Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Sodomite Synod

This state of affairs in the Church reminds me of this quote of a text from 1987 on the purpose of the Sex Education Movement. 
The Sex Education Movement ...has, as one of its key objectives, the promotion of a pansexual or bisexual agenda in which homsexuality and pedophilia play a key and pivotal role. The growing number of homosexual bishops, as well as lesbian nuns, have formed a sixth column within the Church in the United States. Many of these individuals have played important roles in the development and promotion of the new sexual catechetics in parochial schools, which, like the United States Catholic Conference "Sex Education Guidlines" and the Kosnik Report, promote homosexuality and bisexuality as a variation on the norm, not a perversion.  

The Rite of Sodomy:Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church, Randy Engel, New Engel Publishing: Export, Pennsylvania, 2006, ix.

Pope Francis and his minions represent one last sorry attempt to hijack the Church. It's too late. There will not be a Pope Francis II to succeed him! His Papacy will go down in Church history as the last chapter of the flower children generation in the Church. It's their last gasp! obscene and pitiful. Not Catholic.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

John XXIII at The First Roman Synod

From this era, unfortunately, is the perverse attempt to drag authentic veneration to a Pontiff, to a sort of papolatry, idolatry or cult of the person (living or deceased) on the one hand, or even to violent and delegitimizing attacks against a pope that we "don't like" or that doesn't correspond to our canons... on the other, with excesses that don't help to dispel the great confusion of our historical moment. HOLY PRUDENCE has been lost, wisdom, humility and charity have been lost in addressing the reigning Pontiff of our time, Pope Francis because, it must be said, he has an ambiguous magisterium so much so as to have raised for the second time - from saints priests and excellent cardinals who, however, he refuses to listen to fraternally - the legitimate request of some Dubia on some of his statements: READ HERE , while for the “ chronicles of this pontificate ” read here . These Cardinals, but also some Bishops and some priests, teach us how we must intervene when we talk about the Pontiff, how we address him and how we must RESIST the ethical, moral and doctrinal drift we are witnessing.

This brief introduction allows us to remember the true teaching of the Church, PERENNIAL teaching, with absolutely unchangeable dogmas and doctrines... Today we want to remember Pope Saint John XXIII whose optional liturgical memorial falls on October 11th. We want to remember him with his own words and with his own teaching.


First session of the First Roman Synod:

“Dear Brothers and children: we might draw your attention with the breadth of doctrinal and patristic exploration, or drawing on considerations of modern and very modern order and style.
We prefer to thank you for this, and focus on two sources of celestial, evangelical and ecclesiastical doctrine, which are: the teaching of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in their letters and, alongside these two oracles, the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, completed and illustrated by the invaluable Roman Catechism, or Catechism of the Council of Trent, published by Saint Pius V (1566) and republished by the Venetian Pope Clement XIII (1758-1769). Cardinal Agostino Valerio, a friend of Saint Charles Borromeo, called this Catechismus Romanus divinitus datum Ecclesiae (a divine gift to the Church) and we have the opportunity... to recall its very high value for the current use of sacred preaching in parishes, and for those who have little time for profound studies, and also for those who, engaged in these, are anxious for theological, dogmatic and moral precision.

Saying this is also a reminder - please forgive us - of Our joyful and industrious youth, as We have been busy, also for the press, with the widest knowledge of this true and most precious treasure.
«Ad iuvandam rempublicam Christianam, et restituendam veterem Ecclesiae disciplinam nobis divinitus datum esse videtur… (i.e.: To help the Christian republic, and restore the ancient discipline of the Church, it seems that it was divinely given to us … ) — are the words of the ancient Bishop of Verona - vos qui aliquantum aetate processistis (you who are to a certain extent advanced in age) - this is our case and that of the older ones among you - legite bune catechismum, septies et plusquam septies: mirabiles eniyn fructus ex eo percipietis " (or:read the good catechism, seven times and more than seven times: you will receive wonderful results ).”

(John XXIII – Address at the first session of the First Roman Synod – 25 January 1960)

For the Tridentine Catechism, download it in pdf CLICK HERE

AT THE FIRST ROMAN SYNOD – the Constitutions

“The Synod speaks of order, harmony, peace and true enjoyment, because it is true spiritual beauty from down here, a reflection of the ineffable beauties that await us in the celestial regions. And in this light of truth, of discipline, of perfect order, the agreement of the trinomial that we often love to remember returns: lex credendi, lex supplicandi, lex agendi: law of believing, law of praying, law of doing.

This is the golden rule of Catholic life, individual and collective: this is the source of all consolation: the sure path, along which the faithful always reach their goals.

The Church of Christ is a material temple, which multiplies wherever four stones join together to compose an altar. The Church is above all a spiritual temple, where every Christian knows he has his place: he knows he has it, and is aware of his duty to keep it with honour, with dignity, with grace. Blessed is he who understands these things and secures eternal goods by respecting them.

Beloved children, priests and lay people, we are Christians and Catholics. We honor our sacred origins and our religious history and tradition.

We know how to renounce certain sinuosities of our little self, in which we love to hide the deficiencies of our religious culture, certain oddities of our pretentious personal taste of judging everything, what the Authority of the Holy Church, rich in centuries-old experience and maternal wisdom, believes it appropriate to dispose in this way in the relationships of material and external structures, sacred buildings, rites, devotions, but above all in the interpretation of the law of the Lord, marked in the two Testaments and in the magisterium and living ministry of the Universal Shepherd - however humble his person - enlivened by the reality and grace of a promise and divine assistance, which cannot fail in the order of the doctrine of faith and customs.

The lofty words of the great Christian poet always remain true for what is sufficient for the universal salvation from the octopus of innumerable errors, which roam the world and seduce the unwary:
If evil greed calls for something else to you - Be men and not mad sheep. (Dante, Paradiso, V, 80-81)
The invitation: be men and not crazy sheep, fed by the wind, becomes a warning for general correction.”

(John XXIII – Allocution for the Sacred Constitutions of the First Roman Synod – 28 June 1960)


"Having arrived at this reality of human and Christian life, it may seem strange that after two thousand years of religious experience and of the Gospel spread and lived, there are still those who have the courage to tell us that the entire history of the Catholic Church ., that all of Christianity is nothing but the continuation of a great fable over the life of the world, which it is necessary to dispel, in order to do everything again.

Let us leave these deluded people to their apparent naivety, and let us prepare to continue the exercise of hope, unconquered because it is the security of the word of the Lord regarding us for which the great final comfort is reserved, and to the great disappointment of the unbelievers for the definitive inanity of their efforts: along the way perhaps it will be convenient for us to suffer some pressure from them. (..)

Dear Brothers and children, let us help our very good, zealous and peaceful clergy to sanctify themselves, so that the blessing of the Lord corresponds to their efforts and may be poured out on all families for the distinguished, industrious and beneficial priestly work.

Today, Sunday 31 January, is the liturgical commemoration of Saint John Bosco. This name is a poem of grace and apostolate: from a small village in Piedmont it brought the glory and successes of Christ's charity to the farthest reaches of the world.”

(John XXIII – Solemn closing address of the First Roman Synod – 31 January 1960

“Complacency is followed by admonition, in relation to what God expects from each of you, for the country from which you come, or for the one to which He himself will have you give your life.

A priestly action can never serve to spiritually dominate the world, if not to a triple condition of moral elevation, on which the glory of every missionary and the triumph, renewed over the centuries, of truth and grace in the Catholic Church are intertwined.

Dear young people! You read in Our heart, more than Our lips can tell you.

What constitutes the uncontaminated glory of the Catholic priesthood, anywhere on earth, and in all the services of the good apostolate, especially now, and undoubtedly in the future, is this: the immaculate life, that is: the purity of the mind and of the heart; the spirit of meekness and humility; the perennial and pure flame of action and sacrifice.

a) Do not let yourselves be informed or seduced by any wind of doctrine, nor by any aura that takes anything away from the integrity of this teaching, which is at the beginning of every other. Any concession on this point, or even a slight compromise, is always a deception and disappointment.
Ah! dear children: how sad is the fate of withered flowers! The perfume, the general edification, and almost the veneration of the people were expected from them. And instead a gust of wind and storm destroyed everything. Unhappy is youth when this flower is wasted: and how the step of one who did not honor the great promise of his total consecration to God is dragged on with difficulty and with pain, even for long years!!”

(John XXIII at the Urban College of Propaganda Fide 30.11.1958)

“The priest is first and foremost a man of God, « vir Dei ». This is how the Christian people think and judge you, this is how the Lord wants you. Therefore try to conform your life to those pure thoughts that this definition in itself arouses in your heart. By saying man of God, everything that is not God is excluded from the priest. (..) May your life therefore be impregnated with the good scent of Christ, in ardent love for Him, who guides us to the Father. This is the true basis of a priestly life full of intimate peace and irresistible enchantment for souls. (..)

May Jesus Christ be your only friend and consoler, in the vigils before the Tabernacle, or at the study table, in the care of the poor and the sick, in the ministry of sacred preaching. Seek Him alone, considering human things in His light, to win them over to Him. Take upon yourself His gentle yoke and light weight, practicing the virtues proper to every consecrated life: dedication to the Lord and to souls, sleepless work for the Church, exercise of the fourteen works of mercy, prompt and sincere obedience to the Bishop, respect full of virile tenderness for holy things.

Jesus is not found in a dissipated life, even if the most sacrosanct reasons of the ministry were invoked.(..)

Souls seek the word of Christ, and the priest must communicate it to them in its integrity and freshness.(..)

In communicating these thoughts to you, a great example rises to our and your gaze, in the radiant figure of the Holy Parish Priest of Ars, who truly lived, outside of every pose and every rhetoric, the ideals of priestly life . He was a man of God: he loved the Altar and the pure sources of Revelation, he touched souls with the mystical rod of purification, and actively cooperated in their salvation.

It has been said that the graces of conversion obtained through the prayers and above all through the Holy Mass of Curé Vianney will never be known. And his simple and convinced preaching reached everyone's hearts, to work wonders of grace - while once upon a time he had been judged to be lacking in intellectual gifts! What more convincing proof is there that it is not human resources that conquer souls, but only the virtue of God, which works through his docile instruments?”

(John XXIII to the Priests gathered for the First Centenary of the Transit of Saint John Mary Vianney – 12 March 1959)

“Venerable Brothers and beloved sons,

The initial note for this second conversation is offered to us by the Acts of the Council of Trent, right from the first chapter de reforme of Session XXII. They are points of doctrine and practical guidelines of conduct that are familiar to us from our seminary years, and which we still retain and repeat by heart. 
"Nothing is more effective in encouraging piety and the worship of God in the Christian people than the life and example of those who have dedicated themselves to the divine ministry." By being relieved from the cares of the century and placed on high, priests are seen by all, and sought as a reason for edification and example. (..)

Allow us, Venerable Brothers and beloved sons, to mention some of these virtues in reference to three characteristic elements of the human person and priestly dignity, that is, the head, the heart, the tongue.

And let's start from the head: understand first.

It is from the head that the doctrine, the judgement, the good judgment of the man of the Church, who is the priest of Christ, are measured. (..)

Today more than ever the need for good cultivation is evident. The ignorant, the incapable cannot and must not be ordained a priest. Seminars, Synods, Councils, Pontifical Constitutions, doctrine of the Fathers and theologians, require the application of the head, and with this the splendor of the doctrine.

Therefore, you must study and study all your life. The object of ever new studies will never be lacking.

However, it is equally serious, in the choice of studies and books, to proceed with caution: since not all are good, not all are perfect in terms of conformity to the pure doctrine of the Gospel, and of the most well-known and certain interpreters of Christian teaching.

Every good priest must be able to bear witness to this teaching more faithfully. And it is in this task that everyone's good judgment and value are measured. The overabundance of literary production in every sector of human knowledge often becomes a temptation to intellectual drift, to bizarre and dangerous positions, towards which those who lack experience run, and are easily and quickly led to trust in themselves.

The knowledge of the Sacred Books: Old-New Testament: of the Fathers and of the great masters of philosophy and theology, Prince Aquinas: liturgical science and its application, a truly delightful garden with the most fragrant and majestic flowers and trees: and thirdly, the knowledge and practice of the general legislation of the Code of Canon Law placed at the service of the social order, both internally, or in the diocesan administration, as in relations with the external world, constitute the three sources of doctrine, of discipline and of sanctification, from which the robust and square heads of the best priests rise, becoming true and noble servants of the Holy Church and of souls.

And now, come on. head, Venerable Brothers and beloved children, let us move on to the heart.

When it is said of a priest: he is a man of heart: this is the first happy note that begins a eulogy in which ordinarily many people easily join. And he often joins in to the point of forgiving even some exuberance of less adjusted and appropriate head movements. Much credence is also given to what was written, with the authority of a man of letters rather than a philosopher and moralist, and is widely applied, that often "the heart has its reasons that reason does not know". Now the dignity of our ministry tells us not to take this lightly.

Even the reasons of the heart must be studied and justified or corrected.

The heart of a priest must be filled with love, just as his head must be shining with truth and doctrine.
Love of Jesus, ardent, pious, vibrant and open to all those outpourings of mystical intimacy that make the exercise of priestly piety and prayer so attractive: both the official prayer of the universal Church and that of well-chosen and followed private forms , and to which being able to abandon oneself is a delight and tasty and solid nourishment of the spirit; it is a perennial source of courage, of comfort amidst the difficulties, sometimes amidst the harshness of life and of priestly and pastoral ministry.

Love of the Holy Church and of souls, especially those entrusted to our care and our most sacred responsibilities: souls belonging to all social classes; but, with particular interest and concern, the souls of sinners, of the poor of every kind, of those who fall under the enumeration of the works of mercy, bringing the inspiration of evangelical charity to all relationships.
And so here we are at the third point of observation – THE LANGUAGE – which we proposed to touch on in reference to the commitment of our priestly sanctification. Oh! what words.

Oh! what a lesson to everyone, but particularly to the clergy.

It is therefore no longer a question of the head or the heart, but of the tongue.

We are always in the doctrine or order of charity: but with special reference to the gift given by God to man to transmit to heaven and earth in a resounding voice what is the interiority of the spirit.

«Be of one mind - wrote Saint Peter from Rome to the distant faithful of ancient Asia Minor which is present Anatolia - be all of one mind, compassionate, lovers of brothers, merciful, modest, humble: do not return evil for evil, nor curse for curse : instead bless, because you were called to do this, that is, to possess the blessing as an inheritance. Whoever loves life and wants to enjoy happy days, let him restrain his tongue from evil, and let his lips not tell lies. Flee from evil and do good; seek peace and follow it because the eyes of the Lord are turned upon the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers. However, the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" [1Pt.3,8-12].

Ah! Brothers and children: do not be dismayed by what we are about to say.

We have the impression that, on the point of governing the language, we all more or less sin a little: and that knowing how to remain silent and knowing how to speak in good time and well is a sign of great wisdom and great priestly perfection.

In a beautiful volume, which reveals the spiritual intimacies of Our great Predecessor Pius never harm anyone, and when he happened to hear others say it, even in an intimate conversation, he would turn everything into a benign interpretation, or immediately stop the topic.

May the long practice of life teach everyone that for the happiness of our spirit it is much more beneficial to see the good in things and dwell on it, than to look for the bad and the defective, and underline it lightly, worse if with malice.

We know the teaching of Saint Peter in this regard.

The Apostle Paul is even stronger: there is no need to quote him here. Above all, the language of St. James is energetic, which in describing the miseries and damages of too much speaking against the truth and against charity, surpasses all comparisons. The text of his Catholic epistle would deserve to be learned by heart on this point and engraved on the walls of ecclesiastics' homes:

«Nolite multiple magistri fieri, fratres mei, scientes quoniam maius iudicìum sumitis. In multis enim offendimus omnes. Si quis in verbo non offendit, hic perfectus est vir: potest etiam brake circumducere totum corpus… Lingua modicum quidem membrum est, et magna exaltat. Ecce quantus ignis, quam magnam silvam incendit !

Et lingua ignis est, unìversitas iniquitatis. Language constituted in memberis nostris, quae maculat totum corpus, et inflammat rotam nativitatis nostrae, inflamed in gehenna. Omnis enim natura bestiarum et volucrum et serpentium et caeterorum domantur, et domita sunt a natura humana inguam autem nullus hominum tamare postet, inquietum malum, full poisonous poison. In ipsa benedicimus Deum et Patrem, et in ipsa maledicimus omnes, qui ad similitudem Dei facts sunt. Ex ipso ore procedit benedictio et maledictio. Do not oportet, my brothers, haec ita fieri…

Quis sapiens et disciplinatus inter vos? He demonstrated ex bona conversatione operationem suam in meekness sapientiae.

Quod si zelum amarum habetis, et contentiones sint in cordibus vestris; nolite Gloriari, et mendaces esse adversus veritatem.

Non est enim ista sapientia desursum descendens, sed terrena, animalis, diabolica. Ubi enim zelus et contentio, ibi inconstantia et omne opus pravum.

What autem desursum est sapientia, primum quidem pudica est, deinde pacifica, modesta, suadibilis, bonis consenteens, full mercy et fructibus bonis, non iudicans, sine simulatione. Fructus autem iustitiae in pace seminatur, facientibus pacem »

( translation )

“Become no more teachers, my brothers, knowing that you will receive greater judgment. Because we all stumble over many things. If one does not stumble over words, he is a perfect man: he can also keep his whole body under bridle. Look how big the fire is, how big the burning forest is! And it is a tongue of fire, a university of iniquity.

In our members the tongue is established, which stains the whole body, and inflames the wheel of our birth, set on fire by hell. For all species of animals, birds, serpents and other animals are tamed and are tamed by human nature; In it we bless God and the Father, and in it we curse all who are made in the likeness of God.

Blessings and curses come from his mouth. It is not necessary, my brothers, for these things to happen in this way... Who is wise and disciplined among you?

Show by your good conduct that he acts in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have a bitter zeal and there are discords in your hearts; do not boast or be a liar against the truth. Because this wisdom is not that which descends from above, but earthly, animal, diabolical. Because where there is jealousy and contention, there is inconstancy and every wrong work.

But that which is wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceful, modest, persuasive, consenting to goods, full of compassion and good fruits, non-judgmental, without pretensions. But the fruit of justice is sown in peace, by those who make peace"

What we were able to say, to listen, to reflect, led us to better appreciate the substance of the words of the Tridentine: Levia etiam delieta quae in ipsis maxima essent, effugiant: ut eorum actiones cunctis afferant venerationem (i.e.: Even the most destructive read, which were the greatest in them, escape: so that their actions bring reverence to all).

This is the sublime ideality of the Christian priesthood: to arouse edification and veneration among the people, in the light of Christ.

May it truly be so for each and all of you, my beloved Brothers and children, now and forever.”
(John XXIII – Address to the second session of the First Roman Synod – 26 January 1960)

Monday, October 9, 2023

A Prayer of Faith for the Faithful: Newman

May we be in the number of those who, with the Blessed Apostle [Peter]...employ all the powers of their minds to the service of their Lord and Saviour, who are drawn heavenward by His wonder-working grace, whose hearts are filled with His love, who reason in His fear, who seek Him in the way of His commandments, and who thereby believe on Him to the saving of their souls!

Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman, "Sermon XIII, Implicit and Explicit Reason," preached on Saint Peter's Day, 1840 in Fifteen Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford Between A.D. 1826 and 1843, Longmans, Green and Co.: London, 1896, 277.

Happy Feast of Saint John Henry Newman!

Friday, October 6, 2023

Cardinal Burke on the Synod

The World Over, October 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2qqnikZO2Y

Italian Lecture: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Burke+%C2%ABLa+sinodalit%C3%A0+contraddice+la+vera+identit%C3%A0+della+Chiesa%C2%BB&sp=CAI%253D

Inexplicably, Blogger does not let me upload any of the Burke lecture sites. Clicking on the links above does get you there, for now.

Below is the full transcript of Cardinal Burke's lecture.

La Nuova Bussola Daily

International Conference “The Synodal Tower of Babel”
Teatro Ghione, Via delle Fornaci 37, Rome
October 3, 2023

Synodality Versus the True Identity of the Church as a Hierarchical Communion

I would first like to thank the organizers of this conference, in particular Riccardo Cascioli, as well as the entire team of La Nuova Bussola Quotidianafor giving us today the opportunity to deal with subjects which are of the greatest importance for each of us, because they touch on the most fundamental good of our Blessed Mother all, the Catholic Church, the mystical Body of Christ who alone is the Savior of the world. I would like to particularly thank Father Gerald Murray and Professor Stefano Fontana for the essential reflections they presented to us today. They have just exposed, I would say unmasked, in a very convincing manner, the philosophical, canonical and theological errors, today widely spread, concerning the Synod of Bishops and its next session entitled "For a synodal Church: communion - participation - assignment ".

I would like to begin by recommending for your reading the book by Julio Loredo and José Antonio Ureta, The Synodal Process: A Pandora's Box. 100 questions and 100 answers , available in Italian and many other languages. The serene and profound study which underlies this book offers very valuable help in confronting the widespread confusion reigning around the session of the Synod of Bishops which will open tomorrow.

Professor Fontana declared: “The new synodality, considered according to its own categories of time, practice and procedure, is the final moment of a long journey which has encompassed all of modernity. » By drawing our attention to the philosophical sources of so-called synodality, he unmasks its worldliness. This is why our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is our Savior, is neither the root nor the center of synodality. This is why the divine nature of the Church in its foundation and in its organic and lasting life is left aside and, to tell the truth, forgotten.

The Holy Spirit is very often invoked in the perspective of the synod. The whole synodal process is presented as a work of the Holy Spirit which will guide all the members of the synod, but there is not a single word about the obedience due to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit which is always consistent with the truth of the perennial doctrine and the goodness of the perennial discipline that He has inspired over the centuries. It is unfortunately quite clear that the invocation, by some, of the Holy Spirit is intended to advance an agenda that is more political and human than ecclesial and divine. The program of the Church is one, it is the pursuit of the common good of the Church, that is to say the salvation of souls, the salus animarum , which “in Ecclesia suprema semper lex esse debet”[“must always be the supreme law of the Church”].

The Synod on “synodality” follows some widespread perspectives in the Church today, which have also been exemplified by the recent reconstruction of the Roman Curia by means of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium . This mainly emphasizes the missionary nature and the synodality of the Church as being the “characteristics” [marks], the “essential features” of ecclesial life, and seems to derive the structure of the Roman Curia from this point of view. departure. But, as we profess in the Creed and as the dogmatic Constitution of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on the Church, Lumen Gentium, teaches, the Holy Mother Church is, in its characteristics, in its essential characters, "one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

The confusion that reigns in the fields of theology, morality and even elementary philosophy is fueled by a significant lack of clarity in the vocabulary used, and this is probably intended by some. We are witnessing a semantic shift in certain words or expressions, which makes the Church's teaching on certain points incomprehensible. I could cite the expression “mercy of God”, for example. But sometimes new words are thrown around or exaggerated without a clear definition, as is the case with the word synodality. In such a state of confusion about the essential characteristics of the Church, there is a risk of losing the identity of the Church, and our identity as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, as branches of the "true vine” which is Christ, whose Eternal Father “is the vinedresser”.

Since these concepts take a central place and are not clearly defined, the door is open to all those who want to interpret them in a way that breaks with the constant teaching of the Church on the subject. Indeed, the history of the Church teaches us that the resolution of the most serious crises, such as the Arian crisis, always begins with great precision in the vocabulary and concepts used.

Let us return to the essential characteristics of the Church that Praedicate Evangelium proposes to better understand the direction that the synod is taking: the missionary nature and synodality . These are two characteristics in a sense known, but their elevation to the rank of essential characteristics of the Church and, consequently, fundamental criteria for the restructuring of the Roman Curia – and now, through this synod, essential characteristics of the entire universal Church – leads to ambiguities and misunderstandings that need to be recognized and dispelled.

It is legitimate to say that the entire Church is missionary. All the faithful are called, according to their vocation and their personal gifts, to bear witness to Christ in the world. But to bear witness to Christ, the faithful need to encounter him living in the Church through Holy Tradition, which is doctrinal, liturgical and disciplinary. They need good shepherds – the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him, as well as the priests, the bishops' main collaborators – who guide them towards Christ and who safeguard life in Christ for them, in particular through teaching of sound doctrine and good morality and, in a more perfect and more complete way, through the holy liturgy, the worship of God “in spirit and in truth”. Indeed, it is the teaching of truth and divine worship “in spirit and in truth” that promotes the growth of life in Christ of each believer and of the entire Church. As Saint Paul teaches us, in the Church, “we must no longer be children tossed about and we must no longer be carried away by every wind of doctrine, by the malice of men, by the seductive artifices of the error”, but that, “practicing the truth in charity, we grow in all respects in him who is the head, Christ”.

According to the constant teaching of the Church, Christ established the Petrine Office so that all bishops, and therefore all the faithful, are united in the faith. The Second Vatican Council, in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, declared that "so that the episcopate itself was one and undivided, it placed Saint Peter at the head of the other Apostles, establishing, in his person, a perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of faith and communion.” Here is how the Council defines the Petrine Office: “The Roman pontiff, as successor to Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and the foundation of the unity which binds together either the bishops or the multitude of the faithful. »

The Roman Curia is the main instrument of the Roman Pontiff in his irreplaceable service to the universal Church. In the words of the Fathers of the Council: “In the exercise of his supreme, plenary and immediate power over the universal Church, the Roman Pontiff uses the dicasteries of the Roman Curia; it is therefore in his name and by his authority that they fulfill their task for the good of the Churches and the service of the sacred pastors. » The successor of Saint Peter, through the Roman Curia, helps the bishops to carry out their fundamental service, which the Council describes in these terms: “All bishops, in fact, must promote and serve the unity of the faith and the common discipline of the whole Church, to form the faithful in love towards the whole Mystical Body of Christ, especially towards its poor members, suffering, and towards those who suffer persecution for the sake of justice (cf. Mt 5:10), they must finally promote all the activity which is common to the whole Church, especially with a view to the progress of the faith and for may the light of the full truth dawn on all men. »

The missionary nature of the Church is the fruit of this unity of doctrine, liturgy and discipline; it is the fruit of the living Christ who is in the Church, in the members of his mystical Body of which He is the head. It is Christ alone who is proclaimed and preached to all nations so that many may be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the mission of the Church entrusted to it by the Lord:

“All power has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth. Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, even to the consummation of the ages.»

Christ's mission is prior to all missionary activity, to any characteristic of missionary nature. In reality, the missionary nature is only a manifestation of the living presence of Christ in the Church to make "disciples of all nations", the Christ who remains always alive in the Church "until the consummation centuries ".

Synodality, as an abstract term, is a neologism in doctrine relating to the Church. It is well known that the Second Vatican Council wanted to avoid the abstract terms of conciliarity and collegiality, which are not found in the conciliar texts. We must assume that the Council itself would have sought to avoid an abstract term like that of synodality, had it only known about it.

Canonical tradition knows the institution of the Synod as an instrument responsible for advising sacred pastors; the Church is not described as synodal, but on the contrary as hierarchical communion. It is the pastors within the communion safeguarded and strengthened by the Petrine Office, that is to say the hierarchy, who have responsibility for the doctrinal, liturgical and moral conduct of the Church. The synod is an aid offered to pastors so that they can carry out their service. It never replaces and cannot replace the pastoral office desired and instituted by Christ himself.

The Synod of Bishops is described as “the meeting of Bishops who, (…) gather at fixed times in order to promote the close union between the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops and to help the Roman Pontiff with his advice for the maintenance and the progress of faith and morals, to preserve and strengthen ecclesiastical discipline, and also to study questions concerning the action of the Church in the world. » Father Murray masterfully reminded us of the nature of the Synod of Bishops, according to canon 342 of the Code of Canon Law which I have just cited.

I will simply add that, in the same vein, the diocesan synod is described as "the meeting of delegates of priests and other faithful of the particular Church who provide their assistance to the diocesan Bishop for the good of the entire diocesan community. The synod, as a canonical institute, designates one solemn means among several others by which all the faithful, by their vocation and by means of their talents, help their sacred pastors to fulfill their responsibilities as true masters of the faith. Canon 212 of the Code of Canon Law, which has its original source in the Lord's teaching on fraternal correction, provides the norms that govern the relationships between sacred pastors and the faithful within the hierarchical communion of the Church. Among these modes,

I would now like to share with you some thoughts that I presented to the other venerable confreres of the College of Cardinals during the meeting of Cardinals a little over a year ago. They concern more directly the structure of the Roman Curia, but they are very closely related to our subject.

The missionary nature and synodality as qualities, and not as “attributes” or “essential characteristics” [marks] of ecclesial life, do not change the nature of the Petrine Office or the service rendered by the Roman Curia to the Successor of Peter as a “perpetual and visible foundation of unity of faith and communion”. In fact, they presuppose the Petrine Office assisted by the Roman Curia. In light of the above, here are some observations.

First of all. The Apostolic Constitution insists that the Roman Curia “is at the service of the Pope, Successor of Peter, and of the bishops, successors of the apostles”. But the service of the Roman Curia relates to the successor of Saint Peter. By serving the Roman Pontiff, the Roman Curia also serves the bishops in their relationship with the Pope. It is unrealistic to demand that the Roman Curia serve all bishops. In reality, they have their own curies to help them fulfill their responsibilities as true pastors. In this, the distinct service of the successor of Saint Peter must remain clearly perceptible.

At the same time, defining the Roman Curia as serving individual bishops would risk leading to a worldly view of the Church in which particular Churches are branches or subsidiaries of the Church of Rome, all served by the same Roman Curia. This would be a distortion of the relationship of the Successor of Peter with the bishops.

Secondly. Using the term dicastery , as a generic secular term, taken from Roman law, for the various offices of different nature within the Roman Curia, does not sufficiently express the aspect of hierarchical communion inherent in the treatment of doctrinal, liturgical issues. , educational, missionary, etc. and does not express the real difference, not of rank (all dicasteries are legally equal), but of subject matter and competence.

Thirdly. It seems right to return to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in one form or another, at the latest during the next phase of implementation of the Apostolic Constitution, the first place among all the Congregations of the Roman Curia, by virtue of its mission which is "to assist the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the world, by promoting and safeguarding the integrity of the Catholic doctrine on the faith and the morals, drawing on the deposit of faith and seeking to deepen it ever more in the face of new questions. »

Fourth. It would be important to put at the forefront of the qualities required of Officers and Consultors, sound doctrine and consistency with regard to sound ecclesiastical discipline.

It does not seem necessary to me to go into detail to understand that the synod which will open tomorrow is nothing other than the direct extension of what has already been set out in the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium. It is therefore strange to say the least to say that we do not know in which direction the synod will go, when it is so obvious that what is sought is to profoundly modify the hierarchical constitution of the Church. A similar process was employed in the Church of Germany to achieve the same, and so nefarious, goal.

We often hear that this insistence on the synodality of the Church is nothing other than the reappropriation of an ecclesial characteristic that the Eastern Church has always preserved. I have regular contact with Eastern bishops and priests, both Catholic and Orthodox, who have all told me that the way the current synod is organized has nothing to do with Eastern synods. This applies not only with regard to the place of lay people in these assemblies, but also, more generally, with regard to their mode of operation and even the questions they address. There is confusion around the term synodality, which we artificially try to link to an Eastern practice, when in reality it has all the characteristics of a recent invention, particularly concerning the laity.

Such a change in the Church's understanding of itself further results in the weakening of moral teaching as well as discipline in the Church. I will not dwell on these points, the dramatic nature of which is known to everyone: moral theology has lost all its bearings. It is urgent to consider the moral act in its entirety, and not only in its subjective aspect. The upcoming anniversary of the publication of Veritatis Splendor can help us in this. I welcome and encourage the initiatives that I have learned about on this subject. The commandments of the Decalogue are and will remain valid as they always have been, throughout time, simply because they are inherent in human nature.

Taking into account everything that I have observed and that we are delving into in our meeting today, I presented during the summer, with four other cardinals, Their Eminences Card. Walter Brandmüller, Card. Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Card. Robert Sarah and Card. Joseph Zen, all from different continents, from the dubia to the Sovereign Pontiff in order to clarify a certain number of fundamental points relating to the deposit of faith which are today called into question, particularly in the context of what we call synodality. Many brothers in the episcopate and in the College of Cardinals support this initiative, even if they do not appear in the official list of signatories.

Il Giornale today published an article by Vatican journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona on the dubia submitted to Pope Francis. At the end of the article, he cites comments on dubia from “two synod fathers” he interviewed. I quote their comment:

We are sorry, the times of the Church are not those of these brothers! They cannot dictate the agenda to the Pope, let alone inflicting injury and undermining the unity of the Church. But we are now used to it: they only want to hit Francis.

These comments reveal the state of confusion, error and division that permeates the session of the Synod of Bishops which begins tomorrow. The five dubias deal exclusively with the enduring doctrine and discipline of the Church, and not with a program of the pope. They do not deal with past “times”. The language used is very indicative of a worldly view. The dubia do not deal with the person of the Holy Father either. On the contrary, they are by their very nature the expression of a just veneration of the Petrine Office and of the successor of Saint Peter.

These comments appear to reflect a fundamental error recently expressed by the new Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith in an interview he gave to Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register . During this interview, he declared that beyond the deposit of faith, the Roman pontiff enjoys a “living and active gift” which translates into what he calls “the doctrine of the Holy Father” . He even accuses of heresy and schism those who criticize this “doctrine of the Holy Father”.

But the Church has never taught that the Roman Pontiff had the special gift of constituting his own doctrine. The Holy Father is the first master of the deposit of faith, which is in itself always alive and dynamic. This is what the dogmatic Constitution of Divina Revelatione Dei verbum of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council teaches:

Holy Tradition and Holy Scripture constitute a unique sacred deposit of the Word of God, entrusted to the Church; by clinging to him, the entire holy people united with their pastors remain assiduously faithful to the teaching of the Apostles and to fraternal communion, to the breaking of bread and to prayers (cf. Acts 2:42 Greek), if although, for the maintenance, practice and profession of the transmitted faith, a remarkable agreement is established between pastors and faithful.

It is essential to reflect on the seriousness of the situation of the Church when the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith accuses of heresy and schism those who ask the Holy Father to exercise the Petrine Office to safeguard and promote the Depositum Fidei.

We are told that the Church which we profess, in communion with our ancestors in the faith since the time of the Apostles, to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, must now be defined by synodality, a term which does not has no history in Church doctrine and of which there is no reasonable definition. It is clearly an artificial construction, which resembles a human construction more than the Church built on the rock that is Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 10, 4). The Instrumentum Laborisof the next session of the Synod of Bishops undoubtedly contains statements which deviate in a striking and serious manner from the perennial teaching of the Church. First, we must publicly reaffirm our faith. In this, bishops have the duty to confirm their brothers. Today's bishops and cardinals need a lot of courage to confront the serious errors that come from within the Church itself. The sheep are dependent on the courage of the shepherds who must protect them from the poison of confusion, error and division.

However, I would like to conclude by urging you to pray for help from Heaven against all the powers, human and preternatural, who dream of the destruction of the Church. No prevail ! We know that good is always held in esteem in God's eyes and will be justly rewarded, just as evil will be punished. Many young people are aware of this and seek to live, with the support of the sacraments, an authentic life of Faith, Hope and Charity; to live ever more fully in Christ, with a heart that offers itself ever more, with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to her Sacred Heart. This is where the true future of the Church clearly lies, the only one that will truly bear fruit (cf. Mt 7:15-17).

Today, good Christians must be prepared to suffer the white martyrdom of incomprehension, rejection and persecution, and sometimes the red martyrdom of bloodshed, in order to be faithful witnesses of Christ, his “cooperators in the truth.” Although the current confusion is particularly great, and even of historical importance, not to say unprecedented, we cannot believe that the situation is irreversible. As I just said, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. The Lord has promised to remain with us in the Church “until the consummation of the ages.” He does not lie. He is always faithful to his promises. We can always trust the Lord who lives for us in the Church. And it is certain that we must never abandon the Lord, but remain with him in the Church which is his mystical Body. We must always remain branches firmly united to the vine that is the Lord. However, it is clear that many souls take the path to perdition because of this confusion, which is why we must pray a lot and act to dissipate it as quickly as possible.

Let us invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary, in particular her Immaculate Heart, Saint Joseph, Protector of the Holy Church, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, so that each of us remains faithful to Christ and to His Church, One, Holy , Catholic and Apostolic, the Holy Roman Church; and that the Church itself, without stain or wrinkle, can free itself as quickly as possible from the current state of confusion and division to shorten these times when the risk of loss of souls is great. Salus animarum “in Ecclesia suprema semper lex esse debet”.

Thank you for your attention. May God always bless you and your homes, and may the Virgin Mother of God, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul and all the saints guide you and protect your path.

Raymond Leo Cardinal BURKE

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Cardinal Zen Letter to Synod Fathers

Dear Eminence, Dear Excellency,

I am your confrere Joseph Zen from the far-off island of Hong Kong, a 91-year old man, ordained bishop more than 26 years ago. I write this letter because, conscious of being still in possession of my mental faculties, I feel duty-bound to safeguard, as a member of the College of Successors of the Apostles, the sacred tradition of Catholic faith.

I address this letter to you, members of the coming Synod on Synodality, supposing that you are as worried as I am about the outcome of this Synod.

Synodality is a rather new term; from its etymology we can understand that itis a matter of a certain spirit, of “conversing together and walking together”; for the Catholic Church this term means “communion and participation of all the members of the Church in the mission of evangelization”. Understood in this way, the theme of this Synod appears to be useful and ever actual. The Synod will offer the opportunity to clarify how we must live synodality in the Church.

Now there is a very recent document entitled “Synodality in the life and mission of the Church”. It is the fruit of the labours (in the years 2014-2017) of a sub- commission of the International Theological Commission, whose ex-officio chairman is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The sub-commission completed its work in 2017; the text was approved by the Commission in its plenary session of that year and was finally signed by the Prefect of the Congregation in 2018, with the favourable assent of Pope Francis.

This document, in its first part, begins with the historical facts of Synods and Councils (the meaning of the two terms is convergent), in particular the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), the paradigmatic figure of the Synods celebrated by the Church.

The description of that Synod in paragraphs 20-21 of that document can be summarized as follows: In the spreading of the Gospel, a problem emerges: whether non-Hebrews, to become members of the Church of Jesus, should pass or not through the circumcision and the acceptance of the Law of Moses. The problem, acutely felt in Antioch, is referred to the Church in Jerusalem, which in its totality takes part in the development of the Council to solve the problem. “The initial diversity of opinions and the lively discussion, in the light of the prophetic word (see Amos 9:11-12), in the reciprocal listening to the Holy Spirit through the witness to his work (see Acts 15:14- 18), reached that consensus and unanimity which is the fruit of community discernment”. The Apostles and the Elders communicated the conclusions of the Council to the Churches with a letter in which it is said: “The Holy Spirit and we have decided”.

In paragraph 5 of the Commission’s document, it is said: “The novelty of the term ’synodality’ demands a careful assessment of its theological significance”. In paragraph 7, it is said: “While the concept of synodality points to the participation of the whole people of God, [...] the concept of collegiality expresses with precision the theological significance and the form of exercise of the ministry of bishops [...] through the hierarchical communion of the episcopal college with the bishop of Rome”, A little later it says: “Every authentic manifestation of synodality by its very nature demands the exercise of the collegial ministry of bishops”.

In its second part, the document proposes the theological foundations of this doctrine which are found especially in “Lumen gentium,” where Vatican Il specifies that, at the service of the people of God, in which all are priests and prophets, there is a ordained, ministerial priesthood, that serves the people of God, guiding it with the service of authority.

I have been not a little surprised when, reading the wordy documents emanating from the Synod Secretariat, I have found very few references to the above-mentioned document.

But there is more:

1. I am confounded by the fact that, on the one hand, I am told that synodality is a constitutive element of the Church, but, on the other hand, I am told that this is what God expects from us for this century (as a novelty?). How can God have forgotten to make his Church live out this constitutive element in the 20 centuries of her existence? Do we not confess that the Church is one, holy, catholic, apostolic, intending by this that she has also been all along synodal?

2. Even greater confusion and worry I feel when I see the suggestion being made that finally the day has come to overturn the pyramid, that is, with the hierarchy surmounted by the lay people. In the Preparatory Document, from the very beginning, it is said clearly that, for a synodal Church, it is necessary to re-establish democracy.

3. Worry to worry is added for me when I note that, while this Synod (presented as a thing without precedents) was being convoked, there was already under way in Germany the so called “synodal path” in which, with a strangely complacent “mea culpa” for sexual abuses in the Church, the hierarchy and a group of lay people (Central Committee of German Catholics ZdK, it is not clear how representative it is, but we come to know that most of the group are Church employees) propose a revolutionary change in the constitution of the Church and in the moral teaching about sexuality. More than a hundred Cardinals and Bishops from all over the world have written a letter of admonishment to the German bishops, but the latter have not acknowledged their error.

The Pope has never ordered that this process of the Church in Germany to stop. On the occasion of their visit “ad limina”, it is known that the Pope dialogued for two hours with the German bishops, but the speech of the Pope, normally published in the Osservatore Romano in such visits, was not published. Instead, the Osservatore Romano published the speech of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, who asked the German bishops not to proceed with their synodal path, but to wait, instead, for the conclusions of the Synod on Synodality. A clear refusal was what he received, “because”, they said, “it is pastorally urgent to proceed” (!?).

An alarming symptom is the ongoing numerical decrease of Catholic faithful in Germany. According to official data, the decrease has been of more than half a million in 2022. The Church in Germany is dying.

This reminds us of the painful misadventure of the Church in The Netherlands. From the peak of constituting the 40% of national population, today she has fallen to an almost complete disappearance. It is not difficult to see the cause of this: a movement, almost identical to the one in act in today’s Germany, that in Holland began almost immediately after Vatican Il.

I think it is not out of place to mention here the great schism that is threatening the Anglican Communion. The archbishops of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) have written a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, telling him that, unless he converts (the Church of England has approved homosexual marriage), they (who constitute the 85% of all the Anglicans in the world) will no longer accept his leadership (as primus inter pares).

4. The documents of the Synod Secretariat quote the Gospel, but not always to the point. They speak at length of the episode of Peter and Cornelius (in Acts 10-11), as if this proved that the Lord can order any kind of change in the behaviour of the faithful. But the narrative of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) shows that the change involved is not any change whatever. It is a development that implies different phases in the realization of salvation. The universalist phase of salvation, already prefigured in the Old Testament, is now finally realized after the resurrection of Jesus. In a similar vein, Jesus says that he has come not to abolish the Law, but to bring it to fulfillment. The Holy Spirit proceeds gradually, but never falls into self-contradiction. Saint Henry Newman used to say that the true development of doctrine is homogeneous.

I think that I need not say anything more on the reasons why you should face your Synod work with deep worry. I feel, instead, the importance of bringing to your notice certain problems of procedure of the Synod. The Synod Secretariat is very efficient at the art of manipulation.

Because of what I am going to say, I can be easily accused of “conspiracy theory”, but I see clearly a whole plan of manipulation.

They begin by saying that we must listen to all. Little by little they make us understand that among these “all” there are especially those whom we have “excluded”. Finally, we understand that what they mean are people who opt for a sexual morality different from that of Catholic tradition.

In the small groups of dialogue of the continental phase, they often insist that “wemust leave empty a chair for those who are absent, who have been emarginated by us”. They also say: “The Synod must conclude with a universal inclusion, must enlarge the tent, all welcome, without judging them, without inviting them to conversion”.

Often they claim not to have any agenda. This is truly an offense to our intelligence. Anybody can see which conclusions they are aiming at.

They speak of “conversation in the Spirit” as if it were a magical formula. And they invite all to expect “surprises” from the Spirit (evidently they are already informed which surprises to expect). “Conversation, no discussion! Discussions create divisions!” Does this mean that consensus and unanimity happen miraculously? it seems to me that at Vatican Il, before reaching an almost unanimous conclusion, they devoted a lot of time to spirited discussions. It was there that the Holy Spirit worked. To avoid discussions is to avoid the truth.

You must not obey them, when they tell you to go and pray, interrupting the sessions of the Synod. Tell them that it is ridiculous to think that the Holy Spirit is waiting for these your prayers offered at the last moment. Before the Synod, you and your faithful must already have accumulated a mountain of prayers, as Pope John XXII did before Vatican Il, making pilgrimages to various churches, praying for the Council. During the Synod, the Holy Spirit will be busy working in your hearts, hoping that you all accept his inspirations.

“Let us begin”, they say, “with small groups”. This way of proceeding is clearly wrong. What is needed is, first, to let all speak and to let all hear in the Assembly. In this way, the most controversial problems emerge, problems in need of an adequate discussion. In the small “language groups”, then, it is possible, using one’s own language, to deeply probe into the problems at ease, concluding with the formulation of concise deliberations. We should insist on the procedure followed in so many Synods, not because “it has always been like that”, but because it is the reasonable thing to do (to want to proceed differently justifies the suspicion that what is wanted is to avoid the discovery of the true inspiration of the Holy Spirit).

On the Internet I see a lot of talk about “yes to voting, no to voting”. But if no vote is taken, how can one know the fruit of so much dialogue? To avoid voting is also to avoid truth.

The voting. Without any consultation, in the proximity of the beginning of the Synod, the Holy Father adds a number of lay members with right of voting. If I were one of the members of the Synod, I would place a strong protest, because this decision radically changes the nature of the Synod, which Pope Paul VI had intended as an instrument of episcopal collegiality, even if, in the spirit of synodality, lay observers were admitted with the possibility to speak out. To you I do not suggest a protest, but at least a sweet lament with a request: that at least the votes of the Bishops and the votes of the lay people be counted separately (this has been granted to the bishops even by the “synodal path” of Germany). To give the vote to lay people could appear to mean that respect is shown for the “sensus fidelium,” but are they sure that these lay people who have been invited are “fideles?” That these lay people at least still go to church? As a matter of fact, these lay people have not been elected by the Christian people.

There has been no explanation at all for the addition (half way through) of another synodal session for 2024. My malicious suspicion is that the organizers, not sure to be able to reach during this session their goals, are opting for more time to maneuver. But, if what the Holy Spirit has wanted to say is clarified through the voting of the bishops, what is the need of another session?

This letter that I am writing I intend as confidential, but it will not be easy to keep it out of the hands of the mass media. Old as I am, I have nothing to gain and nothing to lose. I will be happy to have done what I feel is my duty to do.

I am aware that in the Synod on the Family, the Holy Father rejected suggestions presented by several Cardinals and Bishops precisely regarding the procedure. If you, however, respectfully present a petition supported by numerous signatories, perhaps this will be accepted. In any case, you will have done your duty. To accept an unreasonable procedure is to condemn the Synod to failure.

I ask your pardon for the delay with which I have sent you this letter. It may be already too late to present its requests, before the beginning of the Synod, to the organizers.

I wish you a fruitful and, if necessary, courageous participation to this Synod that, in any case, will be without precedents.

I am, your humble brother,

Joseph Zen

21 September 2023
Feast of St. Matthew Apostle (”miserando et eligendo”)

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Ordinariate Pontifical Requiem, Pope Benedict XVI

January 3, 2023

Pope Benedict XVI died on December 31, 2022, the vigil of the eleventh anniversary of the founding of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Dubia: Cardinals Brandmüller, Burke, Sandoval, Sarah, and Zen

Notification to Christ’s Faithful (can. 212 § 3) Regarding Dubia Submitted to Pope Francis

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We, members of the Sacred College of Cardinals, in accord with the duty of all the faithful “to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church” (can. 212 § 3) and, above all, in accord with the responsibility of Cardinals “to assist the Roman Pontiff … individually … especially in the daily care of the universal Church” (can. 349), in view of various declarations of highly-placed Prelates, pertaining to the celebration of the next Synod of Bishops, that are openly contrary to the constant doctrine and discipline of the Church, and that have generated and continue to generate great confusion and the falling into error among the faithful and other persons of good will, have manifested our deepest concern to the Roman Pontiff. By our letter of July 10, 2023, employing the proven practice of the submission of dubia [questions] to a superior to provide the superior the occasion to make clear, by his responsa [responses], the doctrine and discipline of the Church, we have submitted five dubia to Pope Francis, a copy of which is attached. By his letter of July 11, 2023, Pope Francis responded to our letter.

Having studied his letter which did not follow the practice of responsa ad dubia [responses to questions], we reformulated the dubia to elicit a clear response based on the perennial doctrine and discipline of the Church. By our letter of August 21, 2023, we submitted the reformulated dubia, a copy of which is attached, to the Roman Pontiff. Up to the present, we have not received a response to the reformulated dubia.

Given the gravity of the matter of the dubia, especially in view of the imminent session of the Synod of Bishops, we judge it our duty to inform you, the faithful (can. 212 § 3), so that you may not be subject to confusion, error, and discouragement but rather may pray for the universal Church and, in particular, the Roman Pontiff, that the Gospel may be taught ever more clearly and followed ever more faithfully.

Yours in Christ,

Walter Cardinal Brandmüller

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez

Robert Cardinal Sarah

Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun

Rome, 2 October 2023


(Submitted July 10, 2023)

1 Dubium about the claim that we should reinterpret Divine Revelation according to the cultural and anthropological changes in vogue.

After the statements of some Bishops, which have been neither corrected nor retracted, it is asked whether in the Church Divine Revelation should be reinterpreted according to the cultural changes of our time and according to the new anthropological vision that these changes promote; or whether Divine Revelation is binding forever, immutable and therefore not to be contradicted, according to the dictum of the Second Vatican Council, that to God who reveals is due “the obedience of faith”(Dei Verbum 5); that what is revealed for the salvation of all must remain “in their entirety, throughout the ages” and alive, and be “transmitted to all generations” (7); and that the progress of understanding does not imply any change in the truth of things and words, because faith has been “handed on … once and for all” (8), and the Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but teaches only what has been handed on (10).

2 Dubium about the claim that the widespread practice of the blessing of same-sex unions would be in accord with Revelation and the Magisterium (CCC 2357).

According to Divine Revelation, confirmed in Sacred Scripture, which the Church “at the divine command with the help of the Holy Spirit, … listens to devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully ” (Dei Verbum 10): “In the beginning” God created man in his own image, male and female he created them and blessed them, that they might be fruitful (cf. Gen. 1, 27-28), whereby the Apostle Paul teaches that to deny sexual difference is the consequence of the denial of the Creator (Rom 1, 24-32). It is asked: Can the Church derogate from this “principle,” considering it, contrary to what Veritatis Splendor 103 taught, as a mere ideal, and accepting as a “possible good” objectively sinful situations, such as same-sex unions, without betraying revealed doctrine?

3 Dubium about the assertion that synodality is a “constitutive element of the Church” (Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio 6), so that the Church would, by its very nature, be synodal.

Given that the Synod of Bishops does not represent the College of Bishops but is merely a consultative organ of the Pope, since the Bishops, as witnesses of the faith, cannot delegate their confession of the truth, it is asked whether synodality can be the supreme regulative criterion of the permanent government of the Church without distorting her constitutive order willed by her Founder, whereby the supreme and full authority of the Church is exercised both by the Pope by virtue of his office and by the College of Bishops together with its head the Roman Pontiff (Lumen Gentium 22).

4 Dubium about pastors’ and theologians’ support for the theory that “the theology of the Church has changed” and therefore that priestly ordination can be conferred on women.

After the statements of some prelates, which have been neither corrected nor retracted, according to which, with Vatican II, the theology of the Church and the meaning of the Mass has changed, it is asked whether the dictum of the Second Vatican Council is still valid, that “[the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood] differ essentially and not only in degree” (Lumen Gentium 10) and that presbyters by virtue of the “sacred power of Order, that of offering sacrifice and forgiving sins” (Presbyterorum Ordinis 2), act in the name and in the person of Christ the Mediator, through Whom the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is made perfect. It is furthermore asked whether the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which teaches as a truth to be definitively held the impossibility of conferring priestly ordination on women, is still valid, so that this teaching is no longer subject to change nor to the free discussion of pastors or theologians.

5 Dubium about the statement “forgiveness is a human right” and the Holy Father’s insistence on the duty to absolve everyone and always, so that repentance would not be a necessary condition for sacramental absolution.

It is asked whether the teaching of the Council of Trent, according to which the contrition of the penitent, which consists in detesting the sin committed with the intention of sinning no more (Session XIV, Chapter IV: DH 1676), is necessary for the validity of sacramental confession, is still in force, so that the priest must postpone absolution when it is clear that this condition is not fulfilled.

Vatican City, 10 July 2023

Walter Card. Brandmüller

Raymond Leo Card. Burke

Juan Card. Sandoval Íñiguez

Robert Card. Sarah

Joseph Card. Zen Ze-Kiun, S.D.B.



(Submitted August 21, 2023)

To His Holiness


Supreme Pontiff

Most Holy Father,

We are very grateful for the answers which You have kindly wished to offer us. We would first like to clarify that, if we have asked You these questions, it is not out of fear of dialogue with the people of our time, nor of the questions they could ask us about the Gospel of Christ. In fact, we, like Your Holiness, are convinced that the Gospel brings fullness to human life and responds to our every question. The concern that moves us is another: we are concerned to see that there are pastors who doubt the ability of the Gospel to transform the hearts of men and end up proposing to them no longer sound doctrine but “teachings according to their own likings” (cf. 2 Tim 4, 3). We are also concerned that it be understood that God’s mercy does not consist in covering our sins, but is much greater, in that it enables us to respond to His love by keeping His commandments, that is, to convert and believe in the Gospel (cf. Mk 1, 15).

With the same sincerity with which You have answered us, we must add that Your answers have not resolved the doubts we had raised, but have, if anything, deepened them. We therefore feel obliged to re-propose, reformulating them, these questions to Your Holiness, who as the successor of Peter is charged by the Lord to confirm Your brethren in the faith. This is all the more urgent in view of the upcoming Synod, which many want to use to deny Catholic doctrine on the very issues which our dubia concern. We therefore re-propose our questions to You, so that they can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”

1. Your Holiness insists that the Church can deepen its understanding of the deposit of faith. This is indeed what Dei Verbum 8 teaches and belongs to Catholic doctrine. Your response, however, does not capture our concern. Many Christians, including pastors and theologians, argue today that the cultural and anthropological changes of our time should push the Church to teach the opposite of what it has always taught. This concerns essential, not secondary, questions for our salvation, like the confession of faith, subjective conditions for access to the sacraments, and observance of the moral law.

So we want to rephrase our dubium: is it possible for the Church today to teach doctrines contrary to those she has previously taught in matters of faith and morals, whether by the Pope ex cathedra, or in the definitions of an Ecumenical Council, or in the ordinary universal magisterium of the Bishops dispersed throughout the world (cf. Lumen Gentium 25)?

2. Your Holiness has insisted on the fact that there can be no confusion between marriage and other types of unions of a sexual nature and that, therefore, any rite or sacramental blessing of same-sex couples, which would give rise to such confusion, should be avoided. Our concern, however, is a different one: we are concerned that the blessing of same-sex couples might create confusion in any case, not only in that it might make them seem analogous to marriage, but also in that homosexual acts would be presented practically as a good, or at least as the possible good that God asks of people in their journey toward Him.

So let us rephrase our dubium: Is it possible that in some circumstances a pastor could bless unions between homosexual persons, thus suggesting that homosexual behavior as such would not be contrary to God’s law and the person’s journey toward God? Linked to this dubium is the need to raise another: does the teaching upheld by the universal ordinary magisterium, that every sexual act outside of marriage, and in particular homosexual acts, constitutes an objectively grave sin against God’s law, regardless of the circumstances in which it takes place and the intention with which it is carried out, continue to be valid?

3. You have insisted that there is a synodal dimension to the Church, in that all, including the lay faithful, are called to participate and make their voices heard. Our difficulty, however, is another: today the future Synod on “synodality” is being presented as if, in communion with the Pope, it represents the Supreme Authority of the Church. However, the Synod of Bishops is a consultative body of the Pope; it does not represent the College of Bishops and cannot settle the issues dealt with in it nor issue decrees on them, unless, in certain cases, the Roman Pontiff, whose duty it is to ratify the decisions of the Synod, has expressly granted it deliberative power (cf. can. 343 C.I.C.). This is a decisive point inasmuchas not involving the College of Bishops in matters such as those that the next Synod intends to raise, which touch on the very constitution of the Church, would go precisely against the root of that synodality, which it claims to want to promote.

Let us therefore rephrase our dubium: will the Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome, and which includes only a chosen representation of pastors and faithful, exercise, in the doctrinal or pastoral matters on which it will be called to express itself, the Supreme Authority of the Church, which belongs exclusively to the Roman Pontiff and, una cum capite suo, to the College of Bishops (cf. can. 336 C.I.C.)?

4. In Your reply Your Holiness made it clear that the decision of St. John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is to be held definitively, and rightly added that it is necessary to understand the priesthood, not in terms of power, but in terms of service, in order to understand correctly our Lord’s decision to reserve Holy Orders to men only. On the other hand, in the last point of Your response You added that the question can still be further explored. We are concerned that some may interpret this statement to mean that the matter has not yet been decided in a definitive manner. In fact, St. John Paul II affirms in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that this doctrine has been taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium, and therefore that it belongs to the deposit of faith. This was the response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to a dubium raised about the apostolic letter, and this response was approved by John Paul II himself.

We therefore must reformulate our dubium: could the Church in the future have the faculty to confer priestly ordination on women, thus contradicting that the exclusive reservation of this sacrament to baptized males belongs to the very substance of the Sacrament of Orders, which the Church cannot change?

5. Finally, Your Holiness confirmed the teaching of the Council of Trent according to which the validity of sacramental absolution requires the sinner’s repentance, which includes the resolve not to sin again. And You invited us not to doubt God’s infinite mercy. We would like to reiterate that our question does not arise from doubting the greatness of God’s mercy, but, on the contrary, it arises from our awareness that this mercy is so great that we are able to convert to Him, to confess our guilt, and to live as He has taught us. In turn, some might interpret Your answer as meaning that merely approaching confession is a sufficient condition for receiving absolution, inasmuch as it could implicitly include confession of sins and repentance. 

We would therefore like to rephrase our dubium: Can a penitent who, while admitting a sin, refuses to make, in any way, the intention not to commit it again, validly receive sacramental absolution?

Vatican City, August 21, 2023

Walter Card. Brandmüller

Raymond Leo Card. Burke

Juan Card. Sandoval Íñiguez

Robert Card. Sarah

Joseph Card. Zen Ze-kiun

cc: His Eminence Rev. Luis Francisco Card. LADARIA FERRER, S.I.
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