Thursday, October 05, 2017

'Do not correct your father in public': a response to Mgr Fazio of Opus Dei on the Correctio Filialis

The prophet Daniel, as a child, having saved the innocent Susanna
from the accusations of the wicked Elders, condemns them to death. Dan 13

Today Diane Montagna publishes a fairly long interview with me on LifeSiteNews; here are some highlights. Read the whole thing there.

The “filial correction” has drawn considerable attention in both Catholic and secular media. Why did the authors and organizers of the correction go public with it? And why is it not a “display of disunity,” as the Argentinian Vicar General of Opus Dei suggests?
Those Catholics concerned about the direction of the debate about remarriage and Communion, and related issues, have made repeated attempts to express these concerns in ways which would not create a public impression of opposition to the person of the Pope. The ‘Filial Appeal’, signed by 800,000 people, was part of a debate called for by Pope Francis before he had composed Amoris. The letter of the ‘13 Cardinals’ and the ‘45 academics and pastors’ appeal to Cardinals’ were, alike, not intended to be public documents. Obviously, in this way these initiatives observed both the letter and the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17 on speaking first to one’s brother in private.


Can you point to a passage in Scripture, a Doctor or Father of the Church, or perhaps even a famous piece of Literature, that illustrates your point?
Both Testaments of Scripture are replete with examples of subordinates criticising superiors in public. The criticism of the leaders of Israel by prophets and priests, from the public humiliation of King Saul by Samuel, the denunciation of King Ahab by Elijah, and the attack on Herod the Tetrarch by St John the Baptist, are in general the criticism of official, and usually divinely sanctioned, authority, by persons who may have been inspired by God, but who lacked institutional standing. This pattern is taken to its logical extreme by the condemnation of the Elders by the prophet Daniel when only a child (Dan 13:45ff). Our Lord made the situation clear when, while eviscerating the Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, he acknowledged nonetheless that they held ‘the seat of Moses’, a position which meant that people should listen to them as speaking with authority, despite all their shortcomings (Matthew 23:2-3).


Is there anything else you would like to add?

Something profoundly worrying about criticisms on the signatories of the Correction specifically for speaking out about problems which every informed Catholic already knows about, is the mindset it reveals, one focused not on the truth, but on appearances. It is strongly reminiscent of the mindset at work in abusive families, where children are taught to pretend things are all right, when they are not: certain topics are not to be broached, certain facts are not to be referred to. This attitude can be enforced not by the abusive parent directly, but by other family members who are trying to keep up appearances and hold the family together. It is nevertheless profoundly unhealthy, and indeed is linked to psychological disorders in the children.

We should fear any such attitude, however well-intentioned, invading the Church. If there are problems, we should talk about them, and not pretend they do not exist.

Read the whole thing there.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.


  1. This has to be the best rebuttal of those willing to uphold PF's teachings instead of the Deposit of Faith that I have read so far. No-one who has seriously studied the dogmas of the CC could possibly pick holes in it. Careerists & papal mouthpieces are a different category. Thank you for your courage & honesty

  2. Thank you for all your doing for the glory of God and for the good of his people the Church. God bless & "non abbiate paura"!