OPEN

BYPASS BIG TECH CENSORSHIP - SIGN UP FOR mICHAEL mATT'S REGULAR E-BLAST

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

OPEN
Search the Remnant Newspaper
Wednesday, April 13, 2022

THE DEMOS MEMO: Francis Fatigue in the College of Cardinals (An Interview with Msgr. Nicola Bux)

Written by  Diane Montagna
Rate this item
(49 votes)
THE DEMOS MEMO: Francis Fatigue in the College of Cardinals (An Interview with Msgr. Nicola Bux)

Remnant Editor’s Introduction

After years of escalating crisis in the Catholic Church – highlighted by a massive clerical sexual abuse scandal and widespread liturgical chaos – it seems that not a few influential cardinals are finally taking steps to stop the bleeding.

In addition to several interventions by George Cardinal Pell, Raymond Cardinal Burke, and others, CNA is now reporting that on April 12, 2022, more than 70 bishops from around the world released a “fraternal open letter” to Germany’s bishops warning them and, indirectly, the entire episcopate, that the “Synodal Path” may “lead to schism”:

Failing to listen to the Holy Spirit and the Gospel, the Synodal Path’s actions undermine the credibility of Church authority, including that of Pope Francis; Christian anthropology and sexual morality; and the reliability of Scripture.

This comes in the wake of a mysterious memo that has been circulating in recent weeks among the College of Cardinals, suggesting widescale dissatisfaction with Francis inside the Vatican. The author of the memorandum contends that the pontificate of Pope Francis is a “disaster in many or most respects: a catastrophe.”

Discontent is widespread, but it’s obvious that there is an underground that doesn’t express itself and is just waiting for the end of the pontificate.  -Fr. Bux

Who is responsible for the memo?  The well-respected Vatican journalist, Sandro Magister, explains

Since the beginning of Lent the cardinals who will elect the future pope have been passing this memorandum around. Its author, who goes by the name of Demos, “people” in Greek, is unknown, but shows himself a thorough master of the subject. It cannot be ruled out that he himself is a cardinal.

Also pointing to the German episcopate as Exhibit A of overall problem in the Church under Pope Francis, “Demos” warns of a coming “synodal heresy” that could well undermine the Church’s infallibly defined teachings on human sexuality:

If there was no Roman correction of such heresy, the Church would be reduced to a loose confederation of local churches, holding different views, probably closer to an Anglican or Protestant model, than an Orthodox model.

As “Demos” does not exclude Pope Francis from his list of grave concerns, many are now asking the question: Who is Demos, how seriously is his memo being taken within the College of Cardinals itself, and what does this portend for the next conclave?

We are witnessing an emotional cult of the pope that exaggerates him theologically. -Fr. Bux

For more on this rapidly unfolding story, we consulted Monsignor Nicola Bux on the question of the mysterious “Demos Memorandum”.  Remnant readers are well acquainted with the work of Msgr. Bux, a highly respected theologian who has served as consultant to several dicasteries of the Holy See over the years, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope Benedict XVI. MJM


An Interview with Msgr. Nicola Bux

Diane Montagna (DM): How representative are the opinions of “Demos” of people in the Vatican?

Monsignor Bux: It would take an inquiry at the various levels, from ushers, to officials, to authorities to know. The Memo may have come from the latter level. Discontent is widespread, but it’s obvious that there is an underground that doesn’t express itself and is just waiting for the end of the pontificate.

The Pope told the Orthodox Patriarch Kirill that we must speak the language of Jesus and not of politics. That’s right! However, this also seems to me to be a political way of speaking, since, in another forum, he said that he does not know why the innocent suffer: this means not knowing why Christ died on the cross.

The Pope has intervened on the social and political side and supported a spirituality without identity. And so the question arises: what is the Petrine ministry?

For most experts in the Vatican, the balance sheet of Francis’ pontificate, from the doctrine of faith to morals, shows a deficit compared to his predecessors, not to mention in finances. This pontificate has contributed to exacerbating the secularization of the West, because the Pope has intervened on the social and political side and supported a spirituality without identity. And so the question arises: what is the Petrine ministry?

We are witnessing an emotional cult of the pope that exaggerates him theologically, as has happened since the time of Pius IX and now happens with the media. People of the Medieval period distinguished the role of the Pope from the person who embodies it, as they distinguished the Church from the men of the Church, and what is human and earthly from what is divine. This is why Dante could also put popes in hell. So it happens that many who were Bergoglians at the beginning have distanced themselves from the current pontificate and consider it chaotic and despotic.

The moderates are restless. Some imagine a solution, advocating a synodal Church, and others a transitional pontificate. Meanwhile, one day Marx intervenes, and another day Mueller, Hollerich and—fortunately—Pell. Let’s stop at the cardinals. But neither Ladaria nor Francis says who is right. If we then move on to the bishops, priests, lay and non-lay theologians, it’s a Scottish shower [a French expression meaning a quick switch between very warm and very cold water]. In the Vatican they are well aware of the apostasy of Catholics in Latin America, which has fallen to 52% in the face of a 25% growth in sects.

At the Amazon synod, they talked not about re-evangelizing the region but about the environment. In short, while the faithful ask for more religion, the bishops offer socialism.

On January 13, the Wall Street Journal ran the headline (because the Church is losing Latin America), “The Catholic Church has opted for the poor and the poor have opted for the Pentecostals.” This is a tremendous contribution to the process of self-demolition that Paul VI talked about. The Church has been transformed into an agency aimed at solving social, economic, psychological, even environmental problems, abandoning her mission to save souls. At the Amazon synod, they talked not about re-evangelizing the region but about the environment, not about fostering a personal encounter with the Lord, but about political and social issues. In short, while the faithful ask for more religion, the bishops offer socialism.

DM: How likely is the Memo to influence the choice of the next pope?

Monsignor Bux: It seems to me that, in the beginning, it points out the salient features of the Petrine ministry, which must be the benchmark for the choice at any conclave: the Pope seen as pastor and teacher, not as an ideologue or politician. Thus, his relationship to the Church is one of member and servant, not of absolute monarch.

It is surprising that the modernists or progressives who were anti-Roman until Benedict XVI are silent in the face of the current papolatry.

It is surprising that the modernists or progressives who were anti-Roman until Benedict XVI are silent in the face of the current papolatry, as Martini put it. Like every Christian, the Pope is subject to revealed divine law, and even before, to natural law and then to canon law, which binds him regarding the essential doctrine and constitution of the Church, which is not synodal but hierarchical. The Memo seems to recall this.

With these constraints, the Petrine ministry must serve to build up and not to destroy (cf. 2 Cor 13:10), which is important for making laws and administering justice. One cannot go on to death with motu proprio, modifying articles of the Catechism, and rendering appeals to the Signatura futile. There are rights acquired by third parties that the pope cannot violate; because he is the supreme guardian of the law, he cannot allow abuse or even commit abuse. Like Peter from Paul, the pope must allow himself to be corrected fraternally. Otherwise, he cannot be obeyed, because conscience comes first, which, according to the saying of St. John Henry Newman cited in the Catechism, is the first “vicar of Christ.”

I can also see the Memo being influential in an ecumenical sense, insofar as it denounces the abuse of papal authority which, in my opinion, has until now favored an anti-Roman sentiment, especially in the East. The increase in dismissals of bishops under this pontificate, as if the pope were an Islamic mufti, is an abuse of office and has pathological overtones. Francis has gone so far as to say, “They wanted me dead,” perhaps fearing that what was done to influence his election will be repeated against him. But the limits of papal authority are also governed by the authority of bishops, which is also of divine right: this is something to keep in mind and discuss in the general congregations of the next conclave.

I can also see the Memo being influential in an ecumenical sense, insofar as it denounces the abuse of papal authority.

DM: What do you think should be the priorities for the next conclave?

Monsignor Bux: In the opinion of authoritative laymen and ecclesiastics, the next conclave should elect a pope who is aware of his apostolic mandate, his obligations, and his duty to preserve the status generalis ecclesiae. To elect a pope who will promote the Catholic Faith, put a stop to the reduction of priests and faithful in the West caused by the secularization that has penetrated the Church— Peguy held that clerics are to blame for this de-Christianization—according to which the main values on which societies are founded are not religious and, if they are, must be justified in a “secular” or rational way. The result is politically correct language purged of religious connotations, the loss of the sense of limits (cases of abortion, so-called same-sex marriage, gender, euthanasia, etc. are typical), the loss of the sacred, and the transformation of religious faith into a “humanitarian” religion, the Gospel into a moralism, and the homily into a rally. The priority of the conclave is therefore to elect a Catholic pope; otherwise, the loss of faith will not only be the effect but also the cause of the secularization of Christianity, which will end up becoming irrelevant.

The next conclave will have to clarify what it means to be “pastoral”: no one knows so far, and it is used as a passe-par-tout to justify everything in the Church. It must put her now devalued mission back at the center and clarify the limits of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. Even modernists and progressives are aware of this.

The next conclave should elect a pope who is aware of his apostolic mandate, his obligations, and his duty to preserve the status generalis ecclesiae.

Secularization must be fought with evangelization. The fight against clericalism must not subvert the identity of the clergy, which is an ‘order’ distinct from faithful and religious. The next Pope must have the fostering and increase of faith at the top of his agenda, so that Christian families and priestly and religious vocations may flourish. It is necessary to return to the magisterium that decides infallibly on matters of family morals, by appointing bishops who accept the apostolic tradition. The schism now latent will likely be attenuated, even if the “persecution” by the secularist media will increase.

We need to liberate the living forces of the Church with a pontificate that looks to a Catholicism that fills churches with devout believers and the public square with witnesses of faith and life, proving that it “works” because it produces conversions. The Catholic Church must have a pope who says and does what is Catholic—morally, doctrinally and liturgically. Recall the cover of Time Magazine: “Is the Pope Catholic?” Is it strange that the Catholic Church is entitled to a Catholic pope? The Orthodox also want such a pope, otherwise the centrifugal tendencies among them will take over. A Catholic pope is necessary to bring the shattered Protestant world back to unity and the many lay people who are searching back to faith, but also to assure those Jews, Muslims, and members of other religions who see in the pope the moral authority who points out that the boundary between good and evil has not been abolished.

The Catholic Church must have a pope who says and does what is Catholic—morally, doctrinally and liturgically.

The new pope will have to be able to face the new world order that is emerging from the death of the old one, with a lesser role for the West and the Western capitalist system. He will have to be different from Francis, who had a confusing and contradictory relationship with it—between ideology and utopia. In order to put an end to the confusion in the Church, the next conclave will have to look for candidates who respond to the Dubia on Amoris laetitia, correct Evangelii gaudium where it says that the worst social evil is inequality, i.e., a bad distribution of wealth, and not sin; Laudato si’, where it exalts neo-Malthusian environmentalism, which instead is the origin of all the problems of the last fifty years; Fratelli tutti, which declares capitalism to be over, then suggests how to survive and camouflage oneself with the magic words “inclusion” and “sustainability.” Above all, the encyclical fails to say that if we don’t acknowledge Our Father who is in heaven, we cannot see ourselves as brothers. Jesus said it.

Translation from the Italian by Diane Montagna.

[Comment Guidelines - Click to view]
Last modified on Wednesday, April 13, 2022