Cult of Facebook Versus Catholic Faith?

I regularly hear parental concerns about the dangerously intrusive and addictive nature of Facebook, and, indeed, social media generally.  I’ve heard a variety of opinions expressed and examples given of the harm it can do to family life, but the most shocking remark came from a teenager (from a good Catholic family) who intimated that it would be easier to give up his Catholic Faith than Facebook .  Below,  a short televised conversation on the addictive nature of social media…

Comment:

There’s lots of research available on this subject, but the articles tend to be lengthy and usually end with the observation that, in moderation, social media is OK – having just detailed plenty of evidence to demonstrate how addictive it all is, and thus “moderation” is not the norm.  So, our question for discussion here really focuses on whether Catholic parents who are Facebook (and/or Twitter)  addicts themselves, need to re-think their devotion to social media and consider the damage they may be doing to their offspring. It may take years to manifest itself, but is it, in your experience, adding to the quality of your family life or having a detrimental effect on your family relationships?   Some parents, such as some home-schoolers, are finding that their children say they feel deprived because they’re not on Facebook and so are missing out on life online.   Are such parents really guilty of neglect? SHOULD they conform to the new types of “relationships” by signing up – or allowing their children to sign up – for Facebook? Or is the current fashion of permitting or encouraging children to sign up for social media actually a form of child abuse?  Does it really have to be ‘Facebook Versus Faith’?

Consecration of Russia: God Got It Wrong! – World Apostolate of Fatima

Martin Blackshaw (aka blogger Athanasius) writes…

Alerted by the comment of a blogger here a few weeks ago, concerning a website claim by the World Apostolate of Fatima (WAF) that the consecration of Russia was done by Pope John Paul II in 1984, I began a correspondence exchange with a representative of that Apostolate with the aim of enlightening him and his colleagues to the truth of the matter.

For reasons of respect for privacy I will not name the individual with whom I debated the issue. All I will say is that, two weeks down the line, and after much batting back and forth of claim and counter-claim, I have been forced to conclude that the WAF is dangerous to unsuspecting Catholic souls and should be avoided.

In June of 1929, Our Lady appeared to Sr. Lucia in her convent in Tuy, Spain. As promised, the Blessed Virgin requested the consecration she had mentioned 12 years earlier at Fatima. Our Lady’s words were recorded in Sr. Lucia’s memoirs: The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means... If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means…
If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

There is an established principle in the Church when it comes to heresy, which is that a heresy containing elements of truth is much more dangerous than one that is an outright falsehood. The same principle applies in general wherever truth is paramount, be it WAF propaganda or the doctrines of secular ideologies.

Communism, for example, ensnared many because it sided with the poor working classes against the exploitation and injustices visited upon them by the rich and powerful. Accompanying its alluring empathy, however, was the lie that class warfare and a revolutionary overthrow of Church and State was the answer to all their problems.

The theoreticians, architects and implementers of the Communist utopia knew well how to woo the ignorant with promises of human dignity and equality for all. Like the poor beggars who fell for the same revolutionary rhetoric in 18th century France, however, the overthrow of Church and the established order was to result in a much more despotic governance than the one they had rid themselves of.

And so it proved in Russia and its satellites post-1917. Instead of freedom and their fill, as Communism had promised, the proletariat found itself more enslaved and hungry than before. It also found itself subject to mass extinction upon the whim of whatever paranoid ego maniac happened to murder his way to the top.

By the late 1980s the Soviet Union was so greatly in danger of internal collapse that it shifted its position to the delight of its long-suffering people. Now there was to be “Glasnost” and “Perestroika” (Openness and restructuring), a contingency plan laid out many decades before by Lenin himself.

All at once the Iron Curtain was withdrawn and western democracy was welcomed in together with its Capitalist ideals and market economy. Communism, it seemed, had failed in its objective and the world rejoiced.

For many lesser informed Catholics this was proof positive that the 1984 consecration of the world made by Pope John Paul II was accepted by heaven. Russia was converted, they said, though to what exactly remains a mystery to this day.

What has happened since, imperceptible to the masses, is that all Western governments including the United States have become more Socialist and atheistic in their governance, to the extent that God is today entirely banished from the political, economic and legislative life of almost all Western Democracies.

Evolutionism, first recognised and embraced by Karl Marx as the key to cultural anarchy, is now everywhere the fundamental global Gospel upon which all else is built and proceeds. Contrarily, The Creator, His Commandments and the natural law are dismissed as myths of a less enlightened age.

Complimenting this new vision for the new post-Christian Europe is a model of the old Supreme Soviet, called the European Union.

The Supreme Soviet was a series of legislative bodies (parliaments) based within the Kremlin that made all the laws by which the various Soviet Socialist Republics were bound. Though individual nation States in Europe are not yet entirely governed in the same way by the EU’s Brussels-based centralised government, this is the ultimate goal and many are walking blindly into it.

In their pre-Vatican II Encyclicals, the Popes warned of the dangers threatening nations should Communism ensnare them. They predicted in particular that such nations would rapidly decline financially, spiritually and morally. Who would argue that this is not the very scenario we are witnessing today in all the nations of Europe?

Yes, it would appear that the “Glasnost” and “Perestroika” introduced by Gorbachev nearly thirty years ago signified less the death of the Communist ideology in Russia than its surreptitious expansion to every corner of the globe.

It was the West that was opened up to restructuring; the moral voice of the Catholic Church having been silenced by the lure of Catholic/Orthodox relations at Vatican II, whose liberal prelates became metaphorically high on a truth-altering drug long promoted by Communism, called ecumenism.

Cardinal Josef Tomko, friend and advisor to Pope John Paul II at the time of the 1984 consecration of the world, later admitted that it was precisely for fear of damaging Catholic/ Orthodox ecumenical relations that he personally advised the Pope not to mention Russia.

That John Paul II complied with the request of Cardinal Tomko rather than with the request of Our Lady is obvious from the following unscripted line the Pontiff inserted into his ‘Act of Entrustment of the World’ at that time: Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting.”

When I brought this glaring fact of a non-mention of Russia to the attention of my WAF correspondent, he rather indifferently replied that he personally saw it as the Pope exercising his power to bind and loose by prudently choosing a less direct form of consecrating Russia in order to avoid any persecution of Russian Catholics. He even drew ridiculous parallels with the wartime prudence of Pius XII in dealing with the persecution of the Jews to bolster his theory.

In other words, he was saying that heaven hadn’t really thought through the practical consequences of a direct consecration of Russia by the Pope to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and so the Pope was forced to employ corrective tactics that were more prudent than God’s.

I put it to him that what he was suggesting bordered on blasphemy, that all John Paul had demonstrated by his actions was disobedience to God and a woeful lack of trust in the divine promise.

To this he replied that Sister Lucy had herself confirmed heaven’s acceptance of the 1984 consecration. He even directed me to a DVD for sale on Amazon in which Cardinal Vidal apparently has Sister Lucy making the confirmation on camera.

My obvious response was that any such video confirmation from Sister Lucy, if it were genuine, would have been utilised to the full by the Vatican a long time ago. It would not be left as an obscure production available only to the few who stumble upon its existence and are prepared to fork out good money to buy a foreign language copy from Amazon.

Besides this, Sister Lucy is on record as having several times testified to the non-fulfilment of the 1984 consecration. She declared the fact, for example, in a 1985 interview with the Blue Army’s Spanish magazine Sol de Fatima, and again in 1987 to the journalist Enrico Romero.

A more thorough examination of the facts can be found here: http://www.cfnews.org/page10/page91/consecration-addup.html

So then I asked him about the non-participation of the world’s bishops in the 1984 act, to which he replied that they did in fact participate in “spiritual union” with the Pope. The problem with this strange assertion, however, is that said “spiritual union” was not clearly discernable to the world and is very hard to prove.

Had not Our Lord expressed to Sister Lucy His desire that His Mother’s Immaculate Heart be honoured beside His Sacred Heart, which is why he wants the world to see the conversion of Russia resulting from a public and solemn act to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope and the bishops?

As far as my WAF correspondent is concerned, though, there never was a specific request from heaven for a public and solemn participation of the bishops with the Pope. This, said he, was a corruption of the Message introduced by some of the more extreme Fatima enthusiasts.

And so I came to the fruits of the 1984 act of John Paul II. I chronicled for him the non-conversion of Russia, its continued hostility to Catholicism, its exploding immorality and its renewed Cold War stance with the West that threatens shortly to erupt into global nuclear conflict. This last observation was made recently by a former Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces.

I further chronicled the crisis in the Church, the deteriorating culture of Western Nations, the rise of Islamic terrorism, the conflicts in the Middle East and so many other manifestations of evil indicative of a heavenly request not fulfilled and a world consequently running headlong into the abyss.

To this observation my correspondent replied that God rarely brings about miraculous conversions by divine intervention, and so we must be patient and permit the fall of Communism in 1989 to produce eventually the fruits promised by Our Lady, which fruits, said he, are only delayed by the refusal of individuals to obey Our Lady’s request for recitation of the Rosary and fulfilment of the five First Saturday’s devotions of reparation.

So there we have it. It’s not the Pope and the Bishops of the world who have failed to meet Our Lady’s request, but the faithful who refuse to embrace the Rosary and the five First Saturday’s. It is the latter rather than the former who are responsible for the non-conversion of Russia. How very convenient!

To emphasise his point, my correspondent sent me a link to some EWTN writings on the subject of Fatima by the Neo-Modernist Fr. Robert J Fox. This told me all I needed to know about my correspondent and the Apostolate he represents. Read about Fr. Fox

Here: http://www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/1104frfox.asp

Here: http://www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/062504frfox1.asp

Here: http://www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/062504frfox2.asp

Here: http://www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/062504frfox3.asp

In summation. Like those heresies and ideologies I mentioned at the outset, the World Apostolate of Fatima proposes to readers of its website a great good, namely, the recitation of the Rosary and the five First Saturday’s devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But then comes the poison, the liberal Modernist party line that Russia has been consecrated and the future looks rosy.

This single falsehood, so contradictory of the evidence before our eyes and so obstructive of an outpouring of God’s grace on Russia, the world, the Church and souls, undermines whatever truths the WAF otherwise confirms.

It is therefore incumbent upon all souls of good will to expose this and other so-called Fatima Apostolates that peddle the “Russia is consecrated” falsehood. For behind it lies the illusory ecumenical utopia envisioned and pursued at all costs by certain powerful Vatican officials. No less than the honour of Our Lady and the salvation of countless souls depends on our full objective fidelity to the truth about Fatima.

Comments invited…

We’d especially like to hear from those who consider that we are now enjoying the promised period of world peace AND from  those who agree with the World Apostolate of Fatima that it was necessary for the Pope to be “prudent”, given that God really didn’t understand the political implications of consecrating Russia… 

For the record, I’ve sent the link to this thread to the man in charge at WAF and invited him to contribute. 

The Application of Amoris Laetitia …

In a bulletin from St. Anne Chicoutimi parish in Canada this past April we can see the real effects of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The Celebration of Fidelity, which up to now celebrated the silver and gold anniversaries of couples in this formerly Catholic parish in Quebec, was replaced by a “Celebration of Love” announced as follows: “We now wish to welcome all couples who want to celebrate their love and renew their commitment to each other, regardless of the type of their commitment (Catholic marriage, civil marriage, common-law or same-sex partners) and regardless of how many years (1 year, 8 years, 25 years, 57 years, 62 years). We consider any couple’s commitment important.”

 

I'm delighted to learn of the Canadian celebration of love. That's the spirit! The God of Surprises strikes again! Well done, Canada!

I’m delighted to learn of the Canadian Celebration of Love. That’s the spirit! The God of Surprises strikes again! Well done, Canada!


Let’s be clear: this is not a celebration of love, but rather the egalitarian celebration of sacramental marriage, legal cohabitation, free unions and homosexual relationships. All couples are put on the same level, all presumably having the same exemplary value.

This is not a celebration of love, it is the love of celebration in itself and for its own sake, devoid of all objective content. All that matters is personal commitment, subjective feeling, and sincerity liberated from the Gospel truth of marriage.

This is how the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is put into practice in real life. No longer “The Joy of Love”, but the love of joy, emancipated from the Gospel truth of marriage. A sad joy.

Father Alain Lorans: Amoris Laetitia in Real Life  –  Source

Comments invited – especially from those who argue that AL didn’t change a thing…

26 May: Feast of Corpus Christi

PANIS ANGELICUS (Lyric)
Cesar Franck

Panis angelicus
Fit panis hominum;
Dat panis coelicus
Figuris terminum;
O res mirabilis!
Manducat dominum

Pauper, pauper
Servus et humilis.
Pauper, pauper
Servus et humilis.

Panis angelicus
Fit panis hominum;
Dat panis coelicus
Figuris terminum;
O res mirabilis!
Manducat dominum

Pauper, pauper
Servus et humilis.
Pauper, pauper
Servus, servus et humilis. 
________________
(translation)
HEAVENLY BREAD

Heavenly bread
That becomes the bread for all mankind;
Bread from the angelic host
That is the end of all imaginings.
Oh, miraculous thing!
This body of God will nourish 

Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.

Heavenly bread
That becomes the bread for all mankind;
Bread from the angelic host
That is the end of all imaginings.
Oh, miraculous thing!
This body of God will nourish 

Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.


From the Vatican…


OFFICE FOR THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS 
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF

 Communion received on the tongue and while kneeling

The most ancient practice of distributing Holy Communion was, with all probability, to give Communion to the faithful in the palm of the hand. The history of the liturgy, however, makes clear that rather early on a process took place to change this practice.

From the time of the Fathers of the Church, a tendency was born and consolidated whereby distribution of Holy Communion in the hand became more and more restricted in favor of distributing Holy Communion on the tongue. The motivation for this practice is two-fold: a) first, to avoid, as much as possible, the dropping of Eucharistic particles; b) second, to increase among the faithful devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Saint Thomas Aquinas also refers to the practice of receiving Holy Communion only on the tongue. He affirms that touching the Body of the Lord is proper only to the ordained priest.

Therefore, for various reasons, among which the Angelic Doctor cites respect for the Sacrament, he writes: “. . . out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this Sacrament. Hence, it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency” (Summa Theologiae, III, 82, 3).

Over the centuries the Church has always characterized the moment of Holy Communion with sacredness and the greatest respect, forcing herself constantly to develop to the best of her ability external signs that would promote understanding of this great sacramental mystery. In her loving and pastoral solicitude the Church has made sure that the faithful receive Holy Communion having the right interior dispositions, among which dispositions stands out the need for the Faithful to comprehend and consider interiorly the Real Presence of Him Whom they are to receive. (See The Catechism of Pope Pius X, nn. 628 & 636). The Western Church has established kneeling as one of the signs of devotion appropriate to communicants. A celebrated saying of Saint Augustine, cited by Pope Benedict XVI in n. 66 of his Encyclical Sacramentum Caritatis, (“Sacrament of Love”), teaches: “No one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it” (Enarrationes in Psalmos 98, 9). Kneeling indicates and promotes the adoration necessary before receiving the Eucharistic Christ.

From this perspective, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger assured that: “Communion only reaches its true depth when it is supported and surrounded by adoration” [The Spirit of the Liturgy(Ignatius Press, 2000), p. 90]. For this reason, Cardinal Ratzinger maintained that “the practice of kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries-old tradition, and it is a particularly expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species” [cited in the Letter “This Congregation” of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 1 July 1, 2002].

John Paul II, in his last Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (“The Church comes from the Eucharist”), wrote in n. 61: “By giving the Eucharist the prominence it deserves, and by being careful not to diminish any of its dimensions or demands, we show that we are truly conscious of the greatness of this gift. We are urged to do so by an uninterrupted tradition, which from the first centuries on has found the Christian community ever vigilant in guarding this ‘treasure.’ Inspired by love, the Church is anxious to hand on to future generations of Christians, without loss, her faith and teaching with regard to the mystery of the Eucharist. There can be no danger of excess in our care for this mystery, for ‘in this sacrament is recapitulated the whole mystery of our salvation.’” 

In continuity with the teaching of his Predecessor, starting with the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in the year 2008, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, began to distribute to the faithful the Body of the Lord, by placing it directly on the tongue of the faithful as they remain kneeling.  Source – Vatican website

From the Catholic Truth Team…

Happy Feast Day!

Comment:

As always on these devotional threads, readers are invited to discuss any relevant issues, but also to post favourite prayers, hymns, stories – you name it… 

Reminder:  if you wish to post a video straight onto the page instead of merely the link, then you right click on the video screen (as it’s playing, if you wish) to select “copy embed code”.  Then go to the comment box here, and right click to select “paste”.  Submit the comment and when it goes up, you will see that the video itself has appeared, not just the link.  Now, (I hear you saying) there’s a hint to post some of the lovely hymns of adoration to the Blessed Sacrament! Whatever – Happy Feast of Corpus Christi to all bloggers and visitors to this site … Enjoy!

SSPX: Bishop Fellay Interview…

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the SSPX, told the Register May 13 that he is “persuaded, at least in part, by a different approach,” in which, he believes, Pope Francis is placing less weight on the Council and more emphasis on “saving souls and finding a way to do it.”

According to Bishop Fellay, the Vatican is telling the Society, through nuanced words, that it is now possible to question the Council’s teachings on religious liberty, ecumenism, and liturgical reform “and remain Catholic”.

In a three-part video interview, Bishop Fellay gives a rundown of the reconciliation process with Rome, discusses the Society’s motivations and whether the SSPX will continue to be critical of aspects of the post-conciliar Church after reconciliation.  Source

Part 1/3

Part 2/3

Part 3/3

Comments invited…

Yoga: Paying Homage To Hindu Deities

yogaposeToday, I enjoyed a conversation over lunch with a some Catholics from various parishes in Glasgow, including a young woman who was thoroughly informed about the New Age Movement and its impact on Catholics in this archdiocese and beyond. Unfortunately, I had an appointment so had to leave before the end of the chat, and without, therefore, taking in all of the detail, but, from what I did hear of this young woman’s own experience of parishioners who are deeply committed to the New Age phenomenon, it seems that it warrants our attention.  The spread of New Age-ism has worried the  Vatican sufficiently, for the Pontifical Council For Culture to issue a document on the matter: “Even if it can be admitted that New Age religiosity in some way responds to the legitimate spiritual longing of human nature, it must be acknowledged that its attempts to do so run counter to Christian revelation…”

 I’ve heard plenty of people defend Yoga, saying it helps them relax and is good exercise. But it is more than simple body exercise – it is Hindu prayer using body postures – click Here

Yogaprayerpostures

 

                                                    

Comment…

 

Have you noticed the advertisements forNew Age groups – under various guises, mostly Yoga classes – in church porches and in bulletins?  The fact that bookshops are filling their shelves with “New Age” material is one of the concerns found in the Vatican Document, A Christian Reflection on the New Age     

Should we be concerned? One priest in England was concerned enough to hit the headlines in 2012 – from the BBC to the Telegraph and plenty of headlines in between – click here to read the Catholic Herald report.  Will Yoga destroy the Faith of Catholics who participate in it, or is it possible to be a “New Age Catholic”?  

Amoris Laetitia Must Be Withdrawn

ChrisFerrara

Christopher Ferrara

Below, an Open Letter to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, written by The Remnant columnist Christopher Ferrara  He concludes: “Is it enough to call, as you do, for “an authentic interpretation of AL by the Apostolic See” that would reaffirm Familiaris consortio 84 and the bi-millennial sacramental discipline it defends? Is it not perfectly clear that such an authentic interpretation is precisely what AL was devised to preclude, and that therefore it will never be forthcoming during this pontificate (barring a miraculous turn of events)? And, finally, is it not also perfectly clear that the problems with AL go far beyond the ecclesial status of the divorced and “remarried” to an attack on the very foundations of the objective moral order, rhetorically reduced to a set of rules from which an actor may be excused in “certain cases”?  End of extract.

Amen to that Christopher. It seems to me that it is not enough for Pope Francis to provide some sort of “clarification” of Amoris Laetitia. It should be scrapped. Withdrawn. Immediately if not sooner.  Note, too, Mr Ferrara’s criticism of the rest of the hierarchy who have largely remained silent in the wake of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation.  Is he right – should more bishops follow the example of Bishop Schneider in be speaking out? Remember, we know that our very own Archbishop Philip Tartaglia expressed disquiet after the Synod “Part One” when he indicated that he may not BE archbishop if the 2015 synod continued in the same vein. Yet, he has remained silent following the publication of the post-synodal Exhortation, which, by any Catholic measure, is deeply flawed, to say the least.  Anyway, read the Open Letter below and then share your thoughts… 

Open Letter to Bishop Athanasius Schneider…

Your Excellency:

To your everlasting credit, but to the Church’s everlasting shame, you alone among the entire Catholic episcopacy have protested publicly and forthrightly against the many statements in Amoris Laetitia (AL), particularly in Chapter 8, which appear to derogate from the negative precepts of the natural law, including those against divorce, adultery and fornication. By the divine will, these precepts, as Your Excellency writes, “are universally valid… oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance” and “forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception” because they concern “kinds of behaviour which can never, in any situation, be a proper response.”

 Yet there is no question that AL was written ambiguously, but with relentless consistency, precisely to create the impression of “exceptions” to absolute moral precepts which the document tendentiously describes throughout its text as merely “general rules (2, 300, 304)”, a “general principle,” “rules (3, 35, 288)”, “a set of rules” (49, 201, 305)”, “a rule (300, 301, 304)”, “the rule (301 & note 348)”, “a general rule (301)” and “a general law or rule (301).”

Bishop Schneider

Bishop Schneider

As Your Excellency has doubtless discerned, AL’s reduction of the moral law to a “general rule” is the rhetorical device by which “exceptions” to the rule are introduced in “certain cases” involving what AL euphemistically describes as an “irregular union” or “irregular situations” (78, 298, 301, 305 & note 351)—meaning, of course, those who “are divorced and remarried, or simply living together (297)” in a state of continuing public adultery or simple fornication.

At the same time it reduces the moral law to a “set of rules” to which there can be practical exceptions—as with any mere rule—AL also demotes the indissolubility of marriage from its divinely ordained status as the universally binding, exceptionless moral foundation for conjugal relations to merely an “ideal (36), “a demanding ideal (38),” “the ideal (298, 303)”, “this ideal (292)”, “the ideal of growing old together (39),” “the Christian ideal (119, 297)”, “a struggle to achieve an ideal (148)”, “the ideal of marriage (157)”, “the high ideal (200)”, “the beautiful ideal (230)”, “the full ideal (307)”, “the fuller ideal (307)”, and “the evangelical ideal (308).”

Having reduced marriage to a mere ideal, AL dares to suggest that certain sexually immoral unions can “realize it in at least a partial and analogous way” and that they possess “constructive elements (298).” AL even goes so far as to declare that a “second union”—meaning a relationship Our Lord Himself condemned as adultery—can exhibit “proven fidelity, generous self giving, [and] Christian commitment… (298).” AL thus obscures, indeed seeks to eliminate, the sense of divine moral reprobation of the adulterous character of nonexistent “second marriages.”

Even the teaching of the very Pope that Francis canonized is subjected to a devious reductionism. In line with all of Tradition, John Paul II affirmed in Familiaris consortio that the divorced and “remarried” cannot be admitted to the sacraments without a commitment to abstain from further adulterous relations: “Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (Familiaris Consortio, 84). 

Yet, as Your Excellency rightly objects, AL systematically omits any reference to John Paul’s affirmation of the Church’s constant teaching in this regard. Rather, AL relegates it to a footnote wherein an absolute moral imperative is falsely presented as the mere “possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers.” In the same footnote even this gross misrepresentation of the authentic Magisterium is undermined by the suggestion (based in turn on a flagrantly misleading quotation of Gaudium et spes) that “In such situations, many people… point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers.’” As if “intimacy” were morally required to ensure “faithfulness” to a partner in adultery!

Finally, in a summary statement that should alone suffice to cover this tragic document with opprobrium until the end of time, AL declares that even those who know full well “the rule” and “the ideal” can nonetheless be justified in their deliberate decision not to conform their actions to the moral law, and that God Himself would approve of this disobedience to His Commandments in “the concrete complexity” of one’s situation:

Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response that can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. (303)

This statement, reflecting the entire tenor of the document, is obviously nothing less than a license for the “pastoral” exoneration of habitual public adultery or cohabitation based on the subjective self-assessment of objective mortal sinners. These people would then be admitted to the sacraments, without a prior amendment of life, in “certain cases,” following a local priest’s “pastoral discernment filled with merciful love, which is ever ready to understand, forgive, accompany, hope, and above all integrate (312)” people living in immoral sexual unions. (Cf. 305 & note 351).

Your Excellency notes with due alarm that in the wake of AL’s promulgation “There are bishops and priests who publicly and openly declare that AL represents a very clear opening-up to communion for the divorced and remarried, without requiring them to practice continence.” And, as you rightly observe: “It must be admitted that certain statements in AL could be used to justify an abusive practice that has already been going on for some time in various places and circumstances in the life of the Church.”

Indeed, Your Excellency’s conclusion is inescapable. Also inescapable are the consequences, which you yourself enumerate and we summarize here:

– the Sixth Commandment would no longer be universally binding; 

– the very words of Christ would not apply to everyone in every situation; 

– one could be allowed to receive Holy Communion with every intention of continuing to violate the Commandments; 

– observance of the Commandments would become merely theoretical, with people piously professing belief in the “theory” as they violate God’s law in practice; 

– all other forms of permanent and public disobedience to the Commandments could likewise be justified on account of “mitigating circumstances”; 

– the infallible moral teaching of the Magisterium would no longer be universally valid; 

– observance of the Sixth Commandment in Christian marriage would become a mere ideal attainable only by “a kind of elite”; 

– the very words of Christ enjoining an uncompromising obedience to the commandments of God—that is, the carrying of the Cross in this life— “would no longer be valid as absolute truth.”

Yet your fellow prelates now observe an all but universal silence in the face of this “catastrophe.” Only Your Excellency courageously declares before the world that “Admitting couples living in ‘irregular unions’ to Holy Communion and allowing them to practice acts that are reserved for spouses in a valid marriage would be tantamount to the usurpation of a power that does not belong to any human authority, because to do so would be a pretension to correct the Word of God himself.”

Among more than 5,000 bishops and more than 200 cardinals, Your Excellency stands alone in protesting publicly the unthinkable abuses to which this disgraceful document—utterly without precedent in the bi-millennial history of the papacy—undeniably lends itself. Even the few among your fellow prelates who have addressed the crisis AL has provoked have tried to deny its clear intendment, so evident in Chapter 8. They propose emasculating “interpretations” in “continuity with the Magisterium” amounting to virtually the opposite of what AL’s most problematic passages assert repeatedly in different ways.

But as the eminent French theologian Father Claude Barthe observedimmediately after AL’s publication: “I honestly do not see how one could interpret Chapter 8 of the Exhortation in the sense of traditional doctrine. It would do violence to the text and wouldn’t respect the intention of the compilers…” Likewise, the renowned Catholic philosopher Robert Spaemann, an advisor to John Paul II and a friend of Benedict XVI, replied thuswhen asked if AL represents a breach with prior teaching: “That it is an issue of a breach emerges doubtlessly for every thinking person, who knows the respective texts.”

Others among your brethren, unwilling to deny the obvious, have seriously proposed that Francis has promulgated nothing more than inconsequential “personal reflections” he does not expect anyone to heed. But even this objection focuses on formalities such as tone and style, rather than admitting openly that AL cannot belong to the Magisterium for the simple reason that its assertions, given the meaning of words according to their ordinary signification, cannot be reconciled with the Church’s authentic teaching on marriage and sexual morality.

None of these timid objectors among the hierarchy seem willing to recognize the almost apocalyptic aspect of a papal document wherein the moral law is depicted as a “general rule,” Holy Matrimony is reduced to “an ideal,” and the sacred pastors of the Church are told that “a pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives (305).” This is not the language of Our Lord and His Gospel, but rather a kind of demagogic incantation that seems to fulfill Saint Paul’s prophecy of a time when the people “will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables (2 Tim 4: 3-5).”

Aside from Your Excellency and a few courageous priests, only the laity have exhibited anything approaching the vigorous opposition which this scandalous “apostolic exhortation” demands from every member of the Church. In this regard, Your Excellency remarks on the parallel between our situation and the Arian crisis of the 4th century, when “almost the entire episcopate had become Arian or Semi-Arian.” Pope Liberius excommunicated your namesake St. Athanasius, and the Pope himself “signed one of the ambiguous formulations of Sirmium, in which the term ‘homoousios’ [of one substance] was eliminated.” You also note that “St. Hilary of Poitiers was the only bishop who dared to rebuke Pope Liberius severely for these ambiguous acts.”

The parallel with your own courageous witness against the “ambiguous formulations” of AL is lost on no one who has any sense of Catholic history. As you write: “Arguably, in our time, confusion is already spreading with regard to the sacramental discipline for divorced and remarried couples.” Hence, you conclude, the teaching of John Paul II in Familiaris consortio 84—totally suppressed in AL’s 256 pages, as it was throughout the years-long “synodal journey”— “may be seen, to some extent, as the ‘homoousios’ of our days’.”

In light of these considerations, however, we must in candor raise these questions for Your Excellency’s consideration: Is it enough to call, as you do, for “an authentic interpretation of AL by the Apostolic See” that would reaffirm Familiaris consortio 84 and the bi-millennial sacramental discipline it defends? Is it not perfectly clear that such an authentic interpretation is precisely what AL was devised to preclude, and that therefore it will never be forthcoming during this pontificate (barring a miraculous turn of events)? And, finally, is it not also perfectly clear that the problems with AL go far beyond the ecclesial status of the divorced and “remarried” to an attack on the very foundations of the objective moral order, rhetorically reduced to a set of rules from which an actor may be excused in “certain cases”?

For all these reasons, we implore Your Excellency to do everything in his power to persuade his brethren in the episcopacy—above all the cardinals, who are bound by oath to lay down their lives for defense of the Faith—to mount concerted and decisive public opposition to the destructive novelties of Amoris laetitia, explicitly identifying them as such, warning the faithful against them, and respectfully petitioning the Pope for their immediate correction or the total withdrawal of the catastrophic text.

As Prof. Spaemann has said: “Every cardinal, but also every bishop and priest, is called to defend, in their own field of expertise, the Catholic sacramental system and to profess it publicly. If the Pope is not willing to introduce corrections, it will be up to the next pontificate to put things back in place officially.” Meanwhile, however, we humbly submit to Your Excellency that this shameful silence of the hierarchs must end for the good of the Church and the welfare of souls. For as Sister Lucia of Fatima warned Cardinal Caffarra, one of the few staunch opponents of the progressive faction (and thus Francis himself) during the Synod: “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”

The final battle is surely underway. And woe to the shepherds who leave the sheep to defend themselves in its midst.
In Christo Rege,

Christopher A. Ferrara  Source – The Remnant Newspaper 

NOT a Catholic Truth discussion - no way!

NOT a Catholic Truth discussion – no way!