LifeSite News is reporting that three Eastern European prelates – Archbishop Tomash Peta, Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider – have issued an appeal calling on faithful Catholics to join them in a “spiritual crusade,” praying:
“That Pope Francis may confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage.”
While this appeal is similar in many ways to others, it is noteworthy indeed.
Although addressed to the faithful of the entire Church, this call to prayer is accompanied by a rather lengthy text (available in full at the link above) that is clearly meant to serve as yet another act of admonishment and warning directed at Francis himself. In fact, one can reasonably assume that Francis has already received it.
Here, I offer what I consider to be some of the highlights:
The three bishops, in no uncertain terms, take Francis to task without even naming him when they write:
Pastors of the Church who tolerate or authorize, even in individual or exceptional cases, the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist by the divorced and so-called “remarried,” without their being clothed in the “wedding garment,” despite the fact that God himself has prescribed it in Sacred Scripture (cf. Matt. 22:11 and 1 Cor. 11:28-29) as the necessary requirement for worthy participation in the nuptial Eucharistic supper, such pastors are complicit in this way with a continual offense against the sacramental bond of marriage, the nuptial bond between Christ and the Church and the nuptial bond between Christ and the individual soul who receives his Eucharistic Body.
The text went on to cite as an example the “pastoral guidelines” for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia that were issued by the bishops of Buenos Aires; the same of which Francis said “there are no other interpretations.”
In so doing, it is perfectly clear to the well-informed (and most notably to Jorge Bergoglio himself) that this admonishment of “such pastors” applies first and foremost to Francis.
The gravity of the situation is made plain when the bishops write:
The previously mentioned pastoral guidelines contradict the universal tradition of the Catholic Church, which by means of an uninterrupted Petrine Ministry of the Sovereign Pontiffs has always been faithfully kept, without any shadow of doubt or of ambiguity, either in its doctrine or its praxis, in that which concerns the indissolubility of marriage.
Folks, we have a name for that which plainly contradicts the universal tradition and constant doctrine and praxis of the Church: HERESY.
For good measure, the bishops went on to offer various citations that serve to demonstrate just how directly the dogmas of the faith are being attacked in Amoris Laetitia; some of which stand out.
While each of the five questions that make up the dubia claim recourse directly to the post-conciliar magisterium (mainly Familiaris Consortio and Veritatis Splendor from John Paul II), this most recent admonishment and warning also invokes the Ten Commandments and the Council of Trent.
The observance of the Ten Commandments of God, and in particular the Sixth Commandment, binds every human person, without exception, always and in every situation. In this matter, one cannot admit individual or exceptional cases or speak of a fuller ideal. St Thomas Aquinas says: “The precepts of the Decalogue embody the intention of the legislator, that is God. Therefore, the precepts of the Decalogue permit no dispensation” (Summa theol. 1-2, q.100, a.8c).
In this, while the word “ideal” is not encased in quotation marks, it most certainly is intended as a direct refutation of Amoris Laeitita wherein marriage is presented as exactly this on numerous occasions. For example:
At times we have also proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families. (AL 36)
Elsewhere in the appeal, the bishops refute the errors of Francis more explicitly. They write, for example:
The adulterous union of those who are civilly divorced and “remarried,” “consolidated,” as they say, over time and characterized by a so-called “proven fidelity” in the sin of adultery, cannot change the moral quality of their act of violation of the sacramental bond of marriage, that is, of their adultery, which remains always an intrinsically evil act. A person who has the true faith and a filial fear of God can never be “understanding” towards acts which are intrinsically evil, as are sexual acts outside of a valid marriage, since these acts are offensive to God.
As they say…
They, of course, is none other than Francis and those who accept his false teachings; i.e., this is an obvious refutation of Amoris Laetitia (no. 298 in particular) which states:
The divorced who have entered a new union, for example, can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment. One thing is a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self-giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins.
The bishops go on to likewise refute Amoris Laetitia, albeit by implication yet again, by citing the Council of Trent no less than three times:
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.)
If someone says … let him be anathema.
Someone; i.e., anyone – there is no exception for bishops in white.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. (Galatians 1:8)
Anathema; i.e., “exclusion from the society of the faithful.” (cf Catholic Encyclopedia)
Now, for the crowning achievement of this most recent admonishment:
For the first time (as far as I know), we find bishops publicly calling Francis to account for what I (and no doubt others) long ago identified as the grave, fundamental error upon which the heresies and blasphemies of Amoris Laeitita rest:
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” (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” (Vatican Council II, Gaudium et spes, 16).
Ecclesia de occultis non iudicat… The Church does not judge that which is hidden.
As I wrote back in September:
Ours – meaning, the Church and her sacred pastors – is to judge objective offenses alone and to address them accordingly. Indeed, this is all that mere human beings, including the pope, are capable of judging.
Yes, but the priest is given the authority to absolve us of our sins, in the name and in the Person of Christ, in the sacrament of Confession!
Ah, but then there’s that pesky little requirement called a “purpose of amendment” – the same that Francis bemoans as the fruit of “a certain scrupulosity concealed beneath a zeal for fidelity to the truth” on the part of “some priests.” (cf Amoris Laetitia footnote 364, which goes hand-in-hand with the infamous footnote 351)
In the case of Amoris Laetitia and its implementation, we are not speaking of penitents, but rather of those who intend to persist in their sin. As for culpability, this is God’s domain alone, and this is a crucial point.
Even the dreadful Vatican II 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)
This, my friends, is precisely where the rubber meets the road (and the wheels come off the Bergoglian cart) in this entire affair; i.e., the warning issued by Our Lady of Fatima and commented upon by the future Pope Pius XII is unfolding right before our very eyes:
“A day will come when the Church will be tempted to believe that man has become God.” – Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli
In conclusion, while I would have much preferred to see His Excellencies Peta, Lenga, and Schneider condemn Amoris Laetitia completely and directly; calling its author by name to account for his heresies and blasphemies, I am delighted to see that the very heart of the matter is being addressed at long last.
De internis neque Ecclesia iudicat: Regarding the interior, not even the Church can judge.