Amoris Laetitia and The Great Façade

Amoris Laetitia and The Great Façade*

[*The Regime of Novelty in the Catholic Church from Vatican II to the Francis Revolution: See comment below]

Christopher A. Ferrara
April 13, 2016

The publication of Amoris Laetitia has provoked an entirely predictable cyclone of competing opinions ranging from “nothing to see here,” to “not magisterial,” to “catastrophe” to “revolutionary.”

Every one of these opinions is correct. Which means — and this should be no surprise to any observer of the post-conciliar epoch — that what we have here is a massive new addition to The Great Façade of non-binding ecclesial novelties, not one of which was ever seen in the Church before that great epoch of enlightenment known as the Sixties. The trick, you see, is to promulgate the latest novelty and let people think it binds the Church; and then, even though it really doesn’t, it does. Pay no attention to the truth behind the façade!

And now this: 256 meandering pages of musings on “the Joy of Love.” A veritable book filled with jumbled thoughts, some good Catholic points, innumerable banalities, and positively misleading citations to John Paul II and Saint Thomas Aquinas, employed as the very linchpins of a sophistical argument for “pastoral discernment” that would allow Holy Communion for “some” public adulterers in “certain cases” — a bomb detonated in footnote 351, as Cardinal Baldisseri was pleased to inform us after the explosion. Speaking of those the Church has always viewed as public adulterers in faithfulness to the words of Christ Himself, Baldisseri announced at the introductory press conference that “the Pope affirms, in a humble and simple manner, in a note [footnote 351] that the help of the sacraments may also be given in ‘certain cases’.”

And what could be humbler than overturning the bimillenial sacramental discipline of the Church while ignoring all Church teaching to the contrary? This is the very essence of papal humility! From the top of a Mount Olympus of verbiage, Francis hurls humble revolutionary thunderbolts whose only justification is what he would like to see, even if it flatly contradicts the teaching of his two immediate predecessors, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Code of Canon Law, the 1994 declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and, by the way, all of Tradition on the impossibility of admitting divorced and “remarried” persons to the Sacraments while they continue in their adultery.

And so, as Francis declares toward the end of this astounding production:

I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness… (308)

Yes, it’s for real. Francis “sincerely believes” that “Jesus wants” the Church to provide pastoral care that does leave “room for confusion.” True, the divine declaration “Whoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery” might seem to require “more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion” about what constitutes adultery. At least Benedict XVI, John Paul II and every Pope and Council before them thought so for nearly 2,000 years.

But that was then, and this is Francis!

As Francis would have it: “it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.” No longer! “Jesus wants” something new today. Francis sincerely believes this. Did Jesus tell him so? Well, one must say that this seems rather doubtful. More likely, Francis told himself what “Jesus wants.” Which is just as good, isn’t it, since the Pope is supposed to be the Vicar of Christ. But, in this case, more like the Oracle of Rome. Evidently, the Oracle says “Jesus wants” to be contradicted. So let it be written, so let it be done!

Query: Precisely which people living “in a situation of public and permanent adultery” — to quote John Paul II’s Catechism, which Francis has tossed aside (§ 2384) along with everything else that stands in his way — can “no longer” be said to be living in a state of mortal sin? Essentially, if one reads this document carefully, the answer Francis has in view is: all of them! For as he told his trusted friend, the militant atheist Eugenio Scalfari, in another interview whose contents neither Francis nor the Vatican denied: “This is the bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted.”

When all is said and done, of course, Amoris Laetitia amounts to nothing more than what Cardinal Burke has rightly called a “personal reflection of the Pope” that is “not [to be] confused with the binding faith owed to the exercise of the magisterium.”

If only it were that simple, however. The good Cardinal has not taken account, I fear, of how The Great Façade works. And the way it works is what we are seeing now: that what does not bind is presented as if it were binding. As Cardinal Schönborn, Francis’ handpicked “gay”-friendly, divorce-friendly co-presenter of Amoris Laetitia, would have us believe, what Cardinal Burke rightly calls “non-magisterial” is really “an organic development of doctrine.” An “organic development” that contradicts the teaching of the very Pope whom Francis himself canonized, found in the words Francis cropped from a key misquotation of John Paul to make it sound like he stood for the opposite of what he actually taught: that public adulterers cannot be admitted to Holy Communion because “their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist,” so that “if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage” (Familiars consortio 84).

But error and confusion comprise the veritable program of this bizarre pontificate, which no doubt is in some manner indicated in the integral Third Secret of Fatima. And so the Church suffers yet another crippling blow, perhaps the worst yet, by the post-conciliar regime of novelty.

Yes, the tone of this piece is unreservedly one of mockery. But this whole affair is a grotesque mockery of not only the Magisterium that Francis is divinely obliged to preserve and defend in all its purity, but the very will of Christ.

More on this epochal travesty in the days to come. Meanwhile, pray the Rosary for the Church’s deliverance from this madness. Can it be long before Heaven brings it to end?

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One comment on “Amoris Laetitia and The Great Façade

  1. THE GREAT FACADE: The Regime of Novelty in the Catholic Church from Vatican II to the Francis Revolution; by Christopher A Ferrara and Thomas E Woods, Jr.. (2002, The Remnant Press; SECOND EDITION 2015, Angelico Press)


    From Amazon:

    Empty seminaries, shuttered parishes, crisis-level priest shortages, altar girls, trendy “liturgies” — not to mention worldwide homosexual clergy scandals, loss of faith, and the exodus of Catholics from the Church. What has happened to the Catholic Church since 1965? Why did the Church suddenly seem to lose her very identity after the Second Vatican Council? Where is the much-vaunted conciliar “springtime”?

    In this book, Christopher A. Ferrara, Esq., and Dr. Thomas Woods cut through the confusion and the doubletalk and get to the heart of the matter: it was not nameless, faceless “liberals” but the Council itself and decisions by the Vatican and the conciliar Popes that brought on the current unparalleled ecclesial crisis. While the Church still stands, her teachings are still there and her traditional Latin Mass is still alive, Catholics are now forced to look hard in order to find these things. They must look behind a great facade of novelty and failed experimentation imposed upon the Church in the name of Vatican II — a facade that separates Catholics from their own God-given patrimony: 2000 years of traditional teaching, liturgy, and spirituality.

    In order to restore the Church to vigor, millions of so-called “traditional” Catholics are abandoning the feeble neo-Catholicism that has arisen over the past forty years and seeking a return to the virile Catholicism of the perennial Church.

    This book also refutes, with devastating logic and precision, all the common “neo-Catholic” objections to the traditionalist position, while confounding all the usual “neo-Catholic” excuses for the ruinous mistakes of judgment by Church authorities that have reduced the Church to her current condition.

    The great facade is already crumbling and beginning to fall. This book exposes its flimsy footings and gives it a powerful shove.

    More on THE GREAT FACADE by Fr. John Hunwicke (October 2015):

    I advise you to get it now. It is a book which was ‘put to bed’ only days before the opening of the current Synod, and is absolutely up to the moment. In a month’s time, in a year’s, five year’s time, it will still be a book you will value, and which not sit unvisited upon your bookshelves. You will find it a valuable resource for understanding what has happened to the Church since the Election of Pope Benedict XVI. But get it now … don’t waste an hour … because you will find it a mind-widening exposition of where we are at this precise moment and how we got here.

    The Great Facade The Regime of Novelty in the Catholic Church from Vatican II to the Francis Revolution is its title. But don’t get it second hand because you might find yourself getting the First Edition. This is the Second Edition. And, if you already have the First Edition, 2002, don’t think ‘this will do’. Because the Second Edition has an extra 250 pages, a new book, really, in itself. The First Edition was a collaboration between Christopher A. Ferrara and Thomas E Woods, Jr.. The second edition has six new long chapters by Ferrara; a New Preface by Ferrara; and a new Foreward by the great John Rao (which will be a sufficient recommendation in itself if you very naturally feel that my commendation is insufficiently weighty). The Publisher is the Angelico Press.

    I wanted to get this message out to you fast. I will write again about the book in a day-or-two’s time. But … just for now … the new chapters are The Benedictine Respite; The Rise of Bergoglianism; Year of the Synod; The Gathering Storm; The regime of Novelty Goes Green … and Red; and Synod II. There is a degree to which the new chapters are a Palinode … you will remember that Stesichorus became so unpopular after his poem about the adulterous sex-pot Helen eloping to Troy that he wrote a new poem in which Helen, now chaste and modest, never went anywhere near Troy! The First Edition of this book drew to a conclusion with a less than fulsome judgement upon Cardinal Ratzinger (and especially his Dominus Iesus), and a pessimistic analysis of the state of the Church. In his new chapters, Chris Ferrara, like the great S Augustine in his Retractationes, revises his judgements in the light of events since the end of the Pontificate of S John Paul II.

    Ferrara begins his new chapters with a passage from Cardinal Ratzinger himself (in 1998). It is a passage I was not familiar with when I wrote a recent post about how very improper it is when publishers, even the Vatican Press, put out translations’ of major papal documents in which the Nos [We] of the Latin originals is translated as “I”. “When the Pope speaks, he does not speak in his own name. For ultimately it does not matter what private theories or opinions he has worked out for himself over the course of time, even if they should be of high intellectual calibre. The Pope does not speak as a private scholar, with his personal ‘I’, as a soloist, so to speak, on the stage of intellectial history. He speaks in another mode, from the ‘We’ of the faith of the entire Church, and the first person singular must step behind it. … Thus in many respects it is not an entirely inconsequential thing to replace the ‘We’ with ‘I'”. Nice to be reassured that I was right!

    From this starting point, Ferrara details the significance of Papa Ratzinger’s historically significant interventions: ‘Fixing the False Translations’; the declaration in 2007 that the Mass of Ages had never lawfully been abolished; the lifting of the SSPX excommunications; his teaching about the proper hermeneutic to be applied to Vatican II.

    I would have added to this list the implied correction of false styles of Ecumenism implicit in Pope Benedict’s erection of the Ordinariates; an Ecumenism of Return was thus put back in place; nuanced with an acceptance of those elements which, by the work of the Holy Spirit, separated Christians had held in their separation. This bold move thus revived the methodology employed when the Ukrainians and the Melkites returned to unity with S Peter in, respectively, 1595 and 1724.

    When you get your copy of THE GREAT FACADE with its hundreds of new pages by Chris Ferrara, you’re most likely to turn to the up-to-the-minute relevant chapters at the end. With such a book, ones instinct can be to read it from the back … as if it were Hebrew … But, if you haven’t ‘done’ the original 2002 chapters, you might miss one of their important themes. It is Chris Ferrara’s dispute with the people he calls ‘neo-Catholics’. Neo-Catholicism “is the idea that with the advent of the Second Vatican Council a new sort of orthodoxy suddenly arose in the Church – an orthodoxy stripped of any link to ecclesiastical traditions once considered an untouchable sacred trust. It is the idea that by virtue of Vatican II the Church has, in some manner never clearly explained, progressed beyond what she was before the Council to a new mode of existence, and that this progression requires an assent on the part of the faithful that is somehow different from the assent required to the constant teaching of all the previous councils and popes … in essence, whatever the Pope says or does in the exercise of his office is ipso facto ‘traditional’ and incontestable by the Pope’s subjects.”

    Neo-Catholicism often has an attractive face. The producers of the bulletin Adoremus resist the banalisation of the Ordinary Form and its corruption by clergy who ignore its rubrics and introduce illegal vulgarities. They would (like George Wegel) praise S John Paul II for what he may have achieved by way of resoration. They can, indeed, be seen as a bulwark against those who would drag the Church further to the ‘left’. I recognise it as very much what we, the incoming Ordinariate clergy, received as ‘priestly formation’. It was heavily based upon the scrutiny of the documents of Vatican II and the formally Magisterial documents of S John Paul II. The Scriptures, the Fathers, S Thomas, Trent, Vatican I, the documents of the popes between B Pius IX and S John XXIII, either were conspicuous by their absence or were glimpsed only through the prism of the Council and the conciliar Popes. But, for those of us who had imbibed (what Cardinal Manning condemned when he thought he discerned it in Newman) the old Oxford, literary, Patristic tone, it seemed an alien world. I kept my head down … except when a particular lecturer accused a doctrine contained in one of Blessed John Henry Newman’s favourite texts, the ‘Athanasian Creed’, of being “heretical”.

    The Great Facade enjoyably exposes the problems to which neo-Catholics fall victim. They are constantly at risk of finding that a rug … or quite a lot of rugs … have been pulled from under their feet. Poor Michael Voris used to do a fantastic job of explaing why the Maundy Thursday footwashing is confined to males. He was fearless in exposing the antics of members of the American episcopate. Until, that is, Papa Bergoglo himself performed what Voris had previously characterised as “a grave abuse” … when Voris instantly fell silent on the subject. Having been left looking silly as Papa Bergoglio outflanked him on the ‘left’, he even got left with egg dripping from his face when our Holy Father proceeded to outflank him on the ‘right’: Voris had dutifully promoted the view that the SSPX are in schism, but was hung out to dry when the Roman Pontiff conceded that its presbyters could validly and licitly absolve, at least during the ‘Year of Mercy’.

    Yes … there’s a lot of fun in THE GREAT FACADE …

    By the author himself:

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