As all are by now well aware, Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Raymond L. Burke, Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner have made public a dubia that was sent directly to Francis, as well as to Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the CDF, seeking “yes” or “no” answers to five very specific questions.
At issue, according to the authors of the dubia, is the “uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation” that exists concerning Amoris Laetitia.
As I recently wrote, Francis has been put on trial before the entire world. Now, in the face of the dubia, he has but three choices as it concerns his response to each of the five questions it contains:
- He may answer by confirming the true Faith, as is his duty.
- He may answer by denying the true Faith, rendering himself a formal heretic.
- He may answer with silence, and make no mistake, silence is indeed an answer.
Scenario #1 would require Francis to undermine his own agenda; i.e., it would require a profound conversion on his part – an intention for which we must earnestly fast and pray. Clearly, this is the most desirable outcome, but it is arguably the least likely as well.
Scenario #2 is rather straightforward: Francis would thereby declare himself to be a formal heretic and thus an anti-pope. Given his history of cunning and calculation in order to further his own agenda (most obviously as it concerned the Synods on the Family), this too seems highly unlikely.
Scenario #3, in my view, is by far the most likely. It also happens to be, for many, the most confusing.
Indeed, one may well wonder what consequences there would be, if any, should Francis choose to simply ignore the dubia; just as he has thus far.
This is one of the questions that was posed by Edward Pentin of National Catholic Register in an interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke. His Eminence responded:
Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.
Pentin followed up, asking: “If the Pope were to teach grave error or heresy, which lawful authority can declare this and what would be the consequences?”
Cardinal Burke replied:
It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.
Let’s take a closer look at this exchange…
At first blush, it may seem as if these questions were asked in the “wrong” order, but Edward Pentin is no amateur, and Cardinal Burke is not given to impetuosity.
Earlier in the interview, Cardinal Burke identified Amoris Laetitia as leading to the “spread of confusion that is actually leading people into error.” He stopped short, however, of laying blame directly at the feet of Francis.
The dubia, as Burke sees it, is intended as a formal invitation for Francis, as an act of “charity toward the Pope,” to correct the situation.
NB: It is only on the condition of his refusal to do so that Cardinal Burke is then willing to explicitly say, “the Pope is teaching error.”
I do not think for a moment that the ordering of these questions was random. In fact, one may very well imagine that interviewer and interviewee coordinated their efforts in order to make a precise presentation.
In any case, even though it’s already rather clear that Francis is actively teaching error, this interview represents a job well done by both Pentin and Burke, who for his part, is moving forward in a very deliberate and formal manner – thank God!
That said, one notes the absence of the next logical question:
What would Francis’ refusal to answer the dubia say about the validity of his pontificate?
I suspect that the question wasn’t asked (or published, at any rate) simply because Cardinal Burke is not prepared to give an answer – not publicly anyway – wishing instead to take a first things first approach.
Fair enough, but let’s consider it ourselves just the same.
It is one thing to wonder how events will play out logistically (or what the “formal act of correction” may include) if Francis refuses to answer the dubia; it is quite another to measure the consequences objectively.
As for the former, we cannot be entirely certain, but in the case of the latter, not so.
If indeed it becomes necessary (to quote Cardinal Burke once more) for “cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error” – and this after challenging the pope publicly to reject said error and to confirm the true Faith – it can be said without any doubt that Francis will have judged himself (or revealed himself, if you prefer) to be a formal heretic.
As all of us know, a formal heretic cannot be pope; therefore, Francis would be known to all as an anti-pope.
While present circumstances are in many ways unique, we may do well to consider the case of Pope Honorius I.
Without going into needless detail over matters still debated; let it be said that Honorius failed to adequately safeguard the doctrine of the faith against the Monothelites as evidenced in letters that he had sent to Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople, in response to queries the latter had sent to Rome.
For this, Honorius was posthumously condemned as a heretic and anathematized by the Third Council of Constantinople as follows:
“We decide that Honorius also, who was Pope of elder Rome, be with them cast out of the Holy Church of God, and be anathematized with them, because we have found by his letter to Sergius that he followed his opinion in all things, and confirmed his wicked dogmas.” (Third Council of Constantinople, Session XIII, 28 March 681)
This ruling was later confirmed by two subsequent councils. [For more, see Roberto de Mattei, The Heretic Pope ]
Note well that Honorius was condemned posthumously. In other words, he was not afforded the opportunity that Francis now has; namely, to make a correction and to confirm the immutable doctrine of the Church.
Even so, Honorius was formally “cast out of the Holy Church of God!”
Should Francis refuse to answer the dubia in confirmation of authentic Catholic doctrine, who can possibly argue that he has not, of his own volition, incurred no less a fate?
Thank you one more time, Louie. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the of errors fostered by Francis.
I pray the man comes to his senses.
I think he will stay mum and force a formal correction. Then he will respond to that, and not the dubia. And given that he is a marxist latin american dictator at heart, I think his instinct will be to strike out against his enemies. “Disloyal,” “rigid,” “neo-Pelagian,”… whatever else he can concoct. “Who am I to judge” has it’s limits. What would Fidel do?
Francis, in my opinion, is incapable of Choice #1. Past behavior of Bergoglio leads me to believe he will lash out like a cornered wild animal. Perhaps, he will remove the sheep’s coat and reveal the wolf that he is. However, we are obliged to pray for his conversion whether or not we believe it’s possible.
Well, as for my part, I got so sick and tired of Bergoglio and his shenanigans that I just walked away from the Church after more than 30 years of “Traditionalism”. I put out a brief survey to some of my co-religionists asking that if Christ had not preached about the existence of hell would they still go to Church. All of them responded no. So, essentially, the Church is based upon nothing but fear. Fear is a great source of income. It’s kind of like the IRS: you don’t pay, you go to jail.
So ++ Burke says:
“My position is that Amoris Laetitia is not Magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities that confuse people and can lead them into error and grave sin. A document with these defects cannot be part of the Church’s perennial teaching. Because that is the case, the Church needs absolute clarity regarding what Pope Francis is teaching and encouraging.”
Remove the references to “AL” and “Pope Francis” and replace with… (cough) I dunno…”Gaudium et Spes” … or… “Lumen Gentium”… or “Unitatis Redintegratio”.. or “Nostra Aetate” and “The Council.” Why doesn’t the same statement hold?
Per ++ Kasper:
“In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction.”
The fear of The Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. It’s not all there is, as you point out, but is a very good start. Once God sees that you DO fear the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, He will give you the graces to want much more.
What is the alternative? You go into the great unknown all by yourself.
My take. His end is near. He has opened the door, and he can’t close it. He will either fight and be denounced, or resign in the near future, after he tries to stack the deck in the College of Cardinals by appointing another large group of like minded men. But I propose, the next Conclave will be our own Brexit. Four Cardinals spoke publicly. One must wonder how many stand behind them if Francis makes the wrong move. I believe a good number, and then it will be a massive response.
He is not going to TRY to stack the deck in the College of Cardinals…he’s doing it. He is also looking at increasing the size of the college by 20 cardinals. And, by the way , he’s not going anywhere of his own volition. You’ll have to pry that hammer and sickle from his cold dead hands. What is the Blessed Lord waiting for?
The irony is tremendous. The pope has stated he wants “parrhesia” and “hagan lio.” Well, he got it.
And then his response is silence?
If Francis is revealed to be an anti-pope, what would that mean for the validity of any canonizations he presided at?
It is certainly easier to pray for release from the Bergoglian Attack, than for an extremely unlikely Bergoglian conversion.
As Catholics we need to pray for both. Jorge Bergoglio needs our prayers very much. He is lost for sure, but we love him regardless. Lets pray for him ardently.
Pope Francis will offer a bizarre, disjointed, confusing and equivocal response.
Cardinal Burke will ask us to “interpret it in the light of tradition”.
Everyone will go back to sleep until the next outrage.
Rinse, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. 50 years and going.
All in God’s time. God will always win out, no matter when that happens. Lets not set a time frame for God.
Churches are full of people who go through the motions but do not possess faith. Traditionalists are not exempt. Remember, everyone was “traditional” before Vatican II! I was one of those robots, or more like the Tin Man – no heart, and I left for a while, too. I don’t know your story but I ask you to do this: talk to the Lord from your heart and thoughtfully read one of the Gospels. And pray one good Hail Mary every day. Soon, a thousand Bergoglios will not be able to keep you from coming home. We’ll be praying for you.
Cling to Our Blessed Mother and grab your Rosary beads. Our Lady is really the secret to everything.
We are praying for you. Do not despair because of Francis. That is (one part of ) their plan.
Our Lord and Our Lady are more powerful than all of hell. And we belong to Our Blessed Mother as Her children, in the order of grace.
Grab your Rosary beads and don’t let them go. We are praying for you.
Our Queen and Mother of Mercy, will give you Her love, and teach you the proper “fear” of Her Most Holy Son. Just ask Her.
Miracles DO still happen. Just ask Louie.
We will be praying for you.
Remember, oh most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known …..
Beautifully expressed and better advice Gwaredd will not find. I too will be praying for you in my rosaries.
Perhaps he will visit his wrath against these Cardinals through formal discipline. We could indeed see a similar scenario to that of St. Athanasius and Pope Liberius, and excommunications from Rome, once again causing schism, as did the Abp Lefebvre affair. What will the faithful do, if forced to choose between the doctrine of Holy Mother Church and the person of Jorge Bergoglio?
Dear Dennis, Servant of Our Lady, and Theresa,
Thank you for your warm wishes and prayers. But I’m going to think this over. I have not desire to pray nor go to Mass. It’s really not just about Bergoglio but because I can’t rid myself of my horrible past when I was involved in so much debauchery is defies belief. I was complete narcissist with no care for anyone but myself. I took advantage of every person that came into my contact, especially women. The memories are horrible and I can’t get rid of them. I had prayed the daily Rosary for about a year, went to Confession regularly, I’m even a Sacristan if you can believe that but I gave it up since it doesn’t do any good. I fall into sexual sins of which I’m so ashamed. I also suffer from clinical depression which feeds into it. At this point I’m really not interested in anything having to do with spirituality and to top it all off my confessor told me that unless I refrain from watching porn and committing acts of impurity he would refuse to give me absolution. And here all along I was led to believe to believe that if one really tried and fell that one could always avail themselves of the Sacrament of Confession. Fool me once…End of story.
Don’t despair dear heart, what your confessor is perhaps trying to tell you is that you must strive toward a firm purpose of amendment…..you may be assured that you will hold a special place in my daily rosaries and petitions to Our Beautiful Mother , who by the way, awaits your Consecration to Her for She is the Queen of Immaculate Purity and Her chaste spouse St Joseph awaits your petitions for the grace to obtain Purity also.