Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Catholic Conservatives Accuse the Pope of Spreading Heresy

A group of conservative Catholics have accused their spiritual leader Pope Francis of spreading heresy. Expressing “profound grief” and “filial devotion,” Catholic clergy and lay scholars from around the world have issued what they call a “Filial Correction” from “spiritual sons and daughters” to Pope Francis for “propagating heresy.”

The widely publicized, theologically dense letter was delivered to the Pope with 40 signatures at his Santa Marta residence on August 11, 2017. It has since gained 22 more signatures and was released to the public on Saturday, September 23. In a press release, the group claim they speak for “a large number” of clergy and lay Catholics who “lack freedom of speech.”

The letter does not accuse the Pope himself of being a heretic, but of supporting “heretical positions” on “marriage, the moral life and the Eucharist.”
In the letter, the Catholic clergy and lay scholars list seven “false and heretical propositions” which they say Pope Francis “directly or indirectly” upholds through his “words, deeds, and omissions” which they deem to be heretical.

The clergy and scholars state that the listed “propositions all contradict truths that are divinely revealed, and that Catholics must believe with the assent of divine faith.”
According to them, it is “necessary” that such heresies be “condemned by the authority of the Church,” on account of the “great and imminent danger” they cause to souls.

Some of the seven alleged heresies in the “correction,” which the group says takes its inspiration from an admonishment of Pope John XXII in 1333, centre on the remarriage comments are
  • No major Catholic figures such as current bishops are among the 62 signatories on the letter, which includes priests and some non-clergy, such as the American Catholic Lawyers Association founder Christopher Ferrara.
  • Bernard Fellay, an ultra-conservative Swiss priest who broke away from the Catholic Church in the 1980s and still practices services in Latin, is also among those who support the move.
  • No such action has taken place within the Catholic Church since the Middle Ages when Pope John XXII was admonished for errors which he later recanted on his deathbed.
  • The filial correction comes after more than a year of the Pope not dialoguing or engaging with faithful Catholics who have approached him directly with serious concerns about how he is steering the Barque of Peter, the Church.
  • The Pope has been sent letters, petitions, video messages, and official questions (the ), but all to no avail. So far, the Vatican nor Pope Francis are yet to respond to the filial correction publicly. 
  • Elected in 2013, 80-year-old Pope Francis has given a fresh perspective on many longstanding Catholic teachings, including promoting tolerance towards gay people, a focus on environmentalism and a critique of capitalism.
  • He has also suggested in his writing that divorced and remarried Catholics could receive Communion, the centre of the Catholic mass, under certain conditions.

Different conferences of bishops have disagreed in their interpretation of the Pope’s Amoris Laetitia, which included the possibility of remarried Catholics being part of the communion with the Church as part of a larger discussion about family life.

Four cardinals, a group of the most prominent bishops who vote for pope, asked for clarification on the document last year.

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