There is another troubling question that needs to be aired. Is the philosophy behind this limited to the death penalty? Doesn't the pope CHANGING doctrine open the door to CHANGING other doctrines? If the perennial teaching of the Church on the right of the state to defend its people through the use of capital punishment is now "inadmissible," what OTHER doctrines are up for grabs? The papal posse brings that point up. So does Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute. He was ridiculed, but New Ways Ministry, the gay advocacy dissent group condemned by the USCCB, saw the link immediately and claimed that the alteration in the catechism on the death penalty proves that "Church teaching can change."
Sorry, Charlie. Popes can't change the perennial doctrines laid down by Christ.
So the question for me looms ever larger: Is Pope Francis a legitimate pope? Or are we in another age of papal confusion where an anti-pope rivaled the legitimate successor of Peter. Bishop Rene Gracida, retired bishop of Corpus Christi raises this question in an open letter to the bishops of the world and the Catholic faithful. Is Pope Francis the authentic pope:
|Bishop Rene Gracida,|
a voice in the wilderness
Claiming heresy on the part of a man who is a supposed Pope, charging material error in statements about faith or morals by a putative Roman Pontiff, suggests and presents an intervening prior question about his authenticity in that August office of Successor of Peter as Chief of The Apostles, i.e., was this man the subject of a valid election by an authentic Conclave of The Holy Roman Church? This is so because each Successor of Saint Peter enjoys the Gift of Infallibility.We are in serious times -- the most serious I believe since the Arian heresy. Let us pray and fast for the Holy Spirit to raise up saints like Athanasius to protect and defend the faith. I urge you to read Bishop Gracida's letter. And here are more articles related to the crisis of the pope's change in doctrine on capital punishment and why it is so significant.
So, before one even begins to talk about excommunicating such a prelate, one must logically examine whether this person exhibits the uniformly good and safe fruit of Infallibility. If he seems repeatedly to engage in material error, that first raises the question of the validity of his election because one expects an authentically-elected Roman Pontiff miraculously and uniformly to be entirely incapable of stating error in matters of faith or morals. So to what do we look to discern the invalidity of such an election? His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, within His massive legacy to the Church and to the World, left us with the answer to this question. The Catholic faithful must look back for an answer to a point from where we have come—to what occurred in and around the Sistine Chapel in March 2013 and how the fruits of those events have generated such widespread concern among those people of magisterial orthodoxy about confusing and, or, erroneous doctrinal statements which emanate from The Holy See.
Why the Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment
Pope Francis and the Death Penalty (This article illustrates the abject confusion!)
What Catholics Are Missing in the Death Penalty Debate