Monsignor Bux: We Are in a Full Crisis of Faith "If the Pope does not safeguard doctrine, he cannot impose discipline"

Monsignor Bux: We Are in a Full Crisis of Faith
National Catholic Register (EWTN)

Theologian and former consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith calls on the Pope to make a declaration of faith, warning that unless the Pope safeguards doctrine, he cannot impose discipline.

To resolve the current crisis in the Church over papal teaching and authority, the Pope must make a declaration of faith, affirming what is Catholic and correcting his own “ambiguous and erroneous” words and actions that have been interpreted in a non-Catholic manner.

This is according to Monsignor Nicola Bux, a respected theologian and former consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

In the following interview with the Register, Msgr. Bux explains that the Church is in a “full crisis of faith” and that the storms of division the Church is currently experiencing are due to apostasy — the “abandonment of Catholic thought.”

Msgr. Bux’s comments come after news that the four dubia cardinals, seeking papal clarification of his exhortation Amoris Laetitia, wrote to the Pope April 25 asking him for an audience but have yet to receive a reply.

The cardinals expressed concern over the “grave situation” of episcopal conferences and individual bishops offering widely differing interpretations of the document, some of which they say break with the Church’s teaching. They are particularly concerned about the deep confusion this has caused, especially for priests.

“For many Catholics, it is incredible that the Pope is asking bishops to dialogue with those who think differently *, but does not want first to face the cardinals who are his chief advisors,” Msgr. Bux says.

“If the Pope does not safeguard doctrine,” he adds, “he cannot impose discipline.”

Monsignor Bux, what are the implications of the ‘doctrinal anarchy’ that people see happening for the Church, the souls of the faithful and priests?

The first implication of doctrinal anarchy for the Church is division, caused by apostasy, which is the abandonment of Catholic thought, as defined by St. Vincent of Lerins: quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditur (what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all). Saint Irenaeus of Lyon, who calls Jesus Christ the “Master of unity,” had pointed out to heretics that everyone professes the same things, but not everyone means the same thing. This is the role of the Magisterium, founded on the truth of Christ: to bring everyone back to Catholic unity…

What implications, then, does doctrinal anarchy have for the souls of the faithful and ecclesiastics?

The Apostle exhorts us to be faithful to sure, sound and pure doctrine: that founded on Jesus Christ and not on worldly opinions (cf. Titus 1:7-11; 2:1-8). Perseverance in teaching and obedience to doctrine leads souls to eternal salvation. The Church cannot change the faith and at the same time ask believers to remain faithful to it. She is instead intimately obliged to be oriented toward the Word of God and toward Tradition…

How can this problem best be resolved?

The point is: what idea does the Pope have of the Petrine ministry, as described in Lumen gentium 18 and codified in canon law? Faced with confusion and apostasy, the Pope should make the distinction — as Benedict XVI did — between what he thinks and says as a private, learned person, and what he must say as Pope of the Catholic Church. To be clear: the Pope can express his ideas as a private learned person on disputable matters which are not defined by the Church, but he cannot make heretical claims, even privately. Otherwise it would be equally heretical.

I believe that the Pope knows that every believer — who knows the regula fidei [the rule of faith] or dogma, which provides everyone with the criterion to know what the faith of the Church is, what everyone has to believe and who one has to listen to — can see if he is speaking and operating in a Catholic way, or has gone against the Church’s sensus fidei [sense of the faith]. Even one believer can hold him to account. So whoever thinks that presenting doubts [dubia] to the Pope is not a sign of obedience, hasn’t understood, 50 years after Vatican II, the relationship between him [the Pope] and the whole Church. Obedience to the Pope depends solely on the fact that he is bound by Catholic doctrine, to the faith that he must continually profess before the Church.

We are in a full crisis of faith! Therefore, in order to stop the divisions in progress, the Pope — like Paul VI in 1967, faced with the erroneous theories that were circulating shortly after the conclusion of the Council — should make a Declaration or Profession of Faith, affirming what is Catholic, and correcting those ambiguous and erroneous words and acts — his own and those of bishops — that are interpreted in a non-Catholic manner.

Otherwise, it would be grotesque that, while seeking unity with non-Catholic Christians or even understanding with non-Christians, apostasy and division is being fostered within the Catholic Church. For many Catholics, it is incredible that the Pope is asking bishops to dialogue with those who think differently, but does not want first to face the cardinals who are his chief advisors. If the Pope does not safeguard doctrine, he cannot impose discipline. As John Paul II said, the Pope must always be converted, to be able to strengthen his brothers, according to the words of Christ to Peter: “Et tu autem conversus, confirma fratres tuos [when you are converted, strengthen your brothers].”*

Sounds like the words of someone seeking political popular opinion to be the power that moves the Church rather than the Holy Spirit as guaranteed by Jesus.

St. Paul did not arouse a popular opinion uprising among the Gentiles to counter the first Pope (Peter) in his ambiguous behavior about associating with them and then drawing away from them due to the circumcision doctrine.
He went straight to this Pope and his Apostolic College to address them directly. It is only after the fact (via the Book of Acts and subsequent letters by Paul) that we even know of Paul’s dissent and the first Council.

Jesus knows very well how to put the Pope back in the correct location, as he did with the first Pope when the first Pope stood in front of him to block his movement toward Jerusalem and the Cross, saying, “Get back behind me, you satan; whoever intends to follow behind me will take up his cross.” So stop standing in front and go back behind with your brothers, the other Apostles. Thus Jesus, and his Spirit, know how to stop protest and self-defined directioning of himself and his Church (which is his Body).

Monsignor, speak to Rome and be silent in our hearing, and then wait for the Holy Spirit. Stop trying to appeal persuade a popular uprising.
“Four dubia cardinals”, speak to Rome and be silent in our hearing, and then wait for the Holy Spirit. Stop trying to persuade a popular uprising. Take it to ALL the Bishops privately, but do not let a word of it be heard in public.
“National Catholic Register”, speak to Rome and be silent in our hearing, and then wait for the Holy Spirit. Stop trying to persuade a popular uprising.

For us, “the other servants under our Apostolic leadership”?
We will let our Master figure it out as he said he would:
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

We suffer if our superiors miss the mark, intentionally or not, but we do not rise against them. Their Master is their judge, not us. He put them over us.

strong words.

Now we have a mere Monsignor upbraiding Pope Francis? And, doing so publicly?! What next: “John Doe, usher at St. Blaise parish, Dubuque, Iowa, demands an answer from the pope!”.

Monsignor Bux, whoever he is, has obviously overstepped his station, and he should be disciplined. Outrageous…and shameful.

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.[a] 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

When Paul says he addresses Peter, ‘before them all’, I always assumed Paul meant before all the Jews and Gentiles in Antioch, not at the Council of Jerusalem. (I’m assuming that’s what you meant when you said Paul went straight to the pope and his Apostolic College) Can you please show me the Bible verse that makes it clear Paul only addresses this issue at the council in Jerusalem? Thanks

Also, I used to believe the Holy Spirit actually picked the man who was to become pope. Now I understand it to be the Cardinals pick the pope, hopefully cooperating with the Holy Spirit. They may or may not elect the best man for the job. The Holy Spirit works through God’s people. How do you know that it isn’t the Spirit working through the Cardinal to help keep the Church safe from error?

Here is a quote from Pope Francis

“Resistance is now evident,” Pope Francis told La Nación. “And that is a good sign for me, getting the resistance out into the open, no stealthy mumbling when there is disagreement. It’s healthy to get things out into the open, it’s very healthy.”

From that statement it seems like Pope Francis would like the discussions to be ‘out in the open’ and not behind closed doors.

It would be better served for all to fairly and critically analyze and examine the contents and substances of the comments made by the Monsignor, or for that matter, by any clergy in the Church, rather to resort to swift personal attacks and condescension. Monsignor Bux was a respected advisor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope Benedict XVI. He is not a mere nobody. In the interests of civility and fruitful dialogues, fair and valid criticisms are not be mocked, dismissed, disciplined and silenced. The confusions and divisions in the Church resulting from AL are there, and a clarification from the Holy Father is absolutely needed, as he is the vanguard and preserver of the Catholic faith.

Everyone is blessed with the gift of intellect and all the senses to discern things surrounding us. In good conscience, Catholics are to obey and support the Holy Father. But, also do keep in mind that the Church rejects blind obedience.

Blind obedience? Simple obedience will suffice. The Monsignor has overstepped himself in this instance. That is objective fact. He has done harm to the Church by doing so. Whoever he is, or was, or (wants to be) is irrelevant. The Monsignor is insubordinate…period.

The Church doesn’t employ a military command structure. Its much more nuanced than that. If the Monsignor were a religious and the Pope his superior, then blind obedience would be required in all things. As it stands, as a theologian and a clergyman, he can respectfully disagree with the Pope.

This is one non-Catholic who is indeed watching what happens because it does indeed have implications…

Exactly, we either stand by our Faith and Tradition or it crumbles further…

Paul confronted Peter (Cephas, or Rock) to his face with the Jewish Christian group he was acting with in insincerity.
Peter and the Jewish Christians were confronted.
Paul did not go away from that meeting and broadcast it at all the Gentile gatherings of the Church to try and build a popular consensus that would force Peter to back down.

Paul was doing what the 4 Cardinals did in their initial letter to Francis, which was orderly. But Paul did not then do what the 4 Cardinals did when they published their demands for the world to see.

Paul’s brothers (Peter and the Jews with him) were missing the mark of truth, and Paul told them to their face, as a group. He did not publish it to the world to put pressure on them.

Oh, the reference is Acts 15 - speaks of the Antioch confrontation, then the trip to Jerusalem, etc., where the council convened.

The harm lies upon the confusions and divisions resulted from AL. Adultery now can be acceptable in Malta, Sicily, Chicago, Rome, Argentina, San Diego and Munich, while it is rejected in Poland, Philadelphia and Quebec. This is contrary to what Christ and the Magisterium have always taught. Therefore, a papal clarification is needed to remove all doubts. The responsibility of any pope is to be the vanguard and preserver of the Catholic Faith.

This also goes for any other unrepented mortal sins. Specifically, if I remain unrepented for my mortal sins and my own conscience is fine with them, then I can present myself to Holy Eucharist??

Hypothetically, if a pope (I am not talking specifically about Pope Francis) tells me to commit a mortal sin or do harms contrary to the teachings of Christ and the Magisterium, as a matter of faith and of good conscience, I will not obey him.

You can disagree with the Monsignor and can specifically offer the rationale for your disagreement. Then, let the validity and merits of your rationale stand on its own strength, and perhaps convince others of your point of view.

Well one difference is that Peter listened to and acknowledged Paul on the spot. He did not say, “Not now Paul, I am doing Gentile things with my Gentile friends today” and then ignore him completely. If he had done so, perhaps Paul would have broadcast it to all the Gentile gatherings? The other difference, of course, is that Paul and Peter lived in AD 36 and their only method of mass communication was to address a crowd or write a letter. Perhaps you would have preferred it if Paul had confronted Peter, been rebuked, and then never said another word about it?

St. John Fischer and St. Thomas More…pray for us!

If resolved on the spot, seems strange to make the trek to Jerusalem from Antioch, on foot, to re-do the resolution in front of the whole group of apostles.
The 4 Cardinals have many other cardinals and bishops to address in person or by letter if the Pope rebukes them. All can be done without seeking to evoke popular judgment. But it was not done.
In AD1517 communication was not much faster, but someone sought popular dissent.

When asked whether the Holy Spirit is responsible for the election of a pope, Pope Benedict XVI said:

“I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. . . . I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined…There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!”

Cardinal Danneels Admits to Being Part of ‘Mafia’ Club Opposed to Benedict XVI

Further serious concerns are being raised about Cardinal Godfried Danneels, one of the papal delegates chosen to attend the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family, after the archbishop emeritus of Brussels confessed this week to being part of a radical “mafia” reformist group opposed to Benedict XVI…

At the launch of the book in Brussels this week, the cardinal said he was part of a secret club of cardinals opposed to Pope Benedict XVI.

He called it a “mafia” club that bore the name of St. Gallen. The group wanted a drastic reform of the Church, to make it “much more modern”, and for Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to head it. The group, which also comprised Cardinal Walter Kasper and the late Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, has been documented in Austen Ivereigh’s biography of Pope Francis, The Great Reformer.

Well, can we agree that Paul publicly rebuked him? Paul could have waited until they were alone. If the same thing happened today, everyone would know about it in ten minutes. It didn’t seem to bother Paul much to tell the Galatiams about it in his letter to them.

Paul said, “You Peter, and you Jewish Christians with him are wrong”

Paul did not say, “Gentiles, look, your Pope and his band of close knit Jewish Christians are saying you must become Jews to be Christians. Rise up and be counted and voice your opposition.”

Paul rebuked those in error to their faces as the group that they were. He did not publicize this.

In Galatians, Paul is relating an historical event, not seeking to create dissention, but to correct the dissention already happening there. You are fully aware that the first two chapters of Galatians are a recounting of how faith is the means of Justification. And the verse quoted was one building block of that argument - it was not a statement to arouse distrust of Peter. Paul hits it squarely on his audience in the first verse of Chpt 3: “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you!!!” Paul is rebuking the Galatians in the verses that were here quoted; not trying to win a following against Peter nor against the Jews who were with Peter.

So it comes down to this. Liberal Catholics, Cultural Catholics and Catholics who do not fully understand the role and authority of the Pope versus Traditional minded Catholics who are concerned that we are on the wrong track. Knives are out. Slander and relativism are the methods of the day. How dare you say the Emperor has no clothes! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Nothing to see here, move along! Depends on what your definition of ‘Is’ is.
We were warned By our Lady at Quito, Fatima, and Akita. Trouble in Paradise. Apostasy and heresy abounding. Stay true to the Perennial Magesterium sans the modernist interpretations. Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi warned us, extensively. He knew.

Critical mass is close at hand. 100th anniversary of Fatima. 500th anniversary of Luther’s revolt.

Stand Fast Brethren. Going to get worse before it gets better.

The fact that we are in Crisis and anyone who can’t see/feel this is beyond being baffling to me…what really puzzles me how some (and I mean from the top down) can accuse anyone requesting clarity on a document ambiguous at best, which somehow ignores the isoluabilty of the Sacament of Holy Matrimony…what about the annulment process. Is this now a moot matter. Many, actually everyone that I meet is perplexed. How can any Pope refuse an audience to any of his Cardinals and yet grant private audiences to many in the laity who have little or no interest in living lives in the context of what could remotely be considered exemplary. In past posts on this site for respectfully asking sincere questions about this Papacy I was suspended. Now it seems others are asking honest respectful sincere questions about the direction of the Catholic Church…and finally, once again why is it everytime a Cleric questions anything which is in complete opposition to the teachings of the Church for 2000 yrs he is called a trouble maker. I’m quite certain I will now get a very eloquent response. I’m not alone and I know what ‘Camp’ I will be in. When less is expected history shows less will offered. Human beings will take the ball and run. IT’s now permissable for divorced (which I was taught is not even a possibility in the Church) to receive Holy Communion if a Bishop so decides basrf on some testimony…but then each of us knowswhat is good and evil according to our conscience (well formed or not)so help me please I know I’m not alone and don’t now where to turn for clarity

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