The pope's Christmas Greeting to the Roman Curia this year was singularly lacking of any semblance of Christmas cheer. National Catholic Register has some commentary on the address, but at the bottom of that article is the full text of the pope's address. He speaks of the "reform of the curia" and making it "conform to the signs of our time". Shouldn't it be conforming to God's immutable will?
We then see how he talks of "malicious resistance" to this reform, and how he says this resistance "takes refuge in traditions, appearances, formalities". He's taking pot-shots at those faithful Catholics who adhere to God's teachings, particularly on marriage and family, and I believe he's taking deliberate aim at the four cardinals who promulgated the dubia. Then he calls for "unconditioned obedience" to this "reform". Where is his call for unconditional obedience to Christ's teachings regarding marriage and worthiness to receive Holy Communion?
Perhaps his ire against the dubia cardinals, particularly Cardinal Burke, may be a motivation behind another recent action of the pope's. Recall that Pope Francis named Cardinal Burke as patron of the Order of Malta after he ejected Burke from some Vatican posts. It seems that a senior official of the Knights of Malta was involved in the distribution of condoms. For that he was ejected from the order. Lepanto Institute did a very thorough investigation into the matter and found ample evidence that this official was indeed involved in that very anti-life activity. His ouster was entirely justified.
Now why, oh why, does Pope Francis find it necessary to create an entire commission to investigate the matter? It seems rather simple to me; an official in a Catholic organization was caught in activities not becoming a Catholic. He was ejected from his post as a result. Granted, when other such scandals have been unearthed, it's only when public scrutiny occurs that the offending party is disciplined (and sometimes the offender is retained). But Cardinal Burke is at the helm of the Order of Malta, and I think it's likely that he took immediate and proper action. So why does the pope seek to meddle after the fact? Is he that much of a micro-manager or is this just an excuse to take out some long knives against Cardinal Burke?
In an interview with Catholic World Report, Cardinal Burke pointed out that any pope who professes formal heresy would automatically cease to be pope. In that article, Burke goes into the provisions in canon law for such a scenario. He also voiced hope that the pope will answer the dubia, to allay possible schism.
Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, another of the four dubia cardinals, granted an interview to Der Spiegel. He too was questioned about the dubia and its implications. Brandmuller pointed out that "whoever thinks that persistent adultery and the reception of Holy Communion are compatible is a heretic and promotes schism.” As we read the article, we are reminded that Pope Francis, in his letter to the Argentinian bishops, did make allowance for unrepentant adulterers to receive Holy Communion; in other words, Pope Francis gave approval for sins of sacrilege to occur.
Now consider both these interviews together. On the one hand, Cardinal Brandmuller states that someone allowing for Holy Communion to be given to unrepentant adulterers is a heretic and promotes schism. In that same article, Pope Francis is fulfilling that definition of "heretic" in his letter to the Argentinian bishops. On the other hand, Cardinal Burke points out that a pope formally professes heresy automatically ceases to be pope.
Faithful Catholics, do we understand the gravity of the situation? Depending on how Pope Francis treats the dubia, the Catholic Church might well find itself in schism. If he states formally the heresy that those in public mortal sin can receive Holy Communion, it seems that he will have ejected himself from Peter's chair. The Church might well find herself in schism. As hard as it is to admit, schism would be far preferable than the Church being led into error. As you read further down the LifeSiteNews piece, Pope Francis himself seems to understand that he could well divide the Church.
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