CATHOLIC bishops have been urged to ‘take the necessary steps’ to stop the Pope’s pursuance of positions contrary to the faith and his dubious support of prelates who have shown themselves to have a clear disrespect for the Church’s faith and morals.
Those who think that Francis has strayed from the straight and narrow have accused him of heresy in an open letter. Among his accusers is Fr Aidan Nichols, one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world. The signatories are demanding that the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, should:
Take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation of a Pope committing heresy.
The 19 signatories said:
We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church.
The open letter is available in Dutch, Italian, German, French, and Spanish.
The letter’s text is dated “Easter Week” and appeared on the traditional Feast Day of St Catherine of Siena, an uppity saint who counseled and admonished several popes in her time.
The 20-page document is a follow-up to the 2017 Filial Correction of Pope Francis that was signed originally by 62 scholars and which stated that the Pope has:
Effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church.
The Pope’s detractors claim that it has now become clear that Pope Francis is aware of his own positions contrary to the faith and that the time has come to go a “stage further” by claiming that Pope Francis is:
Guilty of the crime of heresy. We limit ourselves to accusing him of heresy on occasions where he has publicly denied truths of the faith, and then consistently acted in a way that demonstrates that he disbelieves these truths that he has publicly denied.
However they have not gone as far as claiming that Francis has:
But rather than let the good old “Holy Spirit” sort out the problem, they are dumping in the lap of the bishops who must ensure that:
Denied truths of the faith in pronouncements that satisfy the conditions for an infallible papal teaching. We assert that this would be impossible, since it would be incompatible with the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit.
A heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil.
The signatories first present in detail – and with theological references to substantiate their claims – the different positions against the faith Pope Francis has shown himself to hold, propagate, or support, including:
Seven propositions contradicting divinely revealed truth.
Many of the Pope’s heretical statements touch on questions of marriage and the family and are to be found in Amoris Laetitia, but there is also a new claim made by Pope Francis in 2019 – namely, that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God”.
While castigating the Pope, the signatories have warm words for those bishops who have defended Catholic doctrine by their own personal witnesses.
We recognise with gratitude that some among you have reaffirmed the truths contrary to the heresies which we have listed, or else have warned of serious dangers threatening the Church in this pontificate.
The authors make it clear that it is up to the bishops to take action and that they do not need a majority among the bishops to do so.
Since Pope Francis has manifested heresy by his actions as well as by his words, any abjuration must involve repudiating and reversing these actions, including his nomination of bishops and cardinals who have supported these heresies by their words or actions. Such an admonition is a duty of fraternal charity to the Pope, as well as a duty to the Church.
If – which God forbid! – Pope Francis does not bear the fruit of true repentance in response to these admonitions, we request that you carry out your duty of office to declare that he has committed the canonical delict of heresy and that he must suffer the canonical consequences of this crime.