Words fail me.
A classic example of the ignorance of the doctrine of papal infallibility is here on full display from this high Churchman. The Archbishop is saying, in effect, what the defined dogma of papal infallibility firmly rejected: that every utterance from the mouth of the Pope carries magisterial if not infallible dignity. He is saying that the Popes are now impeccable - that anything and everything that drops from their lips belongs in the Deposit of Faith. Fiscihella may not realize this, but that is what he is saying.
This confusion over papal infallibility did not originate with men like Fisichella. Echos of it can be found pretty much everywhere in the Church. Many are those who confuse infallibility with impeccability. Sedevacantists and papolaters, who would not wish to be in the same room with each other, also misunderstand this dogma. Both of these opposing groups believe a pope must be impeccable, unable to say anything which is false or erroneous. Both have a poor understanding of the issue. If a papolater hears something from a pope that is 180 degrees different from previous teaching he will simply go along with it, secure in the knowledge that whatever the pope says must be gospel since he is impeccable. When the sedevacantist hears the same 180 degree different teaching from the pope he will say to himself, well since the pope is impeccable and that is clearly wrong, then, ergo, he must not be a real pope.
But Fisichella is carrying this ignorance of dogma to an entirely new level: suggesting in a subtle way that those who disagree with Francis' Modernist fancies may face ecclesiastical penalties.
As I said, words fail me. But they don't fail the writers over at Voice of the Family:
Archbishop Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization, has stirred controversy by suggesting that some criticisms of Pope Francis might result in automatic excommunication.
Archbishop Fisichella made his remarks while explaining how Pope Francis’s new “Missionaries of Mercy” will operate. The 800 “missionaries” will have the power to absolve from penalties previously reserved to the Holy See.
In reference to Canon 1370, which imposes automatic excommunication for “physical violence” against the Roman Pontiff, Archbishop Fisichella said:
“I would say that we need to understand well ‘physical violence,’ because sometimes words, too, are rocks and stones, and therefore I believe some of these sins, too, are far more widespread than we might think.”
Archbishop Fisichella’s comments will be interpreted by many as an attempt to silence faithful Catholics who are deeply concerned by the direction currently being taken by those who hold offices at the highest levels of the Church. Serious concerns have been raised over the last two and half years concerning:
- The alleged manipulation of the 2014 Extraordinary Synod and the 2015 Ordinary Synod
- The publication of a heterodox Relatio Synodi of the Extraordinary Synod
- The publication of a heterodox Instrumentum Laboris for the Ordinary Synod
- The publication of a heterodox Relazione Finale of the Ordinary Synod
- The radical reforms to the canonical procedures governing declaration of nullity of marriage
- The open collaboration between the Holy See and leading global advocates of population control
- The confusing remarks made by the Holy Father about who is able to receive Holy Communion
- The confusing remarks made by the Holy Father about the relationship between condoms and AIDS
- The confusing remarks and actions of the Holy Father on the subject of homosexuality
- The endorsement, by official bodies of the Holy See, of pro-abortion, pro-contraception UN Sustainable Development Goals
- The endorsement of the environmental agenda in the encyclical letter Laudato Si, without sufficient recognition of the profound connection between environmentalism and the population control movement
- The public association of Laudato Si with the most radical elements of the environmental/population control movement and dissent from the doctrine of Humanae Vitae
- The appointment, promotion or elevation to ecclesiastical offices or to positions of influence, by the Holy Father, of many openly heterodox prelates including, but not limited to: Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, Archbishop Blaise Cupich, Godfried Cardinal Danneels, John Cardinal Dew, Walter Cardinal Kasper, Bishop Heiner Koch, Reinhard Cardinal Marx, Vincent Cardinal Nichols, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn and Donald Cardinal Wuerl.
The erstwhile editors of The Eponymous Flower call this "insane". We heartily agree.
The days of silencing the laity with this kind of nonsense are over. There will be more courageous Churchmen, magazines, blogs, courageous layfolk and websites who will keep talking about these confusing times. Childish threats such as Fisichella's will not stop a deluge.