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The well-known and respected Dominican theologian Father Aidan Nichols has put his name to an historic open letter to bishops claiming Pope Francis is guilty of heresy and calling on them to formally correct him.
The letter, released on April 30, the feast day in the traditional calendar of St. Catherine of Siena — the 14th century saint famous for her criticism of Pope Gregory XI — states that Francis has on occasions “knowingly and persistently” denied what he knows is divinely revealed Church teaching.
Such words and actions, the signatories continue, “amount to a comprehensive rejection of Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual activity, on the moral law, and on grace and the forgiveness of sins.”
They add that they have taken this measure “as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church.”
The signatories call on bishops to investigate the claims they put forth, and then correct Pope Francis by calling on him “to reject these heresies.”
If he should “persistently refuse,” they call on the bishops to declare that Francis has “freely deprived himself of the papacy.”
Pope Francis has not been without controversy over doctrine during his papacy. From his encyclical letter on stewardship of the environment, Laudato Si, to his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation on marriage and the family, Amoris Laetitia, to his interviews with the Italian atheist Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis has seemed to want to live up to what he infamously told a small group of friends: “It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.”
In questioning the Pope on doctrine, we first had the dubia, a set of five questions from 4 Cardinals of the Church asking for clarification on some points of doctrine in Amoris Laetitia. Then came a letter from clergy and scholars to the college of cardinals of the Church pointing out the “heresies” the authors found in Amoris Laetitia. Then came a filial correction letter to the Pope, expressing grave concern about many papal pronouncements, but stopping short of claiming heresy.
“We limit ourselves to accusing him of heresy on occasions where he has publicly denied truths of the faith, and then consistently acted in a way that demonstrates that he disbelieves these truths that he has publicly denied,” the authors state.
They clarify that they are not claiming Pope Francis has “denied truths of the faith in pronouncements that satisfy the conditions for an infallible papal teaching.”
“We assert that this would be impossible, since it would be incompatible with the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit,” they state.
In light of this situation, the authors call upon the bishops of the Church to take action since a “heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil.”
Pope Francis may just ignore this as he has ignored all that has proceeded, but it is hard to see how he can.
Father Aidan Nichols Signs Open Letter Charging Pope Francis With Heresy https://t.co/HicjdNEubE
— Edward Pentin (@EdwardPentin) April 30, 2019
Open Letter to Bishops published on the liturgical feast of two Dominicans: Pope St. Pius V (new calendar) who proclaimed Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church, and St. Catherine of Siena (traditional calendar), Doctor of the Church: https://t.co/WCKybXK68g
— Diane Montagna (@dianemontagna) April 30, 2019
Fr Fessio of Ignatius Press coming out of retirement to underscore this document and to urge the Holy See not to ignore it.
Might this indicate that the conservative Old Guard has finally faced reality and is taking the gloves off? https://t.co/MjRkPd1GYv
— Regina Magazine (@ReginaMagOnline) April 30, 2019