The exact wording of the historic "Cardinals' Manifesto", or "The Pell-Müller Intervention" (after the names of its main authors), which became known as simply the "Letter of the Thirteen Cardinals", the most profound challenge faced by a Pontiff in recent history, may be in dispute. But the general terms of the missive are not. And, in particular, the huge historic significance of a document that promises to be foundational in the 21st-Century papacy cannot be lost.
And what a magnificent document it is! It is the first chapter of a movement that will have far greater consequences than what is being realized at the moment. As the Gregorian Reforms could not have been clear in the decades that preceded them, so this age of chaos and Modernist domination hides the seeds of more than a few Hildebrands waiting to bring the Church from the edge of the satanic pit of immorality that seems about to swallow her from all sides.
One point that cannot be overlooked in the letter (emphasized by Antonio Socci) is one of which converts from Protestantism are always aware: the stunning desire of reformers (Kasper in their helm, supported by the Pope himself) to follow the path already followed by Liberal Protestantism. Even in a simply objective and material assessment of the prospects of the Catholic Church as a purely human corporation in whose continuity her current administrators should apparently be interested, it is a move that can be classified as one of the two, with no third option available: either as hopelessly idiotic or as deliberately evil. Let us return to this, the last paragraph of the letter, which is its most important because it does not deal with matters of synodal procedure, but with the Magisterium, that is, with what the office of Peter is and does:
Finally and perhaps most urgently, various fathers have expressed concern that a synod designed to address a vital pastoral matter – reinforcing the dignity of marriage and family – may become dominated by the theological/doctrinal issue of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. If so, this will inevitably raise even more fundamental issues about how the Church, going forward, should interpret and apply the Word of God, her doctrines and her disciplines to changes in culture. The collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation, warrants great caution in our own synodal discussions.
This is astonishing. First, it contains a warning, a warning that is "urgent". In it the Vicar of Christ himself is warned by some of his most important assistants (his Secretary of the Economy, the guardian of the Doctrine of the Faith, the guardian of Divine Worship -- consider all that), and even of the not always consistent Cardinal Dolan (giving an idea of the wide spectrum covered by those concerned) on how this chaotic process created by the Pope himself is "rais[ing] even more fundamental issues about how the Church, going forward, should interpret and apply the Word of God, her doctrines and her disciplines to changes in culture."
The warning goes much further than that because, as several have highlighted, it uses an apocalyptic term, "collapse", strictly related to how the ideas espoused by Kasper on communion for remarried divorcees and related concepts, ideas that are protected by the Pope, have caused the collapse of liberal Protestant communities. (And let us not kid ourselves anymore on this very important point -- at this moment in time, it is still a proposal, but it is obviously a Kasper-Bergoglio proposal, and it has been since the Pope asked Kasper to propose it in the February 2014 consistory). And the warning ends with an even more startling note: the Protestant collapse was "accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation" -- they mean exactly what is written, that is, the reformers (the pope on their side), who are using "pastoral adaptation" as their banner to change the Magisterium, do so "by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief." That is, the Catholic reformers (who, as the original Pharisees and the liberal Protestants, and against Christ, are true believers in the toleration of divorce) are doing the same. Their method is the same. Their goal is the same. Their result will be the same: collapse.
The 13 Cardinals' Letter is the most powerful accusation made by Cardinals against this, and certainly against any other pontificate in the recent history of the Church.