On May 29, 2022, the Pope announced that he would create 21 cardinals during the consistory to be held on August 27. 16 will be electors and five non-electors, because they are over 80 years old. The first part of this article examined the best known among those being promoted.
Continuity or Discontinuity?
In his interview with Diane Montagna, already quoted, Cardinal Ruini affirmed: “the hermeneutic of continuity or rather of renewal in continuity, proposed by Benedict XVI best expresses the demand that many, like me, have felt and experienced since those years,” thus showing the deficiencies of an analysis which denounces the effects of the crisis, without daring to go back to their conciliar causes.
This is why it is useful to put the “Ratzingerian” conservatives’ declarations into perspective, by comparing them with earlier assertions, which are stronger because they are more lucid.
On July 10, 2020, the academic Roberto de Mattei published a study in his review Correspondance Européenne, in which he showed the inadequacy of a conservative criticism based on the hermeneutic of continuity: “Although convinced of the errors of Pope Francis, these conservatives did not want to follow the path opened by the Correctio filialis delivered to Pope Francis on August 11, 2016.”
“The real reason for their reluctance probably lies in the fact that the Correctio emphasizes how the roots of the ‘Bergoglian’ deviations go back to the pontificates of Benedict XVI and John Paul II and, even earlier, to the Second Vatican Council.… We need to be convinced that the hermeneutic of continuity has failed, since we are going through a crisis which must be measured on facts, and not on the interpretation of facts.”
“The implausibility of this approach – as Peter Kwasniewski [from the American site OnePeterFive, June 29, 2020. Ed] correctly notes – is demonstrated by, among other signs, the infinitesimal success that conservatives have had in reversing the disastrous ‘reforms,’ trends, habits, and institutions established in the wake of and in the name of the last council, with papal approbation or toleration.”
And the Italian historian quite rightly adds: “Pope Francis has never theorized the hermeneutic of 'discontinuity,' but has sought to implement Vatican II in praxis and the only winning response to this praxis is in the concrete reality of theological, liturgical, canonical, and moral facts, and not in sterile hermeneutic debate. In this regard, the real problem will not be the continuity or the discontinuity of the next pontificate with Pope Francis, but its relationship with the historical knot of the Second Vatican Council.”
For the record, the Correctio filialis de hæresis propagatis quoted by Roberto de Mattei is an open letter dated July 16, 2017, and addressed to Pope Francis the following month by more than 60 clerics and lay scholars. It stated bluntly: “The publication of Amoris laetitia and other acts by which Your Holiness has sufficiently clarified the scope and purpose of this document, have caused scandals within the Church concerning faith and morals.”
“Heresies and other errors then spread in the Church; while some bishops and cardinals continued to uphold the divinely revealed truths about marriage, the moral law, and the reception of the sacraments, others denied these truths and received from Your Holiness not a rebuke, but approval.”
“On the other hand, those among the cardinals who submitted dubia to Your Holiness, so that, through this time-tested means, the truth of the Gospels could be easily affirmed, received no response other than your silence.”
It indicated the intention of its authors: “We now wish to show how several passages of Amoris laetitia, in conjunction with actions, words, and omissions, serve to propagate seven heretical propositions.” Then followed the well-documented enumeration of these heresies.
Finally, Correctio filialis went back to the general causes of these major doctrinal errors, modernism and Protestantism: “In order to elucidate our Correctio, and to establish a more firm defense against the spread of errors, we wish to draw the attention to two general sources of error which seem to us to favor the heresies for which we have provided the list. We speak first of that false apprehension of Revelation which generally receives the name of modernism, and second of the teachings of Martin Luther.”
Neo-Modernism and Neo-Protestantism
On September 26, 2017, on FSSPX.News, Bishop Bernard Fellay, then Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X and signatory of the Correctio filialis, compared this document to the November 2, 1972 Declaration of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: “This [attitude of the authors of the Correctio] was Archbishop Lefebvre’s attitude and that of the Society of St. Pius X from the beginning. In his declaration on November 21, 1974, our founder said:
“We hold fast, with all our heart and with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary to preserve this faith, to Eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and truth. We refuse, on the other hand, and have always refused to follow the Rome of the neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies.”
And Bishop Fellay added: “It is precisely this neo-Modernism and neo-Protestantism that the authors of the Correctio filialis rightly denounced as the cause of the changes made by Amoris laetitia in the doctrine and morality of marriage.”
“We are attached to Rome, Mater et Magistra, with every fiber of our being. We would no longer be Roman if we renounced her two-thousand-year-old doctrine; on the contrary, we would become the artisans of her demolition, with situation ethics dangerously upheld by weak doctrine. Our fidelity to Tradition is not a way of living in the past, but a guarantee of sustainability for the future. It is on this condition alone that we can serve the Church effectively.”
These are the principles that should enlighten a future pope, truly desirous of serving the Church, by resolutely attacking the root of the evils that are eating away at her.