“We do not … consider the Chair of Peter to be vacant“!

The Dubia Saga continues:

Sandro Magister publishes “Cardinal” Caffarra’s Letter to Francis requesting Audience

[UPDATE 20-JUN-17 00:22 UTC: Edward Pentin reports that this letter was delivered to Francis on May 6 of this year.]

[UPDATE 20-JUN-17 12:54 UTC: Sandro Magister publishes commentary.]

Today the veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister published a bombshell on his blog, Settimo Cielo.

It had been mentioned before in the press that the four “dubia cardinals” — Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmuller, and Joachim Meisner — had requested an audience with “Pope” Francis to discuss with him the concerns they had voiced in their dubia” (doubts or questions) concerning the “papal” exhortation Amoris Laetitia. This request came by means of a letter sent to the “Pope” by “Cardinal” Caffarra on April 25 of this year.

On his blog, Vaticanist Sandro Magister has now published the full text of the letter:

It is not clear why the text posted by Magister is written in Portuguese, since Caffarra is Italian and Francis is Argentinian. Regardless, we have put together an English translation:

Most Holy Father,

It is with a certain amount of trepidation that I address myself to Your Holiness during these days of Easter time. I do so on behalf of Their Eminences Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Raymond L. Burke, Joachim Meisner, and myself.

We wish first of all to renew our absolute devotion and unconditional love for the Chair of Peter and for your august person, in whom we recognize the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Jesus: the “sweet Christ on earth”, as St. Catherine of Siena used to say. We do not at all hold the position of those who consider the Chair of Peter to be vacant, nor of those who assign to others the indivisible responsibility of the Petrine “munus” [gift, i.e. ministry]. We are moved only by the grave responsibility of conscience that comes from the cardinalatial “munus”: to be advisors to the Successor of Peter in his sovereign ministry; and of the sacrament of the episcopate, which “constituted us as bishops to nourish the Church, acquired by Him with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

On September 19, 2016, we delivered to you and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith five “dubia”, asking you to settle [some] uncertainties and clarify some points in the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”

Having received no response from Your Holiness, we decided to respectfully and humbly ask You for a joint audience, if it so pleases You. We have [attached], as is the common practice, an audience sheet in which we lay out the two points that we would like to discuss with Your Holiness.

Most Holy Father,

It has already been a year since the publication of “Amoris Laetitia”. During this time interpretations of some objectively ambiguous steps [sic] of the Post-Synodal Exhortation were given in public that not only diverge from but contradict the permanent Magisterium of the Church. Although the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [Gerhard Muller] has declared more than once that the doctrine of the Church has not changed, there have been numerous statements by bishops, cardinals, and even episcopal conferences approving what the Magisterium of the Church has never approved. It is not only access to the Holy Eucharist by those who objectively and publicly live in a situation of grave sin and intend to continue in it, but also a conception of moral conscience contrary to the Tradition of the Church. And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, what is forbidden in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is lawful in Malta, and so on. The bitter realization of B[laise] Pascal comes to mind: “Justice on the Pyrenees side, injustice on the other side; justice on the left bank of the river, injustice on the right bank.”

Numerous competent laymen who deeply love the Church and are firmly loyal to the Apostolic See, addressed their pastors and Your Holiness to be confirmed in the Holy Doctrine in regard to the three sacraments of Marriage, Confession and the Eucharist. In fact, in these past few days, in Rome, six laymen coming from all continents held a study seminar that was well-attended and that bore the significant title of: “Bringing Clarity”.

Faced with such a grave situation, about which many Christian communities are being divided, we feel the burden of our responsibility, and our conscience compels us to ask humbly and respectfully for an audience.

May Your Holiness remember us in your prayers, as we assure you that we will do in ours; and we ask for the gift of Your Apostolic Blessing.

Carlo Card. Caffarra

Rome, April 25, 2017
Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist

Assuming that Francis received this letter shortly after it was written, this means that he’s been sitting on it for almost two months without lifting a finger. Surely it requires no great gift of prophecy to predict that this audience isn’t going to happen, except perhaps for Francis to tell his four “dubia cardinals” to their faces that they can turn in their red hats on their way out.

Precisely how this über-deferential request for an audience relates to the much-touted “formal correction” that “Cardinal” Burke threatens on occassion, remains to be seen.

It is certainly curious that Fr. Caffarra saw the need to explain to Francis that he and the other “cardinals” are not sedevacantists, nor do they agree with those who believe Benedict XVI is the real Pope (we call such people “Resignationists”). This is essentially what he meant when he said: “We do not at all hold the position of those who consider the Chair of Peter to be vacant, nor of those who assign to others the indivisible responsibility of the Petrine ‘munus’.” Considering that they’re addressing Francis as the “Holy Father” and petitioning him for an audience, it should have been rather obvious that they believe the Argentinian apostate is the Pope. Perhaps they should also have clarified that they do not read Novus Ordo Watch?

In any case, we can be grateful to Mr. Magister for publishing this text. It is not the request for this audience itself that is the big story here but rather the publication of the text, because now it is out in the open, and this puts tremendous pressure on Francis. Just like with the dubia, which originally were private only, so too the request for this audience became public only weeks after it remained unanswered. If the past is any indication, we can rest assured that Francis will blow a fuse when he finds out that this text is now on the internet.

Readers may recall that Sandro Magister is the man who, back in 2015, got in trouble with the “Holy See” after publishing the text of Francis’ ecology encyclical Laudato Si’ two days ahead of official release. As a consequence, Magister’s accreditation privileges for the Vatican Press Office were revoked, only to be restored, however, by the end of the same year.

All in all, it looks like the dubia saga is far from over. However, the longer the four “cardinals” wait to act, the more facts are being created, so to speak, throughout the dioceses of those “bishops” who decide to admit unrepentant adulterers to Novus Ordo communion. And this is something that will work entirely in Francis’ favor. Time is on his side.