JUN 28, 2016 by HILARY WHITE
The following comes from a theologian – yes, an actual professor of theology at a Catholic university who publishes things – who has helped me on occasion when I have been writing against Francis’ habitual blasphemies. He has assured me that I am not wrong in so identifying his various statements against the Faith, and that in calling publicly for Francis to repent his blasphemies I am helping this international group of theologians. Apparently it demonstrates that Francis is indeed causing public scandal.
Today my friend wrote this about what is being done. He repeats that it is necessarily very little because there is very little that can be done. But at least we know that someone is trying to do something.
I know there is a joint statement in the works that will cover both his heretical statements and his blasphemies and demanding that he recant.
Francis has said and written (even in papal documents) things that are materially heretical. So has BXVI (in Spe Salvi on merit contra Trent).
1. The following criteria must be met to be able to be called a heretic in the strict sense:
a. the person must make an assertion contrary to a solemnly defined dogma (check);
b. the erroneous assertion must be “manifest” (i.e., public, to some degree) and he must be “obdurate” in making it; the Church’s practice for ascertaining obduracy comes from Christ’s instructions in Mt 18:15-17 – namely, to confront him with the dogma and his contradiction of it (standard is to do this “thrice” – but however many times is needed…); (NOT CHECK – this hasn’t been done yet with Francis) [HJMW adds: we don’t know if this has been done yet.]
c. failing his confrontation by the Church, the Church may then juridically declare him a heretic and excommunicate him; prior to this point, the person would be a material heretic; formal heresy requires the Church’s juridical investigation and official judgment of the case.
2. Francis is a material heretic – no doubt about it. He is not a formal heretic – no doubt about that either. AND THIS IS WHY HE’S STILL, OFFICIALLY, THE TRUE POPE.
3. I think I’ve mentioned this before to Steve, if not the whole group, but a number of theologians, canonists, and bishops have been discussing how Francis might be confronted and deposed. The principal difficulty is the fact that there is no higher juridical authority ON EARTH than the pope.
A number of us have been recommending to +Burke et al. that the Sacred College of Cardinals investigate the charges of heresy that have been and will be levelled against Francis, confront Francis on this, and if he shows himself obdurate then declare that he incurred automatic excommunication *latae sententiae* and is no longer the pope.
That would not be a juridical act that *caused* the excommunication and deposing of the pope; it would be a juridical act that simply states the facts that he excommunicated himself.
Some of the heretical proposals in Francis various statements and writings, in no particular order:
1. AL 83; ‘The Church … firmly rejects the death penalty’;
2. AL 156; ‘Every form of sexual submission must be clearly rejected’;
3. AL 159; ‘Saint Paul recommended virginity because he expected Jesus’ imminent return and he wanted everyone to concentrate only on spreading the Gospel: “the appointed time has grown very short” (1 Cor 7:29). . . . Rather than speak absolutely of the superiority of virginity, it should be enough to point out that the different states of life complement one another, and consequently that some can be more perfect in one way and others in another’;
4. AL 295: ‘Saint John Paul II proposed the so-called “law of gradualness” in the knowledge that the human being “knows, loves and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth”. This is not a “gradualness of law” but rather a gradualness in the prudential exercise of free acts on the part of subjects who are not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law’ AND
AL 301: ‘It is [sic] can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin’;
5. AL 297; ‘No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!’
6. AL 299: ‘I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal. The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral care, a care which would allow them not only to realize that they belong to the Church as the body of Christ, but also to know that they can have a joyful and fruitful experience in it. They are baptized; they are brothers and sisters; the Holy Spirit pours into their hearts gifts and talents for the good of all.
… Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church and experience her as a mother who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and encourages them along the path of life and the Gospel”.’
7. AL 301: ‘It is [sic] can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin’;
8. AL 303: ‘Conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal’;
9. AL 304: ‘I earnestly ask that we always recall a teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas and learn to incorporate it in our pastoral discernment: “Although there is necessity in the general principles, the more we descend to matters of detail, the more frequently we encounter defects… In matters of action, truth or practical rectitude is not the same for all, as to matters of detail, but only as to the general principles; and where there is the same rectitude in matters of detail, it is not equally known to all… The principle will be found to fail, according as we descend further into detail”. It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations’;
10. AL 308: ‘I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, “always does what good she can, even if in the process, her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street”.’
But I would add again that the question of whether Francis is or is not really an antipope is not that important. Of course, in an objective sense it is, but in the sense of what we are going to do with ourselves in this crisis it is less so. And in the sense of curing the Church’s problems, don’t forget that Francis is not the problem but a symptom of the problem. That being said, a document issued with some signatures that pointed to these statements as heretical and contrary to Christ would be of supreme value.
I believe that the only way forward is going to be a formal, public separation of the faithful from this man and his followers – ALL his followers, including the laity. I am not a canonist or a theologian, so I have no idea how such a thing could be accomplished, but I believe that without such a clear separation the Church will continue to erode as it tries to encompass that which is fundamentally at odds with itself. Matter and antimatter.