Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

'Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.' ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

Monday, 18 April 2016

The Spirit of Amoris Laetitia and the Denial of God


In attempting to distill in one central armchair criticism, my main concern with Amoris Laetitia is not simply the notorious footnote that has become a black mark on the papacy, nor just the manipulation of important Catholic teaching by the employment of subtle changes in language used. The worst thing about the document is its spirit. The spirit of the document - the spirit in which it is written - is most telling of all, because its spirit will poison even those points in it which are Catholic and are easily reconcilable with the Catechism. This spirit, sadly, can be traced right through this pontificate like a stick of Brighton rock.

It is a cruel document. Cruel upon man and cruel upon woman. Cruel upon priests, cruel upon spiritual directors. Cruel upon husbands, cruel upon wives. It is a document of abhorrent cruelty. In terms of 'pastoral guidance' for the clergy who are faced with the man and the woman in a second (therefore, adulterous) union after a first marriage or for those in irregular situations of cohabitation or in same-sex relationships it is a disaster. It is a disaster not only because there is, quite incredibly, for a matter so sensitive, no guidance whatsoever, nor only because it presents to the impenitent a tempting 'conscience clause', but it falls into that now bulging papal category of 'teaching opportunity missed' which, however controversial they are, I always feel is a label that can be attached to all four (so far) Pope 'intentions' videos.

The reason I suggest this document is chillingly cruel is because it suggests to the sinner that there is no hope for him and for her. It is not chilling merely because it expects so little of man, for in many ways, much is expected, but because - and here is the spirit of Amoris Laetitia - it expects nothing of God. God is not expected to act. It hopes for nothing from God. It is, in fact, taken in its totality, a denial of God. It is almost as if God does not exist and that if He does exist, He is cruelly distant from man, from woman, aloof, wishing to have little to do with him, with her, when the very opposite is the case. It fails to convey God's closeness to man, the incredible intimacy that God seeks in His relationship with man.

What refuge a man can find in the Sacred Heart of Jesus! What help! What consolation, but what healing and aid! What manner of Divine Help, what sublime graces, the Most loveable Heart of Jesus wishes to pour into the souls of men. With what tenderness and love does Mary look upon her children. How much she yearns to gather her children into the furnace of the Heart of her Son! What graces come through her hands! Yet, Amoris Laetitia expects nothing from either Jesus or Mary. Expects nothing from the Saints! What strength and fortification can a man find in the Most Blessed Sacrament and in the Sacrament of Penance! Yet this document seems very much to envision a Church thoroughly pre-Pentecost.

The 'listening Church', having listened to the 'sad stories' and real tragedies of men and women who have given up on Faith in the Triune God, has listened so intently and so adamantly that the Church has forgotten that God is perfectly able and willing to help every sinner in every situation to escape the clutches of evil, to reject its false glamour and to serve the Lord with joy, even in suffering and in sacrifice of those things that charm him the most. Nothing is impossible for God. No situation can overcome God's grace if we wish to receive God's mercy - and His grace!

It is not just presumption that riddles the most controversial passages of this document, Present, also, is that other great sin against the Holy Spirit, the sin of Judas Iscariot in his end, the sin of despair! The Church portrayed by this document presumes God's mercy and despairs of His help! There is no help for the man and the woman caught up in the enemies' snares! There is only us and our sin. There is only us and our wretchedness, or worse, a concession to our difficult entanglements that denies that our situation is an unhappy one, but God's help has disappeared. We cannot - no not even with God's help - change! Divine aid has ceased! Heaven is shut up! In such a portrayal, yes, I suppose Henry VIII had little choice. He was only human! We can't expect anything from God - or man in co-operation with God or obedience in Faith to God. We are helpless! In that case, poor, poor Judas, indeed!



The devotional life and the age of Divine Love in the Church has, in the authors' minds, ended! It is, ultimately, a faithless vision. In this vision, we are orphans, strangers to God, enemies clothed in the garments of friendship with God, but incapable of being His friends. Look for the Heart of Jesus in this document and you won't find it. Look for the Heart of Mary in this document. You won't find it. Instead of Peter turning to the Lord to exclaim, 'Lord, to whom can we turn, You have the message of eternal life' you could be forgiven for thinking that this life - with its sadnesses, tragedies, follies and joys, is all there is and St Peter's Successor is now saying it. It is, unbelievably, as it was released in Eastertide, as if the Resurrection of Christ our Lord, never happened at all. It is as if the steering wheel of the Church has been wrestled from the hands of the devoted and believing and is now in the hands of cleverly disguised atheists.

Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God did not come, suffer, die and rise again to grant concessions to our weakness and sinfulness but to strengthen the weak, heal the sick, raise the dead to life, to endow sonship and daughtership on those far from God, to crown us, to make us holy, to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him. Amoris Laetitia, written as it is, by 'many hands' gives the impression that it is written by men who do not simply doubt God's promises, but even His existence and as St Paul says, its words, if Christ is not risen, are in vain. But Christ is risen, He has risen as He said and the power of the Resurrection fills all of creation and renews it.

We can be renewed. Jesus wants to make men into the New Man, women into the New Woman. We can do nothing without Jesus, but with Jesus we can do things we know we cannot do by ourselves. We can be holy, we can be made holy, we can love, we can love God in return. We were made for nothing less. The great sadness of this document - worse than any footnote - is that it fails, lamentably, to communicate our glorious, hope-filled, life-changing, earth-shatteringly, mind-blowingly incredible Faith! The Gospels make it very clear that Jesus Christ changes everything. The question that remains is do the authors of Amoris Laetitia believe that, or have they abandoned not just the flock, but the Faith as well! Jesus Christ has asked us to follow Him, not to follow the World. He would not ask us to follow Him, along the straight and narrow path, if, with Him, it were impossible, or were it not for His Eternal Glory, and both for our temporal and our Eternal good. The spirit of Amoris Laetitia suggests that the straight and the narrow way is a way that only an evil God - if 'the God of the Catholics' exists - would ask us to choose. The spirit of Amoris Laetitia is the denial of God, our Supreme, our only Good. It lays out before the reader a horizon without Eternity, a future without hope, a city of man and leaves the reader with the distinct impression that Baptism makes no difference, the Eucharist makes no difference, Confession makes no difference and that there is no point, no good reason at all in being or in becoming a Catholic!

"Heroism is not for the average Christian." ~ Cardinal Walter Kasper

16 comments:

hughie2far said...

You have got to the heart of the matter in my opinion. It is a crisis of faith. Our Lady of Sallette has already prophesied that Rome would lose the faith, and it seems it has now happened. What always struck me about modernists is the Deistic assumptions behind their concept of God. Because by claiming, as they do, that the Bible contains error, or the teachings of the Church are outdated or simply wrong is akin to saying that God just sort of sat back as a distant observer, and instead of guiding the Church with his providential care, he just left everything to chance. How depressing! Such naturalistic thinking will now lead to the attempt to change the discipline of priestly celibacy. When we hear an argument in favour of married clergy, often it includes the assertion that celibacy is not natural. And this is perfectly right. It isn't natural, but that doesn't matter, because it is not a question of testing the limits of human nature, but a question of grace. In other words, celibacy is a supernatural gift. But if you don't have faith in a God who provides for his children then yes, getting rid of the rule of celibacy seems reasonable. In today's gospel reading it includes this: '..the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (Jn 10:4,5). The voice of Pope Francis in AL sounds like that of a stranger, it does not sound like the voice of Christ speaking through Peter. We cannot pray enough for this Pope

miserere_mei said...

You have got to the heart of the matter in my opinion. It is a crisis of faith. Our Lady of Sallette has already prophesied that Rome would lose the faith, and it seems it has now happened. What always struck me about modernists is the Deistic assumptions behind their concept of God. Because by claiming, as they do, that the Bible contains error, or the teachings of the Church are outdated or simply wrong is akin to saying that God just sort of sat back as a distant observer, and instead of guiding the Church with his providential care, he just left everything to chance. How depressing! Such naturalistic thinking will now lead to the attempt to change the discipline of priestly celibacy. When we hear an argument in favour of married clergy, often it includes the assertion that celibacy is not natural. And this is perfectly right. It isn't natural, but that doesn't matter, because it is not a question of testing the limits of human nature, but a question of grace. In other words, celibacy is a supernatural gift. But if you don't have faith in a God who provides for his children then yes, getting rid of the rule of celibacy seems reasonable. In today's gospel reading it includes this: '..the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (Jn 10:4,5). The voice of Pope Francis in AL sounds like that of a stranger, it does not sound like the voice of Christ speaking through Peter. We cannot pray enough for this Pope

Maryjessie Pacheco said...

This article is the most perfect response to Amoris Laetitia that I have read so far. Its all about God! Christ will save His Church!

Mary Kay said...

Your post is so poignant! How many are the Catholics in our own day who have struggled against nature with the aid of Holy Church, without even mentioning our great heroes (and they are likely legion!) such as Sts Thomas More, John Fischer, Edmund Campion...and all the others, who died in defense of the sacrament Francis is trampling! There are many average Catholics who abided by the rules after a failed marriage & I believe that witness alone will help my children & grandchildren strive for fidelity. Unless, of course, their pastors swallow AL & counsel them at the slightest aggravation that they can walk away.

I pray for my sweet family and all families to resist this dreadful despair, as you so rightly labeled it, and grow in grace against the evil we experience at the hands of our own chief pastor.

I don't know that I've ever been so dispirited. I know that it will pass and I really appreciate your hopeful comments. I pray for all sincere Catholics at this terrible time, especially those who are suffering with weakness which has been aggravated by this dreadful temptation handed to them by their Father. God will not be mocked. Thank you for this thoughtful post.




oldconvert said...

Hughie2far said
"In today's gospel reading it includes this: '..the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (Jn 10:4,5). The voice of Pope Francis in AL sounds like that of a stranger, it does not sound like the voice of Christ speaking through Peter. We cannot pray enough for this Pope"
I read this before going to Mass and those words leapt out to me too - and I drew exactly the same conclusion. We are living in dark times indeed.

And this is a great post Laurence. It is such a comfort to come here and to other faithful Catholic blogs. I feel so isolated here in my Parish. Jane

Unknown said...

And just think, now all those priests who left the church to get married, can come back with their wives, maybe even their second or third wives (hey it's just an irregular situation) and help diminish the priest shortage. Woo hoo!

Seattle Kim

Genty said...

This is, without doubt, one of your finest posts, both in its articulation and for its finger on the pulse of distressed Catholics like me. The entire thrust of Francis is of God the deceiver, which is one of the tenets of a cult he appears to admire without reservation.
Our defence, indeed our attack, is prayer to the God who hears us and calls us to His side with our repentance and His grace. He will not let us down.

Kathleen1031 said...

Beautifully written and how point blank accurate this seems. You have found the real problem and identified it. Thank you for it and God bless all who commented here and who are finding it rough going. I resent the Internet for all the evil that is transmitted over it but am grateful for it right now because at least we have such consolation and each other.

Genty said...

How right you are, Kathleen. Until I discovered blogs like this, I knew no other Catholic of like mind. I hope the bloggers are aware of what a lifeline they are. I am so very sorry that some have become so disheartened that they have stopped posting, but grateful for those who are keeping the lifeboat afloat.

ek said...

I agree. Excellent post. I will read it again several times. We must pray for this poor pope and for those who have no faith.

Robert said...

But what is it to you if people remarry.? The exhortation does not change the present discipline which needs changing. You are saying tha a wrong decision is the only human mistake which cannot be rectified. Of course it is not adultery. New promises have been made. The Latin church should look to the Orthodox and allow remarriage after penitence.If Jesus were around today, he would overturn the tables of your loveless rigidity. Don't appeal to More on grounds of his stand. He was a holy man, but a man of his times: he approved the burning of heretics. I rather think you are becoming so critical of zChristianity and the practice of mercy and wonder if you would be happier as a Muslim. Christianity is not a theocracy. Thank heaven for both Popes Benedict and Francis.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Robert you say: "Christianity is not a theocracy". Have you never heard of Christ the King? That does not mean the state has to be a theocracy but that we individually should submit to his reign. That remark however says it all about your position. Christ said it was adultery very plainly. As to the Orthodox their practice varies from country to country and usually has just followed whatever the secular state has decreed - not very Catholic. Read what Archbishop Cyril Vasil' S.J. wrote in "Remaining in the Truth of Christ. Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church" has to say on the subject.

viterbo said...

A vacancy of the See of Peter is Catholic. A 'heresiarch of Christ' is a satanic spin job. In other words it is Catholic to concede a long vacancy between one pope and another. It is utterly un-Catholic to believe any man who 'teaches another Christ' is a shepherd of His Church. Anyone who perverts the Gospel is not of the Body of Christ. There is no political conundrum in the Bride of Christ, but there certainly is in Novus Ordo.


http://www.novusordowatch.org/wire/sanborn-conference-audios.htm

geneticallycatholic said...

You may be interested in the blog posts of this priest who comments with true parrhesia on the Amoris Laetitia. Here is just one of his many short posts on the AL:

https://ariseletusbegoing.com/2016/04/22/amoris-laetitia-and-priestly-vocations-arise-let-us-be-going/

Also, he (Father Byers) will soon publish the full essay written by Cardinal Ejik, entitled "Can divorced and Civilly remarried persons receive Communion?". This is from the book published for the 2015 Synod containing essays from 11 Cardinals. Ignatius press has provided express permission to publish the essay, which provides the theological, doctrinal and pastoral reasons why Divorced and Civilly Remarried people should not receive communion.

https://ariseletusbegoing.com/2016/04/22/ignatius-press-re-enters-the-fray/


Perhaps when he publishes the above-mentioned essay, you may want to link to it from your blog, for the edification of your readers?

Paul Hellyer said...

If Jesus were around today He would repeat His teaching. If a man or woman divorces and re marries he she commits adultery. Why would He change His law to suit the modern age.
The practice of the orthodox is unorthodox and immoral.
God bless.

Anonymous said...

I won't be happier as a Muslim, but very soon all of us will become Muslims, Christianity is no more a theocracy, but this BoR is a Southamerican peronist caudillo and that's the truth.

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