Black is White—by Papal ‘Fiat’
Part III of a series, edited from an article in The Remnant.
After stating that Pope Francis’ novel “pastoral discernment” approach ignores objective conduct in favour of a presumption that people living in a continual state of public adultery are subjectively blameless for a myriad of reasons, Christopher Ferrara points out that Amoris Laetitia then declares that a well-formed conscience which knows what the “general rule” requires can still claim an exemption from the “rule” if it “honestly” decides God does not require full compliance at the moment:
The Catholic mind staggers before the spectacle of a Pope who, for rhetorical convenience, reduces the moral law to “rules” from which one can be excused if he does not appreciate their “value” or his “concrete situation” supposedly makes compliance impossible—as if the precepts of the natural law were a set of traffic regulations. Saint Paul infallibly teaches that “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Cor. 10:13).”
Francis, however, apparently doesn’t agree with the word of God on this particular point. Neither did Martin Luther, whose launching of the “Reformation” Francis will be celebrating next year in Sweden, including a joint liturgy with Lutheran ministers whose churches reject the indissolubility of marriage, condone contraception and abortion, ordain women and practicing homosexuals as “priests” and “bishops,” and support the legalization of “same-sex unions” that Francis has consistently failed to oppose. Perhaps this is just a coincidence.
Evidently hoping to forestall or mitigate what he knew was a coming disaster, the retired curial Cardinal Walter Brandmüller issued a statement only days prior to the publication of Amoris Laetitia (since repeated in substance) which, in keeping with the Catechism and the Church’s invariant teaching, declares that one “who, in spite of an existing marriage bond, enters after a divorce into a new civil union, is committing adultery” and “cannot receive either absolution in Confession nor the Eucharist (Holy Communion) [if he] is not willing to put an end this situation…” Obviously there can be no “exceptions” for certain individuals because “What is fundamentally impossible for reasons of Faith is also impossible in the individual case.” The Cardinal concluded: “The post-synodal document, Amoris Laetitia, is therefore to be interpreted in light of the above-presented principles, especially since a contradiction between a papal document and the Catechism of the Catholic Church would not be imaginable.”
For Francis, however, the contradiction is quite imaginable. He apparently believes he can make it a reality by his own fiat, without the least regard for the contrary teaching of his predecessors—indeed, without regard for truth itself, which the casuistic reasoning of Amoris Laetitia has already twisted repeatedly to get this far. Francis deems it sufficient that during his own minutely stage-managed sham of a Synod “many Synod Fathers”—including those with whom he stacked the proceeding—were of the view that “[u]nder certain circumstances people find it difficult to act differently,” so that “while upholding a general rule, it is necessary to recognize that responsibility with respect to certain actions or decisions is not the same in all cases.” (302)
According to Francis’s moral theory, then, every moral precept would be a “general rule” admitting of exceptions under “difficult” circumstances. The theory is founded on nothing more than his own opinion, quotations from his own documents and ad-libbed homilies, a misleading reference to the teaching of Saint Thomas, and whatever appreciation for situation ethics Francis might have imbibed during his studies and ecclesiastical career.
Leaving no doubt of the magnitude of his theological coup attempt, Francis even declares that a well-formed conscience, which knows what the “general rule” requires, can still claim an exemption from the “rule” if it “honestly” decides God does not require full compliance at the moment.
Believe it or not, the following is the opinion of a Roman Pontiff: “Naturally, every effort should be made to encourage the development of an enlightened conscience, formed and guided by the responsible and serious discernment of one’s pastor, and to encourage an ever-greater trust in God’s grace. 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 which 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.”
It seems impossible to believe that a Roman Pontiff would promulgate a document declaring that even a well-formed conscience is excused from obedience to the moral law it knows if less than obedience is what the actor deems sufficient “for now,” and that God would approve this departure from “the ideal.” How is this passage alone anything other than a sign of an apocalyptic turn of events in the Church?