Is the #AmorisLaetitia agenda just the warm up for the full assault on #HumanaeVitae?

If the unrepentent sinner, unshriven and without a firm purpose of amendment, can officially be admitted to Holy Communion, it’s game over for discipline in the Church.  It’s over for authoritative teaching on faith and morals.

If Christ was wrong about marriage and divorce, then He isn’t God and everything we are doing is pointless and idolatrous.

In the Catholic Herald:

There’s a movement to undermine Catholic morality – Communion is just the start
by Ed Condon

Modern-day Pharisees are trying to get round the Church’s teaching on objective right and wrong. Their next target? Humanae Vitae [It’s always about sex, isn’t it.]

I am going to risk a prediction: 2018 will be the year we see an end to the fighting over Amoris Laetitia.

This might seem rather presumptuous, given that just this week five bishops [Kazakhs + 2 Italians – and now Card. Pujats.] have underscored the Church’s traditional teaching on the reception of Communion by the divorced and remarried. The bishops’ statement is a positive delight to read for its clarity of thought and expression – especially after some of the tortured sophistries we have had to endure of late.

The document unflinchingly reminds us that some things are just wrong, and no amount of personal reflection or mitigating circumstances can change that.

Seeming to address directly the various interpretations of that single contentious footnote in Amoris Laetitia (the one Pope Francis cannot remember), the five bishops quote St John Paul II: “The confusion created in the conscience of many faithful by the differences of opinions and teachings … about serious and delicate questions of Christian morals, ends up by diminishing the true sense of sin almost to the point of eliminating it.” This describes all too well the results, and I would say the intentions, of many of the opaque and tendentious “pastoral” guidelines which have followed Amoris Laetitia.

The doctrinal errors in interpreting Amoris Laetitia are part of a serious movement afoot in the Church to undermine her clarity of thought and expression on the moral order, especially regarding marriage, sexuality and personal conscience. What drives this movement? Let’s be clear: it has nothing to do with helping divorced and remarried Catholics. [Exactly.] Those of us who work in marriage tribunals, where canonists and priests have more contact with such couples on a daily basis than most working in bishops’ conferences have in a year, can tell you that the divorced and remarried are, in the vast majority of cases, desperately seeking clarity from the Church, not to be told to “do whatever they think is right.”  [That’s why this push of false “mercy” without truth is destructive and evil.]

Those so vocally opposing a “legalistic” approach, in which some things are objectively right or wrong, show themselves to be a peculiar kind of Pharisee. The law of the Church, including canon law, is made up of Divine Law, which no power on earth can change, and ecclesiastical law, which the Church promulgates on her own authority to better help the faithful understand their situation, live in accord with Divine Law and, ultimately, get to heaven.  [Remember: If Christ is wrong, then he isn’t God, we are all idolatrous, and the Eucharist really is just what it is more and more becoming in the eyes of the poorly catechized and their “pastors” who don’t shepherd them: the white thing they put in my hand before we sing the song – my token that I am okay just as I am.]

Contrast this with many of the “interpretations” of Amoris Laetitia which call for the divorced and remarried to be admitted to Communion, even if they are living as husband and wife. Some are arguing that canon law can be twisted to vindicate a person’s situation through their desire for it to be different, even if they have no intention to change it. Essentially, as long as someone wishes they were really married, or wishes they were able to live according to the truth that they are not, that is close enough.

It is a nonsense solution which, even if it could technically be argued to satisfy ecclesiastical law (which it does not), would do nothing to change the Divine Law regarding the sinfulness of living with someone who isn’t your husband or wife as if they were. Those who think it could, do so from a dangerously flawed and warped legalistic mentality, one which thinks that the Church makes laws, and we get to heaven by following them. In fact, the Church uses law as a means of guiding us towards God’s truth, not reinventing it. Canon law is a tool, not a means of salvation. It is a light for our steps. Those using tortured philosophical and legal rationales to justify what the Church knows and says to be wrong are marking out a very different path, with a different destination.  [Ironically, the antinomians who label the faithful as “legalistic” are the real legalists.]

The push for a change, or “development,” in Church teaching regarding the divorced and remarried has much wider implications. The real goal is to spin the Church into an abdication of her objective and absolute moral authority, especially in the realm of human sexuality. [It’s always about sex, isn’t it.  And that means that, in the long run, it’s about more ways to abuse women.] The language of “personal conscience” is being used to dress up the grave evil of moral relativism. Those fighting for it are the remnant and inheritors of the liberal generation of the 60s and 70s.

Which brings me to the reason I am predicting that the debates around Amoris Laetitia will come to an end in 2018. The reason is not that the Communion issue will be resolved, but that the faction will move on to their real agenda. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the issuing of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s affirmation of the dignity of human sexuality, and the intrinsic and unbreakable link between the unitive and procreative aspects of the sexual act. [It’s always about sex, isn’t it.]

Last year the National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin quoted a “well-respected Church figure” as telling him during the 2014 family synod: “Of course, you realise this is all about Humanae Vitae. That’s what I think they’re after. That is their goal.” Pentin says the current mood in Rome suggests his source knew what she was talking about. I have to agree with him: the efforts to “interpret” Amoris Laetitia and the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage will prove to have been a mere dress rehearsal for an all-out assault upon Pope Paul’s great encyclical[I’m afraid he’s right.]

At the time of the cultural and sexual revolution, the Church spoke powerfully and prophetically against the inevitable consequences of what was happening. In the last half-century, Paul VI’s encyclical has proven ever more prescient and relevant. It is a bitterly comical irony that, just as wider society is beginning to wake up to the consequences of a sexual ethic based solely on consent and the pursuit of personal fulfilment, the Church is having to defend herself against those within who deny not just the Church’s teaching, but the last 50 years of history which have so convincingly vindicated it.

Alas, we had better buckle on the armor.

Watch the activity of the New catholic Red Guards.  Keep an eye on what they write and at whom they take aim.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. dbf223 says:

    I saw a facebook post somewhat recently from an anonymous source, asking a question about birth control. It went something like this: this woman’s younger sibling was sexually abused as a child and now had serious problems with sexual addiction and self control. The girl also had a number of psychological issues (bi-polar disorder I think was near the top of the list), and was on some medications for them that could cause significant birth defects if she got pregnant while taking them. Thus, everyone was worried about her getting pregnant from a random sexual encounter, and conceiving a child that could have had very significant birth defects. The girl was still in the care of her parents, and the questioner wanted to know if church teaching would allow her to be put on birth control.

    The question was not, “Is it okay for her to take birth control?” She was looking at it regarding her parents’ point of view – “Can they licitly put her on birth control?” That is, would the girls’ using birth control in itself be a sin in which they would be participating by consent? These people agreed with church teaching on pre-marital sex and artificial contraception, but were faced with a bad situation in which no possible alternative was really a “good” one.

    This seems to me to be a gap in the church’s official teaching on contraception, kind of similar to the infamous example of nuns’ using birth control to protect against rape (and whether Pope Paul VI had given them his blessing). There doesn’t seem to be widespread agreement even among faithful Catholics about whether contraception would be wrong in that case. Janet Smith (of the famous “Contraception, Why Not?” talk) has publicly argued that the nuns could licitly, for instance, take the pill in that case.

    Some of the talk I have seen is that those who want to discuss Humanae Vitae, want to address its application for non-marital acts – such as the kind of situations we’re talking about (rape, sexual addiction, etc). People facing these types of situations would be helped by addressing some of these questions. Obviously, the media won’t report it that way, and those opposed to the teaching would welcome any perceived “relaxing” of Humanae Vitae. But I don’t think this is an issue where those faithful to church teaching are going to divide cleanly from those who dissent.

  2. Pingback: Is the #AmorisLaetitia agenda just the warm up for the full assault on #HumanaeVitae? | Fr. Z's Blog | News for Catholics

  3. KAS says:

    So nothing actually new. Wasn’t the phrase “Athanasius contra mundum”? Did I recall that correctly? We each must be determined to be our own version of Athanasius in our places in life. I’m participating in the Nineveh 90 again, this time for Life and it ends at Easter. I have found that even in my imperfect way to participate I have felt myself strengthened spiritually. I get this, I might not be but the blundering hog searching for truffles with a head cold, but as I plug away at this, wanting grace and virtues to grow in me, I see tiny changes. Isn’t this what we must do?

    I recall from the old testament the phrase, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” and this too must become our firmly held position in the face of heterodoxy being foisted on us. We must recognize that to abandon the fullness of Church Teaching for new teachings that “tickle the ears” is unacceptable to those of us who want to “know, love, and serve God”. No matter what the hierarchy decides to do, I want to be tough enough to hold to the Faith and share it with anyone who wants to know.

  4. Pseudo D says:

    It will be interesting to see what Francis does for the anniversary. So far, he has been
    pretty good on Humanae Vitae, noting that it’s prophetic regarding neo-Malthusianism.
    But the logic of the preferred interpretation of Amoris leads to problems with everything
    regarding marriage, the Eucharist, confession and all areas of Christian moral living,
    but of course people are mainly concerned with tearing down the sexual norms. We used to call it “the position of the German bishops”, not all of them of course, but the majority. Since then plenty more German bishops have risen to prominence, on both sides of the issue of divorce and remarriage. The issue is certainly a pastoral situation that affects a lot of people, but was given a
    prominence disproportionate to its importance, because it implicitly affects everything
    else. When it was just “the position of the German bishops”, it was just a wrong view held
    by a minority, but now the situation has changed. I think people need to realize that it’s
    not just about Pope Francis, although he certainly has the responsibility. I find it harder
    to believe that the 2013 conclave was just about the curia and Vatileaks or whatever. I
    believe Benedict abdicated due to the opposition to the moral truths of our faith, and
    the corruption which is more widespread at the top than he was aware of when he began
    in 2005. He may have had no choice but to force a crisis situation in which the false
    spirit of Vatican II is given another chance to take over. I don’t even know that the
    “gangsters” are the real protagonists involved, they may be fronting for some other
    people. All I know is that there is some serious abuse of power because they don’t have
    truth and logic (and love!) on their side so all they have is these despicable tactics. I
    know people have their problems with Paul VI, but he was right to follow the minority
    report, and Francis has the opportunity to make a prophetic witness this year.

  5. chesterton63 says:

    “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed!” (Gal 1,8)

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    dbf223 — Either they don’t really believe, or they don’t really understand what birth control pills do. If they did, they wouldn’t be asking, “Is it okay for me to authorize my daughter to chemically kill my grandchildren? I mean, she’s mentally ill, so obviously home eugenics is the way. Die, grandkids, die!”

    If this woman is in an unsafe situation, and she can’t be responsible for herself, her parents have a responsibility to move somewhere safe, or to institutionalize her somewhere safe. Adding birth control to the mix just would make it easier for the woman to be abused.

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Plus murder, of course.

    And actually, if everybody in the family is discussing birth control as a great thing for this poor woman, it’s murder, abetting, _and_ conspiracy to murder. The family that racketeers together….

  8. Kevin says:

    “Communion for the divorced and remarried is for some — very few, certainly not the majority of synod fathers — it’s only the tip of the iceberg, it’s a stalking horse. They want wider changes, recognition of civil unions, recognition of homosexual unions,” Cardinal Pell said. “The church cannot go in that direction. It would be a capitulation from the beauties and strengths of the Catholic tradition, where people sacrificed themselves for hundreds, for thousands of years to do this.” (CNS) — Cardinal George Pell 16/10/14

  9. chantgirl says:

    Sadly, I don’t think HV is the final goal. I think that homosexual acts are the real prize. The liberals won’t be happy until priests can live out and proud as “married” homosexuals.

  10. gatormom says:

    Thank you so much Father. Often people discuss these issues as if this were just politics. It’s our faith and it’s true. We didn’t get to walk with Christ but we believe the testimony of His Apostles. The fact that Church teachings have stood for 2,000 yrs. evidenced the divine protection and guidance of the Holy Ghost and that it was true. What upsets me about these changes in Church teaching is that it makes me wonder if the faith is true. The Eucharist is the Body of Christ so, of course you can’t receive unless you’re in a state of grace. When that goes out the window, it places the teaching about grace and sin or the teaching about the Holy Eucharist in question. I don’t have any strong feelings about who does or doesn’t receive but I sure want to believe that Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist and that I can know what sin is. If things have just changed so weren’t true, than how can you be certain what of the rest is true, if anything? I’m assuming something’s gone terribly awry and I really hope it gets fixed soon.

  11. TonyO says:

    Gatormom’s comment shows why we need good priests (like Fr. Z !!) and good theologians to show us – preferably from the Church’s own documents or from the Fathers’ and Doctors’ writings – how to discern what it means in practice to stick with the Church when so many other priests, bishops, and even cardinals do not do so, and instead teach what is wrong. Indeed, because of writings by such saints and St. Robert Bellarmine, one must even be concerned with the possibility that a Pope can teach error, but not in such a way that he disturbs the True Doctrine. It may be true that it will fall mainly to the good theologians and bishops to speak out and teach the truth, and to declare the falseness of the wrong prelates. But the proverbial “man in the pew” must also make a decision about which bishop or theologian is rightly declaring “what the Church teaches” for him to follow along. If every single person must become a top-flight theologian himself in order to remain true, that’s not feasible nor reasonable. So, I ask you, Fr. Z, to impress upon your highly-placed friends, to take thought for, and start preparing, a thorough document to explain to “regular folks” how to remain true when bishops teach falsely and even a pope ambiguously allows those bishops’ teachings to be broadcast, and remains silent as to correcting them. Or (God defend us) if the pope himself were to descend to teaching falsely.

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