A Return to Amoris Laetitia:The Vain Attempt to Accommodate Christianity to the Modern World and Its Distorted Values**.

 

At the presentation of Amoris Laetitia (AL)*, Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn famously said: “For me Amoris Laetitia is, first and foremost, a “linguistic event”, as was Evangelii gaudium. Something has changed in ecclesial discourse.” (emphasis mine)

A linguistic event? Boy howdy. Progressives love to manipulate (or is butcher the right word?) language for their cause:

  • support for abortion becomes known as being “pro-choice”
  • supporting banning guns and ammunition becomes known as “sensible gun control”
  • supporting increased taxation becomes known as “investing”
  • tolerance becomes known as “acceptance”
  • you get the idea

It is becoming so in the Church as well.

  • adulterous relationships become known as “irregular unions”
  • orthodox Catholics become known as “rigid and Pharisaical”
  • not holding to doctrine and Tradition becomes known as “pastoral care and personal discernment”
  • emphasis on mercy and attention to concrete situations becomes known as “if you follow your conscience you can do whatever you like”
  • a Church without orthodox leadership based on Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium becomes Protestant “an inclusive and decentralized Church”

These are the fruits of AL. And they are rotten.

Dioceses around the world are split on what was once settled practice following from the constant teaching of the Church: those not in a state of grace (i.e., in a state of mortal sin) are not to present themselves for Communion. But that has cratered under AL. The dioceses of Rome, Malta, and some in Argentina and Germany have now broken from what the universal Church holds to be the Truth. Doctrinal anarchy is resulting from this mess.

Building on Pope Francis’s celebrated maxim that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak,” Cardinal archbishop Joseph Tobin of Newark, NJ held a “pilgrimage” for so-called LGBT Catholics at his Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart and had no qualms about his priests offering Holy Communion to those living outside of the Church’s call to chastity. When asked whether he might talk about sin during this pilgrimage he said that “That sounds a little backhanded to me.”

Not to be outdone, Jesuit Fr. James Martin, who has become a progressive media darling and a vocal advocate for LGBT Catholics said that “Pretty much everyone’s lifestyle is sinful.” Umm, no. Phil Lawler sets him straight:

That statement is outrageous. In a sane world, Father Martin’s Jesuit superiors would order him to apologize. We are all sinners; we are all sinful. But we are not all engaged in sinful ways of life.

Not to be outdone by his brother Jesuit, Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, (the man known as the Black Pope as the head of the Jesuit order) has said that all Church doctrine must be open to discernment, even the words of Christ; and that the devil is just a social construct to help us understand evil.

But of course, these men have learned from Pope Francis who famously plays fast and loose with words. For instance:

No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! AL297.

And now, there are rumors circulating for a “reinterpretation” of Humanae Vitae. Buckle up.

As with all of the “linguistic events” of this papacy, the AL secret decoder ring will be required. We will certainly hear that “the object is not to change the doctrine” because, as with communion for the adulterous, “we don’t need to change the doctrine when we can do an end-run around it.”

The jargon and gibberish of these linguistic events of the Pope Francis era certainly do seem to be a vain attempt to accommodate Christianity to the modern world and its distorted values. And they remind me of something I recently read (modified to fit this essay):

There is a lesson (here). Perhaps the dumbest man in the room is not the man who cannot understand gibberish, but the man who cannot see gibberish for what it is. And perhaps the most dangerous people (in the Church) are those who understand this human weakness and take full, cynical advantage of it. Our (spiritual) problems have deep educational roots. Until the matters of jargon and gibberish are addressed, I suspect that things are unlikely to improve.


*Amoris laetitia (The Joy of Love, also known as AL) is the post-synodal apostolic exhortation written by Pope Francis. Dated 19 March 2016, it was released on 8 April 2016. It followed the Synods on the Family held in 2014 and 2015. One can go to my blog to find critique of this document (here, here, here, here, and here)

**I stole the second part of the title from Peter Kwasniewski, at NLM. He writes on liturgy.

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  1. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Talk about deplorable. The Church isn’t supposed to bend with the whims of popular culture. Jesus said, “On this rock I build my church.” not “on this shifting sand of trendy social fads.” The Church should be an unchanging rock of solid tradition, and it’s especially important in these terrible times we’re living in right now.

    • #1
  2. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    here is a lesson (here). Perhaps the dumbest man in the room is not the man who cannot understand gibberish, but the man who cannot see gibberish for what it is. And perhaps the most dangerous people (in the Church) are those who understand this human weakness and take full, cynical advantage of it. Our (spiritual) problems have deep educational roots. Until the matters of jargon and gibberish are addressed, I suspect that things are unlikely to improve.

    Laudato si  struck me as written by a graduate environmental studies student, a young one, with Pope Francis sticking in some theology here and there.  So AL is cut from the same tree?   After such clear headed powerful intellects that he followed what are we to make of this man?

    • #2
  3. jeannebodine Member
    jeannebodine
    @jeannebodine

    Amen, Scott, amen. It’s truly a tragedy of epic proportions. Until Pope Francis, I took comfort that the Catholic Church would still be standing strong and immutable should a catastrophic global event occur, to lead civilization back to the light.

    I had 2 non-Christians in my home, one yesterday and one today. They love Pope Francis and everything he is doing to “modernize” the Catholic faith. I briefly explained my Catholic beliefs and why our our doctrine cannot and should not change.

    One of my visitors, a very Progressive, secular Jew (raised Orthodox) who thinks white supremacists started the London hi rise fire,  even allowed me to show her the home pages for 2 of the mainline Protestant denominations. The LGBT, the poor, the environment et al. causes were clearly more prominent than Our Lord. I asked her if she saw what I meant about these denominations, for the most part, becoming little more than NGO’s with only the slightest whiff of Our Lord. To my surprise, she became very thoughtful and we discussed it some more.

    In the end, even though she said her only higher power was Mother Gaia, she said she understood what I was saying and even went so far as to agree that changing a faith’s doctrine might not be a good thing. I’m gonna get this girl (55 years old) into a church or back to Temple if I work hard enough!

    (PS – remind me some day to tell Ricochet how I got 2 progressive, unionized Bernie Bros,  retired teachers , on 2 separate occasions,to say,  “That’s interesting, I never thought about it that way” about public education. Please forgive run-on-run-on sentence.)

    • #3
  4. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    I Walton (View Comment):
    After such clear headed powerful intellects that he followed what are we to make of this man?

    That he is doing a disservice to the Church and is trying to bury Benedict.

    • #4
  5. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    I’m afraid he’s just one part of a much larger and much worse problem worldwide.

    • #5
  6. Dean Murphy Member
    Dean Murphy
    @DeanMurphy

    Scott Wilmot: a Church without orthodox leadership based on Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium becomes Protestant “an inclusive and decentralized Church”

    That sounds like what was happening in New Mexico.  The formation of “Los Penitentes” before the Church caught up.  They still have their parallel services in places like Las Vegas (not NV).

    • #6
  7. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    It’s not just the Catholic Church either. When I lived in the Midwest in the 90s, the local United Methodist Church was written up in the Lifestyle section of the Sunday paper. They told the interviewer that they show women where to go for abortions. And one weekend, a group of  Methodist women went up to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan for a weekend of running around the woods topless worshiping “Christa.”

    • #7
  8. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    It’s not just the Catholic Church either. When I lived in the Midwest in the 90s, the local United Methodist Church was written up in the Lifestyle section of the Sunday paper. They told the interviewer that they show women where to go for abortions. And one weekend, a group of Methodist women went up to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan for a weekend of running around the woods topless worshiping “Christa.”

    • #8
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Yes, indeed.  Excellent post, Scott.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, is sacred any more.

    • #9
  10. Johnnie Alum 13 Inactive
    Johnnie Alum 13
    @JohnnieAlum13

    An imbecile habit has risen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma was credible in the 12th century, but is not credible in the 20th. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays.
    –G.K. Chesterton

    Screwtape would be proud of some in the Church that are trying to destroy her.

    I wonder how many of these that are so adamant about harming the Church believe in the Resurrection of the body and in the True Presence of the Eucharist.

    • #10
  11. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Carl Olson reported yesterday that the four Cardinals of the Apocalypse, (Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on behalf of Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Raymond L. Burke, and Joachim Meisner) sent a letter to Pope Francis in April reiterating their desire to have the dubia answered and also requesting an audience with the Holy Father.

    I’ll be shocked—and I don’t use that term lightly—if Francis agrees to meet with the four cardinals, or if he formally responds to the dubia. I believe Francis is content to create the mess that is currently spreading throughout the Church, and even, at times, to encourage it even more by way of dubious assertions.

    Edward Pentin was the first to report on this and NCR has the full text of the letter.

    • #11
  12. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    An excerpt from the text:

    Most Holy Father,

    A year has now gone by since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. During this time, interpretations of some objectively ambiguous passages of the post-synodal Exhortation have publicly been given that are not divergent from, but contrary to, the permanent Magisterium of the Church. Despite the fact that the Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith has repeatedly declared that the doctrine of the Church has not changed, numerous statements have appeared from individual Bishops, Cardinals, and even Episcopal Conferences, approving what the Magisterium of the Church has never approved. Not only access to the Holy Eucharist for those who objectively and publicly live in a situation of grave sin, and intend to remain in it, but also a conception of moral conscience contrary to the Tradition of the Church. And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta. And so on. One is reminded of the bitter observation of B. Pascal: “Justice on this side of the Pyrenees, injustice on the other; justice on the left bank of the river, injustice on the right bank.”

    • #12
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    An excerpt from the text:

    Most Holy Father,

    A year has now gone by since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. During this time, interpretations of some objectively ambiguous passages of the post-synodal Exhortation have publicly been given that are not divergent from, but contrary to, the permanent Magisterium of the Church. Despite the fact that the Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith has repeatedly declared that the doctrine of the Church has not changed, numerous statements have appeared from individual Bishops, Cardinals, and even Episcopal Conferences, approving what the Magisterium of the Church has never approved. Not only access to the Holy Eucharist for those who objectively and publicly live in a situation of grave sin, and intend to remain in it, but also a conception of moral conscience contrary to the Tradition of the Church. And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta. And so on. One is reminded of the bitter observation of B. Pascal: “Justice on this side of the Pyrenees, injustice on the other; justice on the left bank of the river, injustice on the right bank.”

    Isn’t it impressive how clear-thinking the Four are, and how clearly they express their reasoning? Sadly, I have never felt similarly about the Pope.

    • #13
  14. Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June… Coolidge
    Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June…
    @Pseudodionysius

    worshiping “Christa.”

    I’ve encountered nutty fallen away Benedictine “nuns” and “sisters” who built a statute to “Christa” and invoke “her” in intercessory prayers.

    • #14
  15. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June… (View Comment):
    worshiping “Christa.”

    I’ve encountered nutty fallen away Benedictine “nuns” and “sisters” who built a statute to “Christa” and invoke “her” in intercessory prayers.

    I’m sorry.

    • #15
  16. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June… (View Comment):
    worshiping “Christa.”

    I’ve encountered nutty fallen away Benedictine “nuns” and “sisters” who built a statute to “Christa” and invoke “her” in intercessory prayers.

    Oh dear. I don’t know what happened to the Methodist Church, but it’s been going on for at least 20 years now and it’s getting worse. My ex sister-in-law, a rabid feminist, is United Methodist, and she was teaching her 3 kids that God is a woman in the early 90s. I never said anything to her of course, but I was horrified. I mean grasping the concept of the Trinity is complex enough without muddying the waters with this stuff.

    • #16
  17. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    After such clear headed powerful intellects that he followed what are we to make of this man?

    That he is doing a disservice to the Church and is trying to bury Benedict.

    Let us not forget that the power of the Holy Spirit was upon the sacred Conclave and the College of Cardinals when they elected Jorge Bergoglio and elevated him to hold the Keys of St. Peter and wear the Fisherman’s Ring as Francis, Bishop of Rome.

    Surely these facts grant Francis the legitimacy to interpret the Church’s teachings as he sees fit, no?

    • #17
  18. Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June… Coolidge
    Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June…
    @Pseudodionysius

    Majestyk (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    After such clear headed powerful intellects that he followed what are we to make of this man?

    That he is doing a disservice to the Church and is trying to bury Benedict.

    Let us not forget that the power of the Holy Spirit was upon the sacred Conclave and the College of Cardinals when they elected Jorge Bergoglio and elevated him to hold the Keys of St. Peter and wear the Fisherman’s Ring as Francis, Bishop of Rome.

    Surely these facts grant Francis the legitimacy to interpret the Church’s teachings as he sees fit, no?

    Um, no. The Holy Ghost doesn’t act like some kind of magic Robo Capa.

    • #18
  19. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    Surely these facts grant Francis the legitimacy to interpret the Church’s teachings as he sees fit, no?

    No. The Pope is there to defend the constant teaching of the Church, not make it up as he goes along.

    It is a fallacy to believe that the Holy Spirit chooses the Pope.

    In 1997, when asked on Bavarian television whether or not the Spirit chooses the pope, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger answered:

    “I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope…I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.”

    Then the German theologian got to the heart of the matter: “There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!”

    • #19
  20. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    Surely these facts grant Francis the legitimacy to interpret the Church’s teachings as he sees fit, no?

    No. The Pope is there to defend the constant teaching of the Church, not make it up as he goes along.

    What was the Church’s “Constant Teaching” regarding the charge of Deicide prior to Vatican II?

    It is a fallacy to believe that the Holy Spirit chooses the Pope.

    In 1997, when asked on Bavarian television whether or not the Spirit chooses the pope…

    This is the most exquisite example of having your cake and eating it too. It does give one the sense that the position maintains plausible deniability in the event things go sideways.

    • #20
  21. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    What was the Church’s “Constant Teaching” regarding the charge of Deicide prior to Vatican II?

    You tell me. In Nostra Aetate, the Fathers of Vatican II said:

    True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.

    Where do you find that the Church taught dogma that all Jews at all times are guilty of deicide and that all Catholics at all times should persecute them? One can find quotes from Church fathers and even popes accusing the Jews of deicide, but the sins of these men cannot be taken for a dogma or constant teaching of the Church.

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    This is the most exquisite example of having your cake and eating it too

    How so?

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    It does give one the sense that the position maintains plausible deniability in the event things go sideways.

    Plausible deniability of what?

    • #21
  22. Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June… Coolidge
    Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June…
    @Pseudodionysius

    Leo XIII encyclical on the Holy Spirit

    (English translation; Latin text definitive)

    • #22
  23. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    Majestyk (View Comment):
    What was the Church’s “Constant Teaching” regarding the charge of Deicide prior to Vatican II?

    You tell me. In Nostra Aetate, the Fathers of Vatican II said:

    True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.

    Where do you find that the Church taught dogma that all Jews at all times are guilty of deicide and that all Catholics at all times should persecute them? One can find quotes from Church fathers and even popes accusing the Jews of deicide, but the sins of these men cannot be taken for a dogma or constant teaching of the Church.

    Odd that the Church had to make an official policy statement regarding policy that it allegedly already had.  That is of course, complete nonsense.  Anti-Semitism as a result of Church  doctrine was as old as the Church itself throughout Christendom.  Here is Commentary magazine’s take on the issue and the wrangling which went on behind the scenes.  It is both fascinating and disgusting to see the sort of reactionary and bigoted ideas that the idea of officially renouncing Jewish deicide brought forth.

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    This is the most exquisite example of having your cake and eating it too

    How so?

    You get to have it both ways – on the one hand, good occurrences turn out to be God’s will and when things go wrong, well, let’s just say that God can still come out blameless in the matter.

     

    • #23
  24. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    There is a direct correlation between the decline of Christianity and the rise of Islamism in the West. The infestation of feminism and modernism in the Church is rotting the foundations of Western civilization.

    • #24
  25. Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June… Coolidge
    Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June…
    @Pseudodionysius

    Anti-Semitism as a result of Church doctrine was as old as the Church itself throughout Christendom.

    Really?

    • #25
  26. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    Anti-Semitism as a result of Church doctrine was as old as the Church itself throughout Christendom.

    There were, are, and will be anti-semites in the Church. Pray God that they can be converted. But you whiffed on pointing to the dogma or Church teaching that all Jews at all times are guilty of deicide and that all Catholics at all times should persecute them. I don’t find it odd at all that the Church has to continually declare moral truths to us sinners in the Church.

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    You get to have it both ways – on the one hand, good occurrences turn out to be God’s will and when things go wrong, well, let’s just say that God can still come out blameless in the matter.

    Another swing and a miss. The Holy Spirit is not some magic potion we call on to mindlessly guide us. One can call on and listen to the Holy Spirit and still say: you know what, I’m going to follow my misinformed conscience instead. Since the time of Adam and Eve (who were filled with the Holy Spirit as they were living in the garden with God), man has used his free will to sin and make mistakes.

    • #26
  27. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June… (View Comment):

    Anti-Semitism as a result of Church doctrine was as old as the Church itself throughout Christendom.

    Really?

    I’m sure the Alhambra Decree requiring the expulsion of Jews from Spain was all a big misunderstanding and had nothing to do with any explicit anti-Semitic policy.  That couldn’t be it.

    So, yes really.

    Yes, Western culture wasn’t intimately ​familiar with the deepest strains of Anti-Semitism as documented in some of its most famous cultural works (in Chaucer and Shakespeare.)

    So, now it’s my turn to ask: are you merely ignorant of history or just Catholiphilic to the point of being unable to admit that the Church has in its history made some blunders?

    • #27
  28. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    The Alhambra Decree was not Church doctrine.

    • #28
  29. Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June… Coolidge
    Ramadan Drive A Thon Ends June…
    @Pseudodionysius

    I’m sure the Alhambra Decree requiring the expulsion of Jews from Spain was all a big misunderstanding and had nothing to do with any explicit anti-Semitic policy. That couldn’t be it.

    I know several historians who specialize in the period in question. How extensively have you studied the historical period in question?

    • #29
  30. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Majestyk (View Comment):
    Anti-Semitism as a result of Church doctrine was as old as the Church itself throughout Christendom.

    There were, are, and will be anti-semites in the Church.

    Hallelujah.

    Pray God that they can be converted. But you whiffed on pointing to the dogma or Church teaching that all Jews at all times are guilty of deicide and that all Catholics at all times should persecute them.

    Did it have to be explained?  An idiot could draw the line straight from the mob calling for the blood of Jesus to be on their heads and their children’s heads to Auschwitz.  So, for many idiots, this is precisely what they did.

    The reason why Vatican II’s declaration was so extraordinary was precisely because the church finally decreed the charge of Deicide invalid.

    Another swing and a miss. The Holy Spirit is not some magic potion we call on to mindlessly guide us. One can call on and listen to the Holy Spirit and still say: you know what, I’m going to follow my misinformed conscience instead. Since the time of Adam and Eve (who were filled with the Holy Spirit as they were living in the garden with God), man has used his free will to sin and make mistakes.

    You may do that.  Just don’t tell  me that the church or ghosts know what’s best when it comes to the joy of love.

    • #30

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