Reply to Carlo Vigano on Fratelli Tutti

Note that I no longer refer to Carlo Vigano as “Archbishop” as he is in a state of manifest obstinate formal schism by his repeated public emphatic rejection of Pope Francis as the Roman Pontiff and as the head of the Church, and by his rejection of the Second Vatican Council “en bloc”. He is also in a state of manifest obstinate formal heresy by his rejection of the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church, in so far as he claims that Pope Francis (“Bergoglio”) is the head of a false Church.

In his recent comments on Fratelli Tutti, Vigano continues to reject the Roman Pontiff as Teacher, and to express an apparently unrestricted freedom to reject anything the Supreme Pontiff teaches, even when that teaching has been previously taught by an Ecumenical Council (e.g. freedom of religion taught by Vatican II) and by the successive Popes and the body of Bishops thereafter. He gravely harms the faithful by spreading his heretical rejection of the Second Vatican Council and his schismatic rejection of the authority of the Supreme Shepherd, Pope Francis, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present.

Carlo Vigano: ‘In a broad sense, if one intends “to make God present through the presence of one or more religions” as opposed to the “departure from religious values” referred to in point 275, as the text seems to suggest, the proposition is erroneous and heretical, because it puts on the same level the divine Revelation of the living and true God with the “prostitutions”, as the Sacred Scripture calls false religions. To argue that the presence of false religions “benefits our societies” is equally heretical, because it not only offends the Majesty of God, but also legitimizes the action of dissidents, attributing merit rather than responsibility for the damnation of souls and for the wars of religion waged against the Church of Christ by heretics, Muslims and idolaters.’

Vigano is accused Pope Francis of teaching heresy. In truth, it is Carlo Vigano who is teaching heresy. For the teaching of the Second Vatican Council on the fundamental human right of freedom of religion has been taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, and so is infallible. His theological argument is irrelevant. What matters is the duty that the faithful have to believe what the Church teaches — not only Her infallible teachings, but also Her non-infallible teachings. There is no unrestricted freedom to reject whatever teachings one dislikes, unless the Church forces you to believe by issuing a solemn definition. And, of course, if the Roman Pontiff were to use Papal Infallibility, they would find some excuse to claim it is not infallible. The faithful believe what the Magisterium teaches, and the unfaithful believe whatever they like.

So it is Carlo Vigano’s proposition, which is “erroneous and heretical”. He is a heretic and a dissident, and he falls into his own categorization of “heretics, Muslims and idolaters”.

Before the fact of our sinfulness, God wills us to know the fullness of truth and to follow the Catholic Faith. However, because of our sinfulness, many persons find themselves unable to accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church. Vigano is one such person. God then positively wills that there be other religions which retain as much goodness and truth as possible, such as the Catholic heretical groups, the Orthodox Christians, and the Protestants. This will of God takes into account our weaknesses. And the Holy Spirit does work with these groups, including heretics and schismatics, in so far as they are willing to cooperate with His graces.

God established the Jewish Faith by Divine Revelation, a revelation which is still a part of the Catholic Faith today. And while it is true that the Jews of today generally do not accept Jesus as the Messiah, they retain so much of the original Faith established by God that we must say that their religion is positively willed by God. Of course, in the Catholic Faith, as in the non-Catholic Christian religions, as in Judaism today, whatever is error is not positively willed by God. But that applies to Catholics just as much as to any other believers.

Vigano is a schismatic and a heretic who is gravely harming his own professed religion, and viciously condemning the head of his own chosen religion, and he has the gall to call other religions “false”. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so…No, it’s laughable. Vigano has proclaimed that the head of the Catholic religion is a heretic and a freemason and has malicious intentions, etc. And yet he calls all religions other than Catholicism “false”. Exactly what religion does Carlo Vigano follow? Is it the Catholicism of the 18th century? Then he must have a time machine. The Catholic Church in the present is led by Pope Francis. There is no other Catholic Church. And the recent Popes all followed Vatican II, which Vigano rejects as a whole. So it is patently absurd and deserving of ridicule for Carlo Vigano, who has publicly stated that Pope Francis leads a false Church, to call all non-Catholic religions false.

Vigano condemns idolatry, yet he has raised himself up as an idol. For the only religion he finds to be true is his own ideas about religion — not the teachings of the Catholic Church, which he thinks has gone astray since Vatican II. Vigano is a heretic, a schismatic, and an idolater, with himself as the idol. He also speaks to the whole Church, repeatedly, as if he were leading them, and as if they should not follow any Roman Pontiff or Ecumenical Council or Bishop who disagrees with him. Therefore, he is also an antipope. Though he does not call himself Pope or Roman Pontiff, yet in every other way, he behaves and speaks like an antipope.

Does moderate peaceful Islam benefit our societies? Yes, it does. Muslims who love God and neighbor benefit society, for example, in the work of the Red Crescent, which is similar to the Red Cross. In another example, when Christian churches were threatened with bombings, not so many years ago, on Christmas, a group of Muslims surrounded a Christian church to protect it, while Christmas was being celebrated. Faithful Muslims serve society in many roles. For example, a physician I follow online has set aside his usual business work, running a medical company, to work on the Covid-19 problem. And he does his work with faith and prayers, motivated by love of God and neighbor.

And I should not need to point out that the teaching of Jesus Christ on the Good Samaritan precisely contradicts the false teaching of Vigano. For the Samaritans followed an altered and false version of Judaism, and yet Jesus says that we should follow the example of the Samaritan, who had the wrong ideas on religion. And it is his example which for many centuries has benefited our societies, even though Vigano would call his religion false.

Vigano then uses the phrase “Pius XI, in his immortal Encyclical Quas Primas, proclaims….” So Vigano favors the contents of one encyclical, therefore he calls it “immortal”, but he utterly rejects the encyclicals of Pope Francis. Therefore, Vigano does not have faith in the teachings of the Church through Pius XI, since he only believes what Pius XI teaches because it agrees with his own mind. And that is not faith at all. I wonder whether Carlo Vigano possesses any of the infused theological virtue of faith at all. Is he weak in faith or is faith entirely absent in him? And I see no love of neighbor in him, especially by the sweeping manner that he condemns all religions by his own, and even his own religion, believing in nothing but the idolatry of his own understanding.

Vigano: “And since the enemies of God cannot be our friends, the brotherhood of the peoples against God is not only ontologically impossible, but theologically blasphemous.”

What a thoroughly unchristian remark! Jesus taught us to love our enemies. And no one is an enemy of God, except that he or she has chosen to be so. The phrase “brotherhood of the peoples” is taken from Communism, and Communism opposes the idea of God. But the sentence as a whole doesn’t really make any sense. Can we be friends with communists, atheists, Muslims, Jews, Protestants, etc.? Yes. Why not? The idea that anyone who seems to be an enemy of God must be excluded from “our” friendship is contrary to the love taught by the Gospel.

I see the love of Christ in the teachings of Pope Francis. And I see nothing by darkness and hatred in the teachings of Carlo Vigano.

Vigano: “The reference to the conciliar document Nostra Aetate is the confirmation of the ideological link of the Bergoglian heretical thought with the premises earlier set by Vatican II. In false religions there is nothing true and holy “ex se,” since any elements of truth that they can preserve are in any case usurped, and used to conceal the error and make it more harmful. No respect can be accorded to false religions, whose precepts and doctrines must be excluded and rejected in their entirety.

Again, Vigano accuses the Roman Pontiff of heresy, contradicting the teaching of Vatican I, that each Pope has the charism of truth and of never failing faith. When will Vigano and Schneider and the other papal accusers explain how Pope Francis can still be the Roman Pontiff and yet be a heretic and teacher of heresy? Or if they do not believe that Pope Francis is a valid Pope, why don’t they say so, clearly.

If no respect can be accorded to false religions, even when they contain some truths, then no respect can be accorded to the false religion proposed by Vigano, in which the Vicar of Christ is falsely said to be a heretic over a false Church. The false religion of Vigano rejects Vatican II, rejects the indefectibility of the Church, rejects any teaching of Pope Saint John Paul II (such as freedom of religion) which is contrary to the mind of Vigano himself. The false religion of Vigano puts Popes, Councils, the body of Bishops, and the Church Herself below Vigano, as if he were an antipope. Are there elements of truth in Vigano’s religion? But he tells us that doesn’t matter, that we must reject the false religion in its entirety, so to follow Vigano is to reject him and his false version of Catholicism.

Pope Francis: “One fundamental human right must not be forgotten in the journey towards fraternity and peace. It is religious freedom for believers of all religions.”

This is the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, and of the Popes and the body of Bishops since that Council. It is the teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. It is the infallible teaching of the Roman Catholic Faith. To reject this teaching is heresy.

And what would happen, as an intellectual exercise, if there was no freedom of religion? The U.S. is not even 25% Catholic. And most of the U.S. Catholics are not on the far right, like Vigano. Without the freedom of religion, Vigano and his supporters would be silenced. They are a minority within a minority. By rejecting freedom of religion, they are sawing the limb upon which they are sitting. Then suppose that a nation were run by Catholics such as Vigano, would they shut down all the mosques and temples? Would then close all the Orthodox or Protestant churches? Freedom of religion follows from freedom of conscience, that each person must be free to pursue religious and moral truth, according to his own understanding. It is a fundamental human right because we are persons with minds and heart, who seek to find and know truth on important matters. To reject freedom of religion is to reject the gifts given to us by God of free will and an intellective soul.

Vigano: “This concept of religious freedom…is heretical and irreconcilable with the immutable doctrine of the Church.”

Again, Vigano falsely accuses Pope Francis of heresy. But Vatican II also taught freedom of religion. So Vigano has now accused an Ecumenical Council of teaching heresy. And who else taught freedom of religion? Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. They now stand accused of heresy by Vigano. And Pope Saint Paul VI approved of the teachings of Vatican II, so he stands accused of heresy by Vigano as well. Then the body of Bishops similarly believes and teaches what the Popes and the Council taught, freedom of religion, so Vigano is accusing them as well.

Which is more likely, that an Ecumenical Council, Pope Saint John XXIII, Pope Saint Paul VI, Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and the body of Bishops throughout several decades now are all heretics teaching the heresy of freedom of religion, or that Vigano and Schneider are heretical and schismatic bishops? This is the same absurdity that we see century after century with the heretics and schismatics who depart from the one true Church. They become convinced that their own little group is right and the Church is wrong. And history ridicules them.

Vigano: “The human being has no right to error.”

Okay. So what about all your errors, Carlo? What about your errors in religion?

The human person has a fundamental human right to seek religious and moral truth, and having arrived at what he or she believes to be true, they have the right to adhere to that truth, even if they are wrong. Errors are inevitable. Even the Church errs at times in Her non-infallible teachings.

The problem with Vigano’s claim is that what one person calls and error, another person calls the truth. Vigano’s own teachings are grave errors. And yet, humorously, he proclaims there’s no right to error, while he is erring. In a sense, there is a right to err, in that we all have a right to seek truth, and being in the fallen state, we will undoubtedly err. But the real issue here is WHO DECIDES WHAT IS AND IS NOT ERROR?

The implicit assertion here is that VIGANO decides what is and is not error. And he has the gall to proclaim that Pope Saints, other Popes, and Ecumenical Council and the body of Bishops throughout the world are all in error to the extent of heresy. And then he condemns all the other world religions as false and worthy of condemnation in their entirety. He is making himself judge over his own religion and all other religions as well, to decide what is and is not error.

Vigano: “It is unbelievable that the Vicar of Christ (I forgot: Bergoglio has renounced this title!) can recognize any right to false religions, since the Church is the Lamb’s Bride, and it would be blasphemous to just think that Our Lord could have more brides.”

Vigano now accuses Pope Francis of blasphemy. I would like to point out that, in my understanding of the teachings of Vatican I, no Pope can commit blasphemy, as it would be a grave failing of faith.

Vigano: “The proposition “God’s love is the same for every person, of whatever religion” is gravely equivocal and deceptive, more insidious than a blatant heresy.”

Here, Vigano accuses Pope Francis of deliberate deception and of something worse than a “blatant heresy”. From the very beginning of his public criticisms of Pope Francis, Vigano has imputed malice to the motives of the Roman Pontiff. This was evident in his letters about McCarrick. And he continued this practice of assuming evil intentions on the part of Pope Francis throughout his other attacks on the Pope. But how can he know what is in the mind and heart of the Pope? He cannot. And yet he speaks as if he could be certain, and he makes a grave accusation based on that claimed knowledge of the Pope’s interior, of his very heart and mind.

Vigano: “what the Church has always preached, and that the anti-church obstinately denies,”

Is Vigano calling the Church led by Pope Francis an anti-church? That would be consistent with his past remarks.

That is the end of Carlo Vigano’s remarks, for now, on Fratelli Tutti. It could not be more clear that Vigano is a schismatic and heretic. And yet so very many Catholics hang on his every word and follow him. Well, they are not really following Vigano. If Vigano repented and followed the teachings of Vatican II and Pope Francis, his supporters would all abandon him. They are following their own understanding, that is their idol. It is the idolatry of pride.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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