Dignitatis Humanae: Theological seeds for Amoris Laetitia

Vatican II Image“I am the first pope who didn’t take part in the Council and the first who studied theology after the Council…”

So said Francis in July of 2014.

Less than two years later, the rotten fruits of his conciliar formation would come into full view with the publication of Amoris Laetitia; the “interpretive key” to which, according to its author, was provided by Cardinal Schönborn who said:

“For me Amoris Laetitia is, first and foremost, a linguistic event…”

A linguistic event?

At first blush, this unusual phrase struck me as an odd way of describing a document that has shaken the Church to its very core.

Upon closer investigation, however, I discovered that it’s a phrase not of Cardinal Schönborn’s own making; one that has been used by others to describe both Vatican Council II and the French Revolution.

Revolution indeed!

As I wrote back in December, Amoris Laetitia – just as the French Revolution and the Second Vatican Council before it – is truly nothing less than a revolution against the Logos.

That Amoris Laetitia is revolutionary is obvious enough, what may not be so obvious, however, is the way in which certain of the propositions put forth therein are rooted in a decidedly conciliar theology.

For instance, in Amoris Laetitia Francis boldly asserts that those who persist in relationships characterized by fornication and adultery can at times “come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits.” (AL 303)

The theological seeds for this blasphemous notion (the most despicable in the entire text, in my opinion) can be found in what is perhaps a most unexpected place; the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom.

Consider: The traditional doctrine of the Church is that the State is duty bound to have “care for religion.”

Pope Pius X wrote:

“That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Based, as it is, on the principle that the State must not recognize any religious cult, it is in the first place guilty of a great injustice to God; for the Creator of man is also the Founder of human societies, and preserves their existence as He preserves our own. We owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him. Besides, this thesis is an obvious negation of the supernatural order.” (Pope Pius X, Vehementer Nos)

In other words, as a matter of justice, God is owed a public and social worship, and it is the duty of the State to order its affairs accordingly.

The public and social worship that is owed to God is not that of just any religion, but rather that of the one true religion of which Pope Leo XIII wrote:

“Now, it cannot be difficult to find out which is the true religion, if only it be sought with an earnest and unbiased mind; for proofs are abundant and striking … From all these it is evident that the only true religion is the one established by Jesus Christ Himself, and which He committed to His Church to protect and to propagate.” (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei)

The Holy Father went on to articulate the duty of the State with respect to its treatment of false religions as follows:

“The Church, indeed, deems it unlawful to place the various forms of divine worship on the same footing as the true religion, but does not, on that account, condemn those rulers who, for the sake of securing some great good or of hindering some great evil, allow patiently custom or usage to be a kind of sanction for each kind of religion having its place in the State.” (ibid.)

In short, the State may for the greater good tolerate the practice of certain false religions, but it cannot grant them the same rights as those belonging exclusively to the one true religion.

The reason is simple: It is objectively sinful to reject that religion which God has revealed in favor of a false religion, which is objectively evil, and the State, the authority of which comes from God, is duty bound to act accordingly.

As such, the State must never positively protect by right that which is sinful and evil; in this case, the practice of false religions, as if they enjoy the same right of propagation and protection as the one true religion.

At this, one may ask, what is “right”?

To which, Pope Leo XIII provides the following:

“For right is a moral power which — as We have before said and must again and again repeat — it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, to justice and injustice … For this reason, while not conceding any right to anything save what is true and honest, she does not forbid public authority to tolerate what is at variance with truth and justice, for the sake of avoiding some greater evil, or of obtaining or preserving some greater good. God Himself in His providence, though infinitely good and powerful, permits evil to exist in the world, partly that greater good may not be impeded, and partly that greater evil may not ensue.” (Pope Leo XIII, Libertas)

This teaching, along with others, has often been paraphrased to say “error has no rights.”

This is simply another way of saying that God does not positively will anything that is not true and honest (i.e., sin and evil), therefore, such things have no right of expression, but may simply be tolerated, and then only for the common good.

The Council, in stark contrast with all that has been stated thus far of the traditional doctrine, boldly declared:

“The right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.” (Dignitatis Humanae 2)

In other words, the objectively sinful practice of false religion, according to the Council, must be afforded the protection of law; the same that is due to the one true faith alone.

In proposing that the State must concede such a right to false religions (i.e., that which “is at variance with truth and justice” and therefore evil), the Council is implicitly teaching that such things are positively willed by God as opposed to simply being tolerated by Him.

This, my friends, is the fatally flawed theology in which Jorge Bergoglio was formed.

In Amoris Laetitia, Francis simply made explicit what was implicitly taught in Dignitatis Humanae with regard to God’s positive will concerning sin by applying it to so-called “irregular situations”:

Those who persist in relationships characterized by fornication and adultery can at times “come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits.” (AL 303)

With all of this in mind, who can be surprised to find that the program of “integrating” the “divorced and civilly remarried” into parish life (e.g., see AL 299) is rapidly expanding into what is, for all intents and purposes, a “right” to Holy Communion?

As I wrote in December in the post linked above, the crisis besetting the Church in our day did not begin with Francis, it is simply flourishing on his watch like never before.

Ridding the Church of Francis, while something to be desired, would amount only to addressing an especially nasty symptom, while the disease itself, Vatican Council II, remains unaddressed.

The current putrid state of affairs will only worsen until such time as the Church is sufficiently brought to her knees to fulfill the request of Our Lady of Fatima at long last; at which point we can well expect Heaven to respond with the outpouring of grace necessary to quell the conciliar uprising once and for all.

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