Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.
James Hacker: Will you answer a direct question?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I strongly advise you not to ask a direct question.
James Hacker: Why?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It might provoke a direct answer.
James Hacker: Never has yet.
Yes Minister: The Moral Dimension 1982
I’ve been too busy with other things to talk about Pope Francis and the formal Filial Correction sent to him, the first such document sent to a pope since 1333.
With profound grief, but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself, we are compelled to address a correction to Your Holiness on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness.
We are permitted to issue this correction by natural law, by the law of Christ, and by the law of the Church, which three things Your Holiness has been appointed by divine providence to guard. By natural law: for as subjects have by nature a duty to obey their superiors in all lawful things, so they have a right to be governed according to law, and therefore to insist, where need be, that their superiors so govern. By the law of Christ: for His Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to rebuke Peter in public when the latter did not act according to the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2). St Thomas Aquinas notes that this public rebuke from a subject to a superior was licit on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning the faith (Summa Theologiae 2a 2ae, 33, 4 ad 2), and ‘the gloss of St Augustine’ adds that on this occasion, “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” (ibid.). The law of the Church also constrains us, since it states that “Christ’s faithful . . . have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence, and position, to manifest to the sacred pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church” (Code of Canon Law 212:2-3; Code of Canons of Oriental Churches 15:3).
Scandal concerning faith and morals has been given to the Church and to the world by the publication of Amoris laetitia and by other acts through which Your Holiness has sufficiently made clear the scope and purpose of this document.
The Document lists seven heretical positions that directly contradict the faith as taught for centuries. and these positions have been propagated via Amoris Laetitia’s
Ironically as I’ve written the vast majority of Amoris Laetitia is pretty good. Paragraph after paragraph contains teaching that a Catholic should take to heart but the infamous footnote included has been used by those on the left in the church have used to drive a bus through doctrine. Much like this exchange from Yes Prime Minister
PM Jim Hacker: I can read between the lines, Some politicians have a feeling for foreign affairs. I could tell that you were warning me that St. George Island might need our help
Luke: Oh Yes, Well No actually, only on one paragraph on page 107!
PM Jim Hacker: It was enough I can take a hint.
Yes Prime Minister A Victory for Democracy 1986
It didn’t matter how much good was in that document, that footnote was used by several Bishops around the world to directly counteract Catholic Doctrine in their areas of communion for the divorced and remarried, doctrine that has been clearly established as long as there has been a church.
Now a year ago a set of Cardinals sent a Dubia asking the Holy Father to clarify this footnote. The cardinals and the dubia have alternatively been ignored and attacked at the Vatican but most importantly nobody has answered them.
There are many things I like about Pope Francis, his emphasis on Mercy, on Confession and his direct statements about the Devil being real are first rate. He has also been very explicit on life in all of his encyclicals (something that I keep urging the GOP to bring up every time a Democrat quotes one but I digress). Furthermore I certainly get the idea of trying to get those in mortal sin back into the Church to aid their salvation as that is the primary job of the church.
It my opinion, however, that his silence on this matter has been a huge mistake. It is promulgating division in the church and the sooner these questions are directly answered, our yes meaning yes and our no being no, the better for the Church and the people it serves.
It is the job of the Vatican to emulate Christ, by refusing to answer a direct question we have reached this point, that it is instead emulating Sir Humphrey and the civil servants of British comedy.
Two years ago (before we found the reality of Catholic front group” I famously asked Catholic Call to action this question in response to their tweets on Synod 2015.
They declined to answer and I wrote at the time:
Now I’m not a professed catholic organization with a big leadership team, chapters around the nation holding national conferences with a list of keynote speakers and endorsements as famous a Christian an ex-president of the United States but I know this much:
Any christian individual or organization whether Catholic or Protestant should give Catholic Call to Action the widest birth possible because any organization that can’t clearly and without hesitation proclaim: “Jesus Christ is the son of God and died and rose from the dead” yet claims to be “Catholic” can’t be trusted.
I urge the Vatican not to mimic the silence these fellow’s silence in response to a direct question. It speaks volumes and none of it is good.
My advice to my fellow Catholics, continue to Pray for the Pope and the Church and continue on as you have before, because even at a time like this we should remember that while we have no idea what the Holy Spirit is doing, God does so we must answer this challenge in the words made famous by St. Faustina:
Jesus I trust in you.