The 79 clergy and lay scholars who authored the filial correction list a dozen passages from Amoris Laetitia that they say “serve to propagate seven heretical propositions.”
Included in the list is the “smoking” footnote 351 where the Pope writes that those living in an objective situation of sin can receive the “help of the sacraments” to grow in the life of grace and charity. Many have interpreted this to mean that civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery can receive Holy Communion, and the Pope has endorsed guidelines allowing this. Also included in the list is the text pertaining to couples living in adultery who, the Pope writes, see their situation as “what God himself is asking” of them, despite falling short of the “objective ideal.”
The scholars say that these passages along with a number of “words, deeds and omissions” of the Pope are “serving to propagate heresies within the Church.”
According to the signers, the “words, deeds and omissions” of Pope Francis that promote heresy include:
- Refusing to answer the dubia (five yes-or-no questions) submitted by the four cardinals (two of whom are now deceased) asking him to confirm that Amoris Laetitia does not abolish five teachings of the Catholic faith.
- Forcibly intervening at the 2015 Synod of the Family where he insisted on inserting into a midterm report a proposal (that did not receive sufficient votes) to allow communion for adulterers and a proposal that pastors should emphasize the “positive aspects” of lifestyles the Church considers gravely sinful, including civil remarriage after divorce and premarital cohabitation.
- Endorsing an interpretation of the exhortation by Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn that allows for Holy Communion to be given to adulterers.
The Catholic clergy and lay scholars go on to list seven “false and heretical propositions” which they say Pope Francis “directly or indirectly” upholds through his “words, deeds, and omissions.” These seven propositions, listed below, are summaries of the positions which they attribute to Pope Francis and deem to be heretical.
1) A justified person has not the strength with God’s grace to carry out the objective demands of the divine law, as though any of the commandments of God are impossible for the justified; or as meaning that God’s grace, when it produces justification in an individual, does not invariably and of its nature produce conversion from all serious sin, or is not sufficient for conversion from all serious sin.
2) Christians who have obtained a civil divorce from the spouse to whom they are validly married and have contracted a civil marriage with some other person during the lifetime of their spouse, who live more uxorio [as husband and wife] with their civil partner, and who choose to remain in this state with full knowledge of the nature of their act and full consent of the will to that act, are not necessarily in a state of mortal sin, and can receive sanctifying grace and grow in charity.
3) A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.
4) A person is able, while he obeys a divine prohibition, to sin against God by that very act of obedience.
5) Conscience can truly and rightly judge that sexual acts between persons who have contracted a civil marriage with each other, although one or both of them is sacramentally married to another person, can sometimes be morally right or requested or even commanded by God.
6) Moral principles and moral truths contained in divine revelation and in the natural law do not include negative prohibitions that absolutely forbid particular kinds of action, inasmuch as these are always gravely unlawful on account of their object.
7) Our Lord Jesus Christ wills that the Church abandon her perennial discipline of refusing the Eucharist to the divorced and remarried and of refusing absolution to the divorced and remarried who do not express contrition for their state of life and a firm purpose of amendment with regard to it.
The clergy and scholars state that these “propositions all contradict truths that are divinely revealed, and that Catholics must believe with the assent of divine faith.” They add that it is “necessary” that such heresies be “condemned by the authority of the Church,” on account of the “great and imminent danger” they cause to souls.
A Biblical Precedent
St. Thomas Aquinas taught in Summa Theologiae that faithful Catholics have a duty to correct an erring prelate:
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 the faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Gal. 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.
The signers conclude the letter, writing: “At this critical hour, therefore, we turn to the cathedra veritatis [seat of truth], the Roman Church, which has by divine law pre-eminence over all the churches, and of which we are and intend always to remain loyal children, and we respectfully insist that Your Holiness publicly reject these propositions, thus accomplishing the mandate of our Lord Jesus Christ given to St Peter and through him to all his successors until the end of the world: ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.’” ∎
Pete Baklinski, Lifesite News