Pope Francis Laughs at Heresy Accusation

Open letter accusing the pope of being a heretic

In an interview of Pope Francis with Valentina Alazraki, the Mexican reporter on Vatican duty, said he reacted “with a sense of humor” when told about the heresy accusations against him. In his 13,000 words long interview, he said that he prays for the accusers as they are wrong and also poor, with some being manipulated. Alazraki’s question references a recent open letter which accuses the pope of being a heretic.

The signers of the letter, including the theologian Father Aidan Nichols and Dr. John Rist, accused the pontiff of contradicting the teachings of the church on the issue of adultery, hell, sacraments, and the death penalty. The heresy accusation is inclusive of a letter signed by 45 academics requesting the pope to correct a few identified errors which the signors have discovered in Amoris Laetitia. There is also a “Filial Correction” which accused the pontiff of spreading seven heresies, included among them vitals like marriage, reception of sacraments, and the moral life. The academics admitted that these transgressions if they can be called thus, are caused by omission.

The interview also touched upon the subject of Chinese bishops. Pope Francis said that relations between the Vatican and Beijing are excellent and two bishops sent to the Holy See, one appointed by the Vatican from the country’s “underground” church and the other a Communist regime elected functionary both know they should be good patriots. The two kinds of bishops are a unique feature in China, a country where the Catholic Church, for the most part, went “underground” or hid from the authorities. Pope Francis inked a controversial deal with the Chinese communist government where the government can nominate its clerics from the state-administered “church,” the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. The Holy See can appoint bishops from a given pool. In contrast, the priests and bishops of the underground church get a valid ordination.

Pope Francis came under fierce criticism from many Catholic quarters for his “deal” with the Communist Chinese Government. The Cardinal of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen, has vociferously opposed the Sino-Vatican agreement, alleging that such a contract betrays China’s Catholic faithful. When asked if a few Catholics were “sidelined” by the September 2018 agreement, the pope replied that in general, Catholics are happy with the arrangement as they are now united.

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