As has recently been made public, and will no doubt dominate Catholic (and perhaps much of secular) media in the coming days, a “FILIAL CORRECTION OF POPE FRANCIS For the Propagation of Heresies,” has been issued.
The document bears the signature of some fifty noteworthy individuals; many of whom are clergy.
The text of the Correction is lengthy and very detailed; even going so far as to call Francis to account for his “unprecedented sympathy for Martin Luther” and his own flawed theology. I would encourage you to read it in full when you’re able.
Here, I wish to provide just a brief and necessarily limited “first glance” overview.
One will note that the text of the “Correction” is dated July 16, 2017, and was delivered to Francis on August 11, 2017.
NB: This document was in Francis’ hand for more than a month prior to his motu proprio reconfiguring the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family – the same issued with the specific intent of implementing the very heresies outlined in the Correction.
In other words, the message being sent is beyond clear:
Francis intends to forge ahead with the implementation of Amoris Laetitia in spite of having been made aware of the nature and gravity of the heresies it contains. This, my friends, is pertinacity, plain and simple.
The language employed in the Correction suggests that its authors wish, and rightly so, to carefully avoid judging Francis’ intent.
As its title indicates, it charges Francis with the “propagation of heresies;” which could perhaps be taken to mean that he is guilty, not of teaching heresy per se, but of “favens haeresim” or simply “promoting heresy” (as Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, SSPX, famously concluded).
And yet, the Correction seems to go quite a bit further.
For one, it states the following:
Scandal concerning faith and morals has been given to the Church and to the world by the publication of Amoris laetitia and by other acts through which Your Holiness has sufficiently made clear the scope and purpose of this document.
NB: The Correction claims that Francis “has sufficiently made clear the scope and purpose” of Amoris Laetitia.
This is striking in that it comes very close to making a judgment as to intent.
Elsewhere, the text offers yet another strong statement:
Our correction is indeed required by fidelity to infallible papal teachings which are incompatible with certain of Your Holiness’s statements.
This, however, comes immediately after citing “the heresies which this exhortation insinuates.”
One could not be faulted for coming away confused:
Does the exhortation merely “insinuate” heresies, or is it objectively “incompatible with infallible papal teachings”?
After going on to list seven specific erroneous propositions in the text of Amoris Laetitia (while making it a point to say that this list does not cover all of the faults to be found in the text) the Correction states:
These propositions all contradict truths that are divinely revealed, and that Catholics must believe with the assent of divine faith.
Taken as a whole, the language of the Correction leaves little doubt:
The seven propositions listed constitute the very definition of heresy; i.e., heresy is not merely “insinuated,” it is present.
NOTE: I will not list the seven propositions here, but rather will invite you to explore the Correction directly. Regular readers of this space will find that they are the very propositions that we have been discussing since April 2016.
IMPORTANT: The Correction contains a truly curious comment relative to the doubts being cast upon the Petrine Office in our day:
Others again of the faithful are led to put in doubt the validity of the renunciation of the papacy by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
I, for one, find it rather intriguing that the controversy surrounding Benedict’s resignation is given mention in this text.
Clearly, whether Benedict validly resigned or not has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the objective sense of the text of Amoris Laetitia.
So, why is it mentioned?
Is this a warning shot of sorts; included to let Francis know that a less-than-desirable response on his part may invite inquiry into the validity of his papacy?
Whatever the case may be, that the controversy is given mention in this text only serves to indicate the degree to which serious thinkers are questioning the matter of Benedict’s resignation, and may very well be prepared to delve more deeply into its validity moving forward.
And now for the “money quote” in the entire lengthy document:
We respectfully insist that Your Holiness publicly reject these [seven heretical] propositions.
NB: The days of respectfully “requesting” that Francis provide “clarity” are over.
Here, it is being insisted upon that Francis publicly reject the very heresies that he himself promulgated in the text of Amoris Laetitia.
Lastly, for now, one will note that missing from the list of signatories (some of whom, to be perfectly candid, do not carry a great deal of gravitas, in part, thanks to their weak public responses to AL as given in previous months) are any members of the College of Cardinals; most notably Cardinals Brandmuller and Burke.
This Correction, in other words, is not to be confused with the “formal declaration” that Cardinal Burke promised in light of Francis’ continued failure to formally respond to the Dubia.
So, where will we go from here?
Time alone will tell, but one would be naïve to believe that Francis will respond directly.
Again, let us not forget that he has had this text in hand for over a month now, and he responded by doubling down as I wrote just last week.