Founder of Large Catholic Broadcaster "Excommunicated" for Criticizing Pope
Jose Galat, Founder, President and Director of Teleamiga, one of the largest Catholic broadcasters, has been declared "excommunicated" because of his criticism of the pope and declaration of latae sententiae excommunication.
(Bogota) In the coming September, a visit to Pope Francis is planned in Colombia, which is casting its shadows. A few days ago there was a serious conflict between the Colombian Bishops' Conference and one of the largest Catholic television channels. At the center of the conflict is a well-known researcher and media entrepreneur who has hitherto been regarded as a faithful Catholic - with a "defect": he dares criticize the office of Pope Francis and even accuses him of not being the "legitimate" successor of Peter, "because he is denying truths of the Faith." The bishop's conference declared him a few days ago to be a "schismatic" and de facto excommunicated.
José Galat: Presidential Consultant, Consul General, University Rector
José Galat Noumer is a well-known man not only in Colombia, but throughout the Spanish-speaking world. He was born in 1928 in Sagomaso (then Diocese of Tunja), a region that is nowadays known for its cyclists. He studied Law in Colombia, Political Science and Sociology in Paris and Philosophy in Barcelona. In Colombia, he was initially active within the framework of the International Association of Christian Entrepreneurs (UNIAPAC). In his working life, he devoted himself not only the social sciences, but also to the establishment of educational institutions and the cooperative system. From 1966-1974 he was a consultant to Colombian President Carlos Lleras Restrepo and Misael Pastrana Borrero, a member of the Colombian People's Bank, and in the 1970s, he was also a Colombian Consul General in Paris.
In 1951 he was given the first assistant position, followed by lectures and professorships at various universities in Colombia. From 1981 to July 17, 2017 he was rector of the University of La Gran Columbia. In this function, too, a special emphasis was laid on the promotion of the cooperative system, which, on the basis of the Catholic social doctrine, he regarded as a particularly suitable instrument for the promotion of the economy, independence and human dignity. More than 250,000 people are now employed in the cooperatives established and supported by the company.
Galat has published 22 books dealing primarily with Colombia, economic questions, cooperative society, but also theological and philosophical issues.
Teleamiga - Catholic television station with millions of viewers
At an early stage, he has dealt with mass communications. In the 1970s, he developed the idea of a weekly broadcasting of the country's president. In 1999, he and his friend Diego Arango Osorio founded Teleamiga , which is now available in HD quality in Colombian cities via cable, otherwise via satellite in all Latin America, the USA, Europe and North Africa. The aim of the two founders was to create, besides the state and private radio broadcasting, a broadcaster devoted to the value and not to commerce. The station belongs to a non-profit foundation of the University of La Gran Columbia, whose president is Galat.
In 2010, he applied to be nominated as a Presidential candidate for the Conservative Party of Colombia. As such, he wanted to succeed Alvaro Uribe, the "vanquisher of the FARC", who was not allowed to stand for two term periods. The party, however, opted for another candidate.
Galat, now 88 years old, still makes the weekly program "Un Cafe de Galat," which, according to the ratings, is one of the most watched TV shows on Teleamiga .
Papal Criticism and Colombian Bishops
Criticism of the Pope is a delicate matter in the Church. The historian Roberto de Mattei, in his recent book, "Defense of Tradition", points out that papal infallibility defined in 1870 by the First Vatican Council, is not only misunderstood by opponents of the Church, but is misunderstood by Catholics themselves.
There are specific factors that come into play in Colombia. In the autumn, the country's bishops' conference and Pope Francis delivered a variety of recommendations in the referendum on the peace plan of President Santos. While the pope was for the peace plan with the Marxist guerrilla organization FARC, this was rejected by the bishops. The majority of the Colombian voters followed the bishops.The FARC had bled the country dry for half a century. Many Colombians do not see why, as they are defeated, that they should be politically revalued and recognized as negotiating partners.
Pope Francis coupled his visit to Colombia to the outcome of popular vote. It took more patient talks to resolve the disagreements in connection, so that the Pope's visit can nevertheless be held with some delay.
"Constant criticism of Pope Francis"
The bishops are therefore not interested in any "disturbances" of ecclesial peace. This is one of the reasons for the sharp reaction that has taken place over the past few days for a Catholic personality so celebrated in the past as Professor Jose Galat.
Galat is an energetic man, as his CV proves. But he is also a man of clear language. The contradictions in the pontificate of Pope Francis, he does not conceal. Criticism was exercised by Galat mainly in connection with the family synod and the controversial post-synodal letter Amoris laetitia. At the same time, the second episcopal synod coinciding with revelations about Cardinal Danneels had decisively altered Galat's attitude. His critics speak of an "increasing radicalization."
Galat's television station reaches up to 50 million viewers, according to InfoVaticana. This is a media power which is not ignored, either by the bishops or by Rome.
In February 2016, the Colombian Bishops' Conference spoke for the first time in a statement about the "trouble" concerning the "constant criticism" by José Galat "upon the person of Pope Francis." The bishops had been alarmed by the news of Teleamiga that "a group of bishops were against Pope Francis." This assertion was "decidedly rejected" and the "unanimous communion with the Holy Father" was emphasized.
In the same month there was an exchange of views between representatives of the Episcopal Conference and the Directorate of Teleamiga, including Galat.
Francis could "open the door of the one world government to the antichrist"
The background is a surprise for the public. After 17 years of cooperation and an even longer friendship, Galat separated from Diego Arango Osorio, with whom he had founded Teleamiga. Galat accused Arango of being against the "doctrine of the Catholic Church." Arango said in an interview with El Spectator that Galat considered it "possible" that Pope Francis could be a "false pope." For this reason, he saw the danger that Francis is "opening the door to the church to the antichrist", "to install a one world government." Arango continues,
"Many people can not understand such theological and dogmatic positions and in a broadcaster that is seen by so many citizens, many are concerned when they listen to Don José expound these theories. I do not share this position of Don José. I am convinced that the Pope, like all the Popes, is elected by the Holy Spirit."
Galat announced the contract with his former partner because of "irreconcilable disagreements".
The next problem took place in autumn 2016. The bishops were anxious to convey the impression of a "complete agreement" between the Pope and the bishops, despite the manifest differences of opinion about the peace process in the country.
Danneel's revelations on the "Mafia of Saint Gallen"
The conflict between Galat and the bishops is, however, not related to domestic politics, but internal to the Church, in its nature. Since October 2015, Galat has repeatedly reported on the background of the election of the European Parliament in his "Un Café con Galat," especially the obscure secrets of Sankt Gallen. The reason is the revelations of Cardinal Godfried Danneels and his biographer on the existence of this secret group in the Church. In the autumn of 2015, Danneels candidly announced his membership in the group of the highest church representatives, founded by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini SJ in the 1990s, who agreed with a progressive attitude and a rejection of the "restoration" of John Paul II. Danneels revealed the purpose of the secret group to boycott the pontificate of John Paul II and to prepare for the election of a progressive successor.
With this intention, however, the group failed in 2005 to prevent Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who was elected Pope Benedict XVI. Already in 2005 Cardinal Bergoglio was a candidate for this group. In 2013, after the surprise of Benedict XVI, who crashed the Church into an unexpected leadership vacuum, the group, which was the only one organized in the conclave, was successful in its second run. Cardinal Walter Kasper, next to Danneels, Lehmann and Murphy O'Connor, one of the key figures of the secret circle, warned the resigned Benedict XVI. early March 2013 in sharp tone, not to interfere in the choice of its successor.
Galat: "Election not legitimate" - "excommunication" by the Episcopal Conference
Jose Galat put these facts on the table, which were revealed by a few Catholic media, and raised the question of the legitimacy of the election of Pope Francis. While the Vatican expert Antonio Socci, who voiced the first doubts about the legality of the election, backed down again from this position, responded to Galat's question with increasing clarity, with No. He also asserted that "Pope Francis falsified many fundamental aspects of the doctrine of the Catholic Church," said Maike Hickson of OnePeterFive, who paid particular attention to the Galat case. Galat calls him a "heretic".
On July 25, 2017, a month and a half before the Pope's visit, the red line was crossed for the bishops. The Colombian Bishops' Conference who published a statement by which it distanced itself from Teleamiga, "especially from the program, 'Un Café con Galat'," signed by Archbishop Oscar Urbina Ortega, President, Archbishop Ricardo Tobon Restrepo, Deputy President, and Auxiliary Bishop Elkin Fernando Alvarez Botero, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference.
The bishops accuse Galat that Teleamiga "does not reflect the doctrine of the Catholic Church" and deny that the broadcaster is "Catholic." What reproach do the bishops make concretely? Referring to canon 751 of the Church right, they denounce Galat for the "refusal of subordination to the pope." This is a serious violation of the community of the Church, which means "a schism." Through his TV channel Galat also leads others to the schism.
One had in the past "years sought a discussion." A Catholic broadcaster had to serve evangelization and not to create "confusion in the believing people" through "wrong thinking."
Priests must end cooperation - prohibited broadcast of Mass
"All priests and religious people" were asked to end "any form of cooperation" with the broadcaster to avert "damage to reputation." Those who do not adhere to it, commit "manifest disobedience" (Can. 754, 1373).
The bishops also forbade the transmission of Holy Mass by the broadcaster and the storage of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar at the station's headquarters. The Daily Mass celebration is the core of the Teleamiga's programming, with which hits the broadcaster on its nerve.
The faithful, who are among the spectators of Teleamiga, are called by the bishops to "distcern the spirits" and should "reject everything that opposes unity with the Pope and the Church."
At the same time, the bishops' conference emphasized that they had intervened in no way with the state broadcasting authority (ANTV), in order to withdraw Teleamiga 's sending license.
The bishops called on the Catholic people to be "like a family", who is seriously believing in faith, and is prepared to receive Pope Francis with joy and happiness at his approaching visit of our country as Father."
Canon Lawyer on Twitter: Galat "excluded from the Church"
On the day after the declaration by the bishops, Monsignor Pedro Mercado, President of the Bogota Church Court on Twitter,
"Because of persistent disobedience against the Pope, Jose Galat himself has been expelled from the fellowship of the Church. He must not receive any sacraments."
Among the dozens of reactions on Twitter there was no one who agreed with Monsignor Mercado. "What heresy has José Galat spread?" "Why is there not such a hard hand against heretics?" These and the like were among numerous questions to the prelate. On the same day, he posted a photo of himself and Pope Francis with the words "I am Catholic and I am in the community!"
The 88-year-old José Galat, in the case of his probably not too distant death, would no longer be buried ecclesiastically. Whether Galat was actually excommunicated is not quite clear. The Bishops' Conference is not competent as a collective body even if it also has Galat's Bishop as a member. Doubts about excommunication were provided by Auxiliary Bishop Elkin Alvarez, who had signed the public declaration as Secretary General of the Bishops' Conference. On the day after their publication, on July 26, he said in an interview with Coracol Radio:
"I do not rule out the possibility that the Archdiocese of Bogota may issue a decree which states that the Eucharist can not be celebrated at Teleamiga."
When asked whether Galat was "excommunicated," Auxiliary Bishop Alvarez said that no explanation of excommunication was "necessary" if "someone deviated from the sound doctrine, because this fact implies a break with the Church." In this sense, Alvarez stated, "that Galat is outside the Catholic Church," reports Radio Coracol.
Monsignor Mercado, who is also Secretary of the Bishops' Conferences for relations with the state, declared to the news agency ACIPrensa:
"It is painful for me to see that Dr. Galat, who has served the Church faithfully for many years, has ended his days in such a mentally miserable situation."
Galat: "Bishops have not responded to my criticism"
The reasons which led Galat to criticize Pope Francis were not mentioned by the Colombian Church representatives. Neither the Bishop's Conference nor Monsignor Mercado have responded to his criticism of Pope Francis, the Founder and Director of Teleamiga.
Galat himself replied to the bishops on July 25 on Facebook. In a statement that was shorter than that of the bishops, he repeated his fundamental criticism to Francis.
"To the successor of the apostle Peter, every Catholic is bound in love and attachment, not a man chosen by God but of men, and even worse of a mafia of cardinals, a cynical expression which was publicly used by a leading representative, Cardinal Godfried Danneels."
Referring to Cardinal Danneel's testimony, which Galat documented with numerous sources on Facebook, he reiterated the assertion that the election "of Francis was non-canonical" and therefore "undoubtedly illegitimate."
In addition, Galat accused Pope Francis of spreading teachings "in contradiction to the Catholic faith":
A theory of the doctrine of the salvation of all beings, which "openly opposes the word of the Lord, Matthew 22:14";
The assertion that proselytizing is a "stupidity," which contradicts the maxim of Matthew 28:19
The reception of communion for adulterers, against which the Apostle Paul turns in 1 Cor. 11: 27.
"There are many more examples that have been shown in the various programs of Teleamiga," Galat said, ending his answer with a question:
"Why do you persecute those who defend the faith of the Church?"
In an interview with El Spectator on July 28, Galat confirmed his accusations. The fact that the election of Pope Francis by a "cardinal mafia" was not mentioned, but he did mention Cardinal Danneels, "one of the leaders of this conspiracy."
El Spectator: Why do you say that Pope Francis is harmful?
José Galat: He is a heretic and denies the truths of faith. Benedict XVI should come to Colombia, for he is the real pope. There is a great ignorance, which is not just me. The Prophet Hosea says, "My people are perishing because they lack knowledge", and people can be condemned for this.
Particularly hard is that the criticism of Galat's attitude came not from the progressive side or from church opponents, who - at least in Colombia - have taken note of the "fraternal quarrel" with some satisfaction, but from previous, inner-Church companions. To be exact, from Catholic voices and media, the criticism of Pope Francis is completely or largely avoid, but still driven by the concern to fall into disgrace with Francis and his circle.
Whether and what future Teleamiga can have, in view of the prohibitions of the Episcopal Conference, is currently unclear. The program continues to run as before. Galat continues to produce his show "Un Café con Galat." Also on the Facebook page of the bishop's conference there was only isolated agreement to the bishops' declaration. The great majority expressed their disapproval.
Don José Galat, as he is called in Colombia, shows no intention of remaining silent. In Colombia it is assumed that he could strengthen his media criticism of Pope Francis.