Hank Igitur and his associate Hermann Utic discuss the first encouraging news we’ve had from this disastrous Synod on the Amazon.
Tag Archives: Heresy
Imagine yourself as a child, and the following happens to you:
One day, a good friend of your father informs you that your father said he no longer loves your mother and wants a divorce. The friend then goes on to recount some of the things your father said about your mother to back up his claim.
You, of course are horrified at what you’ve heard, because this has turned your world upside down. These allegations by your father’s friend have shattered your sense of safety, and calls into question everything you believed about your parents. You refuse to believe it’s true. How could it be?! Surely your father’s friend is wrong!
Desperate for the truth, you want to hear reassurances from your father that this man is a liar and that your father and mother are still very much in love with each other. You want him to assure you that there is no threat of divorce looming, and that your family will remain loving and intact. You want to hear your father say that the man who told you those lies is no longer his friend.
But…you never receive those assurances from your Father.
Once your father learns of his friend’s conversation with you, he never actually says anything to you directly about this. Instead, he has one of his co-workers write you a little note saying that what your father’s friend told you wasn’t entirely accurate, that their conversation didn’t exactly go down that way, that the friend had a bit of a faulty memory.
Are you happy now? Everything A-OK and back to normal? Are you just as confident in your family’s well-being now as you were before that horrible man ever spoke to you in the first place? Are you assured that nothing is wrong?
Perhaps you are so desperate for things to remain stable in your family that you grasp at this terse explanation offered you by your father’s co-worker then shove the incident out of your memory, vowing to never even think of it again.
The actions of the father in our hypothetical story are deserving of severe criticism. What kind of father would fail to reassure his confused and hurting children after being assailed by such an incident?
Now, consider what our father in the Faith, Pope Francis, did to his spiritual children on October 9th, 2019:
A prominent Italian journalist who frequently interviews the pope for the Italian Journal La Republica said that Francis doesn’t believe that Jesus was God. In the article, Eugenio Scalfari says of Pope Francis “Those who, as it has happened many times with me, have had the luck of meeting him and speaking to him with the greatest cultural intimacy, know that pope Francis conceives Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, man, not God incarnate. Once incarnate, Jesus ceases to be a God and becomes a man until his death on the cross.” Scalfari went on to say, “When I had the chance of discussing these words, pope Francis told me: ‘They are proven proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once having become a man, was, though a man of exceptional virtues, not at all a God.'”
Any Catholic who denies that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully Man is engaging in the heresy of Arianism.
How did the pope respond to this alarming news splashed across the headlines? Faithful Catholics are (or should be) aghast at such an allegation. Christ’s Vicar saying that Christ wasn’t God while He was on earth? It’s disturbing that any priest should even hint at such a thing, but the Holy Father himself?!
And how did the Pope respond to this firestorm?
In the hours after the story broke, the press office for the Holy See attempted some damage control. It released a statement clarifying that Scalfari’s text is not an accurate representation of the pontiff’s words:
As has been affirmed on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes between quotes to the Holy Father during his colloquies held with him cannot be considered as a faithful account of what was effectively said, but represent rather a personal and liberal [loose] interpretation of that which he heard, as appears entirely evident from what was written today concerning the divinity of Jesus Christ.
In other words, “What your father’s friend said isn’t exactly your father said about your mother.”
Pretty darn reassuring, huh?
If we can think of the Pope as our spiritual father on earth, we also think of the Church as our Mother. What Scalfari alleges calls into question the very foundation of our Faith. To say that Christ is not divine is to call Mother Church a liar.
Given the gravity of what has been alleged, do you not think it prudent—if not mandatory—that the Holy Father address this directly? Should he not immediately and without equivocation or the slightest hint of nuance declare that he believes that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, is both fully God and fully Man, and that he remained fully God from the moment of He took on human flesh in Mary’s womb?
Why wouldn’t he say that? Why wouldn’t he make a positive affirmation of Faith rather than have some mealy-mouthed spokesman say, “Ummm, that’s not exactly the precise words the Holy Father said in his conversations with Scalfari…”
Given that this broke during the first week of the Amazon Synod, replete with its parading of pagan idols into our holy churches, the Pope’s actions this past week are disturbing indeed.
What are we, his children in faith, to make of this?
Catholics, still reeling from the conflagration which devastated her beloved Notre Dame Cathedral, was rocked a few days later by the publication of an open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church which accused Pope Francis of heresy, and requested that the bishops “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation of a heretical pope.”
You can read the letter in its entirety at this link: https://www.documentcloud.o… It’s twenty pages, but twenty pages well worth reading regardless of your inclination to agree or disagree with its contents.
Whether it’s a former papal nuncio (like Abp. Viganò), prominent on-line laymen (Michael Voris at Church Militant, et. al.), or the signers of this letter, there’s a natural tendency these days to immediately respond with an ad hominem hip shot branding the dissidents as judgemental/Pharisee-like/
Still and all, the signers are indeed on thin ice. I’m not sure what the job market looks like for unemployed theologians these days, but it’s pretty much a guarantee that, as the saying goes in Hollywood, “you’ll never work in this town again!” Not only have they pulled the tail of the massive tiger that is the Pope and his loyal cardinals, they pretty much yanked it completely off! In much the same way as the signers of the Declaration of Independence put a figurative British noose around each and every of their own necks, so the signers of this letter have destroyed their standing among all those in the powerful Church hierarchy who have a vested interest in this papal agenda.
Descriptions you might see in other online articles branding these signers as petty and vengeful reactionaries are, I think, completely unjustified (as were those characterizations of Viganò’s motives months earlier). Right or wrong, it took guts to do what they did, and they believed enough in their message to be willing to take the consequences on the chin. So my recommendation for those trying to get to the bottom of this tragic turn of events is to not consider any base motivations, but rather concentrate on the message itself and the circumstances which brought it about.
Why has it gotten to the point where regular lay people have to concern themselves with the terrifying question of whether Peter’s Successor is or is not promulgating teachings contrary to Church doctrine so egregious as to perhaps approach even the level of material (let alone formal) heresy? For that matter, why do we laity have to be subjected to the confusing and often false teachings of so-called “celebrity priests” who continually put forward ideas which stand in stark contrast to thousands of years of Judeo-Christian teachings or the progressive bishops seemingly more interested in educating us about the mortal dangers of plastics in the ocean rather than sins in our souls?
It comes down to bad leadership on the part of our priests and hierarchy. Even if it turns out that each and every one of the specifications in the open letter were simple misunderstandings and in no way heretical, each and every one of them represent a leadership failure when it comes to clearly teaching and restating the timeless dogmas of our Faith. And, in the case of throwing faithful Chinese Catholics under the bus by kowtowing to the brutal Communist overlords in Beijing, the leadership failure took on the additional aspect of burning a pinch of incense to Caesar (or Mao, in this instance).
This document was a disaster from the git-go. And before anyone says, “It’s perfectly clear and it’s fine. You’re seeing stuff that isn’t there when you try and read between the lines,” let me ask you why it’s now permissible to define adultery by zip code? Liberal bishops in Germany are saying “come one, come all!” When it comes to divorced & civilly remarried Catholics receiving the Eucharist, citing AL, while next door is (still) Catholic Poland, things are as they were before this document came out. Which is the true and authentic interpretation of Christ’s own words in the Gospel concerning marriage? For two thousand years, Catholics knew the answer. Now, it’s suddenly up for grabs.
This vagueness seems intentional in order to allow for the desired intent to surface without actually having to pull the trigger yourself. And yes, orthodox Catholics got upset by this. It’s no wonder that the “H-Word” started getting whispered for the first time when AL came out.
Francis is not considered to be a leading theologian, even by his supporters. And that’s fine; being a world-class theologian has never been a prerequisite for being pope, nor should it be. Having said that, it’s worth comparing the appeal to situational ethics to be found in AL with those writings of a man considered to be a rather accomplished theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas.
Pope Francis seemed to downplay moral absolutes in AL, saying that a negative moral precept such as the one prohibiting adultery is good as a general principle, but “in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations” (par. 304)
Aquinas is a little more direct and uncompromising when he says that some human acts, “have deformity inseparably attached to them, such as fornication, adultery, and others of this sort, which can in no way be done morally.” (s, 9, q. 7, a. 2) This idea is backed up by Pope JPII in his encyclical when he confirms “the absolute validity of negative moral precepts which oblige without exception.” (VS 76)
Call me a rigid traditionalist, but I’m going with the Big Ox on this one.
Authentic teachings on faith, doctrine and morals coming from the Chair of Peter shouldn’t be this difficult to interpret. It confuses the laity. It confuses more than a few respectable theologians and cardinals. Didn’t somebody in the New Testament say something along the lines of “Let your ‘yes’ be yes, and your ‘no’ be no?”
If Francis wanted a liberalization of the rules (with its inevitable clash with the words of God Himself), why didn’t he just come out and say so? Instead, he throws together AL and waits to see how various groups of bishops will interpret it. He refused to answer the , which remains a set of honest questions posed by honest men, and instead kept mum until a bunch of South American bishops came up with the liberal/heterodox interpretation he wanted. Then he declared that those guys’ interpretation of AL was the correct and “magisterial” one.
Since when do we define doctrine and promulgate Church teaching by playing this kind of game? “I’m thinking of a number between one and twenty. Can you guess what it is? If so, you win a prize!”
We’ve seen the train wreck caused by our hierarchy’s handling of the clerical sex abuse crisis. If they weren’t participating directly, they were facilitating cover ups. And if they weren’t facilitating cover ups, they were trying to simply pretend the problem didn’t exist. Once they were called on the carpet, they solemnly assured us that the problem was fixed in 2002. Well, it wasn’t.
Theodore McCarrick. Cdl. Cupich “not going down that rabbit hole.” Cdl. Wuerl “not some massive, massive crisis.” The USCCB attempting to deal with the problem last October, only to suddenly be issued a perplexing “cease & desist” command by Francis, assuring them that everything (everything!) would be fixed at the Feb ’19 “Abuse Summit.” Cupich stepping forward mere seconds after the Vatican’s had been announced, and assuming the role as papal cheerleader, almost as if he had advance knowledge of what was coming from Rome.
As had been predicted by many cynics (myself among them), the much ballyhooed February “summit” completely sidestepped the underlying problem of rampant homosexuality in far too many seminaries, rectories, and chanceries throughout the Church. The discussions focused on the abuse of minors, particularly those young enough to be considered victims of pedophilia, rather than identifying very significant numbers of post-pubescent males as victims of pederasty (which has definite homosexual implications).
To his credit, Pope Francis finally acted to oust McCarrick, and Canon law has been modified to raise the age of consent (which means that a much broader group of victims can be rightly identified as vulnerable minors). And, the pontiff has given occasional lip service to the incompatibility of homosexuality with the priesthood.
And yet, the Lavender Mafia continues to rein supreme within the hierarchy. Remember the fun-filled gay cocaine party at Cdl. Francesco Coccopalmerio’s digs over at his Vatican apartment? The party was so swingin’ hot that the police had to be called in to break it up. Guess who’s still a cardinal in good standing with the Holy Father?
This isn’t an overly compelling argument. Failing to address this problem of clerical sex predation decades earlier remains just that: a failure (and one epic in its tragic consequences), regardless of who was at the helm. JP2 and B16 both let us down here as well. Francis, however, is the one currently leading the Church, and his continued promotion of men sympathetic to the whole homosexualist agenda is troubling and destructive.
I am not a sedevacantist. Neither am I in the jury pool for judging a sitting pope’s heresy trial (Spoiler Alert: NOBODY on earth is qualified to do that. The only man capable of judging a pope is a subsequent pope. That may indeed happen at some point in the future, but there’s nothing to be done about it at present. Might as well accept that fact.)
I am, however, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and as such, I am expected to be discerning. Discerning whether or not a cleric (be he priest, pope or cardinal) is talking nonsense is NOT a matter of judging them, but of remaining true to the authentic teachings of the Church which have existed for upwards of two thousand years.
Can we as good Catholics be critical of our priests, theologians, prelates, and even our pope? You bet! (Spoiler Alert #2: I checked GoogleTranslate, and as it turns out, the term “ex cathedra” does not translate as “from an Italian airliner at 35,000 feet over the Atlantic.”) Not everything a pope says must be taken as binding on belief. In a time where the average Catholic is woefully under-catechized or mal-catechized, that subtle distinction is often lost.
Is it a sin to call the pope out when he is engaging in teaching or enacting policies which are dangerous to the Faith? No. (Spoiler Alert #3: The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of , NOT the mystical body of the pope—this one or any other!) We are to remain faithful to Christ even when our shepherds are not.
So…do I declare Pope Francis to be a heretic? . It’s not in my lane. Do I consider him a bad and ineffective pope who is doing more harm than good for the Faith? Yes, definitely, much to my sorrow and consternation. Should the bishops finally come to recognize the gravity of the crisis of faith which is escalating across the Catholic Church and formally address the Holy Father and correcting him where’s he demonstrably wrong? Yes, oh yes. Do I wish that he’d repent of his heterodox teachings, cease sowing confusion and ambiguity, and return to the authentic principles which have animated the Catholic Church since her founding by Christ Himself? With all my heart.
Whether you consider Francis the Number One Nicest Guy In The World Today, or something considerably less, we as Catholics have an obligation to pray for him. In fact, the graver your concerns, the more earnest your prayers should be.
They dropped the “H-Word” a few days ago. It’s effect has been more like an H-bomb.
A group of prominent theologians and scholars (some of them priests) have issued a letter to all the bishops of the world outlining the case that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has committed multiple acts of formal heresy.
This is a big deal. A terrifying deal.
Accusing Christ’s Vicar on Earth of heresy is one of those things that once said, is extremely difficult to retract. The people who have done this have effectively ended their careers. Think of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence: in so doing, they all but put a British noose around their own necks. Their signatures sealed their own death warrants.
No, I am not comparing this letter to the Declaration of Independence, nor am I comparing these theologians and scholars with the Founding Fathers of the American republic, so stop what you’re thinking. What I am saying however, is that the signers of this twenty page letter have taken a step of the utmost gravity, which will have far-reaching consequences for them…and for us.
Back during the Cold War, a group of concerned scientists came up with something that became known as (among other things) the “Doomsday Clock.” Whenever some incident between the Americans and Soviets served to increase tensions, the minute hand on clock (which was initially set sometime after 11:30 PM-ish) moved another minute closer to midnight, the idea being that once the clock reached midnight, WWIII would start and with it, of course, nuclear Armageddon.
If there is a “Schism Clock” counting down the minutes until a major disaster strikes the Roman Catholic Church, this letter surely must have moved the minute hand a notch or two.
The letter does not read like some sort of tinfoil hat manifesto; far from it. The people who assembled it cited a series of specific incidents, documented them thoroughly, and provided excerpts from Church Councils, Holy Scripture, and other sources to demonstrate that each incident cited violated one or more critical aspects of Catholic Church teaching/dogma.
Can this document, in and of itself, convict a Roman Pontiff of heresy? I’m not so sure. It’s pretty much a given that the pope, being Christ’s Vicar and direct representative on Earth, is subject to the judgement of no man…only Almighty God Himself can sit in judgement of his actions.
And yet, these incidents–most of which I remember having been thoroughly amazed at when they transpired–do seem to directly contradict established Church teaching…or at least muddy them to the point where we laity are thoroughly confused. A group of Cardinals asked Pope Francis to provide clarification (the famous Dubia of Cardinal Burke, et. al.) on some of the most troubling portions of his document Amoris Laetitia, but rather than providing the asked -for clarity, Francis made a point of completely ignoring them. That tactic might have been considered a brilliant maneuver in the game of Vatican politics, but it didn’t do much to calm the brewing storm in the Church. And that storm is reaching typhoon-intensity.
Correspondent Hank Igitur, the “Traditional Roamin’ Catholic,” shares his concerns in the following video, along with a set of recommended resources for those hoping to better understand the crisis which is upon us.