On July 16, 2017, several clerics and lay scholars addressed a correctio filialis, a filial correction, to Pope Francis. They reveal the seven heresies contained in the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
A website has been created for the occasion: www.correctiofilialis.org; it offers information on the diffusion of the correctio filialis.
This thoroughly documented critique is a sort of sequel to the Dubia on Amoris Laetitia (September 19, 2016) of Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Raymond L. Burke, Joachim Meisner, and Carlo Caffarra. (The latter two passed away this year, respectively on July 5 and September 6.) They respectfully requested Pope Francis to “clarify” five unorthodox points in Amoris Laetitia.
The Dubia remained unanswered and were later followed by a request for an audience from the four authors (April 25, 2017). Their request was not granted.
On June 29, 2016, 45 theologians submitted to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, another critical study of 19 points in Amoris Laetitia. This critique also went unanswered.
In the list of the 62 signatories of the correctio filialis are the names of several persons who already signed the critique of the 45 theologians in 2016, but among the new names is that of Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, the only bishop who has signed the document so far, although – as the presentation of the correctio filialis explains – the list remains open.
A Summary of the "Correctio filialis"
A 25-page letter signed by 40 Catholic clergy and lay scholars was delivered to Pope Francis on August 11th. Since no answer was received from the Holy Father, it is being made public today, 24th September, Feast of Our Lady of Ransom and of Our Lady of Walsingham. The letter, which is open to new signatories, now has the names of 62 clergy and lay scholars from 20 countries, who also represent others lacking the necessary freedom of speech. It has a Latin title: ‘Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis’ (literally, ‘A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies’). It states that the pope has, by his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and by other, related, words, deeds and omissions, effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church. These 7 heresies are expressed by the signatories in Latin, the official language of the Church.
This letter of correction has 3 main parts. In the first part, the signatories explain why, as believing and practising Catholics, they have the right and duty to issue such a correction to the supreme pontiff. Church law itself requires that competent persons not remain silent when the pastors of the Church are misleading the flock. This involves no conflict with the Catholic dogma of papal infallibility, since the Church teaches that a pope must meet strict criteria before his utterances can be considered infallible. Pope Francis has not met these criteria. He has not declared these heretical positions to be definitive teachings of the Church, or stated that Catholics must believe them with the assent of faith. The Church teaches no pope can claim that God has revealed some new truth to him, which it would be obligatory for Catholics to believe.
The second part of the letter is the essential one, since it contains the ‘Correction’ properly speaking. It lists the passages of Amoris Laetitia in which heretical positions are insinuated or encouraged, and then it lists words, deeds, and omissions of Pope Francis which make it clear beyond reasonable doubt that he wishes Catholics to interpret these passages in a way that is, in fact, heretical. In particular, the pope has directly or indirectly countenanced the beliefs that obedience to God’s Law can be impossible or undesirable, and that the Church should sometimes accept adultery as compatible with being a practising Catholic.
The final part, called ‘Elucidation’, discusses two causes of this unique crisis. One cause is ‘Modernism’. Theologically speaking, Modernism is the belief that God has not delivered definite truths to the Church, which she must continue to teach in exactly the same sense until the end of time. Modernists hold that God communicates to mankind only experiences., which human beings can reflect on, so as to make various statements about God, life and religion; but such statements are only provisional, never fixed dogmas. Modernism was condemned by Pope St Pius X at the start of the 20th century, but it revived in the middle of the century. The great and continuing confusion caused in the Catholic Church by Modernism obliges the signatories to describe the true meaning of ‘faith’, ‘heresy’, ‘revelation’, and ‘magisterium’.
A second cause of the crisis is the apparent influence of the ideas of Martin Luther on Pope Francis. The letter shows how Luther, the founder of Protestantism, had ideas on marriage, divorce, forgiveness, and divine law which correspond to those which the pope has promoted by word, deed and omission. It also notes the explicit and unprecedented praise given by Pope Francis to the German heresiarch.
The signatories do not venture to judge the degree of awareness with which Pope Francis has propagated the 7 heresies which they list. But they respectfully insist that he condemn these heresies, which he has directly or indirectly upheld.
The signatories profess their loyalty to the holy Roman Church, assure the pope of their prayers, and ask for his apostolic blessing.
List of the signatories (September 21, 2016)
Dr. Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg
European editor, Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior
Prof. Jean Barbey
Historian and Jurist, former Professor at the University of Maine
Fr. Claude Barthe
Philip M. Beattie BA (Leeds), MBA(Glasgow), MSc (Warwick), Dip.Stats (Dublin)
Associate Lecturer, University of Malta (Malta)
Fr. Jehan de Belleville
Dr. Philip Blosser
Professor of Philosophy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Archdiocese of Detroit
Fr. Robert Brucciani
District superior of the SSPX in Great Britain
Prof. Mario Caponnetto
University Professor, Mar de la Plata (Argentina)
Mr. Robert F. Cassidy STL
Fr. Isio Cecchini
Parish Priest in Tuscany
Salvatore J. Ciresi, M.A.
Director of the St. Jerome Biblical Guild, Lecturer at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College
Fr. Linus F Clovis, Ph.D., JCL, M.Sc., STB, Dip. Ed,
Director of the Secretariat for Family and Life in the Archdiocese of Castries
Fr. Paul Cocard
Fr. Thomas Crean OP STD
Prof. Matteo D'Amico
Professor of History and Philosophy, Senior High School of Ancona
Dr. Chiara Dolce PhD
Research doctor in Moral Philosophy at the University of Cagliari
Deacon Nick Donnelly MA
Head of Department for the Study of Ancient and Medieval Thought at the Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague; Professor of philosophy at Saints Cyril and Methodius Theological Faculty, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic
H.E. Bp. Bernard Fellay
Superior General of the SSPX
Christopher Ferrara Esq.
Founding President of the American Catholic Lawyers’ Association
Prof. Michele Gaslin
Professor of Public Law at the University of Udine
Prof. Corrado Gnerre
Professor at the Istituto Superiore di Scienze Religiose of Benevento, Pontifical Theological University of Southern Italy
Dr. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi
Former President of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), Professor of Ethics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan
Dr. Maria Guarini STB
Pontificia Università Seraphicum, Rome; editor of the website Chiesa e postconcilio
Prof. Robert Hickson PhD
Retired Professor of Literature and of Strategic-Cultural Studies
Fr. John Hunwicke
Former Senior Research Fellow, Pusey House, Oxford
Fr. Jozef Hutta
Prof. Isebaert Lambert
Full Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, and at the Flemish Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Dr. John Lamont STL DPhil (Oxon.)
Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta STD
Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology, Theological Faculty of Lugano, Switzerland; Priest in charge of St Mary’s, Gosport, in the diocese of Portsmouth
Prof. Massimo de Leonardis
Professor and Director of the Department of Political Sciences at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan
Msgr. Prof. Antonio Livi
Academic of the Holy See
Dean emeritus of the Pontifical Lateran University
Vice-rector of the church of Sant'Andrea del Vignola, Rome
Dr. Carlo Manetti
Professor in Private Universities in Italy
Prof. Pietro De Marco
Former Professor at the University of Florence
Prof. Roberto de Mattei
Former Professor of the History of Christianity, European University of Rome, former Vice President of the National Research Council (CNR)
Fr. Cor Mennen
Lecturer in Canon Law at the Major Seminary of the Diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands). Canon of the cathedral chapter of the diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Prof. Stéphane Mercier
Lecturer in Philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain
Don Alfredo Morselli STL
Parish priest of the archdiocese of Bologna
Writer and essayist
Dr. Claude E. Newbury M.B., B.Ch., D.T.M&H., D.O.H., M.F.G.P., D.C.H., D.P.H., D.A., M. Med;
Former Director of Human Life International in Africa south of the Sahara; former Member of the Human Services Commission of the Catholic Bishops of South Africa
Prof. Lukas Novak
Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Charles University, Prague
Fr. Guy Pagès
Prof. Paolo Pasqualucci
Professor of Philosophy (retired), University of Perugia
Prof. Claudio Pierantoni
Professor of Medieval Philosophy in the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Chile; Former Professor of Church History and Patrology at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Fr. Anthony Pillari, J.C.L., M.C.L
Prof. Enrico Maria Radaelli
Philosopher, editor of the works of Romano Amerio
Dr. John Rao
Associate Professor of History, St. John’s University, NYC; Chairman, Roman Forum
Dr. Carlo Regazzoni
Licentiate in Philosophy at University of Freiburg
Dr. Giuseppe Reguzzoni
External Researcher at the Catholic University of Milan and former editorial assistant of Communio, International Catholic Review (Italian edition)
Prof. Arkadiusz Robaczewski
Former Professor at the Catholic University of Lublin
Fr. Settimio M. Sancioni STD
Licence in Biblical Science
Prof. Andrea Sandri
Research Associate, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan
Dr. Joseph Shaw
Tutor in Moral philosophy, St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford
Fr. Paolo M. Siano HED (Historiae Ecclesiasticae Doctor)
Dr. Cristina Siccardi
Historian of the Church
Dr. Anna Silvas
Adjunct research fellow, University of New England, NSW, Australia
Prof. Dr Thomas Stark
Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Benedikt XVI, Heiligenkreuz
Rev. Glen Tattersall
Parish Priest, Parish of Bl. John Henry Newman, archdiocese of Melbourne; Rector, St Aloysius’ Church
Prof. Giovanni Turco
Associate Professor of Philosophy of Public Law at the University of Udine, Member Corrispondent of the Pontificia Accademia San Tommaso d'Aquino
Prof. Piero Vassallo
Former editor of Cardinal Siri’s theological review Renovatio
Prof. Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira
Former Professor at the Pontifical University of São Paulo, Brazil
Msgr. José Luiz Villac
Former Rector of the Seminary of Jacarezinho