Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Pope Francis and the Cardinals, will clericalism prevail or fraternal correction be embraced?

This is printed in First Things and should not be discounted!


Pope Francis has revised the Catechism of the Catholic Church to read, “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” This statement has been understood by many, both inside and outside the Church, to teach that capital punishment is intrinsically immoral and thus is always illicit, even in principle.
Though no Catholic is obliged to support the use of the death penalty in practice (and not all of the undersigned do support its use), to teach that capital punishment is always and intrinsically evil would contradict Scripture. That the death penalty can be a legitimate means of securing retributive justice is affirmed in Genesis 9:6 and many other biblical texts, and the Church holds that Scripture cannot teach moral error. The legitimacy in principle of capital punishment is also the consistent teaching of the magisterium for two millennia. To contradict Scripture and tradition on this point would cast doubt on the credibility of the magisterium in general.
Concerned by this gravely scandalous situation, we wish to exercise the right affirmed by the Church’s Code of Canon Law, which at Canon 212 states:
The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
We are guided also by the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, who states:
If the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.” (Summa Theologiae, Part II-II, Question 33, Article 4, ad 2)
Hence we, the undersigned, issue the following appeal:
To their Most Reverend Eminences, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church,
Since it is a truth contained in the Word of God, and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Catholic Church, that criminals may lawfully be put to death by the civil power when this is necessary to preserve just order in civil society, and since the present Roman pontiff has now more than once publicly manifested his refusal to teach this doctrine, and has rather brought great confusion upon the Church by seeming to contradict it, and by inserting into the Catechism of the Catholic Church a paragraph which will cause and is already causing many people, both believers and non-believers, to suppose that the Church considers, contrary to the Word of God, that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, we call upon Your Eminences to advise His Holiness that it is his duty to put an end to this scandal, to withdraw this paragraph from the Catechism, and to teach the word of God unadulterated; and we state our conviction that this is a duty seriously binding upon yourselves, before God and before the Church.
Hadley Arkes
Edward N. Ney Professor in American Institutions Emeritus
Amherst College
Joseph Bessette
Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics
Claremont McKenna College
Patrick Brennan
John F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies
Villanova University
J. Budziszewski
Professor of Government and Philosophy
University of Texas at Austin
Isobel Camp
Professor of Philosophy
Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas
Richard Cipolla
Diocese of Bridgeport
Eric Claeys
Professor of Law
Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
Travis Cook
Associate Professor of Government
Belmont Abbey College
S. A. Cortright
Professor of Philosophy
Saint Mary’s College
Cyrille Dounot
Professor of Legal History
Université Clermont Auvergne
Patrick Downey
Professor of Philosophy
Saint Mary’s College 
Eduardo Echeverria
Professor of Philosophy and Theology
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Edward Feser
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Pasadena City College
Alan Fimister
Assistant Professor of Theology
St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
Luca Gili
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Université du Québec à Montréal
Brian Harrison
Scholar in Residence
Oblates of Wisdom Study Center
L. Joseph Hebert
Professor of Political Science
St. Ambrose University
Rafael Hüntelmann
Lecturer in Philosophy
International Seminary of St. Peter
John Hunwicke
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
Robert C. Koons
Professor of Philosophy
University of Texas at Austin
Peter Koritansky
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Prince Edward Island
Peter Kwasniewski
Independent Scholar
Wausau, Wisconsin
John Lamont
Divine Faith
Roberto de Mattei
The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story
Robert T. Miller
Professor of Law
University of Iowa 
Gerald Murray
Archdiocese of New York
Lukas Novak
Lecturer in Philosophy
University of South Bohemia
Thomas Osborne
Professor of Philosophy
University of St. Thomas
Michael Pakaluk
Professor of Ethics
Catholic University of America
Claudio Pierantoni
Professor of Medieval Philosophy
University of Chile
Thomas Pink
Professor of Philosophy
King’s College London
Andrew Pinsent
Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre
University of Oxford
Alyssa Pitstick
Independent Scholar
Spokane, Washington
Donald S. Prudlo
Professor of Ancient and Medieval History
Jacksonville State University
Anselm Ramelow
Chair of the Department of Philosophy
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
George W. Rutler
Archdiocese of New York
Matthew Schmitz
Senior Editor
First Things
Josef Seifert
Founding Rector
International Academy of Philosophy
Joseph Shaw
Fellow of St Benet’s Hall
University of Oxford
Anna Silvas
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow
University of New England
Michael Sirilla
Professor of Dogmatic and Systematic Theology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Joseph G. Trabbic
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Ave Maria University
Giovanni Turco
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Udine
Michael Uhlmann
Professor of Government
Claremont Graduate University
John Zuhlsdorf
Diocese of Velletri-Segni
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TJM said...

Can't wait for MT to weigh in with a barrage of non sequiturs and slobbering over the Holy Idol, pardon me, Holy Father

ByzRus said...


Wearily, I can.

Separately, I cringe waiting to see where this latest deflection by Francis leads us next. More change likely to come....

Anonymous said...


It is clear where this is all heading. What happens when you combine these two ideas?

(1) The perennial moral teaching of the Church can change to accommodate novel "familial" configurations heretofore unknown (or, at least, unsupported) by society.

(2) The perennial moral teaching of the Church can change when modern man examines the Gospel in light of the latest social data.

The result: There is no moral teaching of the Church in an objective sense, but it must conform to subjectivist tendencies on the basis of concrete situations created by progressive tendencies in society.

This is meant to solidify the foundational moral and philosophical principles that will ultimately allow the Church to "bless" same-sex marriages.

Next, consider the simultaneous movement to allow for married clergy.

Finally, consider how many homosexual priests and bishops there are.

And I think you will agree that the ultimate goal of all of this is pretty clear.

ByzRus said...

Anonymous @ 4:32 said:

"And I think you will agree that the ultimate goal of all of this is pretty clear."

Sad to say, crystal clear.

John Nolan said...

Interesting to compare this 'open letter' to last year's 'filial correction'. The latter expressed concern over certain aspects of Amoris Laetitia and called upon the Pope to clarify matters. It was addressed in deferential terms to HH and only made public when it went unanswered. This time it is a public appeal to the Sacred College not only to call the Roman Pontiff to his duty, but in doing so perform the duty incumbent on the College itself.

As a criticism it is succinct, to the point, and hard-hitting. The situation is a 'gravely scandalous' since the Pope has not only refused, publicly and on more than one occasion, to teach right doctrine but has also brought 'great confusion upon the Church by seeming to contradict it'.

The following, from the concluding sentence, is devastating in its import. The Pope must be advised 'that it is his duty to put an end to this scandal, to withdraw this paragraph from the Catechism, and to teach the word of God unadulterated'.

When was the last time a pope had to be reminded of this, by orthodox Catholics, clerical and lay, of good standing and notable academic achievement? Certainly not in modern times.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Excellent synopsis, but PF has no worries since MT will ride to his rescue!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

JN, as you may know, like Chile, the Church in the USA is in a catastrophic crisis due to the McCarrick scandal in its many facets to include high ranking bishops and cardinals, perhaps known to Francis also, who gave him great powers even in retirement while knowing his active homosexual predations.Then we have the grand jury in Pennsylvania and their righteous inquisition and the gory disgusting details of abuse which seem to occasion a ho hum response from their bishops at the time. And we have had a pope who for the past 5 years has humbly divided, confused and polarized Catholics through the world.

And the vast majority of cardinals except for 5 with 2 of them dead, fail to publicly correct him.

The Church is in a state of castastophe and I am grateful for the signatories of this correction. It should have included every Cardinal and bishop too.

Henry said...

From Peter Kwasniewski (here), perhaps the first to fully connect the dots in the current situation to the larger Church crisis, which goes far beyond a mere sex scandal and its cover-up by a hapless bench of bishops:

”Most commentators do not begin to understand the true nature of the problem. …

“To treat the sins of this ring of conspirators as nothing more than a recrudescence of the sex scandals of the past would be to lose sight of their real enormity. These are not just men of bad moral character; they are apostates, and they are trying to remake the Church in the image of their own apostasy. …. It is not this or that aspect of the Church that is corrupt; the rot is now everywhere. ….

“Bishops beating their breasts and then going back to doing nothing about the manifest apostasy at the very heart of the Church will not solve matters. We need the apostates identified, denounced, and removed. …. We have to denounce and reject the apostasy that powerful and influential homosexuals and their friends have insinuated into the Church over decades….
It is a package deal. This, above all, is what people need to see. The moral depravity, the doctrinal heresy, the liturgical devastation – all of it goes together. …..

“We begin to stop the havoc by calling its source by its real name. McCarrick was not just a predatory sodomite, but an apostate, and all of his “brother bishops” who knew about the double life and still got their pictures taken with him, laughing away at the latest wool pulled over the people’s eyes – you know, the ones who are putting out videos about how unfortunate this is, what a mess, and, you know, it isn’t as bad as people are making it out to be – these are all apostates, too. ….

“The Catholic Church is being rocked to its foundations by a scandal of Modernist apostasy of staggering proportions. We are in “2+2 = 5” territory, and the “conservative” apologists have no real response to that, which is why they insist on treating the McCarrick business as a sex scandal. They are more concerned about a mendacious, ramshackle, unaccountable episcopate than they are about the deposit of the faith under daily assault, as it has been ever since the progressive European bishops maneuvered into control of the Second Vatican Council, strewing ambiguities and half-truths in its documents and dominating its implementation, particularly in the liturgical sphere – all of which has led us straight into the cesspool of iniquity and heresy in which we are stewing.

TJM said...


And the European Church has paid a price - mainly empty Churches on Sunday morning. But just give us more of dat Vatican II Juice to drink!