…as the Church’s one and only indivisible magisterium,
the pope and the bishops in union with him,
carry the gravest responsibility that no ambiguous sign
or unclear teaching comes from them,
confusing the faithful or lulling them
into a false sense of security.
—Cardinal Gerhard Müller,
former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
First Things, April 20th, 2018
It is not a question of being ‘pro-’ Pope Francis or ‘contra-’ Pope Francis.
It is a question of defending the Catholic faith,
and that means defending the Office of Peter
to which the Pope has succeeded.
—Cardinal Raymond Burke, The Catholic World Report,
January 22, 2018
BEFORE he passed away, almost a year ago to the day at the very start of the pandemic, the great preacher Rev. John Hampsch, C.M.F. (c. 1925-2020) wrote me a letter of encouragement. In it, he included an urgent message for all my readers:
To obey the Gospel implies heeding the words of Jesus — for his sheep listen to his voice (John 10:27) — and also the voice of his Church, for “whoever listens to you listens to me” (Luke 10:16). For those who renounce the Church his indictment is rigorous: “Those who refuse to listen even to the Church, treat them as you would a pagan” (Matt. 18:17)… God’s battered ship is wildly listing now, as it often has in past centuries, but Jesus promises it will always “stay afloat” — “to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Please, for love of God, don’t jump ship! You’ll regret it — most “lifeboats” have no oars!
At that time, Fr. John would not have known that soon the hierarchy would shut the doors of their churches and deprive the faithful of the Sacraments; he would not have known of the Pope’s and bishops’ wholesale support of experimental vaccines developed with aborted fetal cells; he would not have known of the Church’s silence in the face of vaccine mandates that are tearing communities and nations apart; he would not have known that some bishops would even ban the “unvaccinated” from the Holy Eucharist.eg. stjosephsparishgander.ca And he would not have known of several other controversies, including recent papal statements supporting civil unions,See recent statement supporting civil unions: euronews.com ; Pope approves documentary where statement supports civil unions: cruxnow.com; cf. The Body Breaking the controversial flip-flop on the Latin Mass,cf. George Weigel, firstthings.com the Vatican’s recent appointments of pro-abortion advocatesaleteia.org and Rome’s joint venture with Humanity 2.0, a transhumanist movement.cf. here, here, here, and here
And yet, even if Fr. John did foresee all of these things, I know he would say the same thing to us today: Don’t jump ship. And here’s why…
The Listing Barque
I know that many of you are hurting and feeling betrayed by your pastors’ silence or complicity with the growing global health technocracy, as freedoms are disappearing and basic medical and moral ethics are being trampled. We have reached a point now in this pandemic where, objectively, the Church’s endorsement of the science in the face of all the data, is simply untenable. I will address this grave situation in a webcast next week; because with the beginning of the mass experimental injection of 5 – 11 year olds, we are entering a phase that is objectively evil. Consider this recent analysis: “We will kill 117 kids to save one child from dying from COVID in the 5 to 11 age range.“Dr. Toby Rogers, PhD; see also tobyrogers.substack.com; sciendirect.com And the climbing global death and injury tolls around the world among the rest of the population cannot be ignored: see The Tolls.
Hence, the confusion, anger, and frustration is palpable among laity and even some priests, who through their vow of obedience often find themselves unable to speak the truth without incurring severe reprimands — not unlike a political party where one must “tow the party line”. And that is a worldly model that has infected the Church with the sum effect of muting the shepherds and leaving the flock to the wolves. In the same token, it is also a grave mistake for the laity to respond to their leadership in a worldly-political manner that is often toxic and divisive.
It bears repeating over and over again, that the faithful are not bound to agree with their shepherds on matters outside of faith and morals, especially when the gravity of said positions risk grave injury and scandal to the flock and the rest of the world.
…it is important to note that the competency of such leaders resides in matters pertaining to “faith, morals and Church discipline”, and not in the fields of medicine, immunology or vaccines. Insofar as the four aforesaid criteria1) the vaccine would have to present no ethical objections at all in its development; 2) it would have to be certain in its effectiveness; 3) it would have to be safe beyond doubt; 4) there would have to be no other options to protect oneself and others against the virus. have not been met, ecclesial statements on vaccines do not constitute Church teaching and are not morally binding to the Christian faithful; rather, they constitute “recommendations”, “suggestions”, or “opinions”, as they are beyond the purview of ecclesial competency. —Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, STL, S. Th.D., Newsletter, Fall 2021
…papal interviews do not require either the assent of faith that is given to ex cathedra statements or that internal submission of mind and will that is given to those statements that are part of his non-infallible but authentic magisterium. —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
Pope Francis himself stated in the encyclical letter Laudato si’, “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.”n. 188, vatican.va
Where Peter is, there is the Church
However, on matters of faith and morals, even without “arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” the faithful are required to obey the ordinary Magisterium of the Pope, and those bishops in communion with him.
To this ordinary teaching the faithful “are to adhere to it with religious assent”…. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 892
When Jesus declared Peter as the “rock” of His Church, He revealed the indissoluble union of Peter’s office with the entire Body of Christ.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. (Matt 16:18)
Hence, throughout the centuries, saints and sinners alike understood a basic and perpetual premise — Ubi Petrus Ibi Ecclesia:
Where Peter is, there is the Church! —St. Ambrose of Milan
Here, we are not speaking of a pope as the direct reflection of the Church’s intrinsic holiness, nor of the intelligence, wisdom, knowledge, leadership skills, etc. of a pontiff, as if he is a divine emperor without flaw. Rather, Ambrose affirms the indissoluble link of the office of Peter with the entire Body of Christ.
They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it. —POPE PIUS XII, Mystici Corporis Christi (On the Mystical Body of Christ), June 29, 1943; n. 41; vatican.va
Brothers and sisters, I hope it is obvious why I am writing this. For if the current trajectory of human and political affairs places humanity at grave physical risks to health, autonomy and freedom, there is an equally dangerous spiritual risk that potentially jeopardizes the salvation of souls, which is far more important — the temptation to enter into schism.
…schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him. —Catechisn of the Catholic Church, n. 2089
Again, this is a matter of submission to their authentic magisterium — not a moral obligation to agree with their opinion on sports, politics, the weather, medical interventions, or suggestions on how to fix “climate change”.cf. Climate Confusion
I am not unaware that I am a mere layman without theological degrees and titles. I am, nonetheless, weighted with the responsibility of my apostolate, and by virtue of my baptism, to state clearly: I will have no part in a revolution that would reject the legitimate authority of our pastors. Jesus did not promise that the Barque of Peter would be smooth sailing; He did not promise that our pastors would be saints; He did not guarantee that the Church would be free of sin, scandal, and sorrow… He simply promised that, despite it all, He would be with us until the end of time,cf. Matt 28:20 and that the Spirit of truth would lead us into all truth.cf. John 16:13
It is on [Peter] that He builds the Church, and to him that He entrusts the sheep to feed. And although he assigns power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair, thus establishing by His own authority the source and hallmark of the Churches’ oneness… a primacy is given to Peter and it is thus made clear that there is but one Church and one chair… If a man does not hold fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church? — St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, “On the Unity of the Catholic Church”, n. 4; The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1, pp. 220-221
At the same time, I do not follow Pope Francis per se, I follow Jesus; I am not a disciple of man, but of Jesus Christ. But to be a disciple of Jesus is to listen to His voice that speaks through those commissioned to teach, baptize, and make disciples of the nations.cf. Matt 28:19-20 Consider what Jesus said to His Apostles and their successors, and to you and I:
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)
Thus, our shepherds, in turn, have a serious obligation:
…this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, 86
Faith in Jesus – Not Man
One of the most consistent “now words” throughout this apostolate that has spanned three pontificates is to listen to your shepherds, especially to the voice of Christ in the Vicar of Christ. Setting aside the controversial and damaging interviews throughout this pontificate that the Vatican’s press office has done little to repair, I have compiled a wide array of magisterial teachings by Francis.cf. Pope Francis On… They show that, despite the present confusion, the Petrine promises of Christ have remained true — the teachings of the Catholic Church have not changed to this day — JESUS CHRIST IS TRUSTWORTHY.
And I think, really, that this is the least that the faithful could hope for from the Office of Peter. The most would be that the popes are also great saints who live out those teachings as a powerful witness, and certainly, this has happened throughout our history. But Benedict XVI was right to recalibrate some of the faithful’s false expectation that every word uttered and every action performed by a pope would be impeccable.
The post-Pentecost Peter… is that same Peter who, for fear of the Jews, belied his Christian freedom (Galatians 2 11–14); he is at once a rock and a stumbling-block. And has it not been thus throughout the history of the Church that the Pope, the successor of Peter, has been at once Petra and Skandalon—both the rock of God and a stumbling block? —POPE BENEDICT XIV, from Das neue Volk Gottes, p. 80ff
This weekend, I ask you to join me in prayer for our bishops and the Holy Father. Set aside all sarcasm and judgement as you pray, prayers like, “I pray our Pope would wake up” or “shake our bishops”. Rather, ask the Lord to grant them Divine Wisdom, protection and the grace to lead us according to His Holy Will. In this way, it safeguards you in humility, nurtures charity between them and you, and maintains the unity of the Body of Christ that is under severe attack by Satan — the real enemy.
And please pray for me… because I cannot remain silent in the face of the injustices that are destroying the health, livelihoods, and relationships of the flock of Christ; I cannot stand by idly while our shepherds say and do practically nothing as their flocks are ravaged by wolves. I pray that, from my small station on the breached watchman’s wall, I may be an assistance to the Church in this time of propaganda and lies, and fortify — not tear — at the fabric of her unity. For there is only one Church. There is only one Barque. And if she takes on water, we take it on together. If she runs into rocky shoals, we shipwreck together. If we are invaded by barbarians and wolves in sheep’s clothing, we are persecuted together. And if we are blind, sinful, and ignorant, then we remain to help one another see, repent, and come to that truth that can set us free. Even if it costs our lives.cf. Counting the Cost
At the same time, when the Barque of Peter is objectively off course, we must speak in all truth, boldness, and charity. Were I to ignore my conscience, the “aboriginal Vicar of Christ”,CCC, n. 1778 I would be failing you, failing my shepherds, and failing my Lord Jesus.
Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment…. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God…. His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths. — Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1776
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. (Galatians 1:10)
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|↑2||See recent statement supporting civil unions: euronews.com ; Pope approves documentary where statement supports civil unions: cruxnow.com; cf. The Body Breaking|
|↑3||cf. George Weigel, firstthings.com|
|↑5||cf. here, here, here, and here|
|↑6||Dr. Toby Rogers, PhD; see also tobyrogers.substack.com; sciendirect.com|
|↑7||1) the vaccine would have to present no ethical objections at all in its development; 2) it would have to be certain in its effectiveness; 3) it would have to be safe beyond doubt; 4) there would have to be no other options to protect oneself and others against the virus.|
|↑8||n. 188, vatican.va|
|↑9||cf. Climate Confusion|
|↑10||cf. Matt 28:20|
|↑11||cf. John 16:13|
|↑12||cf. Matt 28:19-20|
|↑13||cf. Pope Francis On…|
|↑14||cf. Counting the Cost|
|↑15||CCC, n. 1778|