Pope is accused of heresy (1 Viewer)

Grandadmiral

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I will definitely be paying close attention to this. I actually feel that Francis has done his best to bring individuals back to the faith and feel, like stated in the article, that this is a cry from a very vocal minority from the conservative side of the Church. I frankly wish they'd put more effort in stopping the continual burden of the sex abuse scandal than go after a man whose message has been one of acceptance. That's what all faiths truly need right now.

A conservative group of Catholic priests and theologians called for Pope Francis to be declared a heretic because they believed he has softened the Catholic Church's stance on major moral issues.

There were 19 signatories to a letter urging the College of Bishops to denounce the pontiff and even consider stripping him of the papacy if he does not show “true repentance.”

The letter, backed by a Change.org petition, alleged the Pope had “denied truths of the faith” and had not been outspoken enough on key aspects of dogma such as abortion and homosexuality and seems too accepting of other faiths. He was even accused of once using a satanic symbol.

The focal point of the 20-page missive is the Pope’s 2016 document about family life, titled Amoris Laetitia, which has been interpreted by some as suggesting the Pope has softened the church's views on key issues, including whether divorced people can receive communion.

The letter stated: "Pope Francis has protected and promoted homosexually active clerics and clerical apologists for homosexual activity. This indicates that he believes that homosexual activity is not gravely sinful."

It also took issue that the Pope had "failed to speak a word in support of popular campaigns to preserve Catholic countries from abortion and homosexuality, for example, before the referendum to introduce abortion into Ireland in May 2018."
 

dgrant

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To those that are Catholic, is this just a ruse for attention to get the Pope in compliance, or could it actually gain traction?
 
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Grandadmiral

Grandadmiral

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To those that are Catholic, is this just a ruse for attention to get the Pope in compliance, or could it actually gain traction?
I doubt it gets much traction, but I'm biased as a supporter of the Pope. Francis is popular, especially amongst younger Catholics worldwide, Catholic minorites in the US, and most definitely Catholics in Latin America. I would imagine most of his detractors are the more orthodox, conservative faction of the Church.
 

St.Fury

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He is not the only one CURRENTLY surrounding himself in sexual and financial scandals... heck, CURRENTLY there are many within the Catholic church who are involved in sexual and financial scandals. Why is no one accusing them of heresy?
Maybe we should. I’ve long had an issue with the Catholic Church and their handling of these scandals. I find it sickening.
 

Saintamaniac

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I would hope that the pope would forgive them all for what they have accused him of and then immediately excommunicate each one of them.
 

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I dunno..I’m kinda understanding the church’s position on this one (though clearly I don’t agree with the premise). Where in the Bible or Catholic doctrine is homosexuality ok’d? I’ve always thought there was only so far the Pope could go and he was ‘pushing it’ a bit and would eventually face backlash from the more conservative base.

Not trying to go on a tangent, but It seems like the majority of these issues are either answered or ignored (you could argue homosexuality here) or not specified enough and people insert their own thoughts and act as if it is synonymous with a creator’s intentions. Could the Pope in his position of power be asserting his own personal ‘truths’ because of the position he’s in and platform he’s been given?
 

Saint_Ward

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I dunno..I’m kinda understanding the church’s position on this one (though clearly I don’t agree with the premise). Where in the Bible or Catholic doctrine is homosexuality ok’d? I’ve always thought there was only so far the Pope could go and he was ‘pushing it’ a bit and would eventually face backlash from the more conservative base.

Not trying to go on a tangent, but It seems like the majority of these issues are either answered or ignored (you could argue homosexuality here) or not specified enough and people insert their own thoughts and act as if it is synonymous with a creator’s intentions. Could the Pope in his position of power be asserting his own personal ‘truths’ because of the position he’s in and platform he’s been given?
I'd have to read Amoris Laetitia better, and I'm no theologian. I glanced at it a couple years ago.

But, I always took his comments on homosexuals, divorced persons (with no annulment), etc as just saying, just because they're living in sin, doesn't mean we have to treat them like crap.

We don't just welcome the pure of heart. We don't just welcome the chaste.

I think at most, he suggested consideration of how to better serve those groups and how to better include them? Again, I need to read it better.

Divorce is an interesting one. You're technically in adultery, if you're with anyone else. So, are you constantly sinning, where confession is meaningless? Or is the act of leaving the union of your marriage what is the sin, and the confession isn't meaningless? I'm sure the catechism gets into this, but I'm only just thinking about it on my own.

It's one of those cases, where it seems to be impossible to forgive and move on. It's an odd situation.

If you stole from someone.. confessed.. did your recompense.. your'e forgiven, right?

Then take Abortion, some catholics are so militant about it, it's actually a bit scary. It's one thing to support life, but some make that their only focus in life, and care nothing of the poor, being a good person, etc. It's about ideological purity.
 

SystemShock

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I dunno..I’m kinda understanding the church’s position on this one (though clearly I don’t agree with the premise). Where in the Bible or Catholic doctrine is homosexuality ok’d? I’ve always thought there was only so far the Pope could go and he was ‘pushing it’ a bit and would eventually face backlash from the more conservative base.

Not trying to go on a tangent, but It seems like the majority of these issues are either answered or ignored (you could argue homosexuality here) or not specified enough and people insert their own thoughts and act as if it is synonymous with a creator’s intentions. Could the Pope in his position of power be asserting his own personal ‘truths’ because of the position he’s in and platform he’s been given?
I guess that depends on whether one accepts that the pope is indeed Vicarius Christi , the representative of Jesus on Earth. If one accepts that, then the Pope's truths are Jesus' truths as well.
 

Brennan77

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I don't think you can call me lazy respectfully.

And I was using the Newsweek article, which only mentions 19 signatories. I tried to look up some more on this and didn't find anything quickly, so I assumed 19 was correct. I actually didn't call them idiots. Just that you can find a small group of any kind of outrage (or idiotic people), so this small group writing a letter, didn't really make me think much of it. Not because they're idiots, but because a few outspoken critics isn't anything by the usual noise of life.

So, what are your thoughts on this letter? is it fair? Is it not?

Personally, after reading some of the stuff on LifeSite news and their faithful Shepard tracker, I'm kinda disgusted with that group. They're just... mean.
I mean, this story is pretty important and you dismissed it with a drive by post. So while I respect you and consider you a friend, I'm telling you your take was lazy. That's different than suggesting you have the general character flaw of laziness, which I do not think is true. It's the difference between this is lazy vs you are lazy. I meant no insult and thought I was replying in a similar tone as your own.

I don't personally like the style of lifesitenews even if they do a decent job of compiling information. Catholic News Agency is probably the best at simply reporting the news. OnePeterFive are pretty focused on returning to the Latin Mass and such, so it's off putting to some. But they have excellent writing and have been all over these theological issues since the beginning. Secular media is absolutely atrocious at reporting on these things. They get it wrong just about 100% of the time and simply do not understand what they are writing about.

My personal thoughts on the letter is that it does a good job summarizing the problematic words, writings, and actions of Francis. And they have been a problem. The faithful have a right to demand clarification and explanation. The pope has an obligation to answer the questions of the dubia. The hubris suggested by silence is unacceptable, disturbing, and unprecedented. But I do not like that the letter uses 'heretical' as an adjective to describe the pope. In charity it should distinguish actions and words that would appear to be heresy from the man himself, allowing for the possibility that he would clarify or renounce seemingly heretical statements. I also find the language of the letter to be canonically confusing. But I'm not a canon lawyer. In short, I think there are serious problems and deficiencies with the letter as it relates to accusations of heresy. But the actual content and documentation of the problems are pretty useful and definitely fair.
 

Saint_Ward

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I mean, this story is pretty important and you dismissed it with a drive by post. So while I respect you and consider you a friend, I'm telling you your take was lazy. That's different than suggesting you have the general character flaw of laziness, which I do not think is true. It's the difference between this is lazy vs you are lazy. I meant no insult and thought I was replying in a similar tone as your own.

I don't personally like the style of lifesitenews even if they do a decent job of compiling information. Catholic News Agency is probably the best at simply reporting the news. OnePeterFive are pretty focused on returning to the Latin Mass and such, so it's off putting to some. But they have excellent writing and have been all over these theological issues since the beginning. Secular media is absolutely atrocious at reporting on these things. They get it wrong just about 100% of the time and simply do not understand what they are writing about.

My personal thoughts on the letter is that it does a good job summarizing the problematic words, writings, and actions of Francis. And they have been a problem. The faithful have a right to demand clarification and explanation. The pope has an obligation to answer the questions of the dubia. The hubris suggested by silence is unacceptable, disturbing, and unprecedented. But I do not like that the letter uses 'heretical' as an adjective to describe the pope. In charity it should distinguish actions and words that would appear to be heresy from the man himself, allowing for the possibility that he would clarify or renounce seemingly heretical statements. I also find the language of the letter to be canonically confusing. But I'm not a canon lawyer. In short, I think there are serious problems and deficiencies with the letter as it relates to accusations of heresy. But the actual content and documentation of the problems are pretty useful and definitely fair.
I wasn't insulted. Just making a comment. I'm good.


Given the insistence of the letter that the pope is not only in material heresy, but guilty of the canonical delict, the apparent gap in legal understanding detracts significantly from the letter’s gravity.

Other papal “actions that indicate a rejection of truths of the faith” proposed by the letter consist of a long list of individuals Francis is accused of promoting or associating with. Further supposedly “indicative” proof appears even more tenuous, with the shape of a liturgical staff once used by Francis termed a “satanic stang” by the letter.

If support for the letter’s legal premise has been absent, its reception among theologians has largely been one of disappointment.

Though many have noted that some of the issues raised in it are ongoing sources of concern and confusion for Catholics that would certainly benefit from an unambiguous clarification by the pope, by grounding their complaints in the “canonical crime of heresy,” the letters authors have been seen by many to work from a deeply flawed premise.

The attempt to yoke together serious issues, like the language of parts of Amoris Laetitia, with trivial complaints, like the shape of a staff in a liturgical procession, has largely been met with skepticism.

Many have observed that the letter’s scatter-gun approach to topics as varied as theological language and episcopal appointments lessens the impact of its concerns, even as it attempts to amplify them.

This seems like a fair summary.


Robert Corzine, vice president of programs at the St. Paul Center, told CNA that Kwasniewski “definitely does not speak for the St. Paul Center in this regard.”

Corzine noted that the center had previously published an English language version of a handbook for the pastoral care of the family according to Amoris Laetitia.

“While the signatories of that letter clearly have their own particular way of interpreting Amoris Laetitia, if anything can be read in continuity with orthodox teaching and tradition it should be – and Amoris laetitia definitely can be,” Corzine said.

Petri told CNA that the letter is unconvincing in both its arguments and its rationale.

“Apart from the canonical implications this may have for the signers, the letter itself is a hodgepodge of concerns that prevent it being taken very seriously as a whole,” Petri said.

“While I agree there remain questions and concerns about some applications of Amoris laetitia, I cannot see how any of those concerns are necessarily material heresy.”
I still feel like I shouldn't care too much about this letter, or its main claims. And that these 19 may be somewhat on the fringe.

The only idea is that Amoris laetitia has created a few questions that would benefit from clarification.
 

Brennan77

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Would that be heresy in itself?
My apologies if an ignorant question. Although my wife was raised Catholic she denounced Catholicism as she grew up. And I was raised southern Baptist. Which I am also not affiliated with anymore.

We believe in God, just not in organized religion.

And as I read Brennan’s post, I don’t mean to digress or thread-jack. As stated I don’t know Catholicism.
Heresy, as defined in the catechism...
"Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same;
So it's not heresy in itself to accuse someone of heresy.

Heresy is the denial of a truth of the faith. For example, if I believed that Jesus was just a nice guy and not divine in nature, I'd hold a heretical belief.
 

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The pope’s letter emphasized Amoris’ continuity with past teaching, saying there was “no rupture,” and that it should not be considered a handbook for handling particular cases. Francis also wrote that attempts to lift particular sections out of their context left them open to misreading.

“It cannot be considered a vademecum [manual] on different issues. If the Exhortation is not read in its entirety and in the order it is written, it will either not be understood or it will be distorted,” the pope wrote.

Fr. Petri told CNA that this was an important point in the pope’s letter.

“I appreciate the Holy Father’s point that the document has to be read as a whole, and particularly his insistence that it be read in order and in its entirety for its meaning to be understood,” he said.

“I think part of the reason Amoris laetitia has been considered ‘controversial’ by some people is precisely because there have been misguided attempts to read chapter 8, or even specific lines of chapter 8, in isolation and outside of the essential context of the preceding chapters. The necessary context of the wider document clearly does situate Amoris within the Church’s traditional teachings.”
Fr. Petri said that Amoris laetitia’s message of love and support for couples in difficult situations answered a real pastoral need, one that should not be obscured by attempts to make it say something it does not.

“It seems clear to me,” Petri said, “that, for example, chapter 8 is about helping couples in complicated and painful circumstances to move towards a regular situation, for their own benefit. It is not about trying to regularize the irregular.”
Again, I need to read the whole thing, but my overall take seems to be what Fr. Petri is saying at the end here.
 

Saint_Ward

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Heresy, as defined in the catechism...


So it's not heresy in itself to accuse someone of heresy.

Heresy is the denial of a truth of the faith. For example, if I believed that Jesus was just a nice guy and not divine in nature, I'd hold a heretical belief.
@Humperdoo to add a little to this..


The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines these three sins against the faith in this way:

2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it.
"Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same;
apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith;
schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him." [Code of Canon Law c.751]
The Church's moral theology has always distinguished between objective or material sin and formal sin. The person who holds something contrary to the Catholic faith is materially a heretic. They possess the matter of heresy, theological error. Thus, prior to the Second Vatican Council it was quite common to speak of non-Catholic Christians as heretics, since many of their doctrines are objectively contrary to Catholic teaching. This theological distinction remains true, though in keeping with the pastoral charity of the Council today we use the term heretic only to describe those who willingly embrace what they know to be contrary to revealed truth. Such persons are formally (in their conscience before God) guilty of heresy. Thus, the person who is objectively in heresy is not formally guilty of heresy if 1) their ignorance of the truth is due to their upbringing in a particular religious tradition (to which they may even be scrupulously faithful), and 2) they are not morally responsible for their ignorance of the truth. This is the principle of invincible ignorance, which Catholic theology has always recognized as excusing before God.

The same is true of apostasy. The person who leaves not just the Catholic Church but who abandons Christ Himself is materially an apostate. He is formally an apostate through willful, and therefore culpable, repudiation of the Christian faith.
Finally, the person who refuses submission to the Roman Pontiff, whom Vatican I defined as having a universal primacy of authority over the whole Church, is at least a material schismatic. It was thus common in the past to speak of theschismatic Orthodox Churches who broke with Rome in 1054. As with heresy, we no longer assume the moral culpability of those who belong to Churches in schism from Rome, and thus no long refer to them as schismatics.
Read the rest in the link in terms of punishments for people found Formally guilty of heresy, apostasy, schism...
 

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Lamb wrote that Farrell's tasks as prefect include “the implementation of Amoris Laetitia.”

“From what I see from information that is coming to us from the conferences of bishops and lay groups involved in marriage and family life in different parts of the world, [Amoris laetitia] is very well received, overwhelmingly well received,” Farrell stated.

He did acknowledge that “there are some elements in the United States, on the continent of Africa, and some here in Europe - but not very strong” who have not received Amoris laetitia warmly.

“Cardinal Farrell said the teaching is clear: the Pope is opening a way for divorced and remarried Catholics to return to communion following a process of discernment and on a case-by-case basis,” Lamb wrote.

According to Farrell “It’s not just a question of going up to a priest and saying ‘can I receive communion?’ It is a process, a process that could take one year could take two years, could take three years. It depends on the people. Fundamentally, this is about encountering people where they are.”

Farrell told Lamb that those opposed to admitting the divorced-and-remarried to Communion say those people are “outside the Church for ever.”

“There’s no redemption whatsoever? None? You mean to tell me that Christ and Christ’s redemption didn’t work for those people? No.”

The cardinal called opposition to the pope's policy “an ideological conflict … deep down.”
Doesn't this fit under the church looking at ways to simplify, thus speed up, the process for getting an annulment. Seems like this would fit into that concept.
 

Brennan77

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I wasn't insulted. Just making a comment. I'm good.





This seems like a fair summary.




I still feel like I shouldn't care too much about this letter, or its main claims. And that these 19 may be somewhat on the fringe.

The only idea is that Amoris laetitia has created a few questions that would benefit from clarification.
You should care because of the context, and the fact that the content of the letter is largely true, even if the letter is canonically dubious. There's a running list of statements that if taken at face value would equate to heresy. It's really an unprecedented situation, at least in modern times. The Vigano accusations, the unanswered dubia, the Abu Dhabi letter, are all very serious concerns that have the capability of causing a schism.

Amoris Laetitia has certain passages that if taken at face value would threaten to undermine the entire Catholic philosophy of moral agency. Every Catholic should know and care about what's happening. The historical and spiritual importance cannot be overstated. We need to be vigilant, educated, and dedicated to our own continued conversion. That is our responsibility.
 

Brennan77

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Doesn't this fit under the church looking at ways to simplify, thus speed up, the process for getting an annulment. Seems like this would fit into that concept.
No. That's not what is in question. The formal dubia that was submitted to the pope helps to explain the troublesome ambiguities.


It's worth reading the entire article and text but here's the dubia (questions) themselves.

3. The Dubia

  1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?
  2. After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?
  3. After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?
  4. After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?
  5. After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?
And this open essay by Josef Seifert outlines the dangerous philosophical ramifications of AL if there is no subsequent clarification. https://onepeterfive.com/josef-seifert-pure-logic-threaten-destroy-entire-moral-doctrine-catholic-church/
The assertion of AL I wish to investigate here, however, does not invoke subjective conscience at all, but claims a totally objective divine will for us to commit, in certain situations, acts that are intrinsically wrong, and have always been considered such by the Church. Since God can certainly not have a lack of ethical knowledge, an “erring conscience,” or a weakness of free will, this text does not “defend the rights of human subjectivity,” as Buttiglione claims, but appears to affirm clearly that these intrinsically disordered and objectively gravely sinful acts, as Buttiglione admits, can be permitted, or can even objectively be commanded, by God. If this is truly what AL affirms, all alarm over AL’s direct affirmations, regarding matters of changes of sacramental discipline (admitting, after due discernment, adulterers, active homosexuals, and other couples in similar situations to the sacraments of confession and eucharist, and, logically, also of baptism, confirmation, and matrimony, without their willingness to change their lives and to live in total sexual abstinence, which Pope John Paul II demanded in Familiaris Consortio from couples in such “irregular situations”), refer only to the peak of an iceberg, to the weak beginning of an avalanche, or to the first few buildings destroyed by a moral theological atomic bomb that threatens to tear down the whole moral edifice of the 10 commandments and of Catholic Moral Teaching.
 

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