PopeWatch: Battlelines



The battlelines are being drawn between orthodox and heterodox in preparation for the Synod.  Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us the details:
ROME, February 5, 2015 – As pre-announced by the secretary general of the synod of bishops, Lorenzo Baldisseri (in the photo), the first selection of participants at the assembly next October has been made public, after their election by their respective episcopal conferences.

What the delegation of the United States would be like was already known. The four appointees are all against the admission of the divorced and remarried to communion – a crucial point of the clash underway – while one of Pope Francis’s favorites, the progressive Blase Cupich, fresh from his promotion to the important archdiocese of Chicago, has not been elected.

France’s delegation appears more balanced, with the progressive Jean-Luc Brunin, president of the commission for the family of the French episcopal conference, counterbalanced by Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris.

Among the delegates of Spain, the one who received the most votes is the archbishop of Valladolid and president of the episcopal conference, new cardinal Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, for years a staunch supporter of the Neocatechumenal Way, which is the Catholic movement most engaged in defending the traditional model of the family. While the pope’s favorite, new archbishop of Madrid Carlos Osoro Sierra, made it onto the roster only by a hair, passing by just one vote the conservative Juan Antonio Reig Plá, bishop of Alcalá de Henares.

Firmly pointed in the conservative direction is Holland’s only representative, in the person of Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk.

And the same applies to most of the African delegates.

One surprising case is that of New Zealand, where the new cardinal John Atcherley Dew, a staunch supporter of the progressive ideas at the synod last October, fell short of the votes needed to return to Rome as a delegate for his country.

Also not elected, in Uruguay, is fellow new cardinal Daniel Fernando Sturla Berthouet, archbishop of Montevideo, he too a progressive. The one going to the synod is Minas bishop Jaime Fuentes Martín, a member of Opus Dei and a direct witness, fifteen years ago, of the scandalous “ménage” between then-diplomatic representative Battista Ricca – today in the good graces of Pope Francis, who has promoted him as prelate of the IOR – and his lover, whom he had brought there with him from Switzerland. Fuentes’s predecessor in the diocese of Minas, retired bishop Francisco Domingo Barbosa Da Silveira, also made the news for similar acts, which led to his forced resignation in 2009.

From this first round of selection of delegates one can therefore make the forecast that at the synod in October the proponents of sweeping changes in Church teaching and practice on matters of marriage and homosexuality will not find an easy road ahead of them.

This does not change the fact that some of them are demonstrating special activism in support of their cause.


In the United States, for example, the new archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, makes no secret of the fact that his beacon is Cardinal Walter Kasper, the leader of the innovators, and is acting accordingly.

As he did in his previous diocese of Spokane, Cupich has announced in an interview with “Commonweal” that he will give all his priests a copy of Kasper’s talk at the consistory of February 2014, in support of admitting the divorced and remarried to communion, and will organize seminars so that these same priests can fully assimilate its contents:

> A Listening Church. An Interview with Archbishop Blase Cupich


In Germany, Munich archbishop Reinhard Marx, who is also one of the nine cardinals on the pope’s council, has rushed even further ahead.

In a wide-ranging interview with the magazine “America” of the New York Jesuits, he said that communion for the divorced and remarried is only a first step, because it is the doctrine of marriage that must be addressed and updated, and the same must be done with homosexual relations:

> Cardinal Marx on Francis, the Synod, Women in the Church and Gay Relationships

And meanwhile, the German episcopal conference has made public its own contribution to the synod last October: a document in support of communion for the divorced and remarried that has been signed by a large majority of German bishops and in fact is already being put into practice on a wide scale:

> Theologisch verantwortbare und pastoral angemessene Wege zur Begleitung wiederverheirateter Geschiedener


In Belgium, Antwerp bishop Johan Bonny, a former collaborator of Cardinal Walter Kasper at the pontifical council for Christian unity and an aspiring first-in-command as successor to the current archbishop of Brussels, the conservative André-Joseph Léonard, has increased the already heavy load of his proposals for innovation by demanding the Church’s full approval of “relationality” between homosexuals, in an interview with the newspaper “De Morgen”:

> Bonny wil kerkelijke erkenning holebi’s


Moving from the bishops to the theologians, one of these, the Italian Giovanni Cereti, cited by Cardinal Kasper as his first author of reference in the reconstruction of the ancient Church’s practice toward the divorced and remarried, not only has reiterated his ideas and rejected all criticism of them, but has intensified them, admonishing those who withhold the Eucharist from the divorced and remarried that they are placing themselves “out of communion with the greater Church.”

This is, in fact, what he writes in the preface to the latest edition of one of his books on the topic, “Divorced and remarried. Is a new beginning possible?”, published by Cittadella di Assisi:

“Anyone who does not recognize the possibility that these persons can be granted sacramental reconciliation, denying the Church the power to exercise mercy in the name of Christ and to remit all sins, falls into the errors of the Novatianists. They excluded from reconciliation and from communion, even on their deathbed, those responsible for sins of apostasy, murder, and adultery, meaning by this latter term the persons so indicated in the Gospel (and never remarried widowers). The greater Church soon came to the understanding that it had received from the Lord the power to absolve any sin, and therefore admitted them to penance, and after the period of penance readmitted them to ecclesial and Eucharistic communion. May the Lord not permit them – those who today, in the name of defending the faith, oppose the reconciliation of the faithful who find themselves in this situation – to fall into the error of Novatian, thus running the risk of putting themselves outside the communion of the greater Church!”

Go here to read the rest.  Hopefully the Church will escape de jure schism after the Synod.  However, that a de facto schism exists, none should doubt.


From Japan a Spanish Jesuit, Juan Masiá, has gone much further, in an extensive interview with the progressive Catholic portal “Religión Digital,” which presents him as “one of the world’s leading experts on bioethics”:

> Juan Masiá, S.J.: “Hace años que tendría que ser posible que se ordenen tanto hombres como mujeres, tanto célibes como casados”

He does not only want the priesthood for all, including women, as the title of his interview highlights. On the specific point of marriage and divorce, he demands that there be no stopping at only practical innovations, like those suggested by the excessively prudent Kasper, but that what even Vatican Council II never dared should finally be done: to change doctrine, including the dogma of the indissolubility of marriage. As for “Humanae Vitae,” so highly appreciated by Pope Francis, Masiá waves it away. He says it is useless to take it into consideration. It is simply “to be forgotten.”


More to explorer


  1. “the battle lines are drawn” — by God, despite any earthly manipulations.

    2 Kings 6:15 When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, “Alas, master! What shall we do?” 16He replied, “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” 17Then Elisha prayed: “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

  2. No doubt the Church is in crisis. The idea that scripture and doctrine can be ‘reinterpreted’ to permit contraception, homosexual relationships, access to the Eucharist by people who are living in adultery etc. is schism in the starkest of terms.

    The real question is, “Will the Catholic Church be Catholic after the next Synod”. I am watching Cardinal Raymond Burke as one prelate that has the courage to follow doctrine, Tradition, infallible papal pronouncements and the constant teachings of the ordinary and universal Magisterium in spite of the progressive modernists in the Church. He said he would resist such changes.

    The Church will either be unified or split based upon what happens at the October Synod.

  3. Quote by Don McClarey: ” Hopefully the Church will escape de jure schism after the Synod. However, that a de facto schism exists, none should doubt”.
    Ever since the statement of July 22nd, 2013, i.e. “who am I to judge”, we have had a de facto Schism. A separation of the successor of St. Peter from a key doctrine and teaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
    But the visible Church remains. Therefore, for the sake of many Catholics we have to with great wisdom and intelligence fight against these heresies without damaging the true Church and innocent faithful.
    We must be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.
    The time when the visible Church will no more be based in this present Rome will come when Rome is destroyed as prophesied in Sacred Scriptures. (cf Revelation 18)

  4. Muller and Marx and Cupich
    Orthodox : “The “subtle heresy” of separating doctrine from pastoral practice, modifying the latter of these to the point of crumbling the former while making a show of defending it in words, has been repeatedly decried by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith.”

    ?dox: On the subject of the divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receiving Communion, Marx said, “I am astonished that some can say, ‘Everything is clear’ on this topic. Things are not clear. It is not about church doctrine being determined by modern times.”
    “It is a question of aggiornamento, to say it in a way that the people can understand, and to always adapt our doctrine to the Gospel, to theology, in order to find in a new way the sense of what Jesus said, the meaning of the tradition of the church and of theology and so on.

    In the linked Commonweal article, +Cupich seems to miss St Paul’s call to Reform in his letter to the Corinthians, and perceives it as a “development”.
    The archbishop sympathizes with the mass-as-meal goers in Corinth*
    “ Just think of the imagination it took, and the change that had to take place spiritually and culturally, for them to remove the Eucharist from that meal setting” after Paul’s admonition that the practice of enjoying a full meal at mass should be brought back to the basic of the celebration- the Body and Blood of Jesus. . Paul was Not developing or changing or “adapting doctrine”. He was calling the Corinthians to a true celebration of Communion.
    The way Cupich phrases that makes it sound as if the Eucharist was removed, rather than that which was extraneious was removed.
    And also the reference to circumcision during the earliest formation of the Church and the decision about the Judaizers is just making a surface comment that will appeal without requiring much information of the low information people he is appealing to. I also didn’t appreciate his use of the word “vulgar” to make his point about language, knowin g what it means to most people today, (instead of saying common or vernacular).
    “Reform” is generally is a return to the honored basics, “De-form” is an obfuscation and obliteration of them.

    * 1 Corinthians 11:17 -34 http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=1+Corinthians+8:1-13&version=nrsv

  5. “One surprising case is that of New Zealand, where the new cardinal John Atcherley Dew, a staunch supporter of the progressive ideas at the synod last October, fell short of the votes needed to return to Rome as a delegate for his country. ”

    Good !! 🙂

  6. +Cupich has the theological background of a convenience store clerk. If I were in the Archdiocese of Chicago, i would leave. Next, there would be a never ending stream of letters to Vatican city castigating the Roman Pontiff for putting this intellectual lightweight in charge, but then, birds of a feather flock together. +O’Malley, +Wuerl, +Cupich, +Maradiaga, +Bergoglio, +Kasper…….they are nauseating. There, I said it.

    They have brought the Church to this point. Communion as a “meal” is a Protestant notion, not a Catholic one.

  7. “…the conservative André-Joseph Léonard, has increased the already heavy load of his proposals for innovation by demanding the Church’s full approval of “relationality” between homosexuals, in an interview with the newspaper “De Morgen””:
    The person cannot give informed or valid consent to a crime or sin because that person is seduced and “owned” by the devil, the world and the flesh. Satiating one’s sexual desire denies the soul of the partner. A true relationship with God and another person puts that other person first and does not endanger his immortal soul. It is also reasonable to understand that selfishness is not a relationship but an abuse of oneself and the other person.
    Sodomy is assault and battery of another person which can never be called “a relationship”.
    To live in community with other persons, one or more, even with same sex attraction, chastely, does not require permission from the highest level of the Vatican to proceed to Holy Communion. This is a true relationship: caring for the other person in body and soul…and oneself.
    Again, informed, valid consent cannot be given in a relationship of assault and battery, physical and spiritual abuse or any sado-masochistic exchange because the participants are clearly too physically addicted and spiritually incompetent.
    A relationship with the devil needs to be exorcised not condoned by the Vatican.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: