Antonio Socci: “We follow the shepherds. No one else”
by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D. • ChurchMilitant • March 17, 2017
A well-known Vaticanista is calling on Catholics to turn to the unchanging Magisterium for guidance, and is especially highlighting the pastoral leadership of the dubia cardinals.
Italian journalist Antonio Socci published a blog post Thursday titled “Fraternal Advice” encouraging readers to “decisively take as the only points of pastoral reference the cardinals who’ve shown with facts to have in their hearts the good of Christian people, the good of their souls.”
He was referring specifically to Cdls. Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Joachim Meisner and Walter Brandmüller, who submitted a set of dubia, or questions, to Pope Francis last year seeking clarity on Amoris Laetitia, the pope’s apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family.
“Follow them,” Socci insisted. “FOLLOW THEM.”
The dubia came in light of confusion from Chapter 8 of the papal exhortation, particularly paragraphs 300–305, used by liberal bishops to promote opening up the sacraments to the divorced and civilly remarried, among other things, contrary to longstanding Church teaching and practice.
Titled “Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia,” the cardinals’ letter notes “a grave disorientation and great confusion” among the faithful over “contrasting interpretations” of the exhortation.
Socci caused a stir in early March when he claimed a number of liberal bishops who elected Pope Francis are now experiencing “buyer’s remorse.”
“A large part of the cardinals who voted for him is very worried, and the curia … that organized his election and has accompanied him thus far, without ever disassociating itself from him, is cultivating the idea of a moral suasion to convince him to retire,” he claimed in the Italian paper Libero.
“Four years after Benedict XVI’s renunciation and Bergoglio’s arrival on the scene, the situation of the Catholic Church has become explosive, perhaps really on the edge of a schism, which could be even more disastrous than Luther’s,” Socci observed.
“The cardinals are worried that the Church could be shattered as an institution,” he added.
Socci acknowledged the climate of confusion in his Thursday blog post.
“To the many Catholics who — feeling lost — have asked me over the years how to navigate through the darkness of our times (accentuated by the Vatican’s darkness),” he wrote, “I’ve always replied that I was taught, in other words, that the guiding lights are: Sacred Scripture, the unchanging Magisterium of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the sacraments and prayer.”
In addition to looking to the faithful guidance of Cdl. Burke and his brother cardinals, he warned Catholics against following sharp critics of the Holy Father, “especially those who are screaming invectives against Pope Bergoglio,” critics he accused of “shouting more loudly in order to show off and make converts.”
“It’s a time when you need to utilize real discernment,” he noted. “I repeat: We follow the shepherds. No one else.”
He closed his blog noting the “dramatic situation” in which we find ourselves, and recalling the words of St. Paul:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
“For thy sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35–39)