Christian morality and the meaning of the Church’s sacramental practice.

Since its publication in April 2016 as a reflection upon two synods on marriage and family held in 2014 and 2015 respectively, AL has stirred up more controversy among theologians, bishops, and pastors than any papal action in living memory.

Many milestones have taken place since AL first made its public debut last year — too many to count. Among the most significant, in chronological order:

  •  On June 29, 2016, an international group of 45 Catholic theologians, pastors, and scholars issued a letter and theological analysis to the college of cardinals pertaining to Amoris Laetitia. The signatories outlined 19 theological censures — 11 of which were labeled as heretical — based on a “natural reading” of AL. On July 26, 2016, their document and the letter with their signatures was published after being leaked to the press, presumably by one of the recipients.
  • On September 19th, 2016 — ten days after the pope’s letter affirming the sacrilegious interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by the bishops of the Buenos Aires region — four Catholic cardinals — Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, and Joachim Meisner — sent a letter to the pope noting “grave disorientation and great confusion of many faithful regarding extremely important matters for the life of the Church”. The letter included five dubia — the formal method by which theologians and prelates can seek clarifications on matters of Church teaching from Rome.
  • On November 14th, 2016, after receiving no response from the pope, the four “dubia cardinals” published their letter, including the five dubia pertaining to Amoris Laetitia’s various propositions.
  • On December 7, 2016, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan — one of the most outspoken orthodox voices in the Church — claimed in an interview with a French television station that if the dubia remained unanswered there was “not only a risk of schism” but that “a certain type of schism already exists in the Church”. “We are witnessing today,” Bishop Schneider said, “a bizarre form of schism. Externally, numerous ecclesiastics safeguard formal unity with the pope, at times for the good of their own careers or out of a kind of papolatry. And at the same time they have broken ties with Christ, the Truth, and with Christ, the true Head of the Church.”
  • On December 13, 2016, I outlined the five simple one-word answers that could put an end to the dubia controversy once and for all.
  • On December 19, 2016, Cardinal Burke — the most prominent dubia cardinal in the English speaking world, said in an interview with Lisa Bourne of LifeSiteNews that the dubia “have to have a response because they have to do with the very foundations of the moral life and of the Church’s constant teaching with regard to good and evil”. Asked about the timeline for a proposed “formal correction” of the pope in the absence of a response to the dubia, Burke indicated that should such an action become necessary, it would most likely take place some time after Epiphany in 2017.
  • Also On December 19, 2016, Cardinal Burke explained in an interview with Catholic World Report that there was a scriptural basis for rebuking a pope (Gal 2:11) and indicated that there were more prelates than the four cardinals who supported the dubia. When asked if it were possible for the pope to “separate himself from communion with the Church” through “schism or heresy,” Burke responded, “If a pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic. And so, that could happen.”
  • On December 24, 2016, the major German newspaper Der Spiegel published an article in which it was claimed that among a “very small circle” of people close to the pope, Francis explained that it was possible he would  “enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.”
  • On January 11, 2017, John F. Salza, co-author of the book True or False Pope, outlined in an article for The Remnant (later reprinted at 1P5) what might happen, juridically speaking, if Pope Francis were to continue to refuse to answer the dubia. 
  • On January 17, 2017, three of the Kazakhstani Bishops — Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda, and Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana — issued a joint statement requesting prayers from the faithful that Pope Francis would “confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage.” The bishops gave specific examples of how Amoris Laetitia contains “pastoral guidelines” which contradicted “in practice” certain “truths and doctrines that the Catholic Church has continually taught as being sure.”
  • On March 25, 2017, Cardinal Burke gave a talk at a parish in Springfield, Virginia, in which he spoke of the spread of a very “harmful confusion in the Church” and the need for the dubia to be answered. Asked what would happen if the pope failed to respond, Cardinal Burke said, “we simply will have to correct the situation, again, in a respectful way … to draw the response to the [dubia] questions from the constant teachings of the Church and to make that known for the good of souls.”
  • On June 8, 2017, the Polish Bishops’ Conference completed its general assembly, whereupon their spokesman, Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, said that “the teaching of the Church with regard to Holy Communion for those people who live in non-sacramental relationships ‘has not changed’ after the papal document Amoris Laetitia.”
  • On June 19, 2017, veteran Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister published a letter from dubia Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, written on April 25th, 2017, in which he requested “that a papal audience be granted so that they might discuss the dubia which have not yet been answered.” At the date of the publication of the letter, two months had passed with, again, no response from the pope to the request for an audience.
  • On July 5, 2017, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, one of the four dubia cardinals, passed away while on holiday in Bad Füssing, Germany at the age of 83. At the time of his passing, no response to the request for an audience was yet received. In a message read at Meisner’s funeral, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reminded those who were mourning his friend that “The Lord does not abandon His Church.”
  • On August 31, 2017, the eminent Austrian Catholic philosopher, Professor Josef Seifert, was forcibly “retired” by his archbishop from his position as Dietrich von Hildebrand Chair at the International Academy of Philosophy in Granada, Spain, in response to his second critique of Amoris Laetitia. Catholic scholars and even one bishop immediately reacted to the injustice of this action.
  • On September 6, 2017, almost two months to the day from the passing of Cardinal Meisner, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, another of the four dubia cardinals, passed away at the age of 79. No message from the pope emeritus was read at the funeral of Caffarra.
  • On September 12, 2017, Gabriel Ariza of the Spanish-language publication Infovaticana revealed that the late Cardinal Caffarra had confirmed just months before his death that he knew the dubia cardinals were being “monitored” and that they “had their communications tapped” and could “do little more than seek some form of more secure communication.”
  • On September 27, 2017, a group of Catholic clergy and lay scholars made public a “Filial Correction” that was first delivered to the pope on August 11th, after they, too, received no response. Their letter took the unprecedented step of using the word “heresy” in reference not just to possible interpretations of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, but also to other recent “words, deeds and omissions” of the pope. Since its publication, the list of clerical or scholarly signatories has grown to 250, while two petitions (here and here) in support of the Filial Correction have garnered over 20,000 additional signatures from the laity.
  • On September 29, 2017, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in an interview with Edward Pentin that “people working in the Curia are living in great fear: If they say one small or harmless critical word, some spies will pass the comments directly to the Holy Father, and the falsely accused people don’t have any chance to defend themselves.” When asked by Pentin about the phrase “reign of terror,” which had been used by one senior Church figure, Müller responded, “It’s the same in some theological faculties — if anybody has any remarks or questions about Amoris Laetitia, they will be expelled, and so on.”
  • On November 1st, Fr. Thomas Weinandy — a Capuchin friar who formerly served as chief of staff for the US Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and is also a current member of the International Theological Commission at the Vatican — published a letter he had sent to the pope — which also received no response — outlining concerns he had about the “chronic confusion” that he believes marks “this pontificate”. The first of his five critiques was aimed at Amoris Laetitia, about which he says the pope’s “guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.” He later spoke of a climate of fear in the Church, saying that “Many fear if they speak their mind” on matters of concern about what is happening in the Church, “they will be marginalized or worse.” After the publication of his letter, Fr. Weinandy was proven correct when he was asked to resign his position with the USCCB — a request with which he complied.

The absence of a formal correction in October — marking the 100th anniversary of the final Fatima apparition — left many Catholics wondering if action would be taken at all. Today’s revelation, however, makes clear that the dubia effort — as well as the formal correction that necessarily was to follow — is on track and moving forward.

This post has been updated to include additional information. The title has also been modified for clarity.

103 thoughts on “Remaining Dubia Cardinals Take the Next Step Toward Formal Correction”

  1. *Please* can we move forward and be the Catholic Church again?
    If God’s purpose in this papacy is to draw out into public view the moral and spiritual chaos that has been hidden in His Church by evil men, I would say we’ve certainly seen success. What is the purpose in prolonging this? Is there *that* much more to be uncovered?? Let it be done, according to Your will, but *please* God help us!!!

    • Catholic Mom? The Church as we have known it all our lives will never be the same as it was. Never. Our children will never be able to say that not a single Pope in the history of the Church has promulgated heresy. Our children will, in all likelihood, see the Church split in two, with the “Schismatics” for the very first time, being on the side of God.

      We are in uncharted territory, but God is not up in heaven, wringing His hands, wondering what the outcome will be. We know how the story ends. Teach your children that God is Sovereign. He has known from the beginning of time that we’d be faced with this situation. And they — your children — are hand-picked by God to be here to not only witness this chaos, but to rise above it and lead others to the Truth. What an incredible privilege… doubt we are living in a time which will create great Saints.

      We don’t know why God has allowed all of this to happen. We don’t understand His timing. But, we have a ringside seat which our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren can use to point out how our reaction pointed the way to holiness in the midst of the chaos.

      • I don’t think the Catholic Church has ever relied on unrepentant sinners for Her identity. As a matter of fact, I believe that unrepentant sinners have been around since the beginning.

        The Catholic Church hasn’t changed. The Pope is trying hard to change Her, but, so far, all we’re getting is a quagmire of pseudo-psycho-babble. The issue, for now, is getting him to tell the TRUTH about what he’s saying.

        What was it that I heard Bishop Schneider say the other day?? Oh, yea….quoting Cardinal Ratzinger…..”Ambiguity is the mark of the devil.” (I liked that one so much I saved it on my cellphone!)

        • Im talking about unrepentant sinners as in baptized and confirmed churchmen, like certain bishops, cardinals and popes. I’m sorry but I disagree with you about whether the church has changed or not. I came into the Catholic Church three years ago as a traditional latin mass catholic. I am now forced to attend a Novus Ordo church because I had to move and it couldn’t be more different. The people are different too. They have no reverence for the sanctuary or the mass. The vernacular mass has been watered down, the music is awful, there are no more Gregorian chants and no more polyphony. I sang in my TLM choir and the chant and polyphony in latin is so transcendant and beautiful. It would edify the faithful and we who were singing it. the stuff they sing in Novus Ordo churches is just beyond awful. Now the Vatican is printing a stamp honoring Martin Luther and melanthon, heros of the reformation. You can’t make this stuff up. Yet you are hink nothing has changed? Okay. Whatever. Live in a bubble for all I care. I worked very hard to convert into Catholicism. I prayed about it for many years prior to swimming the river. I came out of an Anglican background and I can tell you that my Anglican Church was more catholic than the Novus Ordo churches I’ve worshipped in.

          • Chester, I can see that you’re pretty upset, and understandably so if you worked so hard to make the decision to enter the Catholic Church. I can assure you that I don’t live in a bubble, though.

            What you described above does not constitute “changes” in the Catholic Church. The Church still teaches that Christ is present…Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity in the Eucharist. We still have 7 Sacraments. Etc.

            What you are describing is the difference in praxis between TLM and NO Masses. Praxis is simply “customary practice or custom.” In most dioceses there may be one TLM congregation versus hundreds of NO congregations, so it seems you were lucky to find a TLM parish nearby — but then you had to move.

            What it seems you were drawn to was the praxis of a particular parish, not the actual Teachings of the Catholic Church….for they haven’t changed. Christ is still Present in the NO Mass, even if you feel uncomfortable in that setting.

            Going back to your original lament, we are STILL the Catholic Church…..and there have been (I would guess) hundreds of thousands of unrepentant sinners in the clergy since the Church’s founding. God will handle them in His timing.

            Our job is to keep focused on what the Church DOES offer and use those Graces to grow in holiness… matter what parish we attend.

          • So as Pope Francis allows divorced people to remarry and take communion, as he comes ever closer to allowing homosexuals to be married and practicing homosexuals to take communion, those things are ok? Just praxis? As he moves to forbid the latin Tridentine mass EVER-after pope Benedict took steps to protect it—you just brush that off as praxis? The Novus Ordo Church is lax in such things as confession, the rosary and last rites, and you call that praxis? You can condescend to me all you want but when I see the TLM churches teaming with young people and families while the novus ordo churches are all aging and dying off, the problem is NOT praxis. The problem is that Vatican 2 has destroyed the Roman Catholic Church.

          • Chester, where did I ever say that what Pope Francis is doing is okay? You are sweeping with a very broad brush and including me in that pile of dung you have created. For the record, I have never stated whether I attend TLM or NO Masses, but you can be sure that I know many, many very holy people who attend NO Masses regularly and deeply resent the broad brush technique. It is the antithesis of Charity.

            And, I am not trying to be condescending at all. As a matter of fact, I’m trying very hard to be kind and charitable. I am only trying to answer your initial query, which was “How do we become the Catholic Church again…” and each time I try, you bring up yet another reason why you think I’m some kind of heathen.

            All the garbage that Pope Francis is spewing STILL has not changed what the CHURCH teaches. That’s why the Dubia is so important. We don’t “BECOME the Catholic Church again.” We STILL ARE the Catholic Church, in spite of what the pope is TRYING to do.

            That was my entire point — sinful prelates (including popes) have come down the pike before and the Catholic Church still stands. Our God is omniscient. I trust HIM to fix this mess.

            My job is to be on my knees in prayer and penance.

            Good day, Chesterlab. I’ve tried my best to explain and hope that you find a good, holy parish with which to align yourself. Truly, I do.

          • I never said you were a heathen. , but you have been arguing with me from the first post. So good. Let’s not talk anymore. Blocked

  2. OK so…..what? Are they going wait another year after this ‘final appeal’ by the 2 remaining Cardinals for this ‘Pope’ to answer the Dubia? To me, this is really foot dragging at its finest!

  3. The good Cardinals have given Pope Francis every opportunity to clarify his teaching, which is his solemn duty to do for how can he ‘confirm the brethren in the Faith’ if he refuses to clearly teach them? All he is doing is confirming doubt and division. I certainly hope that others Cardinals are ready to join in and issue a Formal Correction if this plea falls on the same deaf ears and appears before the same blind eyes at the helm of the Bark of Peter.

    I fear the worst is about to come. Everyone hold on to your rosaries and put your trust in Christ Our Lord.

    May God deliver His Church from the evil of Modernism which has been sullying her from within for far too long. Amen.

      • It’s a figure of speech, actually I don’t feel any fear over this at the moment. IF Pope Francis doesn’t respond, or responds in a non-Catholic manner I pray the Formal Correction is issued immediately and with many signatures from Cardinals.

        • Father, that is also my prayer — that other Cardinals become infused with the Grace of conviction and align themselves with the Dubia Cardinals.

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  4. “… they have published a followup document indicating that the pope’s silence is an insufficient response to the grave confusion and concern his exhortation has caused.”

    Are you being a little premature in this statement, Steve? Or do you have information that a document has been delivered privately which is not yet in the public arena?

  5. It’s tough to tell if he’s serious about this. Francis is never going to send a letter responding to these questions. On the contrary, he has responded quite clearly with his actions and statements since the dubia were presented. Do they sincerely expect Francis to recant? If they don’t sincerely expect that, then they’re being duplicitous out of some misplaced sense of propriety. It’s ridiculous actually.

    • I think it is imperative for the Catholic to know that all has been tried and done out of deference to the papacy. No one can say otherwise and if they do they are purposefully ignorant or liars

      • There is, perhaps, a fine line between deference and sycophancy. Cdl. Burke’s “deference” to the papacy looks a lot like a lack of pastoral solicitude, if he, in fact, believes Francis’s doctrines constitute an imminent threat to souls.

        • Burke is not a sycophant. He is showing deference to the Keys, not to the man who holds them.

          Burke would have to be an idiot to sincerely expect Francis to recant, and he would have to be an idiot not to perceive that Francis has already answered the dubia on multiple occasions, by his own words and actions (a couple of examples: the letter to the Argentine bishops, the destruction and replacement of the JPII Institute announced on the very anniversary of the dubia letter). Burke is not an idiot. He is speaking in the way he does (i.e., playing dumb and pretending that the Pope hasn’t already answered), out of a desire to give all possible opportunity for a course correction that, in fact, he knows isn’t coming. It’s a question of the respect accorded to the seriousness of what it would mean to accuse a sitting Pope of doctrinal error.

          What they are contemplating (i.e., a formal doctrinal correction from senior bishops, themselves apostles, to Peter) is no small matter, and has little precedent in the history of the Church. Burke is taking baby steps precisely because he cares about the threat to souls, not only the enormous threat posed by the content of Amoris, but the other threat posed by chaos resulting from a perceived schism. He doesn’t want to be the leader of some splinter group, which by definition would not be the Catholic Church.

          • I concur with most of your post, however numbers mean nothing to TRUTH nor does possession
            of institutional apparatus.

            “He doesn’t want to be the leader of some splinter group, which by definition would not be the Catholic Church.”

          • If by “possession of the institutional apparatus” you mean the papacy, then this statement is wrong. Any group that is not in communion with the Pope, however corrupt and horrible that Pope may be, is not the Catholic Church. There is no Church without Peter. The papacy must be saved from this hostile takeover, but there is no option to abandon the papacy and make do without it. Numbers don’t matter, but the Petrine ministry is no “apparatus.” Orthodox theology alone cannot make a group the Catholic Church.

          • “I think” doesn’t count. Any group not in communion with Peter is not the Catholic Church, regardless of how orthodox it’s theology may be. No group can call itself the Catholic Church without the Pope. If a group were to split off, and be openly separated from Francis, or his successor, that group would not be the Catholic Church.

          • And if the Catholic Church becamomes totally heretical because of pope F and his followers what does it become, because it too will cease to be the one holy apostolic church.

          • The Church as the mystical Body of Christ cannot become heretical; even if a huge percentage of the bishops embrace a heresy, this does not mean that the Church has ceased to be the Church (as shown during the height of the Arian crisis).

            To say otherwise is to say that there is no Church at all, because it would mean that the promises of Christ are void. And this is to deny Christ, and thereby the person who says it ceases to have any claim to the name “Catholic” because they have affirmed that the gates of hell have prevailed.

            It’s very simple: either Christ’s promise regarding St. Peter is true, or it is not. If it is not, then Christianity is false. If it is true, then whatever is happening now with Francis will ultimately prove to be another terrible episode in the history of the Church, similar to the Arian crisis or to the Protestant revolution. But sometimes these episodes can last for decades, or for centuries. No guarantee that this rough ride is going away anytime soon.

            Anyone who thinks that a group with no real ties to the Pope can count as “the Catholic Church” is ignorant of the theological ramifications of this claim.

          • I didn’t say anything about a group with “no real ties to the church”. I am a TLM Catholic but my church and the priestly order that administers it are in full communion with Rome. We are not sedecaventist either. Also, do you want hink the SSPX and FSSP are groups with “no ties to the church?” Because you are wrong if you do. Even the sspx still is in communion with Rome and the sacraments it’s priests perform are valid. They just refuse to throw away the traditional Tridentine mass and the latin liturgical language. I believe we may have to go underground again one day because with people like pope Francis and others in the Vatican could bring the church to her knees.. if the entire hierarchy of the church falls into heresy and sacrilege, are you as a well catechized catholic going to obey such heresies? Will you still follow the Church with such doctrine? I hope and pray it never comes to that but you may have to flee to the catacombs too.

          • I attend Mass in Latin frequently, and my son serves at the altar in the Latin Mass (younger sons eventually will, too). My point wasn’t about the Latin Mass, it was about the necessity of remaining in clear, visible communion with the living successor of St. Peter (as opposed to communion only with earlier Popes, which is not the same thing).

            I guess I don’t follow what you are saying, in the concrete. What do you mean by “flee to the catacombs”? That has a courageous sound to it, but I’m not sure I get exactly how a group that is “underground” can consider itself in communion with the Pope.

            What exactly is the difference between what you’re proposing and Protestantism? All Protestant groups (as an essential characteristic) claim that they can be the Church without following the Pope. Obviously the theology of a TLM “underground” group would not be Lutheran, Calvinist, etc., but how is the idea of an “underground” group any different from a Protestant sect? By what authority would such a group claim to be the remnant of the true Church, if the whole premise was to avoid and hide from the current Pope? The SSPX have sought to remain in communion with Rome, while refusing to acknowledge various elements of the Second Vatican Council. But if I am hearing you correctly, your idea of going “underground” would seem to be a split from the Pope. How is that not a variation on Protestantism?

            I’m not trying to pick an internet fight with you. I’m honestly asking you. I don’t have any easy answers here. I will not follow doctrinal errors, nor allow my children to be taught errors, but at the same time to walk away from the successor of St. Peter (however bad he may be) is to walk away from the Church. The situation is challenging, and likely to get more so.

          • First of all you don’t know about the catacombs? Then you need to read church history. For the first 300 years of the Catholic church’s existence the Catholics were forced to worship in secret, and that often meant the catacombs where they weren’t likely to be discovered. The alternative was torture and death. Emperor Constantine ended all that thank God. There are carvings of Christian symbols on some of the catacombs on Rome and other places. Secondly, of course it isn’t like Protestantism because we traditionalists are trying to preserve the Catholic Church of 2,000 years. We aren’t the ones committing heresy and we aren’t trying to create a new religion because of the say so of an obese German priest or severe French lawyer. That’s the difference. My own priest told me that it’s my duty to observe and obey what my catechism teaches and the Canon of the law even if some pope comes along with heretical ideas. If some wingnut pope tells us to start worshipping Satan are you going to obey him? That’s my point.

          • I think you misunderstand me. Of course I know what you meant by catacombs. My point is that the catacombs were a response to persecution by the Empire, not a division within the Church itself. Your analogy (i.e., let’s retreat to the catacombs like we did before) therefore makes no sense in the present situation.

            You also seem to misunderstand what I’m saying about Protestantism. My point is not that your theology would be Protestant; certainly you would be trying to save Tradition, not reject it. But then again, that’s exactly what Luther and Calvin claimed to be doing. They claimed to be rescuing the doctrines of the ‘early Christians’ from the ‘corruption’ of the Catholic Church. Any group which (a) ceases to be in communion with the Pope, and (b) calls itself the Church, is fundamentally similar to Protestantism (though obviously the Eastern Orthodox are a distinct situation).

          • Calvin and Luther absolutely DID NOT try to save tradition. If you can say that you know understanding of what the reformation was about. Just look up th word “reform.” We traditionalists would have to worship underground b cause we would be oersechted and already are now actually. You might try reading about what traditionalists hav has to suffer since 1965 when Vatican 2 was put into affect. And no my theology would NOT be Protestant because we traditionalists are reforming nothing. We are trying to maintain the traditional mass and tradition of 2,000 years. You can hardly call bishop leferbre and the SSPX “Protestant because there was an issue with them and Rome. They felt to make the changes that the poles and Rome wanted them to do was disobeying Canon law, church tradition and they would be violating their vows. Luther cans Calvin willingly VIOLATED their vows and then they made a new religion. You need to study Christian history. You also need to talk to TLM catholics because we have received persecution at the hands of Novus Ordo priests and congregants. If you can’t make yourself do some heavy historical reading, go over and read the online newspaper “the remnant” sometime. Perhaps you’ll get a different perspective. You are totally in denial at this point.

          • Amen to that. Pope Francis is not immortal and he is getting older by the minute so let’s just stay in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Lord and his Holy mother will take care of us and His Church. Let us wait and see the Will of God unfold, it may be a slow process, for some of us. As we all know this is Christ’s Church. Not the Pope’s church. Let us all pray for a real resolution of this matter. In the mean time we “rigid” Catholics know the Truth the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has been teaching from day one. No Pope can change that. Let us relax and trust in our Lord. Amen.

          • *Perceived* schism? The schism has been real for a long time — unacknowledged by most, but real, not just perceived, nevertheless.

  6. Josef Seifert is right that if the subtle differences, shades of meaning attributed to conscience in Amoris Laetitia supervenes an objective moral standard then the moral order, that is all moral doctrine is subject to doubt giving conscience precedence over “Rules”. Josef Pieper previously countered such argument by citing Aquinas and Man’s inherent knowledge [prescient knowledge actualized in experience] of Natural Law principles which obviate the presumption that one may be free of objective grave sin based on said conscientious subtleties. Man by nature understands good and evil. Otherwise conscience is irrelevant. As reason proceeds discursively the intellect apprehends truth intuitively. Known immediately and unerringly “because the predicate is part of the definition of the subject” (ST 1a 17, 3 Ad 2). Cardinal Burke therefore appeals to Dei Verbum that “the magisterium ‘is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on'”. What is revealed to Man by Christ is believed because it is God who reveals. CCC 156 “What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe ‘because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived'”. Consequently the Pontiff’s notion that the Deposit of Faith has no permanency [is not “static”] or Jesuit Superior General Sosa’s remark that “There were no recording devises when Christ spoke” are errors contrary to the faith and must be either corrected by them or rejected by the faithful.

    • The faithful reject them already and I don’t know anybody who is seriously expecting them to correct themselves. The main problem seems to be that in the Church of God the fideles seem to hold a minority position. It is the infideles who hold the cards and positions of power. We are reaping the fruits of near-universal ignorance of the faith, if not downright apostasy from it.

      • That’s the dilemma Deacon. We’re in the minority. There is an increasing apostasy those who were nominal, left practice prior to this pontificate [practice down to about 30%] and growing numbers accepting the undeclared policy of Pope Francis. It’s the wavering and those who have since followed the errors of this apostasy that may benefit from the submission of a correction by Cardinal Burke and others involved. My hope is that the corrective letter will result in an actual correction by Pope Francis. We must presume good may result. And the reason I contribute on the internet as you do is not simply to confirm the obvious or complain as detractors say but rather to influence persons who may acknowledge the truth. We’re providing education in the faith and possible conversion to the many who read these comments and don’t respond. Persons are reading and thinking. Our mission is to present the truth.

        • ” My hope is that the corrective letter will result in an actual correction by Pope Francis. ”

          Father: Do you actually believe PF will correct himself?

          I have actually wondered about this myself, and cannot decide it if would be a pure good, pure evil or something in between.

          The reason I say it is this; Contrition, true repentance and amending of ways is a powerful and bold act. If that is what it is. The message would be VERY clear.

          But, if chaos and anarchy are the goals, a “self correction” that amounts to merely a handsign on paper with absolutely no enforcement and true “fatherly” discipline would just reinforce the notion that the CC has more or less turned into an Italian Branch Office of the Anglican Communion, where everything goes while at the same time sort-of “Christian” statements squirt out from time-to-time.

          I simply cannot a this time decide whether a self-correction by the Pope would be a “fix”, a “partial fix”, or a complete catastrophe.

          The Church is a family and often it seems in history, reflects the families of the Day. Today we seem to see a “Top” consisting of bad “fathers”, deadbeat Dads, as-it-were, guys that are charged with leading but simply don’t, nominal Sires who allow their children to run amuck all over town and embarrass the family name. A false self-correction would be the classic example of the Dad that screams at his kids all the time and threatens but never swings the switch…doing nothing when the little urchins throw rocks thru the neighbor’s windows or get caught stealing candy-bars at the Five-n-Dime…or worse.

          All the while, the Big Brother {priests, and many of them} grind their teeth, trying to respect their Dad’s, full in the knowledge that their Dad is a lying drunk who needs a boot up his…that is, a LOT of prayer, because they love him and don’t want him spending his eternity paving the floor of hell.

          • As priest Rod I’m compelled to practice the virtue of Hope, and express faith in the power of God’s grace to work, as from experience I’m convinced He can do all things. As a man like yourself with personal views I’m quite skeptical that Pope Francis will respond positively to Cardinal Burke’s expected correction. I base that on the Pontiff’s track record of ignoring previous requests and his determined efforts to implement radical change within the Church. So entirely radical that it is a paradigm shift from obedience to revelation and the Gospels to an Anthropocentric kind of religiosity. I say religiosity because God as revealed thru Christ falls under this radical revision to the extent that the God I know becomes indistinguishable from the person who pretends to be His Vicar on earth. The latter is my fearful inner sense as to what’s transpiring. At this point the best I can do is judge his works if until the moment may arrive that I must contend with him personally as some already have.

          • ” So entirely radical that it is a paradigm shift from obedience to revelation and the Gospels to an Anthropocentric kind of religiosity.”


            “Along with the virtues, this means above all the new commandment, the first and the greatest of the commandments, and the one that best identifies us as Christ’s disciples:
            ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’” (Jn 15:12).” Evangelii Gaudium 161

            Anthropocentric religiosity distilled into 200 proof false doctrine.

        • I suppose it could. I was trying to keep the list as close as possible to the dubia itself, but it might be worth adding. There are lots of ancillary events that have happened that might be worth mentioning, but space is limited. I suppose in that vein Prof. Seifert’s firing should be on the list as well.

          • Hey Steve, you know what would be a lot of work (for you, unfortunately) but also a really valuable resource? A comprehensive list, in sequence, of all the significant events related to this, all the things 1P5 has covered over the last 4 years. Once compiled, it could be added to (we would hope no need to add, but realistically there probably will be). In other words, a complete timeline, by month and year. I mean a list of actual events, not editorials commenting on the events.

            I realize this would be a big task, but I think you agree it would be valuable, especially as a resource to point to for those (such as an old friend of mine) who don’t see what all the fuss is about, and view the whole thing as a gross exaggeration by ‘conservatives’ and ‘traditionalists’

          • Yeah, I realize that it’s easy for me to say “Hey could you make this?” when you’re the one that would have to put in the hours. Is there a comprehensive back log of 1P5 articles, or does that take up too much space?

          • It’s all here. There’s a sidebar, actually, but it’s hidden. Click the three little lines up at the top left of the page, and you can search.

            I’m going to have to update the design again. Nobody can find this…

          • No, not a problem in design. I just haven’t searched around much. Easiest way to compile a comprehensive list would be to start from the beginning of 1P5 article backlog and move forward. 1P5 has tried to cover all major and minor developments, so it’s unlikely anything big is missing.

  7. PF doesn’t know how to state anything clearly unless he is denigrating the tradition, dogmas/doctrines and/or those who adhere to them.

  8. Pope Francis has already committed heresy if he meant exactly what he said when stating in AL. “No one is condemned forever.” No mention of repentance. It is in direct opposition to the CCC. #1035. His statement is not like FTR Barron’s and others who “HOPE” there will be no one in Hell for eternity. Hope it entirely different that a statement as fact such as the one PF made.

    • Francis said that the souls of the reprobates don’t end in Hell, no, they are “anihilated”, thus confirming that he doesn’t believe that Hell exists though it is a dogma of the Church. That’s pure heresy !
      Remember the vision of Hell our Lady displayed to the scared kids of Fatima. Who should I trust? The Pope or the Virgin ?
      The answer of the modernists: “That’s a private revelation nobody is bound to believe in.”

  9. The problem with the condemnation of Amoris Laetitia is the following

    “How do these conditions compare with the conditions for non-Catholics, and in particular, Orthodox oriental Christians, to receive the Eucharist from a Catholic minister? (As I pointed out five years ago in that post on the Church’s declarations on the matter, this allowance of non-Catholics to receive Communion is the basis of one of the strongest arguments that the Church’s current legislation on the reception of Communion by the divorced and remarried is not in its entirety a necessary consequence of the nature of Eucharist and marriage.) Canon 844 § 3 requires that:

    The non-Catholic members of the oriental Churches ask on their own for the sacraments
    The non-Catholic members of the oriental Churches are properly disposed.
    Since these Christians are in a public state of material schism or material heresy, why doesn’t canon 915 exclude them from Eucharistic Communion?“

    The Church already allows people in a public state of material schism to receive Sacraments, because they can be in the state of Grace due to their bona Fide.

    So if the Church allows divorced and “remarried” to absolution and Communion for the same reasons (mitigating factors concerning freedom to act otherwise can mitigate guilt just like the bona Fide of the ortodoxes can mitigate their guilt for their persistence in schism and heresy, for their choice of not converting to the Church) it will be a problem to condemn such a pastoral practice without condemning at the same time the praxis of allowing material schismatics to the Sacraments even if they are not converted. Of course they are not guilty of the crime of having departed from the Catholic Church, if they are born in their Church, their sin is their choice of not converting and persisting in their schismatic Church.

    They can be in the state of Grace if they sincerely believe that they are in the true Church, but from the objective point of view they are materially persisting in schism and in the sin of not converting to the Catholic Church, a sin which excludes from heaven if one persist in it culpably.

  10. The following is one of the items that the USCCB is to vote on today, the second day of their fall assembly in Baltimore – ACTION ITEM #4: Do the members wish to develop, under the lead of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, a formal statement by the USCCB that would offer a renewed pastoral plan for marriage and family life ministry and advocacy in light of Amoris Laetitia?

    My question is how can they even consider this? It would be more appropriate for them to discuss and vote on a proposal to issue a formal document expressing grave concern over PF and his papacy as it continues to speak and act in ways intended to destroy the Roman Catholic Church as we know it.

  11. God send the day when this standard is applied to Vatican II and its aftermath:

    “By their very nature, affirmations that lack this clarity cannot be qualified expressions of the magisterium.”

  12. The Pope knows exactly what he is doing. And the men who support him are surrounding him telling him that he is the Pope and doesn’t have to listen to anyone telling him what to do. Pride goes before the fall. God help us. I feel frustrated over the evil in our church and the evil in our government. They Parallel. Obama’s cronies and the establishment are still there. And the same at the Vatican. 🙁

    • We technically can’t because that would require a Ecumenical Council of all the Bishops in the World. And Pope Francis has appointed a lot of them.

  13. Is the Pope’s attitude towards a troubled part of his flock, an attitude of stubborn refusal through his silence to answer some legitimate questions they respectfully but anxiously asked him, is this attitude truly that of a loving father towards his children?
    Shoudn’t these worried sons of the RCC be really hurt by a feeling of contempt from a man they are bound to call “Holy Father” anyways?

    • Bergoglio’s contemptuous treatment of those who fail to slobber on him is exactly how he has behaved his entire career. It seems entirely consistent with his refusal ever to genuflect or kneel before the Blessed Sacrament.

  14. I’m confused. Perhaps someone can explain this to me: what difference will a formal correction make? If the first private letter was ignored, and then the second public letter ignored, and all subsequent corrections and letters ignored, and the whole rest of the church mocking the corrections or ignoring them….what exactly do we expect to happen from yet another letter? I am willing to bet that the Sunday after a formal correction I will either hear a) nothing about it at my local church or b) something against it to the effect that we need to be in unity with the pope and his program of mercy. And that will be that.

    • One thing’s for sure, this will NOT end in a damp squid. Once the Dubia was sent it’s
      trajectory was set, there may be pauses and attempts at turning the direction elsewhere
      but momentum will eventually bring things to a head.

    • It in part depends on what the formal correction says, what actions go along with it, and what happens after it. If there is a deadline, or some sort of consequence for it not being answered, that will matter. It will also matter if the roughly 30 cardinals (at least) that we’ve heard of that support the dubia also sign on to this effort, as well as possibly other bishops. I anticipate the Sunday after will be fairly boring but how long will that last when the bishop picks a side?

  15. Things are about to come to a head… it seems like this has been going on forever, but, really, it’s been about 19 months. That’s not actually that long. It’s terrible when we’re sitting here languishing, but the Lord is still in control.

  16. “To understand how far-reaching these proposed changes are, it is enough to think of what would happen if this reasoning were to be applied to other cases, such as that of a medical doctor performing abortions, of a politician belonging to a ring of corruption, of a suffering person deciding to make a request for assisted suicide…”

    This is already a reality – Atlantic Canadian Bishops referenced AL in justifying possibility of sacraments for those choosing euthanasia.

  17. The “worst”, which so many are fearing is actually, the best; schism. It’s time to fold up the big tent and strip the Church of its unbelievers, heretics and apostates. This is all part of the ongoing purification of the Church which included the sex abuse scandal that shone a bright light on the activities of the sodomites who have infested the priesthood. None of these things are pleasant in a human sense but they are bringing into the open the rotten cancer which has been eating at the Bride of Christ.

    Others have said it on these threads on numerous occasions and it bears repeating; the importance of this pontificate is that it is going to finally separate the true believers from the faithless pretenders. The latter will be in the majority and will have most of the buildings and money while we’ll be heading for the catacombs but that’s OK. It will prepare us for the arrival of the Antichrist for whom the ground is currently being readied by the environmentalist-pacifist and fake man of peace currently occupying the Chair of Peter.

    • A schism may have the salutary effect of, as you suggest, separating the wheat from the chaff; but since ‘they” will certainly have their pope, who will faithful Catholics have for theirs?

  18. The Pope should be charged with heresy, and declared such, and removed as Pope.
    This ecclesiastical “Kabuki Dance” needs to stop and action taken before this Pope ruins the Church and crates a schism

  19. I think we can all agree that Francis has answered the Dubia by ignoring them for the past year. Do the doubting Cardinals have any right to issue a formal correction? Where is the basis for that right? Is not the choice before them to resign as Cardinals or embrace Amoris Laetitia?

  20. 1976 Bicentennial talk given in the United States by the future St. John Paul II, then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Kraków, Poland. “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel.”

    That was 40 years ago; isn’t that a common Biblical time for getting prepared for a great change ??

  21. This is the most important information and you won’t read it in many scholar sources of thought.

    ISIS is well equipped and ready to jihad the Vatican and it’s prominent residents..


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