In what is known as a “filial correction” for “propagating heresy,” 62 Catholic scholars have corrected Pope Francis — in an action that has not occurred since the Middle Ages.

The letter was delivered to Pope Francis on August 11, 2017, but the pontiff did not respond and, therefore, it was made public on Sept. 24, 2017. Currently the letter has been signed by 62 clergy and lay scholars from 20 countries.

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The letter’s fundamental purpose is to bring to light seven heretical positions in the apostolic exhortation of Amoris Laetitia involving marriage, moral life, and the sacraments.

The document from the conservative theologians is broken down into three key parts — and begins with an explanation of why these scholars felt they had a duty to write the letter.

“With profound grief, but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself, we are compelled to address a correction to Your Holiness on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness,” the signers said in the beginning of the document.

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“As subjects, we do not have the right to issue to Your Holiness that form of correction by which a superior coerces those subject to him with the threat or administration of punishment,” they continued.

“We issue this correction, rather, to protect our fellow Catholics — and those outside the Church, from whom the key of knowledge must not be taken away — hoping to prevent the further spread of doctrines which tend of themselves to the profaning of all the sacraments and the subversion of the Law of God,” they stated.

Another point made in the letter is that nothing about these seven heretical positions has been officially accepted as church doctrine.

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“We adhere wholeheartedly to the doctrine of papal infallibility,” the signers wrote, adding, “Neither Amoris Laetitia nor any of the statements which have served to propagate the heresies which this exhortation insinuates are protected by that divine guarantee of truth.”

The second part of the document outlines the specific corrections they charge against the pope, and the third is called the Elucidation, which outlines two key causes of this crisis. The causes are Modernism and the influence of Martin Luther on Pope Francis.

“The letter shows how Luther had ideas on marriage, divorce, forgiveness, and divine law which correspond to those which the pope has promoted. It also notes the explicit and unprecedented praise given by Pope Francis to the German heresiarch,” reads the press release on the matter.

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Another point made in this letter is that nothing about these seven heretical positions has been officially accepted as church doctrine — and Pope Francis has not insisted they be attributed as church doctrine.

The signers made no statement involving Pope Francis’ knowledge of the heresy — and simply asked him to condemn these points.

“The theological implications of certain interpretations of Amoris Laetitia include several very fundamental problems,” Joseph Shaw, a Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford University, told LifeZette. “I would personally focus on the question of the life of grace. If a Catholic confesses his or her mortal sins and receives the sacraments, he or she will be living in friendship with God, with God’s sanctifying grace.”

“What these problematic interpretations of Amoris Laetitia are saying is that for some people grace is not available, or not sufficient, and that they should give up on living a good life and continue to sin in order to avoid bad consequences, such as harm to children. This creates at least a category of people – and perhaps everyone is supposed to be in this category – who cannot live a good life. It is as if they are abandoned by God, or at least that God is not able to lift them out of their sinful situation,” continued Shaw.

“This seems to me to undermine the whole possibility of living a Christian life,” Shaw concluded.

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The following is the list of the 62 co-signers of this document:

Dr. Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg
European editor, Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior

Prof. Jean Barbey
Historian and jurist, former professor at the University of Maine

Fr. Claude Barthe
Diocesan priest

Philip M. Beattie BA (Leeds), MBA(Glasgow), MSc (Warwick), Dip.Stats (Dublin)
Associate lecturer, University of Malta (Malta)

Fr. Jehan de Belleville

Dr. Philip Blosser
Professor of philosophy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Archdiocese of Detroit

Fr. Robert Brucciani
District superior of the SSPX in Great Britain

Prof. Mario Caponnetto
University professor, Mar de la Plata (Argentina)

Mr. Robert F. Cassidy STL

Fr. Isio Cecchini
Parish priest in Tuscany

Salvatore J. Ciresi, M.A.
Director of the St. Jerome Biblical Guild
Lecturer at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College

Fr. Linus F Clovis, Ph.D., JCL, M.Sc., STB, Dip. Ed,
Director of the Secretariat for Family and Life in the Archdiocese of Castries

Fr. Paul Cocard

Fr. Thomas Crean OP STD

Prof. Matteo D’Amico
Professor of history and philosophy, Senior High School of Ancona

Dr. Chiara Dolce PhD
Research doctor in moral philosophy at the University of Cagliari

Deacon Nick Donnelly MA

Petr Dvorak
Head of department for the Study of Ancient and Medieval Thought at the Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague
Professor of philosophy at Saints Cyril and Methodius Theological Faculty, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic

H.E. Mgr Bernard Fellay
Superior general of the SSPX

Christopher Ferrara Esq.
Founding president of the American Catholic Lawyers’ Association

Prof. Michele Gaslin
Professor of public law at the University of Udine

Prof. Corrado Gnerre
Professor at the Istituto Superiore di Scienze Religiose of Benevento, Pontifical Theological University of Southern Italy

Dr. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi
Former president of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR)
Professor of ethics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan

Dr. Maria Guarini STB
Pontificia Università Seraphicum, Rome
Editor of the website Chiesa e postconcilio

Prof. Robert Hickson PhD
Retired professor of literature and of strategic-cultural studies

Fr. John Hunwicke
Former senior research fellow, Pusey House, Oxford

Fr. Jozef Hutta
Diocesan priest

Prof. Isebaert Lambert
Full professor at the Catholic University of Louvain and at the Flemish Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Dr. John Lamont STL D
Phil (Oxon.)

Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta STD
Lecturer in dogmatic theology, Theological Faculty of Lugano, Switzerland
Priest in charge of St Mary’s, Gosport, in the diocese of Portsmouth

Prof. Massimo de Leonardis
Professor and director of the Department of Political Sciences at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan

Msgr. Prof. Antonio Livi
Academic of the Holy See
Dean emeritus of the Pontifical Lateran University
Vice-rector of the church of Sant’Andrea del Vignola, Rome

Dr. Carlo Manetti
Professor in private universities in Italy

Prof. Pietro De Marco
Former professor at the University of Florence

Prof. Roberto de Mattei
Former professor of the History of Christianity, European University of Rome
Former vice president of the National Research Council (CNR)

Fr Cor Mennen
Lecturer in canon law at the Major Seminary of the Diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), canon of the cathedral chapter of the diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Prof. Stéphane Mercier
Lecturer in philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain

Don Alfredo Morselli STL
Parish priest of the archdiocese of Bologna

Martin Mosebach
Writer and essayist

Dr. Claude E. Newbury M.B., B.Ch., D.T.M&H., D.O.H., M.F.G.P., D.C.H., D.P.H., D.A., M. Med, former director of Human Life International in Africa south of the Sahara
Former member of the Human Services Commission of the Catholic Bishops of South Africa

Prof. Lukas Novak
Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Charles University, Prague

Fr. Guy Pagès
Diocesan priest

Prof. Paolo Pasqualucci
, professor of philosophy (retired), University of Perugia

Prof. Claudio Pierantoni
Professor of medieval philosophy in the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Chil
Former professor of church history and patrology at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Fr. Anthony Pillari, J.C.L., M.C.L

Prof. Enrico Maria Radaelli
Philosopher, editor of the works of Romano Amerio

Dr. John Rao
Associate professor of history, St. John’s University, NYC
Chairman, Roman Forum

Dr. Carlo Regazzoni
Licentiate in philosophy at University of Freiburg

Dr. Giuseppe Reguzzoni
External researcher at the Catholic University of Milan and former editorial assistant of Communio, International Catholic Review (Italian edition)

Prof. Arkadiusz Robaczewski
Former professor at the Catholic University of Lublin

Fr. Settimio M. Sancioni STD
Licence in biblical science

Prof. Andrea Sandri
Research associate, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan

Dr. Joseph Shaw
Tutor in moral philosophy, St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford

Fr. Paolo M. Siano HED (Historiae Ecclesiasticae Doctor)

Dr. Cristina Siccardi
Historian of the Church

Dr. Anna Silvas
Adjunct research fellow, University of New England, NSW, Australia

Prof. Dr Thomas Stark
Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Benedikt XVI, Heiligenkreuz

Rev. Glen Tattersall
Parish priest, Parish of Bl. John Henry Newman, archdiocese of Melbourne
Rector, St Aloysius Church

Prof. Giovanni Turco
Associate professor of philosophy of public law at the University of Udine
Member Corrispondent of the Pontificia Accademia San Tommaso d’Aquino

Prof. Piero Vassallo
Former editor of Cardinal Siri’s theological review Renovatio

Prof. Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira
Former professor at the Pontifical University of São Paulo, Brazil

Mons. José Luiz Villac
Former rector of the Seminary of Jacarezinho

(photo credit, article image: Long Thiên, Flickr)