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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - An explosive memorandum circulating among cardinals is warning of dire consequences for Catholicism if the next conclave elects a pontiff in the image and likeness of Pope Francis.
Offering a devastating analysis of the current pontificate as "catastrophic," the missive raises seven red flags detailing the doctrinal, moral, liturgical, political, legal, financial and administrative meltdown of the Catholic Church under Francis' reign.
Veteran Vaticanist Sandro Magister, who published the document on his website Tuesday, observed that a cardinal who "shows himself a thorough master of the subject" may have penned the letter — which is signed with the pseudonym "Demos" (people).
Warning that the Vatican is on the verge of financial bankruptcy, "Demos" alerts cardinal-electors to how Francis' theological heterodoxy has turned Catholicism into a Protestant sect akin to Anglicanism and has changed Christian monotheism into a variant of Hindu panentheism.
In comments to Church Militant, Edward Pentin, author of The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates, stressed the memo was "totally authentic and reflects a widespread sense in Rome that the next pontificate will be a corrective one, redressing the problems mentioned in the document and others."
"It also shows that with each passing day, the pendulum is swinging back to a future pope who will be rooted in orthodoxy and affirm the faithful in the Faith rather than perpetually seek compromise with the world at the expense of authentic Catholicism," Pentin added.
Church Militant sums up below the seven red flags raised by the memorandum.
Since the role of St. Peter's successor is foundational to unity and doctrine, the new pope must understand the "secret" of Catholic vitality comes from "fidelity to the teachings of Christ and Catholic practices" and not "from adapting to the world or from money."
The new pope will first have to restore "doctrinal clarity" and "ensure that the first criterion for the nomination of bishops is acceptance of the apostolic tradition."
Given the German doctrinal rebellion on women priests and Communion for the divorced, if Rome continues to let heresy go unchallenged, the Church would be reduced to a "loose federation of local churches holding different views, probably closer to an Anglican or Protestant model, than an Orthodox model."
The Vatican is silent when top cardinals like Jean-Claude Hollerich, president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union, is "explicitly heretical," as are German bishops, in rejecting Catholic moral teaching on homosexuality.
While Pope Francis has promoted the idolatrous cult of Pachamama — the Andean "Mother Earth" goddess — he has banned private and small group Masses at St. Peter's Basilica, leaving it like "a desert in the early morning."
The COVID crisis has covered up the large decline in the number of pilgrims attending papal audiences and Masses.
"Schism is not likely to occur from the Left, who often sit lightly to doctrinal issues. Schism is more likely to come from the Right and is always possible when liturgical tensions are inflamed and not dampened," the document warns, alluding to Francis' strangulation of the Traditional Latin Mass in his motu proprio Traditionis Custodes.
The memo urges the next pope to regularize the situation of Tridentine traditionalists.
"The lack of respect for the law in the Vatican risks becoming an international scandal," the memo laments, explaining how:
"The pope sometimes (often) rules by papal decrees (motu proprio) which eliminate the right to appeal of those affected" and "many staff, often priests, have been summarily dismissed from the Vatican Curia, often without good reason," the memo adds.
While the Vatican has been hit by annual financial deficits of around €20 million for the past 10 years, they have skyrocketed to over €30–35 million annually during the last three years.
Experts estimate that the Vatican's pension fund deficit will be around €800 million in 2030.
Meanwhile, the Vatican has just lost €217 million on the Sloane Avenue property in London. Other significant losses include a payout of $230 million after the Banco Ambrosiano scandal in the 1980s and the loss of €100–200 million through inefficiency and corruption over the past 25–30 years.
The author of the memo illustrates:
Initially, the Holy Father strongly backed the reforms. He then prevented the centralization of investments, opposed the reforms and most attempts to unveil corruption, and supported (then) Abp. Becciu at the center of the Vatican financial establishment. Then in 2020, the pope turned on Becciu and eventually 10 persons were placed on trial and charged. Over the years, few prosecutions were attempted from AIF reports of infringements.
The external auditors Price Waterhouse and Cooper were dismissed, and the auditor general, Libero Milone, was forced to resign on trumped-up charges in 2017. They were coming too close to the corruption in the Secretariat of State.
The new pope will need to demonstrate competence and integrity to attract substantial donations to help with this problem, the memo points out.
"The political influence of Pope Francis and the Vatican is negligible" and "there have been grave failures to support human rights in Venezuela, Hong Kong, mainland China and now in the Russian invasion," the memo complains.
Francis' policies are often "politically correct," and Catholics who have remained faithful to the Holy See have received no public support from the Vatican.
After Vatican II, Catholic authorities often underestimated the hostile power of secularization, the world, flesh and the Devil — especially in the Western world — and overestimated the influence and strength of the Catholic Church.
We are weaker than 50 years ago, and many factors are beyond our control, in the short term at least, e.g., the decline in the number of believers, the frequency of Mass attendance, the demise or extinction of many religious orders.
The College of Cardinals has been weakened by "eccentric nominations," and since it has not been reconvened since 2014, many cardinals do not know one another, the memo observes. This adds a new dimension of unpredictability to the next conclave.
It also notes Francis has little support among seminarians and younger clergy, who are mostly orthodox and conservative. Further, widespread disgruntlement exists in the Vatican Curia.
The forthcoming global synodal meetings will cost a lot of time and money and distract from evangelization and service. Giving doctrinal authority to national or continental synods jeopardizes worldwide Church unity, the memo warns.
The disastrous decline in Catholic numbers and Protestant expansion in South America — barely discussed during the Amazon Synod — should be addressed, the author urges.
The memo concludes by calling for "unity in essentials, diversity in nonessentials and charity on all issues."