Vaticanista Urges Confused Catholics to Look to Unchanging Magisterium for Guidance

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)

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  1. Actually its “Sacred Tradition, Scripture and the Perennial Magisterium.”

    And, since JPIIs extra-super-duper CCC is replete with V2-isms, I’d be cautious, Tony.

    Just sayin’ …

    • Right on.
      And how many people are even aware that the CCC was co-edited by Ratzinger and Christoph Schonborn? How many remember that the latter is right in line with the German bishops’ liberal interpretation of Amoralis Licentia? How many know that Schonborn favors the creation of an official blessing ceremony for fag unions?
      Bad trees don’t bear good fruit.
      The CCC could have been a lot worse, given its authors, but would you take even one bite out of a cake if you knew that just a small part of it was laced with cyanide?
      Some people need to wise up.

      • Yep. I have an early CCC that says queers are born that way, i.e., “They do not choose their condition.” That was so obviously queer, they had to change it.

        One big lie that remains in the CCC is the part about Our Lord and the Jews who murdered Him. The CCC calls it a “tragic misunderstanding.” This is total apostasy. It says that Our Lord failed to give the Pharisees sufficient proof of His identity. Therefore, Caiaphas acted out of ignorance. Our Lord, then, submitted to a death sentence pronounced in ignorance, and, because Our Lord must have known of Caiaphas’ ignorance, He is responsible for His own death. The long and short of it is, the Old Covenant with the Jews remains, supersessionism never happened, etc.

        The CCC must be burned.

        • Canon Hesse spoke of a particularly well-prepared German language Bible that was condemned back in the days of Pope Pius XII, simply for a couple of minor mistranslations from the Latin.

          Standards have fallen badly.

  2. [Hat-tip to Canon212: “No, Mr. Socci. It is the laity who must stand and defend the Faith today in the face of these absent, silent pastors.”]

    Socci’s Disappointing Advice

    by Christopher A. Ferrara
    March 17, 2017

    Nobody has been more articulate and incisive than Antonio Socci in exposing and justly criticizing — from the perspective of the unchanging Faith of our fathers — the phenomenon he himself has dubbed “Bergoglianism.” His commentary on the Bergoglian tumult has at times been nothing short of scathing. And rightly so, given the outrageous audacity with which Pope Bergoglio constantly belittles the Church and the defenders of her orthodoxy, including mockery of her supposedly “small things, small-minded rules,” as he attempts to impose upon her his personal “dream” of “transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.”

    How disappointing then, to read in Socci’s column of yesterday (March 16) the “fraternal advice” to avoid “whoever gets excited, especially those who hurl invective against Pope Bergoglio” and “eleventh hour converts to anti-Bergoglianism (who until yesterday perhaps thought differently and now rise up as intellectual guides).” Socci even declares that “much less should you follow me, only a journalist and not a pastor” — thus undercutting his entire commentary on the Bergoglian debacle.

    Instead, Socci argues, we must follow “only the pastors. And no one else.” But which pastors must we follow? Not Pope Bergoglio, obviously, for then Socci would have to retract every word he has written against Bergoglio’s program. Socci identifies only “the four cardinals, authors of the dubia, who have reminded the Church with paternal sorrow of the Magisterium of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Which is the Magisterium of all time.”

    With all due respect to Mr. Socci, his “fraternal advice” is bad advice. First of all, is it really necessary at this time to offer pejorative characterizations of other members of the laity who have been critical of this pontificate, including those who have recently awakened to the reality that it is a disaster and that “the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith”? One man’s “invective” is another man’s robust criticism, and indeed much of what Socci himself has written could be dismissed as “invective” when in fact it expresses righteous indignation concerning the ecclesial crisis this Pope has provoked and continues to exacerbate.

    Secondly, and more important, the advice to follow “only the pastors” — essentially the four cardinals — is fraught with a severe internal self-contradiction. That is, how would we know to follow the four cardinals and not Pope Bergoglio unless we also know from an independent source (namely, the sensus catholicus and its comprehension of Tradition) that the cardinals are right and Bergoglio is wrong?

    Indeed, Socci himself appeals in the same column to “Sacred Scripture, the constant Magisterium of the Church [and] the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” How does Socci know that these sources of Tradition are at odds with the Bergoglian novelties? Is it only because four cardinals have posited five dubia regarding Amoris Laetitia? Hardly. He knows this because he knows the Faith and does not need the four cardinals or any particular pastor to tell him what it teaches and what plainly contradicts it. The Catholic Church is not a gnostic sect whose doctrines and their meaning are determined by the latest auguries of spiritual leaders.

    Moreover, Socci expresses the hope that “all the pastors of the Church demonstrate the same love of Christ, of the Church, and of the good of souls” as do the four cardinals. But how does he know that the four cardinals are to be held up as examples of fidelity to emulate unless he also knows, without reference to the four cardinals themselves, that the pastors who do not follow their example have fallen short of their duty under God?

    Finally, a word of fraternal advice to Mr. Socci: Do not waver in your courageous lay witness to the truths of the Faith, which you know because you are a Catholic, not because four cardinals have so informed you. And, after all, the four cardinals have thus far done nothing more than pose questions to which the Pope will not give an answer. That they will ever actually correct Bergoglio’s errors is now in doubt.

    As it was during the Arian crisis, so it is today during the Bergoglian crisis: the laity must take a leading role in defending the Faith, for the pastors have largely defaulted or openly betrayed their obligation. To quote Cardinal Newman in this regard:

    “[I]n that time of immense confusion [the Arian crisis] the divine dogma of our Lord’s divinity was proclaimed, enforced, maintained, and (humanly speaking) preserved, far more by the ‘Ecclesia docta’ than by the ‘Ecclesia docens’;… the body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism;… at one time the Pope, at other times the patriarchal, metropolitan, and other great sees, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth; while, on the other hand, it was the Christian people who, under Providence, were the ecclesiastical strength of Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius of Vercellæ, and other great solitary confessors, who would have failed without them.”

    In fact, the correct fraternal advice to be offered at this point in the ecclesial crisis is almost precisely the opposite of Socci’s: the laity must defend the Faith, for the pastors who are supposed to lead us will otherwise fail unless they have our support and, yes, our legitimate criticism.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

  3. Even before Novus Ordo modernism reached the crisis of Bergoglian neo-Gnosticism there had been a lot of progressive modernist bloviating about following one’s “conscience” in the Spirit of Vatican II. That is, until Bergoglian neo-Gnosticism arrived with an Ultramontane fanfare. Now modernists don’t want lay Catholics who dissent from the Bergoglian agenda to exercise their freedom of conscience. It seems that some consciences are more equal than others in the modernist Spirit of Vatican II. Jesus is pretty clear about marriage and divorce in the Gospels, silent on air conditioning. Maybe Jesus was a rigid neo-Pelagian triumphalist?

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