A recent four part series of blog posts written by Fr. John Hunwicke (an Anglican convert of the under the title “Is the Pope a heretic?” are being hailed, even by certain tradition-minded persons, as an example of keen analysis.
Readers will most certainly recall the multi-part series of articles written by Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, SSPX, which proposed to answer the same question; ultimately concluding that Francis’ stated intent in Amoris Laetitia simply to offer material for “reflection and dialogue” effectively exonerates him from the charge of heresy.
Fr. Hunwicke gives his conclusion up front:
“To this question there can only be one answer: NO. And NO means, as Mrs Brexiteer May might put it, NO. Pope Bergoglio has NEVER, to my knowledge, formally enunciated doctrines which are unambiguously heretical.”[Emphasis in original.]
Is Amoris Laetitia – an Apostolic Exhortation disseminated to the entire Church – somehow “informal;” as if tantamount to a casual conversation between friends in a local coffee shop?
I’m not entirely certain what Fr. Hunwicke means by “formally,” but it appears that he means to speak of an infallible act.
“The claim one sometimes hears, to the effect that he has formally, as if from his chair, made doctrinal assertions which the Church has formally defined as heretical, is NONSENSE.”
From his chair; i.e., ex cathedra?
There isn’t even one moderately credible person making this claim. If Fr. Hunwicke “sometimes” hears it – as in, more than once – he’s apparently keeping company with idiots.
As we all know (well, most of us anyway), the Holy Ghost will not allow the pope to teach error ex cathedra.
“When such assertions tip over further, into the idea that he has ceased to be pope because of his alleged errors, the mistake is even more grievously EVIL because it runs the risk of detaching souls for whom Christ died from the Ark of Salvation, from the One Fold of the Redeemer.”
Father appears confused.
If a pope promulgated heresy in the form of an ex cathedra pronouncement, this would not so much mean that by that act he ceased to be pope; rather, it would be a matter of him providing proof positive that he is not pope.
In any case, this particular argument is a straw man as, again, no one of any regard whatsoever is even making this claim.
At this, Fr. Hunwicke comes to the heart of his argument:
“One easy reason for being confident that the Sovereign Pontiff has not formally taught heresy is the simple fact, confirmed pretty well every time he opens his mouth, that he despises theology and holds doctrine in not-even-barely-concealed contempt.”
Talk about NONSENSE! Heck, this might even be solemn nonsense.
Seriously, since when does one’s hatred of doctrine mean that one cannot formally hold and enunciate heresy?
I think it’s fair to say that every formal heretic harbors a certain hatred for the Church’s doctrines; in particular, the ones they obstinately contradict.
Fr. Hunwicke goes on:
“To be a heretic, or, more precisely, to be a formal heretic, it is in practical terms necessary to operate within the respectable constraints of propositional discourse.”
Maybe it’s a British thing, but I don’t know for certain what is meant by “respectable restraints of propositional discourse.” It would seem that what Fr. Hunwicke means to say is that the only way Francis can prove himself to be a formal heretic would be if he promulgated something like the following:
“We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that God, at certain, times asks that we persist in adultery and fornication, is to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”
We’ve already covered the fact the Holy Ghost will not allow a pope to do such a thing.
“The fact that Bergoglio does not do this is proved by the fact, written large over this whole pontificate, that nobody ever quite seems to be sure what he means.”
This is absurd. In reality, there are those who simply refuse to believe that “Bergoglio” means what he says; Fr. Hunwicke obviously among them.
In the case of Amoris Laetitia, the text speaks for itself. One need only read it in order to discover the blasphemy and heresy therein.
“The DUBIA which the four Cardinals put forward provide a good example of this. Four men of erudition (not to mention seniority) thought they needed to ask the Bishop of Rome what he meant.”
Fr. Hunwick writes as if Francis hasn’t given anyone any indication whatsoever “what he meant” since Amoris Laetitia was published, or at the very least, since the dubia was submitted to him.
This is just factually incorrect (e.g., “there are no other interpretations.”)
“His tardiness, so far, in exercising the Petrine Ministry of Confirming his Brethren demonstrates his resolute determination not to be tied down by propositions. I do not believe that it is possible to convict such a man, operating such a policy, of being a formal heretic.”
Not be tied down by propositions?
Excuse me, but much of this dust up concerns Francis’ resolute determination to put forth heretical propositions in an Apostolic Exhortation under his own name; even going so far as to manipulate the Syonds in order to pave the way!
No one forced him to do so; he owns every last word of that dreadful document, and those words have an objective meaning.
As for the matter of being “tied down,” by which Fr. Hunwicke appears to be speaking of “material” vs. “formal” heresy:
By his reasoning, the only thing one needs to do in order to avoid conviction of formal heresy (in the case of a pope, judging and revealing himself as such) is to refuse all inquiries subsequent to having publicly proclaimed and disseminated teachings that are objectively heretical.
This simply isn’t the case.
An individual’s resolute refusal to affirm dogmatic teaching upon inquiry in the face of having published objectively heretical propositions most certainly does tie one down to the latter.
In the final part of his series, Fr. Hunwicke says that those who believe that Francis is a heretic “are guilty of a genre-error.”
“The analysis of ‘language games’ is every bit as necessary now as ever it was. Having a sensitive nose for differences of literary genre is as important for those who examine papal documents as it is for analysts of Horace and Ovid.”
In the end, this is little more than a less-sophisticated twist on Fr. Gleize’s approach. In both cases, the subjective is being used as a “get out of jail free” card that somehow trumps the objective meaning of a text that clearly contradicts defined truth.
For Fr. Gleize, the subjective concerns Francis’ “fundamental intention” as stated in Amoris Laetitia.
For Fr. Hunwicke, it concerns Francis’ “resolute determination” to avoid being “tied down;” e.g., by answering the five simple questions posed in the dubia.
I, for one, find it interesting that both men are making the same fundamental error upon which much of Amoris Laetitia – Chapter Eight is constructed as its humble author insists that the subjective (“concrete complexities of one’s limits”) can turn objective mortal sin into “the most generous response which can be given to God” and even “what God Himself is asking” (cf AL 303).
The simple truth lost on both Francis and his excuse-makers is that the Church simply does not have the faculty to weigh subjective matters in such a way as to effectively excuse objective evil; whether it be adultery, fornication or heresy.
May it please the Lord to open their eyes.
Fr. Hunwicke is a man of letters.
He is as critical as you of Bergoglio. If you read the 4th installment of the series you’ll see he compares Bergoglio theories to New Age, Islam and Mormonism and adds that if spelled out clearly it is heretic.
What Fr. does is using the English language subtlety to say his point without putting himself or his bishop in trouble.
Pope Bergoglio feeds us stones. Father Hunwicke feeds us stones with fondant.
We should all agree that the recent Popes have deviated from the Catholic Faith. Can we go further and declare that there is no Pope and expect to save our souls? Folks that don’t like Trump say, he’s not my President. Guess what, Trump is still the President. Saying he is not the President does nothing to change reality.
The visible Church has as a necessity, a visible head. I do not want to come to my judgement and be told that instead of praying for the Pope, I took it upon myself to declare that the Papal Chair was vacant. Saint Jacinta spent every waking moment making sacrifices for the “Poor Holy Father”. Are you now going to tell me that you know which Pope she was praying for?
The modern Popes have gone from bad to worse. No Pope can turn his back on Our Lady and expect anything but disaster. In these dark days we have to put our trust in the Lord. The Church belongs to Him.
Our Lord told Sister Lucia that His Ministers, like the King of France, would fall into misfortune. The Church is undergoing a terrible chastisement. But that doesn’t mean that ordinary Catholics can invent an alternate universe in which the Church goes on for decades without a Pope.
It is astounding to the average Catholic that otherwise gifted minds like Cardinal Müller, Fr. Gleize & Fr. Hunwicke can put forward juvenile excuses for PF not being a heretic – formal or otherwise – when his Laudato Si & Amoris Laetitia encyclicals (not to mention his daily ranting at traditional Catholics) have been very damaging to confirming the Brethren in the True Faith & upholding the Deposit of Faith, Magisterium & Tradition of the One Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church. The fact he hasn’t spoken from the Chair of Peter makes little difference as episcopal minds in the global church will now make their own decisions about implementing them or not, rather similar to the Protestant Churches which Fr. Hunwicke to-day describes as the “once proud Anglican Communion”. Frankly I don’t see anything to be proud of in a schismatic breakaway communion of ‘churches’ that have led souls away from their Christian roots, denied transubstantiation & dumbed-down the sacraments which this false VII ecumenism is trying to emulate. Pride, we are told, always comes before a fall!
It is particularly disturbing that Cardinal Müller has silenced the four Cardinals & put a stop to their issuing the formal correction which they promised to do after Christmas. If a pope is not able or unwilling to give clear answers in response to very appropriate questions concerning his signed papal encyclical then something is very wrong. He is deliberately misleading the CC & the formal correction will be worthless unless promptly implemented
I believe that under these unprecedented circumstances that we keep all options open. It seems that it’s becoming clear that we have, somewhere, the Catholic Church, and the anti-Church leading souls into the One World Religion. It is not a matter of Faith nor has it been pronounced as to an upper time-limit on how long the Church could be without a visible head. Nor does one separate oneself from the Faith at all by being of the opinion that we may currently be without a Pope. They who separate themselves from the Church are those who refuse the authority of the Office of the Pope. This link gave me some food for thought and is simply an honest and important question:
Have the Gates of Hell Prevailed? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lk7iqIjHIo
What a sophist!
Fr. Hunwick is simply trying to dig Francis’ way out of a hole in which Francis himself has dug.
The argument is basically:
“Francis didn’t dig any holes, because every time he opens his mouth, he confirms that he despises the rules of hole-digging and holds manual labour in contempt.”
“To be a digger-of-holes, or, more precisely, to be a manual labourer, it is in practical terms necessary to operate within the respectable constraints of construction safety and the rules of the ministry of Labour.”
“The fact that Bergoglio did not dig this hole is proven by the fact, written large over this whole dispute, that nobody ever quite seems to be sure what he was attempting to do.”
“The INQUIRY which the Labour Ministers put forward provide a good example of this. Foremen of experience (not to mention seniority) thought they needed to ask Bergolio what he he was doing and why is he down there holding a spade.”
“His tardiness, so far, in exercising the labour duties of following the Architect’s blueprints shows his resolute determination not to be tied down by structural physics. I do not believe that it is possible to convict such a man, operating such a policy, of being a deliberate saboteur.”
“The analysis of ‘mathematical games’ is every bit as necessary now as ever it was. Having a sensitive nose for differences of intentional genre is as important for those who examine general incompetency as it is for analysts of terrorist sabotage.”
Fr. Hunwick ought to ask himself that at the end of the day, whether an incompetent pilot or a terrorist supposedly flew an airline into the world Trade Center, does the intent matter in the end with the damage done? And could the pilot be so stupid as to not realize the consequences of his actions? And if the fool does it twice, or three times with a bunch of airliners, are we still to conclude that he is simply an idiot, and why the Holy Spirit allows him to keep his license?
We’ve got a whole lot of excuse makers coming folks, from those who say the Papacy doesn’t matter, to those who say Tradition doesn’t matter, to those who say Marital Rape is okay if one side of the party can’t stop the other from forcing adulterous relations on them, they should still give the rapist Holy Communion, etc. etc.
The Church needs a visible head but not a notorious heretic as one. The fact everyone is discussing papal heresy is itself a strong indicator that the man is a public heretic and therefore ipso facto not the Pope. He does not exhibit good will which would be the only mitigating factor—he manifestly exhibits ill will and an insanely hostile attitude towards Apostolic Tradition. Your Trump example is not appropo—whether or not you thought Trump was your President would be materially irelevant it if was discovered that he was not a ‘natural born citizen’ so too a man found out to not hold and in fact evidently deny the Catholic faith which is the sine quo non of being a valid Pope.
If you want to see an example of a real Papal Excuse Factory, you should read Bellarmine’s excuses for some of the Popes suspected of heresy before his day. With all due respect to Bellarmine, some of his excuses are so lame and utterly pathetic that only a person who was seeking ANY explanation would accept them. So it seems that lame excuses for seemingly heretical Popes has deep roots in tradition.
The line of argument is no more sophisticated than saying ‘the pope is the pope is the pope is the pope’. Pope Saint Pius X warned us that modernists carefully skirt all the legalities—this is their modus operandi—did he conclude that modernist clergy are therefore to be given blanket immunity? Nonsense! He specifically took the time to instruct the faithful that thesetold us that these men were STILL HERETICS and enemies of the faith, so learn their tactics and treat them accordingly.
In other words, his real belief is that Bergoglio IS a heretic?
According to John Salsa the Church has to decide then means Francis wins because most the Cardinals are liberals if it even come to college of Cardinal to decide if Francis is a manifested heretic. And another angle would be Francis is an anti Pope because Benedict XVI’s resignation was defective according to the late Fr. Gruner, that means Francis still wins because most Cardinals are liberals so they would prefer Francis than Benedict XVI.
The guy on Novus Ordo Watch mentioned Fr Hunwicke converting from Anglican minister to Novus Ordo priest. He said, “You’ve got to feel sorry for the guy: He’s been ordained twice and he’s still a layman.”
And they accuse sedes of going up a dead end.
Fr. Hunwicke thinks Bergoglio is a heretic. Where he disagrees with Louie is that he thinks it’s okay to wait until the authority of the Church tells us he is so. There was a blog post about this last year, I couldn’t put my hand on it.
I copy here a comment by Ferrara on father’s blog:
“As one of your admirers, Father, I have to express wonderment at this claim. How can a Pope who “over-ride[s] and ignore[s] the Magisterium of his predecessors” such that his successors will be obliged “to dump his ‘teaching’ with only the most perfunctory of formalities, and then to restore the simple lucidities of the Tradition…” not be the most dangerous Pope in Church history?
Indeed, if Bergoglio is merely the purveyor of inchoate notions that do not amount to repudiation in any sense of the Tradition, then why would anything need to be restored upon his departure? Clearly, there is an opposition between Bergoglianism and Catholicism such that reparative work will be necessary after the former has run its course.
All of this being so, are you not working with an overly stringent concept of heresy? Are we not dealing with a papal program of Modernism, the synthesis of all heresies, whose modus operandi is precisely to avoid the charge of formal heresy by resort to ambiguity? After all, not even Pius X declared that particular Modernists were heretics. And yet their system is heretical in operation and effect.
I am not saying that Francis can be convicted of formal heresy. But is that real the issue when we are dealing with heresy in the non-formal sense of the Modernist undermining of doctrine and dogma?”
Rush, you correctly say that we cannot run off and “declare” Francis a heretic and the seat vacant. For me it is a matter of opinion. Regardless to the objective or subjective fact as to vacancy of the papal office, I act as if it were vacant and avoid all things NO, V2, and modernist. And I advise all that will listen to do the same.
That’s why he is merely a Bishop, Saint and Doctor of the Church, and you’re a guy with an opinion in a comments box.
That’s the right way Tom.
We have no right to adopt any of the novelties that Paul VI tried to impose on the Church.
The problem is that the legitimate Office of the Papacy cannot teach error, infallibly or ofherwise. If so, then the average Catholic is no longer taught but must navigate for him or herself what is true doctrine and teaching and is not. There is no logic in this. The link I gave shows evidence to the contrary.
The “Is he a heretic?” debate is a red herring. I believe Francis’ denial of the supernatural (see his “Theology of the People”) would place him in the apostate category. Isn’t this the proper question: “Can an apostate become pope?”
As others have stated, that would rule out John 23 who put Fr. DeLubac as an expert in the council, Paul VI who gave us an invalid consecration, JP I who denied the god of Freemasonry, JPII who made DeLubac a cardinal, Pope B 16 who gave us T de C: “It’s the great vision that later Teilhard de Chardin also had: At the end we will have a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.” AND PF who … gives us freedom of conscience!
Sedevacantism is the only logical solution. Louie is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Third time may be the charm.
“the legitimate Office of the Papacy cannot teach error, infallibly or ofherwise”
Tell us then Beggar…
Was the the Office of the Papacy legitimate before or after the relaxation and deliberate ignoring of the Papal condemnations and canonical rulings against Galileo and the defining of Copernicus errors as being formally heretical?
That is not what John Salza actually said.
He and Siscoe have said that it can very well be the case that Francis is an Antipope, and that individually we can all suspect this.
But in the practical sphere it will still be up to the College of Cardinals to remove him.
Besides, this situation isn’t unlike during the times of Solomon, Maccabeus or Arius. The clergy and the temple men are found to be ineffective and inept. All the Apostles have fled. There is no man-made solution to this, not even the clergy. As the Sedes like to remind us, it is up to God alone to fix. The only difference is that the non-sedes still believe the Church structure and discipline remains in place and the men still maintain the outward offices legitimately. Therefore the problem of solving this needs to be kicked up the ladder to God directly. None the less we continue to do what is possible for our stations in life. This includes those the likes of Burke and co. who for some reason look to have been scared off.
FATIMA & the CRISIS in the PAPACY
I agree with you entirely, ChrisR. Father Hunwicke is quite subtle and supremely ironic in expressing himself to those who have ears to hear and eyes to see.
Actually, Johnno, I’m glad you brought that up.
Yes, the actual Church was correct in doing so.
If God can create Adam and Eve just as described (by Him) in the Scriptures, then who are we to call Him a liar with respect to the configuration of the earth as described in the Scriptures?
NASA, Obama, Bill Nye the “Science” Guy, have recently come out saying that “we cannot leave low-earth orbit”, and also that “the technology to go to the moon has been destroyed and so we can’t go there anymore”. Out of the other side of their lying mouths, they say we’re going to Mars, and the latest is the sun. I heard these from the horse’s mouth and it’s all verifiable on YouTube. It’s also a proven fact that the supposed photos of the globe (only about 5 or 6) are all computer generated images, showing the continents at varying sizes and the very same cloud formations copied throughout. Hmmmm, how can this be?
Worship at the altar of science and NASA at your own risk. God reveals his secrets to the “littlest of children” and the humble, and hides them from the “learned and the wise.”
I apologize to a degree…running low on sleep. The correct answer to that is that the issue is not a matter of Faith as far as doctrine and dogma are concerned.
Salza has been refuted and is no theologian.
On another related note, if Francis is a valid Pope, then those who refuse to submit are actually schismatics in conscience, as the Church teaches that all Catholics are bound to submit to the Pope and his teachings, without exception, and in all places.
If he is not the Pope, due to manifest heresy, then the same can obviously be applied to his recent predecessors (although he takes the proverbial cake). Since a valid Pope cannot teach heresy (infallibly or otherwise which is proven in Church documents), then there is possibly another very valid position which must be considered by anyone of good will.
Louie is fond of rock and roll and perhaps you are too, AlphonsusJr.
Do you remember the 1967 Peter Paul and Mary song “I Dig Rock and Roll Music”? There was a lyric in that song that went like this:
“But if I really say it, the radio wont play it, unless I lay it between the lines.”
Between the lines. Father Hunwicke is to be understood between the lines sometimes.
When I ponder these matters (and I don’t ponder long because I don’t know enough about it to keep it going) I often come back to this.
I imagine Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and there he sits, at a desk, and we are presenting the material, whatever it is that has us apoplectic, like AL, and we watch Fulton Sheen’s eyes as the full meaning of the words written there start to sink in. Would his eyes light up in delight, do we imagine, or would he be full of holy and righteous indignation and anger, at what this destroyer has done. If I don’t believe Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen would be happy about it, then why should I be happy about it. Whether or not the pope’s a heretic or even pope is hardly important anymore.
For our part, we are not feeling it necessary to decide whether or not the man is a heretic or if he is pope. At this point we are sitting out the rest of his papacy and hoping for better things. If they don’t come, we’ll carry on as best we can. The pope, as far as it pertains to us, is completely and totally irrelevant, as are the Cardinals, as are the Bishops. We do feel badly about the destruction of the Church. We do feel badly about the sheep being led into error. We watch as Our Lady of Fatima’s words come true, “nations will be annihilated”, as demonic Angela Merckel now admits Germany will become Islamic and the people will just have to face it. Yet this won’t stop this madman in the Chair of Peter from demanding more muslims be admitted to Europe and the West. That alone, grounds to consider him illegitimate no matter what.