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Pope Francis & Cardinal Fernández, January 26, 2024. Vatican News

This essay by Fr. Joachim Heimerl was originally written in German. It has been translated and published with the permission of Fr. Heimerl.

(LifeSiteNews) — We are so used to seeing Judas as the quintessential traitor that we forget that there is another traitor on the night of Maundy Thursday: Simon Peter.

Peter’s betrayal is by no means more harmless than that of Judas, nor is it a slip-up. On the contrary, it fits in with Peter’s ambivalent personality and even more so with his many shortcomings, for which he is sharply rebuked by Jesus.

Indeed, Jesus made Peter the rock of the Church. But just as he was not without his faults, neither have been many of his successors. Apparently, Peter’s ministry includes not only granting the keys to heaven but also human weakness. This is precisely what makes Peter himself a relatable saint.

His betrayal shines through again and again in the course of papal history. Some popes betrayed Jesus through their immoral lifestyle, others because their position as ruler of the Papal States was more important to them than their spiritual office. There are also papal mistakes such as the sale of indulgences and other examples.

And yet: Peter’s betrayal is more noticeable than ever today. It has now reached all levels of the Church: cardinals and bishops, as well as the entire German episcopate. It is not uncommon to get the impression that betrayal has suddenly become the “credo” of a Reform Church that says to itself: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5).

Can you remember the last time you noticed this betrayal?  I remember it very well. It was on the evening of December 18, when Fiducia supplicans had just been published.

That evening, I was invited to Bavaria as a preacher and spoke in front of a few hundred people. Most of them were loyal readers of mine. Of course, it wasn’t easy because everyone expected me to take a stand on this document in which the pope surprisingly allowed the “blessing” of adulterers and homosexuals.

READ: Puerto Rico bishop removed by Pope Francis: Bishops must reject Fiducia Supplicans or risk God’s wrath

That evening, I remembered Peter’s betrayal, as did millions of other believers around the world. And in my sermon, I mainly asked questions: “Did Jesus bless the adulteress? Or did he bless homosexual ‘couples’?” – No, of course he didn’t. But why, then, does the papal document refer to such “blessings” as being in the spirit of Jesus? Does the pope know better than the Holy Scriptures?

This is precisely where Peter’s betrayal comes into play: a pope who introduces “blessings” that are against the faith of the Church and Holy Scripture is committing no less a betrayal than the one Peter committed against Jesus. And all those who follow him and his prefect of [the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the] Faith, [Cardinal Víctor] Fernández, are also committing this betrayal.

On December 18, the Church once again became the Church of betrayal: The word of the living God was replaced by a human word, and it doesn’t make things any better that it was a papal word.

On that day, a dirty schism began: some fell on their knees before the golden calf of the papal document, while others vehemently refused to do so – all the more so because the pope’s argument lacked everything: the principles of theology and, unfortunately, common sense. Everyone knows that no one can “bless” irregular couples without also “blessing” their sinful relationship. On the contrary: such a “blessing” is and remains a terrible sacrilege, which Fernández’s inane quibbles could not disguise.

READ: Cardinal Sarah: ‘Very proud’ of African bishops for rejecting Pope Francis’ homosexual ‘blessings’

On this December 18, the pope drove a deep wound into the holy body of the Church and also into the ecumenical dialogue: For our Orthodox brothers, we Catholics have been considered heretics ever since; I must confess: I understand this attitude only too well.

It amazes me that in this situation, no one is asking the most important questions, namely: “What will be the consequences of all this, and what consequences can we now expect from God?” Does no one in the Church reckon with God anymore, or do they think that the pope’s word has replaced the Word of God?  What will happen if we “bless” in HIS name what HE Himself has condemned in HIS revelation?

To find an answer to this, one need only look to the Bible: “God will not be mocked” (Gal. 6:7), for example. Anyone who tries to do this anyway is provoking HIS wrath. There are plenty of examples of this, and this is precisely what the Church will have to face in the near future. After all, betrayal is never without consequences, not even Peter’s betrayal. Indeed, Peter converted after the night of Maundy Thursday, but he still wavered at times, as the Apostles’ controversy shows.

But let’s look ahead.

READ: Cardinal Müller: Fiducia Supplicans ‘leads to heresy,’ Catholics cannot accept it

What urgently needs to happen now to put an end to the betrayal of Fiducia supplicans?

The first thing is that the pope should withdraw this document. A document that causes division and provokes the wrath of God has no place in the Church. Just as Peter admitted his mistake, his successor must now do the same.

There is a second point: Francis and Fernández must publicly repent and ask God for forgiveness because this is the only difference between Peter’s betrayal and that of Judas.

Judas chose suicide, whereas Peter went out, repented of his guilt, wept bitterly (cf. Lk 22:62), and received the Lord’s forgiveness. That is what it is all about. And what applies to the Prince of the Apostles applies all the more to his successors: to the pope, but also to all bishops and priests and ultimately to each and every one of us: let us turn away from betrayal and return to the Word of the Lord. Only in this way can we follow Jesus and not lose ourselves in those fleeting ideas that ultimately are fed to us by Satan – as was once the case with Judas.


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