Pope Francis donated 500,000 dollars from the Peter’s Pence collection to assist the thousands of immigrants stranded on the USA border, thereby highlighting the humanitarian crisis of our brothers and sisters in Christ who travelled thousands of miles in hopes of a better life for themselves and their families, only to be abandoned without shelter or assistance. It also highlights the need for Catholics to have a consistent approach to the doctrine of the Church, namely to get better acquainted with actual Church Social Doctrine (not just the warped version of it preached by politically biased pundits.)
Cardinal Pietro Parolin and the International Theological Commission issued a document condemning a particular and often ignored religious freedom violation: the “soft totalitarianism” in democratic countries. The document, approved by Pope Francis, further explains: “the democratic state (…) in the name of an “alleged ideological neutrality”- is bent on removing “every ethical justification and every religious inspiration” thus in favor of an “ideology of neutrality which, in fact, imposes the exclusion of religious expression from the public sphere ”. And this “makes it particularly vulnerable to the spread of ethical nihilism in the public sphere”.We are faced with “a ‘secular imitation’ of the theocratic conception of religion, which decides orthodoxy and the heresy of freedom in the name of a political-salvific vision of the ideal society: deciding a priori it’s perfectly rational, perfectly civil , perfectly human identity. Absolutism and the relativism of this liberal morality here conflict with the effects of illiberal exclusion in the public sphere, within the alleged liberal neutrality of the state“.”
On the other hand, more violent forms of anti-Christian religious persecution still rage on in other countries, but there are some signs of hope, namely in Syria.
Pope Francis has designated Claudia Ciocca as the leader of one of the Vatican’s most important organisms: The Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See. It is the first time that a woman is named to such a role.
But certainly, the most newsworthy topic this week is that 19 Catholics have signed an Open Letter charging Pope Francis with heresy and making recourse to the college of bishops to depose him on that charge.
It has been the source of much amazement that one of the signatories is formerly proeminent theologian Aidan Nichols. Many of the papal critics are shielding themselves behind his prestige to give credence to this unjustifiable action. Mike Lewis has already weighed in on this argument, namely by building upon this article from Henry Karlson, bringing attention to the truism that proeminent theologians do not become heretics despite being proeminent theologians, but because they are proeminent theologians. We recommend again the reading of Karlson’s article here.
Joanne Baker published a very well-researched article drawing from Thomistic theology to explain what fraternal correction is, if a Catholic can criticize the Pope publicly and in which circumstances, and if such arguments can be applied to our current situation to criticize Francis. Spoilers: they do not. A must read! (Thank you to commenter Jane for bringing this incredible article to our attention).
David Wanat also weighs in, by coining the term Me-gesterium to define people who use a personal interpretation of magisterial documents, apart from its historical, cultural and authoritative context. Lots of very good quotes in there too. This article and this one from the same author are also very good.
Notable apologista Jimmy Akin also shows how the signatories of the letter failed spectacularly in proving their main point on which every single of their claims rests: proving that the Pope has taught heresy.
Pope Francis’ intentions for May 2019: pray for the Church in Africa:
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Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.