Open letter to Pope Francis by member of Roman Curia, central administration of the Holy See

It’s one thing for lay Catholics like Ann Barnhardt or FOTM to criticize Pope Francis  — and to do so at the risk of excommunication, according to the pope’s appointee, Archbishop Rino Fisichella. (See “Catholic Church under Pope Francis: Critics censored, threatened with excommunication“)

By the way, “Pope Francis” is a title. His real name is Jorge Bergoglio.

It’s quite something else when a former member of the Roman Curia publishes an open letter critical of Bergoglio.

The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See. It is the central body through which the Pope conducts the affairs of the universal Catholic Church by acting in his name and with his authority; and the central organization for the correct functioning of the Church and the achievement of its goals.

On November 27, 2015, the German-language magazine, FOCUS, published an open letter [Issue 49/2015; pp. 46-48] to Pope Francis from a former high-ranking member of the Roman Curia. (The German-language article can be viewed in PDF or its online version.)

On Dec. 9, 2015, OnePeter5 (1P5) blog published the article in English, translated from German by Dr. Maike Hickson.

The article is preceded by an Introduction by the editor of FOCUS:

Among some Catholic ecclesiastical dignitaries, indignation about Pope Francis is increasing. A former member of the Roman Curia speaks out sharply here in an Open Letter during this Advent Season.

Two and a half years ago, 115 cardinals elected the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the next pope. The outcome of this pontificate turns out to be mixed; while Francis receives much praise in the realm of politics and the media, the current atmosphere in the Vatican is as bad as it has ever been. Employees complain that the pope enjoys his role as Francis Superstar and that he does not care about the Church’s teaching. They also complain that he is a populist and an authoritarian and that he only takes counsel with those people who share his own opinions. There is talk about a “climate of fear.” A former, long-standing member of the Curia sums up the critique in his own open Advent Letter to the Pope – which is itself a grave form of dissonance, because the servants of the Church owe to the pope a complete obedience. FOCUS herewith publishes the text. The author (who is known to the editors) has decided to remain anonymous since he – according to his own words – would otherwise have to fear grave consequences, not only for himself, but also for his superiors and for his former colleagues in Rome.

In his Christmas Allocution of 2014 in the Sala Clementina, inside the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, Pope Francis rebuked his employees by listing for them some “15 illnesses” of the Curia. This castigation by the Head of the Church caught the attention of the world.

In his Christmas Allocution of 2014 in the Sala Clementina, inside the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, Pope Francis rebuked his employees by listing for them some “15 illnesses” of the Curia. This castigation by the Head of the Church caught the attention of the world.

Below is the open letter to Pope Francis from an unnamed former member of the Roman Curia:

Holy Father,

On the occasion of your Christmas Allocution in 2014, you called on your curial employees to make first an examination of conscience. Indeed, Advent is an occasion to reflect upon the promises of God and what He expects from us. You claimed that your employees had to be an example for the whole Church, and you then listed a several “illnesses” from which, in your view, the Curia is now suffering. At the time, I had considered this statement to be rather harsh – yes, even unjust – against so many in the Vatican whom I know personally – while you were talking, instead, as if you knew the Vatican, but either only from the outside or only from above. Nevertheless, this speech of yours has actually inspired me to write this letter to you. Following your own example, I shall omit to speak about all the good that you are doing and are speaking and I shall thus only list those aspects of your exercise of the papal office which seem to me to be problematic:

1. An emotional and anti-intellectual attitude of yours which is often tangible and which has difficulties in dealing with theories and doctrines

The alternative to the Teaching Church is the Arbitrary Church, and not the Merciful Church. Among not a few of your own chosen employees and close counselors, there is to be found a true lack of competence, both in teaching and in theology; these men often have behind them a career within the Church’s government or in a university’s administration, and they think rather all too often in pragmatic and political terms. You, as the Supreme Teacher of the Church, thus have to make clearer the primacy of the Faith – for your own sake, and for the sake of all Catholics. Faith without doctrine does not exist.

2. Authoritarianism

You are distancing yourself from the wisdom which is preserved in the Church’s traditional discipline, in Canon Law, and also in the historical practices of the Curia. Together with your disdain for (supposedly) theoretical teaching, this propensity leads to an authoritarianism of which even the founder of your Order of Jesuits, St. Ignatius himself, would not approve. Do you really accept those admonitory voices who say what you, personally, do not immediately see nor understand? What would happen if you were now to know my own name? It would be helpful to act in a less authoritarian way in order to change the current climate of fear.

3. A populism of change

Today, it is popular to call for change. However, especially the Successor of Peter has to remind himself and others of that which changes only slowly, and even more so of that which does not change at all. Do you really believe that the approval which you receive from the opinion-makers in the realm of politics and of the media is a good sign? Christ did not promise or prophesy to Peter popularity in the media and status in a star cult (John 21:18). A great many of your statements awaken wrong expectations and give the harmful impression that the teaching and discipline of the Church could and should be adapted to the changing opinions of the majority. The Apostle Paul is here of another opinion (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:14)

4. Your own conduct is seen as a critique of how your (often canonized) predecessors have lived, talked, and acted

I cannot recognize how this attitude comports with the humility which you have so many times invoked and demanded. Such humility is indeed needed, especially when it is about continuing the tradition which goes back to the Apostle Peter. Your conduct implicitly proposes the idea that you intend to re-invent somehow the Petrine Office. Instead of preserving faithfully the heritage of your predecessors, you want to acquire it [the heritage]in a quite creative way. But, did Saint John not say: “He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)?

5. Pastoralism

Only recently, you said that you especially like those parts of the papacy where you can act like a pastor. Of course, neither a pope nor a pastor should raise any doubts as to whether the Church is following the teaching of Christ in everything she currently does (Pastoral Care, Sacraments, Liturgy, Catechesis, Theology, Caritas); finally, everything depends upon the revealed Faith as it comes to us in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and which is thus binding upon the consciences of the faithful. We cannot even live the Faith and pass it on to others, if we do not know it. Without a good theory, we are – in the long run – not able to act in a good manner. Without teaching in the field of pastoral care, we shall only have emotional and largely adventitious successes.

6. Exaggerated display of the simplicity of your own way of life

Of course, you want to set an example – but is it better for you yourself to take care of all kinds of daily chores? In ascetical questions, the left hand should not know what the right hand is doing (Mt 6:3); otherwise, the whole thing appears somehow to be insincere. If you really want to drive cars that are ecological, you have to invest, by the way, much more, or to ask someone to give you as a gift the more expensive technology that is thus needed: for. ecology has its price.

7. A particularism which often subjugates the goals and purposes of the Universal Church under the viewpoints of only a part of the Church

This attitude appears nearly comical with regard to a pope. Additionally, our world is now much more interconnected, more mobile, and more proximate than ever. Especially today, it is a treasure that the Catholic Church is throughout the whole world always the same. It corresponds to the global life realities that Catholics in all countries live, pray, and think in a similar vein (and with each other together).

8. An urge for constant spontaneity

A lack of professionalism is not a sign for the working of the Holy Ghost. Expressions like “to breed like rabbits,” or “Who am I to judge…?” might possibly impress some kinds of people, but, in reality, they lead to grave misunderstandings. Constantly, others have to explain what you really meant to say. To act without a plan and outside of the protocol has its time and place – but it should not become the standard. You owe this respect to your employees (in Rome and in the whole world). The measure of spontaneity is much smaller among popes than among pastors.

9. Lack of clarity about the interconnectedness of religious, political, and economic freedom

Many of your statements indicate that the state should rule more, control more, and be responsible for more areas, especially in the economic and social field. We in Europe are used to very strong states. However, history has proven wrong the idea that the state can take care of everything. The Church has to defend non-governmental institutions which can provide things that the state could not provide (in that way). Against the tendency to expect everything from the state, the Church has to help people to take care of their own lives. The welfare state can also become too powerful, and with it, too paternalistic, authoritarian, and illiberal.

10. Meta-Clericalism

On the one hand, you show very little interest in the clergy, on the other hand, you criticize a clericalism which is more of a phantom than something that is real. One cannot compensate for this lack of interest with a good intention or with statements in front of smaller groups. The bishops and priests have to know again that the pope stands behind them when they defend the Gospels “in season and out of season,” even if it is done in a way that does not personally please the pope. It is not good that some think that the pope sees many things quite differently from the Catechism, and that others then imitate him in order to make a career under this pontificate. As a pope, you of necessity have to serve the continuity and Tradition of the Church – even non-Catholic Christians are of this opinion. It may well be better for you to cut back on your innovations and provocations; we anyway already have many people who do that. Your Magisterium, as such, is already in itself the ultimate provocation and innovation – after all, you are the Representative of Christ and the supreme teacher of our supernatural Faith. “Grace, Mercy, and Peace” are coming “from God, the Father, and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in Truth and Love” (2 John 1:3); and they only come together in a complete package. If, during this coming Year of Mercy, you are now preparing yourself for Christmas, please take this occasion as an incentive to find out for yourself what you have yourself neglected in the recent past. Let yourself be helped by your own employees who will only learn from you if you are willing to learn something from them. Like me, many others have difficulties with the way you sometimes talk and act. But that can be fixed, if it becomes clear that you listen to what others have to tell you. Unfortunately, I know that you are not yet capable of dealing well with such criticism – that is why I do not put my name on this letter. I want to protect my superiors against your wrath, especially the priests and bishops with whom I have worked for many years in Rome and from whom I have learned so much. You might want to work on taking away such fears – from me and from others – or, even better, to make such letters as this one superfluous, namely, by learning something from others.

In this spirit, may you have a blessed and contemplative Season of Advent!

A Chaplain of Your Holiness

See also:

If you are Catholic, please consider signing these petitions:

  1. “Petition to the Cardinals of the Roman Church regarding the grave improprieties of Pope Francis,” asking the Church’s College of Cardinals to investigate whether Bergoglio had been unlawfully elected pope, and if so, to remove him from the seat of St. Peter. Click here.
  2. Petition asking Pope Francis to resign. Click here.


23 responses to “Open letter to Pope Francis by member of Roman Curia, central administration of the Holy See

  1. Sounds like the Pope is a Democrat… and a strong challenger to Hillary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Prophecies of St Malachy indicate Francis is last pope before Christ comes. Francis is the false prophet listed in Chapters 16, 19, 20 Book of Revelation and will destroy Church. He does not believe most Catholic doctrines and was installed by Freemasons after threatening Benedict with death if he did not appoint 20 Italians as cardinals and then resign.


      • “He does not believe most Catholic doctrines and was installed by Freemasons after threatening Benedict with death if he did not appoint 20 Italians as cardinals and then resign.”

        How do you know that? Source, please.


  2. Excellent article! It is comforting to know that there are those in the hierarchy of the Catholic church who have retained reason, and adhere to the teachings of Christ. I hope that the Pope will take to heart this letter, it does not seem to be caustic, nor unduly accusatory . . . the membership of the Church wants reason to rule the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A practicing Catholic myself, I have been deeply troubled by the imperious, shortsighted leftist inclinations of this Pope. He’s clearly a product of Latin American liberation theology–Marxism. While I’m confident the Church will survive him, it’s still painfully disheartening to experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this thought-provoking and insightful post. The letter written by this former member of the Roman Curia is sincere and genuine. All of the points in his letter are important, but I find particular wisdom in #’s 6 and 8. Humility is the mother of virtues, but when it is constantly spoken of or demonstrated with a certain notoriety, it is no longer humility and has the opposite effect of true humility.

    I know that prayer is the most powerful instrument we can use in our daily lives. I will continue to pray to the Holy Trinity for Pope Francis and our Catholic Church, knowing that God always answers our prayers. Pope Francis has not changed any doctrine in our Catholic Faith from his seat, the Chair of St. Peter ex cathedra, as yet.

    I will also begin to pray for the employees of the Church, especially the writer of the letter in question. .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mat_27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
    Mar_15:38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
    Luk_23:45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

    Yet people still insist in the need for a fleshly high priest to stand between them and the Living God, breaking out their little etui’s and feverishly trying to resew the veil.

    Heb 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

    But what?


    • “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” -Matthew 16:18


      • The most comforting words in all the world . . . “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” With our world in such tumult, just to know that Our God has control and will never allow Satan or his minions to prevail. What a blessing to you and I.


  6. Fr. Fisicella really hits it out of the park with this one, a veritable TON OF BRICKS of a letter. And he’s absolutely right. He has not mentioned every last item in the train of abuses this Pope has unleashed, or plans to unleash, upon the Church and the World (e.g., his intentions to allow divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive communion), and he has not mentioned that errant and devious cardinals and priests need to be disciplined (e.g., Walter Cardinal Kasper, who stands with the Pope in allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics). But he has mentioned the most important thing, I believe, in stating that this Pope has instigated and created a “climate of fear”—what we would call a “hostile environment”—and its cause, chiefly, a lack of humility.
    Either one has—or sincerely struggles to—the Spirit of Jesus in this Life, or he has—or deviously struggles to—the Spirit of Judas Iscariot. I believe the Church is at that point in Her Passion where Christ has said to Judas, “Whatever it is you plan to do, do it quickly.”
    This Pope’s soul is in GRAVE JEOPARDY, and we must pray to Our Lady of Quito and to St. Pius X to save the Church and this Pope’s soul.


  7. This pope is raising a lot of eyebrows, and sometimes for troubling reasons. It’s not out of place to pray for him, that he might be guided by the Holy Spirit, instead of the spirit of this age.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kevin J Lankford

    I feel most fail to understand the teachings and miracles of Christ were meted out to the Jew only (our bible giving only two exception). Jesus came to take his place as the King of the Jews, to prepare them for their place as a nation of priests for the world, with the foreknowledge that he would be rejected and crucified. Even his disciples did not understand this though it was fulfillment of prophesy.
    If not for the conversion of Saul to Paul Gentiles would not have been given their hope. It is his Apostleship, his teachings, that truly explain the purpose and power of the resurrection of Christ and the new age of “Grace” with the death of the law of the “Ten Commandment”. Without the “Epistles Of Paul” Christianity could not be what it is and Gentiles would have no hope.

    As Christians, all we need is belief and true faith in this power of the resurrection, as there is no works man can do to earn his salvation. Yet true faith will set us on the proper path of Gods moral guide.

    Surely organize worship can be a good and proper pursuit, but what I see in the practices, grandeur, opulence, and the history of intrigue and cruelty of the roman catholic church puts them in the same category as the pharisees that condemned their own King to death.


  9. Doc,please see also letter by Judge Ana Von Reitz.


  10. As one who is a gentile by birth, along with many, many of you, I am glad that the grand plan was to have Christ’s apostles take the gospel to us the gentiles after his crucifixion and death.That the first may be last, and the last may be first–thus it has been accomplished.


  11. We CHRISTians, including Catholics, owe our allegiance and COMPLETE Obedience to JESUS CHRIST only. Not to some pope that is a human. The pope is no better than any other CHRISTian or man and will also stand before GOD and answer for his sins just like all mankind will. As far as being excommunicated, big deal. I belong to Jesus’ church and HE and He alone can excommunicate me from HIS church!


  12. Pingback: Vatican threatens to excommunicate priest for criticizing Pope Francis | Fellowship of the Minds | SAVIOR.NEWS

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