The Pope said that in a synodal Church there was ‘a movement from high to low’
Pope Francis has said that everything in his post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia was agreed by a majority of the Synod fathers.
In an interview (English translation) with the Belgian magazine Tertio, the Pope described his method as: “Do not descend from high to low, but listen to the churches, harmonise them, discern. And so there is a post-Synodal exhortation, which is Amoris Laetitia, which is the result of two Synods, in which all the Church worked, and which the Pope made his own. It is expressed in a harmonious way.
“It is interesting that all that it contains [Amoris Laetitia], in the Synod it was approved by more than two thirds of the fathers. And this is a guarantee. A synodal Church means that there is this movement from high to low.”
Since being issued in April, Amoris Laetitia has generated several conflicting interpretations. In particular, it has been claimed that the document signalled Pope Francis’s openness to allowing some divorced and remarried people to receive Communion even if they are not living “as brother and sister”.
John Paul II and Benedict XVI had taught that the Church’s existing discipline – that the remarried can only receive Communion if they undertake to live “in complete continence” – cannot change.
The Pope’s latest comments echo those of the recently-appointed Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago. Cardinal Cupich said last month that the document was “the fruit of two synods, and the fruit of propositions that were voted on by two-thirds of the bishops who were there”. He added: “this isn’t just a document out of just the Pope by himself, it stands as part of a synodal process that has been going on for a number of years.”
Cardinal Cupich is one of the bishops who believe the document authorises Communion for the remarried. Others, such as Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, have said that Amoris Laetitia upholds Church teaching.
The journalist Edward Pentin, author of a book on the synod, rejectedCardinal Cupich’s claim. He said that while the synod organisers had tried “to manipulate and jostle the synod fathers into accepting the most controversial propositions”, including Communion for the remarried, these proposals had not passed the first vote.
Pentin also quoted a synod father who said that, in the vote the following year, the voters were misinformed about what they were voting on. The synod fathers believed that the final document followed John Paul II’s teachings, but the writers of the document “left it open to other interpretations… They neglected to mention some things.”
The Pope’s claim that the synod supported everything in Amoris Laetitia comes amid continuing debate over the document’s meaning. In September, four cardinals submitted a private request to the pope for clarification of some disputed points. The Pope has so far not answeredthe request, which the cardinals have taken as an invitation to continue the discussion publicly.
Elsewhere in the new interview, the Pope deplored the media’s use of “slander” and “defamation”, and said that the media’s dragging up of events from people’s past lives was often sinful. He added that the media’s focus on scandals was a kind of “coprophagia”.
Invited to give some advice to priests, Francis said: “Remember that you have a Mother who loves you, and never cease to love your Mother, the Virgin. Secondly, let yourself be looked at by Jesus. Third: seek out the suffering flesh of Jesus in your brothers: there you will encounter Jesus.”
To young people, he said: “Seek out horizons, go ahead, continue to work in this human task.”
Cardinal Joachim Meisner is one of the Four Cardinals who have recently made public their own important dubia with regard to Amoris Laetitia. What is striking is that he seems now to have been singled out to receive several harsh critiques in Europe – especially in Italy and Germany.
As we already reported, Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, Dean of the Roman Rota, specifically targeted Meisner in his earlier criticism of the Four Cardinals, saying that now a “shadow” was lying upon the German cardinal’s life history.
However, Dr. Markus Büning, a German theologian and book author, has recently come to the defense of the Four Cardinals, especially Cardinal Meisner. In his defense of Meisner, Büning also points out the fact that Pinto is Meisner’s inferior in rank and that he thus effectively violates a subordinate’s duty to show respect toward his superiors, especially in public. As I reported elsewhere:
Büning also shows himself “personally wounded” by these attacks [coming from Monsignor Pinto], especially those against Cardinal Meisner, whom he knows personally. He says: “Here I feel challenged to take sides with clarity about our beloved cardinal who has supported my book apostolate with a deeply impressive foreword to my last book on the virtues (“Encouragement to Holiness”), describing in a very personal way his own vocation to become a bishop. This man himself had to grow up under Communism [just as Bishop Athanasius Schneider did] and he still became priest – in spite of the obstacles. He always bravely witnessed to the Faith.” In a piercing tone, the German author comments: “Here, it is not fitting that a [subordinate] curial member [Monsignor Pinto] should rebuke him. And certainly not in this manner. [my emphasis]
At the time of his comment, Büning could not have been aware of Edward Pentin’s 6 December report that a “reliable source” had “told the Register that Francis had instructed Msgr. Pinto at that event to say something publicly critical of the cardinals.” Nevertheless, he appeared to have deduced that Pinto’s special harshness could only have been made possible by the protection he receives from above, likely from Pope Francis himself:
This clergyman of the Curia [Pinto] can, it seems, only use such [harsh] tones because his own superior – who sets the tone – wants it done, or at least tolerates it. If this is not the case, the pope should, please, rebuke this clergyman – who is now engaged in his fits of anger – and to do it in order to make clear to us Catholics that he himself does not accept such a style in our Church.
To return to the targeting of Cardinal Meisner, two different sources in Germany have now also issued comparably harsh rebukes against him. As the German branch of Vatican Radio reported on 5 December, Thomas Schüller, a German professor of Canon Law at the University of Münster, accused the Four Cardinals of being disloyal to Pope Francis. He said: “The open attempt of Meisner and of three additional cardinals to put pressure on the pope with the help of urgent letter is an act of disloyalty.” In Schüller’s eyes, however, Cardinal Meisner “could sleep quietly” because most probably he will not lose his red hat – even though this would be possible and permissible according to Canon Law: “the pope is free to name cardinals and to revoke their cardinalate.” Schüller continues his rebuke with the claim that Meisner’s recent public initative “has nearly something tragic about it,” since it was Meisner who was heretofore always especially loyal to all the previous popes. However, according to Schüller, now this cardinal “takes the position of a renegade.” [my emphasis]
A similarly – and surprisingly – strong rebuke comes from the prominent German newspaper Die Zeit, in whose sub-section Christ & Welt the author Christina Rietz compares Cardinal Meisner to a “guerrilla fighter.” In an article (entitled “The Poisoned Lines”) in the 8 December edition, she also highlights that Meisner was once known as an “officer in the General Staff” of the popes, and that, “politically, he was always in line.” Rietz rebukes Meisner for now acting more like a guerrilla enemy partisan than like an obedient officer. The author then also points out that Meisner, with this Four Cardinals’ Letter, effectively criticizes the pope for having become a “renegade” himself, one “who left the correct teaching [on marriage and morality].” Then she quotes Pope Francis against Meisner, claiming that the latter has now become himself one of those “throwers of rocks” who have a rigid and “cold morality,” as mentioned in Amoris Laetitia. She ends her article with these words:
The power is not any more on his side [Meisner’s]. He turned from being an officer into a man of resistance and opposition, and this without any change of ideology. Treason [sic!] is always a question of date. [my emphasis]
It is noteworthy that the progressive media and theologians now in Germany unhesitatingly rebuke the Four Cardinals for their conscientious objections against parts of Amoris Laetitia. Did they also apply the same strictness with regard to their own obedience toward the pope when they were dealing with a progressive prelate such as Cardinal Karl Lehmann, who especially in the 1990s openly opposed Pope John Paul II and his Catholic moral teaching with regard to abortion by participating in the German system of providing counseling certificates which are necessary for a legally approved abortion? As we have reported earlier, Lehmann even spoke in an interview in May 2016 about his own manifest disobedience to Pope John Paul II’s own authority – who, in spite of Lehmann’s admitted many-year disobedience to him with regard to abortion, and also with regard to contraception, nonetheless still gave him “the red hat” in 2001. Lehmann – who is a member of the Sankt Gallen Group – himself had then said:
And with everything that smelled like a feint [such as the German Bishops’ participation in the abortion counseling system in the 1990s], this pope [John Paul II] – who was morally so straightforward – had great difficulties. I knew that, and I also knew that it was finally he who decides. This dissent, obviously, did not damage our relationship. An intimate friend of the pope told me first hand that my own nomination to the cardinalate in 2001 happened due to an explicit and conscious intervention by John Paul – and this after all the struggles. Today, I can well worship him as a saint. [my emphasis]
This quote is preceded by another one where Lehmann states how he himself opposed Pope John Paul II with regard to Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae:
And all that [experience] has helped me, for, when, in 1978 as a new president [of the German Bishops’ Conference], I sat with Pope John Paul II and he came to me with the same demand – namely, that the Declaration of Königstein [opposing Humanae Vitae] has to be removed – I responded with the words: “Holy Father, you did not ask this from my predecessor for ten years. Then, please, do not ask it from me now.” Today, I think I was quite bold. But, he might probably have realized that the difficult intimate questions of sexual morality are not solely to be solved by the means of prescriptions and interdictions. I myself wrote for him an assessment. He certainly had had more second thoughts. [my emphasis]
Did these journalists and theologians quoted in this article ever rebuke Cardinal Lehmann for his dissent? It seems now that certain media and theologians do not object if people who are “remarried” divorcees now disobey God’s Law; however, they do mind if some of the cardinals seem to disobey the unclear words of the current pope. This is an irony of our history.
But let us ask a more fundamental question with regard to Cardinal Meisner. What could be the reason for these harsh verbal attacks on him? He who already himself had so much to endure in order to live under a cruel dictatorship in Communist East Germany? Could it be that it is because he later came to have a special importance and prominence in Germany, also due to his close personal bond with the former Pope Benedict XVI? As we have reported recently, Meisner is known to have played a pivotal role in fighting off the Bergoglio camp at the 2005 Conclave which then elected Pope Benedict. Is this current harsh criticism of him then, perhaps, a late and spiteful revenge for his valiant fight back in 2005? And maybe even also for his earlier resistance against the apparatus of the Sankt Gallen Group, as well?
‘A gravely critical moment’: Catholic scholars call on bishops to support the four cardinals
The 23 scholars include members of pontifical institutions and major universities
Twenty-three Catholic scholars and pastors, three of them Oxford University academics, have given their names to a statement in support of the “four cardinals”, after the cardinals’ request to Pope Francis to clarify his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
The scholars include Dr Robert Beddard, the former Vice-Provost of Oriel College, Oxford; Professor Luke Gormally, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life; Dr Nicholas Richardson, Sub-Warden of Merton College, Oxford; and the philosophy professors Carlos A Guerra, Paolo Pasqualucci and Claudio Pierantoni.
Most of the 23 signatories also signed a previous letter to the College of Cardinals, asking them to request clarification of Amoris Laetitia.
The statement says that the four cardinals raise “pertinent and searching questions” about whether Church teaching on the sacraments and the moral law is to be upheld. They say that if the Pope fails to reaffirm Church teaching, it may be necessary for the cardinals to “collectively approach him with some form of fraternal correction, in the spirit of Paul’s admonition to his fellow apostle Peter at Antioch”. Cardinal Burke, one of the four cardinals, has indicated that such a move might be necessary.
The Pope has so far declined to reply to the questions, which were sent in September.
The statement notes that Cardinal George Pell has described the contents of the four cardinals’ dubia as “significant”, and that other bishops have publicly supported the cardinals. It expresses the hope that more will join them, since bishops “have a grave and pressing duty to speak out clearly and strongly in confirmation of the moral teachings clearly expounded in the magisterial teachings of previous popes and the Council of Trent.”
In the eight months since Amoris Laetitia was published, some bishops have interpreted the document in line with Church teaching, while others have suggested it changes this teaching, particularly over Communion for the remarried. The signatories argue that attempts to find a “development of doctrine” have not succeeded: “we find that they fail to demonstrate their central claim that the novel elements found in [Amoris Laetitia] do not endanger divine law, but merely envisage legitimate changes in pastoral practice and ecclesiastical discipline.”
The scholars’ statement warns that the Church may be entering “a gravely critical moment” comparable with the Arian crisis. It points out that when Arianism advanced, “the great majority of bishops, including even the Successor of Peter, vacillated over the very divinity of Christ.
“Many did not fully lapse into heresy; however, disarmed by confusion or weakened by timidity, they sought convenient compromise formulae in the interests of ‘peace’ and ‘unity’. Today we are witnessing a similar metastasizing crisis, this time over fundamental aspects of Christian living.”
The statement says that “lip service” is still given to such teachings as “the indissolubility of marriage, the grave objective sinfulness of fornication, adultery and sodomy, the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, and the terrible reality of mortal sin”. But it argues that many senior figures undermine or effectively deny such doctrine by an “exaggerated or one-sided emphasis on ‘mercy’, ‘pastoral accompaniment’, and ‘mitigating circumstances’.
Other well-known figures who have signed the statement include Fr John Hunwicke, an ordinariate priest and blogger, the philosopher Dr Thomas Stark, and Dr Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society. Dr Shaw said in a statement: “The Holy Father alone has the power to resolve the current confusion, and must urgently do so for the good of souls.”
Dr Shaw added that some who claimed to support Pope Francis were arguing, in effect, that “Catholics should simultaneously believe that the teaching of Pope St John Paul II – and all his predecessors – remains correct, and also that it is no longer applicable in concrete situations.
“To demand that people undertake this doublethink is not the action of a good father; it is an abuse of ordinary Catholics and of the truth. To reject this kind of defence of Amoris laetitia is required not only by the Faith but by our sanity.”
The full list of signatories is below.
Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro Carambula, STD, JD
Chaplain and Faculty Member of the Roman Forum
Rev. Claude Barthe,
Dr. Robert Beddard, MA (Oxon et Cantab), D.Phil (Oxon)
Fellow emeritus and former Vice Provost of Oriel College Oxford.
Carlos A. Casanova Guerra
Doctor of Philosophy, Full Professor,
Universidad Santo Tomás, Santiago de Chile
Salvatore J. Ciresi MA
Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College
Director of the St. Jerome Biblical Guild
Luke Gormally, PhL
Director Emeritus, The Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics (1981-2000)
Sometime Research Professor, Ave Maria School of Law, Ann Arbor, Michigan (2001-2007)
Ordinary Member, The Pontifical Academy for Life
Rev. Brian W. Harrison OS, MA, STD
Associate Professor of Theology (retired), Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico; Scholar-in-Residence, Oblates of Wisdom Study Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Rev. John Hunwicke, MA (Oxon.)
Former Senior Research Fellow, Pusey House, Oxford; Priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham; Member, Roman Forum
Peter A. Kwasniewski PhD (Philosophy)
Professor, Wyoming Catholic College
Rev. Dr. Dr Stephen Morgan
Academies Conversion Project Leader & Oeconomus
Diocese of Portsmouth
Don Alfredo Morselli STL
Parish priest of the Archdiocese of Bologna
Rev. Richard A. Munkelt PhD (Philosophy)
Chaplain and Faculty Member, Roman Forum
Rev. John Osman MA, STL
Parish priest in the archdiocese of Birmingham,
former Catholic chaplain to the University of Cambridge
Dr Paolo Pasqualucci
Professor of Philosophy (retired),
University of Perugia
Dr Claudio Pierantoni
Professor of Medieval Philosophy in the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Chile
Former Professor of Church History and Patrology at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Member of the International Association of Patristic Studies
Dr John C. Rao D.Phil (Oxon.)
Associate Professor of History, St. John’s University (NYC)
Chairman, Roman Forum
Dr Nicholas Richardson. MA, DPhil (Oxon.)
Fellow emeritus and Sub-Warden of Merton College, Oxford
and former Warden of Greyfriars, Oxford.
Dr Joseph Shaw MA, DPhil (Oxon.) FRSA
Senior Research Fellow (Philosophy) at St Benet’s Hall,
Dr Anna M. Silvas FAHA,
Adjunct research fellow, University of New England,
Armidale, NSW, Australia.
Michael G. Sirilla PhD
Director of Graduate Theology,
Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio
Professor Dr Thomas Stark
Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Benedikt XVI, Heiligenkreuz
Rev. Glen Tattersall
Parish Priest, Parish of Bl. John Henry Newman, Archdiocese of Melbourne
Rector, St Aloysius’ Church, Melbourne
Rev. Dr David Watt STL, PhD (Cantab.)
Priest of the Archdiocese of Perth
Chaplain, St Philomena’s chapel, Malaga
As well as reiterating that Pope Francis would “leave in peace” the four cardinals who sent him 5 Dubia (doubts) about his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the dean of the Roman Rota has also repeated his opinion that the outcome of the Synod of the Family was the work of the Holy Spirit.
In comments to the Register over the phone Dec. 2, Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto said that for the first time in 60 years, the Holy Father had “convoked two synods, one after the other” and that they “are the place where the spirit [works]. This is the ecclesiology of the Church.”
Last month, Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner revealed they had sent the Pope five “doubts”, called Dubia, two months earlier. The questions aimed at clearing up ambiguities and differing interpretations of Amoris Laetitia, the Pope’s summary document on the two synods on the family which took place in 2014 and 2015.
The Pope has decided not to respond to the five questions which ask for simple “Yes” or “No” answers on whether aspects of Amoris Laetitia, particularly over whether remarried divorcees without an annulment and not living in continence can receive holy Communion, are consistent with previous papal teachings.
At a recent conference in Madrid, Msgr. Pinto had said that by publicly asking the Pope the five questions, the four cardinals were questioning the fruits of “not one synod but two”, and added: “You cannot doubt the action of the Holy Spirit.”
Given the clear manipulation at both synods, claiming they were the work of the Holy Spirit has disturbed some of the faithful. I therefore reminded him that the most controversial topics failed to obtain a two-thirds majority in the first synod, and so should customarily have been rejected (the Pope authoritatively instead insisted they be carried over to the second synod). To this, he replied: “Yes, but you bind the Holy Spirit to the two-thirds? That’s a bit special, no?”.
A two-thirds majority is required during a synod to offer reassurance that whatever passes is of the Holy Spirit. Synods also have no authority to change doctrine and discipline, as stated in canon 342 of the Code of Canon Law, but rather to assist the Pope in safeguarding and promotion of sound doctrine concerning faith and morals.
To further argue his point, Msgr. Pinto referred to the “wide consultation” around the synod in the form of questionnaires, and pointed out that for the second synod last year, bishops’ conferences elected synod fathers to participate. He stressed that, for the second synod, every proposition passed by two-thirds. Therefore, for him, the two-thirds majority became an important sign of the Holy Spirit at work, but only when they all achieved the required majority to pass and did not need to be forced through from above.
Added to that inconsistency, he omitted to mention that not all the synod fathers were elected at the second synod: 45 were handpicked by the Pope (exceeding the usual 15% limit of total delegates) because most of them supported controversial disciplinary changes in this and other areas. They included Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the archbishop emeritus of Brussels, Belgium, found to have covered up a sexual abuse case.
Asked why the proposition on Holy Communion for remarried divorcees left out the full text of Familiaris Consortio 84, particularly on forbidding Communion unless living as brother and sister, thereby allowing Cardinal Kasper and others to claim that it does open the door to the sacraments, he said that issue was “too long” to discuss over the phone. “We cannot discuss all the synod questions”, he said, “but I think it’s enough to remember that Pope did not decide anything in solitude.”
At the conclusion of the synod, the remarried-divorcee discernment and accompaniment proposition ended up passing a two-thirds majority by just one vote, probably an impossible feat without the 45 unelected delegates and, it is argued, without the omissions in the text.
In his comments made in Madrid, Msgr. Pinto said he believed the four cardinals were committing a “very serious scandal” by publicly asking the Pope the five questions,although contrary to initial reports, he did not say they risked being dismissed from the Cardinalate.
It was nevertheless strong censure, and he later doubled down on criticizing the cardinals in an interview with Katholisches.de, a website run by the German bishops’ conference.
His comments took place just days after the Holy Father visited Msgr. Pinto and the Roman Rota. A reliable source has told the Register that Francis had instructed Msgr. Pinto at that event to say something publicly critical of the cardinals. The Holy See Press Office has not responded to the allegation.
Asked if the Pope did make such a request, Msgr. Pinto told the Register he was unable to answer that question “by phone”. He went on to say: “The dean has certainly been in contact with the Pope. He came to see me on the 18th, but it’s not necessary that the Pope tells me about that. That’s what I can tell you.”
Despite his differences with the four cardinals, Msgr. Pinto said he knows Cardinal Burke “very well and I’ve always known him to be a man of peace” and he prayed that he “might see the way.” He also said he knows Cardinal Meisner well, has “great esteem” for both him and Cardinal Burke, and was “astonished” by the German cardinal’s participation in the Dubia. “Let us pray for the poor cardinals,” he said.
Meanwhile, leading German philosopher Robert Spaemann has given an interview in support of the four cardinals, saying it is “regrettable” that more have not joined them.
Spaemann, a friend of Benedict XVI and one of the most distinguished Catholic intellectuals in Europe, told the Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana that the cardinals “have taken the correct road” and that the Pope’s decision not to answer the five questions “fills me with concern”. He said the Pope “clearly has a deep aversion towards decisions which require a yes or no”. But Christ, said Spaemann, often “shocked the apostles with simplicity and clarity of the doctrine”.
Cards. Burke & Brandmüller join meeting of bishops, priests & laity about dubia
On Monday 5th December Cardinals Burke & Brandmüller joined a meeting about the dubia at the Lepanto Foundation, at the foot of the Basilica of Saint Balbine, Rome. The keynote speaker was Bishop Schneider who delivered an address on fidelity to the tradition of the Church and its moral teaching. The meeting was hosted by Professor Roberto de Mattei, the President of the Lepanto Foundation. In recent weeks both Bishop Schneider and Professor Roberto de Mattei have been outspoken in their defence of the Four Cardinals and frank in their assessment of the crisis within the Church as a consequence of Amoris Laetitia.
“What is newsworthy is the existence of a meeting that attracted cardinals, bishops, priests, seminarians, religious in large numbers, and lay people alike, all anxious to defend the immutable truth of Christ, specifically His words on marriage.
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, these prelates, these princes of the Church, who do not feel permitted to withdraw from the perils of exposing Amoris Laetitia’s ambiguities, held the places of honor. Let us clearly state: It is impossible to deny that these ambiguities are dangerous, as evidenced by several bishops’ and conferences’ interpretations openly considering access to Communion for the divorced and remarried, while their original matrimonial bond is valid, not declared null, and without requiring that they live in continence.
Many priests were present: priests in cassocks, the old and the young – especially the young! Sixty or eighty priests, coming as neighbors or from afar, anxious above all to find authorities expressing the Catholic truth, but also the assurance of not being alone. Times are “tumultuous”, as Cardinal Burke said in his remarks following Archbp. Schneider’s lecture; It is a time when it is good to find oneself in a community, fortified and encouraged by the perseverance and strength of one’s fellow men. This was the state of mind, for example, of Bishop Andreas Laun of Salzburg, whom the French know well from his participation in the Parisian Marches for Life.
I saw Dutch priests coming from far away in every sense of the word: from a country in religious agony, where fidelity to the Magisterium is rare and two churches close every week. “How many opened mosques?” I asked. “Two a week.” There was a deliberate displacement. Just like that priest from Ireland.
How do we leave such an event? Moved, grateful, fortified. In any case, this was how I lived it: with the certainty that our Lord, beyond the vicissitudes, supports and preserves His spouse, the Church, despite all her tribulations. The vibrant Credo, sung by the audience to close the meeting, summarized this in a more than symbolic way.”
Extracts from Bishop Schneider’s address, The non-negotiable greatness of Christian marriage (Google translate)
Bishop Schneider on the grave error of Laetitia adulterii, the joy of adultery
Nowadays, several members of the clergy, even among the highest ranked, replace the sixth commandment with the new idol of sexual practice between persons who are not validly married, it is in a sense the Golden Calf Venerated today by members of the clergy. The admission of these people to the sacraments without asking them to live in continence as a sine qua non, really means to afford not to observe the sixth commandment. And these clerics, like so many new “Aaron” at rest these people, telling them that they can be peaceful and happy, that is to say, continue in the joy of adultery, Laetitia adulterii, due to a new “via caritatis”and an alleged meaning “mother” of the Church, and they can even receive the Eucharist. With such a pastoral orientation, the new “Aarons” of the clergy make the Catholic people laugh at their enemies, the unbelieving and moral world, which can say, for example:
• In the Catholic Church, one can have a new partner next to his spouse, and cohabitation with him is accepted in practice.
• In the Catholic Church, a certain polygamy is therefore accepted.
In the Catholic Church, the observance of the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue, which so much hates our modern, ecological, and enlightened society, may admit legitimate exceptions.
• The principle of the moral progress of modern man, according to which the legitimacy of sexual acts outside marriage must be accepted, is finally recognized and accepted implicitly by the Catholic Church, which has always been retrograde, rigid and hostile to Joy of love and moral progress of modern man.
It is in these terms that the enemies of Christ and of divine truth begin to speak, who are the true enemies of the Church. By the new aaronite clericalism, the admission of adulterous practitioners and impenitent to the sacraments, makes the sons of the Catholic Church laughing at their enemies.
The fact that the saint who first gave his life as a witness to Christ was St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Lord, always remains a great lesson and a serious warning to the pastors and the faithful of the Church. His testimony for Christ consisted in defending the indissolubility of marriage and condemning adultery, without a shadow of doubt or ambiguity. The history of the Catholic Church has the honor of counting luminous figures who have followed the example of Saint John the Baptist or have given likewise the testimony of their blood suffering personal persecutions and prejudices. These examples must guide especially the pastors of the Church today, so that they do not yield to the characteristic clerical temptation of wanting to please men more than to the holy and demanding will of God, a will that is both loving and Infinitely wise.
That the Holy Spirit arouses in all the members of the Church, from the simplest and humble faithful to the Sovereign Pontiff, ever more courageous defenders of the truth of the indissolubility of marriage and the immutable practice of the Church In this respect, even if such a defense would risk bringing them considerable personal injury. The Church must more than ever endeavor to announce the doctrine and pastoral of marriage, so that in the life of the spouses, and especially of those who are called remarried remarriages, be observed what the Holy Ghost has said in Holy Scripture: “marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled” (Heb 13, 4.).Only a pastoral of marriage that takes these words of God seriously reveals itself truly merciful, since it leads sinful souls on the sure path of eternal life. And that’s what counts!
Bishop Schneider on the Four Cardinals and the dubia
The day following his address Bishop Schneider gave an exclusive interview with Lifesite news in which he discussed the attacks against the Four Cardinals:
Regarding the dubia published by the four Cardinals, he told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview today that the Church should always foster a “culture of dialogue.”
The formulation of dubia, as the Cardinals here have expressed in their own terms, has been a common practice in the Church. We need to be able to ask questions openly without being afraid of repressions. The reaction to the dubia is a proof of the climate in which we actually live in the Church right now. We live in a climate of threats and of denial of dialogue towards a specific group. Dialogue seems to be accepted only if you think like everyone else – that is practically like a regime.
Schneider brought up his experience in Russia, where he was born in the time of the Soviet Union. His parents were sent by Stalin to work camps, or “Gulags,” after the Second World War: “If you didn’t follow the line of the party, or you questioned it, you couldn’t even ask. That is for me a very clear parallel to what is happening now in the reactions to the dubia — questions — of the Cardinals. This is a very sad experience especially since everybody is speaking about a ‘dialogue of culture’ after the Second Vatican Council. While bishops openly teach heresies and nothing happens to them, that is truly a grave injustice and very sad.
Bishop Schneider on what may happen if Pope Francis doesn’t answer the dubia
If the Pope does not answer, the next step will be recourse to prayer, to supernatural means, to pray for the enlightenment of the Pope and that he will gain courage.
In Church history, we say that in an extreme case in which the bonum commune of the faith is threatened, then the bishops as members of the college of bishops, and in a truly collegial relation to the Pope with a brotherly obedience to him, must ask him publicly to renounce the misdeed of giving Communion to remarried divorced Catholics, as it is already being done in many dioceses.”
This situation has already had precedences in saints — not in schismatics or heretics. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Catherine of Siena, and I think this should be possible in the Church without the person being called a schismatic.
Cardinal Burke has said a “formal correction” might be in order to resolve the situation of uncertainty. “In the language of moral theology, fraternal correction is an act of love — if it is given in obedience and with reason,” Schneider commented. “We have to return to this familiar way of dealing with it.”
The Holy Father has to bring clarity and support to his brothers in resolving doubts. … We have to pray for that; only clarity will bring unity. If there is to be an answer from the Pope, then it must be unambiguous. He must say what is the truth.
The early Karl Rahner taught that though heresy must be avoided and deplored the crisis it precipitated served the ‘positive’ function as an opportunity for the Church to clarify her mind about the sacred doctrines essential at that point of time.The Laetitia adulterii, the joy of adultery, threatens marriage, husbands and wives, children and families with the destructive harm of caused by western culture’s moral permissiveness and sexual degradation. But we can be sure that the Holy Spirit will assist the hierarchy and laity authentically discern the genuine sensus fidei as described in Lumen Gentium:
The holy people of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office; it spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to His name. The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God. Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints, penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life.
Remeber these words of Our Lord during these tumultuous times:
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Lk 12:32-34).
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In fact, the decision to admit them to Holy Communion would open the door to this sacrament for all who live in mortal sin. This in turn would lead to the elimination of the Sacrament of Penance and distort the significance of living in the state of sanctifying grace. Moreover, it must be noted that the Church cannot accept the so-called “gradualness of the law” (John Paul II,