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ROME, Italy, June 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis could stem the “confusion and apostasy” now rampant in the Church among priests and bishops by “correcting” his own “ambiguous and erroneous words and acts,” said an Italian monsignor and former consultor to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in an explosive interview. 

Respected theologian Monsignor Nicola Bux, a professor at the Theological Faculty of Puglia, defined “apostasy” as the “abandonment of Catholic thought” that has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.

Monsignor Nicola Bux

Apostasy arises, he said in the June 21 interview with the National Catholic Register’s Ed Pentin, when “cardinals are silent” in the face of false teaching, when bishops “say the opposite” of what the Church actually teaches, and when priests “contest the liturgical tradition of the Church.”

“The Apostle exhorts us to be faithful to sure, sound, and pure doctrine: that founded on Jesus Christ and not on worldly opinions (cf. Titus 1:7-11; 2:1-8). Perseverance in teaching and obedience to doctrine leads souls to eternal salvation,” he said. 

“The Church cannot change the faith and at the same time ask believers to remain faithful to it. She is instead intimately obliged to be oriented toward the Word of God and toward Tradition,” he added. 

READ: They gave Pope Francis four years to ‘make the Church over again.’ Here’s how he has tried.

The Monsignor said that one of the problems under the pontificate of Pope Francis is that many mistakenly believe that everything the Pope says or writes is Magisterial teaching that must be followed, when such is not the case. 

“Faced with confusion and apostasy, the Pope should make the distinction — as Benedict XVI did — between what he thinks and says as a private, learned person, and what he must say as Pope of the Catholic Church,” he said. 

“To be clear: the Pope can express his ideas as a private learned person on disputable matters which are not defined by the Church, but he cannot make heretical claims, even privately. Otherwise, it would be equally heretical,” he added.

Obedience is owed to the Pope, the monsignor said, insofar as he continues to teach the one true faith. 

“So whoever thinks that presenting doubts (dubia) to the Pope is not a sign of obedience, hasn’t understood, 50 years after Vatican II, the relationship between him (the Pope) and the whole Church. Obedience to the Pope depends solely on the fact that he is bound by Catholic doctrine, to the faith that he must continually profess before the Church,” he said. 

Monsignor Bux said that as a result of the “full crisis of faith” in the Church, especially after the release of the Pope’s Exhortation Amoris Laetitia last year, the Pope should declare exactly what is the Church’s teaching on controversial issues currently plaguing the Church. 

Pope Francis “should make a Declaration or Profession of Faith, affirming what is Catholic, and correcting those ambiguous and erroneous words and acts — his own and those of bishops — that are interpreted in a non-Catholic manner,” he said. 

The monsignor made a reference to the recent unsuccessful attempt of four cardinals to obtain a private audience with the Pope to discuss what they called “confusion and disorientation” in the Church. He noted the irony of having a pope who champions “dialogue” while, at the same time, refuses to meet with those who are critical of novelties brought into the Church under the Pope’s watch. 

READ: Four Cardinals release letter asking to meet Pope about ‘confusion and disorientation’ in Church

“For many Catholics, it is incredible that the Pope is asking bishops to dialogue with those who think differently, but does not want first to face the cardinals who are his chief advisers,” he said. 

“If the Pope does not safeguard doctrine, he cannot impose discipline,” he added. 

Editor’s note: Read the full interview here