We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Amoris Lætitia: feeding frenzy.

What better way to expose heresy in the Church than to create a situation in which the goats, i.e., the agents of deceit, extend to themselves permission to spread their lies, thus exposing themselves and their errors?

The recent papal exhortation, Amoris Lætitia (AL), mulligan soup that it is, permits those who wax one way (relativism) or another (pseudo-traditionalism) to bend AL to their twisted inclinations.

A mess-age in a bottle.

Pope Francis is, by issuing his recent letter, modelling well the intention to which he has called others during the earlier part of his pontificate. That is, the call to make a mess. As was reported by Reuters on the occasion of the Pope's trip to Paraguay in July of 2015:
"They wrote a speech for me to give you. But speeches are boring," the Argentine pontiff said to loud cheers, casting aside his script. "Make a mess, but then also help to tidy it up. A mess which gives us a free heart, a mess which gives us solidarity, a mess which gives us hope."
"But then also help to tidy it up...". If Amoris Lætitia sends any message at all, it might be the following: Get out the theological and pastoral brooms and let's get sweeping! One thing seems certain: this pontiff is comfortable with the thought that God is in charge and can bring truth, goodness and beauty out of a miserable confusion. At the very least, we can hope and pray that good will come out of the confusion.

Tidying

This blogger is not comfortable with messes, least of all messes which clutter people's thoughts about the Sacred Liturgy. Some, even many, are exploiting the papal mess to further riddle the Church with dissent, and others are using the mess to attack Rome and the Holy Father himself. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit looks on: goats to the left; sheep to the right (St. Matthew 25:31-46).

Heretics Hagfish feeding | OC Memorial Library

Many regressive liberals are weighing in on the papal document. Included in their self aggrandizing diatribes are frequent attacks on traditionalists. Their bedfellows, the secular media, have latched on to AL like hagfish sucking the guts out of their prey. Meanwhile, rad-traddies have taken to spearing AL (and unfortunately its author) as something vile and worthless. AL is a fragile document because it attempts to connect people beyond the narrow confines of their current (sinful) circumstances (sinful cohabitation, for example) and God's design for human relationships.
Saint John Paul II proposed the so-called “law of gradualness” in the knowledge that the human being “knows, loves 320 Cf. ibid. 321 Relatio Synodi 2014, 42. 322 Ibid., 43. 225 and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth”.323 This is not a “gradualness of law” but rather a gradualness in the prudential exercise of free acts on the part of subjects who are not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law. For the law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception; it can be followed with the help of grace, even though each human being “advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God and the demands of God’s definitive and absolute love in his or her entire personal and social life”.324AL

So then, what may appear to be a blessing of sinful relationships in earlier paragraphs (Amoris Lætitia sections 293-295, pp.222-224) is actually a nuanced invitation to sinners who desperately need the healing balm which the Church offers to come home. Let's be clear, just as the document also makes very clear: a 'gradualness of law' is rejected.

To whom shall we go? (St. John 6:68)

Pope Francis is not the theologue that Pope Saint John Paul II the Great was, nor is he an intellectual equal to our beloved Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI. No matter what one thinks about this pope, an important fact remains: he is the pope. He may very well turn out to be a bad or a beloved pope. He'll probably be appreciated as something of both.

We can and should continuously pray that God protects His Church, the Church He founded on Saint Peter and his successors. More specifically, we should pray that Catholics will listen to orthodox teachers, not media pundits or regressive liberals masquerading as prelates who want Catholics to forgo doctrine and thus consign themselves to a company of morally lax individuals whose souls are imperilled by dissent and who, upon confronting their sorry state at death, relegate themselves to a hell of separation from God.

Truth & Consequences

God has once again protected His Church from error. No theological errors will be found within the pages of AL (—and there certainly are many, many pages to AL). Some informed readers have already found a lot of pablum within its folds, and others have found many useful perspectives. We can be sure that God will use the good Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and others—the Dominican Theologian of the Pontifical Household (Pontificalis Domus Doctor Theologus) Wojciech Giertych, O.P., for one—to protect His Church or at least those faithful citizens who desire to be protected and saved by Jesus Christ.

The media version of AL is a series of sad events aimed at providing aid and comfort to the enemies within, enemies with which we all must contend. Bottom line, that is a good thing. Charity demands that we provide fraternal correction to one another, a charity that does not forget Truth. Liturgical and sexual abuse in the Church is the direct result of the failure of a generation to speak and act on the truth about the human condition. Instead of trusting in the counsel of psychiatrists and psychologists in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, which maintained serial pedophiles could be reformed, the Church should have done as she always had done and opposed sin without making excuses for the perpetrators of serious crimes against innocence. We have, in many ways, forgotten how to detect sin and to correct it and to purge the Church of it.

This we know: the Church is in serious trouble, pastorally speaking. Many souls in the West have been lost due to false interpretations of the Second Vatican Council being implemented as policy. There should be no surprise, in light of the continuing devastation unleashed by the Council of the Media, as Pope Benedict called the hijacked version of the Council, that the regressive liberal mindset responsible for distorting the teaching of the Second Vatican Council is still at work in the Church. Relativism, so perfectly identified by Papa Benedetto XVI, is a virus, a cancer still eating away at people's faith even within the Vatican walls, the sacred precincts of the Church herself. That so many laymen and laywomen have allowed the spirit of the age to contaminate their hearts and minds with the rebellion of the left or right is shockingly obvious and simply shocking.

Frankly speaking... .

One thing's for certain—Pope Francis's latest tome has all but guaranteed that the cardinals will not choose another theological yokel to be in charge next time. No disrespect intended. Given his obvious preferential option for simple living and plain speech, yokel is probably a word with which Papa Francesco himself would be comfortable. And, as Fr. Hunwicke puts it:
(T)he account usually given of Apostolic Exhortations (such as Amoris Lætitia) is that they are not doctrinally constitutive or juridically legislative.—Fr. John Hunwicke
Pope Francis has repeatedly, and rather cleverly, and rightly shifted the narrative from judgement to mercy. Do recall that Pope Francis wrote a book called The Name of God is Mercy. Let's be clear:
The name of God is love. Mercy is something which God extends to man because man has sinned and falls short of the life intended for man by God. To propose that mercy could be extended by one Divine Person in the Holy Trinity to another Divine Person is to propose heresy. Mercy implies that there is sin which requires forgiveness. There is no need for forgiveness in the Holy Trinity between the Three Divine Persons. A Divine Person cannot sin. Love is Who God is. The Trinity is communion-of-love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God. God has mercy (upon His creatures) because God is love and sinners need His mercy.
He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.—1 John 4:8
So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.—1 John 4:16
God's loving actions toward men may move us to call God mercy, but He is—as He has Himself revealed—the name love. God is not merely loving, He is love. God is full of mercy because He is love. God acts mercifully toward His creatures. Because He is love, He is both just and merciful.

Let us bear in mind that Pope Francis' book is not an ex cathedra papal document that binds all Christians to all of its content. He is somewhat free to wax poetic just as Papa Benedict was free to wax poetic in his personal or private writings which he made clear were not magisterial and therefore were not necessarily binding on Christians' souls to the degree that magisterial documents should be.

A good and perhaps necessary corrective to Francis' The Name of God is Mercy might be Benedict XVI's Deus Caritas Est, which reads in small part:
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. We have come to believe in God's love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Saint John's Gospel describes that event in these words: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should … have eternal life" (3:16). In acknowledging the centrality of love, Christian faith has retained the core of Israel's faith, while at the same time giving it new depth and breadth. The pious Jew prayed daily the words of the Book of Deuteronomy which expressed the heart of his existence: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might" (6:4–5). Jesus united into a single precept this commandment of love for God and the commandment of love for neighbour found in the Book of Leviticus: "You shall love your neighbour as yourself" (19:18; cf. Mk 12:29–31). Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere "command"; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us.
Truth and Love

If the tie-dyed 1960s and 1970s didn't teach us that limp catechesis and permissiveness and squishy theology should be avoided, then the mess which is unfolding during the current pontificate and the theological trash spewed forth by the Kasperites will need little additional accompaniment to convince the cardinal-electors during the next conclave to elect a pontiff who can communicate with the skill of a Pope St. John Paul II and the theological quality of a Pope Benedict XVI. In other words, a pope will be needed who is able to speak with pastoral sensitivity and theological precision, and whose personal holiness embodies a clear call to repentance so that people may come to belief and hope in the one Who alone can provide hope for all mankind—Jesus Christ, the only Son of God and Saviour of the world.

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