We have just celebrated the wonderful Feast of The Immaculate Conception, and we ponder Our Lady’s Immaculate conception where she was conceived without Original Sin and how only She and her Son, the New Adam who is both God and Man usher in the Redemption, and the recreation of Man in the image of God more perfectly and more mysteriously than if Adam and Eve had not fallen.
In Amoris Laeatitia the floodgates of the Liberal Dam have been opened, and we see the beginnings of the wreck of marriage, and the utter denigration of chastity. Now here’s the rub, and it is a very important one. The concept of chastity which has been so underplayed since Vatican II, has all but been forgotten in so much discourse. Just think that most of the women who joined religious life prior to Vatican II were virgins or widows, and note also that there were special orders formed for “Fallen Women” (On the basis of the present state of things, there should be thousands of convents for such women in the Western World. That would solve the vocations crises,for women at least.) One such order was founded by that most delightful of saints, St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, a contemporary of the great Don Bosco, and in some ways more extraordinary than him, but his story must be told at a later time.
With the underplaying of Virginity, there has been a concomitant down playing of chastity in marriage. St. Catherine of Siena said that many married people go the Hell because of sexual sins committed within the marriage bed. The one thing that couples do not need is “A healthy sexual life”. In the superb book by Archpriest Josiah B. Trenham of the Antiochian Orthodox Church entitled Marriage and Virginity, According to John Chrysostom (published by St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood) he relates a story, that I cannot put my finger on, which is embedded amidst Father Josiah’s fairly massive footnotes. It tells the story of an Orthodox bishop visiting a parish and being scandalized at a priest who has 10 children, and berates him for a far too active sex life for one who is a priest. The priest points out that he has only made love to his wife ten times, and so the bishop is gently rebuked.
In the early Church you often see many, many, couples, especially in the 4th and 5th centuries embracing perpetual continence and living as brother and sister; the most colourful must be St.Melania and her husband Pinanius, but that too is a tale for another time. However the most perfect marriage was the virginal marriage of Our Lady and St. Joseph, and the marriage had to be virginal not just for the very obvious reason that no man could enter the sanctuary of the Mother of God, for that was God’s domain and no-one else’s, but because they had to be totally absorbed with Jesus, the God Man. Marriage like, religious chastity and virginal chastity is about contemplating God with all the faculties of spirit, intellect and body. Marriage is not and end in itself but a means to contemplation in the World, and a way to Heaven. It is not about couples constantly taken up with themselves in a silly dream world, sentimental romances, or sexual shenanigans, it is a window into Heaven.
So the Pope and his advisors are missing the point. All remarried divorcees, when they come to the awful realization of what they have done, would welcome a life of perfect continence as that would be a life of penance, and a beautiful way to holiness, experienced by all those wonderful couples who throughout the ages have opted for perfect chastity within their, albeit, valid marriages. However as the Church just pays lip service to penance then this will uphill struggle, to say the very least.
The consequences of divorce are manifold, children are emotionally, psychologically, and even sexually wrecked, spouses shattered, not to mention financial problems accruing to the whole aea of maintenance. What is essential to marriage is not sexual attraction, a harmonious life between husband and wife, though that would be wonderful, but the begetting of children for Heaven, in a nutshell producing saints for God, something that St. Bernard’s parents, St.Dominic’s parents and St. Thérèse’s did superlatively well.
We should rejoice on this Gaudete Sunday when we think of great married people who decided to live as brother and sister, and show to divorced and remarried couples that they can live like these saints and so redeem the sin of adultery which is now rendered falsely innocuous under the name re-marriage; nothing could be more dangerous nor damnable than this.
Underneath I append important commentaries on the grave happenings within the Church.
Dubia debacle shows the Church is in a ‘religious civil war’, says famed Catholic historian
ROME, December 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Italian Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei has stated that Pope Francis’ refusal to answer questions by the four Cardinals about whether Amoris Laetitia conforms to Catholic teaching is itself “already an answer,” the implications of which, he says, indicates that the Catholic Church has entered into a “religious civil war.”
“This situation is so grave that a neutral position is no longer possible. Today we are in a war, a religious civil war,” de Mattei told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview in Rome last month.
“It is important to comprehend that today there is a clear choice between fidelity to the Church, to the perennial Magisterium, or infidelity, which means errors, heresy, and apostasy,” he said.
De Mattei, a professor at the European University of Rome and the president of the Lepanto Foundation, stated that there is “tremendous confusion inside the Church” caused by the pope’s ambiguous moral teaching, especially as found in his April exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which he said has caused “division” and “fragmentation” among bishops, priests, and the faithful.
The exhortation specifically has been criticized by faithful Catholics for undermining the indissolubility of marriage, opening a door for couples in adulterous relationships to receive Holy Communion, and for making conscience the final arbiter of morality. As some critics feared, the exhortation is already being used by some liberal bishops to welcome openly homosexual “families” into parishes and for allowing adulterous couples to receive Holy Communion in certain cases.
When the four Cardinals privately asked the pope in September — following a standard procedure within the Church — whether the exhortation conforms to Catholic teaching on marriage, the sacraments, and conscience, the pope failed to answer their questions.
Specifically, they asked: 1) whether adulterers can receive Holy Communion; 2) whether there are absolute moral norms that must be followed “without exceptions;” 3) if habitual adultery is an “objective situation of grave habitual sin;” 4) whether an intrinsically evil act can be turned into a “‘subjectively’ good” act based on “circumstances or intentions;” and 5) if, based on “conscience,” one can act contrary to known “absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts.”
The cardinals then went public with their questions last month, only to receive harsh criticism from high-ranking prelates, including two who were recently made cardinals by Pope Francis. The four stand accused of being “troublesome,” in need of “conversion,” of committing “apostasy” and “scandal,” of giving the pope a “slap in the face,” and of creating “difficulty and division.”
But de Mattei argued that it was not the four cardinals who created the problem, but the pope.
“The cause of this confusion, the author of this confusion is not the four cardinals, of course. I think that the main author of the confusion is Pope Francis, because it is since his pontificate that things go so rapidly, so fast,” he said. “It seems sometimes that he likes to create this confusion.”
De Mattei said that the cardinals acted in a “perfect way from a canonical point of view” when they submitted their five questions (dubia) to the pope.
“I consider it very grave the fact that the Pope, who is the supreme head of the congregation, didn't want to answer. This is already an answer, in fact,” he said.
De Mattei called it “very opportune” for the cardinals to pursue what one of them —Cardinal Burke — called a “formal act of correction” of the errors found in the Pope’s exhortation.
“The importance of this initiative is not only to warn the Pope about the errors found in Amoris Laetitia, but also to warn the faithful, to inform the faithful, because among the faithful there is confusion but there is also ignorance. And I think that we have the duty to make the faithful aware of the gravity of this situation,” he said.
“This situation is so grave that a neutral position is no longer possible. Today we are in a war, a religious civil war, unfortunately. I don't like this war, but we are engaged in it against our will. We have not created the situation, but this situation obliges everyone to pursue a clear position. And for this, I think we have to thank the four cardinals for their courage and to push them to continue their action and their witness,” he added.
Magisterium ‘debased’ by pope’s ‘refusal to answer’ four Cardinals: famed German philosopher
December 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The foremost Roman Catholic philosopher in Germany has come out in support of the four Cardinals who asked Pope Francis to clarify ambiguities in his Apostolic Exhortation regarding the sacraments for divorced and remarried Catholics.
“It is deplorable that only four Cardinals have taken the initiative regarding this topic,” Robert Spaemann said in defense of the dubia voiced by four Cardinals.
In an interview with the Italian Nuova Bussola Quotidiana (New Daily Compass) on December 4, Spaemann underlined that the four who brought forth the dubia were correct in addressing the worldwide perplexity that Amoris Laetitia created in the episcopate.
Spaemann is famous for his philosophical work on Christian ethics, bioethics, and human rights. He is a personal friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and professor emeritus of Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. He has already expressed his concern about the ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia, calling it a “breach with Catholic Tradition.”
“With the dubia, the Cardinals take on their proper duty to sustain with their council – insofar as they are ‘senators’ – the Church in the person of the Holy Father. […] The four Cardinals have chosen the right path,” Spaemann explained.
Recently the highest protector of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith suggested that the Pope could consult his congregation to resolve the ambiguity. Spaemann added that the dubia should have gone to the CDF. “The first addressee of the dubia is the Pope, although in my opinion the writing should have passed through the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.”
Regarding the silence of Pope Francis, who has hitherto not answered the Cardinals, Spaemann wrote: “The Pope’s refusal to answer the appeal of the four Cardinals fills me with great worry since, in a certain way, the supreme Magisterium in this case is being debased. The Pope clearly has a deep aversion to these decisions in which a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is required.”
Spaemann emphasized that Christ’s way does entail a clear true-false distinction: Where on the one hand Pope Francis hesitates, “Christ, the Lord of the Church, on the other hand, always gives to His disciples a decision of the kind. In the specific question regarding adultery, he ‘shocks’ the apostles with the simplicity and clarity of his teaching.”
The third doubt addressed if it is still “possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the law that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin.” Spaemann argued against the subjectivist understanding of the discernment of conscience: “It is a grave error to think that subjectivity is the last criterion for the administration of the sacraments. It is also true that every action that goes against one conscience is evil but one can also act according to an erroneous conscience. This is the clear teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas.”
If a person finds himself in a situation that is perplexing (casus perplexus), a situation in which the person has to choose between two or more moral evils whereupon he would either go against his conscience or against the norm, in this case “from this dilemma one can only come out through ‘conversion,’ that is an opening of the conscience towards objective truth. The place of renewal of the truth is on the one hand reason, on the other hand Revelation.”
The interview ended with an appeal from the Gospel of John (6:67): “‘Will you also go away?’ This is the question Jesus gives His disciples as the crowd leaves after having heard the words of Jesus. Peter does not discuss, but only asks: ‘To whom shall we go? Only you have the words of eternal life.’ (John 6:68)”
Openly gay theologian defends four Cardinals: ‘I want a Church that speaks plainly’
December 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In the wake of harsh rebukes from cardinals and other churchmen over the dubia to the pope, German Cardinal Joachim Meisner has received unlikely support from one of his past adversaries.
“The situation never before existed in this kind of dimension,” theologian David Berger wrote on his website. “They [the Cardinals] are hushed up in order to implement plans that contradict the Church’s teaching on marriage while the secular media applauds.”
“The most ardent preachers of tolerance are almost always intolerant people,” he added, citing German philosopher, Walter Hoeres.
David Berger might be one of the most controversial figures in recent times. He made a name for himself as a Catholic theologian and Thomist until publicly coming out as a practicing homosexual in 2010. This led to the Church’s revocation of his license to teach (missio canonica) by Cardinal Meisner, who thought this act necessary because Berger “does not seem to conform to the norms of the Church in teaching and way of life.”
At the time, the theologian called the revocation a “heavy smash” against peace in the diocese. Today, his words are supportive of Cardinal Meisner. “While in my life I had to experience the hard hand of Meisner, I am most ashamed as a Catholic and theologian for this conduct [of Msgr. Vito Pinto] that would punish [the Cardinals] for holding on to a core teaching of Catholic thought.”
Berger was referring to a report that Msgr. Pinto had said the pope could remove the four Cardinals' red hats over the dubia. But the news agency, Religión Confidencial, has since corrected the report and indicated that Msgr. Pinto had actually said the pope would not remove them as cardinals. Msgr. Pinto then redoubled his rebuke of the four Cardinals in an interview last week.
“Even though the Rota has backpedaled and now gives the impression that everything was a misunderstanding, I know that nothing is published by the Vatican by accident. It was supposed to test the waters, how far they could go,” Berger explained to LifeSiteNews on December 1.
“Those who were at a disadvantage under Pope Benedict seem to want revenge,” he noted. “Cardinal (Raymond) Burke and Meisner are welcome targets. One knows you can shoot at them without Pope Francis stepping in. The attackers give the impression that they fight for tolerance and openness, but they fight with the most despicable and intolerant means.”
Regarding his own dispute with Cardinal Meisner in the past, he added: “I cannot have an opinion in the discussion [today] based on my bad experience with him. That would be pure subjectivism. The question is if Meisner and Burke [and the other Cardinals] are right or not.”
Regarding the dubia, Berger voiced his support, explaining that Amoris Laetitia wants to get rid of everything that is against the the spirit of the times. “Now there is a wish to abolish central core elements of the Church’s moral teaching – which are irritating for the Zeitgeist – and Amoris Laetitia is a welcome ground for that. The intention [of those who hold this view] is that the Church’s teaching should be changed. That some Cardinals fight against this by signing the dubia is not just their right but their duty. Their office urges them to fight for the integrity of the Church’s teaching on faith and morals until their blood is spilled.”
“And I am happy about it. The Church was not founded by Christ as a wellness center,” he added. “I prefer a Church that scolds me than a Church which mendaciously says yes to me and teaches me the Zeitgeist while making itself laughable and superfluous.”
These words gain particular importance coming from Berger, who has strongly criticized the Church and clergy with statements such as “20 to 40 percent of Catholic clergy are homosexual” and with publications such as his book, Der heilige Schein (The Holy Sham: A Gay Theologian in the Catholic Church). He remains active in the homosexual scene, working as editor-in-chief of gaystream.eu while also writing politically and socio-political minded articles in The Huffington Post and the German disputation newspaper Junge Freiheit.
“I want a Church that speaks plainly. At the same time, I uphold the Catholic motto fortiter in re, suaviter in modo [stronger in matter, sweeter in manner]. As opposed to Islam, the Catholic Church refuses homosexuality, but she would never demand the death penalty for homosexuals."
“In recent years, I have experienced very respectful dealings with me as a homosexual by Church prelates. The Church also respects the forum internum and does not ask about things that belong in the Confessional. Therefore, I can respect her call for abstinence, which could also target married people, etc. Though when holding the mirror up to me, I do not always give a good image, I defend the doctrine unmistakably that there cannot be sacramental homosexual marriage (that would be a simulatio sacramenti).”
Instead, he called for dialogue when possible. “I see many points where homosexuals and pro-lifers could work together — and they already do here in Berlin and in the USA, for example regarding PID [pre-implantation diagnostics].”
Berger also made headlines in 2012, saying Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was gay. On August 26 of this year, he apologized publicly to Benedict XVI on his website. “I realized what kind of awful game I had taken part in and I was ashamed. And then I apologized,” Berger said to LifeSiteNews. “He has defended the Church’s teaching in a highly intelligent and uncompromising way. That why I learned to hate the media and everything bad that has been said about [Pope Benedict] – no matter if true or not.”
Berger concluded with his support of the dubia. “I hope that Pope Francis does not gamble with the unity of the Church, only to appease a few liberal Catholics. Those are Catholics who use the Eucharist – the most sacred thing in the militant Church – in their fight for recognition of divorce as a means to an end.”
Bishop Schneider: ‘We are witnessing today a strange form of schism’ within the Church
December 8, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – "A certain kind of schism already exists in the Church," Bishop Athanasius Schneider said, and it consists of those who align themselves with the pope to advance their careers yet reject Christ's fundamental teachings on marriage.
Schneider, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan told this to TV Libertes in an interview addressing Amoris Laetitia and Schneider's support of the four cardinals' dubia to the pope asking for moral clarification.
"My questioning of Amoris Laetitia first of all concerns the very concrete question of admitting so-called ‘remarried’ divorces to Holy Communion," he explained. "In fact, during the last two synods on the family and after the publication of Amoris Laetitia, there was and continues to be to this day an arduous and tumultuous fight about this conrete question."
"All these ecclesiastics who want another gospel, meaning a right-to-divorce gospel, a gospel of sexual liberty, in short, a Gospel without God's sixth commandment...make use of all evil means, that is to say ruses, deceptions, masterful rhetoric and dialectics, and even the tactic of intimidation and moral violence in order to attain their goal of admitting so-called ‘remarried’ divorces to Holy Communion, without the latter fulfilling the condition of living in perfect continence, a condition requied by divine law," said Schneider. "Once the objective is attained, even if limited to so-called exceptional cases of discernment, the door is opened to introducing the gospel of divorce, the gospel without the sixth commandment. And this will no longer be the Gospel of Jesus, but an anti-gospel, a gospel according to this world, even if such a gospel is cosmetically embellished with terms such as 'mercy,' 'maternal solicitude' or 'accompaniment.'"
Citing St. Paul's letter to the Galatians, Schneider reminded the faithful that someone who "preaches a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you" is "anathema."
"On the subject of doctrine and practice concerning the sacrament of marriage, and the perennial validity of the moral law, we are witnessing in our times an ambiguity of such scope only comparable to the general confusion of the Arian crisis of the fourth century," Schneider warned.
If the dubia remain unanswered, he said, and "if the pope does not fulfill his task in the current circumstances, the bishops have to indefectibly preach the unchanging Gospel concerning the divine doctrine of morality and the perennial discipline of marriage, coming fraternally in this way to help the pope even, because the pope is not a dictator."
Disputes over the indissolubility of marriage and sacramental practice aren't only a risk, but a reality, he continued. Schneider stated:
It is not only a risk of schism, but a certain kind of schism already exists in the Church. In Greek, schism means to separate oneself from the totality of the body. Christ is the totality of the body of Divine Truth, and unity in His supernatural body is also visible. But we are witnessing today a strange form of schism. Externally, numerous ecclesiastics safeguard formal unity with the pope, at times, for the good of their own career or or of a kind of papolatry. And at the same time they have broken their ties with Christ, the Truth, and with Christ, the true head of the Church. On the other hand there are ecclesiastics who are denounced as schismatics despite the fact they live in canonical peace with the pope and remain faithful to Christ, the Truth, by assiduously promoting His Gospel of Truth.
It is evident that those who are internally the true schismatics, in relation to Christ, make use of calumnies for the sole purpose of silencing the voice of Truth by absurdly projecting their own state of internal schism on those ecclesiastics, who, regardless of praise or rebuke, defend the divine truths. In fact, as Sacred Scripture says, the word of Divine Truth is not bound. Even if a number of high-ranking officials in the Church today temporarily obscure the truth of the doctrine of marriage and its perennial discipline, this doctrine and discipline will always remain unchangeable in the Church, because the Church is not human foundation, but a divine one.
The bishop stressed the importance of praying for the pope and pointed out, "In Pope Francis’s words, he made [it] clear he did not have the intention of putting forward his own magisterial teaching" with the exhortation.