Filial Appeal to all Cardinals and Bishops of the Catholic Church

Filial Appeal

To all Cardinals and Bishops of the Catholic Church

Your Eminencies, Your Excellencies:

We, the undersigned Catholic priests, scholars, and authors, write to you on the occasion of the latest document published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Fiducia Supplicans, which has caused so much scandal in the Church during this last Christmastime.

As is widely known, a relevant part of the world episcopate has practically rejected it, due to its evident break with Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. Twenty episcopal conferences, dozens of individual prelates, and even cardinals invested with the highest positions, such as Cardinal Müller and Cardinal Sarah, have expressed an unequivocal condemnatory judgment. So have also the UK, USA, and Australian Confraternities of Catholic Clergy. Never in the history of the Catholic Church has a document of the Roman Magisterium experienced such a strong rejection.

Indeed, despite its explicit reaffirmation of the traditional doctrine of the Church on Marriage, it turns out that the pastoral practice that the document allows is in direct opposition to it. So much so, that the document has been very favorably received by those few episcopates and prelates that for decades have been openly advocating a change in the doctrine on sexual morality. It is evident that the practical message that this new declaration transmits is much more in line with the program and ideas of those who want to change the doctrine, than with the doctrine itself that the document claims to keep intact.

The document effectively attempts to introduce a separation between doctrine and liturgy on the one hand, and pastoral practice on the other. But this is impossible: in fact pastoral care, like all action, always presupposes a theory and, therefore, if pastoral care performs something that does not correspond to the doctrine, what is actually being proposed is a different doctrine.

The blessing of a couple (whether “liturgical” or “pastoral”) is, so to speak, a natural sign. The concrete gesture says something naturally, and therefore has a natural, immediate communicative effect, which cannot be artificially changed by the verbal caveats of the document. A blessing as such, in the universal language of humanity, always implies an approval of what is being blessed.

Therefore, the concrete sign that is given with such blessing, in front of the whole world, is that “irregular couples”, extramarital and homosexual alike, according to the Catholic Church, would now be acceptable to God, precisely in the type of union that specifically configures them as couples. Nor does it make sense to separate “couple” from “union”, as card. Fernández has tried to do, since a couple is a couple because of the union that gives existence to it.

The fact that other significant and accidental circumstances such as timing, location, or ornaments such as flowers and wedding clothes are excluded from the act does not change the nature of the act, since the central and essential gesture remains. Furthermore, we all know from experience what such “restrictions” are worth and how long they last.

The fact is that a priest is imparting a blessing on two people who present themselves as a couple, in the sexual sense, and precisely a couple defined by its objectively sinful relationship. Therefore—regardless of the intentions and interpretations of the document, or the explanations the priest may try to give—this action will be the visible and tangible sign of a different doctrine, which contradicts traditional doctrine.

Let us remember that the traditional doctrine on the subject must be considered infallible, since it is unequivocally confirmed by Scripture and Tradition, a universal and uninterrupted tradition, ubique et semper. And it must be remembered that this is a doctrine of natural law, which does not allow for any change.

In practice, the faithful will not even be aware of the subtle theoretical justifications introduced by the Declaration, much less those that were added in the recent clarification on the Declaration. The message that is effectively launched, and that the people of God, and the entire world, will inevitably register and are already registering is that: The Catholic Church has finally evolved, and now accepts homosexual unions, and, more generally, extramarital unions.

This situation fully justifies the decided rejection of so many episcopal conferences, so many prelates, so many scholars, and so many ordinary lay people. In this context, it is definitely not justifiable, especially for a cardinal or a bishop, to remain silent, since the scandal that has already occurred is serious and public, and if it is not stopped, it is bound to be more and more amplified. The threat does not become smaller but more serious, since the error comes from the Roman See, and is destined to scandalize all the faithful, and above all the little ones, the simple faithful who have no way of orienting and defending themselves in this confusion: “Whoever offends one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for him if a donkey’s millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18,6).

The pastors and all those who have some responsibility in the Church have been constituted as sentinels: “If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the horn, so that the people are not warned, and when the sword comes he kills one of them, he will perish because of him, but I will ask the watchman to account for his blood” (Ez. 33,6).

In light of the above we fervently implore you to:

(1) Follow the brave example of so many brother bishops around the world: please forbid immediately the application of this document in your diocese.

(2) Please ask directly the Pope to urgently withdraw this unfortunate document, which is in contradiction with both Scripture and the universal and uninterrupted Tradition of the Church and which clearly produces a serious scandal.

In this difficult moment, a clear word of truth would be the best example of your faithful and courageous dedication to the people of God entrusted to you, a sign of fidelity to the true mission of the Papacy and at the same time the best help for the pope himself, an eloquent “fraternal correction,” which he urgently needs in this last and most critical period of his pontificate and probably of his life. If you act promptly, there is still some hope that he may rescue his pontificate and his own person from a stain that could otherwise weigh on him indelibly, not only in history, but in eternity.

List of Initial Signatories

Edmund P. Adamus, MA, Secretary to Commission of Inquiry into Discrimination Against Christians, UK

Wolfgang R. Ahrens, PhD Philosophy, Chile

Sergio González Arrieta, MA in Classics and History, Chile

Gil Bailie, Founder and President of the Cornerstone Forum

Dr Heinz-Lothar and Raphaela Barth, Bonn, Germany

Donna F. Bethell, JD, USA

Judie Brown, President, American Life League, Falmouth, Virginia

Dr Dr Sergio R. Castaño, CONICET, Argentina

Paweł Chmielewski, commentator for Polonia Christiana, Warsaw, Poland

Michelle Cretella, MD, USA

Edgardo J. Cruz Ramos, President, Una Voce Puerto Rico

Dr Tomasz Dekert, religious studies scholar, Rajbrot, Poland

Deacon Julian L. Delgado, MD

Christine de Marcellus Vollmer, President of PROVIVE, ALAFA, Former Member of PAL, Venezuela

Roberto de Mattei, historian, President of Lepanto Foundation, Rome, Italy

Deacon Nick Donnelly, MA, England

Joseph Doyle, Executive Director, Catholic Action League of Massachusetts

Rev. Angelo Luigi Fratus, Montfort Missionary, Zambia

Rev. Stanisław Gibziński, Portsmouth Diocese, England

Corrado Gnerre, professor of theology and founder of Il cammino dei tre sentieri

Maria Guarini, author, Editor of Chiesa e postconcilio

Michael K. Hageböck, headmaster and journalist, Germany

Michael Hichborn, President of the Lepanto Institute, Virginia

Maike Hickson, PhD, Front Royal, VA

Prof. Dr.rer.nat. Dr.rer.pol. Rudolf Hilfer, Stuttgart, Germany

Rev. Joseph Illo, Pastor, Star of the Sea Parish, San Francisco, California

Marek Jurek, former Marshal of the Polish Parlament, Wólka Kozodawska, Poland

Bogusław Kiernicki, President, Saint Benedict Foundation, Dębogóra, Poland

Kacper Kita, publicist, international policy analyst, Poland

Rev. Donald Kloster, Lumen Christi Academy Principal, Pipe Creek, TX

Dr Dr Adorján F. Kovács, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Dr Thaddeus Kozinski, Memoria College

Gabriele Kuby, sociologist and author, Prien am Chiemsee, Germany

Peter A. Kwasniewski, PhD, Lincoln, Nebraska

Dr John R. T. Lamont, D.Phil.

Philip F. Lawler, author, Editor of Catholic World News

Leila M. Lawler, author

Rev. Joseph Levine, Pastor, Holy Family Catholic Church, Burns, Oregon

Pedro L. Llera, director of educational centers, Gobiendes, Spain

Maria Madise, Managing Director, Voice of the Family, UK

Rev. Patrick H. Magee FLHF, Fall River, MA

Dr Regis Martin, professor of theology, Franciscan University Steubenville

Brian M. McCall, Orpha and Maurice Merrill Chair in Law, University of Oklahoma

Deacon Eugene McGuirk, Front Royal, Virginia

Dr Justyna Melonowska, psychologist and philosopher, Warszawa, Poland

Rev. Cor Mennen, emeritus lecturer in Canon Law, Seminary of ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Dr Paweł Milcarek, Editor of Christianitas, Brwinów, Poland

Sebastian Morello, PhD, Senior Editor of The European Conservative

Rev. Alfredo Morselli, Italy

Rev. Gerald E. Murray, JCD, Pastor, Church of the Holy Family, New York, NY

Dina Nerozzi, MD, child psychiatrist and endocrinologist, former professor at the University of Rome

Doyen Nguyen, MD, STD, moral theologian, bioethicist, USA/Portugal

Rev. Daniel R. Nolan, FSSP, Littleton, CO

Deacon Dr Bart Overman, Den Bosch, The Netherlands

Michael Pakaluk, PhD, professor of ethics and social philosophy, Washington, DC

Gottfried Paschke, theologian, retired professor of mathematics, Bad Homburg, Germany

Paolo Pasqualucci, retired Professor of Philososophy, Faculty of Law, Perugia, Italy

Rod Pead, Editor, Christian Order, UK

Dr Claudio Pierantoni, PhD History of Christianism, PhD Philosophy, Chile

Rev. John A. Perricone, PhD, adjunct professor of philosophy, Iona College in New Rochelle, New York

Prof. Thomas Pink, emeritus professor of philosophy, King’s College, London

Rev. Andrew Pinsent, MA, Dphil, PhB, STB, PhL, PhD, FRSA, University of Oxford, UK

Tomasz Rowiński, historian of ideas, Editor of Christianitas, Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Poland

Anna Rist, retired professor of classics, Toronto, Canada

John Rist, PhD, retired professor of classics and early Chrisitian philosophy and theology

Luis Román, theologian and Catholic commentator, Florida

Jesse Romero, Catholic apologist, evangelist, author, Queen Creek, Arizona.

Eric Sammons, Editor, Crisis Magazine

Dr César Félix Sánchez Martínez, professor of philosophy, Universidad Nacional de San Agustín, Perú

Dr Tommaso Scandroglio, author, Italy

Wolfram Schrems, Mag. theol., Mag. phil., catechist, pro-life activist, Vienna, Austria

Dr Anna Silvas, specialist in Greek Fathers, retired adjunct, UNE, Australia

Rev. Robert Sirico, President, St. John Henry Newman Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dr Michael Sirilla, Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio

John Smeaton, Co-founder of Voice of the Family, UK

Rev. Tam X. Tran, S.T.L., Pastor of Our Lady of Vietnam Catholic Church, Silver Spring, Maryland

Rev. Glen Tattersall, Pastor of St. John Newman Parish, Melbourne, Australia

Inge M. Thürkauf, actress, journalist, pro-family public speaker, Germany

José Antonio Ureta, author, Paris, France

Aldo Maria Valli, writer, founder of the blog Duc in altum, Italy

Dr Gerard van den Aardweg, author, psychologist and psychotherapist, The Netherlands

Mathias von Gersdorff, author and pro-life activist, Frankfurt, Germany

Prof. Dr Berthold Wald, retired professor of philosophy, Münster, Germany

Dr Thomas Ward, President, John Paul II Academy of Human Life and the Family

Leonard P. Wessell, Dr.Phil., PhD, emeritus professor, German Studies, University of Colorado

John-Henry Westen, Co-founder and Editor-in-chief, LifeSiteNews

Elizabeth D. Wickham, PhD, Executive Director,, Raleigh, North Carolina

Dr Timothy Williams, professor of French, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio

Chilton Williamson, writer, former editor at National Review and Chronicles, Laramie, Wyoming

Dr Hubert Windisch, priest, retired professor of pastoral theology, Burglengenfeld, Germany

Deacon Timothy Woods, Huntington, Indiana

Elizabeth F. Yore, Esq., Founder of Yore Children, Chicago, Illinois


ATTENTION: Pastors, clergy, scholars, professors, doctors, and other qualified individuals may submit their signatures to this list in the next two weeks. Please provide your name, qualifications, position, and location by February 15th, to A definitive list of cumulative signatories will then be published on February 17th.

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