I will take one more instance. A man is converted to the Catholic Church from his admiration of its religious system, and his disgust with Protestantism. That admiration remains; but, after a time, he leaves his new faith, perhaps returns to his old. The reason, if we may conjecture, may sometimes be this: he has never believed in the Church’s infallibility; in her doctrinal truth he has believed, but in her infallibility, no. He was asked, before he was received, whether he held all that the Church taught, he replied he did; but he understood the question to mean, whether he held those particular doctrines “which at that time the Church in matter of fact formally taught,” whereas it really meant “whatever the Church then or at any future time should teach.” Thus, he never had the indispensable and elementary faith of a Catholic, and was simply no subject for reception into the fold of the Church. This being the case, when the Immaculate Conception is defined, he feels that it is something more than he bargained for when he became a Catholic, and accordingly he gives up his religious profession. The world will say that he has lost his certitude of the divinity of the Catholic Faith, but he never had it.

—Saint John Henry Newman, An Essay in Aid to a Grammar of Assent, p. 240

The continuing aftermath of the Amazon Synod serves as a reminder that there is a certain hazard that orbits around the Church despite the endless attempts to eliminate it over the past two millennia.

This hazard is a belief that the Church can fall into error but the critic cannot. Whether the critic’s rejection of the Church is rooted in heresy based on how the critic reads Scripture, or whether it is simply a schism based on a differing interpretation of the discipline of the Church, the fact remains that the critic has effectively made himself a “Pope” who insists on his own view of the Church while rejecting the authority of the real one. The result is we see people repeating the same errors over and over, convinced that the falsehoods they have been told are true. Throughout history, and quite notably during this pontificate, the result has been a repeated tragedy.

Repeating the Logical Errors

Those critics make a shipwreck of their faith in this way deny that they are doing so because they define heresy and/or schism in an unduly limited manner. Since they do not believe what Tertullian, Sabellius, Arius, Nestorius, Berengarius, Wycliffe, Luther, etc. etc. erroneously taught, they reason that—because they don’t hold the same errors—they are not guilty of what those infamous individuals did. But in doing so, they embrace the the logical fallacy of  Denying the Antecedent. Just because one does not break with the Church over the same grounds as others did does not mean that they are not in error. Consider this:

  • If I am in Los Angeles, I am in California.
  • I am not in Los Angeles.
  • Therefore I am not in California.

There is more to California than Los Angeles (contrary to what the media might think). Likewise, contrary to what the Pope bashers might think, heresy and schism involve more than the errors of those listed above.

Repeating the Canonical Errors

The Church defines concepts like heresy and schism in light of what those who embrace them reject, not according to the false teachings that particular heretics and schismatics might hold. Canon 751 reads:

can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

If one refuses to submit to the Pope on a matter involving his office (teaching, governing), such a person is committing a schismatic act, whether they formally reject the Papacy as a whole or just a specific act. Moreover, this is not limited to the ex cathedra teachings of the Pope. The ordinary teachings of the Pope are also binding. Canon 752 says:

can. 752 Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.

This canon bases itself on the official teachings of past popes and councils, including Pius IX (Syllabus of Errors #22), Pius XII (Humani Generis #20), and Lumen Gentium #25. It’s also found in Vatican I and Unam Sanctam. Nevertheless, many Catholic dissenters who reject the teachings of the Pope claim that those who advocate obedience are Ultramontanists or Papolators* and are the ones in error. The truth, however, is that if they refuse submission, they are behaving in a schismatic manner. When they deny that submission is not required at all, they hold a heretical position. As Canon 331 reminds us:

can. 331 The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.

Since these critics insist that they—not the Pope—are faithful Catholics, they invent counterfeit theology that they argue exempts them from obeying this Pope or this Council. They insist that the “errors” taught by the pope/council are proof that these teachings and laws on obedience to papal teachings cannot be binding. To support their arguments, they often use out-of-context quotes or theological speculation. For example, many critics use one of the theological opinions of St. Robert Bellarmine,§ that if a Pope becomes a manifest heretic, he stops being Pope. That effectively means that, should the Pope happen to join the Foursquare Gospel Church, he’s effectively renounced his office by leaving the Catholic Church. But the Pope’s critics conflate this one opinion with three positions that the Saint actually rejected: that the Church can depose him. There is actually no procedure for deposing a Pope (canon 1404), and the idea that one can appeal to a Council against the Pope is the heresy of Conciliarism. Indeed, canon law says (canon 1372):  A person who makes recourse against an act of the Roman Pontiff to an ecumenical council or the college of bishops is to be punished with a censure.

Repeating the Theological and Historical Errors

Since there’s no canonical process that allows for anybody in the Church to accuse, judge, or depose a sitting Pope, some try to point to certain morally bad Popes to argue that because they existed, it means that the current Pope can also be a bad Pope. The critics like to imagine themselves as following St. Paul in opposing Peter (Galatians 2:11-14) by opposing Pope Francis for “teaching error.” But while St. Peter and the bad Popes had personal moral failings, the critics claim that the fact that a Pope can be morally bad also means he can teach error (a non sequitur fallacy) and when he does, he must be opposed.

The problem is this: neither Scripture nor Church history can justify that position. Our Lord taught that the moral failings of a Pope do not take away his authority to teach (cfMatthew 23:2-3). Church history shows that a morally bad Pope does not justify rebellion. The Popes who led morally bad lives did not justify the Protestant Reformation. Luther had obligations to obey the Pope, his bishop and his religious superiors. He believed they erred and therefore he was not obligated to obey them. If a Pope can err—and must be opposed if we think he has—when teaching in the ordinary magisterium, then we cannot justify the assertion that Luther was wrong to refuse obedience to the Pope as well.

This is why I say that the Pope bashers are like Luther: not because I think they have the same theology, but because they share the same attitude towards the Church’s authority. We often hear critics of Pope Francis vehemently denouncing everything they dislike in the Church as “Protestant,” so it is ironic that they duplicate Luther’s treatment of disliked Church Teaching.

Some of Francis’s critics even go as far as to misapply the term “antipope.” The term is properly used to distinguish one who is falsely set up to be Pope against the real Pope. There have been several in Church history, all promoted by those who opposed the outcome of a conclave or the policies of the true Pope.

In the current iteration, some critics claim that Benedict XVI was forced out of office, and Pope Francis was installed by his enemies as an antipope. Under this argument, whatever Pope Francis does is invalid. The problem is, there is no basis for the claim. Using a form of the No True Scotsman fallacy, they believe that everything Benedict XVI has said affirming his renouncing of the office and his recognition of Pope Francis has been “coerced.” It’s a sedevacantist claim which is about as silly as the idea that St. Paul VI was a “prisoner of the Vatican while a imposter took his place.”

Repeating the Factual Errors

Whenever I read the writings of those who broke away from the Catholic Church, they all make false claims about the Catholic Church which purport to show that the Church “fell into error” and had to be opposed. For example, men like St. Hippolytus (who died reconciled to the Church) and Novatian, Luther and Calvin, Lefebvre, etc., treated abuses as intended policy under the Popes they disliked, took Scripture and Church Fathers out of context, misrepresented the real intent of the teaching etc. Unfortunately, modern critics do the same.

For example, Luther miscited Church Councils and Augustine in order to portray a “break” between the past teaching and the teaching of his time. Calvin treated the veneration of religious imagery as idolatry. They contrasted their views on what they wanted the Church to be with their portrayals of certain problems in the Church. And they did this without answering the question, “Is this portrayal actually true?”

Likewise, as we saw during the Synod on the Family and see with the Synod on the Amazon, critics are portraying the words and actions of the Synod in as negative a light as possible. They are contrasting their negative portrayals with their own interpretations of what past Councils and teachings of the Church said. They insisted their interpretation of events were indisputable and factual, even though a large number of Catholics disputed their claims.

This was seen most publicly with the reaction to the so-called Pachamama image. The title was given to an object that—by the accounts of those who brought it—had no religious significance at all. The name stuck and was adopted by the secular media. Critics of the Pope used the popularized label as “proof” that it was an idol (Begging the Question fallacy) and when the Pope referred to it using that popularized label, critics seized on that as “proof” that he was “promoting paganism” despite the fact that the Pope said there was no intent to worship it and that the Vatican clarified that the Pope’s use of the term Pachamama was common usage and not a technical description.

Repeating the Rash Judgment

The response of the critics was very much a violation of the Church teaching on false witness^. As the Catechism points out:

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

— of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
— of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
— of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

When critics do not give a favorable interpretation of what the Pope says, and when they do not accept his statements that reveal a Christian intent in his words and acts, they are judging him rashly (if they assume) and calumniating him (if they do know his intent but say something contrary to it).

At this point, someone might ask me, “How do you know you’re not the one misinterpreting the Pope.” I would reply that, based on the transcripts that report the Pope’s words in full, what he says shows that he very much believes in God, the Catholic Church, and its teachings. I would view any claim that he intends syncretistic or heretical meaning with the same level of disbelief that I would have if someone told me that Elizabeth Warren was in favor of a laissez faire approach to healthcare. That is to say, it is entirely out of character. But many Catholics do not read his writings. They instead rely on brief quotes in articles—which are often drastically out of context. When reading something by Pope Francis, you need to read the whole thing to understand the points he makes.

Conclusion

As always, I don’t write to point fingers at and condemn specific individuals. My intention is to show how certain attitudes of hostility against the Pope have no basis in terms of logic, Church teaching, theology, history, or avoiding false witness. If one wants to avoid falling into error, he or she needs to avoid those accusations and tactics that lead people to dissent while thinking they are the faithful ones.

As St. John Henry Newman pointed out, those who lost faith in the infallibility of the Church—forgetting that God protects His Church from binding us to obey error—have failed to grasp what the Church is and who is in charge. If we do not want to trick ourselves out of the Church, we must cling fast to the Church, trusting that God will always protect the Church from teaching error.

If we refuse to do that, if we think that the Church which does not go where we desire is a Church that errs, then we will be deceived into rejecting what God has made necessary. And, if we reject that Church, we will be rejecting Our Lord who established it (Luke 10:16).

 

Notes:

(*) My personal favorite was when one Pope basher called me a “Papist,” which is a term used by anti-Catholic Protestants against faithful Catholics. A Freudian slip perhaps?

(§) I wrote about this HERE. The Saint’s book is available on Kindle if you don’t want to take my word for it. But briefly: there are five positions that he considers. Three he rejects (all involving the claim that the Church can depose the Pope). Two he accepts. Those latter two are: 1. That the Pope cannot be a heretic (I hold this view). 2. That the Pope only stops being Pope if he is a manifest heretic.

(†) Interestingly enough, there has been an editing war going on with Wikipedia’s entry. If the reports are accurately reported, critics of the Pope are editing the article to portray the image as Pachamama and to make it seem that the Pope was implementing the worship of a vile idol.

(^) One priest I know on Facebook pointed out it is also Rash Judgment of the indigenous peoples to assume their actions were idolatrous. I think he makes a good point.


Main image:Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Martin Luther(1526), Wikimedia Commons

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22 Responses

  1. Avatar Jessica says:

    From an average lay person’s pov, what’s the practical difference between assent of faith and religious submission of the intellect and will?

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      My understanding is that the assent of faith is given to teachings that have been definitively declared as official doctrine of the Church. Things like the Creed, the Immaculate Conception, official definitions of doctrines by Councils, etc.

      Religious submission of intellect and will involves teachings on faith and morals that might still be undergoing doctrinal development, or disciplinary acts, or something that the pope might teach on some aspect of the faith that clearly has other licit interpretations. Prudential judgements of the pope as well.

      In Francis’s teaching, his change to the Catechism on the death penalty or maybe what he’s written about regarding accompanying divorced and remarried couples might not be your cup of tea, but as Catholics, this is part of the ordinary Magisterium – the regular teachings of a pope. We can’t respond to it by saying, “THIS IS COMPLETELY HERETICAL!!!” for the reasons David mentions in his piece. We have to submit to the fact that it is a legitimate teaching, and accept the mind and will of the pope on the matter.

      • Avatar Marie says:

        Just curious, what is Humane Vitae? I know it’s an encyclical, as is Laudato si, does that make them equivalent? Enquiring minds want to know 🙂 Are there distinctions in encyclicals, for example, and if so , when and how does one carry more weight? Please and thank you!

        Thanks for a great article that sums it all up!

      • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

        Marie, that’s a complicated question.

        The general idea is that when it comes to Magisterial teachings on faith and morals, there are basically 3 levels:

      • Ex Cathedra teachings (infallible): When the pope solemnly declares something to be held by all the faithful as a matter of faith for all time
      • The Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (infallible): Something that the Church has always held to be definitive, even if there’s never been a solemn declaration by the pope or a council.
      • The ordinary Magisterium (not infallible): The ordinary teaching of the pope on Faith and Morals. Also referred to in some documents as “authentic Magisterium.” (Although the authentic Magisterium also includes the two types above).
      • It’s a little more complicated than that — Solemn definitions of an ecumenical council (with the approval of a pope) are also considered infallible, as are canonizations. And I’m sure I’m missing a few things.

        It’s kind of hard to parse through HV and point out what is definitively binding and what is simply the ordinary teaching of Paul VI. First of all, only matters of faith and morals are binding in this way. So, for example, when Pope Francis affirms the prevailing science on climate change in Laudato Si’, we aren’t bound to assent. He can make factual errors, value judgements, and give opinions that aren’t the same as a magisterial teaching on faith and morals.

        For example, a pope could say: “Emitting greenhouse gasses into the air causes climate change.” As much as I agree with this statement, Catholics aren’t morally bound to this statement, because it is of a scientific nature.

        But when a pope says: “We all have a moral duty to care for the environment and work for solutions to protect our common home,” this is definitely binding on us because it is a statement about morality. He didn’t solemnly define anything, so it’s part of the ordinary Magisterium. It thereful calls Catholics to give religious assent/submission to the teaching. (That said, care for creation is clearly an important principle for Catholics, and I’m sure an argument could be made that it would fall under “Ordinary and Universal,” that is, infallible.)

        In HV, things are a little different… there are certain things that Paul VI said in it, some of the argumentation, for instance, that even JP2 and Benedict took issue with. They granted assent, certainly, on all the important principles, but perhaps not the argumentation or explanation.

        That said, on the BIG question about HV, I’m of the opinion, and I believe the all the recent popes and CDF heads agree with me, that the basic teaching that it is illicit to use contraceptive methods to prevent pregnancy (which doesn’t include periodic abstinence/NFP) is part of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, because there’s no evidence that anything to the contrary has ever been taught by the Magisterium.

        As it stands, at the very least it is currently part of the official Magisterium of the Church, and is thus binding on us until further notice.

        I hope this helps!

  • Avatar Marie says:

    Mike- Thank you very much for this, yes it does make sense, and it’s very interesting. I thought it was more straightforward than that.

  • Avatar Anne Lastman says:

    Thank you David for such clear explanation. I am going to make a hard copy and keep by my side so that when I respond to someone on fb I refer them either this article or to the references you’ve cited.
    John Henry Westen, Cards Burke, schneider and those who attended this past week’s gathering of The Remnant in USA will no doubt dispute that they are protectors of orthodoxy.
    I must admit that I have suffered deeply over the attacks on Pope Francis and ALL of his teachings and the attacks have become virulent.
    I ask myself when will they stop ? When will the destabilisation of “Peter’s” governance of the church, the bride of Christ, stop.
    I keep saying that at a time when the Pope’s voice is needed to be heard especially during this time of attempted deconstruction of the human person (eg transgender and all the attacks against life) the loud voices of these detractors muffle his words.
    Who is behind this action to stop the Holy Father from being heard?
    I think we all know the answer

  • Avatar Marie says:

    Jong- Thank you for your answer as well concerning the encyclicals. As far as your other comment, “Let’s see how the usual commenter’s here can refute your finer points on their schismatic behavior.”, there will be few words said concerning this article from dissenters. This is the one topic they run from…..for obvious reasons.

    David, you did an excellent job!

  • Avatar Anthony De Giovanni says:

    What a comfort it is to read this article. Many anti-H.H. Pope Francis, our Holy Father, write articles, books, and blogs, others try to ridicule him with a passion, to confuse us by creating doubts by making a fuss on a comma whilst they miserably fail to present us with the whole document.

    When H.H. Pope Benedict XVI declared: “there is only one Pope and his name is FRANCIS,” they told us that he was forced to say so making of H.H. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI a coward who is afraid to stand up for the truth and that He was intimidated by threats.

    I am sure H.H. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is not the kind of person that they insinuate us to believe He is. Such critics made a caricature of H.H. Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI making Him look as if He is weakling who is afraid of saying the truth no matter what. That is what their statement is hinting and there is no way around it. He is afraid! blinded by hate talk, they insulted H.H. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s integrity and made of Him a “puppet of the Regime!” To add insult to injury, they sugar coat their hate-talk by “make use” of Holy Statues or saying a prayer before they Bash the Vicar of Christ, to “make-believe” they are pious religious zealous defenders of Faith. I am sure that there among them some who having been misled by such critics, do so in good faith. I am not saying that there isn’t room for improvement or more reverence in some aspects of the Catholic Chuch, but reformers always made themselves Holy first and foremost and by their Holiness brought the desired Change like St. Francis, just to mention one. But the result of all this, as it is today, is a very sad division in the Mystical Body of Christ. This is a heartbreaking position for us all and we should all be trying to heal this schism and revive this broken Mystical Body of Christ, which is His Church.

    St. Paul writes that “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, if I give all I possess to the poor and exult in the surrender of my body, but have not to love, I gain nothing.…”;

    and what are we gaining – NOTHING

    Seeing the present situation I can only ask myself ‘Where is this Love? Are we converting anti-Catholics bringing them back Home fascinated by our “Love” for one another? Or is it more likely that we are giving them more ammunition to backfire on us keeping them away from this chaotic Catholic Church? Is all this a sort of a crusade; are we building our Catholic Church or demolishing it? Are non-believers seeing in us a “ONE, HOLY, Apostolic, CATHOLIC CHURCH” as they should? We all have a lot of soul-searching to do, calm down, and check if our wineskins are steady or broken apart and all the wine is being lost. The Catholic Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, are we resisting Him? We know that Christ is the Head of this Mystical body, are we crucifying Him Again and again?

    I believe that we should all do a collective effort to try and heal this lacerated Mystical Body of Christ. I firmly believe that “For this reason, every scribe who has been discipled in the kingdom of heaven is like a homeowner who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” [Mat 13:52]

    “14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. 15And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.

    16So from now on we regard no one according to the flesh. Although we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!

    18All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

    20Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God. 21God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
    [2 Cor 5]

    “…14But as for me, may I never boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. What counts is a new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who walk by this rule, even to the Israel of God.” [Gal 6]

  • Avatar Roberto B. Guzman III says:

    Thank you David Wanat for explaining to me how I can be in so grievious error by being so critcal of the teachings and pronouncements of our Pope and church leaders. You were able to do this without name calling or treating others as enemies but through logic and simple theology. I call it simple theology because I can understand it. I hope other articles in this website will be like this one, clear explanation. Thank you.

  • Avatar M. says:

    Excellent, excellent article David! Thank you.

  • Avatar taad says:

    So must we follow Francis and all become Lutheran in our beliefs and practices? Must I sit and watch pagan worshipers in my local parish? Must I agree to become Communist, because the pope says so? How far does this go? How can the Pope contradict Jesus, and say married and divorced people are okay living in adultery? How can he say Judas was misunderstood? By whom? Jesus misunderstood Judas??? How am I to reconcile these things with prior Catholic teachings?

    • Avatar Lazarus says:

      Repent and believe the gospel? I mean, your only options are: Catholicism in false; or, your interpretation of the pope words and actions or interpretation of past teachings are erroneous.

  • Avatar Anthony Fisher says:

    There are two other similarities I can think of between the anti-Francis party and the Lutheran movement:

    1. Belief that if a pope taught the Gospel according to how Lutherans interpreted the Gospel he would be worth following. (See Philip Melanchthon’s signature on the Smalcald Articles: “I, Philip Melanchthon, also regard the above articles as right and Christian. But regarding the Pope I hold that, if he would allow the Gospel, his superiority over the bishops which he has otherwise, is conceded to him by human right also by us, for the sake of peace and general unity of those Christians who are also under him, and may be under him hereafter.” That is, I will follow the pope if he teaches what I think the Gospel is)

    2. Rejection of inculturation of pagan philosophical concepts into theology (specifically think of the example of Luther’s rejection of Transubstantiation but acceptance of the Real Presence–he accepted the basic idea behind the teaching [except for the Eucharist as a Sacrifice], but rejected using pagan Aristotlean philosophy to explain it)

  • Avatar Barbara Cook says:

    Canon Law and several Saints tell us quite clearly that if the Pope utters public heresy then he automatically , by his own words or actions ceases to be Pope. It doesn’t need anyone to pronounce it – he simply is no longer Pope. Since Francis has uttered several heresies surely if we respect and obey him we are denying the Holy Spirit; the Word of God and the teachings of the Church founded by Jesus Christ? You can’t have it both ways.

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      You are incorrect about Canon Law. Show me the source. It’s not there.

      It also doesn’t appear in any official teaching of the Church. Yes, some saints speculated about it before Vatican I, but it was never Church law or Church teaching.

      We’re not having anything both ways. We believe in the Church’s official teachings on the papacy, and we apply them to the current pope.

      Francis’s critics are the ones who have it both ways. They claim to believe everything the Church teaches, but then they judge the pope, which is against Church teaching.

    • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

      Barbara,

      Pope Francis has only “uttered several heresies” if you, unfortunately, take the word of certain Catholic websites and bloggers to be above the actual, Magisterial teaching of the Church itself. For example, contrary to what many people in professional Catholic media will tell you, Pope Francis has not changed *actual Church doctrine* on marriage at all. “Amoris Laetitia” teaches the Catholic understanding of marriage. Contrary to many wild, careless assertions by certain Catholic websites, the document contains no heresies on marriage. None whatsoever.

      Even when it comes to the *very cautious opening* that one very small part of “Amoris Laetitia” gives, in terms of certain, specific, divorced and remarried people *possibly* being able to recieve the Eucharist, following a process of private discernment with a priest, to determine the peoples’ level of subjective culpability, and thus, to determine whether a mortal sin has, in fact, even been committed– that very small opening is simply an application of what the Church had *already been teaching, previously, in the Catechism, about subjective culpability and mortal sin*. It’s not heretical at all. See, for example, the Catechism’s teaching on masturbation and how mitigating factors in a person’s life can sometimes make what is, *objectively*, a mortal sin, into a sin that, *in terms of subjective culpability*, can be less serious and not (always) mortal.

      Also, in terms of Pope Francis’s recent, authentic, Magisterial revision to #2267 of the Catechism on the death penalty, I can hardly believe the number of Catholic writers who are claiming that Francis is either promulgating heresy, or something close to it– when, in reality, he is simply following out *what the Catechism already taught*, and what the Popes had been teaching for many years, to its logical end. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had publicly called for the abolition of the death penality, many years before Francis was elected to the Papacy. He simply put into the Catechism what his Papal predecessors had been publicly calling for for quite some time.

      Pope Francis is no heretic at all–*unless*, very unfortunately, one’s “Magisterium” actually consists more of explicitly anti-Francis “professional Catholic media” people, such as Michael Voris and Taylor Marshall, than it consists of *the Church’s actual Magisterium itself, including the Pope, who is the Vicar of Christ*.

  • Avatar carn says:

    Your arguments have a serious weakness:

    “Repeating the Rash Judgment

    The response of the critics was very much a violation of the Church teaching on false witness”

    While a considerable number of papal critics are arguably acting in way that could well be rash judgement, his most important critics during the synod are at least describing claiming a behavior which is the total opposite of rash judgement.

    Who are the most important critics?

    This guy and his companions:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p74CEA1_go

    In that video he claims:
    – that he followed very closely what was happening in Amazon Synod (closely following is usually not part of rash judgement);
    – that he had the idea he should go to Rome to get more information and therefore he travelled there from Vienna (very, very opposite of rash judgement; spending at least 14 hours back and forth travel time and probably several days in Rome with the intent to get more information is an action as far from usual rash judgement behavior as it gets);
    – that he visited some undefined conference in the beginning days of synod (here the only element which might or might not be tending to rash judgement, depending of the type of conference he visited);

    – that during that he also visited the Church where these statues were; in his description of his visit he describes first that there were in side chapels symbols of amazonian culture and so on;
    – and that he saw those pachamama statues there;
    – and then talked long to the volunteers responsible, asking them questions;

    These three items are very, very opposite to rash judgement; he clearly was aware that potentially some of the items in the chapels were more or less unproblematic cultural items; he took his time to ask the people probably knowing the most about the displayed items.

    – when the volunteers tell him that missionaries in amazonian region do not baptize people, he gets upset and …

    – instead of already judging finally he comes some time/days later into the Church and takes a friend with him capable of speaking Portugese to quote: “get even more information” quote end (that is so antithetical to rash judgement; you are angry, upset and what do you do? fetch a friend to get more information)

    – and after all these visits, after ensuring that language barrier is not hindering information flow, after spending hours and days of his time about the issue, after asking responsible people a lot of questions, only then he arrives at his judgement that supposedly these statues are violation of 1st commandment.

    The only way i think one could continue to maintain that this guy is guilty of rash judgement is, if one would suggest that most or all of the above is a lie. And this is then the only argument.

    (And i think these people are the most important critics based on how the usual critics celebrate them)

    • Avatar Lazarus says:

      Okay, so the universal is wrong and only the particular proposition is correct. I don’t see this as a huge weakness or even a reasonable reason to reject the logic of the rest of the essay. Let us grant that they’re not all guilty of rash judgement. What other weaknesses do you see?

  • Avatar jude says:

    You hold up Luther comparison as an insult, yet the pope has nothing but praise for the man and would probably canonize him if he didn’t think it would harm ecumenical relations.

  • Avatar carn says:

    “Since you are like a Pharisee, I mean a lawyer minded thinker’s, let’s see if your judgment on this case can stand in the Court of God’s Justice.”

    You are calling me a Pharisee while literally attiring your words with “the Court of God’s Justice”?
    Interesting perspective.

    “So, let us hear your response if you can depend the thief that he made the “right judgment”,”

    I am sure you understand that as a lawyer minded thinker I see after suggesting someone is not guilty of “rash judgement” not necessarily a need to show that someone not guilty of “wrong judgement”. And also you surely understand that seeing no need for that is neither conceding anything.

    I am simply not certain what these statues are, except according to my personal taste ugly (and note: someone saying some item was placed somewhere without certain intentions, does say little to nothing about what the item is).

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