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Correspondence with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
(Bergoglian Red Herring)

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse.
[Source]

Table of contents

1) S. Jetchick (2019-Jan-09)
2) "Why I Won't Ask Pope Francis to Resign" (2018-Dec-10)
3) J. Roback Morse (2019-Jan-14)
4) S. Jetchick (2019-Jan-15)

1) S. Jetchick (2019-Jan-09)

[Used the silly Contact form.]

Good day Dr. Morse,

I know it's impolite to send a hyperlink to somebody
instead of just stating what we have to say in the
e-mail we're sending them, but I might have an excuse.

I read and annotated your article called "Why I Won't
Ask Pope Francis to Resign", using colors (green if I
agree, red if I disagree, yellow if I'm unsure) and
comments. The formatting is difficult to fit inside a
plain e-mail.

The web page with your annotated article is here.

I'd love to read your feedback on this!

Keep up the otherwise excellent work of the Ruth Institute!

SJJ

2) "Why I Won't Ask Pope Francis to Resign" (2018-Dec-10)

Here is a local copy of the article "Why I Won't Ask Pope Francis to Resign" by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse. I've added my usual coloring scheme.

A lot of people are upset about Pope Francis. Some have called on him to resign. Some have gone so far as to make the outrageous claim he is not really the pope.

And that's it, folks! We could stop reading right here!

Dr. Morse declares Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be Pope, because she's good at name-calling the claim he is not. Period. No examination of the evidence. Not even a recognition that this claim cannot be intrinsically outrageous.

After that, her job is easy. Of course nobody in their right mind should ask a real Pope to resign! If Bergoglio really is the Pope, then he is the Vicar of Christ and the visible Head of the Catholic Church! So if you're a bit sleepy when you start reading her article, and you let that statement slip by without murmuring, you're screwed!

Although I don't agree with some of his actions, I will not be calling on him to resign, nor claiming he is not really pope. However, that does not mean that I plan to sit around doing nothing about our current troubles in the Church. I am making some serious demands on myself in this matter. I encourage you to do the same. Let me explain.

Of all the Catholics claiming Bergoglio isn't Pope, I've never come across one who was "sitting around doing nothing". All of them are "making serious demands" on themselves (keeping the Faith, praying, fasting, reading more official Church teachings published before Bergoglio, calling the attention of other Catholics to the incompatibilities between what the Church has always taught, and what Bergoglio says, etc.).

I agree with much of what Michael Brendan Dougherty says when he makes "The Case Against Pope Francis". The Vatican's agreement with the People's Republic of China betrays the Church there. His communications are often so confused they cannot be called «teaching.»

I'm grateful to Dr. Morse for pointing out that article! If you remove the expression "Pope Francis" and replace it with "Jorge Mario Bergoglio", I agree with it.

Mr. Dougherty even claims Bergoglio is starting a new religion:

What Francis is slowly instituting is a religion of presumption. A religion of "good enough", where our misguided efforts put God in our debt. Communion becomes a participation trophy. And by freeing the Church from its preoccupation with outdated sins such as adultery, Francis can refocus the Church on the things he likes to denounce, such as the building of border walls, or air conditioning.
[Source]

If Bergoglio is starting a new religion, then he's no longer the Pope of the Catholic religion, right?

According to Church teaching, the charism of papal infallibility does not apply to the situations I just named. A pope can certainly err in foreign policy, personnel appointments and off-the-cuff airplane interviews.

Except Bergoglio has been erring in doctrinal matters. And doctrinal matters inscribed in official Church documents, in the Catechism, and in the "Acta Apostolicae Sedis", etc. We are way past "ex aeroplano" declarations...

But I don't have the authority or the desire to remove him, call for him to resign or declare him an anti-pope. And with a negligible number of exceptions, neither do you, dear reader.

Yes, if we concede Dr. Morse's initial statement here above.

Even Archbishop Carlo Viganò, whom I greatly respect, seems to have backed off from his initial call on Pope Francis to resign.

And authority is important. In my opinion, the modern crisis, of which the clergy sex-abuse crisis is one instance, is a crisis of authority. Modern man claims to not believe in authority. He is constantly told there is no objective truth. All authority structures allegedly provide «cover» for the exercise of raw power. The thin veneer of legality is so much opiate for the masses.

By contrast, we as Catholics actually believe in authority. We believe we can judge the legitimacy of authority by objective criteria, not just raw power. In fact, a bit of reflection shows that «the law of the strongest» is the end point of the major ideologies of our time.

I read and re-read that paragraph, and I'm not sure if Dr. Morse is contradicting herself here. Her belief in Bergoglian authority reeks of anomism, yet she simultaneously rejects anomism for all other authorities. The kind of obedience she's offering to Bergoglio doesn't seem like Catholic obedience, but then she correctly says she has a right to: "judge the legitimacy of authority by objective criteria".

Nazis said the nation could do no wrong. Communists said the party was always right. And the modern sexual revolution endorses all sexual exercises of the will as long as you use «protection» every time and as long as all parties consent.

We've seen how «consent» morphs into nothing more than a fig leaf for the law of the strongest.

Don't get me wrong: I am well aware that the authority structures of the Catholic Church have become corrupted and compromised. But the solution is to reform and cleanse the authority structures, not to tear them down.

Once again, Dr. Morse is committing a logical fallacy (this time, the old "Straw Man"). How is asking for faithfulness to the Holy See an attempt to "tear down authority structures"?

Which brings me to the practical demands I place upon myself and which, dear reader, I commend to you.

I don't have the authority to correct the Pope, or my bishop or even my parish priest. I do have the authority and the duty to defend the deposit of faith, as does every baptized Catholic.

Dr. Morse is contradicting herself in those two sentences.

If our hierarchical superior attacks the Faith, Saint Thomas Aquinas says our duty is to publicly rebuke him.

Besides, we as laity don't have the power to "make" the clergy, much less the pope, do what we want. We can complain all day long. But at the end of the day, where will we be? We'll be another day older, angrier and more frustrated.

Another red herring. We all agree I cannot control the actions of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. But I certainly can choose to give him, or not, my religious obedience.

Angry people don't attract people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which actually is our responsibility.

Angry? Me?

Seriously, neither do people who say we must honor and respect and obey perverts who are destroying the Only Church of Jesus Christ! That too is very unattractive! Another way of being unattractive is to "pooh-pooh" serious questions the laity have about this whole Bergoglian Mess.

We have to admit that not all the problems in the Church today are the fault of the clergy. Enemies of the faith have colonized many of our Catholic institutions, including our parish schools, diocesan high schools, Catholic universities, publishing houses and hospitals. This is not entirely the fault of the clergy. Many schools, for instance, have become what the parents, students and faculty demand.

Wow! Does Doctor Morse have a Ph.D. in "Knocking Down Open Doors"? Or is it a Ph.D. in Red Herrings?
;-)

What can you do? Our Lord put each of us into a particular time and place to be salt and light. There are people in your life who will not hear the Gospel or see it in action without your witness. My organization, the Ruth Institute, is slightly nerdy. Not everyone is: I get that. But we place our «Nerd Gifts» at the service of the Church. I challenge you to place your vocational gifts and talents at the service of reforming the Church.

You have every right and responsibility to be involved in the governance of your parish school. Get a handful of people together and present your case for change. Run for the relevant offices. Volunteer for significant positions.

Does your parish choir sing theologically questionable hymns? If you are in the choir, you can do something about it.

Well, actually, in all honesty, I tried. I tried hard to fix our broken choir. And utterly failed.

What about the Catholic university you attended? Form an alternative alumni association. Pick one program or person that needs to change or go. Don't let up until you have succeeded.

Seriously, all the suggestions of Dr. Morse seem good, except for their fatal flaw. Many years ago I came across a really nice group of Catholics that had roughly the same flawed approach:

A metaphor for [their] approach might be: "Don't publicly mention the cause of darkness; just light a candle". I tend to disagree by saying: "Trying to light puny little candles isn't enough, when an internal enemy roams around with a huge fire extinguisher, seeking candles to put out."
[Source]

I would just add, over thirteen years later, that the corrupt Bishops we must deal with are now pretending to be even higher up in the hierarchy.

In my new book, The Sexual State, I noted:

We're the social workers, teachers, school principals, college professors, and administrators. We're the judges, lawyers, editorial writers, radio producers, and video game makers. We decide what stories count as news and what stories to spike, what headlines to write and what photos will accompany those headlines. [...] We're the doctors, nurses and pharmacists. [...] We decide what reading material will be in the doctor's office waiting room and what the school play will be.

I have noticed, from living in the South, a person can make a nuisance of themselves and get things done without doing anything illegal, immoral or even impolite. You just have to be sure of yourself and not give up.

This is why we can't go around yelling at the Pope. That is the path of trying to control others, which is, in the end, a fool's errand. I can't make him resign or change. Neither can you. But we can change the environment within which he and the rest of the clergy are operating.

Let's get a grip on what we can control. If all of us, if even 10% of us, truly did everything that was within our power and authority to do, the hierarchy couldn't get away with what they've been getting away with. They couldn't bamboozle us with fluffy teachings. They couldn't exile innocent pastors or cover for predators. We would be watching.

I wish you were right. Except if Bergoglio is the Pope, then we have to submit to his decisions. Checkmate, Satan wins.

Our responsibility is to hand on the deposit of faith to the next generation, as it was handed on to us. The corruption we are seeing in our clergy and in our institutions did not happen overnight. We are about 50 years behind in dealing with these issues. We don't have time to spin our wheels and wring our hands over things we can't control.

That is why I will not ask the Pope to resign. It's not my job. And I have something else to do - carry out my unique mission that, literally, no one else can do. You've got one, too. Let's go do it - together.

Is our "unique mission" really to declare something "outrageous" without a serious investigation? Aren't Ph.D.s supposed to be really good at investigating stuff?

Why can't our job be to calmly investigate the ecclesiastical status of Bergoglio? Especially when it's so easy!

Let's go do it - together!

3) J. Roback Morse (2019-Jan-14)

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: Workflow Notification - Contact Us
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 15:07:52 -0600
From: Morse, Jennifer
To: Betsy Kerekes, inquisition.ca@

Dear Mr. Jetchick,

Thank you for writing to me. I can see you have thought this matters
through very thoroughly. Let me ask you this: suppose I grant, for the sake
of argument, that Francis is not pope. What is the next step?
Dr. Morse
Founder and President,
The Ruth Institute
[Contact address]

4) S. Jetchick (2019-Jan-15)

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Let me ask you this: suppose I grant, for the
sake of argument, that Francis is not pope. What
is the next step?
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2019 11:39:25 -0500
From: Stefan Jetchick
To: Morse, Jennifer, Betsy Kerekes

Hello again Dr. Morse,

(Sorry about the delay. My neighbor and good friend
was admitted yesterday at the hospital to install
her feeding tube, since her ALS is progressing.
She's fine, but will certainly appreciate your prayers.
Don't worry, she's not cantankerous and opinionated
like me; she's a very sweet Catholic lady you'd love to
have tea with.)


>> Let me ask you this: suppose I grant, for the sake
>> of argument, that Francis is not pope. What is the next step?

I can think of many problems with your question.

Problem 1)

	I don't know how to solve this Bergoglio problem!
	Being stuck with a problem is not the same thing
	as having a solution for it! I'm STUCK with
	the Bergoglio Problem!

Problem 2)

	I was actually serious in my previous e-mail. I
	really do not know as of this writing if
	Bergoglio is the Pope. I have serious doubts,
	which I would like to clear up, but I don't have
	scientific evidence.

	I really would appreciate the "intellectual
	firepower" of a Ph.D. like yours being swivelled
	into the direction of the question: "Is Bergoglio
	really the Pope?"

---------------------------------

I'm not a scientist, but it seems to me one of the basic
reflexes of a scientist, when faced with a tough and
important question, is to first avoid taking sides before
having examined the data.

That was the gist of my initial e-mail: don't call
something outrageous unless you're able to back up
that claim scientifically.

Secondly, as far as I know, a scientist, when faced with
a tough and important question, will start by accumulating
data. Concerning the "Bergoglio Problem", we would need
to find some kind of "monograph" ("a learned treatise on a
small area of learning") that listed, in boring and
exhaustive detail, all the arguments in favor of Bergoglio
being Pope, and all the arguments against, and of course
with supporting references for each argument.

(As a little tidbit of an example, Ann Barnhardt a few days
ago apparently uncovered that Joseph Ratzinger was in favor
of splitting the Papacy into three "partial popes": one
Catholic, one Protestant and one Orthodox! Even if it were
true, it wouldn't prove anything, but it would be a
very interesting reference to add to one of the arguments
of the aforementioned monograph.)

Thirdly, we can certainly ask ourselves related questions
like: "Why should we even inquire about whether or not
Bergoglio is Pope?" and "Suppose Bergoglio is an impostor,
then what?"

About the "why", I think I read it first on Miss Barnhardt's
web site. In a nutshell, if Bergoglio is not Pope, then he
will not be protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching
error ("and the gates of Hell will not prevail against Her"),
so Satan would be able to use Bergoglio to teach anything,
including what the Serpent said to Eve.

I think the gravity of such an eventuality is self-evident.
Therefore, the question about whether Bergoglio is really
the Pope must be examined seriously.

About the "what then, if" question, I could think out loud
and try to list some practical advice, off the top of my
head.

Please note this "advice" has rougly the same
reliability and scientific solidity as if you woke me up in
the middle of the night and screamed: "The Titanic is
sinking! What do we do?" I might be able to mutter obvious
things like: "Step One: Say your Act of Contrition. Step Two:
Grab your Bug Out Bag. Step Three: Get into a life raft.

So what would my list of practical advice be, if
Bergoglio was not the Pope?

	Step One: Stop calling him the Pope!

That sounds silly, but it's actually very important. If
the General of the Army is actually a traitor, all the
soldiers will be massacred, because they cannot protect
themselves from being shot in the back.

But if the treason is uncovered, and all soldiers
warned, then each soldier can at least stop obeying the
orders of such a corrupt and fake "general". Also,
each soldier can continue to fight against the enemy,
while also taking cover from the bullets being
sprayed in their backs by the treasonous "general".

	Step Two: All the good stuff you advocate (etc.)

If Bergoglio is a fake Pope, then we just revert to what
good Catholics usually do when an anti-Pope appears (there
have been others in the Church's long history). We just
keep the Faith, pray, fast, learn our Catechism, perform
spiritual and corporeal works of Mercy, etc.

Sorry, I don't yet have any brilliant ideas for Step Three
(just unmentionable temptations).

In Christ,

SJJ

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