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(LifeSiteNews) –– Father Charles Murr and Liz Yore once again join John-Henry Westen on this week’s episode of Faith & Reason, in which they discuss the opening of the Synod on Synodality in the midst of a new “climate change” document released by Pope Francis and a new set of dubia concerning the nature of the Synod and the issue of Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried, as well as a new statement by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò surrounding questions of the validity of Francis’ assumption of the papacy. 

On Monday, news broke of a new set of dubia submitted to the Vatican by Cardinals Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller, Robert Sarah, Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, and Joseph Zen. The dubia sought clarifications on the nature of synodality, the possibility of women’s ordination to the priesthood, the potential blessings of same-sex unions, the changeability of defined dogma, and absolution for penitents that show no remorse for sin. 

The dubia’s signatories presented their concerns twice, asking for a “yes” or “no” response to their questions after the Vatican responded to their first dubia in a way they found “vague and elusive.” While the signatories made their concerns public this week, the Vatican critiqued them for failing to disclose its response, which it published on Monday. However, ambiguity in the released text seems to allow for priests to decide for themselves whether or not to “bless” same-sex unions. The Vatican has yet to respond to the second set of dubia. 

Commenting on the dubia and the Vatican’s response, Yore noted the vagueness of “some of the answers,” though opined that “clearly what was coming through was that there was going to be a change.” Noting that the synodal process resembles a parliamentary proceeding in which only pre-approved bills are passed, she also noted the response to another set of dubia from Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka, stating that Holy Communion can be given to the divorced and remarried. 

Yore recounts that she was “very troubled” by the Vatican’s responsa ad dubia, as the Synod on Synodality’s instrumentum laboris said that answers to the eventually posed dubia would be answered by the Synod Fathers, something she believes prompted Cardinal Zen to write a letter to the Synod Fathers, made public this week, warning them of possible “manipulation” of the Synod.   

Father noted that Cardinal Victor Fernandez, Prefect for the Dicastery (formerly Congregation) of the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), told the signatories that the Pope is not their “slave,” in light of a papal title dating to the time of St. Gregory the Great, “Servant of the Servants of God.” He also noted that when a bishop is consecrated bishop, he has the Gospels put on his shoulders, and must take an oath that when he says yes it means yes and when he says no it means no. 

“I think when they wrote it for clarification, they … put … that yes and no … as a reminder to … Francis that he is in fact a bishop as they are bishops, and he is obliged to speak clearly,” Father said, adding that he believes that “the whole point of this is not to be clear.” 

Yore also spoke to Francis’ conception that doctrine can evolve in light of the 2021 decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that the Church does not have the power to “bless” same-sex unions. 

While Yore asked how doctrine could evolve “that quickly,” Father said that there was not just confusion at the root of the apparent change. “There’s something very wrong here,” he said.  

“This is being done on purpose,” Father maintained, comparing the current crisis in the Church with the destruction of the Anglican Communion. “This is not out of confusion, and we’re trying to find answers on this and that. You don’t try to find answers by stacking the deck. You don’t try to find answers by deciding … who you’re going to have in your … Synod.” Looking at the Synod and the Pope’s actions, Father stressed that “we are first to obey God,” no matter who it is telling us to disobey Him. 

“Those who would disobey God have a problem, because they will have left the church,” Father declared. “It’s very simple that … they will have started their own church … and this is what I’m … more than a little bit afraid of.” 

Later in the conversation, Westen noted that Cardinal Gerhard Müller, formerly head of the CDF, has endorsed the dubia, and Yore predicted that more and more Churchmen will “pushback to Francis.” She also called on listeners to devote their prayers to the Synod Fathers, that they would support the “dubia Cardinals,” “raise those questions in the Synod,” and defend the Catholic faith at the Synod. 

“I suspect it’s going to be a brawl,” Yore said about the Synod. “I think … whether we find out about it or not … let’s hope we have some … saints and some martyrs for the Catholic faith in the synod hall.” 

Meanwhile, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò released a statement Tuesday arguing that Catholics should consider the possibility that Pope Francis is not in fact the pope.  

The statement, which considers all the possible arguments against the validity of Francis’ pontificate and attempts to respond to Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s position on the matter, also argues from the legal conception of the mens rea, or the knowledge that one commits an act that is illicit.  

Viganò argues that Francis could not have assumed the papacy for lack of intending to defend the Deposit of Faith and accuses Francis of seeking to destroy the Church while entering the 2013 conclave and entering it with a plan to be elected “by fraud.” He also notes the activity of the Sankt Gallen Mafia, and the statement of disgraced former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick about how Francis would change the Church in four years. 

Yore explained that she found the argument made by Viganò “compelling.” According to Yore, however, the fact that Pope Benedict XVI was still living, the outbreak of the McCarrick scandal in 2018, as well as the outbreak of COVID have slowed down an alleged plan to change the Church. 

Murr, who appeared on Faith & Reason last month to discuss the problem of the Francis pontificate, concluding then that Francis was indeed the pope “and that’s the problem,” declined to offer his opinion on the matter of the validity of Francis’ assumption of the papacy, referring to the “competent authorities” that could make a determination on the question in terms of its legality. 

“I do believe that in the next ten years, there is going to be some incredible theological studies, moral studies, canonical studies … on the whole papal issue,” Murr predicted, pointing to the opinion of St. John-Henry Newman, who warned that the definition of Papal Infallibility in the First Vatican Council would lead to an exaggeration of what the dogma of Papal Infallibility really means. 

“What I think … is going to happen after this pontificate is finished, there’s going to be a whole revision on the role of the Pope and on the way the Church functions, especially in these kind of situations,” Murr continued, adding that the issue of a potentially heretical Pope has never arisen in Catholic history. He also predicted that the questions surrounding the current crisis in the Church will be resolved by a future ecumenical council. 

For more from Father and Yore, tune in to this week’s episode of Faith & Reason. 

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