Heresy, Cults

Edward Pentin interviewed Professor John Rist as to why he signed the controversial letter along with 85 other prominent theologians and scholars. Frankly, I admire these men who stood up and spoke out. They may not have proven formal heresy (which is something I leave to experts and canon lawyers) but the silence in the face of the papal confusion and seemingly intentional ambiguity and silence from the Pope and the Vatican is frustrating and divisive and to hear voices decrying such is refreshing. Where are the bishops?

Professor-John-Rist-CUAOne of many questions in Pentin’s interview with Risk is this: “What other concerns do you have that prompted you to sign the letter?”

Rist replied: I am concerned above all else to expose double-talk, which is how the present Pope has been evading charges of heresy. Uttering ambiguous and/or contradictory remarks on important issues must ultimately be viewed as a planned attempt to change doctrine by stealth. Had such ambiguities/contradictions been occasional, they could be attributed — in accord with the canonical principle of benignity — to “mere” muddle. Prolonged ambiguity on this scale requires that a sadder conclusion be drawn: that there is a design to achieve by stealth what could not be achieved by openly and unambiguously un-Catholic decrees.

What do you say to the various criticisms of the letter: that it represents an “extreme” and “intemperate” approach which “overstates” the case — as some see it — and this makes further criticism of this pontificate harder?

Criticisms of intemperance, etc., whatever their intent, can only have the effect of diverting attention from the main concerns: that the Pope is deliberately using ambiguity to change doctrine and that the attitude he adopts over appointments indicates that he is out of sympathy (to put it mildly) with traditional Catholic teachings on a whole range of subjects. Fussing about “extremism,” etc. seems like fiddling while Rome burns; what it shows is that even many conservatives do not want to grasp the gravity of a situation where the Pope seems bent on turning the Church into a vaguely spiritually flavored NGO.

Another criticism is that the signatories are not in a position to accuse the Pope of heresy, that only bishops can hold him to account for such a charge, and that the letter would have been better just calling on bishops to investigate the alleged heresies rather than accusing the Pope of them. What is your response to this view? 

But calling on the bishops is precisely what the letter does! The signatories are not in a position to convict a pope of heresy; they are in a position to “prosecute” the charge, and we judged it was our duty to do so. The letter is primarily and immediately a challenge to the bishops to act rather than ignore or wring hands only.

What is your view of the critique that it’s not yet possible to accuse Pope Francis of specific formal heresy, but he can be accused of deliberate ambiguity and confusion, or “drift” toward heresy, and that that might have made a better critique?

See my answer above. I am not a canonist, nor (see above) a judge. What I am is someone who believes he can recognize intended heresy in word [and] also how the words are confirmed by the actions.

For the whole interview in National Catholic Register here.

{ 6 comments }

This is a significant and important 20 page letter written to the Pope by a group of scholars. I hope Rome takes it seriously. I am in Rome right now two blocks away from the Vatican. I’d love to go over and beg Pope Francis to consider this letter seriously.  I am not saying that I agree or disagree with the letter but I agree with the frustration and the need for the Pope and the Vatican to respond and give clarification to the bushel basket of confusion they have created among the faithful

Below is a video from Fr. Joseph Fessio and Mark Brumley, the president of Ignatius Press, discussing the situation and encouraging the Pope and the Vatican to respond for the good of the Church.  Based on past experience I don’t think this will happen, but I sure agree with them that The Pope should respond and hope he does.

Here is the link to Jimmy Akin’s rebuttle of the letter accusing the pope of heresy.

{ 4 comments }

Based on my talk “Swimming Upstream: Living a Catholic Life in a Pagan World,” Steve and Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ discussed how paganism is coming back in a big way in the Western World. Christianity is being abandoned and alternative “spiritualities” are filling the void.

It was a lively discussion about what paganism is, why the West is enticed by it and how we as Christians need to respond. You can listen to the whole show at the audio link below. Below that are resources Fr. McTeigue put up to supplement the show.


Fr. McTeigue’s Show Resources:

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 9.32.19 AM

{ 2 comments }

Vatican Releases New Document on Salvation — Good Read!

March 6, 2018

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has released a new document–which it does not do too often. It was written by the head of the congregation Archbishops Luis Ladaria at the request of Pope Francis. It addresses two problematic tendencies in the modern world that relate to the heresies of Gnosticism and Pelagianism. Jimmy […]

Read the full article →

Is Pope Francis Teaching Heresy? 66+ Scholars and Bishops Say “Yes”

September 25, 2017

I am not expressing any opinion here. I am just posting three of the many articles about a Papal Correction which is taking the Catholic world by storm. Because Pope Francis is refusing to explain his teachings there is a justified response and request for clarification or correction. Read and consider this historical situation and […]

Read the full article →

You Know You Are a Heretic when…

September 24, 2015

You decide you know more, you have a new previously unknown truth…

Read the full article →

For those following the Geocentrism Debate – I especially enjoyed the one on Pitfalls of Over-literal Interpretation

February 28, 2015

From my friend David Palm who runs the website www.GeocentrismDebunked.com. It almost seems crazy to post blogs debating whether the sun rotates around the earth, or that the earth is the center of the universe with everything revolving around IT. But there are actually people out there with aluminum foil caps with antennas :-)  who […]

Read the full article →

Have They Discovered a New “Lost Gospel” that Says Jesus was Married?

November 13, 2014

Jimmy Akin writes: It’s getting near Christmas, and you know what that means. That’s right! It’s time for another book to be released telling us the sensationalistic “truth” about Christianity. This time we have The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson. […]

Read the full article →

Heretic for Desiring Women’s Ordination?

October 31, 2014

Since, you asked, Walter, no, you are not a heretic, but… by Dr. Edward Peters Walter Sandell. … “I wonder if I’m a heretic for believing in, and supporting, the ordination of women. I would be a hypocrite if I kept silent about this issue …” I don’t know (and it doesn’t matter) who “Walter […]

Read the full article →

Mormons Changing Their Museum to Better Suggest They are “Christian”

September 25, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – “The Mormon Church History museum is closing for one year for a total renovation of the 30-year-old building. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says the Salt Lake City museum will close on Oct. 6, following the biannual general conference. It is scheduled to reopen in the fall […]

Read the full article →