Carry On Sinning
(Part II of a series, edited from an article in The Remnant)
Having pointed out that Amoris Laetitia, while not explicitly changing Catholic doctrine on divorce and remarriage, will effectively allow public unrepentant adulterers to receive Holy Communion, Christopher Ferrara next argues that to reduce marriage to an “ideal” radically undermines respect for the divine institution Pope Francis is purporting to defend.
As Francis would have it, the Church will now integrate unrepentant, habitual, public mortal sinners into ecclesial life, even though the Church has always taught, for their own salvation, that they are not living members of the Church until they repent, are absolved of their sins, and are restored to the life of sanctifying grace. This “integration” plan will include, but not be limited to, those living in adulterous second “marriages” or simply cohabitating with no intention of ending their immoral situations.
This is to be done on the pretext that such people are just so helpless in their sins that they cannot be deemed culpable for them or be required to amend their lives at present, and that “mercy” requires that the Church accommodate their “weakness” until they “grow” spiritually at some point in the indefinite future. But what of God’s grace? In the usual postconciliar mode of Modernist doubletalk, Amoris Laetitia blatantly contradicts itself by declaring: “Through his Church, Christ bestows on marriage and the family the grace necessary to bear witness to the love of God and to live the life of communion (¶ 63).”
One can only laugh at the Synod’s claim that poverty makes a simple Catholic wedding ceremony impossible, or that “shacking up” is less expensive than living in Holy Matrimony under the same roof with the same person.
According to Francis, “de facto unions” are now to be viewed as “opportunities that can lead to the full reality of marriage and family in conformity with the Gospel.” (294) Thus people living in sin are now said to have “part” of the reality of marriage—a proposition as nonsensical as the claim that heretics who reject the very existence of the Catholic Church and practice various forms of gravely sinful sexual immorality are somehow in “partial communion” with her.
What Romano Amerio has called the “loss of essences” in postconciliar thinking—a tendency to avoid distinguishing with exactitude good from bad, true from false, licit from illicit and often even one thing from another—now claims Christian marriage and even the moral law itself. The reduction of marriage to an “ideal” radically undermines respect for the divine institution Francis purports to defend, and the only licit conjugal relation between man and woman now becomes the mere end point on a scale of relational choices, all of which are to be viewed as more or less good. Mortally sinful sexual unions are no longer to be treated as threats to salvation, but only as stages in a “gradual” moral development.
This “loss of essences” is practically a theme in Amoris Laetitia. Accordingly, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, notorious for his “gay-friendly” and pro-divorce orientation, rejoiced during his presentation of the document to the world: “My great joy as a result of this document resides in the fact that it coherently overcomes that artificial, superficial, clear division between ‘regular’ and ‘irregular’…”—that is, between moral and immoral conjugal unions.
In sum, Francis’s novel “pastoral discernment” ignores objective conduct in favor of a programmatically indulgent presumption that people living in a continual state of public adultery are subjectively blameless for a myriad of reasons that could be found in their “concrete” situations. According to this approach, it would be impossible to insist that anyone is “subjectively” in a state of mortal sin that would impede his participation in any aspect of ecclesial life no matter what his “objective” behavior. This idea will eventuate in the explicit opening to Confession and Holy Communion in paragraph 305.
To be continued.