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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Will No One In the Hierarchy Follow the Example of Saint Paul?

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Will No One In the Hierarchy Follow the Example of Saint Paul?

On April 22, 2018, Good Shepherd Sunday, fifteen priests from around the world published an open letter entitled “A Pastoral Appeal to the Bishops for an Apostolic Reaffirmation of the Gospel.” Among the signatories is EWTN commentator Father Gerald Murray, a doctor of canon law, whose appearances on EWTN with “the Papal Posse” (along with Raymond Arroyo and Robert Royal) have been instrumental in alerting the Church at large to the dimensions of the growing catastrophe of this pontificate.

The Pastoral Appeal pleads with the world’s bishops to reaffirm the teaching of the Gospel against the errors that are the theological theme of a papacy that can only be described as the Bergoglian Debacle:

As priests ordained to assist in the pastoral care of God’s people, we write to request your help in dealing with a mistaken approach to the Christian moral life that we frequently encounter and that grievously harms those misled by it. We believe much of the damage could be healed or mitigated if you were to reaffirm Christ’s teachings and to correct those errors with the full authority of your apostolic office….

In its basic form, the mistaken approach asserts that those who commit objectively evil acts and judge themselves subjectively free of culpability must be allowed to receive Holy Communion. In a more developed form, it denies that certain behaviors are always evil and claims that in some circumstances those behaviors are the most realistic good that can be achieved or, indeed, are simply good.

An even more extreme version declares that those behaviors can be approved or proposed by God. Christ’s life and moral teachings are thus presented as abstract ideals that must be adjusted to fit our circumstances rather than as realities already attuned to free us from sin and evil in every situation. Although this approach claims to be a new and legitimate development, its principles have always been recognized by the Church as contrary to the Gospel….

This is a transparently obvious reference of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia (AL), whose astonishing attempt to “baptize” the evil of situation ethics is summarized in the infamous ¶ 303. That one paragraph, which in and of itself will be a blot on the history of the papacy until the end of time, dares to declare that God may be calling the sinner to continue in his deviation from a negative precept of the natural law because that is the best he can do in his particular situation—that is, situation ethics:

Recognizing the influence of such concrete factors, we can add that individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage…. [C]onscience 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.

Any honest Catholic paying attention to the Bergoglian Debacle knows that what these fifteen priests have done, in essence, is to plead with the world’s bishops to defend the truth of Christ against the errors of Bergoglio.

So, it must be asked: What good does it do to continue to maintain the rhetorical posture that the errors the bishops are being called to oppose emanate from some mysterious unknown source, as if they had unexpectedly bubbled up from the underworld through the interstices of the earth? Everyone knows that the spread of these errors emanates directly from the will of Bergoglio, who has been promoting them relentlessly from the moment of election. Yet the Pastoral Appeal, written as if there were no Pope, addresses this petition only to the world’s bishops:

That is why we are asking you to consider exercising your full apostolic authority through a formal reaffirmation of the Gospel and correction of these errors. This would offer the entire Church an apostolic witness uniquely capable of sustaining and guiding the clergy and laity in the urgent tasks of helping those who have been harmed and of developing authentic pastoral initiatives to reach out to all the world.

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It must be said: There is a studied lack of candor here. By what right do the petitioners ask the bishops to exercise their “full apostolic authority” locally to correct the cited errors when, as they well know, Bergoglio, invoking the “authentic Magisterium,” has endorsed precisely those errors as an exercise of his full apostolic authority, which, if validly exercised, would bind the entire universal Church? Does it serve the cause of truth and justice in the Church to call for episcopal opposition to the will of the Pope while never mentioning the Pope? With all due respect to the distinguished signatories, does not their resolute avoidance of the obvious even tend to render their appeal something of a joke?

When Saint Paul went Antioch and encountered the error of the first Pope in refusing to eat with the Gentiles, clinging to the Old Law and thus jeopardizing the Church’s universal mission, he did not issue an epistle calling upon the Galatians to reaffirm the universality of the divine commission while failing to oppose the very Pope who, in his very presence, was fatally compromising it. Rather, he issued an epistle in which he recounts that he had been forced to oppose Peter “to the face, because he was to be blamed” (Gal 2:11). Saint Paul thus recorded the divinely revealed truth about what the Church must do when confronted by a wayward Pope.

No opposition to the errors of Bergoglio will be effective in correcting them unless it is squarely presented to the Church as opposition to his errors. Failing that, Bergoglio will continue his rampage while the members of the hierarchy will be reduced to lamenting its ruinous results. Following the example of Saint Paul, the priests and bishops who are concerned for the Church’s mission must withstand the Pope to his face, for he is to be blamed. Until they do, all their meetings and petitions will be no more effective than any other approach to a deadly disease that regards only the symptoms while ignoring the cause.


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Last modified on Thursday, May 3, 2018
Christopher A. Ferrara

Christopher A. Ferrara: President and lead counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Inc., Mr. Ferrara has been at the forefront of the legal defense of pro-lifers for the better part of a quarter century. Having served with the legal team for high profile victims of the culture of death such as Terri Schiavo, he has long since distinguished him a premier civil rights Catholic lawyer.  Mr. Ferrara has been a lead columnist for The Remnant since 2000 and has authored several books published by The Remnant Press, including the bestseller The Great Façade. Together with his children and wife, Wendy, he lives in Richmond, Virginia.