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And Then There Were Three
Now What?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
July 17, 2017

With the sudden death of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the four “dubia cardinals” have become three, without any of them having taken any action to correct the errors of Amoris Laetitia, now spreading throughout the Church in an unprecedented, and truly apocalyptic, fracturing of a universal, bimillenial Eucharistic discipline rooted in the revealed truth on the indissolubility of marriage and the infinite sanctity of the Blessed Sacrament.

Given the ages of the remaining three (Cardinal Brandmüller, 88, Cardinal Caffarra, 79, and Cardinal Burke, 69), a further diminution of their number in the short term is a real possibility. One wonders whether all of them will simply pass from this earth without ever having issued the promised “formal correction.” What, then, was the point of the original public intervention, requesting answers to the five dubia, which have been met with Pope Bergoglio’s stony silence for the better part of a year (as if we didn’t know the answers already)? And what was the point of publicly requesting an audience with the Pope when, as the surviving cardinals surely know, he has no intention of ever allowing himself to be confronted with his errors but rather every intention of promoting them with winks, nods, private statements and strategic appointments to the episcopacy and the College of Cardinals?

Meanwhile, Benedict XVI, the one and only “Emeritus Pope” in Church history — a novelty he himself invented — has added to what must be called the farcical dimension of this unparalleled situation. In a letter read out at the funeral of Cardinal Meisner, he states:

We know that this passionate shepherd and pastor found it difficult to leave his post, especially at a time in which the Church stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith with determination. However, what moved me all the more was that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even if the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.

Consider the enormous implication of this brief text:

  • Benedict abandoned his post even though he knew that the Barque of Peter was “on the verge of capsizing.”
  • Benedict praises Meisner as one of “the convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age,” knowing full well that Meisner and the other three dubia cardinals have confronted no less than the Universal Shepherd with moral errors of catastrophic consequence, representing precisely a surrender to the dictatorship of the spirit of the age, about which errors Benedict will say nothing.
  • Benedict declares that “the Lord does not abandon His Church” at the very moment the behavior of the current occupant of the Chair of Peter is giving rise to the fear that the Church has, per impossible, been abandoned by the Lord. He writes as if we have no Pope whose governance is the source of this fear.
  • Benedict praises Meisner because he has “learned to let go” and presume that Christ will protect the Church even if the cardinals and other members of the hierarchy do nothing to fulfill their duty as defenders of the Faith against a Pope clearly bent on imposing disastrous “reforms” no Pope before him would have dared even to consider. Had Meisner, with whom Benedict had spoken shortly before his death, abandoned any intention of seeking the vaunted “formal correction”?

In the same vein, last month Benedict uttered this cryptic remark during a visit to his Vatican residence by Pope Bergoglio and the five new, suitably compliant cardinals he has added to his growing corps of reformist shock troops: “The Lord wins in the end.” That’s quite a strange remark to make to a group of newly created cardinals. Is Benedict suggesting — it is hard to avoid the implication — that the Lord will defeat them and the Pope who created them? 

On this occasion, by the way, the “Pope Emeritus” who abdicated the Chair of Peter because he supposedly could not go on performing the duties of the papacy, spoke with the new cardinals effortlessly and fluently in their various native languages. He then administered a blessing jointly with Pope Bergoglio, pronouncing the words of the blessing while Bergoglio remained silent, thereby reinforcing the impression that there are now two Popes who rank above cardinals and can bestow an apostolic blessing upon them.

Stranger and stranger the situation becomes. It would be fascinating from a purely historical perspective. But from the perspective of Fatima, it is the unfolding of a terrifying prophecy for our time. The faithful wonder “Now what?” as they await the dramatic answer Heaven will surely provide.