Neo-Catholics Create a Category Five Spin-Vortex Over Amoris Laetitia
Written by Chris Jackson | Remnant Columnist
In an article introducing their latest roundtable discussion of Amoris Laetitia, our friends at Church Militant tell us that Amoris Laetitia, “reaffirms Church teaching on marriage, abortion, contraception and euthanasia.” Excellent news! You’d then expect them to be touting the document, selling it in their online store, and promoting its use marriage prep courses. Instead, they quote Cardinal Raymond Burke, who holds all of the magisterial authority of the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (i.e., zero):
“Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium,” His Eminence said. “The very form of the document confirms the same. It is written as a reflection of the Holy Father on the work of the last two sessions of the Synod of Bishops.”
“In other words,” he continued, “the Holy Father is proposing what he personally believes is the will of Christ for His Church, but he does not intend to impose his point of view, nor to condemn those who insist on what he calls ‘a more rigorous pastoral care.'”
Hmm…if Amoris Laetitia is such a wonderful document, I wonder why Cardinal Burke is taking pains to say it is not an act of the magisterium. That is odd. Church Militant then quotes the opinion of Dr. Ed Peters (who, coincidentally, possesses the same amount of magisterial authority as Cardinal Burke). You remember Ed Peters don’t you? The man who said Fr. Marcel Guarnizo was bound by canon law to administer Holy Communion to a Buddhist lesbian? Yes, that Ed Peters. Church Militant states:
Canonist Dr. Ed Peters agrees. “[W]hile it does contribute to that magisterium in some respects, most of ‘Amoris’ is, in fact, not ‘magisterial’ in content.”
This matters because those non-magisterial portions of the apostolic exhortation are not binding on the consciences of the faithful.
Wait a second. I thought Cardinal Burke just told us that the entire “post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium.” But now we have Ed Peters saying that the exhortation contributes “to that magisterium in some respects.” Then, Church Militant immediately agrees with Ed Peters, in complete contradiction to Cardinal Burke who they just quoted. Huh? But now they quote Cardinal Burke again. Hopefully this next quote will clear it all up!
“[T]he Catholic Church,” Burke clarified, “while insisting on the respect owed to the Petrine Office as instituted by Our Lord Himself, has never held that every utterance of the Successor of St. Peter should be received as part of her infallible magisterium.”
He continued, “The Church has historically been sensitive to the erroneous tendency to interpret every word of the Pope as binding in conscience, which, of course, is absurd.”
Umm..nope. Doesn’t clear it up. Thus, if only portions of Amoris Laetitia are magisterial, how do we know which portions those are? Will Ed Peters use his canon law blog to inform us? Will Church Militant inform us? That won’t work. Well, then let’s go with Cardinal Burke’s interpretation. In that case the entire rambling 256 page exhortation is nothing more than “a reflection of the Holy Father…proposing what he personally believes is the will of Christ for His Church.” Thus, Amoris Laetitia, according to Cardinal Burke, is nothing more than the personal pipe dream of Francis which has no more magisterial authority than one of his airplane interviews.
But wait a second, wasn’t John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, the document where JPII reaffirms that divorced and “remarried” persons living in a state of adultery cannot receive Communion, also an apostolic exhortation? Won’t the liberals argue that Familiaris Consortio was merely John Paul II proposing what he personally believed was the will of Christ for His Church, but not intending to impose his point of view, nor to condemn those who insist on other views?
By this logic, all apostolic exhortations are nothing more than personal reflections of popes. Sort of like “deep thoughts” from the Bishop of Rome who makes some friendly recommendations which every Catholic is then free to ignore. This is actually fine with me. Apostolic exhortations are themselves a post-conciliar novelty. They serve no real purpose except to waste time and money flying bishops to Rome, housing and feeding them, and then killing countless trees publishing the non-binding dross that the Pope issues as a result. In other words, synods are a complete waste of time and can be ignored.
However, what this means in practice is that the conciliar Church is nothing but a farce that issues hardly anything binding. She instead issues a plethora of pseudo-magisterial tripe to be used as a pretext to justify every sort of sacrilege and heresy. What is the very purpose of the Church if not to lead souls to Heaven by feeding, guiding, and teaching Catholics in every age and protecting them from error? Is Francis’ conciliar Church doing this? No. Instead it is feeding the flock poison through its “non-magisterial” statatements. And this poisoning is being directly facilitated by willfully blind Neo-Catholic water carriers both in the clergy and the press.
Moving back to Cardinal Burke, one comment he made has serious implications that few have noted. He says that in chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, “the Holy Father is proposing what he personally believes is the will of Christ for His Church.” As a reminder, Chapter 8 is where Francis allows the sacraments, including Holy Communion, to couples living in adultery and fornication. Therefore what Cardinal Burke is telling us, whether he intends to or not, is that Pope Francis believes that giving sacrilegious Communion to adulterers and fornicators is the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ for His Church! This in itself is blasphemous! Worse, we are told that Francis is proposing his blasphemy as a legitimate pastoral course of action for the Church, though pastors are free to prefer “a more rigorous pastoral care.”
What is Cardinal Burke’s response? He denies the “interpretation” that Pope Francis allows for giving Communion to those living in adultery and fornication (not to mention untold other categories of sin opened up by Francis’ rewriting of moral culpability). In other words, Cardinal Burke completely denies reality. For anyone with the ability to read can see that Francis allows for sacrilegious Communion in the document. I’ve laid it out twice and it can be accessed in summary at the beginning of an article HERE.
What should be the reaction of Cardinal Burke, Church Militant, and all true Catholics when a Pope proposes an heretical or blasphemous personal belief that he wishes Christ’s Church to adopt? Our Catholic ancestors give us the answer and they shame us in doing so. I will let Fr. Victor Francis O’Daniel, O.P. tell the tale:
About the year 1330, disturbing reports began to be circulated abroad through the intellectual centres of Europe that the Pope was teaching or favouring a strange and erroneous doctrine concerning the state of the souls of the just after death. It was said he held that souls departing this life and needing not to pass through the cleansing fires of purgatory, and those that had already been so purified, would not be permitted to cross the threshold of heaven, or admitted to the beatific vision, before the day of the final judgment; that before then they would enjoy, it is true, some foretaste of the heavenly bliss, some fruit of their merits, but not until after the resurrection and the re-union of body and soul would they receive the full measure of the supernatural reward which consists in what the apostle calls the full and direct vision of God.
At first there were only vague, disquieting rumours, but by the end of 1331 the theological world was rent by the certainty that the Head of the Church was really preaching against a Catholic teaching which had long been considered as practically of faith divine, the denial of which was tantamount to heresy…
…It was not long before vigorous protests and rumours of angry excitement began to pour in upon the Pope from the four quarters of the globe. Alarmed at the storm he had stirred up, John XXII sought refuge behind the Scriptures and the Fathers, particularly St. Augustine. He maintained that he had not advanced the teaching advocated in his sermons as of his own making, but had taken it from the great Doctors of the Church, and from the Sacred Text itself…
…So few, indeed, were the exceptions, that it may be said the theologians of the Order of St. Dominic rose up as a body in favour of the time-honoured, traditional Catholic teaching, boldly withstanding John’s propositions. Neither fear of feeling the weight of papal displeasure, nor hope of reward, had any influence on the Friar Preacher, when there was question of an error against Catholic faith. He was the Pontiff’s most pronounced and outspoken antagonist. The spectacle of an order, whose sons had braved every danger and with unflinching courage borne untold sufferings in defending the Holy See against Louis of Bavaria, now resisting with the same unyielding fortitude and fearless spirit the Roman Pontiff himself in his apparent efforts to propagate a doctrine they adjudged contrary to faith, elicited from that German monarch this splendid encomium: ” Verily, the Order of Preachers is an order of truth.” And it was certainly inspiring to see an order, equally indifferent to favour and dishonour, to loss and gain, withstanding with all its might, in the interest of Catholic truth, a Pontiff who had been one of the best friends it had known in the more than a hundred years of its existence, who had shown it every favor and every mark of affection, for whom it entertained the deepest love and esteem, and to defend whom its brethren had hesitated in the face of no peril.
…Thomas Walleys, or Walleis, was an Englishman by birth, and a master of the Oxford University, of whose faculty he had long been an honoured and illustrious member. He was a man of deep piety, a profound theologian, and possessed of a courage that amounted to heroism. Having come to Avignon, he became the leader there of the Friars Preachers in their heroic defence of the doctrine that the beatific vision is given to departed souls immediately that they are found worthy. He became the victim of expiation for his order.
…On January 3, 1333, Master Thomas preached in the Dominican church of Avignon to an audience composed of cardinals, bishops, priests, religious of every order, and the faithful. Despite the contrary opinion of some few writers, John XXII, it seems certain, was not present at the preaching of this discourse. Walleys vigorously attacked the Pontiff’s opinion, and, in answer to those who had pretended the great Thomas Aquinas favoured that doctrine, he took occasion to show that that saint, canonized by John himself, characterizes it as heretical. That men’s souls were wrought to a high pitch on the subject is evident from the aggressive tone running all through the Englishman’s discourse. However, if we are correctly to appreciate Thomas’ method of speech, we must remember that shortly before other sermons, in which the rancour of heated controversy found a conspicuous part, had been preached in favour of the opposite view. It was a period, too, of direst confusion in affairs both political and religious. The atmosphere was literally palpitant with the scandal and unrest that had been caused by the Avignon sermons. The minds of theologians were stirred and their hearts aflame. The people were as a unit on the side of the defenders of the universal belief of the Church. It was, further, an age of outspoken, blunt language; an age when the faith was defended with all the energetic sincerity of a deep, living credo. A child of his time Thomas Walleys simply defended the teaching of the Church with the plain-spoken, brusque language of the period.
Walleys’ sermon was preached on the third day of January; on the ninth of the same month seven of its propositions were censured by William of Monterotundo, a Minorite Inquisitor, as savoring of heresy; by the fourteenth of February he was confined in a prison of the Inquisition; and in September the same commission of thirteen who examined Durandus’s work, condemned seven propositions of Walleye taken from his sermon and a vindication he had hurriedly written while in prison. The English Dominican’s name is still to be seen on the inquisitorial account book. He has himself left us an idea of the treatment accorded him as a prisoner. Neither confinement nor harsh treatment could break his spirit, or cause him to relax one iota in the doctrine he had preached…
Cardinals, bishops, priests!
I ask you…where is our Thomas Walleys today?
Will it be you?