"Resistance and Fidelity to the Church in times of crisis" (Prof. Roberto de Mattei)

Prof. Roberto De Mattei's conference transcript deserves to be read in its entirety.

Many themes and references of this conference have been previously mentioned in this blog (see right-hand column - scroll down). I would like to highlight one particular issue with which I have wrestled with before and that Prof. De Mattei now puts to rest:
"The authority of the Pope has precise limits however, which cannot be ignored. Javier Hervada in his well-known manual on Constitutional Canon Law, writes: “The power of the pope is not unlimited: it is circumscribed within determined limits. The limits may regard the validity or lawfulness in his exercise of power. The limits regarding validity are given as: a) of the natural law: b) of the positive Divine law; c) of the nature and the ends of the Church”.

If the Pope oversteps these limits he deviates from the Catholic Faith. It is common doctrine that the Pope as a private doctor, may deviate from the Catholic Faith, falling into heresy. The hypothesis of a heretic Pope is treated as [a]“scholion” in all theological treatises.

It should be emphasized that the expression “private doctor” does not refer to the Supreme Pontiff’s acts of a private nature, but to his “public” function as supreme Pastor of the Church”. In his final relatio on the dogma of infallibility at the First Vatican Council, Monsignor Vincenzo Gasser (1809-1879), representative of the Deputation of the Faith, stated precisely that as a “public person” it must be understood that the Pope is speaking ex cathedra, with the intention of binding the Church to his teaching.
And so, returning to the issue that troubled me at the time of my first attempt at dealing with the bergoglian "confusion", I must now conclude that the Pope can indeed teach heresy in his ordinary magisterium.

Prof. De Mattei goes on to explain why this does not go against the indefectibility of the Church and what does the Sensus Fidei mean in this regard (all matters that have been mentioned here before).

Curiously, he quotes the pre-March 13, 2013 writings of several Opus Dei theologians... those were the days.


In defense of the Four Cardinals (Bishop Athanasius Schneider)

[Texto completo no Rorate Caeli]

  • "The entire Church in our days has to reflect upon the fact that the Holy Spirit has not in vain inspired Saint Paul to write in the Letter to the Galatians about the incident of his public correction of Peter. One has to trust that Pope Francis will accept this public appeal of the Four Cardinals in the spirit of the Apostle Peter, when St Paul offered him a fraternal correction for the good of the whole Church".

  • May the words of that great Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas, illuminate and comfort us all: "When there is a danger for the faith, subjects are required to reprove their prelates, even publicly. Since Paul, who was subject to Peter, out of the danger of scandal, publicly reproved him"

  • "Augustine comments: "Peter himself gave an example to superiors by not disdaining to be corrected by his subjects when it occurred to them that he had departed from the right path" (Summa theol., II-II, 33, 4c)."

  • "Pope Francis often calls for an outspoken and fearless dialogue between all members of the Church in matters concerning the spiritual good of souls. In the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, the Pope speaks of a need for “open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions. The thinking of pastors and theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest, realistic and creative, will help us to achieve greater clarity

  • "The negative reactions to the public statement of the Four Cardinals resemble the general doctrinal confusion of the Arian crisis in the fourth century... It is helpful to all to quote in the situation of the doctrinal confusion in our days some affirmations of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, the “Athanasius of the West”.

    You [the bishops of Gaul] who still remain with me faithful in Christ did not give way when threatened with the onset of heresy, and now by meeting that onset you have broken all its violence. Yes, brethren, you have conquered, to the abundant joy of those who share your faith: and your unimpaired constancy gained the double glory of keeping a pure conscience and giving an authoritative example” (Hil. De Syn., 3).
    Your [the bishops of Gaul] invincible faith keeps the honourable distinction of conscious worth and, content with repudiating crafty, vague, or hesitating action, safely abides in Christ, preserving the profession of its liberty. For since we all suffered deep and grievous pain at the actions of the wicked against God, within our boundaries alone is communion in Christ to be found from the time that the Church began to be harried by disturbances such as the expatriation of bishops, the deposition of priests, the intimidation of the people, the threatening of the faith, and the determination of the meaning of Christ’s doctrine by human will and power. Your resolute faith does not pretend to be ignorant of these facts or profess that it can tolerate them, perceiving that by the act of hypocritical assent it would bring itself before the bar of conscience” (Hil. De Syn., 4).

    I have spoken what I myself believed, conscious that I owed it as my soldier’s service to the Church to send to you in accordance with the teaching of the Gospel by these letters the voice of the office which I hold in Christ. It is yours to discuss, to provide and to act, that the inviolable fidelity in which you stand you may still keep with conscientious hearts, and that you may continue to hold what you hold now” (Hil. De Syn., 92).

  • "The following words of Saint Basil the Great, addressed to the Latin Bishops, can be in some aspects applied to the situation of those who in our days ask for doctrinal clarity, including our Four Cardinals: “The one charge which is now sure to secure severe punishment is the careful keeping of the traditions of the Fathers. We are not being attacked for the sake of riches, or glory, or any temporal advantages. We stand in the arena to fight for our common heritage, for the treasure of the sound faith, derived from our Fathers. Grieve with us, all you who love the brethren, at the shutting of the mouths of our men of true religion, and at the opening of the bold and blasphemous lips of all that utter unrighteousness against God. The pillars and foundation of the truth are scattered abroad. We, whose insignificance has allowed of our being overlooked, are deprived of our right of free speech” (Ep. 243, 2.4).

  • "Another champion of the Catholic faith during the Arian crisis was Saint Gregory Nazianzen. He wrote the following striking characterization of the behavior of the majority of the shepherds of the Church in those times. This voice of the great Doctor of the Church should be a salutary warning for the bishops of all times: "Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for, excepting a very few, who either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel by the influences of the Spirit, all temporized, only differing from each other in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle, being overcome by fear, or by interest, or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance" (Orat. 21, 24).

  • "When Pope Liberius in 357 signed one of the so called formulas of Sirmium, in which he deliberately discarded the dogmatically defined expression “homo-ousios” and excommunicated Saint Athanasius in order to have peace and harmony with the Arian and Semi-Arian bishops of the East, faithful Catholics and some few bishops, especially Saint Hilary of Poitiers, were deeply shocked. Saint Hilary transmitted the letter that Pope Liberius wrote to the Oriental bishops, announcing the acceptance of the formula of Sirmium and the excommunication of Saint Athanasius. In his deep pain and dismay, Saint Hilary added to the letter in a kind of desperation the phrase: “Anathema tibi a me dictum, praevaricator Liberi” (I say to you anathema, prevaricator Liberius), cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 141. Pope Liberius wanted to have peace and harmony at any price, even at the expense of the Divine truth. In his letter to the heterodox Latin bishops Ursace, Valence, and Germinius announcing to them the above-mentioned decisions, he wrote that he preferred peace and harmony to martyrdom (cf. cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 142)."

    “In what a dramatic contrast stood the behavior of Pope Liberius to the following conviction of Saint Hilary of Poitiers: “We don’t make peace at the expense of the truth by making concessions in order to acquire the reputation of tolerance. We make peace by fighting legitimately according to the rules of the Holy Spirit. There is a danger to ally surreptitiously with unbelief under the beautiful name of peace.” (Hil. Ad Const., 2, 6, 2).

  • "Blessed John Henry Newman commented on these unusual sad facts with the following wise and equilibrated affirmation: “While it is historically true, it is in no sense doctrinally false, that a Pope, as a private doctor, and much more Bishops, when not teaching formally, may err, as we find they did err in the fourth century. Pope Liberius might sign a Eusebian formula at Sirmium, and the mass of Bishops at Ariminum or elsewhere, and yet they might, in spite of this error, be infallible in their ex cathedra decisions” (The Arians of the Fourth Century, London, 1876, p. 465).

  • "remembering the words of Saint Paul: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor 13: 8). Surely, at the Last Judgment the above-mentioned mostly clerical critics of the Four Cardinals will not have an easy answer for their violent attack on such a just, worthy, and meritorious act of these Four Members of the Sacred College of Cardinals.

    The following words inspired by the Holy Spirit retain their prophetic value especially in view of the spreading doctrinal and practical confusion regarding the Sacrament of Marriage in our days: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4: 3-5).


Misera et Misericordia ...

'Misera et Misericordia' is a quote from St. Augustine's Tract.33 on Jo 8:1-11 (the stoning of the adulteress):

How this justifies giving communion to unrepentant practicing adulterers I don't know ...


FOUR CARDINALS OFFICIALLY QUESTION THE POPE ON AMORIS LAETITIA: ‘Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia’

[full documentation relating to the cardinals’ initiative]

The letter is signed by Card. Walter Brandmüller, Card. Raymond L. Burke, Card. Carlo Caffarra, Card. Joachim Meisner.

Summary - the dubia:

  1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (nn. 300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to Holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio n. 84 and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia n. 34 and Sacramentum Caritatis n. 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in note 351 (n. 305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

  2. fter the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (cf. n. 304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor n. 79, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

  3. After Amoris Laetitia (n. 301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (cf. Mt 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration, June 24, 2000)?

  4. After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (n. 302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor n. 81, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

  5. After Amoris Laetitia (n. 303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor n. 56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?



Vatican publishes new rules on cremation ...

In the age of institutionalized Eucharistic sacrilege (a.k.a. communion for practicing adulterers) the church issued new rules on cremation...


The correct answer to Pope Bergoglio? Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.

  1. Amoris Laetitia is dated March 19th, 2016. Six months later, Canadian, American and  Portuguese Bishops continue to teach that:
    "In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ ... Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if ... the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists... Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.º1650).
    On the other hand, a section of the Buenos Aires Diocese and the Pope's Vicar for the Diocese of Rome teach exactly the opposite... in certain circumstances... They call this "continuity", although they are contradicting the Catechism and the previous 265 Popes.

  2. The publicly available list of Amoris Laetitia's doctrinal errors which was sent to all cardinals has not met with a public response from Amoris Laetitia's advocates who prefer to, wrongly and blindly, invoke Lumen Gentium 25 instead.

  3. Some people are still trying to judge Amoris Laetitia on its own terms but end up concluding that the whole thing is a dead end. Dead in the sense of mortal ... sin.

    I would like here to call your attention to two articles:

  4. BTW, the worst is still to come (the next episode...).

  5. After many months of trying to get to grips with the present pontificate I think I have finally got it.

    First of all, God has allowed us to live through and to endure the worst pontificate in the history of the Church.

    Second, we got the Pope and the Bishops that we deserve. If pew sitters are lukewarm catholics their pastors will be even worse than them.

    So all we can do, with the Grace of God, is to strive for sainthood... no compromises, no shortcuts; union with Jesus and Him crucified.

    A few practical pointers:

    If the Pope and a few bishops are promoting Eucharistic Sacrilege we must make sure, first, that our own communions are in a State of Grace and with the required dispositions and, second, that we do reparation for our sins and the sins of others;

    If our pastors don't kneel before the Blessed Sacrament we will do it for them;

    If our Shepherds fail to teach and in fact distort the teachings of the Church we must study Holy Scripture and Tradition, practice it and teach it to our families;

    If we can no longer rely on priests and bishops to guide us in our way to Heaven (vice is in, virtue is out), we must fall back on the writings of the saints, on the previous magisterium on the works of the Doctors and faithful theologians of ages past;

    If the Pope wants to make peace with the World we must shun it;

    If the hierarchy seems to have lost the Faith we must pray for their conversion; for a catholic Pope, for catholic bishops.

    In His own good time, God will sort it out.


Are we bound to give "religious assent of mind and will" (Cf. Lumen Gentium 25) to magisterial error?

In 2014, Fr. Ripperger published a short book that directly dealt with this issue (See "Magisterial Authority"). The book lists the conditions under which the answer to the title question is ... no.

During the month of August, several people have posted about this following the L'Osservatore Romano's article that tried to sweep Amoris Laetitia's errors under the Lumen Gentium 25's rug: Ryan Grant at Unam Sanctam Catholicam, Catholic Culture's Jeff Mirus; Fr. José Maria Iraburu of Infocatólica (in spannish); ...

Fr. Iraburu exposes the flawed (circular) logic of the L'Osservatore Romano's article and notes that none of Amoris Laetitia's defenders attempt to respond to the list of errors that have been uncovered and published.

[BTW, another extensive critique of Amoris Laetitia has been published in France.]


Was Martin Luther "not mistaken" concerning the doctrine of justification? (1): Martin Luther Vs Catholic Church

In the flight back from Armenia (June 25th, 2016), Pope Francis said:

"I think that Martin Luther’s intentions were not mistaken; he was a reformer. Perhaps some of his methods were not right, although at that time... we see that the Church was not exactly a model to emulate. There was corruption and worldliness in the Church; there was attachment to money and power. That was the basis of his protest. He was also intelligent, and he went ahead, justifying his reasons for it.

Nowadays, Lutherans and Catholics, and all Protestants, are in agreement on the doctrine of justification: on this very important point he was not mistaken."
The Pope will also commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on 31 October in Lund, Sweden (see here).

Since the beginning of this pontificate, the Pope has used these in-flight press conferences as a testing ground and 'early-warning system' for his 'innovations' (i.e. communion for practicing adulterers, normalization of homosexuality, women deacons, ...). So I'm willing to bet that the Lund event will be a sort of 'canonization' of Luther with the active blessing of the Pope.

But there is only one minor problem concerning the efforts to rehabilitated Martin Luther. The fact is...

...Martin Luther was completely mistaken. In fact he was a bit more than wrong; he was a condemned heretic!

Pope Leo X, expressly condemned the errors of Martin Luther in the Bull Exsurge Domine of July 15, 1520. It formally condemned forty-one propositions drawn from his writings, ordered the destruction of the books containing the errors, and summoned Luther himself to recant within sixty days or receive the full penalty of ecclesiastical punishment:
"By the authority of almighty God, the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we condemn, reprobate, and reject completely each of these theses or errors as either heretical, scandalous, false, offensive to pious ears or seductive of simple minds, and against Catholic truth. By listing them, we decree and declare that all the faithful of both sexes must regard them as condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We restrain all in the virtue of holy obedience and under the penalty of an automatic major excommunication".
Several of condemned propositions concerned Luther's doctrine of justification (i.e. 1-14, IMHO).

Not only did Pope Leo X condemned several propositions concerning Luther's doctrine of justification, but the Sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent, sessions VI and XIV anathematized all the tenets of the said doctrine (see, inter alia, Session VI - Canons IX,XII, XIV, XIX and Session XIV - Chapter II).

I would argue, based on the way in which Pope Leo X and the Council of Trent expressed their condemnations of Luther's doctrines, that to say that Martin Luther's doctrine of justification is "not mistaken" is to say that the Church's infallible magisterium is wrong.

Besides proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Church has thought that Luther's doctrine of justification is indeed mistaken, it is also important to show why it is so.

The doctrine of justification: Martin Luther Vs Catholic Church

The Catholic Encyclopedia's article on Sanctifying Grace summarizes the differences between Luther's and the Catholic doctrine of justificaton. The author of this article is the Rev. Joseph Pohle, S.J. (who also authored the Pohle-Preuss Manual of Dogmatic Theologya, available at archive.org).

I tried to express the whole argument in SmartArt form (I like diagrams):