PopeWatch: Open Letter



One Peter Five has a translation of what purports to be an open letter from a former high ranking member of the Curia.  The letter was published in the German Catholic magazine Focus on November 27, 2015.  Here is the text of the letter:

Holy Father,

On the occasion of your Christmas Allocution in 2014, you called on your curial employees to make first an examination of conscience. Indeed, Advent is an occasion to reflect upon the promises of God and what He expects from us. You claimed that your employees had to be an example for the whole Church, and you then listed a several “illnesses” from which, in your view, the Curia is now suffering. At the time, I had considered this statement to be rather harsh – yes, even unjust – against so many in the Vatican whom I know personally – while you were talking, instead, as if you knew the Vatican, but either only from the outside or only from above. Nevertheless, this speech of yours has actually inspired me to write this letter to you. Following your own example, I shall omit to speak about all the good that you are doing and are speaking and I shall thus only list those aspects of your exercise of the papal office which seem to me to be problematic:

1. An emotional and anti-intellectual attitude of yours which is often tangible and which has difficulties in dealing with theories and doctrines

The alternative to the Teaching Church is the Arbitrary Church, and not the Merciful Church. Among not a few of your own chosen employees and close counselors, there is to be found a true lack of competence, both in teaching and in theology; these men often have behind them a career within the Church’s government or in a university’s administration, and they think rather all too often in pragmatic and political terms. You, as the Supreme Teacher of the Church, thus have to make clearer the primacy of the Faith – for your own sake, and for the sake of all Catholics. Faith without doctrine does not exist.

2. Authoritarianism

You are distancing yourself from the wisdom which is preserved in the Church’s traditional discipline, in Canon Law, and also in the historical practices of the Curia. Together with your disdain for (supposedly) theoretical teaching, this propensity leads to an authoritarianism of which even the founder of your Order of Jesuits, St. Ignatius himself, would not approve. Do you really accept those admonitory voices who say what you, personally, do not immediately see nor understand? What would happen if you were now to know my own name? It would be helpful to act in a less authoritarian way in order to change the current climate of fear.

3. A populism of change

Today, it is popular to call for change. However, especially the Successor of Peter has to remind himself and others of that which changes only slowly, and even more so of that which does not change at all. Do you really believe that the approval which you receive from the opinion-makers in the realm of politics and of the media is a good sign? Christ did not promise or prophesy to Peter popularity in the media and status in a star cult (John 21:18). A great many of your statements awaken wrong expectations and give the harmful impression that the teaching and discipline of the Church could and should be adapted to the changing opinions of the majority. The Apostle Paul is here of another opinion (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:14)

4. Your own conduct is seen as a critique of how your (often canonized) predecessors have lived, talked, and acted

I cannot recognize how this attitude comports with the humility which you have so many times invoked and demanded. Such humility is indeed needed, especially when it is about continuing the tradition which goes back to the Apostle Peter. Your conduct implicitly proposes the idea that you intend to re-invent somehow the Petrine Office. Instead of preserving faithfully the heritage of your predecessors, you want to acquire it [the heritage]in a quite creative way. But, did Saint John not say: “He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)?

5. Pastoralism

Only recently, you said that you especially like those parts of the papacy where you can act like a pastor. Of course, neither a pope nor a pastor should raise any doubts as to whether the Church is following the teaching of Christ in everything she currently does (Pastoral Care, Sacraments, Liturgy, Catechesis, Theology, Caritas); finally, everything depends upon the revealed Faith as it comes to us in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and which is thus binding upon the consciences of the faithful. We cannot even live the Faith and pass it on to others, if we do not know it. Without a good theory, we are – in the long run – not able to act in a good manner. Without teaching in the field of pastoral care, we shall only have emotional and largely adventitious successes.

6. Exaggerated display of the simplicity of your own way of life

Of course, you want to set an example – but is it better for you yourself to take care of all kinds of daily chores? In ascetical questions, the left hand should not know what the right hand is doing (Mt 6:3); otherwise, the whole thing appears somehow to be insincere. If you really want to drive cars that are ecological, you have to invest, by the way, much more, or to ask someone to give you as a gift the more expensive technology that is thus needed: for. ecology has its price.


Go here to read the rest.  If the Pope reads this criticism I am sure he will be completely impervious to it.

More to explorer


  1. “An emotional and anti-intellectual attitude of yours which is often tangible and which has difficulties in dealing with theories and doctrines..”
    This curial official has nailed it: PF is emotional and anti-intellectual, because he truly doesn’t have the capacity nor the willingness to try to understand difficult theory, difficult doctrinal matters.

    Never make a guy a CEO of a worldwide academic/theological organization who literally flunked out of his coursework, couldn’t even pass the comps. I have little doubt he has a lot of hidden anger at people like JP2, Ratzinger, Sarah, Burke, others, who handled it all with grace. And yet he could have gone to Catholic U. of America and, after applying the proper political litmus test (“Do you hate Reagan? Do you hate capitalism? Do you hate America?”), they would have awarded him his Ph.D by acclaim (like they did a previous USF president).

  2. I read the entire letter at One Peter Five. I agree with it completely. The Pope should be humiliated that people are afraid of the merciful Pope. And no, he won’t read this. Or if he does, then there will be another tongue lashing sermon about the evils of those who adhere to laws and doctrine and dogma.

  3. Fair play.
    Exceptional letter.
    The author took his coal from last year’s stocking and re-gifted it back to the sender.
    A gift that is messy to the touch, however appropriate in my opinion.
    After all, coal is a bad word to climate extremists.

  4. Philip, do these climate extremists know that the energy content from fissioning the uranium and thorium naturally occuring in coal is greater than the energy derived from actually burning the coal? And that the lump of coal which they so viciously deride can thus be used to obviate the global warming that they insist they oppose?
    But never let the facts stand in the way of ideology.

  5. Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.

    ( my head is shaking back and forth. )
    No. I doubt that they are aware of the truth relating to CO2 (man made) increases.
    Follow the buck seems plausible to me.
    Who stands to gain when the embellishments are being sold as fact? Who? 🙂

  6. There is an excellent though long-winded yet thorough letter of petition to sign here:
    After that blasphemous eco-wacko light show of gaia-worshipping enviro-nonsense, I think this letter should be signed. It may not do any good, but the more people who oppose this heresy, the more difficult it will be for him to continue to pass it off as authentic Catholic teaching.
    I am wrong in this, but I feel about him in the same way that I feel about Obama.

  7. We are being chastised for even thinking as we do, from a traditional point of view. I recently read an editorial imploring anyone who questions anything this Pope does or does not do to stop perpetrating any angst toward him. Even from our own “Catholic media” sources. But I still want to know where Cardinal Burke went. I want the truth, that’s all.

  8. All I want for Christmas is a pope who knows, believes in and upholds Church doctrine, who loves and openly defends the Church, who doesn’t embolden Her enemies or lead people astray with dangerous ambiguities, who doesn’t throw in with anti-Catholic radicals or allow profaning of sacred spaces, who doesn’t give every appearance of embracing a particular ideological agenda, who doesn’t attack faithful Catholics whether they’re in the pew or donning a pectoral cross or red hat, and who doesn’t find it funny that anyone thinks he’s the anti-pope. And no, my name isn’t “Virginia.”

  9. Well stated, Lisa. Pray that our Papa doesn’t leave a coal lump instead in the stocking.
    Since it is a fossil fuel, he probably wouldn’t touch what he considers toxic waste, so maybe not.
    Michael Savage, in his provocative book “Government Zero” makes a compelling point that, at the same time that at present government demands absolute authority, powers, taxation and legal control, it is “government-zero”: meaning it provides zero law enforcement and zero protections (unless one is entitled, by being in a special politically-designated class),zero relief from its bureaucratic burdns, and most of all, zero representation. Absolute Kelvin Zero on that. The quite-regal political class goes its own way and makes quite its own decisions, and just-too-bad-for-you. Think Obama, David Cameron, Hollande, and especially Empress Angela Merkel as the principals in this new world order designated by “government-zero.”

    I have come to think that there is also now Papacy-Zero: fabulous unlimited authority to weigh in on climate-change, economic re-distribution, support for a “world authority” (Laudato Si, n. 175), —-just about anything—-all backed by the Papacy-Zero, all to our detriment; Vatican bureaucracies peopled by demons like Catholic-hating Naomi Klein and radical Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, along with the demand that we each absolutely, morally, and economically support these fabulous Golden Calves — and we get out of this exactly what? Zero. No traditional Church teaching, no example of profound commitment to Jesus Christ, no inspiration that there is indeed a God: zero for the common man.

    You can call it Church-Zero, Leadership Zero, but it stems from the top, so I keep settling on Papacy-Zero.

  10. The Catholic Church is the Triumphant in heaven, the saints, the Militant on earth and the Suffering souls in purgatory. To disintegrate Catholic Doctrine for the saints in heaven is quite a task which will not happen. The Faithful on earth are faithful, and the suffering souls in Purgatory are safe. So, perhaps the only souls to be lost are the heretical souls.

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