By Br. Alexis Bugnolo
Obedience as a virtue inclines us to reverently, respectfully and dutifully comply with the will of one who holds legitimate authority when he expresses that will with a command, whether prohibiting or ordaining, instructing or governing action.
In truth, only a legitimate superior commanding what is legitimate is owed obedience. Someone pretending to be your superior ought never be obeyed. And any true superior commanding what is unjust or dishonest should never be obeyed.
In the Catholic Religion, which is the only true religion revealed by God, the legitimate and true superior of all things, as Creator and Lord, obedience is owed always and unconditionally to God alone.
Next, a conditioned limited obedience is owed to God’s authentic representatives communicating the decisions of the Divine Majesty. Thus, in accord with the ability of that communication to be authoritative and clearly manifest, we owe obedience to Jesus Christ, Who is God Incarnate, with supreme authority, first of all. Then, to those whom Christ has placed over us, that is, the Apostles He chose while on Earth or commissioned after His Resurrection, which is Saint Paul, alone. And because the Apostles had the grace of infallibility and impeccability their teachings and governing decisions — but not their personal behavior — is a perennial and unchanging rule for all generations. This is called Apostolic Tradition.
Next we owe a limited and conditional obedience to those who hold the offices which the Apostles established, during the tenure of their offices. Thus, we obey the Bishop of our diocese, the pastor of our church, etc.. These offices are part of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy.
But there is an office which shares in both the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy and Apostolic authority, and that is the office of the Roman Pontiff. And because it shares in both, the obedience we owe the Roman Pontiff is in certain things more obligatory than all others, but in other things equally conditioned and limited.
Now when a Roman Pontiff governs in harmony with the will of God as expressed in revelation (Divine Tradition) and in accord with the will of the Apostles (Apostolic Tradition) all Catholics have the duty to obey him, when he commands a thing which pertains to our salvation. Thus, if he commands that a sacrament is to be received in such a manner, but not if he command that a certain basilica should alone celebrate the Rosary at 5 P. M..
However, when a Roman Pontiff does not govern in harmony with either the will of God as expressed in revelation or contrary to the teaching of the Apostles, he must not be obeyed, for to do so would be a mortal sin. He must not be obeyed, I say, in the things which he commands which are contrary to these two parts of the Deposit of the Faith.
There is even still a greater obligation of Catholics to NOT obey a Roman Pontiff if he would act to destroy souls, by forbidding, obstructing, depriving, denying, or forbidding any thing or act which is conducive to salvation. Thus the Roman Pontiff must not be obeyed if he were to forbid the recitation of the prayer of the “Our Father”, or alter its text in a manner which alters its signification.
Thus, most Catholics in Italy sinned gravely when they accepted the formulae for the Our Father, issued by Pope Francis, where the words, “lead us not into temptation” where replaced with “do not abandon us in temptation”, even if they thought he was the Pope when he so commanded — which he was not because Pope Benedict XVI never renounced his office.
But a Pope must not be obeyed in anything when he clearly and manifestly is habitually opposed to the will of God in anything which is necessary or conducive to salvation.
The reason for this is that by his grave habitual public deviation from the will of God, nothing which emanates from him as teaching or governance can be free from a perverse defect, arising from his habitual deviation.
And such is the present public and manifest state of soul of Pope Francis, having signed ‘Fiducia supplicans” and having steadfastly refused to withdraw his approval, after being rebuked by thousands of Catholic Bishops, and tens of thousands of Catholic priests world wide, not to mention millions of the faithful.
The manifest deviation from the faith was clear on September 29, 2023, when he instructed Cardinal Fernandez to respond to the devious reply he gave to the 5 Cardinals in their recent Dubia. This pertinacity and perversity was made even more certain and malign by his publication of the heretical and blasphemous ‘Fiducia supplicans’ on Dec. 18, 2023.
And since that time he has not only refused public and private correction, he has even doubled-down upon it by insulting the entire Catholic world with petulant impish outbursts during public talks.
For this reason, whether a Catholic believes that pope Francis has lost his office by reason of heresy or schism, in the sight of God, or not, all Catholics are now obliged to NOT obey Pope Francis in anything until he repent, for otherwise they would become morally complicit in tolerating what can never be tolerated: the grave public abuse of the office of the Roman Pontiff by a man who is habitually opposed to the will of God in a grave matter, the observance of the 2nd Commandment of the Decalogue, which requires that Christians keep holy the Name of the Lord, never using it to approve of evil or vanity.
Likewise, with this obligation to not obey comes the grave obligation upon all Catholics to call for his public and solemn rebuke or reprehension, and/or removal from office, if he refuse rebuke or correction.
Catholics have already begun to request this action against Pope Francis in the Sutri Initiative. Let us all call upon everyone to do the same for the sake of Christ and the salvation of the world. Catholics are already refusing obedience world wide on account of the impeded state of the Apostolic See, as I explain here. — Keep talking about both to everyone, especially clergy; and in particular those dioceses or parishes where any statement approving of ‘Fiducia supplicans’ has been published or issued.
I urge you to not let anyone lull you into silent toleration of this man’s sin or convince you that the only response of the Catholic is to lament and tolerate it. If we do not begin and continue to publicly rebuke this man and express our rights to refuse obedience to him on account of the magnitude of his sin, not only will his soul have no remedy of correction, but the bad example he is giving will spread to the entire Church, depriving us of the Mercy of God and the grace of final perseverance. This is no small thing. And no Catholic who knows of this scandal can be saved if he remains silent and does not act.
Indeed, every Catholic “influencer” who leaves aside this controversy or who does not urge action shows by this very thing that he poorly understands the Faith and cares but little for the dignity of the Divine Majesty, the salvation of souls, or the ethical duty he has toward you, his reader or listener. Don’t dally with such fools, for they are leading you astray.
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