Regarding worthy reception of Holy Communion…
Four Novus Ordo Bishops accuse Francis of HERESY
The apostate Jorge Bergoglio in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 30, 2014
(image: Shutterstock/Alexandros Michailidis/cropped)
Five years ago today, on Sep. 24, 2017, a number of conservative and traditionalist adherents of the religious establishment headed by Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) made public a long letter (dated Aug. 11, 2017) in which they accused their incredibly valid ‘Vicar of Christ’ of heresy, that is, of denying defined Catholic dogma.
Named Correctio Filialis (“Filial Correction”), the document did not merely contradict Francis’ errors, it de facto purported to overrule (“correct”) them. The original signatories were mostly Novus Ordo priests and academics — not a single bishop was among them, with the exception of Bernard Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X, then the Superior General of the Lefebvrist organization. Bp. Fellay, however, is not an ordinary or auxiliary, active or retired; much less is he a curial official. In fact, he is not even in full communion with the “Pope” he kept trying to be regularized under, even though he is well aware that Francis is not a Catholic but a “genuine Modernist”.
Although the fallout on the internet was intense, Francis quite predictably did not comply with the authors’ and signatories’ request: “The signatories respectfully insist that Pope Francis condemn the heresies that he has directly or indirectly upheld, and that he teach the truth of the Catholic faith in its integrity.” Instead, Bergoglio dismissed it, and he has doubled down since with more, many more (and even more serious) heresies and other errors, at lightning speed.
What consequences did the authors and signatories draw from Bergoglio’s defiance? None, of course. Nor could they really for as long as they recognize him as the Pope, for a Pope has no superior on earth, and a number of the Pope’s inferiors yelling at him for heresy creates exactly zero juridical obligation on his part.
A prior attempt to get Francis to change his heretical course, launched in the summer of 2016, had likewise failed to have its intended effect. Then a total of 45 Novus Ordo scholars had released a critical study of Francis’ “apostolic exhortation” Amoris Laetitia and identified a number of errors and problematic statements, including heresy. Sent to all of the “cardinals” of the world, the authors were hoping the recipients would take action and warn the faithful that the putatively papal document is dangerous — with predictable results.
Fast forward to 2019. On Apr. 30 of that year, there was yet another, similar effort. As many — or as few — as 19 more or less prominent conservative priests and scholars released an “Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church”, in which they accused their “Pope” of seven distinct heresies and provided documented proof not only of Francis actually uttering or teaching these heresies but also of his pertinacity in holding them. (Pertinacity is the formal element in heresy, and it refers to the stubborn will to cling to heresy although one is very well aware of what the Church’s defined dogma is.) The authors’ hope was that the Novus Ordo bishops addressed would try to remedy the problem somehow.
In our own comprehensive, quite readable, and eminently informative commentary on the 2019 attempt to get Francis condemned for heresy, we ended the post by saying: “The signatories are using heretical theology to ask heretics to accuse their ‘Pope’ of heresy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict: This isn’t going to work, fellows.” And history proved us right:
Now it is 2022, and Francis’ reign of error is still going at full blast. On June 29 of this year, the false pope released an “apostolic letter” on the Sacred Liturgy, entitled Desiderio Desideravi:
- Antipope Francis: Apostolic Letter “Desiderio Desideravi” on Liturgical Formation (June 29, 2022)
- Jorge Bergoglio and the “Art” of Celebrating the Novus Ordo Liturgy (Commentary)
The text is the usual hodgepodge of good and bad. It contains some beautiful truths, but those are naturally mixed in with confusing/ambiguous statements, harmful errors, and at least one clear heresy, found in paragraph 5.
Having just said that Christ “will not be satisfied until every man and woman, from every tribe, tongue, people and nation (Re 5:9), shall have eaten his Body and drunk his Blood”, for which reason “that same Supper will be made present in the celebration of the Eucharist until he returns again” (par. 4; italics given), “Pope” Francis writes:
The world still does not know it, but everyone is invited to the supper of the wedding of the Lamb (Re 19:9). To be admitted to the feast all that is required is the wedding garment of faith which comes from the hearing of his Word (cf. Ro 10:17). The Church tailors such a garment to fit each one with the whiteness of a garment bathed in the blood of the Lamb. (Re 7:14). We must not allow ourselves even a moment of rest, knowing that still not everyone has received an invitation to this Supper or knowing that others have forgotten it or have got lost along the way in the twists and turns of human living. This is what I spoke of when I said, “I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” (Evangelii gaudium, n. 27). I want this so that all can be seated at the Supper of the sacrifice of the Lamb and live from Him.
(Antipope Francis, Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi, n. 5; italics given; underlining added.)
Leaving aside the hypocrisy displayed by Francis, who couldn’t care less about anyone converting, the above excerpt contains a heresy condemned by the Council of Trent, as will be shown momentarily.
On Sep. 16, 2022, a number of Novus Ordo priests, scholars, and journalists joined four Novus Ordo bishops — yes, this time they found bishops — in issuing and signing a roughly 3-page document condemning par. 5 of Desiderio Desideravi as containing a denial of dogma. The full text can be found here:
- “Full Statement saying Pope Francis’ teaching on Holy Communion already condemned by Council of Trent” (Life Site)
- Full Statement: “The teaching of the Catholic faith on the reception of the Holy Eucharist” (PDF version)
The Novus Ordo bishops who signed the statement are Fr. René Gracida (b. 1923), retired ordinary of Corpus Christi, Texas; Joseph Strickland (b. 1958), active ordinary of Tyler, Texas; Athanasius Schneider (b. 1961), active auxiliary of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan, and Robert Mutsaerts (b. 1958), active auxiliary of ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.
The document starts out with a quote of the heretical portion of par. 5 of Desiderio Desideravi. The authors then remark:
The natural meaning of these words is that the only requirement for a Catholic to worthily receive the Holy Eucharist is possession of the virtue of faith, by which one believes Christian teaching on the grounds of its being divinely revealed. Moreover, in the Apostolic Letter as a whole there is silence on this essential topic of repentance for sin for the worthy reception of the Eucharist.
This natural meaning contradicts the faith of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has always taught that in order to receive the Holy Eucharist worthily and without sin, Catholics must receive sacramental absolution, if possible, for any mortal sins they may have committed and obey all other laws of the Church concerning reception of the Eucharist (as, for example, the laws concerning fasting prior to reception of the Eucharist). However, if a Catholic is unable to confess mortal sins but has a grave reason for receiving the Eucharist (such as a priest who may be required to celebrate Mass at a given time but who is unable to go to Confession), such a person must be confident to the best of his ability that he have perfect contrition for any mortal sins that he may have committed.
The statement then quotes from the Council of Trent, specifically Chapter VII (Denz. 880) and its corresponding canon of the Decree on the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, issued during Session 13. We will confine ourselves to quoting just the canon, which is the condemnation of the heresy:
If anyone says that faith alone is sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist: let him be anathema. And that so great a Sacrament may not be unworthily received, and therefore unto death and condemnation, this holy Council ordains and declares that sacramental confession must necessarily be made beforehand by those whose conscience is burdened by mortal sin, however contrite they may consider themselves. If anyone moreover teaches the contrary or preaches or obstinately asserts, or even publicly by disputation shall presume to defend the contrary, by that fact itself he is excommunicated.
(Council of Trent, Session 13, Canon 11; Denz. 893; underlining added.)
The authors of the document go on to quote also the 1983 and 1990 Codes of Canon Law confirming this and then point out that Francis has confirmed in various other ways that the view he holds regarding worthiness to receive the Holy Eucharist is the one condemned by Trent.
Pope Francis has indicated by his words and actions that he holds the view expressed by the natural meaning of the words of Desiderio desideravi cited above.
In his Angelus for the feast of “Corpus Domini” on June 6, 2021, Pope Francis said:
… there is another strength that stands out in the fragility of the Eucharist: the strength to love those who make mistakes. It is on the night he is betrayed that Jesus gives us the Bread of Life. He gives us the greatest gift while he feels the deepest abyss in his heart: the disciple who eats with Him, who dips the morsel in the same plate, is betraying Him. And betrayal is the worst suffering for one who loves. And what does Jesus do? He reacts to the evil with a greater good. He responds to Judas’ ‘no’ with the ‘yes’ of mercy. He does not punish the sinner, but rather gives His life for him; He pays for him. When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus does the same with us: he knows us; he knows we are sinners; and he knows we make many mistakes, but he does not give up on joining his life to ours. He knows that we need it, because the Eucharist is not the reward of saints, no, it is the Bread of sinners. This is why he exhorts us: “Do not be afraid! Take and eat.”
The statement that the Eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners might be understood in an orthodox sense if taken in isolation. However, placed in the context of the reception of the Eucharist by Judas referred to in the Angelus address (cf. John 13:23-27), and in the context of Pope Francis’s other words and actions, it suggests that renunciation of sin is not necessary for one’s reception of the Eucharist to be acceptable to God. This view is borne out in the following statement from Desiderio desideravi: ‘Indeed, every reception of communion of the Body and Blood of Christ was already desired by him in the Last Supper’ (n. 6).
The statement then proceeds to point out, quite correctly, that “Pope Francis has publicly expressed his agreement with the condemned positions of [Martin] Luther”, specifically regarding justification (the famous “faith alone” heresy condemned likewise at Trent) in an interview on June 26, 2016. This makes their case even stronger — the case that Francis did not simply make a mistake but meant to teach heresy. (Bergoglio’s general audience catechesis of Sep. 29, 2021, is another case in point.)
Further, the statement even alludes to Nancy Pelosi’s audience with Bergoglio last year: “After the audience with Pope Francis, Nancy Pelosi received communion at a mass in St. Peter’s over which Pope Francis presided, causing scandal to Catholics over all the world. When asked about her illegal reception of communion, Pope Francis expressed no disapproval of it.” A clear picture is visible to anyone willing to look.
Unfortunately, the authors of the statement end by noting that since Desiderio Desideravi is not (and does not claim to be) infallible, “the contradiction between Desiderio desideravi and the defined doctrine of the Council of Trent does not falsify the claim of the Catholic Church to be infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit when by an exercise of her teaching office she requires all Catholics to believe a doctrine as being divinely revealed”.
However, that is of course only one side of the coin, the other side being that a Pope could never, in his official magisterium, teach heresy without completely undermining the Papacy as a credible institution, much less as the divinely guaranteed “citadel and bulwark of the Catholic faith” (Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Qui Nuper, n. 3).
In fact, if such an absurd thing as a Pope poisoning the entire Catholic flock with heresy were possible, then the Catholic Church’s claim to being the safe guide to Heaven, the only Ark of Salvation established by God Himself, would be vitiated:
…[Christians] receive their rule of faith from the Church, by whose authority and under whose guidance they are conscious that they have beyond question attained to truth. Consequently, as the Church is one, because Jesus Christ is one, so throughout the whole Christian world there is, and ought to be, but one doctrine: “One Lord, one faith;” “but having the same spirit of faith,” they possess the saving principle whence proceed spontaneously one and the same will in all, and one and the same tenor of action.
…To determine, however, which are the doctrines divinely revealed belongs to the teaching Church, to whom God has entrusted the safekeeping and interpretation of His utterances. But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself. This obedience should, however, be perfect, because it is enjoined by faith itself, and has this in common with faith, that it cannot be given in shreds; nay, were it not absolute and perfect in every particular, it might wear the name of obedience, but its essence would disappear….
In defining the limits of the obedience owed to the pastors of souls, but most of all to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, it must not be supposed that it is only to be yielded in relation to dogmas of which the obstinate denial cannot be disjoined from the crime of heresy. Nay, further, it is not enough sincerely and firmly to assent to doctrines which, though not defined by any solemn pronouncement of the Church, are by her proposed to belief, as divinely revealed, in her common and universal teaching, and which the [First] Vatican Council declared are to be believed “with Catholic and divine faith.” But this likewise must be reckoned amongst the duties of Christians, that they allow themselves to be ruled and directed by the authority and leadership of bishops, and, above all, of the Apostolic See.
And how fitting it is that this should be so any one can easily perceive. For the things contained in the divine oracles have reference to God in part, and in part to man, and to whatever is necessary for the attainment of his eternal salvation. Now, both these, that is to say, what we are bound to believe and what we are obliged to do, are laid down, as we have stated, by the Church using her divine right, and in the Church by the supreme Pontiff.
Wherefore it belongs to the Pope to judge authoritatively what things the sacred oracles contain, as well as what doctrines are in harmony, and what in disagreement, with them; and also, for the same reason, to show forth what things are to be accepted as right, and what to be rejected as worthless; what it is necessary to do and what to avoid doing, in order to attain eternal salvation. For, otherwise, there would be no sure interpreter of the commands of God, nor would there be any safe guide showing man the way he should live.
(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, nn. 21-22, 24; underlining added.)
Likewise, Pope Pius XII instructed the faithful that even the Pope’s ordinary teaching must be accepted docilely by all, because of it too “it is true to say: ‘He who heareth you, heareth me’ [Lk 10:16]…” (Encyclical Humani Generis, n. 20).
What Pope St. Pius X would have thought about the idea of a number of priests and laymen presuming to issue a correction of the official teaching of the Pope — on the grounds that it “contradicts the divinely revealed Catholic faith” (p. 4), no less — is pretty evident:
For the first and greatest criterion of the faith, the ultimate and unassailable test of orthodoxy is obedience to the teaching authority of the Church, which is ever living and infallible, since she was established by Christ to be the columna et firmamentum veritatis, “the pillar and support of truth” (1 Tim 3:15).
And so, with a system of sophisms and errors they falsify the concept of obedience inculcated by the Church; they arrogate to themselves the right of judging the actions of authority even to the extent of ridiculing them; they attribute to themselves a mission to impose a reform — a mission which they have received neither from God nor from any authority. They limit obedience to purely exterior actions, even if they do not resist authority or rebel against it, opposing the faulty judgment of some individual without any real competence, or of their own inner conscience deceived by vain subtleties, to the judgment and commandment of the one who by divine mandate is their lawful judge, master, and shepherd.
(Pope St. Pius X, Address Con Vera Soddisfazione, May 10, 1909; underlining added.)
To be clear: Of course the self-appointed “correctors” of Francis are right in rejecting, resisting, and condemning his theological junk. But what spoils it all is that they insist on recognizing this obnoxious undertaker of souls as the true and valid Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ and guardian of orthodoxy. That is what contaminates their entire campaign, making it theologically untenable and itself suspect of heresy. It also ensures, we might add, that their otherwise laudable efforts will be dead on arrival.
Of course the release of this latest statement accusing Francis of teaching heresy could not but elicit contrary reactions by Bergoglio’s usual defenders. None are more determined and intrepid than those who write for Where Peter Is, an ultra-Novus Ordo web site run by Mike Lewis, a man who formerly worked for Catholic Climate Covenant and the so-called U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). One of the site’s distinctive characteristics is that their authors continually come up with ways to excuse Francis, no matter how ridiculous things get.
With regard to Amoris Laetitia, for instance, Dr. Pedro Gabriel was not ashamed to argue for Where Peter Is that adulterous couples could be in merely venial sin and therefore still be permitted to receive Holy Communion — see how orthodox Francis is after all! That, of course, is absurdity on stilts; and we happily dismantled the author’s sophistry here.
But with such a pedigree, it was clear that Where Peter Is would have an easy time wiping away the heresy contained in Desiderio Desideravi. None other than Novus Ordo theology professor Dr. Robert Fastiggi, the man who once debated sedevacantist Bp. Donald Sanborn about Vatican II, stepped up to the plate to clean up after Bergoglio this time, and another writer did the same:
- “Does Pope Francis Contradict The Council of Trent?” by Robert Fastiggi (Where Peter Is)
- “Critics’ Letter Fails to Make Case that Pope Francis is a Heretic” by Matthew A. Shadle (Where Peter Is)
But then, rebuttals tend to produce counter-rebuttals, and so one of the signatories responded to Fastiggi:
- “Response to Fastiggi (et al.): Pope Francis’s ‘wedding garment of faith’ is not ‘formed faith'” by John Lamont (Rorate Caeli)
Meanwhile, at the conservative Novus Ordo site Catholic Culture, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus decided to tell people that instead of accusing or correcting Francis, they should “assist him in his Catholic mission….” Instead of condemning what was written in such a way as to communicate something heretical, Mirus wants people to find ways to excuse it and spin it into something orthodox. Indeed, he leads by example, for he exonerates Bergoglio by appealing to a “living definition” of the word ‘Faith’ rather than a scholastic one:
- “Correct the Pope? Or assist him in his Catholic mission…” by Jeffrey Mirus (Catholic Culture)
The author alleges that “the apostles simply could not conceive of any real (or living) faith in Christ that does not involve a radical transformation of our lives and our actions. Neither can I. Neither, I hope, can Pope Francis.” Well, the Council of Trent certainly could: “If anyone shall say that together with the loss of grace by sin faith also is always lost, or that the faith that remains is not a true faith, though it be not a living one, or that he, who has faith without charity, is not a Christian: let him be anathema” (Session 6, Canon 28; Denz. 838).
It is truly tragic that after nine-and-a-half years of nonstop drama and scandal on account of “Pope” Francis, the editor of Catholic Culture thinks that trying to find ways to “interpret” Francis in an orthodox fashion is still a reasonable and justifiable course of action — as if the “Pope” couldn’t simply choose to speak in a clear, accurate, and orthodox manner — which, we might add, he would actually have an obligation to do, if he were a real Pope. No, every time Bergoglio releases a text, it is apparently the reader’s fault if he doesn’t find Catholicism in it. How pathetic!
Francis is probably laughing himself silly at all his defenders’ Herculean efforts to spin him into a Catholic — let’s also not forget Tom Hoopes’ Bergoglian damage control book from years ago — while in the meantime he has already moved on to a much more serious level of heresy, preaching that false religions are an enrichment to humanity. Leave it to Where Peter Is to dig Bergoglio out of that one.
Alas, none are so blind as those who refuse to see.
In a future post, we will take a critical look at the responses and counter-responses to this latest co-authored statement accusing Francis of heresy. Clearly, both sides are in error: Francis’ critics for thinking that a Pope can teach heresy in a magisterial document, and those who defend the heretical junk Francis has been foisting on souls for nearly a decade.
We will end the present post by repeating what sedevacantist Bp. Donald Sanborn wrote about the idea of Catholics correcting the papal magisterium:
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 only way to solve this is to hold that Francis is not — cannot be — the Pope.
Game over, fellows.
Image source: Shutterstock (Alexandros Michailidis; cropped)