Buttiglione backs Amoris Laetitia in L’Osservatore Romano article

Buttiglione backs Amoris Laetitia in L’Osservatore Romano article

[An academic and political has-been tries to defend the indefensible and contradict the law of contradiction]

Catholic World News – July 20, 2016

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has published a front-page essay by Rocco Buttiglione, the Italian political leader and adviser to St. John Paul II, supporting the argument of Amoris Laetitia that Catholics who are divorced and remarried might, under some circumstances, be allowed to receive Communion.

Buttiglione argues that the Catholic Church has always recognized the possibility that individual circumstances determine whether or not someone is in a state of sin. He writes:

The path that the Pope proposes to divorced and remarried is exactly the same that the Church proposes to all sinners: Go to confession, and your confessor, after evaluating all the circumstances, will decide whether to absolve you and admit you to the Eucharist or not.

Buttiglione’s argument matches a previous statement by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, making the case that Pope Francis intended his apostolic exhortation to be interpreted as allowing for Communion for divorce-and-remarried couples on a case-by-case basis. The prominence given to Buttiglione’s essay in the Vatican’s official newspaper suggests a concerted effort to promote that interpretation of the papal document.

Reference: Vatican ratchets up defense of pope’s family document (AP)

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6 comments on “Buttiglione backs Amoris Laetitia in L’Osservatore Romano article

  1. [The British Latin Mass Society chairman’s reply to an academic and political has-been, written three month’s before Rocco wrote his piece!]

    Posted by Joseph Shaw on Friday, July 22, 2016

    Amoris laetitia: Is it possible to keep the Natural Law?

    In response to the article in L’Osservatorore Romano by Rocco Buttiglione, I am reposting this post firm published in April this year.

    One very puzzling thing that Amoris laetitia says is this, from Section 301.

    … it is 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. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin. As the Synod Fathers put it, “factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision”.

    There is then a reference to Aquinas’ Summa Theologica (and the De Malo), and to the Catechism on mitigating circumstances.

    A natural reading of this, which would also seem needed by the argument which follows about what we can expect of people in regard to straightening out their lives, would be simply this: sometimes it is actually impossible to follow the objective dictates of Natural Law, and for that reason people can’t be blamed for not following them: and that in this we are talking about people in a state of grace. There is also the suggestion that people may be in a dilemma (or ‘perplexity’) in which there is no non-sinful option.

    We need to keep in mind the teaching of the Council of Trent, Chapter XI.

    But no one, how much soever justified, ought to think himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one ought to make use of that rash saying, one prohibited by the Fathers under an anathema,-that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God commands not impossibilities, but, by commanding, both admonishes thee to do what thou are able, and to pray for what thou art not able (to do), and aids thee that thou mayest be able; whose commandments are not heavy; whose yoke is sweet and whose burthen light. For, whoso are the sons of God, love Christ; but they who love him, keep his commandments, as Himself testifies; which, assuredly, with the divine help, they can do.

    This is infallible teaching, as expressed in the following Canon:

    CANON XVIII.-If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.

    The reference to Aquinas made in the footnote to this passage is not helpful. Summa Theologica IaIIae Q65 a.3 ad 2 is about impediments to the exercise of certain virtues, but far from being impediments which excuse the agent in failing to fulfill a duty, these are impediments which don’t stop the agent from acting on the virtue. It is a reference to Aristotle’s theory that the excercise of a habit (good, bad, or mechanical) gives pleasure unless the exercise is ‘impeded’; Aquinas is simply pointing out that impediments are more likely when the virtue has not been acquired by a process of training and habituation over time, but by an infusion of grace from God. This abstruse issue is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand, and makes me wonder about the intellectual integrity of the people advising Pope Francis at this point in the document.

    The relevance of De Malo Q2 a.2 entirely escapes me. It is a discussion of the relationship between sinful acts of the will and external sinful actions.

    Reference to the Catechism’s considerations about mitigating factors such as duress, inadvertance, habit and so forth is also potentially misleading. Mitigating factors are mitigating: they don’t change a bad action into a good one, but reduce the degree of guilt we bear for an objectively wrong action. Does this include making an action which could be a mortal sin into a non-mortal sin? Well, in mortal sin the agent must be conscious of the gravity of the act, and various factors can indeed obscure this for an agent. The odd thing about this paragraph, however, is that it does not want to focus on factors which affect the agent’s knowledge of an action’s gravity: ‘More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule.’ What are we supposed to make of that? It is precisely ignorance of the rule, or the way it applies in a particular case, which is key in claiming that an objectively gravely wrong action is not a mortal sin, and that, therefore, the agent has not necessarily lost the state of grace.

    It is hard to avoid the impression that this paragraph is trying to create a casuistic space for the idea that someone who is living a life of – for example – institutionalised adultery, in an illict marriage, who is perfectly aware of the teaching of the Church and equally aware that he and his supposed spouse are not free to marry each other, could be in a state of grace, and therefore could appropriately and fruitfully receive Holy Communion.

    But that view is false. If you know that what you are doing is gravely sinful, and keep on doing it, you have committed a mortal sin and are not in a state of grace. Habits, duress, the needs of the children of the supposed marriage and all sorts of things can make it psychologically difficult to undergo the necessary conversion of heart: certainly. But God’s mercy is available even for such sinners. Not the false mercy of leaving them in their sin, but the mercy of granting them the grace of repentance and forgiveness.

    Compare the parents of a family whose prosperity is founded upon some kind of grave injustice: a mafia family, say, whose money comes from extortion, kidnapping, and other crimes. All kinds of habits and duress will make repentance difficult. The obligation to support one’s children creates a dilemma, also, for the parents, whose livlihood depends on grave sins. But none of this means that repentance is impossible, and while it would be a sin to plunge one’s family into danger and poverty by intention or by negligance, it is not a sin to cause this result as a side-effect of leaving a gravely sinful lifestyle. In this case the subsequent danger and poverty are attributable, in fact, to earlier sins of the parents catching up with them. In other cases, even this may not be true: Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian Catholic who refused to fight for the Nazis in 1943, left his young family in a vulnerable state when he went to his heroic death, but that was not wrong, because he was doing his duty.

    Amoris laetitia does not make any definitive rules for or any changes to Canon Law; nor does it explictly contradict or re-write the Catechism, Pope St John Paul II’s Familiaris consortio, or any other document which states the teaching of the Church: that public sinners should be refused Communion, and that those in a state of mortal sin cannot receive Communion fruifully. Instead it invites, more forcefully and authoritatively than before, that we should all treat individual cases on their merits. And so we should. It would be unfortunate if we did so on the basis of confusion about what mortal sin is.

  2. [“The Empre Strike Backs”]


    [“Doubling down” on critics and criticism of AL; so much for public and “private” petitions against it – such as LifeSiteNews’ “Plea to the Pope” video as an example of the former and, as an example of the latter, the letter to the College of Cardinals whose contents and all but one of whose signers remain secret]

    Posted by Barona on Friday, 22 July 2016

    The Adulterists Strike Back: Antonio Spadaro S.J., and Cardinal Schonborn [as well as other Frankenpapolaters] go on the offensive to promote Holy Communion for Adulterers!


    According to the Associated Press (AP), the “Vatican” is “ratcheting up defense” of the Pope’s Amoris Laetitia document. This shameful work of propaganda, was re-tweeted by the English language “spokesman” to the Holy See Press Office, Thomas Rosica, CSB. According to AP, Raymond Cardinal Burke is derisively labeled as an “arch-conservative”, and so on… Why? Just because the Cardinal defends Catholic Truth?

    Obviously, the secular press intend to continue to promote the evasiveness of Amoris Laetitia regarding Communion for Adulterers, to the strident sideline cheering of the neo-modernist elitist clergy. Conversely, the secular Press eagerly report and promote the pro-adulterist propaganda advocated by the neo-Modernist innovators. The last Synod of the Family gave witness to an extraordinary “relationship” between the secular media and the neo-modernist churchmen, both striving to outdo each other in the down playing of the grave sinfulness of adultery and homosexual acts.


    Joining in the “offensive” launched by the Adulterists is the horrific neo-Modernist Jesuit rag, America, carries a very devious and evasive interview of Schonborn by Antonio Spadaro S.J. Spadaro is perhaps the best known Adulterist who is advocating an historicist conception of praxis that implicitly influences and changes doctrine. In other words, Spadaro wants to fudge Catholics with the impossibility that one can change and not change doctrine.

    Schonborn: It is possible, in certain cases, that the one who is in an objective situation of sin can receive the help of the sacraments. We come to the sacraments as beggars, like the tax collector at the back of the temple who does not dare to lift his eyes. The pope invites us not only to look at the external conditions (which have their own importance) but also to ask ourselves whether we have this thirst for a merciful pardon, so that we may respond better to the sanctifying dynamism of grace. One cannot pass from the general rule to “some cases” merely by looking at formal situations. It is therefore possible that, in some cases, one who is in an objective situation of sin can receive the help of the sacraments.

    In other words, these churchmen believe that a person in objective grave sin, and lacking Grace – an Adulterer – should be admitted to Holy Communion. Here again, we have the “smoking gun” of the Adulterist Party!

    H/T Always Catholic: “They refine lies until they resemble truth!”

  3. Quote: “This abstruse issue is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand, and makes me wonder about the intellectual integrity of the people advising Pope Francis at this point in the document.”

    Someone could write a pretty good book on this.

    Captain Kirk: Mister Spock! The Situation Ethics of the Commonweal Papacy and erroneous contexts for Thomistic citations by modernist papal document writers… analyze using your usual superior Vulcan logic!

    Spock Fascinating, Captain. Future Thomists could write some rather interesting books on these applications of Aquinas to the hermeneutics of papal documents.

    Father Mulcahy, S.J. Father Gannon and Father Edmund Walsh were fond of games back in the old days.
    Perhaps the issue could be decided by a Rugby or Football match between Opus Dei and the Latin Mass Society…..

    Father Sarducci: Profits from ticket sales could be donated to Catholic Charities…

    Captain Kirk: Can they do that, Spock?

    Spock: He’s just kidding, Jim. Irish Catholic humor. Technically, such disputes should be decided on the basis of reason. Right Reason (or recta ratio) has fallen out of favor in more recent years in the wake of the Land O’Lakes agenda. From the Latin: rēcta (the feminine nominative singular form of rēctus, “right”, “proper”) + ratiō ‎(“reason”, “calculation”), a calque of the Ancient Greek ὀρθός λόγος ‎(orthós lógos, “right reason”). Cf. Cicero, De leg. I, 7, I, 2: »Recta ratio – quae cum sit lex, lege quoque consociati homines cum diis putandi sumus«.

    Thomists familiar with Aeterni Patris have been more assertive since the publication of Fides et Ratio and there have been signs of a revival. Professor McInerny’s Thomism in An Age of Renewal may be one source that you might find informative for this history.

    Father Fitzgibbon: Does the Latin Mass Society have a Rugby team, Father?

    • Howl, thanks for the link to McInerny. He hits the nail on the head on how a Catholic should approach philosophy. I appreciate his thoughts on the modern penchant to “throw out the baby with the bath water,” so to speak:

      This is the paradox of anti-philosophy, insisted on from the beginning. By the same token, if one feels that he can seriously and without rancor or superbia vitae make the judgment about Thomists stated above, the conclusion to be drawn, I should think, is not that we must bid a fond or unfond adieu to Thomas Aquinas. One would be better advised to ask what, in the species of Thomism one reacts against, has gone wrong, wherein has it failed, what ameliorations in the response to the Church’s invitation that we take Thomas as our guide are possible and desirable. In a word, it seems to me, that for the Catholic the only valid criticism of the Thomism that is the going concern of a given day is the initiation of a more adequate, less flawed, more defensible Thomism. That is a claim that requires more than my hearty assurance, to be sure, and I shall be trying later to show that alternatives to this suggestion are not true options for the Catholic.

  4. Although it is a book from the mid 1960s and reflects issues from the period immediately following Vatican II (and right before the Land O’Lakes conference), much of the confusion it describes still exists. Every seminarian and college student should read it if they want to understand the malaise of modernism and how to rise out of it.

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