Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Can we accuse the Pope of heresy?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

For any Catholic of the last two or three centuries, the idea that one might accuse the Pope of heresy seems almost unthinkable: almost a contradiction in terms. The Holy Father is the guarantor of the Faith, the recipient of the gift of infallibility; union with the Pope is union with the Church.
Nevertheless, it is not quite unthinkable.
When Jesus Christ gave St Peter the Keys, to bind and loose, and the guarantee that the gates of Hell would not prevail over the Church which would be built upon the ‘rock’ of Peter (Matthew 16:18-19), the very next thing he said to him was to call him ‘Satan’ (Matthew 16:23), for trying to divert Christ’s mission in a worldly direction. When the Risen Christ gave St Peter the mission of feeding his sheep, he did so in the context of a thrice-repeated question, ‘Do you love me?’ (John 21:15-17), a question recalling, and undoing, St Peter’s thrice-repeated denial of Christ in the house of the High Priest (John 18:17, 25-27).
We are called to accept this painful paradox, of the Pope’s supreme spiritual authority, and his infallibility in solemn acts of teaching, along with his limitations as a member of the fallen human race. History tells us that popes have been guilty of all kinds of sins, including sins against the Faith. It is unsurprising that popes have tended to be theologically sound, politically astute, and morally upright. But there is no supernatural guarantee that they must be. 
The recently published letter accusing Pope Francis of the crime of heresy makes for uncomfortable reading. Most readers will know that Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (2016) contained passages which were troubling to many orthodox theologians. Many people, including me, thought that those passages could be explained in an orthodox sense. The difficulty with this approach, as time has worn on, is that Pope Francis has given no indication that such orthodox readings are correct. On the contrary, the whole tenor of papal remarks, documents of varying levels of official status, and the guidance given to and conclusions drawn from bishops’ synods in Rome, has tended to undermine those orthodox readings.
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  1. As "A Man For All Seasons" would remind us, "Qui tacet consentire videtur, si negare debuit ac potuit" -- He who remains silent appears to give consent, if he could and ought to have objected. Francis undoubtedly can issue an authoritative clarification of Amoris Laetitia, telling everybody to interpret it in an orthodox manner, and since he is Pope he very much ought to do so. Since he has done no such thing, however, it seems that Francis consents to us reading his document as advancing heresy. But then, who would consent to having their documents read in such a way, unless they were a heretic?

  2. No problem if you did not sign the Open Letter. This is not a question of numbers, but of the strength of argument by the original 19 authors. Other theologians would do better to compose their own accusations (perhaps coming up with partially different list of heresies) in more editorially polished form and with more exact use of Canon Law terms. Also they should better send their accusations against Francis to their own diocesan bishops with a request to act accordingly.

  3. Is not the public, written statement that God wills false religions, heretical? In the infamous Abu Dhabi joint statement, Francis declared: "The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives." It is not possible to read this in context in any way other than that God positively wills false religions. He later tried to put forward the 'permissive will' defence via a useful idiot (Athanasius Schneider) but on his recent trip to North Macedonia, declared: "the different religious identities of Orthodox, Catholics, other Christians, Muslims and Jews, and the ethnic differences between Macedonians, Albanians, Serbs, Croats, and persons of other backgrounds, have created a mosaic in which every piece is essential for the uniqueness and beauty of the whole." Taken with numerous similar statements and his hatred of 'proselytising' it is obvious that he regards Catholicism as just one religion among many valid options. This indifferentism is condemned as a heresy; for example in Mirari Vos by Pope Gregory XVI. I don't really understand the reason for your caution on this matter, Dr Shaw, unless you shy away from the logical conclusion - that the see is vacant, or perhaps fear for the future of your organisation which depends on the tolerance of the English and Welsh 'bishops?

  4. Speaking to Swiss guards recently, the anti-pope said: "This learning curve, ..... will help you to live in society with the right attitude, recognizing cultural, religious and social diversity as human wealth and not as a threat.” He's as fake as their plastic helmets!

  5. Even if he's a heretic he's not an anti-Pope.