Category Archives: English


(Republished, here, with permission of the authors)


Dr. G.J.M. van den Aardweg
Borgerweg 1 – 2111 CG Aerdenhout

Prof. Dr. Ir. W.J. Witteman
D.Nijhoffstr. 14 -7552 GR Hengelo

Aerdenhout/Hengelo, 4.4.2018


Mgr. Dr. Aldo Cavalli
Apostolic Nuncio
Carnegielaan 5
2517 KH ‘sGravenhage


Your Excellency,

Enclosed we send you, as representatives of a group of Dutch Catholics, a motivated Petition to the Bishops and Auxiliary Bishops of the Netherlands, consisting of three concrete requests.

We have limited the group of signatories, but it is clear to us that many orthodox Catholics support this initiative, among them many priests.

As you may notice, these requests are in line with several international initiatives such as the Polish action (with over 140.000 signatories), and, for instance, the call on the faithful in the U.S. by the Editor in Chief of Catholic World News, Mr. Lawler, to adress their Bishops with similar requests. The fact that we had the present requests ready before the above initiatives were made public, illustrates that the need inspiring this Petition is an international Catholic reality.

Fortunately, some recent clarifying statements by His Eminence Cardinal Eijk are clearly commensurate with this Petition; but given the actual situation in the Church, we hope that in continuation of them the Dutch Bishops will take the necessary further steps to protect orthodoxy and the faithful alike.

In principle. we consider this Petition as an Open Letter, for it s is not about accidental but essential questions which directly concern all Catholics. Therefore, we intend to make this piece public within shortly.

We hope the Bishops and Auxiliary Bishops will agree with the view underlying this Petition and not take its three concretized requests as criticism, but as support for their actions.

With all due respect,

on behalf of the signatories,

Dr. G.J.M. van den Aardweg                              Prof. Dr. Ir. W.J. Witteman

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 I – Introduction

Eminence, Excellencies,

Until a few years it seemed inconceivable, but in recent years we are stunned to find that the Vatican, under the pontificate of Pope Francis, has taken a path that has touched the essence of the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality that must be called a road of degradation.

Initially one could try to condone the dubious statements and measures of the Pope himself or of his assistants, in the expectation that the mistakes or slips would be of a temporary nature and would be adjusted again. Now this is no longer possible. There is too much that cannot remain uncontradicted, there is too much division and uncertainty created.

A keyword-wise reminder of some questionable matters:

  • The Vatican representation as if a consent to the scientifically unfounded and morally dangerous climate theory of the United Nations is a religious duty;
  • The manipulated report on the 2014 Episcopal Synod in Rome, towards liberalization of divorce and recognition of homosexual relationships;
  • The paragraphs in the encyclical Amoris Laetitia, in which an opening is made for valid married couples in a new relationship to receive Holy Communion without fulfilling the required conditions, and in which the principle that the subjective conscientious conviction can be above the known law of God;
  • The persistent refusal of the Pope to provide the (correct & Catholic) clarification to the cardinals and others who have presented their “Dubia” respectfully and with strength of arguments – and the ignoring of the serious objections of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (cardinal Müller);
  • The papal fiat to the bishops of Argentina, Germany, and Malta, who use the disputed paragraphs in the liberal sense in which they are intended;
  • Honours to radical feminist abortion activists (including the Dutch scandal-Ploumen and its negligent treatment afterwards);
  • The appointment inside and outside the Vatican of persons who reject Humanae Vitae or are even pro-abortion, and of advisors and bishops in different parts of the world who openly advocate recognition of homosexual relationships;
  • The questionable attitude of a committee that “needs to re-examine Humanae Vitae”; the likely preparations for the elimination of the general priestly celibacy; probably making it possible to discuss “female deacons”;
  • The misplaced Luther worship and the denial of the need to strive for the conversion of Protestants, schismatics and even Muslims;
  • Looking away and trivializing the danger of Islam; to propose Islam as an innocent, humanitarian religion – we are of course not talking about the individual Muslim – and the neglect of Islam persecuted by Islam and of Christians who fled Islam;
  • The delivery of Catholic bishops and 60 million believers in China to the Communist State, which can become one of the most serious scandals in the history of the Vatican.

These things are interconnected. The common thread running through it is roughly that of Modernism and Protestantism. Half a century ago we have experienced in the Netherlands how these errors have largely destroyed our once vital Church. But after consolidation and careful restoration under the pontificate of the previous Popes, the ideas and claims of the dissident theologians and their followers of the sixties now come to us from the Vatican itself. We therefore have no illusions as where this will lead to.

II – Three requests to the Dutch bishops

Eminence, Excellencies,

1.  The priests and lay faithful for whom You bear responsibility as Bishops may rightly appeal to You at this moment of confusion and insecurity to lead them through an unambiguous, faithful position and education and to protect them from the errors in doctrine and practice that now get the chance.

With all due respect, we ask you to speak out:

-for integral enforcement of Humanae Vitae;

-for maintaining the doctrine and practice with regard to receiving Holy Communion by validly married divorced persons in a new relationship;

-for maintaining the moral doctrine concerning homosexual relationships;

-for maintaining the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent, in the wake of Vatican II (Lumen Gentium); especially for maintaining the doctrine about the supremacy of the Law of God over the subjective conscience.

In concreto, we summarize these separate requests in a single, straightforward request:

Would you like to express your loyalty to and uphold the doctrinal writings of the previous popes: Blessed Paul VI, St. John Paul II, and Benedict XVI?

2. In addition, we ask you, who as Bishops are the first appointed in the Church who, in imitation of St. Paul, can warn a Pope and / or other supreme authorities for serious mistakes and, if necessary, to correct them according to the procedures that are in place; to join those sincere and courageous prelates in the World Church who have addressed the Pope in the right way.

In concrete terms, we ask you:

Do you want to join the request for the correct clarification of the controversial passages in Amoris Laetitia, as directed to the Pope by the initiators of this “Dubia”, the cardinals Caffarra, Burke, Meissner, and Brandmüller?

Of course we hope that the Bishops and Auxiliary Bishops of the Netherlands will unanimously make such a gesture. If this does not happen, our request will apply to each Bishop and Co-adjutor Bishop separately, as the responsible authority in his own diocese.


3. Thirdly, we ask your attention for the urgent need of the Church in China:

Do you want to make an effort to keep the Vatican from delivering the Church to the communist regime, against the urgent pleas of those who really know what this will mean? Do you want to support Cardinal Zen openly?

Thank you for your attention, and with all the respect we owe you,


Dr. H.F. Boon, Hengelo

H. Bos, Ede

Drs.  B.J. Bruggeling, Oldenzaal

Pastoor J.M. de Hommel, H. Landstichting.

Mr. C. de Kiefte, den Haag

Prof. H.C.M. de Swart, Tilburg

H. Huyskens, Ommen

Mr. drs. H.H.M. Jansen, Nederweert

Ing. A.J. Kors, Wassenaar

Ir. N.J.M. Kuipers, Delden

A.P.M. Meijknecht, Leeuwarden

Pastoor C. Mennen, lic., Vlijmen

Drs. Y.J.J. Postma, Leeuwarden

H. J. Rijkers, oud-hoofdredacteur KN, Malden

Dr. J. Schins, Amsterdam

Dr. G.J.M. van den Aardweg, Aerdenhout

H. van Winden, H. Landstichting

Drs. K.P. Wiecherink, Markelo

Prof. Dr. Ir. W.J. Witteman, Hengelo



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The Time has come to convene an “imperfect” Synod!

Rome, Dec. 3, 2017 A. D. — With the publication of the recent edition of the Acta Apostolica Sedis, in which documents are included which attempt to exalt the personal heresy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who denies the Apostolic Tradition concerning the discipline of the Sacraments, the time has come to convene a Synod to issue a formal canonical correction of the Pope, warning him in Evangelical and Apocalyptic terms, that if he does not renounce his error, he must be considered by the whole Church as self-deposed from the office of Peter.

Such a Synod will be, in technical scholastic terms, an “imperfect” Synod, because it will be convened by the authority of the Apostolic College without reference to the authority of the office of the Vicar of Christ, who in the present circumstances cannot be appealed to, on the grounds of a conflict of interest.

The correction to be given will however be canonical in the proper sense, because though no one but a proper ordinary can given a canonical correction, when he who holds the supreme office has manifestly and pertinaciously abandoned the Catholic Faith, it remains in virtue of the principal of subsidiarity, that if there be no other earthly authority, that the individual as a private person be corrected by the Church Herself, who is not bereft of the Apostolic Authority merely because of a de facto sede vacante.

Since the Church is a visible society and since She is bound above all by the law of charity and the salvation of souls, it remains a grave obligation of the Sacred Hierarchy in these present and extreme circumstances to seek the salvation of the soul of Jorge Bergoglio and the unity of the Church, by seeking his public refutation of his errors and the renunciation of his heresies.  Failing that, the Church will be torn with schism, with many souls following the great stumbling block placed before them in the words of Cardinal Parolin, who in the AAS claims the private letter of the Pope an the Argentine Bishop is “magisterium authenticum”.

We as Catholics, however, ever holding to the perennial magisterium, the Apostolic Tradition and the Divine Teaching of Our Lord and Master, recognize that no teaching of the Roman Pontiff is magisterium authenticum on account of an external declaration, by whomsoever, that it has this character, but that it is only such when from its internal content it adheres harmoniously and conformably with the Deposit of the Faith!

Therefore what Pope Francis has done in ordering these documents published in the AAS and what Cardinal Parolin has done in issuing his own maliciously false statement must be judged by all true Catholics as manifest acts of pertinacious heretical adhesion to the denial of the Apostolic Tradition, which, in fidelity to Christ Jesus, who declared: “Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6), has ever taught that the Sacraments must be denied to the impenitent and that the Sacred ministers of the Sacraments must deny them in public to those who live in public sin.

Our Association, dedicated to opposing the errors and heresies of Cardinal Kasper has opposed the errors of Bergoglio from its inception in 2015. We remain committed to this course and therefore solicit the assistance of all to make this imperfect Synod a reality.

We therefore implore all faithful Catholics to urge with the greatest clarity and insistence that the Bishops and Cardinals convene such a Synod and do so at the very first opportunity!

There is no more time left for those who sit on the fence, with those who for the sake of human respect or custom refuse to act out of divine charity and faith, for the salvation of souls, in particular for that of Bergoglio, and for the unity of the Church!

This is not the time to think of your career, your personal reputation, your job, your blog, your website, your ecclesiastical office, etc.. The matter is apocalyptic in every true sense of the word!  Do not by your inaction let yourself be counted among those stars of heaven which were cast down by the tail of the dragon! (Apocalypse 12:4)

Finally, while from the point of view of strict legality, we hold that it is right that Bergoglio not be denied the 3 fold public remonstration due him by canonical tradition, due to the gravity of the crisis we are of the opinion that Catholics may now act as if the Papacy is vacant and that Bergoglio is outside the church as a contumacious and pertinacious heretic, on account of what he ordered published in the Acta Apostolica Sedis, if they but work for the convention of the imperfect Synod out of the motives we have enumerated here above.

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Veri Catholici calls for the Canonical Correction of the Pope

Rome, Italy: Nov. 10, 2017 A. D. — Yesterday, Veri Catholici, the International Association of Catholics who oppose the errors promoted by Cardinal Kasper called upon the Roman Catholics of the Eternal City to rise up and demand the canonical correction of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Our Appeal was published in the Roman edition of « Il Giornale », one of the more important conservative newspapers of Rome.

Per la versione italiana di questo annuncio, vai a

Our motive in doing this was purely, principally, formally and entirely ad maiorem gloriam Dei, that is, for the greater glory of God (the motto of St. Ignatius of Loyola), in which consists the salvation of the greater number of souls.  Principally out of supernatural charity for the soul of Jorge Mario Bergoglio on account of the very deep errors into which he has fallen on account of his monstrous pride.

As can be seen from our official English text of our Open Letter to the true Catholics of Rome, published here below, we have chosen to speak in the apocalyptic language of the Apostle St. Paul, our Patron, to make it clear to all Catholics the true theological vision which must be employed when considering the grave crisis into which the Cardinals have led the Church on account of what they did and failed to do during the Conclave of 2013.

We shave chosen this sharp apocalyptic and prophetic language because as it sometimes happens, when a soul falls into the most horrid errors and is attached to them with an unnatural loyalty, the only remedy left as a final medicine is a severe and sharp reprimand, reproval and remonstration.  To all Catholics who have knowledge of the errors of Bergoglio, but who have failed to call for his Canonical Correction — the last chance he may have to be saved and retain the office of the Supreme Pontificate — we direct our appeal to act! so as to avoid being stained by his same errors and sharing thus in the horrible and eternal destiny which awaits all enemies of Christ Jesus, the One Master of All and the Eternal Truth of God!

Here is the text of our advertisement, in our official English translation.

Open Letter to the true Catholics of Rome, calling for the Canonical Correction of Jorge Mario Bergoglio — Published on the Feast of St John Lateran, Nov. 9, 2017 A. D. (Official English version)

The cost of the Italian advertisement was borne entirely by the members of our Association world-wide. If you would like to make a donation so that we can republish the Open Letter at Rome and throughout Italy in local newspapers, please make a generous donation via PayPal by pressing the PayPal button at the top of the right column of this website. — Please be generous. We are willing to organize a lobbying effort of the Cardinals, but we cannot do it without you! Ask yourself, how much the salvation of all souls until the end of time is worth to you and to Jesus! — For the errors of Bergoglio are leading hundreds of millions of Catholics into the Church of the Anti-Christ!

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The time has come to DEMAND a canonical reprimand!

Dear Members of Veri Catholici and all true Catholics the world over,

Following the letter of 62 Theologians, Scholars and Clergy publicly accusing the Pope of promoting 7 heresies against Divinely revealed truths — a letter which has received no private or public response in 6 weeks — the TIME HAS COME for us to DEMAND the Cardinals and Bishops of the Church to CANONICALLY reprove Bergoglio: giving him 3 chances to PUBLICLY withdraw his support of these 7 heresies and all other errors contained in AMORIS LAETITIA.

Let us make it quite clear to all Cardinals and Bishops that IF THEY DO NOT ACT they are guilty of a most grave sin of INFIDELITY to Jesus Christ and the Apostolic Office of care for His Church, and of SCANDAL in acting as if TRUTH was not the essential criterion of the Church!

Let us do this out of fraternal and filial charity for the Pope and all the Church, since by such a thrice fold public correction, he may yet save his soul from eternal damnation.

After 2 years of public and private prayers and criticism, which has brought forth no fruit of conversion, NOW IS THE TIME TO OBEY THE LORD JESUS and GOTO THE CHURCH AND DEMAND A PUBLIC REPRIMAND of the man who is Pope, so that if he prove himself a pertinacious heretic, the Sacred Hierarchy can declare publicly that he has deposed himself from the office of Roman Pontiff.

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Veri Catholici Announces Crusade to Defend Eucharist and Marriage

Dear Followers of the Veri Catholici Blog,

May the Grace and Peace of the Child Jesus be with you!

Thank you for taking the time to register at our blog, and thank you for signing our Open Letter to the Bishops of Malta.

The witness you have given by signing this Letter is greatly strengthening the Church of Malta. We have been contacted by a group of faithful who are now praying and working for the repentance of their Bishops.

In addition to this, there have been significant moves by others to defend the Faith of the Church in the inviolability of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar and the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Cardinal Muller, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has spoken and answered the Dubia in the Catholic way. Praise be to God!

And more than 1000 priests have petitioned the Holy Father to end the doubts about Amoris Laetitia and respond to the 5 Dubia given by the 4 Cardinals.

We, too, have been asked by many to continue our work at defending the Faith, and our members have responded overwhelmingly that this is what they want.

For this reason we have written you this letter, which we are sending from our official email address:

As you may know, Veri Catholici is a loose association of the Faithful. We are simple Catholics who normally remain silent, and sit in the pews and pray and listen. Nothing more.  But the crisis in the Church is now so grave that we must speak!

We hope that you have already read about the Conference we held at Rome, last year, in June. You can read more at our Website here:

Our complete doctrinal condemnation of Amoris Laetitia, which up until now has not be equaled by any other condemnation or document, can be found linked in that page about the Conference. We have published it in English, Italian and Spanish.

We believe that the problems can only be solved at Rome. Therefore, we are writing you to ask you to help us spread the word as we seek to raise the funds to place a newspaper advertisement in a major Roman Newspaper calling the Holy Father to end the confusion and defend the eternal Faith of the Church!

This advertisement will cost as much as 25000 euros, so its a major project.  We therefore ask you to consider how valuable to you is the Infinite Gift of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Most Beautiful Sacrament of Matrimony. We ask you to think how important to the salvation of all mankind is the uncorrupted Faith of the Catholic Church, and how crucial it is in the present hour that the Faithful of the Church of 2017 act to defend this Faith from corruption so that it may pass down to every soul until the end of time!

Being that the Advertisement will be in an Italian newspaper, the ad will be in Italian and prepared by our central office which has prepared both the Libellus of Condemnation of Amoris Laetitia and the Open Letter to the Bishops of Malta, employing as we do unpaid volunteers who are fluent in diverse languages and very knowledgeable in Theology, Morals and Sacred Scripture, all lay-men and lay-women.

It is our duty, therefore, to do all we can to defend the Faith and urge the repentance of Our Holy Father!  And to call on all Bishops to repudiate the errors suggested in Amoris Laetitia.

We ask you therefore to consider making a generous donation; we ask you to ask your friends and family and acquaintances to make a donation. We ask you to spread the word and translate this letter and publish it on blogs and anywhere else in your native tongues, so that the whole Church might join together as one united family of little children, pleading with their father to do what is right and just and necessary for the protection and safety, unity and perseverance, benefit and salvation of the whole family of God on Earth!

As with our Conference and our Open Letter, you can make a donation through our PayPal Button on our website

We beg you this for the love of the One and Only True God and Savior, Jesus Christ, with His Blessed and Immaculate Mother!

We consecrate this work as « The Public Appeal to the Roman Pontiff, Christ’s Vicar on Earth », and we dedicate it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to make reparation for all the sins of sacrilege committed in all the world from the founding of the Church until the end of time.


VC Editorial Staff

(P.S.: Many ask why our organization is run anonymously: The reason for this is that in Canon Law, the only power of punishment which the Bishops have, can only be exercised if they know the names of the individual they want to punish or persecute. Since we are only doing what is right in opposition to heretics and evil and wicked men, we remain anonymous so that they might not use the power Christ gave them to sin and punish honest Catholics for doing what is right and just and pleasing to God. In this way we diminish the sins and sacrileges they would commit in their attempt to abuse both the Catholic Faithful and the Sacraments of God!)


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Open Letter to the Bishops of Malta

On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, Veri Catholici, the International Association of Catholics for the Defense of the Faith against the Errors of Cardinal Kasper, published in the Times of Malta Newspaper, on p. 29, an Open Letter to the Bishops of Malta and Gozo regarding their recent pastoral document, in which they have openly approved of communion for those living in public sin.

The Republic of Malta, one of the smallest Nation States of the European Union, is a Republic consisting of numerous islands, the largest two of which are Malta and Gozo. The Archbishop of Malta is Msgr. Charles Jude Scicluna, a native of Canada; the Bishop of Gozo is Msgr. Mario Grech, a native Maltese.  The Archbishop, like all the principal members of “Team Bergoglio”, traces his episcopal lineage back to the notorious Mariano Cardinal Rampolla del Tindaro, rival of Pope St. Pius X in the Conclave of 1903.

The actual text of the Open Letter is as follows, in jpg format, for proof the advertisement was published in the Times of Malta, click on the image to see the full page:

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Those wishing to sign the open Letter may do so by leaving a comment below this post, indicating their name, and the town in the Republic of Malta, where they reside. If you reside outside of Malta, please mention also your nation.

If you wish to help with the costs of running the Advertisement in the Maltese Paper, please use our PayPal Button in the Right column of this page. Thank you! — Note: now that the Advertisement has been published, on page 29 of the Wednesday, Jan. 25th edition of the Times of Malta, we encourage all to  purchase a copy.


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Bishop Schneider speaks in favor of the 5 Dubia by the 4 Cardinals


“We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor. 13: 8)

A Prophetic Voice of Four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church

(Reprinted from Rorate Caeli )

Out of “deep pastoral concern,” four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany), His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of  Bologna (Italy), His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and His Eminence Walter Brandmüller, President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission of Historical Sciences, have published on November 14, 2016, the text of five questions, called dubia (Latin for “doubts”), which previously on September 19, 2016, they sent to the Holy Father and to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, along with an accompanying letter. The Cardinals ask Pope Francis to clear up “grave disorientation and great confusion” concerning the interpretation and practical application, particularly of chapter VIII, of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and its passages relating to admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments and the Church’s moral teaching.

In their statement entitled “Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia,” the Cardinals say that to “many — bishops, priests, faithful — these paragraphs allude to or even explicitly teach a change in the discipline of the Church with respect to the divorced who are living in a new union.” Speaking so, the Cardinals have merely stated real facts in the life of the Church. These facts are demonstrated by pastoral orientations on behalf of several dioceses and by public statements of some bishops and cardinals, who affirm that in some cases divorced and remarried Catholics can be admitted to Holy Communion even though they continue to use the rights reserved by Divine law to validly married spouses.

In publishing a plea for clarity in a matter that touches the truth and the sanctity simultaneously of the three sacraments of Marriage, Penance, and the Eucharist, the Four Cardinals only did their basic duty as bishops and cardinals, which consists in actively contributing so that the revelation transmitted through the Apostles might be guarded sacredly and might be faithfully interpreted. It was especially the Second Vatican Council that reminded all the members of the college of bishops as legitimate successors of the Apostles of their obligation, according to which “by Christ’s institution and command they have to be solicitous for the whole Church, and that this solicitude, though it is not exercised by an act of jurisdiction, contributes greatly to the advantage of the universal Church. For it is the duty of all bishops to promote and to safeguard the unity of faith and the discipline common to the whole Church” (Lumen gentium, 23; cf. also Christus Dominus, 5-6).

In making a public appeal to the Pope, bishops and cardinals should be moved by genuine collegial affection for the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth, following the teaching of Vatican Council II (cf. Lumen gentium, 22); in so doing they render “service to the primatial ministry” of the Pope (cf. Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, 13).

The entire Church in our days has to reflect upon the fact that the Holy Spirit has not in vain inspired Saint Paul to write in the Letter to the Galatians about the incident of his public correction of Peter. One has to trust that Pope Francis will accept this public appeal of the Four Cardinals in the spirit of the Apostle Peter, when St Paul offered him a fraternal correction for the good of the whole Church. May the words of that great Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas, illuminate and comfort us all: “When there is a danger for the faith, subjects are required to reprove their prelates, even publicly. Since Paul, who was subject to Peter, out of the danger of scandal, publicly reproved him. And Augustine comments: “Peter himself gave an example to superiors by not disdaining to be corrected by his subjects when it occurred to them that he had departed from the right path” (Summa theol., II-II, 33, 4c).

Pope Francis often calls for an outspoken and fearless dialogue between all members of the Church in matters concerning the spiritual good of souls. In the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, the Pope speaks of a need for “open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions. The thinking of pastors and theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest, realistic and creative, will help us to achieve greater clarity” (n. 2). Furthermore, relationships at all levels within the Church must be free from a climate of fear and intimidation, as Pope Francis has requested in his various pronouncements.

In light of these pronouncements of Pope Francis and the principle of dialogue and acceptance of legitimate plurality of opinions, which was fostered by the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the unusually violent and intolerant reactions on behalf of some bishops and cardinals against the calm and circumspect plea of the Four Cardinals cause great astonishment. Among such intolerant reactions one could read affirmations such as, for instance: the four Cardinals are witless, naive, schismatic, heretical, and even comparable to the Arian heretics.

Such apodictic merciless judgments reveal not only intolerance, refusal of dialogue, and irrational rage, but demonstrate also a surrender to the impossibility of speaking the truth, a surrender to relativism in doctrine and practice, in faith and life. The above-mentioned clerical reaction against the prophetic voice of the Four Cardinals parades ultimately powerlessness before the eyes of the truth. Such a violent reaction has only one aim: to silence the voice of the truth, which is disturbing and annoying the apparently peaceful nebulous ambiguity of these clerical critics.

The negative reactions to the public statement of the Four Cardinals resemble the general doctrinal confusion of the Arian crisis in the fourth century. It is helpful to all to quote in the situation of the doctrinal confusion in our days some affirmations of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, the “Athanasius of the West”.

“You [the bishops of Gaul] who still remain with me faithful in Christ did not give way when threatened with the onset of heresy, and now by meeting that onset you have broken all its violence. Yes, brethren, you have conquered, to the abundant joy of those who share your faith: and your unimpaired constancy gained the double glory of keeping a pure conscience and giving an authoritative example” (Hil. De Syn., 3).

“Your [the bishops of Gaul] invincible faith keeps the honourable distinction of conscious worth and, content with repudiating crafty, vague, or hesitating action, safely abides in Christ, preserving the profession of its liberty. For since we all suffered deep and grievous pain at the actions of the wicked against God, within our boundaries alone is communion in Christ to be found from the time that the Church began to be harried by disturbances such as the expatriation of bishops, the deposition of priests, the intimidation of the people, the threatening of the faith, and the determination of the meaning of Christ’s doctrine by human will and power. Your resolute faith does not pretend to be ignorant of these facts or profess that it can tolerate them, perceiving that by the act of hypocritical assent it would bring itself before the bar of conscience” (Hil. De Syn., 4).

“I have spoken what I myself believed, conscious that I owed it as my soldier’s service to the Church to send to you in accordance with the teaching of the Gospel by these letters the voice of the office which I hold in Christ. It is yours to discuss, to provide and to act, that the inviolable fidelity in which you stand you may still keep with conscientious hearts, and that you may continue to hold what you hold now” (Hil. De Syn., 92).

The following words of Saint Basil the Great, addressed to the Latin Bishops, can be in some aspects applied to the situation of those who in our days ask for doctrinal clarity, including our Four Cardinals: “The one charge which is now sure to secure severe punishment is the careful keeping of the traditions of the Fathers. We are not being attacked for the sake of riches, or glory, or any temporal advantages. We stand in the arena to fight for our common heritage, for the treasure of the sound faith, derived from our Fathers. Grieve with us, all you who love the brethren, at the shutting of the mouths of our men of true religion, and at the opening of the bold and blasphemous lips of all that utter unrighteousness against God. The pillars and foundation of the truth are scattered abroad. We, whose insignificance has allowed of our being overlooked, are deprived of our right of free speech” (Ep. 243, 2.4).

Today those bishops and cardinals, who ask for clarity and who try to fulfill their duty in guarding sacredly and faithfully interpreting the transmitted Divine Revelation concerning the Sacraments of Marriage and the Eucharist, are no longer exiled as it was with the Nicene bishops during the Arian crisis. Contrary to the time of the Arian crisis, today, as wrote Rudolf Graber, the bishop of Ratisbone, in 1973, exile of the bishops is replaced by hush-up strategies and by slander campaigns (cf. Athanasius und die Kirche unserer Zeit, Abensberg 1973, p. 23).

Another champion of the Catholic faith during the Arian crisis was Saint Gregory Nazianzen. He wrote the following striking characterization of the behavior of the majority of the shepherds of the Church in those times. This voice of the great Doctor of the Church should be a salutary warning for the bishops of all times: “Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for, excepting a very few, who either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel by the influences of the Spirit, all temporized, only differing from each other in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle, being overcome by fear, or by interest, or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance” (Orat. 21, 24).

When Pope Liberius in 357 signed one of the so called formulas of Sirmium, in which he deliberately discarded the dogmatically defined expression “homo-ousios” and excommunicated Saint Athanasius in order to have peace and harmony with the Arian and Semi-Arian bishops of the East, faithful Catholics and some few bishops, especially Saint Hilary of Poitiers, were deeply shocked. Saint Hilary transmitted the letter that Pope Liberius wrote to the Oriental bishops, announcing the acceptance of the formula of Sirmium and the excommunication of Saint Athanasius. In his deep pain and dismay, Saint Hilary added to the letter in a kind of desperation the phrase: “Anathema tibi a me dictum, praevaricator Liberi” (I say to you anathema, prevaricator Liberius), cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 141. Pope Liberius wanted to have peace and harmony at any price, even at the expense of the Divine truth. In his letter to the heterodox Latin bishops Ursace, Valence, and Germinius announcing to them the above-mentioned decisions, he wrote that he preferred peace and harmony to martyrdom (cf. cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 142).

“In what a dramatic contrast stood the behavior of Pope Liberius to the following conviction of Saint Hilary of Poitiers: “We don’t make peace at the expense of the truth by making concessions in order to acquire the reputation of tolerance. We make peace by fighting legitimately according to the rules of the Holy Spirit. There is a danger to ally surreptitiously with unbelief under the beautiful name of peace.” (Hil. Ad Const., 2, 6, 2).

Blessed John Henry Newman commented on these unusual sad facts with the following wise and equilibrated affirmation: “While it is historically true, it is in no sense doctrinally false, that a Pope, as a private doctor, and much more Bishops, when not teaching formally, may err, as we find they did err in the fourth century. Pope Liberius might sign a Eusebian formula at Sirmium, and the mass of Bishops at Ariminum or elsewhere, and yet they might, in spite of this error, be infallible in their ex cathedra decisions” (The Arians of the Fourth Century, London, 1876, p. 465).

The Four Cardinals with their prophetic voice demanding doctrinal and pastoral clarity have a great merit before their own conscience, before history, and before the innumerable simple faithful Catholics of our days, who are driven to the ecclesiastical periphery, because of their fidelity to Christ’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. But above all, the Four Cardinals have a great merit in the eyes of Christ. Because of their courageous voice, their names will shine brightly at the Last Judgment. For they obeyed the voice of their conscience remembering the words of Saint Paul: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor 13: 8). Surely, at the Last Judgment the above-mentioned mostly clerical critics of the Four Cardinals will not have an easy answer for their violent attack on such a just, worthy, and meritorious act of these Four Members of the Sacred College of Cardinals.

The following words inspired by the Holy Spirit retain their prophetic value especially in view of the spreading doctrinal and practical confusion regarding the Sacrament of Marriage in our days: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4: 3-5).

May all, who in our days still take seriously their baptismal vows and their priestly and episcopal promises, receive the strength and the grace of God so that they may reiterate together with Saint Hilary the words: “May I always be in exile, if only the truth begins to be preached again!” (De Syn., 78). This strength and grace we wish wholeheartedly to our Four Cardinals and as well as to those who criticize them.

+ Athanasius Schneider,
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana


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