At Crisis find analysis by Richard A. Spinello of Benedict XVI’s recent explanation for The Present Crisis. The writer says that Benedict has, between the lines, criticized Amoris laetitia. I also, a couple says back, saw a piece arguing that Benedict’s essay answered the infamous unanswered dubia.
Benedict XVI seems to contradict Amoris chapter 8 – which undermines the Church’s teaching that there are intrinsically evil acts – when he writes about “absolute good” and about “fundamentally evil” actions. Benedict writes, essentially, against the errors of proportionalism and a “fundamental option”, which also seem to resonate in chapter 8. The basic idea is that a person can commit mortal sins but, in effect, his basic orientation towards God remains intact and he does not lose the state of grace.
There are great paragraphs, but I want you to read the whole thing. Here, however, is a sample:
The apparent denial of these exceptionless moral norms in Amoris Laetitia is an unfortunate setback for moral theology. These precepts are few in number, but they guide us toward human flourishing. According to Aquinas, the negative precepts “fix the boundary that man must not exceed in his moral actions” (Summa Theologiae, q. 79, a.2). They protect fundamental goods, including the sacramental reality of marriage, which is defined in terms of exclusivity and permanence. A flexible moral framework that allows for exceptions to negative prohibitions based on concrete circumstances threatens the integrity of those goods and makes the Church vulnerable to new forms of moral catastrophe. Pope Emeritus Benedict’s perceptive essay reaffirms the urgent need to preserve these specific negative norms, grounded in faith and reason, for a coherent moral theology. Without them, we end up with the relativity and vulnerability that allowed for the Church’s tragic surrender to the Sexual Revolution. Sexual activity outside an indissoluble heterosexual marriage is always wrong according to Sacred Scripture and natural law, but this precept cannot be found in Amoris Laetitia, no matter how long one tarries in the sinuousness of Pope Francis’s monologue.