Press Release on the ‘Filial Correction to Pope Francis’

In an epoch-making act, Catholic clergy and lay scholars from around the world have issued what they are calling a “Filial Correction” to Pope Francis.

No similar action has been taken since the Middle Ages.

Then, Pope John XXII was admonished in 1333 for errors which he later recanted on his deathbed. In the present case, the spiritual sons and daughters of Pope Francis accuse him of propagating heresies contrary to the Catholic faith.

Their letter, delivered to the Roman Pontiff at his Santa Marta residence on August 11, 2017 and now made fully public, states that the Roman Pontiff has supported heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the Eucharist.

The letter of correction has three main parts, as follows:

1) In the first part, the 62 signatories explain why, as believing and practicing Catholics, they have the right and duty to issue such a correction to the Pope. This does not contradict the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility, because Pope Francis has not promulgated heretical opinions as dogmatic teachings of the Church. While professing their obedience to his legitimate commands and teachings, they maintain that Francis has upheld and propagated heretical opinions by various direct or indirect means.

2) The second part of the letter is the essential one. It contains the ‘Correction’ properly speaking, written in Latin, the official language of the Church. It lists the passages of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s document on marriage and family life, in which he insinuates or encourages heretical positions. Because some commentators have argued that these texts can be interpreted in an orthodox way, the Correction goes on to list Pope Francis’s other words, deeds, and omissions which make it clear beyond reasonable doubt that he wishes Catholics to interpret these passages in a way that is, in fact, heretical. In particular, the pope has advocated the beliefs that obedience to God’s moral law can be impossible or undesirable, and that Catholics should sometimes accept adultery as compatible with being a follower of Christ.

3) The final part, called ‘Elucidation’, discusses two causes of this unique crisis. One cause is ‘Modernism’. Theologically speaking, Modernism is the belief that God has not delivered definite truths to the Church, which she must continue to teach in exactly the same sense until the end of time. Modernism therefore focuses on experiences and holds that doctrines about God, faith, and morals are always provisional and subject to revision. Significantly, Pope St Pius X condemned Modernism at the start of the 20th century. A second cause of the crisis is the influence of the ideas of Martin Luther on Pope Francis. The letter shows how Luther had ideas on marriage, divorce, forgiveness, and divine law which correspond to those which the pope has promoted. It also notes the explicit and unprecedented praise given by Pope Francis to the German heresiarch.

The signatories make no judgment about Pope Francis’s culpability in propagating the 7 heresies that they list, since it is not their task to judge whether the sin of heresy has been committed (the sin of heresy, that is, formal heresy, is committed when a person departs from the faith by doubting or denying some revealed truth with a full choice of the will). It should however be noted that others who have spoken up in defense of the Catholic faith have been subject to reprisals. Thus, the signatories speak for a large number of clergy and lay faithful who lack freedom of speech.

It will be noticed that Bishop Bernard Fellay has signed the correction. His signature came after the document was delivered to the pope, but he now expresses the agreement of the Society of St Pius X with its contents. Pope Francis has recently extended a welcoming hand to the SSPX in order to integrate them legally into the Catholic Church.

The signatories respectfully insist that Pope Francis condemn the heresies that he has directly or indirectly upheld, and that he teach the truth of the Catholic faith in its integrity.

Contact: Dr Joseph Shaw