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BREAKING: 5 Cardinals Question Pope Francis’ Catholicity, issue new Dubia

Letter of 5 Cardinals to all the Faithful

Notification to Christ’s Faithful (can. 212 § 3)
Dubia Submitted to Pope Francis


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We, members of the Sacred College of Cardinals, in accord with the duty of all the faithful “to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church” (can. 212 § 3) and, above all, in accord with the responsibility of Cardinals “to assist the Roman Pontiff … individually … especially in the daily care of the universal Church” (can. 349), in view of various declarations of highly-placed Prelates, pertaining to the celebration of the next Synod of Bishops, that are openly contrary to the constant doctrine and discipline of the Church, and that have generated and continue to generate great confusion and the falling into error among the faithful and other persons of good will, have manifested our deepest concern to the Roman Pontiff. By our letter of July 10, 2023, employing the proven practice of the submission of dubia [questions] to a superior to provide the superior the occasion to make clear, by his responsa [responses], the doctrine and discipline of the Church, we have submitted five dubia to Pope Francis [select the link below to read them]. By his letter of July 11, 2023, Pope Francis responded to our letter.

Having studied his letter which did not follow the practice of responsa ad dubia [responses to questions], we reformulated the dubia to elicit a clear response based on the perennial doctrine and discipline of the Church. By our letter of August 21, 2023, we submitted the reformulated dubia [select the link below to read them] to the Roman Pontiff. Up to the present, we have not received a response to the reformulated dubia.

Given the gravity of the matter of the dubia, especially in view of the imminent session of the Synod of Bishops, we judge it our duty to inform you, the faithful (can. 212 § 3), so that you may not be subject to confusion, error, and discouragement but rather may pray for the universal Church and, in particular, the Roman Pontiff, that the Gospel may be taught ever more clearly and followed ever more faithfully.

Yours in Christ,

Walter Cardinal Brandmüller

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez

Robert Cardinal Sarah

Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun


Canonical Commentary by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Finally, someone has taken action. The Dubia were proposed and Pope Francis evaded a clear response, putting him under the suspicion of heresy. Now the Cardinals have written Pope Francis again, and after more than 30 days, Pope Francis has failed to respond.

This confirms the juridical doubt that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a Catholic. It has established a canonical fact that his heresy is pertinacious, manifest and public.

This questioning of the man by 5 members of the College of Cardinals, without a Catholic response on the part of Bergoglio, now demands a hearing in a PROVINCIAL COUNCIL to elicit an act of Catholic Faith from the man WHICH MUST CONTAIN A FORMAL AND EXPLICIT RENUNCIATION OF ERRORS.


What can we expect now?

Pope Francis must answer the Cardinals within 60 days in a Catholic manner, or he must be publicly suspected of having separated himself from the Church by heresy. In such a case a Provincial Council in the ecclesiastical province of Rome MUST be convened to discern if he be a Catholic or not, and if he be not, declare him in virtue of canon 1364 to no longer hold the Papal Office. In which case the Council will pronounce the Apostolic See legally vacant, requiring the College of Cardinals to elect another.

This action of the Provincial Council must be undertaken, because a doubtful pope is no pope. That is, the Provincial Council will be the only way for him holding on to the office. If he obstructs its convening, the faithful can omit his name in the Canon, publicly admit he is a heretic, and refuse all his orders, even those legitimate, on the grounds that he does not appear to be a member of the Church. — If the Bishops of the province are asked to convene such a council and refuse, then the same results. (While private persons can request such a convocation, I think the Bishops of the Province are only canonically required to respond to Bishops holding jurisdiction, or other Provincial Councils called in other parts of the world, which demand this be done, to preserve the Unity of the Church).

As a side note, if you are such a Catholic, especially if you are a Bishop or priest, as doubts that Bergoglio is a Catholic, should should already have written to all the Bishops in the Province of Rome, and asked them to convene such a Council.

Many Catholics have long held that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a heretic, in virtue of their private judgement, discerning things spiritually and comparing his statements and actions with the rule of the Faith. But such private judgements have no canonical value as a fact to condemn a man. By the above action of the Cardinals, which has elicited an evasive response from Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the matter has entered into the canonical record, since as Bishops the Cardinals possess the charism of truth and can discern heresy in a manner in which the Church must hear their witness.

The only organ of the Church that can decide the matter juridically, however, is the Provincial Council in the ecclesiastical province of Rome (roughly co-extensive with the Region of Lazio, in the Italian Republic). These Bishops, and all the major superiors of diocesan institutes in that territory, as well as all Rectors of pontifical institutes and all Abbots of the Territorial Abbeys, constitute the juros in the matter. Technically the first phase of which is not a trial, but a Synod in the true sense where Pope Francis should be invited to attend and respond to the doubts of the Faithful. If he refuse, or if he attend and give unCatholic answers, then the Council can proceed to the trial phase, and vote whether his responses constitute an act which has undubitably shown that he is not a member of the Church in virtue of canon 1364, since the profession of manifest, public, pertinacious heresy ipso facto excommunicates a man. If he refuses to attend the Council can also proceed to the trial phase and declare him contumacious, and thus juridically guilty of all charges, and thus depose him.

UPDATE of October 3, 2023

THE GREAT DEFECT of the action by these 5 Cardinals, is that they have divulged the sin of Bergoglio to the public without apparently taking any action to convene a provincial Council. This is not the proper juridical procedure.

Perhaps they have failed here because they are following the erroneous juridical opinion of Cardinal Burke, who has stated in the past, that there is no way to resolve a crisis of a heretical pope. I have publicly corrected him several times on this matter, most fully (here) 2.5 years ago.

Cardinal Burke is an expert on annulments, so I do not expect him to have spent time in the past on this. But in the last 2.5 years he has had plenty of time. I theorize that he is stuck on the canonical problem that the New Code of Canon Law states that the Metropolitan of the province has the right to convene a Provincial Council. And thus it cannot be convened if he is the person to be put under trial. However, in the case of the Pope, such a reading is not valid, because a doubtful pope is no pope. Therefore, since in the above, the 5 Cardinals have shown that it is doubtful that he is the pope, since he has pertinaciously refused to give a Catholic answer to 10 dubia, the Bishops of the ecclesiastical Province of Rome have the liberty to elect one of their own to convoke the Council, on the grounds that the Metropolitan see can be rightfully held to be impeded by the unwillingness of the man who is the Roman Pontiff of solving this canonical crisis.