Reflections on Querida Amazonia

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Pope Francis Greets an Amazonian Native

Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the Amazon Synod has been released. Titled Querida Amazonia, the document proved to not be the bombshell Faithful Catholics were so worried about. While not on the caliber of anything we would expect from Pope St. John Paul II, or Pope Benedict XVI, and it does have some problems in the areas of social gospel and environmentalism, it produced no radical departures from the faith once and for all time delivered to the saints.

There was no call for female ordination to the diaconate. There wasn’t even a call for the ordination of viri probati (older married men) to the priesthood.

This was a surprise to many of us, but most especially to the Modernist Left within the Catholic Church, who expected at least the viri probati, if not the female diaconate. The Modernist Left has been pushing hard for both. It got neither. If you’ve read anything from their camp lately, you will see that they are very, very, very upset with Pope Francis. They’re looking at this as a betrayal and a major disappointment. If they can’t get the viri probati and female ordinations with Francis, who can they get it with? Maybe nobody.

Even I expected some concession on the viri probati, mainly because it seemed to already be a “done deal.” I was speaking with my priest about this last night, and we both agreed that the Church has proverbially “dodged a bullet” with Querida Amazonia, but as Father pointed out to me, this is what we should expect in the Catholic Church. The Holy Spirit is doing his job with the Petrine ministry. This is, after all, why we became Catholic.

It seems the Holy Spirit is protecting even a wayward pope from going completely off the rails. While the Modernist Left is furious with Francis right now, I am inclined to confess that Pope Francis may have just saved his papacy and his legacy with this apostolic exhortation. Had he given the Modernist Left what they wanted, he might one day be declared an antipope. He may have just avoided that.

Anyone who has read my blog, and social media, knows I am not a fan of Pope Francis. He’s not my favorite pope, but at the same time I’m not one to get hysterical about his pontificate either. So many otherwise Faithful Catholics are calling him an antipope. I’ve said here on this blog, and elsewhere, that none of us has the authority to do that, and any such claim amounts to nothing more than name-calling if one doesn’t really believe it. But if one really does believe it — it’s schism! As I have said many times, the position every Faithful Catholic should always take is that a pope is legitimate, unless declared otherwise by a subsequent pope. Popes can be corrupt. Popes can be lousy. Popes can be mean. Popes can be tyrannical. Popes can even be heretics. But they’re always popes unless declared otherwise by their successors. So to my fellow Catholics out there, who may be tinkering with the idea of calling Pope Francis an antipope, I say “suck it up buttercup and learn how to deal with it.” We don’t always get the pope we want. And we don’t always get the pope we need. But we do get a pope, and what we do with that pope (regardless of how he is) determines how we will grow and mature as Catholics. The only promise we have is that God will not allow a pope to destroy the Church with heresy, and that the Church itself will never be destroyed.

Having reflected on Querida Amazonia, and it’s fallout, for a couple of days now, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that God has heard our prayers and answered them. The pope has been saved from a catastrophic error. Praise be to God!

What was that catastrophic error? Was it the viri probati? No. While relaxing the celibacy mandate in the Latin Church of the Catholic Church would have created quite a disruption, and upset a great many Catholics, it was not the catastrophic error that I feared might happen. The Catholic Church already ordains viri probati (“proven men” or “older married men”) to the priesthood. She does so in 21 of the 24 churches within the Catholic Church. Eastern Catholicism has never had a celibacy mandate, and has ordained both married and celibate men to the priesthood for 2,000 years. She also ordains married men to the priesthood who were formerly Protestant ministers. Such is the case in the Personal Ordinariates of English Patrimony. Finally, the Latin Church of the Catholic Church used to ordain viri probati alongside celibate men, as they do in the East, during the first millennium of her history. The celibacy mandate was definitively created for the Latin Church of the Catholic Church at the Second Lateran Council held in AD 1139. There had been local synods and rulings prior to this in various areas, but it was the Second Lateran Council that made it official and permanent. That being said, it was not a doctrinal issue, and it only applied to the Latin Church of the Catholic Church. Eastern Catholic churches were not bound to it. So it remains this way to this very day. Though as I pointed out above, the Latin Church does make exceptions to the celibacy mandate, especially in the case of married Protestant ministers who convert and wish to be ordained.

Pope Francis could have relaxed the celibacy mandate in the Latin Church if he wanted to. Indeed, he could have just gotten rid of it altogether, and it would have been perfectly legal for him to do so. He wouldn’t have changed any doctrine, and he wouldn’t have harmed the Catholic Faith. I know some people think otherwise, and some of them are very high profile people, but the fact remains that the Catholic Church ordains married men in the Eastern churches and nobody can say otherwise. If she can do so there, she can do so in the Latin Church as well. In the end, Francis chose not to go there, and that is his prerogative.

It was probably a good decision. While it is possible for the pope to relax the celibacy mandate in the Latin Church, it’s probably not the right thing to do at this moment in history. We live in a Modernist world now. The argument of many Faithful Catholics against the viri probati was that while allowing their ordination may be licit, the Modernists would use it as a gateway to introduce more things, like female ordination and same-sex “marriage” rites. While I disagree with any connection whatsoever between viri probati and female ordination and homosexual rites, I am not a Modernist, so my mind doesn’t work that way. I am an orthodox and Faithful Catholic, so I can’t make the leap between viri probati and the other things, namely because there is no connection whatsoever. But Modernists don’t think in rational terms. They operate purely on emotion and abstract movement, following the heart not the mind, in ways that are inconsistent, irrational and contradictory. They pride themselves on their ability to do this, and somehow think it shows “courage” and “virtue.” Anyone who calls them out on the danger of their actions they decry as a “bigot” and a “hater.” Again, any rational thought escapes them. Had Pope Francis opened the door to the viri probati, it would have most certainly emboldened the Modernists to try harder on the other things. If there will ever be a change on the celibacy mandate, it must come at a different time, and for more positive reasons, rather than just trying to shore up a priest shortage which could easily be remedied in other ways.

The catastrophic error I feared the pope might make had nothing to do with the viri probati, but rather the ordination of women to the diaconate. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, figuring he would probably opt for a lay-deacon (or lady-con) position that looks like a clerical position but really isn’t. As it turns out, it doesn’t appear that even that materialized in Querida Amazonia. What we got instead was an encouragement to find new ways for women to serve in the Church, but at the same time to do nothing that might “clericalize” them. The way he put this was nothing short of an atomic bomb detonated over those pushing for female ordination. The Holy Father did not budge on this issue. He held firm to orthodoxy and to the decree of Pope St. John Paul II in Ordinatio sacerdotalis. Had he caved into the Modernist demands for female deaconesses, it would have been a catastrophic error that would quickly begin the process of ripping the Church apart. This is because the issue of female ordination crosses over from the area of Church discipline into Catholic doctrine. In short, the ordination of women is impossible on a doctrinal level based on both Scripture and Apostolic Tradition. To ordain women is to deny the Catholic Christian faith. The pope not only avoided this error, he countered it, and in doing so he may have just saved his papacy.

So now, in this post Querida Amazonia world, we have a new paradigm that has radically changed the dynamics in the Church today. The Modernists in the Church are not going to give up, but they no longer have the ally in Pope Francis that they thought they did. The German Bishops Conference, where Modernism rules supreme, had hoped to use the results of the Amazon Synod in Rome as political cover for the radical changes they will soon make to their region in their two-year-long German Synod. They had hoped the pope’s apostolic exhortation would open the door to viri probati and female deacons for them. This would make it much easier for them to “move the ball forward” in Germany toward female priests and married gay-priests. Now, they no longer have the hope of this cover. Anything they do now, they will have to move forward alone. Honestly, I don’t think this will stop them. I don’t think they can stop. They already know what they want, and they’re intent on getting it. They just have to go through the formality of having a Synod first, just to make it look deliberative, but this time they have nothing from Rome to say they are “expanding.” When the German Bishops move to ordain the viri probati, and they will, they will be going it alone. This may not be enough to solicit disciplinary action from Rome, but it will cause a stir in Europe and the West. However, when the German Bishops move to ordain women, and they will, the formal schism in the Catholic Church will begin.

What has changed is that prior to Querida Amazonia, the German Bishops were acting from a position of strength, appearing to be controlling the papacy. After Querida Amazonia, it is now clear they don’t have nearly as much influence over Pope Francis as everyone thought they did. In fact, their position is considerably weaker than previously thought. I suspect it’s even surprised them! Their position of strength has evaporated rapidly over the last 48 hours.

Here’s my take on this. I still believe there is going to be a major schism in the Catholic Church, and I still think it’s going to happen within this decade. However, because of Querida Amazonia, and Pope Francis’ refusal to play along with the Modernist agenda on some very key issues, that schism is going to be considerably smaller than it would have been had he played along. The Modernists may have a lot of influence over the papacy right now, but Pope Francis just proved they don’t own it.

He will most certainly pay a price for this. The Holy Father will soon know what it means to cross the Modernists. They will show him no mercy. The smartest thing he could do at this point is move back toward the center of the Church, and maybe a little toward the Traditional Right. In the end, he may find that his biggest critics on the Right could turn into his greatest allies. That, however, would require some pretty shrewd thinking. Is Francis capable of that? Only time will tell.

10 thoughts on “Reflections on Querida Amazonia

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  1. Pope Francis is just trying to placate the conservative and moderate Catholics. He is just trying to lull us in a false sense of security. We must continue to resist any further changes he and others wish to push forward. And also restore the changes he and others have already made (officially and unofficially.

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  2. If we take the word shrewd to mean cunning, Francis has been just that. He drew in the left and progressives, likely bilked the German church for millions of dollars, and then sided with what seems to be his own conscience. He is a Peronist through and through. I recently read Perons 20 points on Wikipedia and Francis is true to script. All those people have fallen over themselves swearing loyalty to him. They cannot go against him now without losing face. There will be murmurs for a while, but this likely puts these subjects to bed this papacy.

    I agree with Shane as I also attend an Ordinariate (https://www.victoriaordinariate.com). Our Father Kenyon – who’s wife is expecting their sixth child any time now – has not been shy to say that the priesthood and running a parish would be best left to men that could devote their whole lives.

    However, I will leave you with this awful and conniving thought: The absence of women and married men leave the Vatican to the sodomites. The doors shall stay closed. Who’s side is Francis really on if he is not a progressive and he is not a traditionalist? Peron had his benefactors too.

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  3. @Mr. Schaetzel: I’ve just been introduced to your blog and so far I appreciate what I have read. You strike me as a man of action. I was wondering, have you yet given a personal opinion regarding THE FEBRUARY 28 PROPOSAL that has begun to circulate on the internet?

    by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

    As Catholics who are loyal to God the Truth, lovers of Jesus Christ and unwilling to see Holy Mother Church raped on a daily basis for even another day, we have an obligation to do SOMETHING real and effective towards solving the Crisis in the Church which began seven years ago with the departure of Pope Benedict XVI from the Vatican.

    There has been enough lamentations and analysis and research. Now is time for action.

    Here is my proposal, which I hope and pray will be accepted by all who share this same desire to protect Holy Mother Church and promote the salvation of souls.

    The proposal is simple and easy:

    A Unified and Universal Appeal by Catholic websites, Blogs, FaceBook Pages, Twitter Accounts, Forums etc.., all to be published on Feb. 28, 2020, the seventh anniversary of the departure of Pope Benedict from the Vatican,
    Calling upon all Catholics to support THE CALL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL INQUEST INTO CORRUPTION AT THE VATICAN,
    At which the evidence for 1) a failed Papal Renunciation, 2) an invalid Conclave and the 3) the self deposition by reason of pertinacious manifest formal heresy by Jorge Mario Bergoglio,
    Will be presented to the invited Catholic Bishops and Theologians and Canonists, in the presence of journalists
    At the end of which there will be a vote to call or not to call, on the basis of the evidence presented, an Extraordinary Synod of the College of Apostles (all Catholic Bishops),
    to judge the cases presented at the Inquest and hand down Anathemas upon all who resist the norms of Canon Law against rectifying the problems denounced therein.
    To which end, each participating Catholic website or social media account, on Feb. 28, 2020, will ask for volunteers from among Catholic professionals (Legal & Publicity especially) to organize and fund the International Inquest, invite Bishops and Canonists and Cardinals, and manage the contacts with the International Press.
    To adhere to this proposal, copy and paste the text of this proposal and publish it with the title: THE FEBRUARY 28 PROPOSAL.

    If you are going to participate in the publication of this appeal, leave a comment here below using a real email address so I can contact you. Note well, do not include your email address in the comment, but use it to register to make the comment. That way I can see it, but the public cannot. In your comment include a link to your website, FB page or social media account or blog, so we all can keep tract of the participants.

    In the mean time share your own news about this event with all your readers so we can recruit as many participants internationally for this Feb. 28, announcement!


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    1. I will not participate in this activity. Thank you for your inquiry though. Historically and canonically speaking, I don’t think this is how things are properly done. It also puts into public question the prospect that Pope Francis is an Antipope, which is something that no man can judge other than a subsequent Pope.

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      1. @Mr. Schaetael: Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your position and do not want to impose on the hospitality of your comment box but for clarity I have one statement and one question, if I may. There would seem to be historical precedent in St. Bernard of Clairvoux’s nine years of work to charitably present and explain the canonical evidence which in large part helped to firmly resolve the anti-pope issues (while those anti-popes lived and during their reigns) in 1139 after Honrius II’s death in 1130. https://fromrome.info/2020/02/02/st-bernard-of-clairvaux-patron-and-model-for-those-who-fight-against-antipopes/

        Now my question. It is evident to me (especially as you are a convert to Catholicism) that you are sincere, and so I ask, have you yourself sincerely studied the canonical evidence surrounding the controversy of ministerium and not munus being used by Pope Benedict XVI on Feb 11, 2013 in his declaration of renunciation? (This is the same evidence for which THE FEBRUARY 28 PROPOSAL is requesting an examination.) Thank you again for the hospitality of your comment box AND for the posts in your blogsite.

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        1. Yes. This is dubbed the Beneplenist position, because it’s not technically sedevacantist, as the position is that the Chair of Peter is occupied, just not by the man they say it is.

          It’s a very formidable argument, but simultaneously unprovable, as the only man who truly knows the mind and intent of Benedict XVI is Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger). So for all the theories and speculation, we are stuck with no clear answer.

          In such cases we are forced to default to what is known, which is that the college of cardinals did indeed elect Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis in 2013. The one and only man who could authoritatively say to the contrary is Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) and he’s done nothing but kiss Francis’ ring and call him “Holy Father.” This, early on, forced me to dismiss the Beneplenist argument.

          Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in his recent book, has assured us that there is nothing left for us to do but assume Francis is the pope, resist his perceived heresies, and pray for him. Cardinals Sarah, Müller and Burke have said as much too. So this is all we have, and it is enough.

          I long ago considered the possibility of “what if” it’s all true and Francis is not the pope. My conclusion was simply: “now what?” Obviously, there is nothing we can do about it even if it is all true. We’re just as powerless as we are otherwise, so why go there?

          I came to the conclusion that this is Christ’s Church not mine, therefore Pope Francis is ultimately Christ’s problem not mine. My job is simply to remain humble, prayerful and orthodox, which is easily enough obtained by sticking to the historic teachings and practices of the Church, which are well recorded for us in previous catechisms and reverent liturgies, as well as the rosary and other private devotions.

          History will sort all of this out for us. We only need resist, pray and wait to catch up with future historical records about our own time.

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          1. Thank you for noting that this formidable argument for Benedict is Pope (BiP) is not a sedevacantist one. I really, REALLY appreciate that.

            You say that while the BiP argument is formidable, it is simultaneously unprovable and I agree with both of those observations, but that is exactly why unlike you (and I understand your position) I strongly recommend that the faithful of Christ’s Church (as you rightly say) request an examination during the lifetime of both Francis and Benedict because as more than one pope existed in St Bernard of Clairvoux’s time the situation exists now.

            Men make mistakes and as much as I appreciate and follow Bp Schneider and Cdl Burke very Catholic teachings, they could be mistaken about what actions are left to the faithful in this time of two living popes. BTW: Did you note that Pope Benedict in his recent cover photo on the book he co-authored with Cdl Sarah is again wearing the simar? https://nonvenipacem.com/2020/02/22/the-church-visible-bread-crumb-23597/ Might be nothing.

            I do not fault either yours or Mr. Steven O’Reilly’s or others’ similar “wait for a future pope to decide” position, but for me and others it comes down to a matter as simple as the short definition of schism found in LaRavoire Morrow’s catechism My Catholic Faith. Namely, Schism is the refusal to submit to the authority of the Supreme Pontiff (p. 152). I admit that you and others have figured out a way to Recognize and Resist, but I for one cannot submit my moral agency or conscience to former Cdl Bergolio’s authority. I ask myself, “How can the source of unity as defined by the Church herself be at the same time the vector of schism?” My answer is, “Can’t be.”

            There are probably lengthier definitions for schism with more details than the one that I cite, but that one sums up for me why requesting an examination of the evidence underpinning this formidable BiP-argument is sufficient to make a request that per my baptism I have the right to make. Knowing of this right and the existence of the formidable argument based on canonical evidence that now exists allows me to heave a sigh of relief. Isn’t it a relief knowing that evidence for such a formidable argument even exists and that there is a growing number who are publicly requesting an examination of it including Bp Emeritus Rene Gracida and Msgr Nicola Bux? Again, thank you for your articulate and TRULY charitable conversation.

            Have you seen Mr. O’Reilly’s blog, Roma Locuta Est? You share the virtue of generous hospitality. Thank you again.

            BTW: Are you aware that there are plans to change Canon Law including but not limited to 1331.2 n. 4? Could be an attempt to cover up or at least make less obvious the whole munus/ministerium controversy. If not us, who? If not now, when? https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-canon-law-revision-project-is-coming-to-an-end?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register

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              1. @waterandthespiritapologetics: Ha! Point taken. However, I would ask sincerely that in light of Scripture and Tradition you compare and contrast the proffered magisterium of Pope Leo X from 1520 to that of former Cdl Bergoglio and then reconsider your valid observation.

                From Pope Leo X’s Exsurge Domine: Moreover, because the preceding errors and many others are contained in the books or writings of Martin Luther, we likewise condemn, reprobate, and reject completely the books and all the writings and sermons of the said Martin, whether in Latin or any other language, containing the said errors or any one of them; and we wish them to be regarded as utterly condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We forbid each and every one of the faithful of either sex, in virtue of holy obedience and under the above penalties to be incurred automatically, to read, assert, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend them. They will incur these penalties if they presume to uphold them in any way, personally or through another or others, directly or indirectly, tacitly or explicitly, publicly or occultly, either in their own homes or in other public or private places. Indeed immediately after the publication of this letter these works, wherever they may be, shall be sought out carefully by the ordinaries and others [ecclesiastics and regulars], and under each and every one of the above penalties shall be burned publicly and solemnly in the presence of the clerics and people.

                As far as Martin himself is concerned, O good God, what have we overlooked or not done? What fatherly charity have we omitted that we might call him back from such errors? For after we had cited him, wishing to deal more kindly with him, we urged him through various conferences with our legate and through our personal letters to abandon these errors. We have even offered him safe conduct and the money necessary for the journey urging him to come without fear or any misgivings, which perfect charity should cast out, and to talk not secretly but openly and face to face after the example of our Savior and the Apostle Paul. If he had done this, we are certain he would have changed in heart, and he would have recognized his errors. He would not have found all these errors in the Roman Curia which he attacks so viciously, ascribing to it more than he should because of the empty rumors of wicked men.

                (https://www.papalencyclicals.net/leo10/l10exdom.htm)

                My conscience is not affronted by this and would be more confirmation that THE FEBRUARY 28 PROPOSAL is in order.

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