“We are true friends of Pope Francis”…
Creative Fidelity: Burke & Schneider try to justify their “Loyal Opposition”
They prefer pre-Bergoglian Modernism: Mr. Raymond Burke and Mr. Athanasius Schneider
On the second anniversary of that much-hyped but predictably ineffective “Filial Correction”, two of the most outspoken critics of “Pope” Francis in the Novus Ordo hierarchy, “Cardinal” Raymond Burke and “Bishop” Athanasius Schneider, have once again published a document addressing the magisterial errors of their “Pope” and explaining their stance.
On Sep. 24, 2019, Messrs. Burke and Schneider issued a 3-page text entitled “A Clarification about the Meaning of Fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff.” In the United States, it was published by Vaticanist Edward Pentin at the National Catholic Register, which gave it wide dissemination and attention:
- “Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider: Criticism of Errors is Fidelity to the Pope” (National Catholic Register)
Trying to reconcile the irreconcilable will always yield grotesque results, and this document is no different. The authors are attempting to reconcile the person of Francis with the Catholic docrine on the Papacy, and that is going to be as successful as trying to force a square peg through a round hole. You may eventually be able to do it, but not without either damaging the peg or the hole. In other words, it can only be done by either distorting the record of what Francis believes and teaches, or by distorting the Catholic teaching on the Papacy. At least one of the two will always be a casualty.
We will now go through the highlights of this latest Burke-Schneider text and provide a succinct critical response (all italics in original):
No honest person can anymore deny the almost general doctrinal confusion which is reigning in the life of the Church in our days. This is particularly due to ambiguities regarding the indissolubility of marriage, which is being relativized through the practice of the admittance of persons cohabitating in irregular unions to Holy Communion, due to the increasing approval of homosexual acts, which are intrinsically contrary to nature and contrary to the revealed will of God, due to errors regarding the uniqueness of the Our Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work, which is being relativized through erroneous affirmations on the diversity of religions, and especially due to the recognition of diverse forms of paganism and their ritual practices through the Instrumentum Laboris for the coming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon.
Here the two authors describe some of the gravest heresies and errors of the day, yet they conspicuously fail to mention the one individual who is their architect or at least their most influential disseminator: Jorge Bergoglio, aka “Pope Francis”!
In view of this reality, our conscience does not allow us to be silent. We, as brothers in the College of Bishops, speak with respect and love, so that the Holy Father may unequivocally reject the evident doctrinal errors of the Instrumentum Laboris for the coming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon and not consent to the practical abolition of priestly celibacy in the Latin Church through the approval of the ordination of so-called “viri probati”.
Without trying to be nitpicky, it is unfortunate that they invoke “our conscience” as the driving force behind their actions, rather than the law of God. They do mention Francis in this second paragraph, but only as the man they hope will reject the errors he himself oversees being spread throughout his church. It is Francis, after all, who called the Amazon Synod to begin with, who appointed its participants, who wrote the environmentalist Laudato Si’ encyclical that is its precursor, and who has provided the basic concepts that are found in the synod’s apostate working document (instrumentum laboris).
With our intervention, we, as shepherds of the flock, express our great love for souls, for the person of Pope Francis himself and for the divine gift of the Petrine Office. If we would not do this, we would commit a great sin of omission and of selfishness. For if we were silent, we would have a quieter life, and perhaps we would even receive honors and acknowledgments. However, if we would be silent, we would violate our conscience. In this context we think of the well-known words of the future Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman (who will be canonized on October 13, 2019): “I shall drink — to the Pope, if you please, — still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards” (A Letter Addressed to the Duke of Norfolk on Occasion of Mr. Gladstone’s Recent Expostulation).
Now they’ve made it worse. Whereas the initial appeal to conscience admits of a legitimate Catholic sense, what they are doing here is clearly impermissible: They are making their own personal judgment of right and wrong the ultimate norm to be followed, even at the expense of “the authority which has the right and duty to guide them” (Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Epistola Tua), that is, the papal Magisterium. The subjectivist “primacy of conscience” heresy is one of the chief errors of the Vatican II religion, and it really should not surprise that Burke and Schneider, both thoroughly grounded in Novus Ordo theology, would embrace it.
That they should enlist Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) in support of their false doctrine, is shameful. As this particular sentence of Newman’s is misused time and again by Modernists, however, we must briefly clarify that
…it is merely the expression of the truth that a positive and clear dictate of a man’s conscience regarding some act to be performed or omitted must be obeyed rather than an opposing precept of a human superior. This is a conclusion no less orthodox than that of St. Thomas Aquinas himself in the same matter [see De Veritate, q. 17, art. v].
(Rev. Edmond D. Benard, A Preface to Newman’s Theology [St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1945], p. 60)
People interested in a fuller treatment of the sentence in question, or in a competent evaluation of Newman’s theology as a whole, should consult the same work quoted above, especially pp. 58-63. Pope St. Pius X himself endorsed Cardinal Newman, saying that he “pleaded the cause of the Catholic faith in his prolific literary output so effectively that his work was both highly beneficial to its citizens and greatly appreciated by Our Predecessors”, and he noted that “nothing can be found to bring any suspicion about his faith” (Apostolic Letter Tuum Illud).
Some will object that just as Newman was speaking about a well-formed conscience resisting “an opposing precept of a human superior”, so are Burke and Schneider with regard to Francis. But this is not so; that is, the two cases are not comparable because the heresies and errors of Francis are part of his putative Magisterium, they are not individual commands or precepts. This crucial difference is explained, among other things, in the following informative posts:
- Faith and Authority: When is Disobedience Legitimate?
- St. Robert Bellarmine’s Teaching on Resisting a Pope
- The “Bad Popes” Argument
We return now to the text of the latest Burke-Schneider intervention:
We think of these memorable and germane words of Melchior Cano, one of the most learned bishops during the Council of Trent: “Peter does not need our adulation. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are those who most undermine the authority of the Holy See: they destroy, instead of strengthening its foundations”.
This quote, too, is often repeated by those attempting to legitimize the semi-trad campaign of “loyal resistance”, although without proper context, it is very hard to evaluate. What kind of decision are we talking about? Is it a doctrinal or a disciplinary one? Are we talking about a decision being less than ideal, perhaps imprudent, or one being in itself heretical, evil, sacrilegious, or otherwise harmful? Etc. Even if this quote did establish exactly what the authors would like it to, why should anyone be bound to follow Cano’s position here? If the Pope’s teaching can be dismissed and rejected, why not Cano’s?
In recent times, there has been created an atmosphere of an almost total infallibilization of the statements of the Roman Pontiff, that is to say, of every word of the Pope, of every pronouncement, and of merely pastoral documents of the Holy See. There is, in practice, no more the observance of the traditional rule of distinguishing the different levels of the pronouncements of the Pope and of his offices with their theological notes and with the corresponding obligation of adherence on the part of the faithful.
Yawn. The red herring of infallibility is once again being introduced, as though a Catholic were not bound to assent to all papal teaching but only to that which is infallible:
Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.
(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Casti Connubii, n. 104; underlining added.)
This is true not only of doctrinal matters but also of disciplinary laws:
Nor can we pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that “without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.” But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.
(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quanta Cura, n. 5)
True, Burke and Schneider admit that there is a “traditional rule of distinguishing the different levels of the pronouncements of the Pope and of his offices with their theological notes and with the corresponding obligation of adherence on the part of the faithful”, but this is disingenuous, since both clerics reject the Bergoglian errors and heresies they denounce regardless of what “obligation of adherence” Francis might claim them to have. It’s not like the authors would suddenly adhere to Francis’ errors if only he added explicitly that they needed to be embraced under pain of mortal sin.
Returning to the intervention:
One must keep in mind the fact that the Apostle Paul publicly reproached the first Pope at Antioch in a matter of a lesser gravity, compared to the errors which in our days are spread in the life of the Church. St. Paul publicly admonished the first Pope because of his hypocritical behavior and of the consequent danger of questioning the truth that says that the prescriptions of the Mosaic law are no longer binding for Christians.
But of course, St. Paul’s rebuke of St. Peter at Antioch had to come up again, as though it had anything to do with the “Pope” teaching heresy. For those who are not yet aware, we are linking our comprehensive response that puts that objection to rest:
How would the Apostle Paul react today, if he would read the sentence of the Abu Dhabi document which says that God wants in his wisdom equally the diversity of sexes, nations and religions (among which there are religions which practice idolatry and blaspheme Jesus Christ)! Such an affirmation effects, indeed, a relativization of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and of his redemptive work! What would St. Paul, St. Athanasius and the other great figures of Christianity say, when reading such a phrase and the errors expressed in the Instrumentum Laboris for the coming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon? It is impossible to think that these figures would remain silent, or would let themselves be intimidated with reproaches and accusations of speaking “against the Pope”.
We know what they would say. They would say: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema” (Gal 1:8-9). “Anathema” essentially means “put outside of the Church.” And that’s the crux: A public heretic or apostate like Bergoglio is not a member of the Catholic Church and therefore cannot be her head. It’s not a particularly difficult concept to grasp, and even “Cardinal” Burke himself has admitted it in principle. Remember what he said on Dec. 8, 2016: “If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic.”
When Pope Honorius I in the seventh century showed an ambiguous and dangerous attitude regarding the spread of the heresy of monothelitism, which denied that Christ had a human will, St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, sent a bishop from Palestine to Rome, asking him to speak, pray and not remain silent until the Pope condemned heresy. If St. Sophronius lived today, he certainly would be accused of speaking “against the Pope”.
It’s one thing to beg the Pope to hasten to condemn a heresy, and quite another to ask the “Pope” to condemn as heresy what he himself teaches as the truth, which is what Burke and Schneider are doing. Francis isn’t going to condemn as heretical what he himself teaches, and if he did, it wouldn’t exactly help the credibility of the Papacy.
For those who are not familiar with the Pope Honorius affair, the following link is highly educational, based on real traditional Catholic sources, not post-Vatican II polemical pamphlets:
Returning to the text:
The affirmation on the diversity of religions in the Abu Dhabi document and especially the errors in the Instrumentum Laboris for the coming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon contribute to a betrayal of the incomparable uniqueness of the Person of Jesus Christ and of the integrity of the Catholic Faith. And this occurs before the eyes of the whole Church and of the world. A similar situation existed in the fourth century, when with the silence of almost the entire episcopate, the consubstantiality of the Son of God was betrayed in favor of ambiguous doctrinal affirmations of semi-Arianism, a betrayal in which even Pope Liberius participated for a short time. St. Athanasius never tired of publicly denouncing such ambiguity. Pope Liberius excommunicated him in the year 357 “pro bono pacis“, i.e. “for the sake of peace”, to have peace with Emperor Constantius and the semi-Arian bishops of the East. St. Hilary of Poitiers reported this fact and rebuked Pope Liberius for his ambiguous attitude. It is significant that Pope Liberius, unlike all his predecessors, was the first pope whose name was not included in the Roman Martyrology.
No, Pope Liberius did not excommunicate St. Athanasius, and St. Hilary did not report such a thing. We’ve refuted Schneider on these popular myths before and are happy to provide the link once more:
Pope Pius IX explained in one of his encyclical letters that “the Arians falsely accused Liberius, also Our predecessor, to the Emperor Constantine, because Liberius refused to condemn St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, and refused to support their heresy” (Encyclical Quartus Supra, n. 16; underlining added).
We affirm in the presence of God who will judge us: we are true friends of Pope Francis. We have a supernatural esteem of his person and of the supreme pastoral office of the Successor of Peter. We pray very much for Pope Francis and encourage the faithful to do the same. With the grace of God, we are ready to give our lives for the truth of the Catholic faith about the Primacy of Saint Peter and his successors, should persecutors of the Church ask us to deny this truth. We look to the great examples of fidelity to the Catholic truth of Petrine Primacy, such as it [sic] St. John Fisher, a bishop and cardinal of the Church, and St. Thomas More, a layman, and many other Saints and Confessors, and we invoke their intercession.
In response to this, we need but quote the words of Pope Pius IX:
What good is it to proclaim aloud the dogma of the supremacy of St. Peter and his successors? What good is it to repeat over and over declarations of faith in the Catholic Church and of obedience to the Apostolic See when actions give the lie to these fine words? Moreover, is not rebellion rendered all the more inexcusable by the fact that obedience is recognized as a duty? Again, does not the authority of the Holy See extend, as a sanction, to the measures which We have been obliged to take, or is it enough to be in communion of faith with this See without adding the submission of obedience, — a thing which cannot be maintained without damaging the Catholic Faith?
…In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema.
(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quae in Patriarchatu [Sept. 1, 1876], nn. 23-24; in Acta Sanctae Sedis X , pp. 3-37; English taken from Papal Teachings: The Church, nn. 433-434.)
What more is there to add?
Wrapping it up now with one final paragraph from the Burke-Schneider text:
The more lay faithful, priests and bishops hold to and defend the integrity of the deposit of faith, the more they, in fact, support the Pope in his Petrine ministry. For the Pope is the first in the Church to whom applies this admonition of the Holy Scripture: “Hold the form of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Tim. 1:13-14).
For some reason, though, that “integrity of the deposit of faith” doesn’t seem to contain the Catholic doctrine on the Papacy for Mr. Burke and Mr. Schneider. And how could it, seeing that they accept a public apostate as Pope?
What so many who consider themselves traditional Catholics but accept Francis as Pope do not understand is that the Church’s doctrine on the Papacy holds not that the Pope is merely supposed to defend the integrity of the Faith but that through the exercise of his ministry he actually does. That’s why the First Vatican Council taught that “in the apostolic see the catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honour”, that “this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples”, which is the “gift of truth and never-failing faith … divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine” (Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Chapter 4).
Pope Pius XII expressed the same teaching more succinctly:
The Pope has the divine promises; even in his human weaknesses, he is invincible and unshakable; he is the messenger of truth and justice, the principle of the unity of the Church; his voice denounces errors, idolatries, superstitions; he condemns iniquities; he makes charity and virtue loved.
(Pope Pius XII, Address Ancora Una Volta, Feb. 20, 1949)
Notice that Pope Pius didn’t say the Pope is supposed to do these things but that, in virtue of the divine promises attached to his office, he actually does.
If the above teaching doesn’t sound like it fits Club Bergoglio in Vatican City very well, there’s one reason for that: He ain’t the Pope, and his sect isn’t the Catholic Church but a Masonic counterfeit established to deceive the masses, even the elect if that were possible (cf. 2 Thess 2; Mt 24). And while we don’t have all the answers as to what exactly has taken place since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, or how or when God will put an end to this, we can at least know this much: Francis is not the Pope and the Vatican II religion is not the Catholic religion, hence people who mean to be real Catholics can have nothing to do with any of it. (And if you’re wondering what to do now, we have a helpful guide here.)
The fact of the matter is that “Card.” Burke and “Bp.” Schneider are fighting a losing battle. Even if Francis were to reverse course now and start behaving like a Catholic Pope and renounce his errors, it would be too late because he has already proved to the world that he is an impostor.
Think about it: If the papal Magisterium is not always binding on the faithful, why would it ever be? If the Pope can be resisted when he teaches X, why not when he teaches the opposite? If the Pope is nothing more than a Protestant pastor — who is to be followed when he teaches what is true and resisted when he doesn’t — what’s the point of the Papacy to begin with? Why not just have the Deposit of Faith then and get rid of this obvious and needless obstacle of the Papacy?
In August of 2017, sedevacantist Bp. Donald Sanborn had pointed out that the idea of inferiors “correcting” the papal Magisterium is contrary to Catholic teaching and, if successful, would make matters worse rather than better. On Oct. 18, 2017, 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 chaos that we are now witnessing in the Novus Ordo Sect is the natural result of attempting to wed two ideas that are fundamentally incompatible with one another: the apostate and heretical ideas of Jorge Bergoglio on the one hand, and the Roman Catholic Papacy on the other. Those two simply won’t go together. One of them has to give: either the idea that Bergoglio is the Pope, or the Catholic doctrine of the Papacy. Alas, most people are sooner willing to throw away the Papacy than dump Bergoglio. What a slap in the face for our Blessed Lord!
The choice shouldn’t be that difficult…
Keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen, that Francis has the power to shut up Burke and Schneider any time he pleases, as he is their superior. Yet, he leaves them be. Why is that? Without pretending to know the mind of Francis, one possible reason comes to mind rather readily: For all their blustering, these two clerics simply pose no genuine threat to him for as long as they acknowledge him to be the lawful Roman Pontiff, for it is that which gives him all his de facto power.
In other words: Francis doesn’t care if Burke, Schneider, and a handful of others resist him. As long as they agree that he is the Pope, his victory is assured and they are unwittingly assisting his work of destruction.
Image source: own composite with elements from shutterstock.com and youtube.com (screenshot) / internet meme
License: paid and fair use / fair use
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