The Tendentious Letter Accusing Pope Francis of Heresy

A group of scholars drafted a letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy causing a tsunami of articles in the Catholic press. The critics of the letter say it does not prove its case, that there is no evidence of ‘heresy’ in the letter. Others say it is premature.

Here we have a letter by one of the signatories explaining why he signed the letter despite its flaws. He is very clear that Pope Francis has been ambiguous in several public statements and appointments, causing confusion about intent and doctrine. This noted scholar says that ‘causing confusion’ and heresy are not the same thing, but it is time to call Pope Francis out and ask him for clarity. We do not need a pope to spread confusion – this is damaging to the faith. Read the interview for yourself to see if Professor John Rist makes a good case for asking Pope Francis for clarity.

Philip Lawler, author of The Lost Shepherd, made the same case in his book. Ambiguous statements by a pope are not helpful – they cause confusion and allow for differing interpretations of scripture. Is causing confusion the same thing as heresy – no! BUT, it can be an underhanded approach to changing doctrine. The bishops need to ask for clarity and their questions need to be answered – clearly.

Life Site News first reported this letter signed by 20 scholars (as of this date, there are now 86 signatories) accusing Pope Francis of heresy. The article includes a link to the original letter as well as a summary of the letter. Once again, although the signatories have accused Pope Francis of heresy, they are citing instances of ambiguous comments and appointments that lead to a confusion about his meaning. Critics of the letter focus on the meaning of “heresy” and ignore the instances cited where confusion resulted from his comments and appointments. There are those who believe that a pope cannot be challenged or criticized in any way as opposed to those who believe a pope is not above criticism -citing St Catherine of Sienna.

Bishop Schneider asks Pope Francis to clarify his statement at Abu Dhabi that God permits all religions. Apparently Pope Francis said that God WILLS all religions. Or does he?

Pope Francis said. “God not only permits but positively wills, the pluralism and diversity of religions, both Christian and non-Christian”. Pope Francis made such a claim on February 5 in a joint statement he signed in Abu Dhabi with a Grand Imam which stated, among other things, that a “pluralism and diversity” of religions is “willed by God.””

Father Raymond lands squarely on the side of “confused teaching” rather than on the side of “heresy.” But he does not say what we are to call the confusing teachings of a pope. If not heresy – then what?

I don’t know how long this controversy will rage on, but it is just another example of the divisiveness in the church due to the “fuzzy” off-the-cuff remarks of Pope Francis.