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Cardinals send ‘dubia’ to Pope Francis ahead of Synod on Synodality

Cardinal Robert Sarah | Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

National Catholic Register, Oct 2, 2023 / 02:34 am (CNA).

Five cardinals have sent a set of questions to Pope Francis to express their concerns and seek clarification on points of doctrine and discipline ahead of this week’s opening of the Synod on Synodality at the Vatican.

The cardinals said they submitted five questions, called “dubia,” on Aug. 21 requesting clarity on topics relating to doctrinal development, the blessing of same-sex unions, the authority of the Synod on Synodality, women’s ordination, and sacramental absolution.

Dubia are formal questions brought before the pope and the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) aimed at eliciting a “yes” or “no” response, without theological argumentation. The word “dubia” is the plural form of “dubium,” which means “doubt” in Latin. They are typically raised by cardinals or other high-ranking members of the Church and are meant to seek clarification on matters of doctrine or Church teaching.

The dubia were signed by German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, 94, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; American Cardinal Raymond Burke, 75, prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura; Chinese Cardinal Zen Ze-Kiun, 90, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong; Mexican Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, 90, archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara; and Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, 78, prefect emeritus of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The same group of senior prelates say they submitted a previous version of the dubia on these topics on July 10 and received a reply from Pope Francis the following day.

But they said that the pope responded in full answers rather than in the customary form of “yes” and “no” replies, which made it necessary to submit a revised request for clarification.

Pope Francis’ responses “have not resolved the doubts we had raised, but have, if anything, deepened them,” they said in a statement to the National Catholic Register, CNA’s partner news outlet. They therefore sent the reformulated dubia on Aug. 21, rephrasing them partly so they would elicit “yes” or “no” replies.

The cardinals declined the Register’s requests to review the pope’s July 11 response, as they say the response was addressed only to them and so not meant for the public.

They say they have not yet received a response to the reformulated dubia sent to the pope on Aug. 21.

The Register sought comment from the Vatican on Sept. 29 and again on Oct. 1 but had not received a response by publication time.

The cardinals explained in a “Notification to Christ’s Faithful” dated Oct. 2 that they decided to submit the dubia “in view of various declarations of highly placed prelates” made in relation to the upcoming synod that have been “openly contrary to the constant doctrine and discipline of the Church.”

Those declarations, they said, “have generated and continue to generate great confusion and the falling into error among the faithful and other persons of goodwill, have manifested our deepest concern to the Roman pontiff.”

The initiative, the cardinals added, was taken in line with canon 212 § 3, which states it is a duty of all the faithful “to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church.”

The practice of issuing dubia has come to the fore during this pontificate. In 2016, Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller along with late Cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner submitted a set of five dubium to Pope Francis seeking clarification on the interpretation of Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, particularly regarding the admission of divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacraments. They did not receive a direct response to their questions.

In 2021, the DDF issued a “responsa ad dubium giving a simple “no” to a dubium on whether the Church has “the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.” That same year, the Dicastery for Divine Worship issued a responsa ad dubia on various questions relating to the implementation of Traditionis Custodes, Pope Francis’ motu proprio restricting the Traditional Latin Mass.

Then in January of this year, Jesuit Father James Martin directly sent Pope Francis a set of three dubium seeking clarification of comments the Holy Father had given the Associated Press on the issue of homosexuality. The pope replied to the questions with a handwritten letter two days later.

What both dubia contain

The first dubium (question) concerns development of doctrine and the claim made by some bishops that divine revelation “should be reinterpreted according to the cultural changes of our time and according to the new anthropological vision that these changes promote; or whether divine revelation is binding forever, immutable and therefore not to be contradicted.”

The cardinals said the pope responded July 11 by saying that the Church “can deepen her understanding of the deposit of faith,” which they agreed with, but that the response did “not capture our concern.” They reinstated their concern that many Christians today argue that “cultural and anthropological changes of our time should push the Church to teach the opposite of what it has always taught. This concerns essential, not secondary, questions for our salvation, like the confession of faith, subjective conditions for access to the sacraments, and observance of the moral law,” they said.

They therefore rephrased their dubium to say: “Is it possible for the Church today to teach doctrines contrary to those she has previously taught in matters of faith and morals, whether by the pope ex cathedra, or in the definitions of an Ecumenical Council, or in the ordinary universal magisterium of the bishops dispersed throughout the world (cf. Lumen Gentium, 25)?”

In the second dubium on blessing same-sex unions, they underscored the Church’s teaching based on divine revelation and Scripture that “God created man in his own image, male and female he created them and blessed them, that they might be fruitful” (Gen 1:27-28), and St. Paul’s teaching that to deny sexual difference is the consequence of the denial of the Creator (Rom 1:24-32). They then asked the pope if the Church can deviate from such teaching and accept “as a ‘possible good’ objectively sinful situations, such as same-sex unions, without betraying revealed doctrine?”

The pope responded July 11, the cardinals said, by saying that equating marriage to blessing same-sex couples would give rise to confusion and so should be avoided. But the cardinals said their concern is different, namely “that the blessing of same-sex couples might create confusion in any case, not only in that it might make them seem analogous to marriage, but also in that homosexual acts would be presented practically as a good, or at least as the possible good that God asks of people in their journey toward him.”

They therefore rephrased their dubium to ask if it were possible in “some circumstances” for a priest to bless same-sex unions “thus suggesting that homosexual behavior as such would not be contrary to God’s law and the person’s journey toward God?” Linked to that dubium, they asked if the Church’s teaching continues to be valid that “every sexual act outside of marriage, and in particular homosexual acts, constitutes an objectively grave sin against God’s law, regardless of the circumstances in which it takes place and the intention with which it is carried out.”

Question about synodality

In the third dubium, the cardinals asked whether synodality can be the highest criterion of Church governance without jeopardizing “her constitutive order willed by her Founder,” given that the Synod of Bishops does not represent the college of bishops but is “merely a consultative organ of the pope.” They stressed: “The supreme and full authority of the Church is exercised both by the pope by virtue of his office and by the college of bishops together with its head the Roman pontiff (Lumen Gentium, 22).”

The cardinals said Pope Francis responded by insisting on a “synodal dimension to the Church” that includes all the lay faithful, but the cardinals said they are concerned that “synodality” is being presented as if it “represents the supreme authority of the Church” in communion with the pope. They therefore sought clarity on whether the synod can act as the supreme authority on crucial issues. Their reformulated dubium asked: “Will the Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome, and which includes only a chosen representation of pastors and faithful, exercise, in the doctrinal or pastoral matters on which it will be called to express itself, the supreme authority of the Church, which belongs exclusively to the Roman pontiff and, una cum capite suo, to the college of bishops (cf. can. 336 C.I.C.)?”

Holy Orders and forgiveness

In the fourth dubium, the cardinals addressed statements from some prelates, again “neither corrected nor retracted,” which say that as the “theology of the Church has changed,” so therefore women can be ordained priests. They therefore asked the pope if the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which “definitively held the impossibility of conferring priestly ordination on women, is still valid.” They also sought clarification on whether or not this teaching “is no longer subject to change nor to the free discussion of pastors or theologians.”

In their reformulated dubium, the cardinals said the pope reiterated that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is to be held definitively and “that it is necessary to understand the priesthood, not in terms of power, but in terms of service, in order to understand correctly Our Lord’s decision to reserve holy orders to men only.” But they took issue with his response that said the question “can still be further explored.”

“We are concerned that some may interpret this statement to mean that the matter has not yet been decided in a definitive manner,” they said, adding that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis belongs to the deposit of faith. Their reformulated dubium therefore comprised: “Could the Church in the future have the faculty to confer priestly ordination on women, thus contradicting that the exclusive reservation of this sacrament to baptized males belongs to the very substance of the sacrament of orders, which the Church cannot change?”

Their final dubium concerned the Holy Father’s frequent insistence that there’s a duty to absolve everyone and always, so that repentance would not be a necessary condition for sacramental absolution. The cardinals asked whether the contrition of the penitent remains necessary for the validity of sacramental confession, “so that the priest must postpone absolution when it is clear that this condition is not fulfilled.”

In their reformulated dubium, they note that the pope confirmed the teaching of the Council of Trent on this issue, that absolution requires the sinner’s repentance, which includes the resolve not to sin again. “And you invited us not to doubt God’s infinite mercy,” they noted, but added: “We would like to reiterate that our question does not arise from doubting the greatness of God’s mercy, but, on the contrary, it arises from our awareness that this mercy is so great that we are able to convert to him, to confess our guilt, and to live as he has taught us. In turn, some might interpret your answer as meaning that merely approaching confession is a sufficient condition for receiving absolution, inasmuch as it could implicitly include confession of sins and repentance.” They therefore rephrased their dubium to read: “Can a penitent who, while admitting a sin, refuses to make, in any way, the intention not to commit it again, validly receive sacramental absolution?”

Vatican context

The public release of the documents, obtained by the Register and other news outlets, comes two days before the opening of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, a pivotal and highly controversial event in the Catholic Church.

The gathering in Rome marks a historic moment for the Church because for the first time in its history, laypeople, women, and other non-bishops will participate as full voting synod delegates, though the pope will ultimately decide whether to accept any of the assembly’s recommendations.

Pope Francis, either directly or through the Roman Curia, has previously addressed the topics brought up by the five cardinals and their dubia.

On the issue of the development of doctrine and possible contradictions, Pope Francis has frequently described a vision of doctrinal expansion grounded in a particular understanding of St. Vincent of Lerins’ maxim that Christian dogma “progresses, consolidating over the years, developing with time, deepening with age.” The pope has said doctrine expands “upward” from the roots of the faith as “our understanding of the human person changes with time, and our consciousness deepens.”

For instance, the Holy Father has said that while the death penalty was accepted and even called for by previous Catholic doctrine, it is “now a sin.” “The other sciences and their evolution also help the Church in this growth of understanding,” the pope said. In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis said that this kind of approach might be considered “imperfect” by those who “dream of a monolithic doctrine defended by all without nuance,” but “the reality is that such variety helps us to better manifest and develop the different aspects of the inexhaustible richness of the Gospel.”

On the topic of blessing same-sex unions, which have been pushed for in places like Germany, the Vatican’s chief doctrinal office, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, weighed in on the matter in 2021, clarifying that “the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex.” However, some have speculated that, in spite of the DDF text referencing his approval, Pope Francis was displeased by the document. Relatedly, Antwerp’s Bishop Johan Bonny claimed in March that the pope did not disapprove of the Flemish-speaking Belgian bishops plan to introduce a related blessing, although this claim has not been substantiated and it is not clear that the Flemish blessing is, in fact, the kind explicitly disapproved by the DDF guidance.

Regarding the DDF text, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin cited it in his criticism of the German Synodal Way’s decision to move forward with attempted blessings of same-sex unions, but he also added that the topic would require further discussion at the upcoming universal synod. More significantly, new DDF prefect Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, a close confidant of Pope Francis, stated in July that while he was opposed to any blessing that would confuse same-sex unions with marriage, the 2021 DDF guidance “lacked the smell of Francisco” and could be revisited during his tenure.

Regarding the authority of the forthcoming synod, although Pope Francis has expanded voting rights in the Synod of Bishops beyond the episcopacy, he has also repeatedly emphasized that the synod “is not a parliament” but a consultative, spiritual gathering meant to advise the pope. The pope did adjust canon law in 2018 to allow for the final document approved by a Synod of Bishops to “participate in the ordinary magisterium of the successor of Peter,” though only if “expressly approved by the Roman pontiff.”

On the possibility of the sacramental ordination of women, Pope Francis reaffirmed in 2016 that St. John Paul II’s clear “no” via Ordinato Sacederdotalis (1994) was the “final word” on the subject. In 2018, then-DDF prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria confirmed that the male-only priesthood is “definitive.” In a 2022 interview with America magazine, Pope Francis again affirmed that women cannot enter ordained ministry and said that this should not be seen as a “deprivation.”

The pope has established two separate commissions to consider the question of a female diaconate, but the first, historically-based commission did not come to any definitive consensus and the second, focusing on the issue from a theological perspective, seems similarly unlikely to offer univocal support for a female diaconate. However, the synod’s Instrumentum Laboris does ask if “it is possible to envisage” women’s inclusion in the diaconate “and in what way?”

Finally, regarding withholding absolution in the confessional, the pope has previously referred to priests who refrain from offering absolution for certain moral sins without the bishop’s permission as “criminals” and told the Congolese bishops in February that they must “always forgive in the sacrament of reconciliation,” going beyond the Code of Canon Law to “risk on the side of forgiveness.”

Jonathan Liedl, senior editor of the National Catholic Register, contributed to this story.

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  1. No worries, the faithful can go back to sleep. The Doctrine of Pope Francis has answered all “dubia” by the creation of Cardinal Tucho at the Dicastery of the Doctrine of Fernández. 💋

  2. From the back bleachers, three comments: St. Augustine, Cardinal Newman, and Evangelii Gaudium:

    FIRST, The “backwardist” St. Augustine (not a Jesuit) clarifies: “We can say things differently, but we can’t say different things.”

    SECOND, the 19th-century John Henry Cardinal Newman (“the father of Vatican II”) unpacks the 5th-century Vincent of Lerins (referenced alone by Pope Francis), with the non-Darwinian (!) clarity that organic development of revealed doctrine does not extend to mutation (“The Development of Christian Doctrine”).

    “I venture to set down seven notes of varying cogency, independence, and applicability to discriminate healthy developments of an idea from its state of corruption and decay, as follows: “There is no corruption if it retains:

    (1) One and the same TYPE [doctrine/natural law with accompaniment v. disconnected pastoral accommodation?],
    (2) The same PRINCIPLES [sound philosophy v. neo-Hegelianism and synodal historicism],
    (3) The same ORGANIZATION [the Barque of Peter v. natural religions as equivalently “the will of God”?];
    (4) If its beginnings ANTICIPATE its subsequent phases [Scripture, Councils, Catechism, Veritatis Splendor v. normalization and blessing of homosexual activity and a range of “irregular” unions?];
    (5) Its later phenomena PROTECT and subserve its earlier [Veritatis Splendor, Familiarus Consortio v. the secularist social-science and the self-validated “arc of history”?];
    (6) If it has a power of assimilation and REVIVAL [Evangelization v. contextualization in Amazonia and Germania within the ongoing displacement of faith, morals and even coherent discourse], and
    (7) A vigorous ACTION from first to last…” [steadfastness because (!) fully engaging unprecedented challenges; that is, the Council’s aggiornamento, rooted in ressourcement as not “backwardist”].

    THIRD, while the four new “principles” (#2, above) proposed in Evangelii Gaudium are fertile, they also seem to be too easily subject to “ideological colonization”:

    When is “realities are more important than ideas at risk of NOMINALISM?
    When is “time is greater than space” at risk of HISTORICISM?
    When is “unity prevails over conflict” at risk of CLERICALISM?
    When is “the whole is greater than the part” at risk of GLOBALISM?

  3. Good grief, a Vatican document, admittedly valid, “lacked the smell of Francisco”! We have now an olfactory papacy, and we await the first “scratch and sniff” papal bull.

    Okay, I got the snark out of me. Let me comment more placidly on another matter. ” The pope has said doctrine expands “upward” from the roots of the faith as “our understanding of the human person changes with time, and our consciousness deepens.” This presumes that our understanding of the human person always progresses. So we, apparently, have a better understanding of the human person than John Cassian and a deeper consciousness than Augustine??? This presumption also flies in the face of how such understanding of the human person has veered way of course at times, it was not that long ago, for instance, that Dr. Freud’s understanding was all in vogue, including in some Church quarters. Human consciousness continues to be led astray by Marxism, including in some Church quarters. And the idea of evolution itself, which the pope’s philosophy alludes to, has captured the consciousness of modern man, including most Church quarters, has confused and weakened our understanding of creation and of human nature itself, and has provided a paradigm that can be used wherever a change is wanted. Presto!

  4. Question: Do you believe that “The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the Revelation, the Deposit of Faith, delivered through the Apostles. ”

    If the answer is no, than The Faithful can know through both Faith and Reason informed by Faith, that the election of a man to The Papacy who cannot possibly hold the office of MUNUS cannot possibly be a successor of Peter, and thus such an election would ipso facto be null and void, based upon The Deposit Of Faith, Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, And The Teaching Of The Magisterium Of Every Validly Elected Pope, Grounded In Sacred Tradition And Sacred Scripture, As Christ Himself Has Revealed, and thus we can know through both Faith and Reason, that even through an eclipse of The Church, The Office Of The MUNUS remains Forever, as Christ Revealed, “I Know My Sheep, and My sheep know Me”, and “ I will not leave you orphaned “, and thus continues to “Shine In The Darkness, And The Darkness cannot overcome Him”.

    “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

    You can only have an Apostasy from The True Church Of Christ, but even in the face of Apostasy, The Deposit Of Faith remains, From The Father, Through The Son, In The Unity Of The Holy Ghost (Filioque) Forever.

    The Sacrifice Of The Cross, The Sacrament Most Holy, Is The Sacrifice Of The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity.

    At the heart of Liberty Is Christ, “4For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated, have tasted also the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5Have moreover tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come…”, to not believe that Christ’s Sacrifice On The Cross will lead us to Salvation, but we must desire forgiveness for our sins, and accept Salvational Love, God’s Gift Of Grace And Mercy; believe in The Power And The Glory Of Salvation Love, and rejoice in the fact that No Greater Love Is There Than This, To Desire Salvation For One’s Beloved.
    “Hail The Cross, Our Only Hope.”
    “Blessed are they who are Called to The Marriage Supper Of The Lamb.”

    • That should read:

      At the heart of Liberty Is Christ, “4For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated, have tasted also the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5Have moreover tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come…”, to not believe that Christ’s Sacrifice On The Cross will lead us to Salvation, but we must desire forgiveness for our sins, and accept Salvational Love, God’s Gift Of Grace And Mercy; believe in The Power And The Glory Of Salvation Love, and rejoice in the fact that No Greater Love Is There Than This, To Desire Salvation For One’s Beloved.
      “Hail The Cross, Our Only Hope.”
      “Blessed are they who are Called to The Marriage Supper Of The Lamb.”

  5. The Cardinals of such “dubia” are not ranking members of a rival political party, even if this pontificate portrays them as such. They asking questions regarding fidelity to Christ and His Deposit of Faith/Truth versus making stuff up.

  6. J.M.J.

    Our Call To Holiness has always been a Call to the perfection of Charity, in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds, as we strive to overcome our disordered inclinations and become transformed through Salvational Love, God’s Gift Of Grace And Mercy available to all those who desire to repent, and partake in the fullness of Christian Life with Christ, while recognizing it is a sin to “accommodate an occasion of sin, and cooperate with with that which promotes evil.

    The desire to engage in a dreaming act of any nature, does not change the nature of the act, thus regardless of the actors or the actors desires, even if they be a man and woman united in marriage as husband and wife, deny the inherent Dignity of the human person as a beloved son or daughter, are devoid of Love , and thus sinful acts.

    Our Call To Holiness, has always been a Call to be chaste in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds, as we are Called to be, “Temples Of The Holy Ghost”; we cannot tolerate, accommodate, and thus affirm sin or sinful desires and be Faithful to Christ and Our Call To Holiness. To tolerate, accommodate, and thus affirm sin or sinful desires, is to fail to Love the sinner and refuse to desire Salvation for them.
    “1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”121
    1850 Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.”122 Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”124 In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.125
    1851 It is precisely in the Passion, when the mercy of Christ is about to vanquish it, that sin most clearly manifests its violence and its many forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and mockery by the leaders and the people, Pilate’s cowardice and the cruelty of the soldiers, Judas’ betrayal – so bitter to Jesus, Peter’s denial and the disciples’ flight. However, at the very hour of darkness, the hour of the prince of this world,126 the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly.”
    It is a sin to accomodate an occasion of sin, and thus cooperate with evils.”

  7. Whether this new dubia has positive effect with this papacy is doubtful, yet hopeful. It’s also important that the highly circumspect Card Sarah has signed the document.
    What Sarah’s signature lends to the document is his longstanding fidelity to the Deposit of Faith, and the papacy, and that his large following of faithful are now made aware that the papacy has limits that cannot be violated.

  8. The Pope needs to clarify what the extents or limits are on what he is heading. Is he proposing that

    1. the Pope must always have immediate greater spirituality than everyone else based on information “listened to and discerned”

    2. which was ordained so as to lead the whole world in the correct themes simultaneously including saving the earth from climate disasters and making sure everybody gets vaccinated etc.

    3. so that he can orchestrate everyone’s prudence and their fulfillment at least some of the time yet hopefully most of the time

    4. because this is the meaning and ultimate destination for interior life and the Holy Spirit “embodying of the whole Church”?

    Moreover, if people like Fernandez already understand this, are they bound not to mention it for fear of crossing the Pope’s doctrine knowingly and/or unknowingly and spilling the Papal Secret to those who do not belong? Hence “silence is essential for the Holy Spirit to be able to do his work”? But why should they be so bound?

    ‘ Francis said he chose to emphasize synodality not only because it is the theme of the Synod of Bishops set to begin next week, “but also because it seems to me that the metaphor of the orchestra can well illuminate the synodal character of the Church.”

    “A symphony thrives on the skillful composition of the timbres of different instruments: each one makes its contribution, sometimes alone, sometimes united with someone else, sometimes with the whole ensemble,” he said.

    In order to create this symphony, he said, it is necessary to “listen more than anyone else,” while helping each person and the orchestra itself to “develop the greatest creative fidelity: Fidelity to the work being performed, but also creative, able to give a soul to the score, to make it resonate in the here and now in a unique way.”

    Pope Francis closed urging the new cardinals to “have the Holy Spirit as our master: the interior master of each one of us and the master of walking together. He creates variety and unity; He is harmony itself. We entrust ourselves to his gentle and strong guidance.” ‘

  9. Excellent work by these prelates.

    This is exactly the right way to deal with the oblique and obfuscating Bergoglio.

    Don’t wait for him to muddy the waters and confuse those of good will.

    Make him commit to his novelties out in the open, where the issues are well defined and the heresies apparent.

  10. What formed my youthful atheism, before I began the process of outgrowing it, had much to do with viewing Christian Churches and those who publicly spoke for them as very incoherent. My own atheistic mind, confirmed by undergrad basic philosophy courses focusing on the ancient Greeks, always believed truth was absolute and immutable. The publicly promoted Catholic theologians were all over the place in what they were promoting in the late sixties. So I found no credibility in “organized religion” or any religion for years. Now, after many years post-conversion, I am still mystified at how people who believe they believe in God can believe truth can be manmade or a cultural artifact and in a state of permanent flux.

    • Dear Edward J Baker: a cry from your heart and from the hearts of millions of Christ-loving Catholics around the world.

      Please be ‘mystified’ no longer! We’ve had many popes over two millennia of Catholicism, some superb followers of our LORD Jesus Christ, some bad sinners, with typical human faults. Yet, none have flatly denied the authority of God as, down the ages, has ‘the spirit of this world’, our opponent, Satan.

      With Pope Francis and his favorites, we have a novel & unprecedented situation: a pope who is (subtly & capriciously for sure) subverting the leadership of God in Christ (He who is our ONE TEACHER, whose Holy Spirit-anointed Apostles gave us our precious New Testament, the Charter of His New Covenant, our sure & only way to eternal life).

      This totally unprecedented papal rebellion has discombobulated & confusticated all the clergy leaders of our Church. Yet the TRUE ELDERS, the cardinals who persist in questioning Pope Francis’ anti-Apostolic goings-on, are speaking to the anti-Apostles in the same way Saint John reports in his Gospel chapter 8, from verse 42:

      Jesus said to them: “If God was your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God, and now I am here. I did not come on My own, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept My Word.”

      “You are from your father, the devil, and you chose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

      The mystery is that one who presents as a lamb is speaking & behaving as a dragon.

      Ever following The Lamb of God; love & blessings from marty

  11. You know things are bad when people can’t answer pretty clear questions on important issues with a simple and straightforward “yes” or “no.” We live in dark times indeed. A heart that honors light and truth does not equivocate.

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