In this particular climate, two facts stand out that must be considered: a discreet meeting organized on March 25 and 26 in the United States, by the defenders of François’ career; and an anonymous memorandum addressed to cardinals at the start of Lent, which was very harsh on the current pontificate. The encounter was explained in the previous article.
An anonymous memorandum against the current pontificate
On March 15, the Vaticanist Sandro Magister published on his blog Settimo Cielo the text of a memorandum which he presented in these terms: “Since the beginning of Lent, the cardinals who will elect the future pope have circulated this memorandum. Its author, who calls himself Demos, “people” in Greek, is unknown, but shows himself to be a perfect master of the subject. It cannot be excluded that he himself is a cardinal.
Here are the most significant excerpts from this document, divided into two parts: “The Vatican Today” and “The Next Conclave”.
The Vatican today
“The commentators of each school, if for different reasons, with the possible exception of Father Spadaro, SJ, [director of the Jesuit review La Civiltà Cattolica, and very close to Francis], agree that this pontificate is a disaster in many or most respects; a disaster “.
1 – Previously, we said: Roma locuta. Causa finita est [Rome has spoken, the case is closed]. Today we say: Roma loquitur, confusio augetur [Rome speaks, confusion increases].
(A) The German synod talks about homosexuality, women priests, communion for the divorced [and remarried]. The papacy is silent.
(B) Cardinal Hollerich rejects Christian teaching on sexuality. The papacy is silent.
(C) This silence is accentuated in relation to the active persecution of traditionalists and contemplative orders.
2 – The Christocentric dimension of teaching weakens, Christ moves away from the center. At times, Rome even seems to be confused about the importance of strict monotheism, hinting at a broader concept of divinity; not quite pantheism, but as a variant of Hindu pantheism.… – Here Demos denounces the cult of the Pachamama during the synod on the Amazon in 2019.
(C) The Academy for Life is badly damaged, for example, some members recently supported assisted suicide. The Pontifical Academies have members and guest lecturers who support abortion.
3 – The breaking of the law in the Vatican risks becoming an international scandal. These questions have been crystallized through the current trial in the Vatican of ten defendants of financial embezzlement, but the problem is older and broader.
(D) The pope sometimes (often) governs by papal decrees (motu proprio) which eliminate the right of appeal of those affected.
4 – (A) The Vatican’s financial situation is serious. For ten years (at least), there have almost always been financial deficits. Before COVID, these deficits amounted to around 20 million euros per year. Over the past three years, they have been around 30 to 35 million euros per year.
5 – The political influence of Pope Francis and the Vatican is negligible. Intellectually, the papal writings show a decline from the standard of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict. Decisions and policies are often “politically correct”, but there have been serious failures to uphold human rights in Venezuela, Hong Kong, mainland China and now during the Russian invasion.
There has been no public support for faithful Catholics in China who have been intermittently persecuted for their loyalty to the papacy for more than 70 years. No public Vatican support for the Catholic community in Ukraine, especially Greek Catholics.
These questions should be reconsidered by the next Pope. The political prestige of the Vatican is now at rock bottom.
6 – The Covid crisis has masked the sharp drop in the number of pilgrims attending papal audiences and masses.
The Holy Father has little support among seminarians and young priests and widespread disaffection exists within the Vatican Curia.
The next conclave
1 – The College of Cardinals was weakened by eccentric appointments and was not reconvened after Cardinal Kasper’s views were rejected during the 2014 consistory. [February 20, 2014, on the question of communion granted to remarried divorcees, before the double synod on the family of October 2014 and October 2015. Ed]. Many cardinals are unknown to each other, adding a new dimension of unpredictability to the upcoming conclave.
2 – After Vatican II, Catholic authorities often underestimated the hostile power of secularization, of the world, of the flesh and of the devil, especially in the Western world and overestimated the influence and strength of the Church Catholic.
We are weaker than 50 years ago and many factors are beyond our control, at least in the short term, for example the decline in the number of believers, the frequency of mass, the disappearance or extinction of many orders. religious.
3 – The Pope does not need to be the best evangelist in the world, nor a political force. The Successor of Peter, at the head of the College of Bishops, also successors of the Apostles, has a founding role for unity and doctrine. The new pope must understand that the secret of Christian and Catholic vitality comes from fidelity to the teachings of Christ and to Catholic practices. It doesn’t come from adapting to the world or money.
4. The first tasks of the new pope will be to restore normality, restore doctrinal clarity in faith and morals, restore respect for the law and ensure that the first criterion for the appointment of bishops is the acceptance of the apostolic tradition.
5 – If synod gatherings continue around the world, they will consume a great deal of time and money, likely diverting energy from evangelism and service rather than deepening these essential activities.
If national or continental synods are given doctrinal authority, we will have a new danger for the unity of the world Church, whereby, for example, the German Church has doctrinal views not shared by other Churches and not compatible with the apostolic tradition.
If there were no Roman correction of such heresy, the Church would be reduced to a loose federation of local Churches, holding different views, probably closer to an Anglican or Protestant model, than of an orthodox model.
A first priority for the next pope must be to suppress and prevent such a threatening development, demanding unity in the essentials and not allowing unacceptable doctrinal differences. The morality of homosexual activity will be one such flashpoint.
7 – Despite the dangerous decline of the West and the inherent fragility and instability in many places, serious consideration should be given to the feasibility of a visitation by order of the Jesuits. They are in a situation of catastrophic numerical decline from 36,000 members during the Council to less than 16,000 in 2017 (with probably 20-25% being over 75). In some places there is a catastrophic moral decline.
8 – The disastrous decline in the number of Catholics and the Protestant expansion in South America must be addressed. It was barely mentioned in the Amazon synod.
9. Obviously, a lot of work is needed on financial reforms in the Vatican, but this should not be the most important criterion in the selection of the next pope.
The Vatican has no substantial debts, but persistent annual deficits will eventually lead to bankruptcy. Obviously, measures will be taken to remedy this, to separate the Vatican from criminal accomplices and to balance income and expenditure. The Vatican will need to show skill and integrity to attract substantial donations to help solve this problem.
Despite improved financial procedures and greater clarity, ongoing financial pressures represent a major challenge, but they are far less significant than the spiritual and doctrinal threats facing the Church, especially in the First World.
At the start of the tenth year of his pontificate, Pope Francis is supported by those who still want more from Vatican II; it is criticized by those who note a development of doctrines incompatible with the apostolic tradition, and who fear to see the Catholic Church “reduced to a loose federation of local Churches, holding different views, probably closer to an Anglican model or Protestant, than of an Orthodox model”. model”, “if there were no Roman correction of such heresy”.
On November 21, 1974, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre declared that fidelity to “eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and truth” necessarily implied the refusal to follow “the Rome of the neo-modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies which had clearly manifested themselves in Second Vatican Council. and, after the Council, in all the reforms resulting from it.
“All these reforms, in fact, have contributed and continue to contribute to the destruction of the Church, to the ruin of the priesthood, to the abolition of the sacrifice of the Mass and the sacraments, to the disappearance of religious life, to a naturalist and Teilhardian teaching in universities, seminaries and catecheses; a teaching derived from liberalism and Protestantism, repeatedly condemned by the solemn magisterium of the Church.
To some, what he said then seemed exaggerated. Today, this is an observation shared by many. But for this lucid analysis to be effective, we must not stop at the observed facts, we must also go back to their proven causes:
“It is impossible,” adds the missionary prelate, “to profoundly modify the lex orandi without modifying the lex credendi. At Novus Ordo Missæ [New Order Mass] correspond a new catechism, a new priesthood, new seminaries, new universities, a charismatic Pentecostal Church, all things opposed to orthodoxy and the eternal teaching of the Church.