"Pope Francis among the people at St. Peter's Square" by Edgar Jiménez / CC BY-SA 2.0

Pope Francis Guilty of “Heresy,” Catholic Scholars Claim in “Historic” Letter

May 3, 2019

By David G. McAfee

Pope Francis has his share of enemies — whether he’s ignoring child sex abuse complaints or being criticized as nothing more than a “P.R. Pope.” But now he has a new nemesis: a group of Catholic scholars who say he’s guilty of heresy.

The Catholic group is making the accusation for a variety of statements he’s made over several years of bucking tradition in order to appeal to a broader group of potential Catholic followers. In the letter addressed to bishops, they say their leader’s actions have caused “one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church.”

We are addressing this letter to you for two reasons: first, to accuse Pope Francis of the canonical delict of heresy, and second, to request that you take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation of a heretical pope.

We take 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

We do not accuse him of having committed the delict of heresy on every occasion upon which he has seemed to publicly contradict a truth of the faith. 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.

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8 comments on “Pope Francis Guilty of “Heresy,” Catholic Scholars Claim in “Historic” Letter

  • This isn’t totally new. Topeka, Kansas, has its its own Pope, Pope Michael (aka David Bawden), who has excommunicated the last 3 Popes for heresy; he was elected by a a conclave of six people, including himself, his Mum, and his Dad, in 1990.

    “If everyone is saved, then why be good?” Tickie Bawden, David’s mother, asked.


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  • Weka511 says:

    Pope Michael (aka David Bawden), who has excommunicated the last 3 Popes for heresy; he was elected by a a conclave of six people, including himself, his Mum, and his Dad, in 1990.

     

    “Catholic scholars”?????


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  • 3
    Cairsley says:

    These Catholic scholars have made a case against Pope Francis, accusing him of heresy on grounds of dogmatic theology. If the bishops of the Catholic Church ignore the case that they bring, this letter to them is no more than an interesting indication of the extent to which the conservatives in the church have regained control of theological discussion and have succeeded in suppressing new ideas.

    Pope Francis, along with all the bishops, are not heedless of dogmatic theology, but in their work as bishops their first concern is pastoral theology, which focuses on the needs of the faithful and not-so-faithful, their metaphorical sheep. All the statements and actions to which the signatories of the letter object as proof of the Pope’s heretical status concern pastoral matters, and none of them would have been considered improper in theological discussions back in the 1970s and 1980s, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. The wizening and ossification of the Catholic Church as a result of efforts by conservatives to counteract what they regarded as the excesses of the renewal movement initiated by the said council is now evident in the boldness of these Catholic scholars and their open letter accusing the Pope of heresy.

    Because of the different perspective that bishops and theologians naturally have on account of their different professional concerns, my own guess is that the bishops will consult each other privately about this letter and decide that no action should be taken, other than to warn the Pope privately to back off certain issues in public. Seemliness matters to bishops.

    But there are many bishops who disagree with Pope Francis’s attempts to render Catholic theology more flexible in cases of pastoral concerns, such as civilly remarried divorcees; so it is possible, albeit unlikely, that some bishops may attempt to take some action or proceeding against the Pope in response to this letter. If that does happen, then there will indeed be quite a scandal, for the world will see how divided the leaders of the “one true church” actually are.


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  • 4
    Michael 100 says:

    Cairsley # 3, well said!!  

     
    Although I don’t think he’s mentioned in this article, I can’t help but wonder if Steve Bannon’s finger prints are to be found someplace on that letter.  See my post dated October 16, 2018 #105.  The article about which I was writing can be found at:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-politics-bannon-catholics/steve-bannon-drafting-curriculum-for-right-wing-catholic-institute-in-italy-idUSKCN1LU176 


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  • 5
    Cairsley says:

    Thanks, Michael. Unfortunately, the link you provided at #4 goes to the Reuters site where the message “Page Not Found” awaited me. I have no idea whether Steve Bannon was involved in bringing about the writing, signing and publishing of the scholars’ accusatory letter, but you may have a finer sense of smell than I on such matters. The scholars in question belong to various disciplines and are situated in various countries, so the question how they came to work together on this letter and publish it may be pertinent to understanding the intent behind it and the possible ulterior purpose it is hoped to serve. Pope Francis is not loved by the plutocrats and their fascistic servants, whereas Mr Bannon is well known for his diligence on their behalf. In the absence of evidence of Mr Bannon’s involvement in the writing of that letter, I can only thank you for alerting people here of that possibility.


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  • 6
    Michael 100 says:

    Cairsley #5:  Technology can be strange sometimes.  Last night when I posted #4, I had gone to the October 2018 post and clicked on the link there – the story opened, so I copied and pasted the link.  But after reading your post in #5, I clicked on the link and got the same result you did. 
    The headline on the Reuters story is:  Steve Bannon Drafting Curriculum for Right-Wing Catholic Institute in Italy.  The story reports that Bannon is working with the director of Dignitatis Humanae Institute, the president of which is Raymond Cardinal Burke “a leading Vatican conservative.”  “Burke told Reuters he looked forward to working with Harnwell [the director of the Institute] and Bannon ‘to promote a number of projects that should make a decisive contribution to the defense of what use to be called Christendom’.”  Bannon “… is helping to draw up the coursework for a training program for conservative Catholic political activists and leaders…”  He is also raising funds for the institute.  Bannon’s and Harnwell’s goal – “to build a populist Movement across Europe that will support far right paties in next year’s European Parliament elections …”  The monastery in which the Institute is located, is large enough to accommodate 250-300 students at a time.  Burke “has been a leading light at the Institute, and an outspoken critic of some policies of the Pope.  “Since Francis’ election in 2013, Burke has led the charge by conservatives who have sharply criticized the Pope, saying he has left many faithful confused by pronouncements that the church should be more welcoming to homosexuals and divorced Catholics and not be obsessed by ‘culture war’ issues such as abortion.”  The story reports that both Burk and Bannon have been meeting with Matteo Salvini, Italy’s far-right deputy prime minister who has ordered Italian ports to stop allowing landings of ships carrying refugees fleeing Middle East strife. 
    I would like to think that Bannon is just some creepy character to whom no one pays attention, but he played a significant part in the election of Trump, and now we learn that he’s gaining influence in Europe, including the Catholic church.  So, when I see conservative catholic scholars opine that the Pope of Rome is a heretic, I must wonder if Bannon isn’t at least fanning the flames for his own purposes.
    Another thing that worries me is that heresy is something we think of as being from the middle ages when people were tortured and burned alive for being heretics.  As Monty Python reminds us: “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”, i.e. what use to be called Christendom.  Bannon obviously wants to build a gate in, if not completely tear down, the wall of separation.

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