A gift that keeps on giving…
Chronicling the Chaos following the Correctio Filialis
Remember the “Synod on the Family” in 2014? That’s when all the talk about “communion for the divorced-and-remarried” started. At the time, there was no end to hearing about the “October Synod”. When the first synod document was released, the so-called Relatio Post Disceptationem (“Report after Discussions”), all hell broke loose, although the usual Novus Ordo apologists were still trying to save the baby. Mr. John Zuhlsdorf (“Fr. Z”), for example, told his readers to beware of media distortions, warning of a “Synod of the Media”.
But truth is stranger than fiction, and the media could never come up with the kind of nonsense Novus Ordo bishops are capable of devising: It was at the October 2014 Synod that the course was set to adopt the Vatican II “ecclesial elements” heresy and apply it to morality. From now on, “virtuous elements” were to be identified in immoral sexual relationships, just as Vatican II had found “ecclesial elements” in false religions. For the final document, Francis directly intervened to ensure it would contain passages discussing the reception of “Communion” by adulterers and the “pastoral accompaniment” of sodomites, even though the synod fathers had rejected inclusion of these paragraphs in the final vote.
Then we were told there would be another synod a year later to complete the work of the 2014 gathering. And so it happened: The October 2015 Synod arrived and took almost three weeks to complete. Everyone was excitedly waiting to see what decision Francis would render at the end: Would he side with the liberals or the conversatives? But Francis being Francis, he avoided making a clear pronouncement so that both liberals and conservatives were able to claim victory — sound familiar?
Then everyone was waiting for the post-synodal “Apostolic Exhortation” that Francis was going to issue. Surely Francis would make a decision then: “Communion” for unrepentant adulterers — yes or no? When it finally arrived, it was called Amoris Laetitia, and we’re still living that nightmare today. In an effort to once again pacify his panicking readers, Mr. Zuhlsdorf had declared prematurely that “we have dodged a bullet”, revealing what his expert analysis is really worth. The teaching of the Bergoglian exhortation is so ridiculous that the best way to summarize it is to look at these hilarious memes illustrating its absurdity.
Amoris Laetitia has set a new standard in post-conciliar Novus Ordo drama. Approximately three months after the infernal exhortation’s publication, 45 Novus Ordo scholars wrote an open letter to the college of “cardinals”, including a theological refutation of as many as 19 heresies and other errors found in Francis’ Amoris Laetitia — predictably, with no effect whatsoever. The same result was achieved by the 30-minute Plea to the Pope video issued by numerous life and family leaders a short time thereafter.
On Sep. 19, 2016, four Novus Ordo cardinals submitted five precise questions (“dubia“) to Francis that demand a clear “yes” or “no” answer from the “Supreme Pontiff”. When it became clear that Francis had not the slightest interest in answering them, the “cardinals” made their dubia public. This is when everything irrevocably hit the fan.
Since the public release of the dubia, things have been happening in rapid succession. Support for and criticism of the dubia was accompanied by endless discussions about what Francis did and didn’t say, did and didn’t mean, will or won’t do. Various reports about Francis from “behind the scenes” (such as this one and that one) have fanned the flames further.
Interestingly enough, some bloggers and journalists even began to drop their reluctance to using the word “schism” in connection with the drama about Francis and Amoris Laetitia. In fact, a report appeared according to which Francis allegedly said: “It’s not impossible that I will go down in history as the one who split the Catholic Church”. And while the Kazakh “Bishop” Athanasius Schneider introduced an entirely novel concept of “schism”, one which he said he sees already realized in the [Novus Ordo] Church, a Colombian academic, politician, and television personality publicly denounced Francis as a heretical Antipope.
Towards the end of 2016, “Cardinal” Raymond Burke rocked the boat when he announced that if Francis doesn’t answer the dubia, then there will be a “formal act of correction”. To this day, we’re still waiting for that very thing.
In June of 2017, it was revealed that one of the four authors of the dubia, “Cardinal” Carlo Caffarra, had had his request for an audience effectively denied — an audience in which he wanted to discuss the concerns regarding Amoris Laetitia. Francis’ refusal to grant the audience was only consistent, since he had been going out of his way to avoid giving the “cardinals” any opportunity to confront him on the issue.
Aug. 11, 2017, marked another milestone in the drama: 62 Novus Ordo scholars issued a 25-page Filial Correction concerning Propagated Heresies (“Correctio Filialis De Haeresibus Propagatis”) against Francis, accusing the papal pretender of seven heresies found in Amoris Laetitia. Naturally, Bergoglio’s response has been to continue his deafening silence, with a slight exception when speaking to Jesuits during his trip to Colombia. Due to Francis’ continued silence, the “filial correctors” decided to release the full text of the Correctio to the public, which they did on Sep. 23.
What follows now is a chronicle of the reactions to this initiative.
Initial Reactions to the Correctio Filialis
One of the very first reactions to the Correctio Filialis came from the retired Novus Ordo bishop Rene Henry Gracida, who on Sep. 24 asked that his name be added to the list of signatories, throwing his full support behind the document. This made Gracida the first — and, as of the time of this writing, the only — “bishop” in the Vatican II Sect to officially accuse Francis of heresy (more on that here).
Francis admirer Stephen Walford wasted no time in accusing the filial correctors of “hypocrisy” for mimicking Martin Luther by rejecting magisterial teaching while at the same time accusing Francis of Lutheranism. A few days later, he followed up with another, more elaborate article, in which he argues that the correctors themselves do not adhere to all pre-Francis teaching and have, in a quote from Vatican I’s dogmatic constitution Pastor Aeternus, strategically omitted a crucial portion that contradicts their position. Protestants, of course, are having a field day with this because they see their own positions vindicated as Novus Ordos try to make sense of the Francis “papacy”.
At Medias-Presse.info, Christian Lassale warned that the Correctio is an “antidote injected by an infected syringe”, whereas the Resignationist blogger Louie Verrecchio pointed to a curiosity: Several of the Correctio signatories now accusing Francis of heresy had claimed earlier in the year that despite all its flaws, Amoris Laetitia did not contain any denial of dogma; in particular: “Fr.” John Hunwicke, “Fr.” Linus Clovis, and Dr. Claudio Pierantoni. In contrast to these individuals, The Remnant editor Michael Matt finds himself still unable to accuse Francis of denying dogma in Amoris Laetitia, even after 62 filial correctors, including his own columnist Chris Ferrara, have identified as many as seven “heresies and errors which an unbiased reader, attempting to read Amoris laetitia in its natural and obvious sense, would plausibly take to be affirmed, suggested or favoured by this document” (Correctio Filialis de Haeresibus Propagatis, p. 9).
On Sep. 25, reports started surfacing that the Vatican had blocked its computers from accessing the web page that allows one to add one’s signature to the Filial Correction, something promptly denied by the Vatican. Indeed it would not make much sense for the Unholy See to block that one page while allowing access to the text of the Correctio. In any case, the kerfuffle over the Vatican computer block ended up benefiting the filial correctors since it drew additional attention to the initiative.
The same day, Vaticanist Marco Tosatti observed that the initial reactions had been of two kinds (1) those that belittle, label, and marginalize; and (2) no reaction at all — silence. A day later, the heretical “Cardinal” Müller suggested that Francis appoint a group of “cardinals” to begin a “theological disputation” with the filial correctors, something seconded by the Secretary of State, “Cardinal” Pietro Parolin. Should Francis take up this suggestion, which we are very certain he will not do, then it is to be expected that any such debates will go where the Vatican’s talks with the Society of St. Pius X have gone: exactly nowhere.
Speaking of the SSPX, it was surprising to see that the head of the Lefebvrists, Bp. Bernard Fellay, also signed his name to the Filial Correction, a move he explains here. Fellay, whose second 12-year term as Superior General ends next year, after what may perhaps be called an initial indiscretion has kept relatively quiet about the never-ending heresies, outrages, blasphemies, and impieties perpetrated by the “Pope.” At the Sodalitium Pianum blog, Sean Johnson provides his own hypothesis on why Bp. Fellay has decided to join the other signatories in accusing the “Pope” of heresy.
As far as mainstream coverage of the whole initiative goes, Filial Correction spokesman Dr. Joseph Shaw expressed his happy surprise at the positive and fair journalism he experienced.
Mudslinging, Translation Issues, and more Confusion
The first high-profile defense of Francis against the Correctio came from the infamous “Archbishop” Bruno Forte, who played a prominent role at the 2014/2015 Synods on the Family and is one of the very few “bishops” once invalidly consecrated by none other than Joseph Ratzinger. Not surprisingly, Forte’s defense was filled with rhetoric but entirely devoid of theological substance. Another Roman pseudo-theologian accused the correctors of “anti-papal manipulation” and complained that their understanding of grace wasn’t “dynamic” enough, while a Modernist professor from Salzburg accused the correctors of “dirty campaigning.”
Dr. Robert Fastiggi (who once debated a sedevacantist bishop) and Dr. Dawn Eden Goldstein attempted to blame it all on a mistranslation of the official Latin text. How convincing that argument is, people can evaluate for themselves in light of this reply, this one, this one, and that one. But of course Fastiggi countered with a rejoinder to these arguments. Some other attempts to refute the theses of the Filial Correction on theological grounds were downright idiotic, such as the one by David Mills of Ethika Politika.
Dr. Jeffrey Mirus mistook the Filial Correction of the (supposed) papal Magisterium with the fraternal correction of personal papal behavior given by St. Paul in Gal 2:11-15, a very common error refuted here (scroll down to “Appendix”). The same mistake was made by Dr. Michael Sirilla of Franciscan University of Steubenville, who argued for the moral permissibility of issuing the Filial Correction. Of course the case of Pope John XXII is frequently invoked by many as supposedly providing historical precedent, but this is something we have succinctly debunked here.
Then there was a big fuss over names showing up as signatories to the Correctio without people’s knowledge or consent, in an apparent attempt to discredit the initiative.
On Sep. 28, the official spokesman for the Filial Correction appeared on EWTN’s flagship program The World Over with Raymond Arroyo. The video is available here:
The same day, an extensive interview with “Cardinal” Muller was published, in which the former head of the Novus Ordo “Holy Office” weighed in on Amoris Laetitia, the dubia, and related issues. Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican summarized the ten most salient points in a newsletter he emailed out a day later.
Then, the news broke that Francis himself had reacted to the Filial Correction: The apostate Jesuit rag La Civiltà Cattolica published a transcript of Francis’ meeting with fellow-Jesuits when he visited Cartagena in Colombia back in August. During this conversation, he brought up some people’s criticism of Amoris Laetitia. The essence of his “response” was that the document needs to be read from beginning to end and that it’s Thomistic. That solves it! We mopped the floor with Francis’ remarks here.
A Cacophony of Corrections and Correctors
Of course, just as a public correction like the Correctio Filialis triggers counter-corrections, so counter-corrections engender further rejoinders by the original objectors, and this is exactly what we got. On Sep. 29, Dr. Shaw published a brief rejoinder to Stephen Walford, Robert Fastiggi, Dawn Eden Goldstein, and Jacob Wood, but this was only the beginning.
The same day, the Novus Ordo cult Opus Dei weighed in. The order’s Vicar General, “Mgr.” Mariano Fazio, said the correctors are “attack[ing] the Pope” and faulted them for voicing their disagreements in public, thus “scandalizing” others — something to which Dr. Shaw responded a few days later. It is unfortunate that Mr. Fazio did not comment on the fact that the first name on the list of the 62 original signatories is that of Dr. Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg, who is linked to Opus Dei.
After being fired from his teaching position in Granada, Spain for signing the Filial Correction, Austrian philosopher Dr. Josef Seifert complained of a “persecution of orthodoxy” under Francis — as though orthodoxy hadn’t already been under persecution since Vatican II. Resignationist Louie Verrecchio chimed in on this, commending Seifert for his desire to fight for truth and justice but urging him to please “identify the real enemy”. Another philosopher who contributed to the discussion over Amoris Laetitia, the Filial Correction, and Dr. Seifert’s firing is the German Dr. Robert Spaemann, who accused Francis of “splitting” the church with his “apostolic exhortation”.
The Italian philosopher Rocco Buttiglione, on the other hand, did not take kindly to the Correctio. In a lengthy interview given to La Stampa, Buttiglione responded to each of the seven accusations of heresy against Francis and accuses the correctors of “judging the Pope”. Not surprisingly, it did not take long for Buttiglione to find himself being corrected, by Novus Ordo canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters, who contradicted him on several points. The Italian Vaticanist Sandro Magister observed that now “even the philosophers are ‘correcting’ each other”, referring to a “duel” between Buttiglione and Pierantoni.
On Oct. 1, Aaron Seng published a very readable post entitled, “Subsistit Ad Nauseam: ‘Full’ Church Heading for ‘Partial’ Marriage”, in which he argued that if we can, as Vatican II says, have “ecclesial elements” in other religions, why not have “matrimonial elements” in other relationships? This, of course, is exactly the argument that was proposed at the Synod in 2014, and was adopted by “Pope” Francis in Amoris Laetitia (n. 292). In the meantime “Cardinal” Francesco Coccopalmerio has even suggested applying the notion of elements to the validity of sacraments! Unfortunately, it must not have occurred to Seng that the true Roman Catholic Church cannot teach such nonsense. It is regrettable to see him simply declare that the Vatican II Sect is wrong, not just on ecclesiology but now also on marriage: “There is no partial marriage, because there is no partial Church.” Why anyone should take seriously — much less convert to or remain in — a church that cannot even get its own nature right, is not answered in the post.
Fastiggi and Goldstein returned a short while later to charge the filial correctors with failing to follow the guidelines for faithful theological discourse laid out in Donum Veritatis, the Vatican instruction “on the ecclesial vocation of the theologian” issued in 1990 by “Cardinal” Ratzinger, when he was head of the Congregation for the Destruction of the Faith. Fastiggi and Goldstein were not the only ones to make this argument. Dr. Shaw did not fail to respond, publishing “A Challenge for Fastiggi and Goldstein”. The two authors so challenged were happy to reply, and Dr. Shaw presented and evaluated their arguments in this post.
The Remnant‘s chief polemicist, Christopher Ferrara, decided to join the debate as well and took Fastiggi and Goldstein to task, not once but twice. When Fastiggi decided to respond to his critic, The Remnant published a third reply.
Additional Contributions to the Debate
Shortly after the release of the Filial Correction but independent of it, “Cardinal” Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation of Bogus Bishops, gave a speech that found fault with both the “alarmist” and the “permissive” interpretation of Amoris Laetitia — a microcosm of the battle over Vatican II. Perhaps one day it will occur to these master interpreters that the perpetual wars over the “correct” interpretation of this or that “papal” document could be avoided altogether if the pretend-Pope in Rome could simply express himself in a clear and unambiguous way. “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil” (Mt 5:37).
The infamous über-Modernist “Fr.” Thomas Reese, S.J., from 1998-2005 editor of the Jesuit rag America, happily welcomed the 62 signatories of the Correctio to the magisterial cafeteria: “The truth is all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics. Conservative Catholics were quite willing to ignore John Paul’s and Benedict’s strong statements on justice and peace, and progressive Catholics are happy to ignore Francis’ opposition to women priests.” This is the conundrum you eventually get when you accept manifestly heretical pretend-popes as Vicars of Christ, but that’s another subject.
In the battle over Amoris Laetitia and the Correctio Filialis, there were also a few contributions that can only be labeled “doozies” — one of a kind. Matthew Sewell published one such.
Blogger Steven O’Reilly saw the Filial Correction also as a challenge to Resignationists (those who believe Benedict XVI’s resignation was invalid and he is still Pope), whereas a blogger at Non Veni Pacem had a slightly different — but no less interesting — take.
Conservative Novus Ordo historian Roberto De Mattei provided an initial reflection on the significance and impact of the Correctio Filialis before offering “a first appraisal” of the reaction jungle on Oct. 4. Meanwhile, mainstream Novus Ordo web sites had begun cranking out posts of the “What is a Catholic to think of the Filial Correction?” type. Among them one by Matt Hadro and one by Jacob Wood.
By the way, Andrea Tornielli is one of the few people who remembered that a Novus Ordo “Pope” being accused of heresy is by no means a new phenomenon, although he forgot the most significant example of all: the Books of Accusation issued by Fr. Georges de Nantes (1924-2010), commonly known as the “Abbé de Nantes”. This French priest, who was not a sedevacantist, produced three thoroughly-documented Libri Accusationis: one against Paul VI, one against John Paul II, and one against the author of the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church. And guess what: None of this accomplished a thing!
A “tangential observation” on the whole controversy was provided by “Fr.” Hugh, by the way, a Novus Ordo Benedictine.
Semi-Traditionalist Atila Sinke Guimaraes contributed his two cents by making the apt observation that the Filial Correction is flawed at its root because, among other things, it “exonerates from blame both Vatican II and the five other conciliar Popes who should be included in the same accusation directed against Francis.”
Guimaraes’ thesis was unwittingly underscored by Rorate Caeli, where someone had the glorious idea of digging up an old Ratzinger quote from the 1960s against the papal Magisterium, apparently oblivious to the fact that the man who later became “Pope” Benedict XVI is one of the greatest Modernists of all time and has denied, among other things, the Catholic dogma of Papal Primacy proclaimed at Vatican I.
Speaking of Benedict XVI, Sedevacantist Tom Droleskey noted that in three instances, the Correctio damns Ratzinger just as much as it does Francis, and pointed out in two follow-up articles that this Filial Correction itself stands in need of a correction (here and here).
What will happen if Francis doesn’t correct the errors that have now been pointed out to him so forcefully? “Schism” is the answer given by one of the signatories to the Correctio. Too bad that one professor of philosophy in Rome has now even raised his own dubia on the Filial Correction itself.
What a madhouse!
You ain’t seen Nothin’ yet
It is important to understand that because of the false principles it contains in an inchoate manner, Amoris Laetitia will wreak havoc on “Catholic” theology for generations to come. It provides the putatively magisterial foundation for the Novus Ordo version of situation ethics and will inevitably lead to the utter breakdown of what is left of Catholic morality in the Vatican II Sect. So, fasten your seatbelts, because “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet”!
Already Francis’ mouthpiece and fellow-Jesuit apostate “Fr.” Antonio Spadaro is arguing that we can no longer hold everybody to the same moral standard: “It is no longer possible to judge people on the basis of a norm that stands above all”, he said at a conference in Boston. In other words, whether or not people are permitted to commit adultery now depends. We suspect, however, that when it comes to issues that are truly dear to their Modernist hearts — such as recycling, racism, and capital punishment –, these people will quickly remember the absoluteness of moral laws. No “accompaniment” there!
The Filial Correctors: Even if they win, they lose
Back in August, sedevacantist Bp. Donald Sanborn had pointed out that the idea of a formal “act of correction” of the Pope, as “Cardinal” Burke envisions it, would be contrary to Catholic teaching and, if successful, would make matters worse rather than better. On Oct. 18, Bp. Sanborn published his reaction to the Filial Correction and hit the nail on the head:
A “correction” implies two obvious problems: (1) that we cannot trust the teaching of the pope; (2) that we should trust the teaching of the correctors.
What is the purpose of a pope if he is subject to correction by a self-appointed Board of Correctors? Who assists the Board of Correctors? The Holy Ghost? Where in Sacred Scripture or Tradition is a Board of Correctors mentioned?
To set up a system of “correction” of heretical “popes,” done by self-appointed “correctors,” implies that it is quite possible that a Catholic pope promulgate heresy to the entire Church, and quite normal that self-appointed “correctors” come to the rescue.
It means that the infallibility of the Church rests with a board of self-appointed correctors.
In such a case, why do we need a pope? Why not just have the Board of Correctors?
(Bp. Donald Sanborn, “Correctio Filialis”, In Veritate, Oct. 18, 2017)
The theological freak show about Amoris Laetitia we are now witnessing is the natural result of two sides that are diametrically opposed to one another but united in the same error: the idea that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the Pope of the Catholic Church. That is the linchpin that holds the entire madhouse together.
Remove it, and everything will fall into place.