Well, is it Yes or No?
And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me.
—Matthew 11: 6.
Fr John Zuhlsdorf (“Fr Zed”), one of the best-known orthodox Catholic bloggers, sometimes asks readers to let him know if they heard an outstanding sermon at Mass the previous Sunday, and if so, to describe it. Well, I heard one that fits the bill, but I’m not going to say where or by whom because I don’t want to be responsible for having Fr X mugged by the Modernists.
Fr X began by pointing out that verse six, chapter 11 of St Matthew’s Gospel (above) could really count as one of the beatitudes, even though unlike the other nine it doesn’t occur in the Sermon on the Mount.
Who, he wondered, are those who are scandalized by the words of Our Lord? Those who ask questions, or those who refuse to answer them? He then turned to the five dubia (questions demanding the answer Yes or No) of Cardinal Burke and his colleagues, and dealt with them one by one. (He didn’t mention the cardinals, or even say who asked the questions.)
l. Does someone who asks if divorced persons living in a new union more uxorio (“having sex”) may be admitted to Holy Communion have a problem with the clear teaching of Our Lord in the Gospels? Or does the person who refuses to answer that question?
2. After Amoris Laetitia, can one still say there are absolute moral norms prohibiting intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions? Is someone who asks that question scandalized by the teaching of Christ? Or is the person who refuses to answer?
3. Similarly, does an habitual adulterer find himself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin? Who is scandalised by Our Lord? The questioner, or the one who won’t answer the question?
4. Again, can one still say, as Pope St John Paul II did in Veritatis Splendor, that circumstances or intentions can never transform an intrinsically evil act into one that is subjectively good? Yes or No? Is it the questioner who is scandalized, or the one who won’t answer?
5. Finally, again taking Veritatis Splendor, was Pope St John Paul right to emphasis that conscience can never be authorized to allow exceptions to absolute moral norms? Is it the questioner who is scandalized by Our Lord, or is it the person who refuses to answer?