Pope Francis Under Scrutiny for Progressive Views

Pope Receives First Filial Correction Letter Since the 14th Century

By: Jaina Kelly, Contributor

PC Jeffrey Bruno – Aleteia

The 266th Pope of the Catholic Church is making some serious waves within the Catholic faith. Since his election in March of 2013, he has unveiled a series of considerably liberal views, which have now led to pushback in official form: a filial correction. This is a print document that lists seven heretical (a.k.a. majorly sacrilegious) positions he currently holds, of which some Catholics are arguing should actually be condemned.

It isn’t hard to envision that hardline Catholics would oppose the progressive ideas the Pope holds, as the faith has been historically rigid in its rules. Pope Francis somewhat protests the marginalizing of LGBT peoples, believes that capitalism and climate change must be seriously dealt with, and argues that divorced or remarried folks should still have access to the Church.

In an attempt to rebuke the Pope’s controversial views, a filial correction letter was hand delivered to the Pope’s residence in August and was released to the public last week. This type of letter has not been distributed to a Pope since the 14th century, when Pope John XXII displayed unpopular views on the dead’s capacities to communicate directly with God.

The filial correction presented to Pope Francis expresses detailed concerns toward the Pope’s publicized views on marriage, morality and the sacraments. Sixty-two marginal Catholic scholars and clergy members expressing dire concern for his values have signed it. The goal of placing a formal request is to persuade the Pope to re-condemn some of his positions. One of the biggest issues outlined in the letter addresses the Pope’s willingness to allow remarried and divorced people to receive communion. His openness to accept those acting against the Church’s rules of holy matrimony deeply challenges traditional ideas of who is allowed to practice Catholicism. Pope Francis’ progressive ideas about re-marriage were outlined in his 2016 book ‘The Joy of Love’, which received immediate controversy upon its release. Within his book were suggestions that reconciliation could be achieved for civilly remarried Catholics, depending upon the specifics of a situation.

It’s unclear if any serious consequences will come about as a result, as no one involved in the filial correction letter has cardinal status or influence on the Pope’s choices. Many oppose the idea of the Catholic Church’s rigid rules, having seen the direct outcome of these rules play out in their personal lives. One testimony published in the wake of the correction comes from opinion columnist Jill Filipovic, who argues in a piece for CNN that Pope Francis is “not heretical, just human.” Had her grandmother not been shunned by the Church for leaving her abusive husband, she believes her life would have been much easier. Filipovic maintains: “when you lose compassion for humanity, and when you lose the ability to love and honor and fully receive people as they come to you—flawed, broken, evolving, all of us clawing our way to something we hope is better—you have lost sight of why people seek spirituality and religion in the first place.”