A stunning report came out this week that revealed that more than 60 conservative Catholic scholars and theologians have issued a rebuke to the liberal Pope Francis that hasn’t been seen since the 1300s. Known as a “filial correction,” the 25-page letter was reportedly delivered to the Pope in early August. In it, conservative Catholic academics from twenty different countries issued a startling rebuke of what they call the “heresies” preached by Francis over the course of his Vatican tenure. They claim that the new, popular (yet controversial) pontiff has supported unbiblical teachings on marriage, the Eucharist, and morality itself, and they are demanding that he retract those positions.
“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,” the Catholics wrote in their letter to Pope Francis. “As subjects, we do not have the right to issue to Your Holiness that form of correction by which a superior coerces those subject to him with the threat or administration of punishment.”
However, they said, it was their duty to “protect” fellow Catholics from an improper interpretation of traditional doctrine.
Much of the disparity in the letter centers around the subject of marriage, divorce, adultery, and what rights those who get divorced maintain in Catholic ceremonies. The specifics of their issues will be of little interest to anyone who is not themselves a member of the Catholic Church.
What is interesting to everyone – Catholic, Christian, and otherwise – is this growing schism between conservative Catholics and one of the most socially-liberal popes in living memory. With this letter, that schism has gone public, and we doubt this is the last we’ll see of the split. Francis is so off-the-mark when it comes to a pope’s traditional teachings that he has become a darling of the progressive left. But that same popularity has made him a target within the Vatican, where more than a few high-ranking officials consider him a threat to the very existence of the Church.
Catholicism and Christianity do not mesh well with the religion of liberalism. As Francis grows in popularity among his leftist admirers, he may inspire a full-scale mutiny among the flock.