On a recent airing of EWTN’s World Over Live, host Raymond Arroyo interviewed Fr. Gerald Murray, a canon lawyer, and Robert Royal, president of the “Faith and Reason Institute,” to discuss Amoris Laetitia.
Throughout the segment, Arroyo and his guests expressed a considerable amount of angst over the impact that this document is likely to have moving forward; for instance, in the degree to which it will mislead the faithful while providing cover for priests who wish to invite those persisting in adultery and other serious sins to the sacraments.
By every conceivable measure, all three of these men are cut from neo-conservative cloth, and yet they tread where even Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke – the poster prelate of the movement – has not yet dared to go.
As such, I can agree with those who see this public criticism of Amoris Laetitia on EWTN as noteworthy, but let’s not get carried away – noteworthy doesn’t necessarily mean praiseworthy.
Some of my friends have suggested that Francis may have finally gone too far, and this program signals the beginning of a great neo-con awakening. Now, that’s a tantalizing thought, but I’m not convinced.
Consider, for example, the words used by Arroyo and his guests to describe the content of Amoris Laetitia:
Troubling, imprecise, complicated, problematic, odd, strange, puzzling, dangerous, disturbing…
Sure, it is all of these things, but one may just as accurately describe the majority of primetime television programming the same way. In other words, the level of outrage and alarm being expressed by these men in no way even comes close to matching the magnitude of pure evil that this document represents.
In fact, Robert Royal even saw fit to find cause for applauding certain parts of Amoris Laetitia, as if a scalpel can somehow be applied to the text in order to harvest holy tidbits, saying:
We’re in such a brittle, polarized period in the Church as well as in the world, people see something that makes them nervous about marriage and Communion for the divorced and remarried and they assume that the entire document is corrupt or is unfaithful to the teachings.
From there Royal went on to talk about the document’s treatment of “controversial issues” like contraception, abortion, and so-called “gay marriage,” etc.; i.e., matters about which Church teaching is exceedingly clear.
On these points, Royal tells viewers, Francis and his Love Letter to Lucifer, Amoris Laetitia, “is absolutely rock solid.”
So, let me make sure I understand this correctly…
Francis serves anthrax infested horse manure to the children of the Church, but since he went out of his way to cover it in chocolate, bless his humble heart, we mustn’t be so “brittle” as to assume that the entire meal is corrupt.
OK, got it.
Later in the segment, Royal criticizes some of the words repeatedly used by Francis in reference to objectively sinful situations; terms such as irregular, imperfect, less-than-ideal.
He says, and rightly so, “this is not the language of the Gospel” wherein we find far more stark phraseology; like sin, virtue, right, wrong, etc.
“The thing that worries me about that,” Royal frets, “is that there’s always an excuse for everything, and any circumstance you find yourself in you can explain.”
Fair enough, but then what does he do? He goes on to offer excuses and explanations for the sins of Francis!
We understand that this Holy Father is a very charismatic man, he very much feels what other people need from him … But there’s a way in which everybody’s virtues can also be vices, without going into too much detail about this, I think it could be said that there’s a point at which the Hoy Father runs the risk of by trying to be so comforting to people that he actually loses some of the holiness that people are called to.
Specifically in reference to Francis’ portrayal of Catholic doctrine as “stones thrown at people’s lives,” Royal says:
It must correspond to something in the Holy Father’s experience, because he does this quite often. He’s very angry about rigidity and what he sees as people being coldhearted toward sinners, and we can understand that part of it.
So you see, folks, even though Francis is leading souls straight to Hell, we must understand that it’s likely just because he cares a little too much, according to Robert Royal.
The truth of the matter is, however, Francis isn’t comforting to a fault; he’s quite literally the most dangerous man on the planet disguised as a kindly uncle.
Fr. Murray, for his part, acquitted himself somewhat better, but being that he is uniquely configured to Christ for the care of souls, the bar is set much higher, and let it be said that he too failed to adequately address the menace that is Francis head-on.
“I don’t want to criticize the pope,” Fr. Murray stated, “I think the pope is a wonderful man. I think he’s a holy man in so many ways. I hope to be a good man and holy myself.”
What is this, a praise-the-pope competition for crying out loud?
Apparently a dose of reality is in order.
How wonderful is Francis? So wonderful that he openly ridicules the gifts that are given to him by his children, aka “Rosary counters.”
How good is Francis? So good that he rebuked a women for daring to trust in the Lord by welcoming the gift of another child in spite of previous C-sections and then bragged about it to international media.
How holy is Francis? So holy that he can’t manage to genuflect before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament but has no problem dropping to his knees when the Humblecam is rolling.
Now that we have that cleared up, Fr. Murray continued:
I don’t judge, but what I will say is when you do something in public that contradicts what your predecessor did, there has to be an accounting for it and a responsibility to upholding the gospel and I think that’s what many bishops, cardinals and priests will call for.
First, not only did Francis contradict what a predecessor did (presumably in this case he is referring to Pope John Paul the Great Ecumenist and Familiaris Consortio); he contradicted nearly two thousand years of Catholic teaching and practice. In truth, Francis could contradict John Paul II in a hundred different ways and his reward would be great in Heaven for doing so!
Now, I don’t want to read too much into this, but one discerns in Fr. Murray’s comment one of the fundamental errors of the neo-cons. You see, for them, “Magisterium” is frequently misunderstood as whatever the pope happens to say, or what the Council said, as opposed to being what the Church has always said.
In other words, while they sometimes do well to recognize certain problems (like Amoris Laetitia), they all-too-often view matters through the wrong lens.
In any case, I find it curious that Fr. Murray is looking forward to seeing Francis held to account by “bishops, cardinals, and priests.”
I mean, he’s a priest, isn’t he?
Midway through the program, Fr. Murray quotes what I believe to be perhaps the most dangerous portion of Amoris Laetitia, saying:
This is another area in the document that needs to be examined, because the pope says earlier it can no longer be presumed that people that find themselves in irregular situations are in a state of mortal sin. And I would say that’s problematic to say that.
This needs to be examined? It shouldn’t take more than 5 seconds for a poorly catechized high school student to recognize that this statement isn’t just problematic; it’s flat out heretical!
If this is what the Santo Subito crowd considers holding Francis accountable for his blatant disregard for the Divine Law and immutable Catholic doctrine, then rest assured, my friends, there will be no neo-con awakening coming any time soon.
In the meantime, we need to continue urging them, in no uncertain terms, to join us on the front lines as opposed to simply tiptoeing about the perimeter of the battlefield, while praying that the scales may soon fall fully from their eyes.
Look, I speak from experience on this note. It wasn’t all that long ago that I too was infected with neo-conservatism, welcome to speak in allegedly “orthodox” parishes and dioceses, and running in such media circles as CMTV, CNA, and EWTN.
Back then, I thought that one did well to highlight the “rock solid” portions of the conciliar texts; i.e., those parts that simply re-present what had already been taught elsewhere far more clearly.
By the grace of God (often made present to me via the persistence of those whose eyes were opened to the truth), I’ve since come to realize that the Biblical caution about “a little leaven corrupting the entire lump” applies precisely to such situations as these.
I’ve also come to realize that using whatever public platform I have been given to focus on warning others about the corruption wrought by the leaven of error, loudly and clearly, is a solemn obligation and a source of blessing – regardless of any earthly ridicule, hardship, or persecution this may invite.
May the good Lord grant us all the grace of perseverance.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Another problem I see with Fr. Murray’s response: that it will be “bishops, cardinals and priests” calling for an accounting. If that’s the case, we’re in trouble. I don’t advise any breath-holding waiting for that to happen. Furthermore, such a statement ignores the fact that the laity who have a true sensus catholicus can distinguish between Gospel truths and diabolical falsehoods and have the consequent duty to resist error, no matter its source. Sadly, the Church is suffering from a case of papal Stockholm Syndrome so severe that anything short of the pope flatly saying “There is no God” is ultimately defended, even if problematic.
Oh, Louie, you are so singing my song today, only you sing it much more clearly. Will they ever see the forest through the trees? I just watched that video clip of the Raymond Arroyo interview yesterday and of course it fell so short. How could such intelligent men be so blind? I know. I know. It is only by the Grace of God that any of us are where we are at- plus a dash of courage, faith and a step toward truth on our own part. Just this morning I was thinking that there is no longer any time to pussy foot around any of this on behalf of anyone’s blindness. We must speak clearly and unapologetically. Thank you, Louie, it’s so good to know you are out there.
Is it possible to be “holy” and “heretical” at the same time? I wish it were possible for Arroyo to interview Mother Angelica on this topic. Will Francis go down in history as the “Holy Heretic Pope”???? Cortez, I agree. I think Louie has a way of saying what many are thinking. Glad he’s on our side.
Neo-Cath, Neo-Con Milqtoast, while slightly better than the Papalotry of “Mr Mouthwash” in “The Warehouse In Detroit”(Favorite Phrase of Counsellor Ferrara), still doesn’t “Cut It.”
I viewed the EWTN Broadcast of this segment of “The World Over”, where Rather Cautious Criticism is at least permitted, without The Bite of Mother M. Angelica, I want a Site with Truth Unabated & your site is IT, Louie.
When something is annoying cloying(Like Muzak of Schutte, Haas & Haugen, or Buck & Mc Carver on “FOX Saturday Baseball” in regards to one Derek Sanderson Jeter), unto the point of Vomiting, it serves no useful purpose except for Satire, of which yours is the Best.
Please, Royal & Fr Murray, sounded like “Lite FM.”
My Sarcastic Question from my blog, “A Roaming Catholic”, a question formerly posed to MLB Umpires at both Fenway Park & Shea Stadium, and now poised to The Papalotrists at ChurchMilitant.com, EWTN & other Neo-Con, Neo-Caths is, quite simply
“What Game On FOX Are You Watching.”
Maybe “bite” is what we need.
You could clearly see the squirming and desire to avoid criticizing Francis. At least Raymond arroyo goes where Michael Voris does not. Papolatry is alive and flourishing today, the time of great apostasy. Eventually a name will speak up to gather a minority of faithful prelates and then there will the schism as described in the prophecy at Akita. Obviously Burke will not lead that charge. Of course we will be labeled as the schismatic and unmerciful types. No matter.
Yes, the deepest execrations heaped upon Bergoglio are entirely appropriate. Obedient to the hidden hand of his Luciferian slave-masters, and their radical war against existence itself, Bergoglio is not satisfied with institutional destruction.
He is not satisfied by liturgical destruction. He is not satisfied by the hierarchy’s destruction. He is not satisfied by the Magisterium’s destruction.
This nihilistic apostate hates supernatural faith. He has none, and like a eunuch who lacks the fullness of what nature bestows, he wants to crush every single individual’s faith. What else could explain such an animus delendi?
Like a night-time invasion force turned loose in otherwise tranquil streets inhabited by those few of us who still both sleep and wake in the bosom of Holy Mother Church, Bergoglio wants to be the baleful sounds of jackboots, bullhorns and snarling German shepherds that accompany the dragging of everyone into the street. “PERSONAL FAITH IS NOT PERMITTED”.
This is the regime led by one who, as it were, feeds on looking deep into the eyes of Our Blessed Lord’s little ones and watching perversely for the light of Faith to be extinguished.
Well done, Louie! The neo-cons are befuddled and don’t know what to do. If only they could only go back to the good old days of ,”Saint John Paul II” they would once again be at rest. Francis is a revolutionary and that is why the secular world loves him so. It is exactly the opposite of what it should be. Don’t back down , Louie. You are a fearless defender of the true Church and our Lord is counting on you to continue to tell it like it is.
Voris, voris, voris.
Pray for him. He should have let someone else be the face of his “apostolate”…
(FYI: Neither St. Paul nor St. Agustin, as referenced in the video, slept with men.
“Back then, I thought that one did well to highlight the “rock solid” portions of the conciliar texts; i.e., those parts that simply re-present what had already been taught elsewhere far more clearly.”
Oh, that strikes a painful chord with me. That is exactly how I acted in the past, not with the V2 documents, but with anything of V2 that needed to be defended from anyone too “traditional,” aka Catholic.
But for the grace of God….
This is unworthy and uncharitable. Hell may not be empty but Heaven certainly would be if repentant sinners were to be excluded! I do not always agree with MV (his is the only website to have banned me – over his SSPX coverage) but he deserves our prayers and our respect.
I must admit, as a recovering neo-Catholic, that I found the EWTN to be particularly Providential. Now, that does not mean it is perfect, and you highlight what also made me cringe while watching it. The Providential piece is that EWTN is “moderate” and appeals to a wide range of Catholics, and all of the neo-Catholics. The fact that they were courageous enough to criticize the Pope, albeit with the cowardly caveats of praise, is a God-send. It enables me to point others to this “moderate” reaction and say, “See!” Hopefully this will then open them up to go further and begin to pull back the veil that will, God willing, take them all the way back to VCII, including a fresh look at all the years between then and now.
To be honest with you, I cannot send a neo-Catholic to your website – I fear it is too harsh and will push them away. You make great points, but I cannot send them here. I have started my own effort to reach out to the neo-Catholics on my own blog http://vox-consolatoris.blogspot.com/. I do appreciate and follow your site myself though.
I’ve always found Father Murray’s contributions to EWTN insightful, helpful and truthful.
That’s my view.
I get what you’re saying. I’m looking for the magic bullet myself for neo-conservatives/neo- catholics friends and family.
I’d send em here but apparently they’re very sensitive to snark.
But they’re also sensitive to reading too much, so removing the snark probably won’t help.
At the end of the day, ya gotta want to know the truth no matter what. And that’s a tough pill to swallow for some folks.
After warning my Novus Ordo family and friends of this thing coming since part one of the synod, I made a conscious decision NOT to bring the exhortation up to any of em and see if they say anything. Over two weeks now and not a word.
I suppose this is exactly how they got away with V2 and changing the mass. Most folks just don’t give a damn.
Sadly this is true, especially when “conservative” bishops and “conservative” Catholic newspapers praise Amoris Laetitia. Bishop Egan of Portsmouth, England, says that “Amoris Laetitia does not allow communion for the divorced and remarried” and that “the exhortation is a ‘magnificent’ document that everyone should read” (http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/04/22/amoris-laetitia-does-not-allow-communion-for-remarried-says-bishop/) , and the headline on the most recent issue of the Catholic Voice lauds AL as a “hymn to indissolubility and fidelity”.