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VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) – A recent meeting of bishops at the Vatican has drawn attention to the manner in which Pope Francis is exercising his control over the future of the Catholic Church and its bishops. 

During the early part of September, the Vatican was host to an annual event established in 2000 by Pope John Paul II – a “formation course” for prelates, particularly new bishops, jointly run by the Dicastery for Bishops and the Dicastery for Eastern Churches. COVID-19 restrictions prevented it from taking place in the last two years, so this year’s event was split into two due to the number of participants. The first session took place in the first week of September, with the second running from September 12 – 19.  

Vatican News reported that over the few weeks, 344 recently appointed bishops assembled in Rome to take part in the meetings. 

While this meeting has become a regular part of the Vatican’s annual schedule in the last two decades, it highlights the manner of control which Pope Francis seeks to exercise over the current episcopate, ensuring that it remains faithful, above all, to his ideals.

Training provided in Papal talking points, controversial encyclicals 

At the close of both sessions Pope Francis held a roundtable, “synodal” meeting with the bishops which took the form of “a confidential discussion” lasting around an hour and a half. 

Speaking to Vatican News, Bishop Maurício da Silva Jardim from Brazil said that bishops attending the course were invited to “raise concrete issues and problems of today, such as hunger, violence, social inequality, migration, political and health crises, ethics and social issues around the world.” 

But moral issues – such as abortion, same-sex “marriage,” or the crisis of faith prevalent in much of the world – did not seem to have been addressed.

In fact, contrary to this, the bishops attending the course “explored in depth” the very documents which have promoted so much confusion, error, and acceptance of blasphemy – namely Pope Francis’ texts Amoris laetitia, Fratelli tutti, and Laudato si’.

Following this, “some of the cornerstones of [Francis’] pontificate became the focus” of the course, “such as the family and universal fraternity through integral human promotion.” This form of fraternity is that which is drawn from Fratelli tutti, a document which Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò styled as being “the ideological manifesto of Bergoglio, his profession of masonic faith, and his candidacy for the presidency of the Universal Religion, handmaid of the New World Order.”

No reference was made of the assembled bishops being given training in much else apart from the main themes and ideologies of the Francis pontificate. Indeed, Francis warned the bishops against “protagonism, self-referentiality, and proselytism,” which confusingly was described as different to “‘evangelization’ to be carried out ‘in the style of Jesus’.”

It appears that the bishops who assembled at the Vatican were not so much taught about how to be a good bishop, but rather how to faithfully operate as an obedient servant to the ideologies and beliefs of Pope Francis, regardless of their attachment (or not) to the Catholic faith. 

Pope Francis with the new Bishops
Pope Francis with the new bishops. Credit: Vatican News

Control over college of cardinals

As his pontificate now approaches the 10-year mark, Pope Francis is thus clearly effecting a wide-spread and deep rooted change across the Church’s episcopacy. Not only do the number of bishops appointed under his tenure number in the hundreds, but he has orchestrated the college of cardinals so as to most effectively wield control over the appointment of his successor. 

Following the August consistory, the College of Cardinals now has 130 cardinal electors. Of these, 11 were created by John Paul II, 37 by Benedict XVI, and 82 by Francis. Francis has thus appointed 63% of the cardinal electors.

As per Canon Law there should only be 120 electors, and this number will be reached by September 2023 as many cardinals reach the age of 80, at which point they are no longer eligible to be electors. 

READ: Abp. Viganò: Pope Francis has chosen his new cardinals for their ‘corruptibility’

At that point, the cardinals remaining will be: 9 created by John Paul II, 29 by Benedict XVI, and 82 by Francis. Francis will thus have appointed over 68% of the cardinal electors. 

Among those who he has appointed to choose – and possibly become – the next pope, are men such as the staunch anti-Traditional Cdl. Arthur Roche; the pro-LGBT, pro-homosexual Cdl. Robert McElroy; Cdl. Wilton Gregory who defends giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians; Cdl. Blase Cupich, whose record on morals and doctrine is filled with heterodoxy on numerous aspects. These are among Francis’ chosen princes of the Church.

READ: Catholic bishops in Belgium publish blessing ceremony for same-sex couples 

This is not to say that the upcoming conclave to decide upon Francis’ successor has its outcome already set in stone by the sheer majority of “Francis men.” Upsets can and do occur in such matters. However, should Francis’ successor be met with the same assistance from men such as those in the Sankt Gallen Mafia who orchestrated his election, then the likelihood of another heterodox prelate appearing on the balcony of St. Peter’s dressed in white is much more likely.

Staunchly pro-LGBT new cardinal Robert McElroy is greeted by Pope Francis. Credit: Screenshot/Twitter

Punitive measures for disloyal bishops

As if in warning to those bishops who choose to swim against the tide of error so prevalent in the Church today under Francis, there exists the example of those bishops who took a principled stand and were punished for it. 

Puerto Rico’s Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres was removed from his diocese in March without an official procedure and with no formal charges made against him. In a statement, Torres announced that he was being forced out over allegations of disobedience to the pope and lack of communion with fellow Puerto Rican bishops, LifeSiteNews reported. “No process has been made against me,” he wrote, “nor have I been formally accused of anything, and simply one day the apostolic delegate verbally communicated to me that Rome was asking me to resign,” which he said that he refused to do.

RELATED: Prominent priest says we need to ‘save the papacy’ after Francis deposes conservative bishop

A leader in the pro-life and pro-family cause, Torres had taken a stand against the promotion of abortion-tainted COVID injections – those promoted by Francis – refusing to join Puerto Rico’s six other bishops in signing a vaccine mandate for clergy and Church employees and segregation at Mass based on jab status. Instead, he defended conscience rights.

Another bishop punished for his friendliness to the Church’s Tradition is Bishop Dominique Rey, the ordinary of the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon. Bishop Rey, who has led his diocese for 22 years and boasts one of the most flourishing seminaries in France, was informed by the Vatican that his planned ordination of four priests and six deacons on June 26 was to be indefinitely suspended. While no reason was proffered by the Vatican for the move, LifeSite’s Jeanne Smits suggested it could be in response to the relative flourishing of clergy numbers in the diocese and their attachment to Tradition.

Smits wrote that the decision was “clearly linked to Rome’s focusing on the diocese’s openness to the traditional Mass and has been in the making for many months.” According to La Croix, Dom Alcuin Reid’s traditional community of monks was “flagged” as “a prime example of one of the grievances made against Bishop Rey: his extensive use of the status of ‘public association of the faithful’.”

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Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Fr. James Altman, and two dozen more faithful Catholic priests & scholars are publicly calling out Pope Francis for his outrageous, dangerous, and heretical teaching concerning reception of Holy Communion.

Pope Francis stated that "faith" is the only requirement for those who wish to receive Holy Communion in his June 29 Apostolic Letter on the liturgy, Desiderio desideravi. 

This statement is dangerous because:

  • The Council of Trent explicitly anathematized those who make this claim calling it 'heresy'
  • Pope Francis omitted the essential step of repentance for sin to worthily receive the Eucharist.
  • Pope Francis is thereby allowing the faithful to eat and drink condemnation on themselves, should they receive Holy Communion unworthily
  • Pope Francis is supporting moral relativism, eradicating the clear distinction between good and evil
  • Pope Francis is eradicating the need for the Sacrament of Confession
  • Pope Francis is damaging the teaching office of the Church by sowing doubt and division among faithful Catholics

But there is a way to stop Pope Francis' modernist attack and defend the true Catholic teaching on Holy Communion. 

Catholics everywhere must renounce Pope Francis' heresy and uphold the truth: only Baptized Catholics in the state of grace, and therefore free of mortal sin, can receive Holy Communion*.

For those in mortal sin, repentance and absolution must first be sought in the Sacrament of Confession before receiving the Eucharist*.

Pope Francis' statement would mislead many souls, which is why we need your help today to stand with Bishop Strickland, Fr. Altman, Bishop Schneider, and more.


The growing list of faithful Catholics who are standing for the truth and bravely resisting Pope Francis' attempt to dilute the Church's moral authority is only growing. This is great news, but the news can't simply stop with you. 

You must join the growing list of supporters to but a STOP to Pope Francis' heresy.

WATCH: LifeSiteNews' co-CEO and Editor-in-Chief, John-Henry Westen, fully breaks down the growing list of faithful Catholics choosing to resist Pope Francis' attack on the faith.

Stand with these faithful Catholics: Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, Bishop André Gracida, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Bishop Robert Mutsaerts, Father Gerald E. Murray, Father James Altman, Father John Lovell, Professor Claudio Pierantoni, Dr. John Lamont, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Professor Anna Silvas, Dr. Anthony Esolen, Professor John Rist, Professor Paolo Pasqualucci, Julia Meloni, George Neumayr, and LifeSite’s John-Henry Westen.

*However, if a Catholic is unable to attend Confession but has a grave reason for receiving the Eucharist (such as a priest who may be required to celebrate Mass at a given time but who is unable to go to Confession), such a person must be confident to the best of his ability that he have perfect contrition for any mortal sins that he may have committed before receiving Holy Communion in an exceptional situation.


Full statement by Catholic bishops and scholars correcting Pope Francis' heresy - LifeSiteNews

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A papacy with a mission of deliberate change

The Francis papacy is one which has been marked out from the very start as one aimed at effecting fundamental change in the Catholic Church. Prior to his ascent to the papal throne, his supporters amongst the St. Gallen Mafia were each echoing the talking point of how Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio would usher in a new era to the Catholic Church.

Ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick famously recounted how an “influential Italian gentleman” visited him to lobby McCarrick to push Bergoglio’s case to be the next Pope. 

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

“If we had five years, the Lord working through Bergoglio in five years could make the Church over again,” the “gentleman” said. “If we gave him five years, he could put us back on target.”

With this support and mandate to change the Church in five years, Francis thus entered the Vatican. In 2015 his assigned mission was reaffirmed by his close confidante and ghost-writer, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, who said:

The pope goes slow because he wants to be sure that the changes have a deep impact. The slow pace is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the changes…You have to realize that he is aiming at reform that is irreversible. If one day he should sense that he’s running out of time and doesn’t have enough time to do what the Spirit is asking him, you can be sure he will speed up.”

Pope Francis greets then-Cardinal McCarrick

This uptake in pace has certainly occurred in recent years. 

But it is not unexpected by any means. Father Thomas Reese, S.J., highlighted to the dissident National Catholic Reporter in 2021 just how important it was for Francis to select bishops who were in line with him. Reese’s comments pointed to the level of control Francis so evidently needed in order to accomplish his goal: “I think Francis wasted a lot of years in not getting control of the appointment process and making sure that there were people that he wanted.”

Reese also claimed that for Francis, the appointment of bishops was not merely a matter of how “loyal” they were, but also of how “pastoral” they were. However, such a claim appears difficult to maintain in light of the ever increasing control Francis is seeking over his bishops, and the penalties handed out to the few who dissent.

History repeating itself?

But fast forward to 2022 and the next wave of liberal clergy are following in the footsteps of those who have gone before them. In March, a number of high-ranking U.S. prelates, along with the US. Papal Nuncio and Vatican curial officials, attended a secretive meeting (Sankt Gallen Mafia style) to discuss “the spirit of what they call the ‘opposition’” to Pope Francis, and how to counter it. 

READ: Cardinal Danneels admits being part of clerical ‘Mafia‘ that plotted Francis’ election

Entitled “Pope Francis, Vatican II, and the Way Forward,” the participants also examined how best to promote Vatican II, which they said was key to understanding Francis: “it’s necessary to come back and to see that all the reforms of Pope Francis are rooted in Vatican II.”

Cardinal Cupich celebrating Mass March 25, with other conference participants including Nuncio Christophe Pierre and Cardinal Tobin.

The meeting was not publicly advertised and was by invitation only, almost completely passing under the media radar. The list of participants reads like a “who’s who” of the most notable supporters of Francis’ heterodoxy and his apparent agenda to promote LGBT ideology and attack the Church’s Tradition. Present were:

  • two of Francis’ Council of Cardinal Advisers: Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga.
  • the Papal Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre.
  • the prominent, pro-LGBT Vatican nun Sister Nathalie Becquart, who plays a key role in the Synod on Synodality. 
  • Chicago’s prominently pro-LGBT, anti-Tradition Cardinal Blaise Cupich.
  • Newark’s Cardinal Joseph Tobin, of “nighty-night baby” infamy.
  • Archbishops Mitchell Rozanski, John Wester, Charles Thompson, and Roberto González Nieves, as well as Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, the president of the Episcopal Conference of Latin America. 
  • “Several” journalists from the dissident National Catholic Reporter – which plays a key role in providing a space for the more heterodox clergy to disseminate anti-Catholic talking points.
  • M. Therese Lysaught – a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which has become at the center of Francis’ current, apparent drive to undermine the Church’s ban on contraception.

READ: Pope Francis’ plans will ‘destroy’ contemplative life: Franciscan friar

No need to assemble in Switzerland like their predecessors of the Sankt Gallen Mafia. Instead the emboldened allies and proponents of the Francis ideology gather in the territory of one of Francis’ close supporters – Cdl. Cupich.

In addition to this organized effort – which does indeed appear to be a less secret version of the Sankt Gallen Mafia – must be joined the numerous moves made by Pope Francis against the Traditional Mass, most notably by means of his 2021 motu proprio Traditionis Custodes – but also by virtue of his Rescript limiting the powers of diocesan bishops to establish associations of the faithful, a commons means for bishops to allow traditional communities to be set up in their dioceses.

By means of such documents, the Pope attempts to quell the spread of the Mass which produces so many vocations – vocations he decries as “rigid” – and then undermine the authority of local bishops to allow Tradition-loving associations of the faithful to spring up. 

It appears increasingly clear that the Bergoglian Vatican is slowly tightening its grip upon the global episcopate, moulding bishops in the shape required by Francis, and punishing those who will not conform.  


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