Call for the Resignation of Pope Francis

Editor’s note: this statement was first published by our friends at Rorate. See this statement in a PDF here.

May 2, 2024
St. Athanasius of Alexandria

Since 2013, the words and actions of Pope Francis have caused an unprecedented crisis in the Catholic Church, and have done great harm to the Church and the whole world. The members of the hierarchy of the Church have a duty to act in order to prevent Francis from causing further harm. Anarchy and the Kingdo... Du017ealto, Davor Best Price: $46.14 Buy New $34.71 (as of 06:59 UTC - Details)

We therefore call for Pope Francis to resign the papal office, and to repent and do penance for his actions. If he does not do this, we request that the cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church ask Pope Francis to resign the office of pope.

If he refuses to resign or recant the heresies that he has upheld, we ask that they declare that he has lost the papal office.

This crisis is due to two things:

1. Pope Francis has committed criminal acts gravely damaging to the Church and to individual believers.

2. He has shown that he rejects the Catholic faith, and has worked to destroy the faith of other Catholics.

1. Crimes of Pope Francis

1.1 Crimes other than heresy

1. He has committed criminal acts that have gravely harmed individual believers and the Church.

The actions listed below are crimes because they violate either canon law, the law of temporal states, the natural law, divine positive law, or some combination of laws from these different legal systems. The relations of these different legal systems are complex; for example, the protection of sexual abusers by not reporting their crimes, or by placing them in positions where they can be expected to continue to abuse, is a crime in some states, but not in others. The crimes of Pope Francis listed below all violate one or more of the following canons of the Latin Code; canons 383 §1, 392 §1 and §2, 1311 § 2, 1326 § 1, 1378 § 1 and § 2, and 1399. These canons are all based on natural law or divine positive law, so they are not ones from which the Pope can be dispensed. It should be remembered that the Church has by divine right the power to legislate for her members and to inflict juridical punishments on them of a temporal as well as a spiritual kind, and this legislation is no less real and has no less force than the legislation of civil states.

1.1.A. Protection of criminal sex offenders, and protection of religious superiors who themselves protect criminal sex offenders.

Bishops and religious superiors who protect criminal sexual abusers are themselves criminals, so Pope Francis’s protection and promotion of such individuals is itself a protection of criminals. It has a particularly damaging effect, because it tells criminals of this stamp that protecting sexual abusers not only is ‘safe’ with him, but it will also probably lead to promotion. Pope Francis’s promotion of these criminals has been so extensive and over so long a time-frame, both before and after his election to the papacy, that it can only be seen as an abiding disposition and an habitual policy. He has appointed large numbers of these persons to the college of cardinals, thus giving them significant influence over the election of the next pope, and has installed them in the commanding heights of ecclesiastical power in the Roman Curia and the American Catholic church.

The manner of Pope Francis’s protection of these criminals aggravates his offence. He has repeatedly and brazenly lied about his actions and slandered victims of these crimes.

In addition to the specific cases recorded below, it should be added that Pope Francis abolished the moderately effective procedures for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors that had been instituted by Pope Benedict XVI, and replaced them with ineffective regulations, personnel, and organisations that brought to a halt the process of effectively dealing with sexual abuse in the Church. Francis accompanied this sabotage of justice with frequent public pronouncements about the supreme importance of bringing sexual abuse to an end.

Pope Francis had a record of protecting sexual abusers before he became pope, when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires (1998-2013) and president of the Argentine bishops’ conference (2005-2011). The worst example of this protection is noted here, as it exemplifies his character and modus operandi.

Fr Julio Grassi

Fr Julio Grassi founded and ran Happy Children homes for street children in Argentina. He sexually abused boys at these institutions. In 2009 he was convicted by an Argentinian court of abusing one of them. At great expense, Archbishop Bergoglio commissioned a 2,600 page report designed to exonerate Fr. Grassi by slandering his victims. The report was intended to persuade the Argentinian Supreme Court judges of Grassi’s innocence, and was condemned by the court as an attempt to interfere with justice. When challenged about the report, Archbishop Bergoglio lied in declaring that he had no involvement with it. Grassi managed to avoid prison until 2013, thanks in part to Bergoglio’s intervention. Grassi testified that he has the personal support of Bergoglio.[1]

After his election to the papacy in 2013, Pope Francis protected and/or promoted many sexual abusers and bishops who covered up sexual abuse. Some outstanding examples are the following:

Cardinal Godfried Danneels

Cardinal Danneels defended the catechism textbook ‘Roeach’, which was used in Belgium under his authority and which promoted pedophilia, and refused to have it altered or removed. He acted to protect the pedophile Bishop Roger Vangheluwe after it became known that Vangheluwe sexually abused his own nephew, beginning when the nephew was five years old. When the nephew, then an adult, asked Danneels to take some action against Vangheluwe, Danneels refused, told the nephew to keep quiet about the abuse, and told the nephew that he should acknowledge his own guilt. These actions were public knowledge in 2010. Cardinal Danneels stood at the side of Pope Francis on the balcony of St. Peter’s when the Pope made his first public appearance after his election. Pope Francis named him as one of his personal appointments to both the first and second Synod on the Family. At his death in 2019, Pope Francis praised him as a ‘zealous pastor’ who ‘served the Church with dedication’.[2]

Cardinal Jozef de Kesel

In 2014 Cardinal de Kesel, then bishop of Bruges, appointed Father Tom Flamez as a pastor after he had been convicted of sexual abuse. He did not remove Fr. Antoon Stragier from ministry until 2015, although Stragier’s crimes were known to the diocese in 2004. Pope Francis chose Bishop de Kesel as Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels in November 2015 and named him a Cardinal in November 2016.[3]

Cardinal Reinhard Marx

Cardinal Marx admitted to having covered up many sexual abuse cases when he was bishop of Trier, and offered his resignation to Pope Francis in 2021, giving this coverup as the reason. Pope Francis refused his resignation, and Marx continues as the metropolitan archbishop of Munich and Freising.[4]

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

In 2008 a woman told English Church authorities that O’Connor had sexually abused her when she was between 13 and 14 years old. The woman had previously reported being sexually abused by another English priest, Father Michael Hill, who was subsequently convicted of this crime in a British court. Hill had earlier been removed from ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of minors, but Murphy-O’Connor, then Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, had reinstated Hill to ministry by naming him as chaplain at Gatwick Airport. Hill continued to abuse minors in this post. In 2013 Pope Francis instructed Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller to drop the investigation of Murphy-O’Connor for sexual abuse.[5]

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga

Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga failed to act on numerous accusations of sexual misbehaviour with seminarians on the part of Jose Juan Pineda Fasquelle, auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa, who resigned after the accusations were made public. Maradiaga refused to investigate complaints made by 48 out of 180 seminarians about homosexual misbehaviour at the Honduras seminary, and attacked the complainants instead. Pope Francis named Maradiaga as a member and coordinator of the council of nine cardinals that he set up in 2013 to advise him in the government of the universal church. On 15 October 2020, Pope Francis renewed Rodriguez Maradiaga’s appointment as Coordinator of the Council of Cardinal Advisers.[6]

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick

Former Cardinal McCarrick had a decades-long career of grooming and pressuring seminarians to engage in homosexual relations with him. Pope Francis was personally informed of this behaviour in 2013, and was told that Pope Benedict had placed restrictions upon him. McCarrick had made frequent trips to Argentina to visit seminarians when Pope Francis was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Pope Francis freed McCarrick of the restrictions on his activities that had been imposed by Pope Benedict XVI as a result of reports of his crimes, and used him for many important tasks, including trips as a representative of the Holy See to Israel, Armenia, China, Iran and Cuba. He accompanied Pope Francis on his trips to Israel and Cuba. He was only removed from ministry in 2018, after his predation on seminarians was widely reported in the media.[7]

Pope Francis has appointed a circle of men linked to former cardinal McCarrick to important posts. These include Cardinals Robert McElroy, Joseph Tobin, Wilton Gregory, and Kevin Farrell, described below. A Faith That Will Not ... Cushatt, Michele Best Price: $6.75 Buy New $10.97 (as of 08:22 UTC - Details)

Cardinal Blaise Cupich

Pope Francis named Cupich Archbishop of Chicago in 2014, appointing him a cardinal and a member of the Congregation for Bishops in 2016. McCarrick had lobbied for his appointment in Chicago.[8]

Cardinal Joseph Tobin

Pope Francis appointed Tobin, Archbishop of Indianapolis, as a cardinal and as Archbishop of Newark in 2016. McCarrick had been his predecessor as Archbishop of Newark from 1986 to 2000, committing many crimes while in that post. The Archdiocese of Newark had made a payment in 2005 to a seminarian abused by McCarrick. Tobin refused to respond to a complaint about abuse by McCarrick sent to him in 2018 by Michael Reading, a former seminarian.[9]

Cardinal Wilton Gregory

Cardinal Gregory worked with McCarrick on drafting the 2002 Dallas Charter, which provided procedures for American Catholic bishops for responding to accusations of sexual abuse by clerics. The charter’s procedures were ineffective, conspicuously omitting any provision for dealing with accusations against bishops. When bishop of Belleville, Illinois, Gregory was held in contempt of court for refusing to release the records of a priest accused of sexual crimes. While Archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia, he successfully opposed legislation that would extend the statute of limitations for lawsuits claiming damages for sexual abuse. Pope Francis made him Archbishop of Washington in 2019 and named him cardinal in 2020.[10]

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