I have intently watched the Papacy of Pope Francis, from the first day of his election as Roman Pontiff. Though I am a resident in Rome, I did not go to St. Peter’s square to see who would be elected, since I had a chest cold, and did not want to make it worse.
But, I confess to be one of the many who were enthused by his election, especially of his name selection, “Francis”, after the saintly founder of my Order, St. Francis of Assisi. So much was my confidence, that I am among the first to write him a letter, which he received on the first day of his Petrine ministry, and which one of his secretaries confirmed by calling me — Though I never got a response to my request.
With the loud and clamorous and scandalous happenings at Synod 14, I became more certain that if there were anything about his background which was untoward, that some journalist would reveal it. Indeed, from the first day of his election, the media have been exceedingly supportive of Bergoglio, and thus there have been almost no reports about his background, childhood, family, upbringing.
Today, on October 14, Sandro Magister, one of the leading Vaticanistas (that is, journalist who reports on Vatican affairs), published a very telling exposé of Pope Francis, with specific reference to the kind of pastoral practice he promoted at Buenas Aires as Archbishop. You can read the official English translation of that article, here.
The really damning evidence is referred to in this paragraph of Magister’s report (Bold Facing and Coloring not in the original):
On communion for the divorced and remarried, it is already known how the pope thinks. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he authorized the “curas villeros,” the priests sent to the peripheries, to give communion to all, although four fifths of the couples were not even married. And as pope, by telephone or letter he is not afraid of encouraging some of the faithful who have remarried to receive communion without worrying about it, right away, even without those “penitential paths under the guidance of the diocesan bishop” projected by some at the synod, and without issuing any denials when the news of his actions comes out.
The entire affair is outrageously sacrilegious and offensive. Because to put Our Lord, Who is truly, really, and substantially present in the Sacrament, into the hands or mouth of someone in mortal sin, is to crucify Him anew. And to order such a thing done, is a horrendous monstrosity.
But, I am particularly troubled that Magister seems to have indicated, in the text I have highlighted in red, that this was done with the omission of any encouragement to attend confession, nay, with the apparent implication that omitting confession was encouraged.
This is particularly grievous, because such a doctrine and teaching such a practice was condemned by the infallible and Ecumenical Council of Trent, in its 13th session, and XI canon, which is found here, the text of which is:
CANON XI.-lf any one saith, that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; let him be anathema. And for fear lest so great a sacrament may be received unworthily, and so unto death and condemnation, this holy Synod ordains and declares, that sacramental confession, when a confessor may be had, is of necessity to be made beforehand, by those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, how contrite even soever they may think themselves. But if any one shall presume to teach, preach, or obstinately to assert, or even in public disputation to defend the contrary, he shall be thereupon excommunicated.
I do not see how Bergoglio as Archbishop could habitually conduct such a practice in his Archdiocese if he did not teach or preach to his clergy at least, that such a practice was licit, allowed, or proper, all of which would have put him under the pain of excommunication from the day he first began to teach such an omission of penance before reception of communion by public sinners.
Obviously this needs to be investigated and the testimony of the faithful in the Archdiocese needs to be heard.
Also, experts in canon law need to be questioned, whether this excommunication imposed by Trent is latae sententiae or ferendae, that is, whether one falls immediately under this punishment when committing the act condemned, or whether the Pope would have to impose it.
This is important, because in the decree of Pope Paul IV, Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, an Archbishop who was under the sentence of excommunication could not be validly named a Cardinal, and such a Cardinal could not be validly elected Pope (cf. in particular, n. 2, especially in its final paragraph; n. 6).
It is another, thornier question, whether a Pope saying that communion can be given to impenitent public sinners, without the requirement of confessing their sins and repenting, would be excommunicated by the excommunication handed down in Trent, Session 34, Canon XI. If he has counseled this even over the telephone, then he would, according to the norms of canon law, certainly be subject to suspicion for its violation. But the canon established by Trent regards discipline, the mere practice is not heretical, but makes one suspect of heresy, because if one were to do such, either he does not believe in the dogma of transubstantiation or he does not believe in the ecclesiological and theological necessity of faith and penance as prerequisites to receive a Sacrament, any of which is heretical.