SSPX offers stunning evaluation of Amoris, Francis

SSPX offers stunning evaluation of Amoris, Francis

[Hat-tip to Canon212: “Louie Verrecchio: SSPX whitewash of Amoris Laetitia is stunning”]

Louie Verrecchio
March 10, 2017

In Part 5 of an ongoing series of articles being published by the Society of St. Pius X, Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize attempts to answer the question, Is Pope Francis Heretical?

Here, I provide a necessarily detailed examination of Fr. Gleize’s jaw-dropping treatment; one that is sure to disappoint those who, in these deeply troubling times in which we live, have come to rely upon the Society for Catholic clarity and conviction. (I encourage especially those who fit this description to read this difficult post in its entirety.)

Before we begin, might I suggest that all concerned take heart by recalling the words of our first Pope:

And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:68)

“The words of everlasting life” remain available to us, even if not in the utterances of present day churchmen, in the timeless decrees infallibly set forth by the Holy Catholic Church that speaks in the name of Our Blessed Lord.

It is these upon which I rely in the following.

Fr. Gleize proposes, “in order to be brief,” to explore the question at hand by examining “the essential idea of each dubium.”

The first dubium asks if it is possible to give absolution and sacramental Communion to divorced-and-remarried persons who live in adultery without repenting, to which Fr. Gleize responds, “For someone who adheres to Catholic doctrine, the answer is no.”

He then goes on to cite AL 305, followed by the infamous footnote:

“Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin—which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such—a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.” (AL 305)

He then cites the infamous footnote 351:

“In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy. I would also point out that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’”

Fr. Gleize concludes:

“The doubt arises here with the note. There is no doubt about the fact that non-culpable ignorance of sin excuses from sin.”

A critical point that Fr. Gleize fails to mention is that while “it is possible” that one who commits an objectively grave sin “may not be subjectively culpable,” the Church does not have the right, or the ability, to render such judgments.

If and when it is the case that one is inculpable of a grave sin committed, it is God alone who renders such judgment. (Fair warning: It will be necessary for us to repeat this infallible doctrine often in the face of Fr. Gleize’s assessment.)

Fr. Gleize goes on to say:

“But to those who are victims of this ignorance and thereby benefit from this excuse, the Church offers first the help of her preaching and warnings, the Church starts by putting an end to the ignorance by opening the eyes of the ignorant to the reality of their sin.

The help of the sacraments can only come afterward, if and only if the formerly ignorant persons, now instructed as to the seriousness of their state, have decided to make use of the means of conversion, and if they have what is called a firm purpose of amendment. Otherwise the help of the sacraments would be ineffective, and it too would be an objective situation of sin.”

Now we seem to be getting somewhere… The Church’s response to every sinner is to preach, to warn, and to invite to conversion. She does not, however, enter into an examination of culpability as such is the prerogative of God alone!

According to Fr. Gleize:

“We are dealing here therefore with a doubt (dubium) in the strictest sense of the term, in other words, a passage that can be interpreted in two ways. And this doubt arises precisely thanks to the indefinite expression in the note: ‘in certain cases.’”

I disagree with the suggestion that this text from AL can be interpreted in two ways as it clearly proposes that the Church and her confessors have the ability, and the right, to weigh culpability, when in truth, they do not.

This, my friends, is the fundamental error upon which much of Amoris Laetitia, Chapter Eight, is constructed and must fall.

Frankly, I am surprised that Fr. Gleize has not seized upon this very point.

In his Encyclical on the Errors of the Modernists, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Pope St. Pius X repeated the traditional (and dogmatic) doctrine:

“We leave out of consideration the internal disposition of soul, of which God alone is the judge.” (cf Pascendi 3),

Even the dreadful conciliar document Gaudium et Spes gets this right:

“God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts, for that reason He forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone.” (GS 28)

Moving on to the second dubium, which asks if, in light of AL 304, there is such a thing as intrinsically evil acts from a moral perspective that the law prohibits without any possible exception.

Fr. Gleize answers. “For someone who adheres to Catholic doctrine, the answer is yes.”

He then goes on to paraphrase AL 304:

“…citing the Summa theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas (I-II, question 94, article 4), [AL 304] insists on the application of the law, rather than on the law itself, and emphasizes the part played by the judgment of prudence, which allegedly can be exercised only on a case-by-case basis, strictly depending on circumstances that are unique and singular.”

It must be said yet again, there is no “part played by the judgment of prudence” with respect to intrinsic evils (such as adultery) that admit of no exceptions. “No exceptions” means precisely this.

Fr. Gleize then quotes AL directly:

“It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations. At the same time it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances cannot be elevated to the level of a rule.” (AL 304)

Fr. Gleize concludes:

“This passage does not introduce any ambivalence, properly speaking. It merely insists too much on one part of the truth (the prudent application of the law), to the point of obscuring the other part of the same truth (the necessary value of the law), which is altogether as important as the first. The text therefore errs here by omission, thus causing a misreading.”

I find this stunning, to be quite honest. Remember what we are discussing – adultery.

“The law” in this case is absolute; it is not open to nuance or “prudent application,” properly speaking:

Thou shalt not commit… This formulation is very clear, and Our Lord even further clarified precisely what constitutes adultery.

Contrition, confession, firm purpose of amendment… The practical application (insofar as the remedy is concerned) is equally as clear.

That said, one should know that Francis is misappropriating St. Thomas’ teaching in order to give the impression that the Angelic Doctor considered the Commandment against adultery a mere “general rule,” when in fact he clearly treated it for what it is; a moral absolute upon which particular circumstances have no bearing.

AL 304 is an error plain and simple (and not simply by “omission” as Fr. Gleize states) since moral absolutes such as that expressed in the Commandment against adultery do indeed “provide absolutely for all particular situations.”

Francis states the exact opposite, and that, my friends, is heresy.

Moving on to the third dubium we find a question concerning paragraph 301; paraphrased by Fr. Gleize as follows:

“Can we say that persons who habitually live in a way that contradicts a commandment of God’s law (for example the one that forbids adultery) are in an objective situation of habitual grave sin?”

Again, Fr. Gleize responds, “The Catholic answer is yes.”

He then quotes AL 301:

“Hence 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.”

Fr. Gleize proposes:

“Two points should be emphasized. The sentence just quoted posits in principle the impossibility of making a universal affirmation. It does not deny the possibility of saying that public sinners are deprived of grace; it only denies the possibility of saying that all public sinners are deprived of it. This denial has always been taught by the Church.”

Once again, it is to be shocked. Here is what the Council of Trent had to say [with my emphasis]:

“In opposition also to the subtle wits of certain men, who, by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent, it is to be maintained, that the received grace of Justification [sanctifying grace] is lost, not only by infidelity whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin whatever, though faith be not lost; thus defending the doctrine of the divine law, which excludes from the kingdom of God not only the unbelieving, but the faithful also (who are) fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liers with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners, and all others who commit deadly sins…” (Session VI, Chapter XV)

NB: It is to be maintained… Note as well the reason given: thus defending the doctrine of the divine law.

AL 301, in contravention of the divine law, presumes to overturn the infallible teaching set forth by the Council of Trent by insisting that it can no longer be maintained.

Folks, this is a no-brainer; it is plainly “heretical” according to Fr. Glieze’s own working definition of the word.

Fr. Glieze continued:

“There are in fact, in concrete human acts, what is called exculpatory or ‘mitigating’ reasons (or factors). Because of them, the sinner may not be morally responsible for the objective situation of sin.”

At this point, I am certain that you can say it with me: God alone judges such matters as moral responsibility.

As for what is required of Catholics who wish to remain in communion with the Church, we must accept what is stated by the Council of Trent: It is to be maintained…

Fr. Gleize’s treatment of AL 301, in an essay that proposes to examine whether or not Francis is a heretic, is at best perplexing.

For reasons that only he can explain, he has chosen to focus on the solitary sentence quoted above while ignoring entirely the one immediately following, which reads:

“A subject may know full well the rule [divine law concerning the mortal sin of adultery], 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.” (AL 301)

Once again, that which is set forth by Francis runs afoul of the infallible doctrine taught with piercing clarity by the Council of Trent:

“With the help of divine grace, one can refrain from such deadly sins as adultery and fornication.” (cf Session VI, Chapter XV)

NB: There are no “concrete situations” wherein one is unable to refrain from the mortal sin of adultery.

If this isn’t enough for one to conclude that Francis is heretical, consider as well:

“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.” (Session VI, Canon XVIII)

NB: In stating that certain situations “do not allow” one to keep God’s commandment against adultery, Francis has most certainly anathematized himself.

This brings us to the fourth dubium which poses the question (as presented by Fr. Gleize) concerning paragraph 302:

“Can we still stay, from a moral perspective, that an act that is already intrinsically evil by reason of its object can never become good because of circumstances or the intention of the person who performs it?”

Once again, Fr. Gleize provides a response, “The Catholic answer is yes,” and then quotes Amoris Laetitia:

“A negative judgment about an objective situation does not imply a judgment about the imputability or culpability of the person involved.” (AL 302)

Fr. Gleize states:

“That is true, but the reverse is not, and by neglecting to say that, this passage again introduces doubt…

This is the case indeed, but yet again, the fundamental error undergirding much of this disastrous Exhortation is left unaddressed: The Church and her confessors simply do not have the right (or the ability) to weigh matters of imputability.

On this, Catholic doctrine leaves no room for confusion. Simply accepting and applying this doctrine is enough to remove all doubt.

Francis, in Amoris Laetitia, however, goes to great lengths to undermine it.

Finally, we arrive at the fifth dubium concerning AL 303:

“Can we say that conscience must always remain subject, without any possible exception, to the absolute moral law that forbids acts that are intrinsically evil because of their object?”

Fr. Gleize responds, “The Catholic answer is yes.”

He continued by stating that AL 303 is deficient in that it fails to make clear that “a will conformed to an erroneous conscience can be bad,” thus “introducing here a fifth doubt.”

In his treatment of AL 303, Fr. Gleize has once again chosen to focus on but one solitary sentence while ignoring entirely what, in this case, are perhaps the most offensive portions of the entire Exhortation:

“Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.” (AL 303) [emphasis added]

Here, we have two more undeniably clear examples of heresy as defined by Fr. Gleize.

If, as Francis states, persisting in mortal sin is the most generous response which can be given to God, this necessarily means that “the demands of the Gospel” (God’s laws) are, at times, impossible to keep.

As previously noted in our examination of AL 301, according to the Council of Trent, Francis has thus anathematized himself:

“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.” (Session VI, Canon XVIII)

At this we come to that truly odious proposition set forth by Francis which says that, at times, God himself is asking man to persist in his failure to meet the demands of the Gospel; in this case, to persist in the mortal sin of adultery.

This is a blatant instance of both heresy and blasphemy. As Sacred Scripture attests, and the Catholic conscience most certainly knows, the All Holy God never asks that we should persist in sin:

Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human. And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God. For God is not a tempter of evils: and he tempteth no man. (James 13:1)

Far from asking us to sin, the Lord’s will is perfectly clear in spite of knowing our every weakness:

Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

The Council of Trent teaches [emphasis added]:

“If any one saith, that it is not in man’s power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissively only, but properly, and of Himself, in such wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul; let him be anathema.” (Session VI, Chapter XVI, Canon VI)

By stating that God himself is asking one to persist, at times, in the intrinsically evil act of adultery, Francis is imputing this work of evil to God, properly, and of Himself. He has thus anathematized himself yet again.

CONCLUSION

An “Editor’s note” given at the conclusion to Fr. Gleize’s article provides the punchline:

“Fr. Gleize’s precise distinction will surprise more than one. In short, it seems that Pope Francis cannot be considered heretical…”

Surprise?

How about disgust.

Fr. Gleize, in his own words, concludes:

“The five dubia are therefore quite well-founded. The root of them is always the same: the confusion between the moral value of an act, a strictly objective value, and its imputability to someone who performs it, a strictly subjective imputability … The Church’s traditional doctrine gives primacy to this objective order of the act’s morality, which follows from its object and its end or purpose. Amoris Laetitia, by reversing this order, introduces subjectivism into morality.”

No, the traditional doctrine does not simply “give primacy” to the objective order; it goes further by insisting that the Church does not judge subjective imputability.

Fr. Gleize asks rhetorically:

“Does such subjectivism, as understood in its principle as well as in the five conclusions that follow from it here, represent the negation of a divinely revealed truth that is proposed as such by an infallible act of the ecclesiastical Magisterium?”

He then states that the answer, at least for himself, “is far from obvious and certain.”

That I disagree has already been made clear. Know, however, that I am not alone.

Readers may recall that three Eastern European prelates – Archbishop Tomash Peta, Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider – recently issued a text concerning AL that includes the following observations:

God gives to every man assistance in the observance of his Commandments, when such a request is properly made, as the Church has infallibly taught: “God does not command that which is impossible, but in commanding he exhorts you to do that which you are able, and to ask for that which you cannot do, and so he assists you that you might be able to do it” (Council of Trent, session 6, chapter 11) and “and if someone says that even for the man who has been justified and established in grace the commandments of God are impossible to observe: let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, session 6, canon 18.)

The Church, and specifically the minister of the sacrament of Penance, does not have the faculty to judge on the state of conscience of an individual member of the faithful or on the rectitude of the intention of the conscience, since “ecclesia de occultis non iudicat” [the Church does not judge internals] (Council of Trent, session 24, chapter 1). The minister of the sacrament of Penance is consequently not the vicar or representative of the Holy Spirit, able to enter with His light in the innermost recesses of the conscience, since God has reserved such access to the conscience strictly to himself: “sacrarium in quo homo solus est cum Deo” [conscience is the altar upon which man is alone with God] (Vatican Council II, Gaudium et spes, 16).

NB: There are no less than three direct citations of the dogmatic and infallible Council of Trent given in the above commentary provided by three “full communion” bishops.

Who would have thought that more Catholic clarity and conviction would come from these men-of-the-Council than from the Society of St. Pius X?

Throughout this lengthy examination of Fr. Gleize’s assessment of Francis vis-à-vis Amoris Laetitia, it has (in the present writer’s opinion) been sufficiently demonstrated that Fracnis is objectively “heretical” according to the parameters that Fr. Gleize himself established at the outset.

In a number of places, including portions of AL that Fr. Gleize chose not to address, Francis set forth propositions that directly contradict Sacred Scripture and have been unambiguously condemned by the Council of Trent.

And yet, remarkably, Fr. Gleize states:

“For this new theology of Francis, which extends that of Vatican II, avoids this sort of formal opposition with regard to truths already proposed infallibly by the Magisterium before Vatican II.”

If Amoris Laetitia does not represent “formal opposition” to the infallible Magisterium of the Church, nothing does.

As if all that has been written by Fr. Gleize is not disturbing enough, he states:

“If Amoris laetitia became the cause of heresy, it would be in an absolutely unique way, underhanded and latent as modernism itself.”

Pope St. Pius X defined modernism as “the synthesis of all heresies.”

And yet, how quickly Francis is being all but excused for his underhanded, latent, modernist screed; even by the Priestly Society that bears his name.

Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.

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18 comments on “SSPX offers stunning evaluation of Amoris, Francis

  1. Must have cut the Logic 101 class !

  2. This kind of puts a damper on the thought of canonical approval. While it’s true that the SSPX would bring Tradition to more Catholics, which would be a good thing, if they’re now bringing this sort of obfuscation, well, we already have enough of that from “approved” bishops, priests and neocats.

  3. SSPX on Amoris, Francis, continued…

    Louie March 13, 2017

    Realizing that my previous post on this topic is perhaps too time-consuming a read for some, here I offer a far briefer overview with citations not found in part one.

    In answer to the question, Is Pope Francis heretical, Fr. Gleize concluded:

    Not heretical but promoting heresy … it is not the scandal of a heresy formulated doctrinally; it is the scandal of a praxis that clears the way for a challenge to Catholic truth on the indissolubility of marriage.

    First, let it be said that Amoris Laetitia does far more than just cast doubt on the indissolubility of marriage; it upends the very notion of mortal sin and intrinsic evil – the far reaching deleterious effects of which cannot be overestimated.

    Some readers appear content to focus on the accusation of “promoting heresy;” as if it is enough to say that Amoris Laetitia suffers only from ambiguity.

    As the editor’s note following Fr. Gelize’s article insists:

    None of the ambiguous statements in Amoris laetitia constitute “a rejection or contradiction of a truth that is not only revealed but also proposed as such by an infallible act of the ecclesiastical Magisterium” [the definition of “heretical” provided by Fr. Gleize].

    Is that conclusion the reality?

    Consider the following, presented in plain language, and then you tell me:

    Revealed truth proposed by the infallible Magisterium of the Church: It is to be maintained, that sanctifying grace is lost by any mortal sin including adultery. (see Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter XV)

    Exhortation disseminated throughout the Universal Church by Francis: It can no longer be said that those in adultery are living in a state of mortal sin and deprived of sanctifying grace. (see Amoris Laetitia 301)

    Revealed truth proposed by the infallible Magisterium of the Church: If any one says that the commandments of God are impossible to keep; let him be anathema. (see Council of Trent, Session VI, Canon XVIII)

    Exhortation disseminated throughout the Universal Church by Francis: An individual can be in a situation that makes it impossible to refrain from adultery. At times, adultery is the most generous response that one can give to God. (see Amoris Laetitia 301, 303)

    Revealed truth proposed by the infallible Magisterium of the Church: If any one says that God not only permits works that are evil, but that He works them properly and of Himself; let him be anathema.” (see Council of Trent, Session VI, Session VI, Canon VI) Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God. For God is not a tempter of evils: and he tempteth no man. (James 13:1)

    Exhortation disseminated throughout the Universal Church by Francis: Situations exist wherein an individual can discern with certain moral security that persisting in adultery is what God himself is asking. (see Amoris Laetitia 303)

    So, does Amoris Laetitia, or does it not, manifest “a rejection or contradiction of a truth that is not only revealed but also proposed as such by an infallible act of the ecclesiastical Magisterium”?

    Not only is the answer entirely obvious to those of us with a sincere love of Catholic tradition, but also to certain men-of-the-Council (including the three “full communion bishops cited in part one):

    I am still convinced that some of the statements in AL are wrong and even (in some cases) objectively heretical.” – Professor Josef Seifert, philosopher and close personal friend of John Paul II

    Fr. Gleize clearly disagrees. He does suggest, however, that Francis is proceeding in the manner of the modernists who “take advantage of unwary minds [and] promote heresy while giving the appearance of remaining Catholic.”

    Who among us is so unwary of mind as to believe that the above mentioned citations of Amoris Laetitia have even the remote appearance of Catholicity?

    To me, the overwhelming appearance is plainly diabolical.

    Is Francis a modernist?

    Indeed he is!

    Fellay on Francis: I was present at Holy Mass in October of 2013 when Bishop Fellay declared of Francis: “What we have before us is a genuine modernist!”

    Has something changed?

    It would appear so.

    Fr. Gleize (let’s not kid ourselves, on behalf of the Society) is suggesting that while Francis behaves like a modernist, somehow he is “not heretical.”

    Given that “modernism” as defined by the saintly namesake of the Society is the “synthesis of all heresies” (Pascendi), this amounts to splitting hairs to the point of absurdity; especially in light of the blatant contradictions of infallible truth outlined above.

    Over the years, I have been a staunch defender of the SSPX and its Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay. I’ve enjoyed sincere friendships with certain of their priests, other staff, and faithful. (Hopefully, I still do.)

    At times, I’ve even been accused of being a paid mouthpiece for the Society.

    Since launching akaCatholic, new supporters have come and others have gone; the latter, at times (like right now), for having taken offense at certain of the positions articulated here.

    I won’t lie. Staying afloat hasn’t been easy, and as I write times are definitely tough.

    And yet, through it all, one thing remains unchanged; the pursuit of truth regardless of cost.

    If that effort should one day render me friendless and this blog utterly devoid of supporters, so be it.

    Roughly one year ago today, in a post wherein I came to the defense of the SSPX and Bishop Fellay, I wrote:

    So, what is my dog in this fight?

    To be very clear, it’s not that I’m on “team SSPX” or “team Fellay.” I’m on “team Catholic.”

    Most importantly, I concluded:

    It just so happens that the Society of St. Pius X, under the leadership of Bishop Bernard Fellay, is on the same team.

    Short of a correction and a retraction of Fr. Gleize’s stunning assessment of Francis and Amoris Laetitia (which I have invited my contacts within the Society to offer) it is with a heavy heart that I now have reason to wonder if, and to what extent, that’s still true.

  4. For what it’s worth I stand with you my friend and beg you to continue the fight. God bless.

  5. Agreed that Louie is essentially on the money.
    Fr. Glieze’s whole series on the question of a heretical pope is quite weak, not to mention couched in intellectualese (always a bad sign), and sometimes downright confusing or confused.
    It must be pointed out that Fr. Glieze does get one thing right that Louie does not seem to. *Subjectively*, given the near universal corruption of morals, and “free love” attitudes, a person can sometimes genuinely be sufficiently ignorant of the sinfulness of adultery or fornication such that, for them, it does not constitute a mortal sin. Remember the old catechism: There are three things required for mortal sin: grave matter, sufficient knowledge and full consent.
    Therefore, these juxtaposed quotes from Louie:
    “Revealed truth proposed by the infallible Magisterium of the Church: It is to be maintained, that sanctifying grace is lost by any mortal sin including adultery. (see Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter XV)
    Exhortation disseminated throughout the Universal Church by Francis: It can no longer be said that those in adultery are living in a state of mortal sin and deprived of sanctifying grace. (see Amoris Laetitia 301)”
    Do not indicate an instance of heresy, but a favoring of heresy. Neither the quote from Trent nor the one from Amoralis Licentia distinguish objective sin from culpable, subjective sin, and only the latter deprives one of sanctifying grace. Also, the quote from AL actually makes no sense, so it can’t be heretical in itself. it’s typical vague Modernist stupidity. No one EVER SAID that those living in *objective* adultery are ALWAYS living in a *subjective* state of mortal sin. What the hey is this pope talking about? As Louie rightly points out, and as Fr. Glieze shockingly never brings up, the Church doesn’t judge of internal states of soul.
    Louie seems to think, though, that ALL those who are living in adultery are indeed *subjectively* mortally sinning. That’s not correct, and it ironically means he’s judging internals, which is exactly what he says the Church can’t do, so a fortiori, he can’t do it either.
    Of course, exactly because neither the Church nor we judge the internals, we don’t know if an objective adulterer or fornicator is in subjective mortal sin — but that doesn’t mean we let them go to Communion, because if their objective sin is public, they cause scandal by doing so. That alone absolutely requires that it be forbidden.

    BTW, here’s another major gaff by Fr. Glieze that Louie seems to have missed. Quote from Fr. Glieze:
    “305 says this:
    Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin—which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such—a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.”

    (A footnote reads: “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, ‘I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy’ (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 44). I would also point out that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak’ (ibid., 47)).

    The doubt arises here with the note. There is no doubt about the fact that non-culpable ignorance of sin excuses from sin. [Righto, Fr. Glieze] But to those who are victims of this ignorance and thereby benefit from this excuse, the Church offers first the help of her preaching and warnings, the Church starts by putting an end to the ignorance by opening the eyes of the ignorant to the reality of their sin. [Bang on, Father] The help of the sacraments can only come afterward, if and only if the formerly ignorant persons, now instructed as to the seriousness of their state, have decided to make use of the means of conversion, and if they have what is called a firm purpose of amendment. [Right again] Otherwise the help of the sacraments would be ineffective, and it too would be an objective situation of sin. [Bravo]

    We are dealing here therefore with a doubt (dubium) in the strictest sense of the term, in other words, a passage that can be interpreted in two ways. And this doubt arises precisely thanks to the indefinite expression in the note: “in certain cases”. In order to dispel this doubt, it is essential to indicate clearly what these cases are in which the Church’s sacramental aid proves possible and to state that this is about situations in which the sufficiently enlightened sinners have already decided to abandon the objectively sinful situation.”
    End quote.
    Father, father, father. You totally crashed and burned in that last paragraph. Don’t you see? The “certain cases” of people that can receive the sacraments that pope Francis was talking about in the footnote are obviously a subset of the cases he was talking about in the body text that the footnote is attached to. And ALL those cases are “in an objective situation of sin”. There is nothing in there about “already deciding to abandon the objectively sinful situation’. It is indeed “essential to indicate clearly” this requirement, but precisely the point is that, because it’s NOT indicated, it MEANS that Communion can be given to objective public mortal sinners.
    So Amoralis Licentia 305 and footnote are CLEARLY allowing that some persons in objective mortal sin can receive Communion. There is no dubium here.
    it’s frightening when lay pukes like me or Louie have to point out obvious things like this to one of the SSPX’s top theologians.

    • Niceisnasty wrote: “… a person can sometimes genuinely be sufficiently ignorant of the sinfulness of adultery or fornication such that, for them, it does not constitute a mortal sin.”

      I don’t think that’s correct. We’re talking about Catholics here (communion for non-Catholics comes soon, though, with Francis and the Lutherans). While adultery is a sin for non-believers, too, they’re not in a state of grace, so that is a different matter. The idea here is that a Catholic could, through ignorance, remain in a state of grace while living in adultery. I can’t see how this idea jibes with these:

      That whatever is done through ignorance must not be considered as a sin, is hereby condemned as error … Pope Innocent II

      We hereby declare and condemn as rash and erroneous the proposition that a human act, not in conformity with rational nature and right reason, however serious, in a man who is either ignorant of God or who is not thinking of God during the act, be not an offense against God and not a mortal sin dissolving the friendship of God or a sin worthy of eternal punishment. Pope Alexander VIII

      When ignorance is in any way willed, either directly or indirectly, it does not cause the act to be involuntary. That ignorance is directly voluntary to which the act of the will tends; and that is indirectly voluntary which is due to negligence, by reason of a man not wishing to know what he ought to know. If, then, reason or conscience err with an error that is voluntary, either directly or through negligence so that one errs about what one ought to know, then such an error of reason or of conscience does not excuse the will from being evil. The Angelic Doctor

      The bottom line is that a Catholic who climbs into bed with a woman who he knows is not his wife commits mortal sin.

      • I’d only add that at that point he’s only aggravating what he’s already committed in his will, compounding the grave matter.

        Thus, the perennial admonition of the Church about custody of the eyes and the imagination.

  6. The idea that someone does not know that adultery is a sin when God’s own commandment says: “Thou shalt not commit Adultery…” is preposterous on its face IMO. However, the Church has a responsibility to declare what is a valid marriage and that is where the ball has been dropped, again, IMO. Too many marriages that have been consummated have been declared null and void and so the poor guy or gal in the pews has been left with a confused concept of what marriage really is. And, to top it off, the “Church” has intimated that one’s personal conscience can decide that matter for oneself. So, confusion reigns, and the Devil is happy as Hell.

  7. What orthodox catechisms have taught for centuries simply must be maintained: That mortal sin requires not only grave matter and full consent, but sufficient knowledge. Sufficient knowledge is also required according to the code of Canon Law (Old Code 2199 and following). This is part of Tradition concerning a doctrine of morals, and is thus infallible by the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium. Non-infallible papal statements cannot negate this.
    As to Pius II’s quote: We know it’s not infallible because there is no anathema attached, nor any other proper formula of defining words. Also, one must consider the context, which was not provided. The statement: “whatever is done through ignorance must not be considered as a sin, is hereby condemned as error” is perfectly compatible with the catechism provided that by ‘ignorance’ is understood ‘culpable ignorance’.
    In fact, the quote of St. Thomas, in stating that culpable ignorance does not excuse from error, also implies the contrary; that inculpable ignorance does excuse from error. Alternately, one may understand “whatever is done through ignorance must not be considered as a sin” is speaking of objective sin, not subjective, culpable sin, in the sense that acts disordered in themselves are not made *good* merely because one is ignorant of their evilness.
    As to Alexander VIII’s quote: We know it’s not infallible for the same reason stated for Pius II. But in fact, the quote of Alexander VIII does not even address the question of ignorance or knowledge of the sinfulness of the action, but only ignorance of God. It can and should therefore be assumed that Alexander himself was assuming what everyone should know: that a “human act not in conformity with rational nature and right reason” was a mortal sin *provided* that the person had sufficient knowledge and gave full consent.
    I admit that I did not advert to the fact that Amoralis Licentia is addressing a discipline to be applied to Catholics only. I appreciate the wake up call.
    As to how ignorance applies to that category of persons, one can’t make universal statements. It has to be judged on a case by case basis, by one’s confessor. As to how often such drastic ignorance might be found, as we all know, catechetics since Vat II has generally been progressively more horrible. Even if we can assume that the Ten Commandments, at least, are taught everywhere — and I don’t think we can (it really *is* that bad in some places) — there remains the question as to *how* they are taught. Modernism is famous for twisting the meaning of doctrines, and finding loopholes in laws. Phaley makes a good point in that the multitude of invalid anulments has “confused the concept of what marriage really is”, and that Modernist priests and bishops have “intimated that one’s personal conscience can decide that matter for oneself”.
    I think then we old timers should be careful of being ambushed by an unthought assumption that recent generations should know as much as we do.
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there are likely to be more than a tiny few people out there who are truly and entirely inculpably ignorant, so that their adultery or fornication is not, subjectively, a sin at all. We are, after all, dealing not only with one of the Ten Commandments but right reason and natural law (which latter have also been corrupted, BTW, but I digress). But I will say that I think there are more than a few who have been sufficiently and inculpably corrupted in mind such that their knowledge is not sufficient to make their adultery or fornication a *mortal* sin.
    Obviously, in the end, this discussion just highlights again the huge burden of responsibility that Modernist, worldy, self-loving, truth-hating priests and bishops have piled up for themselves. Not too long ago I posted an article called Things New And Old: A Jeremiad, that speaks to this.

    • Not bad – throw out two popes and St. Thomas to save your interpretation of fallible catechisms.

      Your condition of “sufficient knowledge” is exactly what St. Thomas was addressing. Christian marriage is very serious, indeed. Those who enter into it are bound by the laws. If they lack “sufficient knowledge,” that is a fault. It’s a grave matter about which they should be aware.

      “St. Paul, in persecuting the Christians, previous to his conversion, did not think he was committing evil; … The same may be said of the very many Jews who persecuted and crucified Jesus Christ. And yet, St. Paul and these Jews were not excusable and innocent. If they had died in this state they would never have been saved, since they ought to have carefully examined His doctrine and, above all, His works and miracles … If, therefore, a person be ignorant of what is commanded or of what is forbidden, and he is ignorant of it because he has not studied the law of God, his ignorance does not excuse him from sin.” St. Alphonsus

      “To excuse yourself on the grounds of ignorance is to excuse one sin by another!” St. John Chrysostom

      • “Not bad – throw out two popes and St. Thomas to save your interpretation of fallible catechisms.”

        As you well know — unless you are culpably ignorant because you were paying too much attention to the useless fact that I was disagreeing with you rather than looking for the truth as you ought to have been — I did not throw out the popes. I made a legitimate and workable reconciliation of their assertions with what all of us pre-Vatican II Catholics have been taught for generations, and worldwide, as to what constitutes a mortal sin. I did no interpretation of the catechisms at all, but simply stated what they state. If you don’t believe me, that is fine, but did you even bother to look into a few of them to check? Your assertion that this teaching of the catechisms is fallible is gratuitous, because you give no reason whatsoever for it. I therefore am allowed to gratuitously deny the assertion.
        And besides the catechisms, I adduced Canon Law also, which you seem to have forgotten that I did. Did you look up those canons, or did you choose to remain culpably ignorant of them?
        As for throwing out St. Thomas, I not only did not do so, I actually used the teaching you cited in proving my point. And if you can’t see that, because St. Thomas teaches that culpable ignorance does not excuse from sin, it means as a necessary corollary that inculpable ignorance does excuse from sin, try this: www.newadvent.org/summa/2076.htm, and study in particular a3 and a4.
        Of course, the laws of marriage are grave matter of which one who is planning marriage should be aware.
        But again, we aren’t living in some pre-Vatican II utopia. The priests and bishops have been teaching *error* for decades. There are no doubt many cases (I know of some personally) where people actually did their job of seeking instruction, and were given *false* teaching. Then there are all those invalid annulments, where the authorities falsely told the spouses that they were never actually married.
        You yourself say below “Contrary to popular belief, transfer payments constitute theft. Now, I doubt you’d find a bishop or many priests who would call it theft. Hence, some “Catholic” politician who votes for transfer payments is ignorant, and is likely not culpably ignorant of the crime. Hence, he does not sin mortally.”
        But theft is one of the Ten Commandments also, and is against right reason and the natural law also, and is grave matter also.
        Just how *is* it that ignorance in regard to theft has to be treated differently than ignorance regarding the indissolubility of marriage?

        • I did read you, and reread you now, but I don’t see that you’ve made a point about marriage. Your argument comes down to the same as Pope Francis and this Fr. Gleize, namely, there is no such thing as a sin which cannot be excused via ignorance. You just choose a more stringent threshold and thereby admit only a very few.

          Finally, you’d actually equate lack of knowledge of one of the many and varied methods of theft with lack of knowledge of who one is sleeping with. That’s where I can’t go. A Catholic married man who is in bed with a woman who is not his wife (I’m not talking here about the Jacob-Leah deception, or amnesia, etc.) couldn’t possibly be inculpable. No way. No how.

          If there is an out for folks, especially all those “invincibly” ignorant types, maybe it would be good to request our own lack of culpability. In that vein, let me propose the “Liturgy of the Wholly Ignorant” and provide the Collect prayer:

          O almighty and omniscient God, Who has bestowed Thy salvific ignorance on the greater number of men, grant, we beseech Thee, unto thy humble servants a share in that ignorance, that we may not fear our deviations from the narrow way. Per Dominum nostrum …

          • Thank you.
            I’m sure neither Fr. Gleize nor I (certainly not I) have the same view as Pope Francis. Francis clearly thinks that ignorance or excusing circumstances not merely excuse, but make adultery *good* in some cases.
            Fr. Glieze clearly stated that, though some people may be excused (to some extent) of subjective sin, the act itself remains evil, and is not good for them or anyone else. He also pointed out that, in the “discernment” in the confessional, the priest’s first duty is to remove whatever ignorance there is in the penitent. Francis completely ignores that duty, and also leaves it to the penitent to decide what is the “best he can do” at the moment, blasphemously pretending that the penitent’s self-made law is God’s law for that person at the time.
            Perhaps what is going on here is that I have failed to stress sufficiently that ignorance of the evil of adultery is
            1) Rarely or never *entirely* inculpable. For instance, even if a perverted priest were to positively teach that adultery was fine, the natural law written in our heart would at least cause one to wonder at this. And if one did not further investigate, that would be because of bad will, so that at least some kind of subjective guilt and sin would be involved in going ahead and doing it. Whether mortal or venial would depend on the individual case.
            2) In any case, ignorance of the evil of adultery should *never* result in allowing anyone who is publicly practicing it to receive Communion.
            If I seemed to equate lack of knowledge of one of the many and varied methods of theft with lack of knowledge of — not who one is sleeping with, since everyone has to know that — but lack of knowledge of the evil of adultery, that was not my intent. The evil of adultery is indeed less easily disguised. Still, there is a similar game being played by politicians, who falsely justify transfer payments as “charity”, or even “social justice”, and Pope Francis, who falsely justifies adultery for “the good of the children”.
            Finally, I would never say that ignorance of things useful to know is a good thing. And the law of God is always a good thing to know, since it always leads us to true happiness, no matter how many people are ignorant of *that* particular fact.
            Hence, though I must admit that the style of your prayer is edifying and elevated, I will not be reciting it, since I cannot accept that ignorance can be salvific. :o)

  8. I think for ignorance to excuse one from grave sin, there has to be matter not so concrete and obvious. Adultery and murder are concrete and obvious. Something less obvious would be government “redistribution of wealth,” i.e., “transfer payments,” i.e., taking money from Peter and giving it to Paul for no goods or services rendered, but merely to cause Paul to have more money.

    Contrary to popular belief, transfer payments constitute theft. Now, I doubt you’d find a bishop or many priests who would call it theft. Hence, some “Catholic” politician who votes for transfer payments is ignorant, and is likely not culpably ignorant of the crime. Hence, he does not sin mortally.

  9. I think AL’s emphasis on the subjective in order to excuse from the guilt of mortal sin has the fatal flaw of diminishing the merit of genuine human acts for the good. Rather, the Church assumes that the subjective intention corresponds to the objective (internals correspond to external acts) unless proven otherwise. If there is objective matter of serious sin, one must separate oneself from sinful behavior and get to Confession.
    However, I also believe that there can be mitigating factors for serious sin that may be known only to God. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

  10. Once we allow that a Catholic married man knows that the woman in bed with him is not his wife, I honestly can’t see a way that he could be inculpably ignorant. He went through the process of getting married, stood with his bride in front of the priest and everyone, heard “forsaking all others” and “until death do you part,” among many other things. He had to have been confirmed, and had heard the Ten Commandments. Now, he has somehow forgotten these — in good faith? There wasn’t anything left in his mind? Or, somehow he developed the idea that he could simply switch, like from Camels to Marlboros?

    This reminds me of the old Highlights magazine feature “What’s wrong with this picture?” The guy doesn’t even have an inkling to ask that question?

    Aside: some ladies might argue that, yes, some men are indeed that dense. If one lady chimes in here with a good anecdote, I might be persuaded to reconsider.

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