Filial Appeal asking Pope Francis to withdraw Fiducia Supplicans tops 500 names

Papa Francesco
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By Mike Hickson

The team who organized the filial appeal to cardinals and bishops of the world asking them to forbid blessings of irregular and homosexual “couples” in their dioceses and to request Pope Francis rescind the Vatican document allowing for such blessings (see full text below) is presenting today the final list of signatories.

Together, with the initial 90 signatories, the document now lists around 150 clergymen – one bishop, several monsignors, dozens of priests and deacons – as well as hundreds of scholars coming all over the world, totaling 500.

According to Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, who together with Professor Claudio Pierantoni was crucial in getting this initiative organized, this list is “a sign of the sensus fidelium that stretches across the earth wherever the Catholic (universal) faith is professed.”

He put together for LifeSite the different countries from which the signatories hail, saying that this “breadth of countries” is “most impressive: “nearly 50 in toto, including Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin Republic, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, México, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Perú, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Ukraine, United States of America, Venezuela, Zambia.”

As this list will show our readers, many of these countries have currently grave challenges and face sufferings, such as Nigeria and China. Dr. Kwasniewski noticed this phenomenon, too when he said: “Most movingly, we find 17 signatories from Ukraine, a country torn by war, yet one in which adherence to Christianity has not grown weak, as it has done in the liberal West. They have plenty of other anxieties as their country is invaded and bombarded, yet they cared enough about the divine law and natural law to place their signatures on this letter.”

Moreover, and in quite a touching manner, is the fact that there are among the signatories many pastors of parishes, parochial vicars, administrators, deacons, and rectors of seminaries. These men put their positions at risk for signing this document and show laudable courage.

As Dr. Kwasniewski noticed, “there are numerous canon lawyers, a large number of medical doctors, psychiatrists, and pastoral theologians – exactly the kind of people who can best evaluate, on the ground, what homosexuality involves. We find numerous government officials, especially from Poland and Spain.”

Finally, there are among the signatories also numerous professors from prominent universities in the world, such as Stanford University, Sorbonne University (France), University of Florence (Italy), Pontifical University of Salamanca (Portugal), the Arctic University of Norway, University of Toronto (Canada), St. John’s University New York, University of Dallas, University of Alberta (Canada), University of Munich, as well as the University of Turin (Italy).

Among the new signatories that have not yet been highlighted, we may mention the following names: Msgr. Richard C. Antall, Pastor, Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Cleveland, Ohio; Monika Gabriela Bartoszewicz, MA, MLitt, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science, UiT The Arctic University of Norway; Rev. Daniel J. Becker, PhD, priest of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts; Chaplain, St Benedict Center in Harvard, Massachusetts; Deacon Joseph Bell, MTh, Chancellor, Diocese of Reno, Nevada; Rev. Viktor Bilous, Rector of the Seminary, professor of the moral theology, Gorodok, Ukraine; Biagio Buonomo, PhD, Professor of Ancient History, former culture editor of L’Osservatore Romano (1990–2011), Naples, Italy; Very Rev. Donald Calloway, MIC, Vicar Provincial, Marian Fathers, Steubenville, Ohio; Giovanni Ceroni, MA Bioethics, John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, Rome, Italy; Giovanni Codevilla, former professor of Comparative Ecclesiastical Law, University of Trieste, Italy; Rev. Pio Vito De Mattia, moral theologian, canonist in matrimonial jurisprudence, Italy; João Pedro de Sousa Mendonça Correia, JCD, attorney at law, canonist, Faculty of Canon Law, Pontifical University of Salamanca, Lisbon, Portugal; Dr. Artur Górecki, historian, educator, rector of Collegium Intermarium; former Director of the Department of General Education and Core Curriculum at the Ministry of Education, Poland; Rev. Remigiusz Kalski, SJ, parish priest of Saint Michael Archangel Parish, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Oswaldo Javier Lozano de la Garza, Former Assistant Professor of Theological Anthropology and Theology of the Body, John Paul II Institute in Monterrey, México; Brad Miner, Senior Fellow, Faith & Reason Institute; Senior Editor, TheCatholicThing.org; Dr. Christine M. Ward, Co-founder of the Theology of the Body Network UK; Lecturer (Sexual Ethics, Christian Anthropology), Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, UK; Dr. Charles P. Prezzia, MD, MPH, MMM, FRSM, Past President of the Catholic Medical Association, Clinton, Pennsylvania, as well as Jay Richards, PhD, Director, Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family and the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.

LifeSite is pleased to publish here the final list of signatories to the Filial Appeal and honors all those signatories who have been urged in their conscience to take a moral stance in spite of the possible repercussions that they could endure for it.

Read below the full text of the filial appeal including the 90 initial signatories:

Open Letter to All the Cardinals and Bishops of the World: Act Before It Is Too Late

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies:

We, the undersigned Catholic priests, scholars, and authors, write to you on the occasion of the latest document published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Fiducia Supplicans, which has caused so much scandal in the Church during this last Christmastime.

As is widely known, a relevant part of the world episcopate has practically rejected it, due to its evident break with Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. Twenty episcopal conferences, dozens of individual prelates, and even cardinals invested with the highest positions, such as Cardinal Müller and Cardinal Sarah, have expressed an unequivocal condemnatory judgment. So have also the UK, USA, and Australian Confraternities of Catholic Clergy. Never in the history of the Catholic Church has a document of the Roman Magisterium experienced such a strong rejection.

Indeed, despite its explicit reaffirmation of the traditional doctrine of the Church on Marriage, it turns out that the pastoral practice that the document allows is in direct opposition to it. So much so, that the document has been very favorably received by those few episcopates and prelates that for decades have been openly advocating a change in the doctrine on sexual morality. It is evident that the practical message that this new declaration transmits is much more in line with the program and ideas of those who want to change the doctrine, than with the doctrine itself that the document claims to keep intact.

The document effectively attempts to introduce a separation between doctrine and liturgy on the one hand, and pastoral practice on the other. But this is impossible: in fact, pastoral care, like all action, always presupposes a theory and, therefore, if pastoral care performs something that does not correspond to the doctrine, what is actually being proposed is a different doctrine.

The blessing of a couple (whether “liturgical” or “pastoral”) is, so to speak, a natural sign. The concrete gesture sayssomething naturally, and therefore has a natural, immediate communicative effect, which cannot be artificially changed by the verbal caveats of the document. A blessing as such, in the universal language of humanity, always implies an approvalof what is being blessed.

Therefore, the concrete sign that is given with such blessing, in front of the whole world, is that “irregular couples,” extramarital and homosexual alike, according to the Catholic Church, would now be acceptable to God, precisely in the type of union that specifically configures them as couples. Nor does it make sense to separate “couple” from “union,” as card. Fernández has tried to do, since a couple is a couple because of the union that gives existence to it.

The fact that other significant and accidental circumstances such as timing, location, or ornaments such as flowers and wedding clothes are excluded from the act does not change the nature of the act, since the central and essential gesture remains. Furthermore, we all know from experience what such “restrictions” are worth and how long they last.

The fact is that a priest is imparting a blessing on two people who present themselves as a couple, in the sexual sense, and precisely a couple defined by its objectively sinful relationship. Therefore—regardless of the intentions and interpretations of the document, or the explanations the priest may try to give—this action will be the visible and tangible sign of a different doctrine, which contradicts traditional doctrine.

Let us remember that the traditional doctrine on the subject must be considered infallible, since it is unequivocally confirmed by Scripture and Tradition, a universal and uninterrupted tradition, ubique et semper. And it must be remembered that this is a doctrine of natural law, which does not allow for any change.

In practice, the faithful will not even be aware of the subtle theoretical justifications introduced by the Declaration, much less those that were added in the recent clarification on the Declaration. The message that is effectively launched, and that the people of God, and the entire world, will inevitably register and are already registering is that: The Catholic Church has finally evolved, and now accepts homosexual unions, and, more generally, extramarital unions.

This situation fully justifies the decided rejection of so many episcopal conferences, so many prelates, so many scholars, and so many ordinary lay people. In this context, it is definitely not justifiable, especially for a cardinal or a bishop, to remain silent, since the scandal that has already occurred is serious and public, and if it is not stopped, it is bound to be more and more amplified. The threat does not become smaller but more serious, since the error comes from the Roman See, and is destined to scandalize all the faithful, and above all the little ones, the simple faithful who have no way of orienting and defending themselves in this confusion: “Whoever offends one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for him if a donkey’s millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18,6).

The pastors and all those who have some responsibility in the Church have been constituted as sentinels: “If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the horn, so that the people are not warned, and when the sword comes he kills one of them, he will perish because of him, but I will ask the watchman to account for his blood” (Ez.33,6).

In light of the above we fervently implore you to:

(1) Follow the brave example of so many brother bishops around the world: please forbid immediately the application of this document in your diocese.

(2) Please ask directly the Pope to urgently withdraw this unfortunate document, which is in contradiction with both Scripture and the universal and uninterrupted Tradition of the Church and which clearly produces a serious scandal.

In this difficult moment, a clear word of truth would be the best example of your faithful and courageous dedication to the people of God entrusted to you, a sign of fidelity to the true mission of the Papacy and at the same time the best help for the pope himself, an eloquent “fraternal correction,” which he urgently needs in this last and most critical period of his pontificate and probably of his life. If you act promptly, there is still some hope that he may rescue his pontificate and his own person from a stain that could otherwise weigh on him indelibly, not only in history, but in eternity.

Initial 90 Signatories 

Edmund P. Adamus, MA, Secretary to Commission of Inquiry into Discrimination Against Christians, UK 

Wolfgang R. Ahrens, PhD Philosophy, Chile 

Sergio González Arrieta, MA in Classics and History, Chile 

Gil Bailie, Founder and President of the Cornerstone Forum 

Dr Heinz-Lothar and Raphaela Barth, Bonn, Germany 

Donna F. Bethell, JD, USA 

Judie Brown, President, American Life League, Falmouth, Virginia 

Dr Dr Sergio R. Castaño, CONICET, Argentina 

Paweł Chmielewski, commentator for Polonia Christiana, Warsaw, Poland 

Michelle Cretella, MD, USA 

Edgardo J. Cruz Ramos, President, Una Voce Puerto Rico 

Dr Tomasz Dekert, religious studies scholar, Rajbrot, Poland 

Deacon Julian L. Delgado, MD  

Roberto de Mattei, historian, President of Lepanto Foundation, Rome, Italy 

Deacon Nick Donnelly, MA, England 

C. Joseph Doyle, Executive Director, Catholic Action League of Massachusetts

Rev. Angelo Luigi Fratus, Montfort Missionary, Zambia  

Rev. Stanisław Gibziński, Portsmouth Diocese, England 

Corrado Gnerre, professor of theology and founder of Il cammino dei tre sentieri 

Maria Guarini, author, Editor of Chiesa e postconcilio 

Michael K. Hageböck, headmaster and journalist, Germany 

Michael Hichborn, President of the Lepanto Institute, Virginia 

Maike Hickson, PhD, Front Royal, VA 

Prof. Dr.rer.nat. Dr.rer.pol. Rudolf Hilfer, Stuttgart, Germany 

Rev. Joseph Illo, Pastor, Star of the Sea Parish, San Francisco, California 

Marek Jurek, former Marshal of the Polish Parlament, Wólka Kozodawska, Poland 

Bogusław Kiernicki, President, Saint Benedict Foundation, Dębogóra, Poland 

Kacper Kita, publicist, international policy analyst, Poland 

Rev. Donald Kloster, Lumen Christi Academy Principal, Pipe Creek, TX 

Dr Dr Dr.med. Adorján F. Kovács, Frankfurt am Main, Germany 

Dr Thaddeus Kozinski, Memoria College  

Gabriele Kuby, sociologist and author, Prien am Chiemsee, Germany 

Peter A. Kwasniewski, PhD, Lincoln, Nebraska 

Dr John R. T. Lamont, D.Phil. 

Philip F. Lawler, author, Editor of Catholic World News 

Leila M. Lawler, author 

Rev. Joseph Levine, Pastor, Holy Family Catholic Church, Burns, Oregon 

Pedro L. Llera, director of educational centers, Gobiendes, Spain 

Maria Madise, Managing Director, Voice of the Family, UK 

Rev. Patrick H. Magee FLHF, Fall River, MA 

Dr Regis Martin, professor of theology, Franciscan University Steubenville 

Brian M. McCall, Orpha and Maurice Merrill Chair in Law, University of Oklahoma  

Deacon Eugene McGuirk, Front Royal, Virginia 

Dr Justyna Melonowska, psychologist and philosopher, Warszawa, Poland 

Rev. Cor Mennen, emeritus lecturer in Canon Law, Seminary of ‘s-Hertogenbosch 

Dr Paweł Milcarek, Editor of Christianitas, Brwinów, Poland 

Sebastian Morello, PhD, Senior Editor of The European Conservative 

Rev. Alfredo Morselli, Italy 

Rev. Gerald E. Murray, JCD, Pastor, Church of the Holy Family, New York, NY 

Dina Nerozzi, MD, child psychiatrist and endocrinologist, former professor at the University of Rome 

Doyen Nguyen, MD, STD, moral theologian, bioethicist, USA/Portugal 

Rev. Daniel R. Nolan, FSSP, Littleton, CO  

Deacon Dr Bart Overman, Den Bosch, The Netherlands  

Michael Pakaluk, PhD, professor of ethics and social philosophy, Washington, DC 

Gottfried Paschke, theologian, retired professor of mathematics, Bad Homburg, Germany 

Paolo Pasqualucci, retired Professor of Philososophy, Faculty of Law, Perugia, Italy 

Rod Pead, Editor, Christian Order, UK  

Dr Claudio Pierantoni, PhD History of Christianism, PhD Philosophy, Chile  

Rev. John A. Perricone, PhD, adjunct professor of philosophy, Iona College in New Rochelle, New York 

Prof. Thomas Pink, emeritus professor of philosophy, King’s College, London 

Rev. Andrew Pinsent, MA, Dphil, PhB, STB, PhL, PhD, FRSA, University of Oxford, UK 

Tomasz Rowiński, historian of ideas, Editor of Christianitas, Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Poland 

Anna Rist, retired professor of classics, Toronto, Canada 

John Rist, PhD, retired professor of classics and early Chrisitian philosophy and theology 

Luis Román, theologian and Catholic commentator, Florida 

Jesse Romero, Catholic apologist, evangelist, author, Queen Creek, Arizona. 

Eric Sammons, Editor, Crisis Magazine 

Dr César Félix Sánchez Martínez, professor of philosophy, Universidad Nacional de San Agustín, Perú 

Dr Tommaso Scandroglio, author, Italy 

Wolfram Schrems, Mag. theol., Mag. phil., catechist, pro-life activist, Vienna, Austria 

Dr Anna Silvas, specialist in Greek Fathers, retired adjunct, UNE, Australia 

Rev. Robert Sirico, President, St. John Henry Newman Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Dr Michael Sirilla, Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio 

John Smeaton, Co-founder of Voice of the Family, UK 

Rev. Tam X. Tran, S.T.L., Pastor of Our Lady of Vietnam Catholic Church, Silver Spring, Maryland 

Rev. Glen Tattersall, Pastor of St. John Newman Parish, Melbourne, Australia 

Inge M. Thürkauf, actress, journalist, pro-family public speaker, Germany 

José Antonio Ureta, author, Paris, France 

Aldo Maria Valli, writer, Rome, Italy 

Dr Gerard van den Aardweg, author, psychologist and psychotherapist, The Netherlands 

Christine de Marcellus Vollmer,  president of PROVIVE, ALAFA, Former Member of PAL, Venezuela. 

Mathias von Gersdorff, author and pro-life activist, Frankfurt, Germany 

Prof. Dr Berthold Wald, retired professor of philosophy, Münster, Germany 

Dr Thomas Ward, President, John Paul II Academy of Human Life and the Family 

Leonard P. Wessell, Dr.Phil., PhD, emeritus professor, German Studies, University of Colorado 

John-Henry Westen, Co-founder and Editor-in-chief, LifeSiteNews 

Elizabeth D. Wickham, PhD, Executive Director, Lifetree.org, Raleigh, North Carolina 

Dr Timothy Williams, professor of French, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio 

Chilton Williamson, writer, former editor at National Review and Chronicles, Laramie, Wyoming 

Dr Hubert Windisch, priest, retired professor of pastoral theology, Burglengenfeld, Germany 

Deacon Timothy Woods, Huntington, Indiana 

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