In fact, the very creation of a universal Synod of Bishops (as opposed to the local gatherings seen from time to time in Church history) was already a sign of the enemy’s triumph. Launched by Paul VI in 1965 with his apostolic letter Apostolica Sollicitudo, , “establishing the Synod of Bishops for the universal Church,” the Synod was designed to be “a continuance after the Council of the great abundance of benefits that We have been so happy to see flow to the Christian people during the time of the Council.” That is, the Synod would make the conciliar turmoil a permanent feature of the life of the Church. Accordingly, among the stated purposes of the Synod at its creation was “to facilitate agreement… on essential matters of doctrine and on the course of action to be taken in the life of the Church.”
In other words, the establishment of a universal Synod introduced into the Catholic Church an equivalent to the Protestant practice of subjecting doctrine to perpetual debate and voting at periodic assemblies, with the inevitable result being doctrinal erosion. In the Catholic Church, as we have seen, this erosion takes the form of maintaining doctrine as a set of official propositions while practically undermining it in any conceivable way short of outright formal contradiction.
The Synod is precisely the “permanent council” advocated by that icon of neo-Modernism, the late Cardinal Carlo Mario (“Jesus would never have written Humanae Vitae”) Martini. None other than Cardinal Bergoglio was Martini’s personal choice for the papacy—the next best thing to Martini himself, who saw his days drawing to an end on account of age and illness. It was Martini who organized the St. Gallen’s group that plotted in secret for Bergoglio’s elevation to the papacy, as the infamous pedophile-protector Cardinal Danneels, a key member of the group along with Cardinal Kasper, now freely admits.
Our modernist pope, who hails his patron Martini as “a father for the whole Church”, has just written a fawning preface for a newly published multi-volume collection of the heretic’s writings. In that preface Francis praises his patron for “having promoted and accompanied the style of synodality,” declaring: “the inheritance which Cardinal Martini left to us is indeed a precious gift.”
While Apostolica Sollicitudo states that the Catholic version of synodality is “directly and immediately subject to the authority of the Roman Pontiff,” what happens when the Pope himself is bent on revolutionizing the Church by employing the Synod as his mechanism? By a remarkably convenient coincidence, it was in the very midst of Synod 2015 that Francis discovered, for the first time in 2,000 years, that the Catholic Church is a “synodal Church.” In his speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul’s creation of the Synod, Francis revealed what he would have us believe is a gnosis hidden from all his predecessors: “it is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.”
With Generalissimo Francisco at the controls, the conquering army of neo-Modernism is now using the synodal juggernaut for a mop-up operation that threatens to overwhelm the Church’s last fully intact defensive bastion: her teaching on marriage, procreation and sexual morality, behind which a few relatively conservative prelates have just mounted a waffling defense. But the end of Synod 2015 is only the beginning of the juggernaut’s wild ride with Francis in the pilot’s seat: “This journey will continue,” vowed the “moderately” Modernist Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane. May God help us all.
The Ecclesiastical Third Reich
It seems to me that with Francis we have entered what could aptly be called the Third Reich of the post-conciliar revolution, following the First Reich of Paul VI, the Second Reich of John Paul II, and the brief Benedictine interregnum before Cardinal Bergoglio’s calamitous ascendancy. In fact, Bergoglio’s rise to power occurred under circumstances analogous to those that convulsed Germany in 1932-33, when anarchy in the country, including street battles between Communists and Nazis, led to the fall of Chancellor Schleicher and the appointment of the charismatic Hitler to quell the storm Hitler himself had helped to unleash.
In like manner, Benedict (reportedly at the suggestion of Martini) fled “for fear of the wolves,” clearing the way for the sudden rise of the previously unknown liberal Jesuit of mercurial temperament, whose career, as a fellow Jesuit observed, was marked by a “personality cult which is extremely divisive. He has an aura of spirituality which he uses to obtain power.” Bergoglio’s election had been planned for the conclave of 2005 but could not be effected until Benedict’s abdication, as documented in Austin Ivereigh’s The Great Reformer.
Thus it is no coincidence that Francis has rehabilitated St. Gallen group leaders Danneels and Kasper—a rehabilitation that includes the relentless promotion of Kasper’s heretical notion of “mercy” and the appointment of both Kasper and Danneels among the group of 45 progressive prelates with which Francis stacked the Synod in order to offset the conservative majority among the Synod Fathers elected by the national episcopal conferences. By stacking the Synod with unelected progressives, Francis ensured that no matter how the elected Fathers voted, his implanted voting bloc would prevent 2/3 majorities in favor of any sort of uncompromising restatement of Catholic teaching.
Lest I be accused of self-contradiction here, let me make something clear: it is wrong to reduce matters of doctrine and discipline to subjects for voting at a Synod of Bishops, and the Pope should be able to control synodal proceedings and even disregard synodal votes precisely because he is the Supreme Pontiff. The point, however, is that Francis pretended that the “synodal process” expressed the will of the Synod Fathers under the influence of “the Spirit” while he manipulated the Synod behind the scenes in an effort to predetermine its outcome (as the thirteen cardinals politely protested in their historic letter to Francis). Hence with this Synod we had the worst of both worlds: the false appearance of democracy to lend legitimacy to an autocratic abuse of power by a pope heedless of the true nature of the papacy as a prudent conservator of Tradition, assisted by the neo-Modernist oligarchy he placed in control of the synodal mechanism.
Today, we behold the spectacle of a Pope who governs according to what Edward Pentin
has described as “an ecclesialized Führerprinzip”—ruler principle—under which the Führer’s will is the highest law simply because it is the Führer’s will. It hardly needs to be demonstrated that the papal primacy and the Führerprinzip are not the same thing. Suffice it to recall Pope
Benedict’s admonition at the very beginning of his own mysteriously terminated pontificate:
The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.
The current pontificate has been one continuous exercise in reckless disregard of this truth about the limits of papal authority, backed up by the Führer-Pope’s incessant demagogic ranting against orthodox Catholics who stand in his way, including even certain cardinals and bishops. This pontificate demonstrates that where the war at large is concerned, at present we can hope only to maintain pockets of resistance until the ecclesial Third Reich, like that in Germany, finally collapses under the weight of its own insanity.
Who Really “Won” the “Battle of the Synod”?
Moving from the war in general to the just-concluded Synod in particular, what can we say about its outcome? To suggest another historical parallel, the Battle of the Synod was rather like the Battle of Palmito Ranch, which the Confederates managed to win after the Civil War had already effectively ended with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House the month before. Synod 2015, like Synod 2014, was an example of the Führerprinzip in full swing: conceived, controlled, stacked and manipulated by Francis from start to finish, it was meant to serve as an instrument for expression of the Führer’s will.
Showing just what a sham the whole proceeding was, on Thursday, October 22, the thuggish Secretary General, Cardinal Baldisseri, attempted to foist upon the assembly as “the Synod’s” final report what was essentially the unamended, blatantly heterodox and widely denouncedInstrumentum Laboris. As Professor Roberto de Matteinotes, the Secretariat “did not take into any account the 1355 amendments proposed over the course of the preceding three weeks, and substantially reproposed the implantation of [the] Instrumentum laboris, including the paragraphs that had roused the strongest criticism in the Hall: the one on homosexuality and the other on the divorced and remarried.”
In short, at the very end of the proceedings it was as if the Synod had never happened and the Synod Fathers would be expected merely to swallow a document many of them had rejected even before they arrived in Rome. Facing an open revolt like the one at Synod 2014, Francis was forced to withdraw the document and have his ten-man committee draft a hasty compromise in less than 24 hours. This was provided—only in Italian—on the very day of the vote, October 24, when it was read aloud and simultaneously translated for the many Fathers who do not speak Italian. Based on this scant acquaintance with “their” Relatio, the Fathers were then expected to vote on its 38 pages of propositions, paragraph-by-paragraph, at the very moment the translators (accurately or not) were translating the text on the fly into various languages. This procedure was a total travesty of a deliberative body, little more than a rubber stamp for the “emergency” document frantically cobbled together by Francis’s unelected, progressive-dominated drafting committee.
The last-minute compromise text was specifically designed to save the Synod from collapse by allowing both the conservatives and the progressives to claim victory according to their view of the text. Prof. de Mattei observes that with this document “[a]ll have been defeated, starting with Catholic morality which emerges profoundly humiliated by the Synod on the Family.” Rorate Caeli rightly calls it a “triumph of ambiguity.” Cardinal Pell admitted as much himself when he said in a post-synod interview with Edward Pentin: “The document is cleverly written to get consensus. Some people would say it’s insufficient. It’s not ambiguous.”
That is pure doubletalk. Any document “cleverly written” to achieve consensus between diametrically opposed positions is of necessity ambiguous. As we shall see, such is the Relatio when it comes to the hot button issue of the admission of the divorced and “remarried” to Holy Communion as part of their “integration” into parish life. And it should be obvious even to the most obtuse observer by now that this Kasperian notion of “mercy” for objective public adulterers was the main reason Francis set the synodal juggernaut in motion in the first place.
Yet the rigged Synod failed to heed Francis’s maximum demand: blanket adoption of the execrable Instrumentum Laboris. In a most Führer-like fashion he expressed his fury at even a stacked Synod’s refusal to deliver the goods, publicly denouncing his conservative synodal opponents and letting them know that they have exposed themselves as enemies of the Reich. The Synod, he warned in his final address, “was also about laying bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.” There will be no hiding behind Catholic doctrine from the wrath of der Führer! He knows who you are—every one of you!
Unburdened by any sense of shame, the Führer evoked the “Chair of Moses,” who permitted divorce, against prelates who were attempting to defend Christ’s definitive abolition of the Mosaic dispensation, granted only out of the hardness of hearts even though it was contrary to the divine and natural law. No matter! The Führer’s many enemies among the bishops and cardinals must understand that in the Third Reich of Neo-Mosaic Mercy the “synodal Church” shall be “a vital source of eternal newness, against all those who would ‘indoctrinate’ it in dead stones to be hurled at others.”
Away, then, with “conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints” and “a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible.” The Führer did not explain what is archaic or incomprehensible about “Thou shalt not commit adultery” or “Whoever puts away his wife, and marries another, commits adultery.” But then a Führer does not have to explain himself because, according to the Führerprinzip, whatever the Führer says is self-evidently true and sufficient because it is the Führer who has said it.
Having demonized all opposition to his will, Francis—as he so often does— proceeded to contradict himself by warning against “falling into the danger of relativism or of demonizing others…” But then who among his cowering subordinates in the hierarchy is in any position to insist that theFührer practice what he preaches, or to point out how frequently he appears to be guilty of precisely the faults he endlessly attributes to others?
Assessing the Final Relatio
With dreary predictability, the neo-Catholic commentariat is hailing the compromise Relatio as a victory for the “conservatives” and a defeat for the “progressives” because it does not explicitly authorize Holy Communion for public adulterers or propose the acceptance on some level of “homosexual unions.” Whoop. Dee. Doo. Let us examine this claim of “victory.”
For starters, the neo-Catholics and other “normalists” do not seem to notice that the very conduct of a Synod at which the Pope himself insisted upon a debate over settled moral questions, disregarding the constant teaching of his own predecessors, means the progressives have already won.
The neo-Catholic frogs in the pot of water coming to a boil not only refuse to acknowledge that the water has gotten any warmer, they also deny the very existence of the pot. They accept with complete tranquility that the Catholic Church is now a “synodal Church” in which everything is up for debate and we must periodically “pray for the Synod” so that—whoa, Nellie!—it will not do anything to “change doctrine.” The spectacle resembles nothing so much as the floor of Congress in which Republicans wrangle with Democrats in committee and then emerge with “the best legislation we could get” under the circumstances, which is pretty much how Pell described the Relatio.
Turning to the text of the Relatio, we must ask: Who got the better of this “triumph of ambiguity”? It should be obvious that ambiguity concerning moral questions always favors the party seeking to undermine morality. Such is the case here. The following elements, which appear in the problematical Part III, where all the poison pills are found, represent major advances for the sexual libertine faction of neo-Modernists who have been stage-managing this hoax from the beginning, with Francis’s connivance:
- The “Synod of the Family” radically undermines the family by declaring (in ¶ 58) that “the family, while remaining the primary pedagogical space, cannot be the only place for education in sexuality.” This provision, carried over from the rejected Instrumentum, implicitly denies the primacy of parental authority over the education of children, especially in such a delicate matter, and throws children to the wolves that conduct classroom “sex-education.” So much for the teaching of Pius XI in Divini Illius Magistri: “Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public…” Ignoring this admonition, the Synod calls for adolescent and pubescent children to learn about “the beauty of sexuality in love” in classrooms filled with other impressionable children.
- The Relatio is devoid of any suggestion that divorce, adultery, fornication, sodomy and other forms of sexual immorality are evils the Church must oppose and sins the faithful must avoid or repent under penalty of eternal damnation. The concept of sexual immorality, mortal sin and the divine punishment due to mortal sin are completely absent. Sin is mentioned only in a generic and inoffensive way in Parts I and II, which are the sugar coating for the poison pills in Part III, where sin is never mentioned again.
- The ludicrous “moral ecumenism” proposed by the Instrumentum is still advanced here (cf. ¶¶ 69-71). Illicit sexual unions, including cohabitation and civil marriage (with or without a prior divorce) are depicted as having “positive elements” (¶ 70) leading to “the fullness of the sacrament” (¶ 69)—as if people living in sin could possess part of the Sacrament of Matrimony. This is a grotesque, even diabolical, mockery of the Church’s teaching on the sanctity and supernatural character of sacramental marriage.
- The decision to “shack up” rather than undertake the commitment to marriage is excused as being “very often not motivated by prejudice or resistance to the sacramental union, but by cultural or contingent situations” such as (believe it or not) “the fact that marriage is perceived as a luxury…” (¶ 70) Cohabitation is even praised as “a sign of a relationship that really seeks to orient itself to a perspective of stability.” (¶ 71) According to this bizarre conception—the mind boggles to see it espoused in a document of the Catholic Church—there are no per se immoral sexual unions but only more or less good relationships situated on a continuum leading to “the fullness of the sacrament.” As John Rao has said, with appropriate disgust over this nonsense: “Give me a break! Give me a break!”
- The only references to homosexuality (¶ 76) are in the context of the respect that is owed to the dignity of all persons regardless of their “sexual tendencies,” the “accompaniment” of families with homosexual members, and the need to avoid “every sign of unjust discrimination” against homosexuals.
- Nowhere does the Relatio even mention, much less defend, the Church’s teaching, , reaffirmed in the new Catechism (§ 2357), that homosexuality is an intrinsically disordered condition, that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil and a form of “grave depravity,” and that “under no circumstances can they be approved.” There are only (in ¶ 76) objections to “gay marriage” being likened to Holy Matrimony, to pressure on the Church to support it, and to making foreign aid contingent upon the introduction of “gay marriage” legislation. There is no condemnation of legislation to legalize “civil unions” between homosexuals as such. The Church’s teaching that any form of legalized “homosexual union” must be opposedis completely omitted.
On Holy Communion for Public Adulterers
As for the real reason Francis staged this faux Synod—admitting public adulterers to Holy Communion as he did when Archbishop of Buenos Aires—the textual battle on this issue was over paragraphs 84-86 of Part III, and the more conservative Synod Fathers knew it. That is why, given their apparently united opposition, none these three paragraphs would have received the required 2/3 majority had Francis not packed the Synod with 45 unelected voting members, as Cardinal Pell acknowledged during his interview with Pentin. When Pentin asked him “Is that a problem?” Pell replied: “It’s a fact.”
These three paragraphs in Part III are the most poisonous of the poison pills delivered under cover of Parts I and II. Speaking of these paragraphs, the Synod’s “Republican” whip, Cardinal Pell, declared that “there is no mention anywhere of Communion for the divorced and remarried,” while Cardinal Kasper, the “Democrat” whip, promptly noted: “I’m satisfied; the door has been opened to the possibility of the divorced and remarried being granted Communion.” And both sides are right, for both positions were deliberately accommodated in these “cleverly written” passages.
First of all, paragraph 84 opens wide the door to fulfillment of Francis’s fond wish, expressed in his interview with La Nacion, that divorced and remarried people—i.e., public adulterers—be permitted to serve as godparents, Novus Ordo lectors and religion instructors. Hence paragraph 84 declares that “the logic of integration is the key to their pastoral accompaniment”—not repentance, conversion and the commitment to live chastely, as the Church has always required, but integration. This verbiage echoes Francis’s statement in La Nacion that “Communion alone is no solution. The solution is integration.” That is, Holy Communion for public adulterers, which Francis permitted as Cardinal Bergoglio, is just part of their overall “integration.”
Pursuant to the “logic of integration” paragraph 84 declares: “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried are to be more integrated in the Christian communities in the various possible ways, avoiding every occasion of scandal.” The reference to scandal was obviously inserted to quell objections, but it will have as much practical effect as the Vatican’s admonition that Communion in the hand could be allowed only if there is “complete avoidance of any cause for the faithful to be shocked and any danger of irreverence toward the Eucharist.” Right. Today the faithful tend to be shocked if anyone declines to receive Communion in the hand.
To advance Francis’s “integration” plan for unrepentant public adulterers, paragraph 84 specifically mentions “various ecclesial services” and concludes that “it is therefore necessary to discern which of the different forms of exclusion currently practiced in a liturgical, educational, pastoral, and institutional role that can be overcome.” So the Church, precisely in keeping with Francis’s view, is now to be depicted as having to “overcome” unjust “forms of exclusion” because she prohibits public adulterers from serving as godparents while they openly defy God’s law, from liturgically proclaiming the Scriptures to which their lives are a public contradiction, and from teaching the Faith to impressionable children when their own lives blatantly contradict the Sixth Commandment and the dogma of the indissolubility of marriage.
Once public adulterers are serving as godparents, lectors and religion instructors, what would stand in the way of Holy Communion? Nothing, besides what Francis would then demagogically denounce, day after day, as cruel and Pharisaical hairsplitting—even though it was the hairsplitting Pharisees who cruelly admitted divorce into the Old Covenant in the first place! This paragraph alone is a hammer blow to the Church’s moral bastion.
Paragraph 85 is “cleverly written” to suggest an opening to Holy Communion for the same public adulterers who are to be “integrated in the Christian communities” pursuant the previous paragraph. Without actually using the words “Holy Communion,” paragraph 85 accomplishes its verbal trickery by cropping two sentences from paragraph 84 of John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio (FC), wherein the Pope speaks of “careful discernment of situations” involving the divorced and remarried, some of whom are less culpable for their situation than others. Paragraph 85 then asserts that John Paul II taught that “discernment of situations” is “an all-encompassing criterion, that remains the basis for valuation of these situations,” as if to imply that application of this “criterion” would offer a “solution” to the “problem” of Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried as part of their already mandated “integration.”
But the “clever” drafters of paragraph 85 deliberately omitted the rest of FC 84, whose context shows that the “discernment” of which John Paul speaks has nothing to do with admission to the Sacraments but only with pastoral counseling. On the contrary, John Paul declares that “the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried” because they “are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist.”
Also omitted is what John Paul called the “special pastoral reason” for the traditional practice: “if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.” Even more outrageously, the Relatio fails to mention John Paul’s insistence on what the Church has always presented as the only “pastoral solution” to the condition of the divorced and “remarried”:
Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”
Continuing the trickery, paragraph 85 insinuates the thesis of Kasper, repeatedly rejected by John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger as Prefect of the CDF, and Benedict XVI (see below). This concerns a supposed diminution of subjective culpability for some divorced and “remarried” people—as if anyone living in adultery could be unaware that he is committing adultery. This diminished culpability would, so the argument goes, somehow remove the impediment of the objective and public condition of adultery. As the Relatio’s “clever” drafters declare:
[I]t cannot be denied that in some circumstances, ‘the imputability and the responsibility for an action can be diminished or annulled’ (CIC, 1735) due to psychological conditions [condizionamenti]. Consequently, the judgment on an objective situation should not lead to the judgment on a ‘subjective imputability’ (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration of June 24, 2000, 2a).
The citation to paragraph 2(a) of the 2000 of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (PCLT), cropping from its text only the two words “subjective imputability,” is even more deceptive than the drafters’ “clever” abuse of FC 84. The very point of the PCLT declaration was to reject the Kasper thesis because a claimed lack subjective imputability (even if that were plausible) is irrelevant to the question of public and objective scandal.
The PCLT’s declaration was published to answer the sophistical argument that as Canon 915 provides that only those who “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” the canon cannot be applied to the divorced and remarried because their subjective culpability cannot be determined at the Communion rail. But that contention would nullify Canon 915, as a priest cannot determine the subjective culpability of any public sinner at that moment, so that the canon would not apply to anyone.
As the PCLT observed: “[t]he phrase ‘and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin’ is clear and must be understood in a manner that does not distort its sense so as to render the norm inapplicable.” Canon 915, which addresses objective and manifest grave sin as an impediment to reception of the Eucharist, “is derived from divine law and transcends the domain of positive ecclesiastical laws….” Hence “[a]ny interpretation… that would set itself against the canon’s substantial content, as declared uninterruptedly by the Magisterium and by the discipline of the Church throughout the centuries, is clearly misleading.”
The PCLT’s conclusion, based on Scripture and the whole of Tradition, demolishes the Kasper thesis in a single paragraph:
In effect, the reception of the Body of Christ when one is publicly unworthy constitutes an objective harm to the ecclesial communion: it is a behavior that affects the rights of the Church and of all the faithful to live in accord with the exigencies of that communion. In the concrete case of the admission to Holy Communion of faithful who are divorced and remarried, the scandal, understood as an action that prompts others towards wrongdoing, affects at the same time both the sacrament of the Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage. That scandal exists even if such behavior, unfortunately, no longer arouses surprise: in fact, it is precisely with respect to the deformation of the conscience that it becomes more necessary for Pastors to act, with as much patience as firmness, as a protection to the sanctity of the Sacraments and a defense of Christian morality, and for the correct formation of the faithful.
Yet, in paragraph 85 of the Relatio, the drafters are still attempting to smuggle the repeatedly rejected Kasper thesis into the Church, quite evidently by the will of Francis, whose relentless promotion of Kasper’s heresy can only be called obsessive.
In sum, the “cleverly worded” paragraph 85 selectively quotes two documents—Familiaris Consortio and the PCLT declaration—in a manner that deceptively implies they stand for precisely the opposite of what they actually teach! For this reason, observed, the Relatio is “misleading.” More bluntly, it lies by calculated omission.
Confronted with this deception by Pentin, who noted the dishonest “cherry-picking” of FC 84, Pell replied: “Well the full text is not quoted, but they [who are they?] did add the word “complessivo”—it’s the entire teaching of John Paul II which is the basis, not the incomplete citation that was given.” As Pentin reports in an update of the interview, Pell now says he “mistakenly recalled” that the document he approved refers to the “insegnamento complessivo”—the entire teaching—of John Paul II in FC 84, when in fact it refers only to “un criterio complessivo”—a single overall criterion—meaning only the deceptively cropped reference to “discernment.” How many other Synod Fathers who voted in favor of this paragraph under absurd time pressure have the same “mistaken” recollection?
It is solely on the basis of his mistake that Pell proposed to Pentin a benign interpretation of paragraph 85’s flagrant dishonesty. But that kind of mistake, now gleefully being exploited by Pell’s more attentive opposition, above all Kasper, resulted inevitably from the rushed drafting and hasty voting on a compromise document, the final version of which the Synod Fathers did not even see until the day of their vote, and then only in a language many of them neither speak nor write.
Finally, paragraph 86 of the Relatio further advances the Kasper thesis by referring to a “path of accompaniment and discernment [that] orients these faithful [the divorced and remarried] to becoming conscious of their situation before God. The conversation with the priest, in the internal forum, contributes to the formation of a correct judgment on what prevents the possibility of fuller participation in the life of the Church and on the steps that may favor it and make it grow.”
Here the “clever” draftsmen were at their most cunning. The phrases “accompaniment and discernment” and “internal forum” are Modernist code for circumventing the objective requirements of the moral law by telling people privately that, if they feel unable to follow the law or “honestly” believe they are blameless thereunder, they are excused from the obligation in their particular “pastoral” circumstances—in short, situation ethics in disguise. But even if the Church could accept the error of situation ethics, which is impossible, as noted above the “internal forum” has nothing to do with the objective public scandal and injury addressed by Canon 915 and the entire tradition of the Church, which bars public adulterers (and all other manifest grave sinners) from receiving the Holy Eucharist. So why is the “internal forum” even mentioned here? Answer: to open the door a crack to use of the “internal forum” fiction to allow adulterers to receive the Eucharist.
Further, the phrase “formation of a correct judgment on what prevents the possibility of fuller participation in the life of the Church and on the steps that may favor it and make it grow” implies that there is some uncertainty about what prevents a public adulterer from participating fully in the life of the Church—i.e., his adultery—and that somehow a person living in adultery can “take steps” to make his participation “grow” without ceasing adulterous sexual relations. But divorced and “remarried” persons know full well that the Church, following the words of Christ, has always taught that their situation constitutes adultery and that the only path to “participating fully” in the life of the Church—i.e., the reception of Holy Communion, serving as godparents, etc.—is to end the adulterous relations.
In what was probably a last-minute “save” by conservative objectors, paragraph 86 goes on to cite paragraph 34 of Familiaris Consortio for the proposition that because “in the same [moral] law there is no graduality (cf. FC, 34), this discernment must never disregard the demands of truth and charity of the Gospel proposed by the Church. In order for this to happen, the necessary conditions of humility, reserve, love for the Church and to her teaching, in the sincere search for the will of God and for the desire to reach a more perfect answer to the latter, are to be guaranteed.”
Even here ambiguity prevails. The rejection of “graduality” in acceptance of the moral law is weakened by references to “the charity of the Gospel” and “the sincere search for the will of God and for the desire to reach a more perfect answer.” This implies that God’s will in this matter must be discerned in each particular case and that as the “search”’ for God’s will continues one can arrive at a valid provisional “answer” to one’s condition of adultery until “a more perfect” answer is discovered. This language hides the truth that there is only one “answer” for people in this situation, for which no “search” is required: divine law requires adulterers, whoever they are, to cease committing adultery. Repentance, confession and a commitment to end adulterous sexual relations are only the way back to Eucharistic communion for those who have put away their spouses and purported to marry another, or married another who was put away by someone else.
This refusal to state the simple truth about the only “pastoral solution” divine law permits is only in keeping with the Relatio’s systematic failure even to mention the Church’s traditional doctrine and discipline respecting the divorced and remarried, even though it has been reaffirmed no fewer than five times over the past 34 years:
- The 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canon 915, discussed above.
- Familiaris Consortio (1981), paragraph 84, discussed above.
- The 1994 Declaration by the CDF, promulgated during the International Year of the Family: “If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists…This norm is not at all a punishment or a discrimination against the divorced and remarried, but rather expresses an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion.”
- The 1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church (§1650): “‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’… If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law [and] and cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists…. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.”
- The 2000 Declaration by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, discussed above.
- Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortation Caritatis Sacramentum (2007), following the 2005 Synod: “The Synod of Bishops confirmed the Church’s practice [!], based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10:2-12), of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist.”
Incredibly, yet not surprisingly given the way Francis rigged his Synod, a gathering of bishops supposedly meeting to address (among other things) the urgent “pastoral challenge” presented by divorced and “remarried” people has refused to say a single word about the only remedy for their condition or the grave danger to their souls should they fail to follow the prescription the Church has given for 2,000 years.
It is as if an oncologist were to refuse to inform his patient that he has Stage 4 liver cancer and that there is a treatment that can cure him, but rather insists on telling him only that his physical condition has other “positive elements” which point to the “fullness” of health.
There is, however, a ready explanation for this astonishing omission of the Church’s constant teaching on such an important moral question at what was supposed to be a Synod defending the family against “pastoral challenges”: Francis doesn’t want to hear the teaching, nor did he follow it when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. That is why he has not allowed any defense of it to appear in the synodal documents.
If a conservative “victory” is defined as the mere avoidance of a total rout, then the conservative forces won something of a victory at the Synod, which explains Francis’s demagogic outburst on the final day. But if victory is defined as gaining substantial ground on the way to the final objective—breaching the last bastion of the Church’s moral teaching—then, as this discussion has shown, it was the progressives who emerged victorious from the Synod hall.
The Relatio simply does not express the faith of our fathers: The Four Last Things, the temporal and eternal consequences of sin, especially sins of the flesh, the duty to live according to the Commandments in order to show that we love Our Lord, the mercy of God if we correspond to the grace of repentance and amend our lives, and the orientation of all earthly things to the summum bonum of beatitude in the eternal light of divine glory. The Relatio does not even express the teaching of John Paul II and Benedict XVI on one of the principal moral questions presented, but rather deliberately suppresses it.
It is not too much to say that this “Synod on the Family,” following the downward trajectory of the past fifty years, has de facto abandoned Catholicism itself, confirming the post-Catholic status of most of the post-conciliar ecclesial establishment. The ambiguous, worldly-oriented pronunciamentos of the Relatio bear no resemblance to the uncompromising clarity and evangelical courage of the perennial Magisterium or even the teaching of John Paul II in the realm of moral theology a mere 30 years ago, which shows how rapidly the ecclesial situation is deteriorating under Francis. No one will ever say it better than George Neumayr just did: “A devious ambiguity is the new orthodoxy, and the Church’s ‘fresh air’ smells more like sulfur.”
The neo-Catholic reading of the Relatio as a “victory” for orthodoxy is, therefore, just another example of how the frogs in the pot will continue to claim that the water is perfectly agreeable until the moment they are finally cooked alive. Now, as the water’s surface begins to cavitate, the frogs exult that a Vatican document does not openly endorse sacrilegious Communion and “homosexual unions” based on sodomy.
Finally, this charade of a Synod, like the precipitous and semi-secret “annulment reform,” demonstrates a fact that can no longer be denied: this pontificate is an ongoing clear and present danger to the Church. There is no doubt that many bishops and cardinals now see this, even if the neo-Catholic establishment continues to maintain its ideological commitment to willful blindness. We can only pray that God will protect the Church from the next surprise Francis has up his sleeve, including a probable post-synodal apostolic exhortation that could allow explicitly, as a local “option,” that to which this Synod has opened the door. And we can also hope, indeed demand, that members of the upper hierarchy find the courage to stand up publicly to a Pope who has clearly revealed himself to be a tyrant like no other in the history of the papacy, which has certainly had its share of tyrants—none of whom, however, posed such a constant threat to traditional doctrine and practice.
As the centenary of her apparitions approaches, may Our Lady of Fatima intercede for the defense of her Church against Francis and his many designs. ■