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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.