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Apparently, They Think We are Fools

Discussion in 'Church Critique' started by BrianK, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member


    Apparently, They Think We are Fools
    Christopher A. Ferrara
    As Pope Francis continues his five-year-long tirade against the imaginary Catholic Pharisees who defend the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the integrally related Eucharistic discipline—he is still at it as of yesterday (January 9)—he and his collaborators are busily engineering neo-Pharisaical escape hatches from the negative precepts of the divine and natural law emanating from the Sixth Commandment.
    Determined to quell any Catholic opposition to his moral subversion, Francis has slapped the label Authentic Magisterium® on his outrageous opinion that in “complex circumstances” wherein it is not “feasible” to live as brother and sister, two people who are not married can be admitted to Holy Communion without ceasing extra-marital sexual relations so long as they engage in an ill-defined “process of discernment.” As Father Brian Harrison has so trenchantly observed, this means that people embroiled in adultery can receive Holy Communion while they “discern” that they should not be receiving Holy Communion because they are embroiled in adultery.

    Do they think we are fools?


    Then there is the endlessly double-talking Cardinal Müller. In a recent interview concerning Rocco Buttiglione’s verbal contortions aimed at demonstrating that the administration of Holy Communion to public adulterers is consistent with the Church’s bimillenial prohibition of precisely that, Müller proposed this preposterous “solution” to a “problem” that does not exist:

    It is possible that the penitent may be convinced in conscience, and with good reasons, of the invalidity of the first marriage even though they cannot offer canonical proof. In this case the marriage valid before God would be the second one and the pastor could grant the sacrament, certainly with the appropriate precautions as not to scandalize the community of the faithful and not to weaken the conviction of marriage indissolubility.

    The Cardinal knows this is moral and canonical nonsense. No Catholic, whether or not he consults a priest, can declare for himself that his marriage in the Church was invalid, especially when—indeed because—he lacks canonical proof of invalidity. Moreover, absent an annulment granted by the competent Church tribunal, a purported “second marriage” can only be an invalid civil ceremony and thus a thinly disguised form of continuous public adultery. Cardinal Burke, whom Francis sacked as head of the Church’s highest tribunal because he was a major impediment to the conspiracy culminating in Amoris Laetitia (AL), has observed the obvious in this regard:

    Such cases do not exist. No priest has the authority to declare a marriage null in the internal forum. Marriage is a public state in the Church, and the judgment regarding an accusation of nullity of marriage must be made in accord with the long practice of the Church. If a college of judges in a matrimonial tribunal is not able to arrive at moral certitude regarding the nullity of a marriage after a careful and thorough examination of the petition of nullity, how can an individual priest be capable of making such a judgment having to do with the eternal salvation of the soul in question?

    The only case in which a priest could admit a person living in an irregular matrimonial union to receive the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist is the case of a couple who agree to live “as brother and sister”, that is to respect the marriage to which they are bound by not living in a marital way with another person. Even then, the priest would have to insist that the couple living in continence receive the Sacraments in a place in which they are not well known, lest other faithful be led to believe that persons living in an irregular matrimonial union may receive the Sacraments.

    Does Cardinal Müller think we are fools? Some of us apparently are, or at least are willing to serve as knowing dupes by defending neo-Pharisaical sophistry that would produce “a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.”

    Apparently, they think they can fool us in the next phase of the program of moral subversion that this incredible Pope seriously expects us to believe is an imperative of “mercy”: the justification of contraception in “complex cases” to which “discernment” must be applied. Consider the recent declaration by one of Francis’s new appointments to the Pontifical Academy for Life, whose entire membership he sacked and whose constitution he ordered rewritten to neutralize it. In a lecture at the Gregorian, one Father Maurizio Chiodi, a “moral theologian” of the post-Vatican II variety, proposed that “an artificial method for the regulation of births could be recognized as anact of responsibilitythat is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child, but because in those situationsresponsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.”

    That is, Francis’s man at the reconstituted Pontifical Academy declares openly that there is a duty to contracept! Chiodi’s sole “authority” for this lie from the pit of hell is nothing more than Chapter 8 of AL, the only document of its kind in the entire history of the Church. AL will doubtless be providing cover for a whole new line of Authentic Magisterium® products, all of which will be utter fakes, including some form of “pastoral integration” of homosexual unions.

    Evidently, they do think we are fools or willing to play the fool in exchange for the benefits of respectable conformity in the midst of an unparalleled debacle for the Church. (Consider the example of Catholic Answers, which “defends the Faith” while refusing to recognize that it is under ferocious attack from the very vertices of the Church. Silence at best is the price it must pay for remaining in good standing with the pro-homosexual bishop Francis has installed in San Diego.)

    But we are not fools. And God will not be mocked. Francis and all his designs will ultimately come to nothing. Meanwhile, ours is but to keep the Faith and protest before God and man the blows now raining down against the Church, even when they come from a wayward Roman Pontiff at her summit. Indeed, especially then.

  2. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member


    The Amoris debate: Is it really a matter of confusion? (Part I)
    By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 11, 2018

    Critics of Amoris Laetitia say that it is confusing. Defenders of the papal document say that there is no cause for confusion. This state of affairs is, I’m sorry to say, confusing.

    Stepping back from the substance of this particular controversy, let’s take a few minutes to examine the form of the argument. Suppose that you present me with a statement, and I tell you that it confuses me. If you want to continue the conversation, what are your options?

    1. You might try to explain your statement to me. That is the first, clear, and obvious response, isn’t it?
    2. You might gently (or not so gently, depending on the circumstances) suggest that my confusion is understandable, because I’m not intelligent enough to understand your statement. That’s a possibility, I suppose. But if you choose this option, you can’t very well claim to be sensitive and caring. Nor—unless you’re prepared to make even more insulting remarks about my intelligence—can you claim that your statement is easy to understand. In which case perhaps you should consider clarifying. (See #1 above.)
    3. You might remark that nobody else is confused. But that’s not really an answer; it doesn’t bring me any greater clarity. Anyway, that avenue is closed to you if many other people have already said they, too, are confused by the same statement.
    4. You might insist that the statement itself is perfectly clear. But again that’s not really a response. And you’ll have trouble defending that position if other people have made public claims that your statement supports their views, when those views clearly contradict each other on a key point.
    5. You might raise the suspicion that I’m not really having trouble understanding your statement—that by claiming to be confused, I’m actually showing that I’m opposed to your statement. That’s an undeniable possibility. But once you invoke that possibility, our discussion takes on a very different, less friendly tone. You are making an ad hominem argument; you are questioning my good faith.
    6. But here’s what you cannot do: You cannot order me to stop being confused. If you have authority over me, you may have the right to command that I obey your statement. But if I don’t understand the statement, I can’t be expected to obey it.
    In the Amoris Laetitia debate, option #1 has been taken off the table; the Pope apparently will not respond to the dubia, nor he will explain why he declines to respond. Options 2, 3, and 4 are available, and all have been tried, but they are not convincing, for the reasons cited above.

    In practice, the most vocal supporters of the papal document have used options 4 and 5. They have argued that the critics of Amoris Laetitia are dissembling; that the arguments against the document are in reality criticisms of the Holy Father. Then they go on to say that such criticism is unseemly, because all Catholics are under an obligation to respect the authoritative teachings of the Roman Pontiff. Notice that the latter argument applies only if the former is true. I cannot be under an obligation to follow instructions that I do not understand. So when the Pope’s supporters tell us, in effect, to shut up and obey, they imply that we actually understand the Pope’s teaching—which is the very point in dispute.

    Moreover, by employing this odd combination of arguments, the defenders of Amoris (or, if you prefer, the critics of the critics of the document) are transforming a debate on the contents of the apostolic exhortation into a debate about the bona fides of their adversaries. Such ad hominem arguments are never attractive, but they are particularly unfortunate when they are used against respected theologians and princes of the Church. Nor are the ad hominem arguments persuasive, since the confusion caused by Amoris is now so clearly illustrated by the public record. (See #3 and #4 above.) When one prelate applauds the document for saying X, and another applauds the same document for not saying X, that’s confusing—or at a bare minimum, the burden of proof is on those who don’t see a contradiction.

    But let us suppose, just for the sake of the argument, that the Pope’s supporters have good reasons for their suspicions. Let us suppose that critics of Amoris Laetitia aren’t really confused by the document, but in fact disagree with its teaching. If that were the case, then how would honest, loyal Catholics express their disagreement with the Holy Father? Again I can see a couple of possibilities:

    • The critics might say: “I disagree with the Pope. He is wrong; his argument contradicts the permanent teaching of the Church. I will not accept his authority.”
    • Or they might say: “I cannot believe that the Holy Father really means what he seems to be saying, since his argument appears to contradict previous Church teaching. I am confused. I wish he would clarify.”
    Which of those two approaches would show greater respect for the Petrine office and the teaching magisterium?

    The next question—to be addressed in my next post: What can Church leaders do to ease the confusion?
  3. Praetorian

    Praetorian Powers

    Phil Lawler is coming out with a book fairly shortly called The Lost Shepherd, How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock which will most likely not be received well at the Vatican. I don't think it will be out until February. It may be an important work because Mr. Lawler is a very well respected mainstream Catholic journalist. Slow and methodical in the formulations of his opinions and not prone to rash or outrageous claims.

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