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April 25th, 2016

Deadly Poison in Amoris Laetitia

As commentary for and against Amoris Laetitia continues to pour in, I thought it might be useful to have a look at one of the most trenchant critiques of this Apostolic Exhortation. It’s by Christopher Ferrara,  pro-life activist and President of  the American Catholic Lawyers’ Association.

The article, in The Remnant newspaper deals exhaustively with Amoris Laetitia which—given the huge length of that document—is surely necessary.  I thought I would take some salient points from it  and spread them over several blogposts.  Mr Ferrara begins with a startling metaphor:

If a world-renowned head chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant served us a cake whose recipe included “1 tsp. cyanide,” we would hardly praise the other wholesome ingredients because of the chef’s prestige. We would throw the thing away and have him arrested.

Where an admittedly subversive “Apostolic Exhortation” is concerned, the faithful have no duty to parse it for acceptable Catholic teaching on marriage and family. Have we not had more than enough of this nonsense? It is not the responsibility of the faithful to “purify” defective papal teaching with defensive post-publication commentaries that “accentuate the positive” while ignoring the negative. It is the Pope’s responsibility to give the faithful teaching whose purity they can trust implicitly in the first place—on every page of every document.

As for those parts of Amoris Laetitia which affirm, however verbosely, aspects of traditional Catholic teaching on marriage and family, we already have that teaching in abundance from innumerable sources of the infallible Magisterium, including  beautifully written landmark encyclicals [such as Casti Connubii] to which faithful Catholics have already given assent of mind and will. As for unfaithful Catholics, they will not even bother to read the thing, but will simply be content with the news, now being trumpeted throughout the world, that Francis has lightened up on all that “adultery” business. And if, at the end of the tumultuous “synodal journey” that Francis insisted upon and stage-managed from start to finish, tradition-minded Catholics are supposed to exult merely because he did not do what he had no power to do anyway—“change doctrine”—then what was the point of the whole “Synod on the Family”?

The answer to this question is now obvious to anyone in possession of his reason. The Synod was merely the delivery vehicle for Amoris Laetitia, wherein Francis…finally arrives at the destination he has arranged from the beginning: admission of “certain” (ultimately all) divorced and “remarried” Catholics, along with other habitual public sinners of the sexual variety, to Confession and Holy Communion without prior repentance and amendment of life. The bare doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage is left untouched—indeed paragraph after paragraph of flowery praise is heaped upon it—while Francis’s plan for ignoring it in practice is finally confirmed. Amoris Laetitia widens to commodious dimensions  the opening for the outcome already created by the infamous paragraphs 84-86 of the final report of Synod 2015.

To be continued.

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