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An Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis

April 16, 2015 Frontpage No Comments

pope(picture)   Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter (letter follows below) appealing for clarification from His Holiness on those matters which are causing great concern for both clergy and laity.

In an age when Catholics and other Christians alike have been fighting the forces that are out to destroy the traditional family, clear and concise clarification from His Holiness is needed more than ever.

We remind our readers that The Wanderer has always been faithful to the Magisterium and will continue to be, for without Peter there is no Church. Catholic doctrine does not and cannot change. Yes, every crisis in the Church appears to be like no other but we must not get discouraged: Remember that Christ Himself assured us He will be with His Church until the end of time.

Joseph Matt President, The Wanderer   Your Holiness,

From the very first moment that you stepped forth onto the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica to greet us following your election as the Successor to Saint Peter, you have made clear to us that you as our loving father want us to share with you our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations, and also our concerns as we journey together in hope of eternal life as disciples of the Lord. It is in this spirit that we come to you now, eager to unfold our hearts before you.

It is with joy, the “joy of the Gospel,” that we have welcomed the distinctive motif that you have set for your pontificate, the theme of compassion, of mercy, which at the outset of your service in the office of Peter you described as “the Lord’s most powerful message.”1 Time and again you have challenged us to offer a welcome of charity to all, whether they be saints or sinners, stressing that the Church excludes no one from the love and mercy of God.

In your apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, you observe, “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.”2 This divine desire to offer forgiveness was made manifest in the very words with which our Lord began His preaching in His public ministry: “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). From this we realize that in living the Gospel and in presenting it to others there will always be the need to reject whatever is contrary to the Gospel. And so it is that in your encyclical letter Lumen Fidei you tell us:

Genuine love, after the fashion of God’s love, ultimately requires truth… Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity. Precisely because all the articles of faith are interconnected, to deny one of them, even of those that seem least important, is tantamount to distorting the whole… to subtract something from the faith is to subtract something from the veracity of communion… harming the faith means harming communion with the Lord.3

Lest we be left in any doubt as to how we are to discern what truly constitutes our faith “professed in all its purity and integrity”, you further instruct us to look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which you describe as “a fundamental aid for that unitary act with which the Church communicates the entire content of her faith: ‘all that she herself is, and all that she believes.’”4

Your words in this regard are all the more important to us as we strive to meet the daily challenge of living the faith we profess in a difficult time. As assuredly you are aware, we, the Catholic families of America, feel besieged by a secularist culture hostile to the Gospel of Life, a culture that through the different forms of social communication seeks to persuade our children to reject the “hard sayings” of the Gospel (cf. Jn 6:60) and to find personal fulfillment instead in a materialism unbounded by any sense of responsibility to either God or one’s neighbor.

Our sense of being under siege has been acutely heightened of late by the speculations of some who have troubled and unsettled the faithful (cf. Acts 15:24) with the assertion that the Church is going to alter her message regarding certain actions or “lifestyles” that are contrary to the indissolubility of marriage, the definition of marriage and conjugal love, and the virtue of chastity – as if the Church, intimidated by her critics, had grown weary of the “inconvenience” of preaching the Gospel (cf. 2 Tim 4:1-5). We, of course, know that the Church, as the Bride of Christ, will never grow weary of preaching the Gospel. She, and we her children, find courage in the great “cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1) that across the centuries have borne witness to the very Gospel values of which we speak. We remember the English martyrs Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher, who, emboldened by the timeless example of Saint John the Baptist’s sacrifice, chose to suffer and die in defense of the indissolubility of marriage rather than consent to the demands of a king intent upon deserting and betraying an “inconvenient” wife. We recall the holy young virgins Saint Agnes of ancient Rome and Saint Maria Goretti of twentieth century Italy, as well as those valiant sons of nineteenth century Africa, the Martyrs of Uganda, all of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in uncompromising testimony to the virtue of chastity.

These noble men and women, and so many others like them, found the “joy of the Gospel” in living the truth of that selfsame Gospel, embracing unreservedly our Lord’s words, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32). The secular culture of the world may reply by asking, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:38), but we have an answer, and that answer is Christ Himself (Jn 14:6). It is from His own lips that we have received the Good News of marriage as an imperishable bond of love between man and woman (cf. Mt 19:3-9), and that those who have fallen away from the virtue of chastity can rise from their fall and begin anew, made strong by His simple command: “Go, and do not sin again” (Jn 8:11). We also realize that God’s teaching and laws are the only fruitful means of raising children, protecting them, giving them a warm home, and leading them to eternal life.

Encouraged by the generosity with which you have so wholeheartedly given yourself to the service of the People of God as our Holy Father, we come to ask a special favor from you, a gift that we hope you might bestow upon the whole Church that, we believe, would greatly assist us in carrying forth the mission of the New Evangelization to which you have so eloquently summoned us.

Our request is that you would celebrate the conclusion of the Synod of the Family with a clear and strong reaffirmation of the Church’s timeless teachings on the indissolubility of marriage, the nuptial nature and definition of marriage and conjugal love, and the virtue of chastity, as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Such a proclamation of the Good News of genuine family life coming from Your Holiness at this time would help us all to move beyond the false and fruitless speculations that some have engaged in, so that we may go forward together with a clear vision to find new ways to proclaim the joy of Christian family life to a world wounded by the breakdown of family values.

We pledge to you our fidelity and our love, humbly asking for your apostolic blessing and your prayers. And with you we gather at the feet of our holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the “Star of the New Evangelization,”5 that by her intercession and example she may fill us all with the joy of the Gospel of her Son and our Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Most humbly, lovingly and respectfully yours in Christ,

The Staff and Supporters of The Wanderer

 

 

(Endnotes) 1 Homily, First Sunday of Lent, March 17, 2013.

2 Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 3.

3 Encyclical Letter, Lumen Fidei, nos. 47-48.

4 Ibid., no. 46.

5 Encyclical Letter, Lumen Fidei, nos. 287-288.

 

 

  The Wanderer will be publishing a semi-regular column featuring synod-related issues in weeks to come. We also encourage our readers who want to voice their concern about the upcoming synod to sign the petition at http://filialappeal.org/.    Let Pope Francis know you would like him to reaffirm categorically the Catholic teaching that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics cannot receive Holy Communion and that homosexual unions are contrary to Divine and natural law. Last count at Filialappeal.org was over 170,000 signatures.  

If you have not joined up with The Wanderer in its initiative to defend the Church’s teaching on marriage in light of the upcoming Synod on the Family for 2015, I encourage you to do so today. The Church is under assault from forces within and without. We must make our voices heard.  Fill out the form below and we will keep you apprised as to how you can join with The Wanderer and other like-minded organizations in this next year to make our voices heard as we explain and defend the Church’s teachings in these challenging times ahead. Encourage your friends and family to join this initiative.

Yours in Christ, Joseph Matt, President, The Wanderer

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