Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller have written an open letter to the presidents of bishops’ conferences attending this week’s Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse, calling on them to end their silence and return to upholding the divine and natural law.
In the letter released Feb. 19, they argue that the abuse crisis is only part of a wider and much deeper problem that owes itself to a society that openly calls into question an absolute moral law, and Church leaders who have “gone away from the truth of the Gospel.”
“A decisive act now is urgent and necessary,” the cardinals say, and call for an end to the “plague of the homosexual agenda” in the Church, organized networks of protection, and a “climate of complicity and a conspiracy of silence.”
In comments to the media on the open letter, Cardinal Burke said: “Given the incontrovertible state of confusion and error in the Church regarding the most fundamental moral questions, pastors of souls must raise their voices to defend the teaching of Christ and His Church. “Silence is cooperation with the ever-spreading confusion and division which is bringing serious harm to many souls,” he added.
The cardinals begin the letter by saying: “We turn to you with deep distress!,” and add that the Catholic world is “adrift” with people asking: “Where is the Church going?”
The American and German cardinals say sexual abuse is “blamed on clericalism” but, for them, the “first and primary fault of the clergy does not rest in the abuse of power but in having gone away from the truth of the Gospel.”
“The even public denial, by words and by acts, of the divine and natural law, is at the root of the evil that corrupts certain circles in the Church,” the cardinals continue.
But “in the face of this situation, cardinals and bishops are silent,” they observe, and ask the Pope and bishops if they, too, will be silent during the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit.
Crisis of Faith
The cardinals remind the bishops that in 2016 they presented the Holy Father with dubia — five questions aimed at clarifying Church doctrine in light of what they viewed as ambiguities in the text of the Pope’s apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.
They point out that those dubia were never answered and “are part of a more general crisis of the faith.”
“Therefore, we encourage you to raise your voice to safeguard and proclaim the integrity of the doctrine of the Church,” the cardinals add.
They close the letter by praying to the Holy Spirit, “that He may assist the Church and bring light to the Pastors who guide her.”
“A decisive act now is urgent and necessary,” the conclude. “We trust in the Lord Who has promised: “Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Mt 28,20).”
Here below is the full text of the letter:
Open Letter to the Presidents of the Conferences of Bishops
Dear Brothers, Presidents of the Conferences of Bishops,
We turn to you with deep distress!
The Catholic world is adrift, and, with anguish, the question is asked: Where is the Church going?
Before the drift in process, it seems that the difficulty is reduced to that of the abuse of minors, a horrible crime, especially when it is perpetrated by a priest, which is, however, only part of a much greater crisis. The plague of the homosexual agenda has been spread within the Church, promoted by organized networks and protected by a climate of complicity and a conspiracy of silence. The roots of this phenomenon are clearly found in that atmosphere of materialism, of relativism and of hedonism, in which the existence of an absolute moral law, that is without exceptions, is openly called into question.
Sexual abuse is blamed on clericalism. But the first and primary fault of the clergy does not rest in the abuse of power but in having gone away from the truth of the Gospel. The even public denial, by words and by acts, of the divine and natural law, is at the root of the evil that corrupts certain circles in the Church.
In the face of this situation, Cardinals and Bishops are silent. Will you also be silent on the occasion of the meeting called in the Vatican for this coming February 21st?
We are among those who in 2016 presented to the Holy Father certain questions, dubia, which were dividing the Church in the wake of the conclusions of the Synod on the Family. Today, those dubia have not only not had any response but are part of a more general crisis of the Faith. Therefore, we encourage you to raise your voice to safeguard and proclaim the integrity of the doctrine of the Church.
We pray to the Holy Spirit, that He may assist the Church and bring light to the Pastors who guide her. A decisive act now is urgent and necessary. We trust in the Lord Who has promised: “Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Mt 28,20).
Walter Cardinal Brandmüller
Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke