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SIGN open letter to Pope Francis: Honor Mother Mary, not Mother Earth

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Starting in Paris, France, Karen Darantière has gathered a huge cohort of Catholic laity and clergy from around the world, who have signed an Open Letter to Pope Francis, asking him to encourage the faithful to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, not "Mother Earth."

Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the Open Letter to Pope Francis in full.

The Open Letter invokes a variety of saints, and particularly St. Catherine of Siena, who encouraged the popes of her day to solve the crisis in the Church which had led to a situation where two men were claiming the throne of St. Peter at the same time.

Just as St. Catherine spoke truth to power in the hope that the beauty of the truth would eventually prevail, so, too, do the signatories of this Open Letter do, today.

Quoting from the letter, here are the words of Saint Catherine, which she wrote in a letter to Pope Gregory XI in 1376:

“I tell you in the name of Christ crucified that you must use your authority. ... You are in charge of the garden of the Holy Church. So [first of all] uproot from that garden the stinking weeds filled with impurity and avarice, and bloated with pride (I mean the evil pastors and administrators who poison and corrupt the garden). ... Use your authority, you who are in charge of us! Uproot these weeds and throw them out where they will have nothing to administer! Tell them to tend to administering themselves by a good holy life. Plant fragrant flowers in this garden for us, pastors and administrators who will be true servants of Jesus Christ crucified, who will seek only God’s honor and the salvation of souls, who will be fathers to the poor.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider is among those who have shown warm approval to this Open Letter to Pope Francis, sending the following endorsement:

"I wholeheartedly express my support and my esteem to you and to the signatories of the Open Letter to Pope Francis! May God reward you for this meritorious and highly necessary Letter. Your letter will go down in history as a luminous confession of the Faith, worthy of the true Catholic faithful laity of all times.

May God grant that these voices of the little ones from the ecclesiastical periphery touch finally and effectively the heart of Pope Francis so that by the grace of the infinite Divine Mercy he may return to the fulfillment of his task as the Vicar of Christ on earth and the successor of Peter in confirming with unambiguous words and acts the faithful and the bishops in the immutable Catholic and Apostolic Faith."

By SIGNING, you join your name to those of the signatories and author. Thank you!

OPEN LETTER TO POPE FRANCIS: "Honor Mother Mary, not Mother Earth"

Most Holy Father,

“Am I not here, I who am your Mother?  Are you not in the shadow of my protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not within the folds of my mantle?  Do I not carry you in my arms? What need have you of anything else?”

Thus spoke Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego in 1531.  We begin our letter to you, Holy Father, with the words of our Heavenly Mother, which she addressed to one of the little ones of the Church, for we believe that the Mother of God speaks with more loving grace and luminous simplicity than we ever could.  Her words are also addressed to us, her wayward children, poor sinners that we are, at all times, as we are ever in need of her solicitous intercession. However, it appears to us as clear as day that her words cry out with an especial urgency in these somber days of ours, when her expressed desire to extend her merciful compassion and offer her powerful assistance to all of her little ones appears to have fallen upon deaf ears.  Indeed, instead of invoking her powerful assistance, her children are invoking in vain the deaf and dumb idols of the so-called mother earth. Indeed, we witnessed, with horror in our hearts, the vain invocation, the idolatrous prostration, the scandalous veneration of the mother earth that took place, in broad daylight, just prior to and throughout the Amazon Synod, all in your presence, Holy Father. We implore you, Holy Father, to answer us when, lovingly and respectfully, we ask of you: How is this not in clear contradiction with God’s 1st Commandment: “Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.”?

However, forgive us, Holy Father, if we say, in all simplicity: that is not all.  For, in response to the faithful who were scandalized by these actions, a cacophony of discordant voices was heard coming from the high priests of our Holy Mother the Church: one stated that the statue, before which there were prayers and prostrations, was a mere symbol of fertility or maternity; another claimed that it was the Holy Virgin; another audaciously affirmed, contrary to the clear testimony of our eyes, that no act of prostration had taken place; yet another affirmed that, if any worship had occurred, it should nevertheless be respected;  finally, you yourself, Holy Father, confirmed that it was indeed a statue representing the pachamama, the mother earth, but that there had been no idolatrous intention. However, as one honest and holy man of God has said: "He who affirms that this cult had no idolatrous intentions simply denies the facts. Such an affirmation resembles a doctor who, having performed an abortion, claims that he had no intention to kill an unborn child." Holy Father, your faithful children, who are longing to hear nothing but the Truth, upon hearing these discordant voices, were even more scandalized.  We implore you, Holy Father, to answer us when, lovingly and respectfully, we ask of you: How can this chorus of contradictory voices be in clear conformity with God’s 8th Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”?

Holy Father, it is in the clear light of day that these and many other such scandalous words and deeds have manifested themselves, whereas the divine truths spoken by Our Lord Jesus Christ seem to have been obscured, having been drowned in an endless stream of ambiguous words, contradictory statements, obscure pronouncements, misleading and misguiding the frightened flock.  Such is the gravity of the wounds inflicted on our souls, on our sense of the faith that we, the little ones of the Church, poor and unworthy sinners that we are, wish to proclaim, before God, that we will have none of the ‘rigid’ ‘ideology’ of the mother earth. On the contrary, we wish to proclaim the true faith of our Holy Mother Church.  We will not blindly follow those false shepherds who wish to lead us down obscure paths, inciting us to venerate deaf and dumb idols, but we will endeavor to faithfully rest in God’s pure light and firmly confess our faith in his Eternal Word.  Indeed, we believe that the hour of truth has come for us, that the moment of choice has arrived, and we therefore declare that we vehemently reject the so-called mother earth, who has no voice for us to hear and whom we would invoke in vain, and, above all, that we choose as our Mother and we will invoke, today and always, the Holy Virgin Mary, Our Heavenly Queen and Merciful Mother.  We implore you, Holy Father, to answer us when, lovingly and respectfully, we ask of you: Will you confirm us, poor sinners in need of God’s great mercy, in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith?

Holy Father, such is our spiritual suffering that we can no longer stay silent, and so we say with the naivety of children: this is still not all we wish to say to you.   For the source of our suffering is to be found not only in the very recent events which we have just sorrowfully evoked. Hardly one year prior to the veneration of the mother earth there occurred the horrifying revelations of the abominable crimes and grave sexual sins crying out to Heaven for retribution which were committed against boys and young seminarians by a former Cardinal, the very prelate who had cynically and hypocritically vowed nearly two decades prior to this revelation to cleanse the Church of such abominations!  This was followed by further revelations, in particular the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, published on August 14th 2018, the day before Assumption Day, in which hundreds of priests were accused of sexually abusing over a thousand children, who most likely only represent a small minority of the victims of this abominable abuse in the dioceses of Pennsylvania.  And how many more are there the whole world over? So many abominable crimes committed against so many little ones, thousands upon thousands over generations! May God have mercy on their souls and heal their wounds! Yet, as if this were not enough, we learn that while these wolves in priestly vestments were loosed upon the flock, so many of the episcopal shepherds stood by and watched, doing little or nothing to prevent these horrors, or worse still, actively attempting to conceal these abominations!  In their hands, our Holy Mother Church has become a sign of sin rather than salvation!

And yet, in response to this immense evil of our day, we have heard little else than some nebulous talk of ‘clericalism’ as being the chief cause of these abominations.  We cannot help but say, Holy Father: we do not understand this abstract term.  It appears rather nebulous and vague to our simple souls. The crimes committed, namely child rape, sodomy, and sacrilege, are neither vague nor abstract, and cry to heaven on high for God’s justice. We grasp more easily the clear words of Our Lord when he says: “But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.”   In any case, this incrimination of ‘clericalism’ appears as an excessively meager and mild response to such grave scandals, hardly apt to eliminate such a widespread ecclesiastical culture of criminality.  We cannot help but wonder if it does not serve as a sort of smokescreen behind which those who ought to take charge of purifying the Holy Church fearfully hide so as to avoid having to confront the great evil of our day.   We implore you, Holy Father, to answer us when, lovingly and respectfully, we ask of you: Where is the expression of immense sorrow? Where are the fervent calls to purity and penitence? Where is the holy zeal needed to root out this despicable filth, this profound evil?  Where is the renewed love of God's 6th Commandment: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” ?

Holy Father, our words are woefully insufficient to express the suffering and sorrow these revelations have caused in our hearts.  We will allow Saint Catherine of Siena to speak now instead of us, quoting the words she wrote to a priest in 1376:

“Where is the purity of the ministers of God’s Son? Reflect that just as you demand that the chalice you carry to the altar be clean and would reject it if it were dirty, so God, supreme eternal Truth, demands that your souls be pure and clean, without stain of deadly sin, especially the sin of impurity. ... These days we are seeing the exact opposite of the purity God requires! Not only are they not God’s temples carrying the fire of God’s word, but they have become stalls, lodging for pigs and other animals! … For they harbor pigs, and a filthiness that is incessantly rolling about within them like a pig in the mud. ... How bewildering to see Christ’s anointed ones giving themselves over to such wretchedness and immorality!”

And once again, here are the words of Saint Catherine, which she wrote in a letter to Pope Gregory XI in 1376:

“I tell you in the name of Christ crucified that you must use your authority. ... You are in charge of the garden of the Holy Church. So [first of all] uproot from that garden the stinking weeds filled with impurity and avarice, and bloated with pride (I mean the evil pastors and administrators who poison and corrupt the garden). ... Use your authority, you who are in charge of us! Uproot these weeds and throw them out where they will have nothing to administer! Tell them to tend to administering themselves by a good holy life. Plant fragrant flowers in this garden for us, pastors and administrators who will be true servants of Jesus Christ crucified, who will seek only God’s honor and the salvation of souls, who will be fathers to the poor.”

Finally, in 1380, Saint Catherine wrote the following to Pope Urban VI:

“Do you know what will happen to you if you don’t set things right by doing what you can? God wants you to reform his bride completely; he doesn’t want her to be leprous any longer. If your holiness does not do all you can about this — because God has appointed you and given you such dignity for no other purposes — God will do it himself by using all sorts of troubles.”

Indeed, the world has already witnessed such a sign of trouble, with the recent devastating fire that seriously damaged the Cathedral Notre Dame of Paris on April 15th 2019, at the beginning of the Holy Week.  Not only were the faithful of France moved to tears and filled with sorrow when they saw before their very eyes their glorious cathedral go up in flames, but the faithful the world over were united in prayer to Our Lady for the preservation of this venerable masterpiece of the Catholic Faith.  Some of us little ones were there, standing before the burning cathedral, singing hymns to Our Lady and praying the Rosary into the late hours of the night. For those of us who were there, it was a clear sign from heaven, meant to awaken the faithful from their spiritual slumber, not only those of France, ‘the eldest daughter of the Church’, but also of the entire world, as we all witnessed, from nearby or from afar, with great sorrow, the burning of Notre Dame.  This destructive fire, we believe, is symbolic of the spiritual fire which has been burning and destroying both the faith and the morals of our Church, the Credo and the Commandments, over the past decades and with renewed vigor in our days.     

Holy Father, we are the little ones of the Church, we are neither clergy nor theologians, we are the scattered flock crying out for their shepherds to guide them and care for them.  We are the simple church-going lay faithful whose sense of the faith has been shaken and scandalized. We beg you, Holy Father, do not respond either with a stony silence or a torrent of verbal abuse to your children who, conscious of their sinfulness, desire nothing else than to be your most faithful children.  Holy Father, we beg of you, do not ignore the pleas of those whose sole desire is to be faithful to Our Mother the Church, to be guided by faithful shepherds whose words are nothing more nor less than the faithful and clear echo of the words of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who said: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life”.  Indeed, as Saint John Eudes said, speaking directly to priests about their dignity and obligations: “The Son of God chose you, not only that you yourselves might serve and love Him, but also that you might make Him loved and served by others.  He selected you that you might announce to the world the virtues, that is, the perfections and excellence, the mysteries and marvels of Him who hath called you out of darkness, from the darkness of sin and hell, into His marvellous light.”

We will conclude our letter by making ours, once again, the words of Saint Catherine of Siena, by paraphrasing the following words by which she concluded her own letter to Pope Gregory XI in 1376: Forgive our presumption. Let our love and grief for God's honor, for the honor of The Holy Virgin Mary, our Heavenly Mother, and for the good of our Holy Church be our excuse in the presence of your benevolence. Have pity on the sweet loving desires being offered for you and holy Church in continual tears and prayers. Please don't treat them with indifference, but hear the voices of your children, your little ones, crying out to you to confirm them in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

Ave Maria.

Yours faithfully in Christ,

Karen Darantière (author) and esteemed signatories

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