Ecclesial Theater: Francis accused of heresy!

Supplanting Jorge Bergoglio’s Kazakhstan Road Show as the big Catholic news item du jour is the statement recently issued by four bishops accusing Francis of heresy.

At issue is the following from the Apostolic [sic] Letter, Desiderio Desideravi:

The world still does not know it, but everyone is invited to the supper of the wedding of the Lamb (Re 19:9). To be admitted to the feast all that is required is the wedding garment of faith which comes from the hearing of his Word (cf. Ro 10:17). 

The bishops’ statement, entitled, The teaching of the Catholic faith on the reception of the Holy Eucharist, observes: 

The natural meaning of these words is that the only requirement for a Catholic to worthily receive the Holy Eucharist is possession of the virtue of faith, by which one believes Christian teaching on the grounds of its being divinely revealed. Moreover, in the Apostolic Letter as a whole there is silence on this essential topic of repentance for sin for the worthy reception of the Eucharist. 

The bishops warned, “The claim that faith is the only requirement for worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist was condemned by the Council of Trent as a heresy,” citing Chapter VII, Canon XI, which reads:

If anyone says that faith alone is sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, let him be anathema.

I invite readers to review the entire statement for more detail, but the crux of the matter concerns the proper disposition for reception of Holy Communion and the necessity of confessing one’s mortal sins and receiving absolution beforehand.

If I were Jorge’s defense attorney, I would argue that the focus of the citation in question is the Lord who invites, it says nothing about “reception of the Holy Eucharist.” The very next paragraph, in fact, expands on the idea that “everyone is invited to the supper,” saying:

Before our response to his invitation — well before! — there is his desire for us. We may not even be aware of it, but every time we go to Mass, the first reason is that we are drawn there by his desire for us.

In other words, my defense of Jorge would be, “Not guilty! He’s merely talking about going to Mass,” something even the ill-disposed for Communion are called to do.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have little doubt that Bergoglio really does mean to teach what the Council of Trent anathematized. The point I wish to make, however, is this:

If one genuinely believes that Francis is the Holy Roman Pontiff gloriously reigning – as every signatory on the statement evidently does – then a grave obligation exists to clarify what he truly meant before publicly accusing him of heresy.

Once again, however, the actions of these men who insist on calling Jorge “pope” suggest that a genuine superior / subject relationship does not truly exist between them, which only serves to demonstrate that this alleged pontificate is nothing but a farce.

Be that as it may, the co-author bishops’ names are provided at the end of the statement in the following order, the relevance of which we will address momentarily:

  • Most Rev. Joseph Strickland, Bishop of Tyler
  • Most Rev. René Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi
  • Most Rev. Robert Mutsaerts, Auxiliary Bishop of S’Hertogenbosch in Netherlands
  • Most Rev. Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan 

After their names, one will find the names of noteworthy signatories, the first of which is Fr. James Altman.  

My take on this effort? Certainly, the vast majority of those persons who attached their names to the statement did so with good intentions. Even so, the entire effort strikes me first and foremost as a stunt, an exercise in pure theater that will result in very little beyond providing some of the signatories with an undeserved sense of self-satisfaction for having “done something.” 

If pressed to fashion a guess as to the identity of the chief architect of this charade, I’d venture to say that it was most likely masterminded by the social media savvy hireling, Joseph Strickland.

The Twitter Star from Tyler, TX, is a company man of Conciliar, Inc. through and through. This is a man who has no trouble whatsoever calling upon John Paul II as “Saint,” despite the fact that he taught – in no less than two authoritative texts [sic] – essentially the same heresy for which he is now pleased to indict Jorge:  

In my Encyclical Ut Unum Sint I expressed my own appreciation of these norms, which make it possible to provide for the salvation of souls with proper discernment: “It is a source of joy to note that Catholic ministers are able, in certain particular cases, to administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick to Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church but who greatly desire to receive these sacraments, freely request them and manifest the faith which the Catholic Church professes with regard to these sacraments. (Ecclesia De Eucharistia 46)

Pay close attention to what is being stated: The only thing required of a non-Catholic “Christian” to receive Holy Communion is “the faith which the Catholic Church professes with regard to these sacraments [Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick].” 

Does the heretic, according to John Paul the Great Ecumenist, need to renounce the entire boatload of heresies of their non-Catholic confession, or just some? Must he or she express the desire to enter the Catholic Church? Must Penance and absolution precede Holy Communion? 

Nowhere does Wojtyla state that those “who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church” are required to possess the proper disposition for receiving the Eucharist, rather, he mentions only a limited manifestation of “faith” and a “great desire” on their part. 

Is Joseph Strickland moved to set the record straight in this case? Evidently not. 

If that doesn’t tell you enough about his lack of authentic Catholic conviction in the matter of Holy Communion, consider the fact that Strickland is on record praising the Love Letter of Jorge to Satan, Amoris Laetitia, calling it “a beautiful teaching from our Holy Father Francis on the splendor of Christian marriage and the family.”  

Numerous faithful (including this writer) have repeatedly urged Strickland, over the course of years, to renounce his glowing review of Bergoglio’s heretical screed, and to issue words of caution regarding the same to his flock. He refuses. 

If Joseph Strickland had a genuine Apostolic bone in his body, however, he would have been leading the charge in condemning the blasphemies in Amoris Laetitia, including the claim that the Divine Law is just too difficult for some to keep, and even that God, at times, wills that one should persist in adultery. Are these heresies not far more blatant, and repulsive, than anything found in Desiderio Desideravi?

As it is, Strickland hasn’t been able to find either the time, much less the desire, to warn the faithful about the grave danger to souls posed by Amoris Laetitia, and yet he managed to summon up the personal resources necessary to get his name placed atop the marquis of the blockbuster statement that is presently stirring up so much excitement in Tradservastan. 

Only he can explain the motivation behind his disordered priorities, but all indications are that he is far more concerned with amassing Twitter followers, notorious for their short attention span, than followers of Christ. Amoris Laetitia? That’s yesterday’s news, its shelf life has long since expired. And besides, Raymond “Formal Act of Correction” Burke has already milked that particular scandal of all of its star-making capital.   

A review of Strickland’s Twitter account shows that he has a knack for tweeting pithy blurbs on the what’s-happening-now religious and political scenes, exactly the sorts of bumper sticker slogans that garner attention and grow one’s audience in the fast paced world of social media.

With all of this in mind, I can think of no other name than that of Joe Strickland more appropriately placed atop the statement’s list of co-author bishops. It also comes as no surprise to me that Fr. James Altman – a clerical celebrity in his own right – would be the first non-bishop listed as a signer. 

Now, this is not to say that Fr. Altman is a publicity seeker. I’m not familiar enough with the man to have an opinion on that note one way or the other. What does seem rather obvious, however, is that the organizers of the statement wished to leverage Fr. Altman’s popularity as a “cancelled priest” in order to lend a little more viral fuel to their cause celeb.  

In the end, God being God will bring good out of this nonsense, even if only to demonstrate for those with eyes to see, yet again, just how ludicrous the conciliar church’s claims to a Catholic identity truly are.