The pope cannot commit heresy
when he speaks ex cathedra,
this is a dogma of faith.
In his teaching outside of
ex cathedra statements, however,
he can commit doctrinal ambiguities,
errors and even heresies.
And since the pope is not identical
with the entire Church,
the Church is stronger
than a singular erring or heretical Pope.
—Bishop Athanasius Schneider
September 19th, 2023, onepeterfive.com
I HAVE long been avoiding most comments on social media. The reason is that people have become mean, judgmental, flat-out uncharitable — and often in the name of “defending the truth.” But after our last webcast, I attempted to respond to some who accused my colleague Daniel O’Connor and me of “bashing” the Pope.
My longtime readers here know that I have repeatedly defended Pope Francis where justice has demanded it (eg. Pope Francis On…). I have paid a price for this — countless nasty letters accusing me of being blind, stupid, deceived — you name it. I have absolutely no regrets. As both a son of the Church (and according to a promise we make as members of the Knights of Columbus), I have defended the papacy as warranted. In fact, this writing apostolate spans three pontificates. As of today, I have never to my knowledge judged the heart of our popes, their motives or intentions. Nor when I have addressed the multitude of controversies of this present papacy have I ever denigrated Pope Francis by biting sarcasm, condescendingly referred to him as “Bergoglio”, or insinuated that he intends ill. Moreover, I have defended the legitimacy of his election and stressed the need to remain in communion with the Vicar of Christ.
But like nearly every faithful Catholic I know in public ministry, we are exasperated and exhausted having to explain away, qualify, recontextualize, apologize for, reframe, restate, nuance, and defend the long train of spontaneous remarks, strange interviews, ambiguous remarks, and mind-boggling appointments that have followed this papacy. As one person observed, we’re like those men with shovels and pails who follow the circus elephant, cleaning up its mess. Nonetheless, I have done so because the stakes are high: the witness and credibility of Christ’s Church. Save for a few cardinals and bishops, and always the same ones, there is almost complete silence and guidance from the clergy on these and other controversial issues. Ministries like mine have found ourselves having to reassure our readers, walk others from the ledge, and reaffirm the constant teachings of our Faith.
On Disagreeing With the Pope
…it is not disloyalty, or a lack of Romanita to disagree with the details of some of the interviews which were given off-the-cuff. Naturally, if we disagree with the Holy Father, we do so with the deepest respect and humility, conscious that we may need to be corrected. —Fr. Tim Finigan, tutor in Sacramental Theology at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh; from The Hermeneutic of Community, “Assent and Papal Magisterium”, October 6th, 2013;http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.co.uk
Catholics are not morally bound to agree with a pope’s opinions on matters outside the purview of faith and morals, such as when he takes technical positions on the weather, sports, economics, or medicine. In fact, one may even have a duty to oppose those opinions respectfully and publicly if it is a matter of deflating scandal (see footnote).According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which [the laity] possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons. —Code of Canon Law, Canon 212 §3
For instance, Pope Francis declared three years ago regarding COVID “vaccines” that “there is a suicidal denialism… [and that] people must take the vaccine.”interview for Italy’s TG5 news program, January 19th, 2021; ncronline.com That pronouncement, contrary to prior teaching,cf. Not a Moral Obligation resulted in countless Catholics being fired from their jobs, dismissed from post-secondary education, or having to choose between feeding their family or taking an experimental gene therapy. Trust me, I have read the letters of those who were in these predicaments; Daniel himself was dismissed from his Ph.D. programme because they told him the Pope said he had to take the shot. Ironically, and most tragic of all, it was literally suicidal for many to take the injection as post-jab data now puts the injuries and death tolls across the globe in the millions,cf. The Tolls something the Vatican has yet to acknowledge. Moreover, these were gene therapies developed and tested utilizing aborted fetal cells, only compounding the growing scandal this is.
I began writing about the communist ideology and greater deception behind climate change alarmism during the pontificate of Benedict XVI.cf. Climate Change and the Great Delusion and Control! Control! So I was gobsmacked when Pope Francis not only endorsed the disputed claims of man-made global warming but essentially declared in his latest apostolic exhortation that it is no longer an open question. Yet, over 1600 climatologists, meteorologists, and climate researchers, including Nobel laureates Dr. John Clauser, Ph.D. and Ivar Giaever of Norway, recently signed the “World Climate Declaration” that states unequivocally: “There is no climate emergency.”Read why here It’s a scientific, not a religious debate. Even the highly liberal Canadian Broadcasting Corporation took notice:
The document, entitled Praise God [Laudate Deum], was unusual for a papal exhortation and read more like a UN scientific report. It carried a sharp tone and its footnotes had far more references to UN climate reports, NASA and Francis’s own previous encyclicals than Scripture. —CBC News, October 4, 2023
Moreover, Francis frequently cites the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) which has been caught several times fudging data in order to rush forward their agenda, most notably, the Paris Climate Agreement (which Francis explicitly endorsed).The IPCC was caught exaggerating data on Himalayan glacier melt; they ignored that there was indeed a ‘pause’ in global warming: top climate scientists were instructed to ‘cover up’ the fact that the Earth’s temperature hadn’t risen for the last 15 years. The University of Alabama in Huntsville, considered the most reliable in gathering global temperature data sets developed from satellites, has shown that there has been no global warming at all for the last seven years as of January 2022. Climate scientists there, John Christy and Richard McNider, found that by removing the climate effects of volcanic eruptions early on in the satellite temperature record, there showed virtually no change in the rate of warming since the early 1990s.
There is a serious danger to human freedom behind climate change ideology, which is at the heart of the “Great Reset.”cf. The Great Theft In being faithful as best I can to John Paul II’s call to be a watchman,cf. Dear Holy Father… He is Coming! I suddenly find myself in complete opposition to his successor who is endorsing a programme that may well lead mankind into the very forms of enslavement that Benedict XVI warned about.
…without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family… humanity runs new risks of enslavement and manipulation.. —Caritas in Veritate, n.33, 26
But here again, Francis’s scientific position is not binding on the faithful. He said as much:
There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus. Here I would state once more that the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good. —Laudato si’, n. 188
Most troubling are the recent controversial statements of Francis on same-sex unions and the appointments of those to the highest positions in the Church who openly obfuscate this issue.cf. Church On a Precipice – Part II The point is this: if we have to argue back and forth what the Pope meant in this or that ambiguous statement, while headlines across the world declare that “Blessings for same-sex unions possible in Catholicism”, then it’s clear that Truth has already suffered another blow and that countless souls are already placed in mortal danger. And neither is this a one-off, rare mishap. Three years ago, Francis’ statements on civil unions shocked many as his close associates (like Fr. James Martin) only solidified the confusion suggesting, without any correction from the Holy See, that Francis was indeed proposing new doctrine.cf. The Body, Breaking
It’s not simply [Francis] tolerating [civil unions], he’s supporting it… he may have in a sense, as we say in the Church, developed his own doctrine… We have to reckon with the fact that the head of the Church has now said that he feels that civil unions are ok. And we can’t dismiss that… Bishops and other people can’t dismiss that as easily as they might want to. This is in a sense, this is a kind of teaching that he is giving us. —Fr. James Martin, CNN.com
…the reason for the criticism is precisely because of the primitive nature and pagan appearance of the ceremony and the absence of openly Catholic symbols, gestures and prayers during the various gestures, dances and prostrations of that surprising ritual. —Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, archbishop emeritus of Caracas, Venezuela; October 21, 2019; Catholic News Agency
These are scandals — irregardless of good intentions — and neither the Pope nor the Vatican Press office seems concerned to fix them. At what point does protecting the reputation of Jesus supersede that of a pope’s?
I Follow the King
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ — not Pope Francis, not any other man. But precisely because I follow Jesus, who made Peter the rock of His Church, I remain in submission to the true magisterium of all the popes, including Francis, since they are the living successors to the Apostles. For Our Lord’s commandment is clear:
Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. (Luke 10:16)
But when it comes to the increasingly reckless statements, casuistry, and sophistries emerging from several Vatican quarters; when it comes to the disastrous public relations and seeming colossal failure in discernment at the highest levels (and I have barely even touched upon the latest Synod), what is most at stake is souls. Souls!
At the end of the day, my allegiance — our allegiance — is to Jesus Christ and His Gospel!
If even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ. (Gal 1:8-10)
What is the way forward, then? It is to remain utterly faithful to Christ’s Word preserved in Sacred Tradition while remaining in communion with and submissive to the authentic magisterium of the Vicar of Christ. And really, truly, pray for our leadership. I can say with all honesty that, every day, I pray for the Pope without guile. I simply ask the Lord to bless and protect him, to fill him with wisdom, and help him, and all our bishops, to be good shepherds.
And then I get on with the business of proclaiming the infallible Word of God.
The Synod on Synodality is leading souls from the truth of Christ and His Church. Worryingly, there are some signs of Rome’s benevolence towards the U.N.’s Agenda 2030. On the contrary, the Church should prophetically announce the opposition of this programme to Christian anthropology and the natural order. I dwell on this issue, which is of the utmost importance. The 2030 Agenda is a globalist project of the United Nations and associated agencies, which pressures states to adopt abortion policies and “comprehensive sex education.” … The progressivism of the present pontificate reappears in the midst of the ruins it has produced. — Archbishop Emeritus Héctor Aguer of Buenos Aires, Argentina, LifeSiteNews, September 21, 2023
The false prophets who present themselves as progressives have announced that they will turn the Catholic Church into an aid organization for Agenda 2030.… Apparently there are even bishops who no longer believe in God as the origin and end of man and savior of the world, but who, in a pan-natural or pantheistic way, they consider the supposed mother earth to be the beginning of existence and climate neutrality the goal of planet earth. — Cardinal Gerhard Muller, InfoVaticana, September 12, 2023
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|↑1||According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which [the laity] possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons. —Code of Canon Law, Canon 212 §3|
|↑2||interview for Italy’s TG5 news program, January 19th, 2021; ncronline.com|
|↑3||cf. Not a Moral Obligation|
|↑4||cf. The Tolls|
|↑5||cf. Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops|
|↑6||cf. Climate Change and the Great Delusion and Control! Control!|
|↑7||Read why here|
|↑8||The IPCC was caught exaggerating data on Himalayan glacier melt; they ignored that there was indeed a ‘pause’ in global warming: top climate scientists were instructed to ‘cover up’ the fact that the Earth’s temperature hadn’t risen for the last 15 years. The University of Alabama in Huntsville, considered the most reliable in gathering global temperature data sets developed from satellites, has shown that there has been no global warming at all for the last seven years as of January 2022. Climate scientists there, John Christy and Richard McNider, found that by removing the climate effects of volcanic eruptions early on in the satellite temperature record, there showed virtually no change in the rate of warming since the early 1990s.|
|↑9||cf. The Great Theft|
|↑10||cf. Dear Holy Father… He is Coming!|
|↑11||cf. Church On a Precipice – Part II|
|↑12||cf. The Body, Breaking|
|↑13||see The New Paganism – Part III and Putting the Branch to God’s Nose|