Critique of Final Synod14 Document (English Text)

Now that the final document of Synod14 has been published in an official English translation — something which remarkably took much longer to do than the mid-term Relatio, which was translated into 5 languages in just 1 weekend — I will fulfill the request of many Catholics, by commenting on the document.  I shall entitle this Commentary a critique, because it is obvious from the text and its organization that it presents a profoundly distorted and non-Catholic view of the human and Christian family.

So as not to omit anything, I will proceed section by section. Official text in Dark Green, bold italics. Comments in Black

Introduction

 1.          The Synod of Bishops, gathered around the Holy Father, turned its thoughts to all the families of the world, …

 

The introduction to the final document is glaringly lacking 2 most important elements. 

First, some statement which officially reproves or distances the Synod from the interm Relatio document prepared by Cardinal Erdo’s drafting committee with the mischievous assistance of Msgr. Bruno Forte. — The lack of such a public refutation or denial, is in fact a public tacit consent or at the very least a grevious lack of Christian honesty and pastoral charity towards the billions of Catholics and non-Catholics who were led to believe that it represented Church teaching, whether they were scandalized in the right sense of the word, or were not scandalized because they hold to a perverse unChristian view of the family.

Second, the Introduction lacks an affirmation of the Synod Fathers which indicates their adhesion to the one and true Catholic Faith and the denunciation of all errors opposed to it.  This is necessary, because both the In-term Relatio and the absence of refutation of it in the Introduction to this Final Relatio, have given rise to the suspicion that some of the Synod Fathers and perhaps even the Pope do not profess the Catholic Faith at all, or are attempting to adulterate it with doctrines which are incompatible with those revealed by God.  This failure to reaffirm the Catholic Faith openly, succinctly and before all else, puts in doubt that the doctrines presented in the Final Relatio were proposed by the Synod in a Catholic manner, that is, as doctrines of the Church for the good of the Church.  This absence, in my opinion, gives every Catholic the right to regard this final Relatio as a non-ecclesiastical document: one which does not in any true or authentic manner represent the Magisterium of the Church.

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PART I

Listening: the context and challenges of the family

The Socio-Cultural Context

5.          Faithful to Christ’s teaching, we look to the reality of the family today in all its complexity, with both its lights and shadows. etc.

The first glaring deviation in this Final Relatio, it the confusion its authors have concerning Faith and Reason.  Faith is the habit which regards assent to revealed truths; reason is the faculty of the mind which reckons to a conclusion from the basis of affirmations or denials of propositions.  We can, using common parlance, count in the domain of reason the findings and observations of the sciences, whether philosophical or empirical or human.  The human sciences which regard the family are many: Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology etc..  The empirical: Biology, Medicine, etc.

Its obvious, to any  believer, that it is a duty of faith to believe in what God has revealed.  But where in Scripture or Tradition do we find an obligation to “look to the reality of the family today, in all its complexity” ?  If one were attempting a scientific study of the human family, it would be very useful to consider the family today in such a wise, but it has nothing or very little to do with fidelity to Christ’s teaching, any more than being a physicist, anthropologist, or psychologist is something one does because faith requires this.

Thus, we can easily see that the authors of this Final Relatio, are confused about their duty as Bishops and Pastors, who were given sacred orders to minister to the Faithful the Faith which alone saves, and the doctrine and morals which alone save.

And if they are confused about their own duty, then we can expect a document full of such confusion; because just as the mouth speaks from the fullness of the heart, so the pen moves out of the fullness or emptiness of the head.

Theologically speaking, it is thus, unfaithful for a Bishop to replace phenomenological observations for clear teaching and clear affirmations of doctrine and morals.  Hence, we can conclude here, that what is contained in Part I, nn. 5-8 contradicts the essence of what those first 4 words of n. 5 should signify.

The Importance of Affectivity in Life

9.          Faced with the afore-mentioned social situation, people in  many parts of the world are feeling a great need to take care of themselves, to know themselves better, to live in greater harmony with their feelings and sentiments and to seek to live their affectivity in the best manner possible. etc.

Here, the Final Relatio, falls into its next grievous error: that of replacing the concept of morality with that of affectivity.  Morality regards the moral quality of acts and habits, that is, whether they be good or bad according to their genus, circumstances, end, and this according to right reason and the principles of revealed truth, that is according to the natural order and the Divine Law, which is the will of the One and True God, as He has revealed Himself: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Affectivity, however, is a quality or state of being which regards the having or using of the affective part of man, the sensible part of the soul: joy and sorrow, anger and hatred and fear, hope, love; in a word the passions or emotions.  (There are also theological virtues known as hope and love, but these are something different.)

Thus, to substitute the consideration of the moral order with the affective order, is to omit the consideration of morality all together.  Such a manner of proceeding follows logically and necessarily from one in which true pastoral fidelity is replaced with phenomenological observations.  You might say that the authors of the Final Relatio are trying to be diplomatic; but if diplomacy requires first of all a loyalty to the Monarch whom you are representing, ignoring His teachings regarding morality is a far greater offense than omitting a scientific observation.  It also sows confusion, and leads one to think, that the purpose of the Synod was not to teach but to philosophize or to present an ideology rather than doctrine regarding the Faith.

Pastoral Challenges

11.        In this regard, the Church is conscious of the need to offer a particularly meaningful word of hope, which must be done based on the conviction that the human person comes from God, and that, consequently, any reconsideration of the great question on the meaning of human existence can be responsive to humanity’s most profound expectations. The great values of marriage and the Christian family correspond to the search that characterizes human existence, even in these times of individualism and hedonism. People need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life. We need to know how to support them in their searching and to encourage them in their hunger for God and their wish to feel fully part of the Church, also including those who have experienced failure or find themselves in a variety of situations. The Christian message always contains in itself the reality and the dynamic of mercy and truth which meet in Christ.

Part I of the final Relatio closes with this (n. 11) excellent example of political hogwash.  Hogwash, because it contains bits and pieces of all kinds of things, and serves to satisfy those who have no intelligent motive to seek understanding or truth.  It might seem to be double-speak, but it is actually very faithful to its own principles, if we just unpack some key phrases.

which must be done based on the conviction that the human person comes from God

But the Church should act solely on the basis of Her Faith, Hope and Love for the one True God, no? What value does it have calling Her Faith, a “conviction”, or replacing the profession of faith in God the creator of mankind, with “human person comes from God”. Even a Platonist or Hindu can say the latter. And anyone who believes in the equality of all religious, the former.

and that, consequently, any reconsideration of the great question on the meaning of human existence can be responsive to humanity’s most profound expectations.

I do not know about you, but who was expecting this Synod of proposing a “reconsideration of the great question on the meaning of human existence”? Such a verbal expression is about as far as one can get to the proposed topic of the Family as can be conceived.  Rather, by using the term “reconsideration” and pairing it with the words “most profound expectations” (rather than “being” or “needs”) one clearly leaves the door open to the idea that the Final Relatio and indeed the entire Synod was aiming to push the envelope on certain questions regarding human nature itself, or propound entirely novel teachings which would break with the past, because clearly “expectations” regards a subjective criterion, and “reconsideration” signifies the abandonment at least in possibility of what was previously held or taught.

Since platitudes abound in what follows, above, suffice it to say that even an idiot knows that the family and marriage are not values, but Divine and human institutions.

People need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life.

This, is perhaps, the credo and battle cry of the progressivists and liberals who are in power today in the world.  Being materialists, they wish to replace morals with facts, and refuse to categorize as good or evil any human action or situation.  There remains for them only social injustice, which they define as a lack of money or access to power (whether they call that liberty or voting rights or equality). If the phrase meant anything objective, it would not have to be said, as it is a tautology in the common sense of the terms, namely if it was meant to signify, “Human persons, like any object of study, are to be studied as they are, and not as they should be”.  But then one would be affirming a principle of empirical science, and counter-posing that method to a philosophical or theological one; which surely a Synod of Catholic bishops, if they are professing fidelity to Christ’s teaching, would not be expected to be doing.

PART II

Looking at Christ: the Gospel of the Family

 Looking at Jesus and the Divine Pedagogy in the History of Salvation

12.       In order to “walk among contemporary challenges, the decisive condition is to maintain a fixed gaze on Jesus Christ, to pause in contemplation and in adoration of his Face. … Indeed, every time we return to the source of the Christian experience, new paths and undreamed of possibilities open up” (Pope Francis, Discourse, 4 October 2014).

Part II of the final Relatio opens with the affirmation of the principle of novelty which Pope Francis has set up as the rule for his papacy.  As he himself says, “I do not believe in a Catholic God; there is no Catholic God”, and Catholics should be open to the “God of surprises”.  This God of surprises — a name for God nowhere found in Scripture, Tradition, the Fathers or Doctors of the Church, nay not even among the Saints — is the God of the Final Relatio, since the very hermeneutic employed in Part II is to read Scripture without any restraint imposed from all that has gone before.

This is not the Catholic notion of Scriptural exegesis, but is a very apt one for the eisegesis taught by Modernists.  Exegesis is the Greek term for reading the Scripture so as to find and understand the truth contained in it.  Eisegesis is that wherein one reads into the text, a meaning which one wants to find therein.  The distinction between exegesis and eisegesis is the distinction between Catholicism and all non-Catholic or un-Catholic methods of scripture reading.  Modernists have to employ eisegesis, because their fasle and novel doctrines, not being found in Scripture, must be made to appear to be found there in, so as to justify itself among those who still hold Scripture to have some authority for faith.

Indeed, in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, chapter 2, the Infallible Ecumenical Council of Vatican I, taught as follows

  • Now since the decree on the interpretation of holy scripture, profitably made by the council of Trent, with the intention of constraining rash speculation, has been wrongly interpreted by some, we renew that decree and declare its meaning to be as follows: that
    • in matters of faith and morals,
    • belonging as they do to the establishing of christian doctrine,
    • that meaning of holy scripture must be held to be the true one,
    • which holy mother church held and holds,
      • since it is her right to judge of the true meaning and interpretation of holy scripture.
  • In consequence, it is not permissible for anyone to interpret holy scripture in a sense contrary to this, or indeed against the unanimous consent of the fathers.

 

Hence, the way to the God of surprises is closed off, since Vatican I forbade that anyone read Scripture in such a wise as to attribute to it something which the Church Herself did not already hold and understand, in the time of Vatican I.

Thus, we can conclude that Part II begins with a heretical affirmation regarding the way to read Scripture.  This, undoubtedly will make it very difficulty or impossible that anything said about the Family or Marriage, which is  based on faith in Scripture, will be said in a manner conformable to the Catholic understanding of Scripture, which the Church Herself holds and receives from Christ Her Lord.

This false way of reading Scripture brings forth its first evil fruit in n. 13:

In creation, because all things were made through Christ and for him (cf. Col 1:16), Christians “gladly and reverently lay bare the seeds of the Word which lie hidden among their fellows; they ought to follow attentively the profound changes which are taking place among peoples” (Ad Gentes, 11).

Notice how the concept of Creation is paired with the concept of “profound changes”.  In a Catholic notion of Creation, just as Christ said of Marriage, “What God has joined, let no man sunder”, so we can say that “What God has made, let no man destroy, change or alter”.  By insinuating surreptitiously that fidelity to the Creator requires some sort of discipleship to change, the Relatio introduces anew the concept that faith is loyalty to a God of surprises not a God of Immutable Constancy, and that Creation is not something fixed and past, but ongoing and ever new.  This replaces a classical Christian sense of metaphysics with one which is Hegelian at best.

In the Christian life, the reception of Baptism brings the believer into the Church through the domestic church, namely, the family; thus beginning “a dynamic process [which] develops, one which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God” (Familiaris Consortio, 9), in an ongoing conversion to a love which saves us from sin and gives us fullness of life.

In this sentence, which follows the one just quoted, we see this error of replacing the supernatural order with the natural order again.  Baptism is a Sacrament which makes one a member of the true Church, when it is received in the Church; but the reception of this Sacrament is not limited to newborns, even adult converts can receive it, for example. Thus it is incorrect to say that one receives this Sacrament through the Domestic Church, since being member of a family or having family members present to sponsor one at Baptism is not and never has been a requirement of the Sacrament.  How Bishops could in good conscience omit noticing this glaring error, is beyond me.

The second half of the sentence, introduces the false notion of graduality in things spiritual.  In Catholic teaching, the spiritual regards things which are not material, and hence, since the spiritual does not regard things which are separable or have parts, it does not regard but things which are simple.  Now all spirits, whether Angels or human souls, are simple things; and simple things change only according to the whole.  Thus Angels and souls are created entire, not by parts; likewise, when a soul converts, it does so in 1 instant, not by steps.  If we speak of conversion on a broad sense, that is as a preparation for conversion through progressive steps of being more and more open to the grace of conversion, we can call it a process, but to use the word “conversion” for the preparation for conversion is improper and confusing.  To misuse the term “conversion” in this manner, seemingly denies the truth that a man converts in 1 instant, and that that conversion must be total, to be true.  It thus opens the door to accepting in the Church and at the Sacraments, those who live in public habitual mortal sin, which is exactly what Cardinal Kasper is proposing.

Finally, all who have the theological virtue of Charity, have the ability to love God; and such a love is simple, when it exists; one who loves God does not need to convert, because love by nature turns the lover to the beloved; and conversion regards the turning of the soul.  Thus conversion is not an ongoing process.  The ongoing process is perfection, or rather, the pursuit of perfection by living the Christian life.  The non-Christian needs to repent and convert; the Christian who is not faithful, need to repent, not convert.  In Baptism, one receives all the gifts of God, in themselves or in seed or in promise; thus one is no more or less a Christian at Baptism than he is in Heaven.  Thus the statement regarding the “progressive integration of the gifts of God” is badly stated, in the very least.

What follows in n. 14, in no way avoids the errors which preceded.

14.       Jesus himself, referring to the original plan of the human couple, reaffirms the indissoluble union between a man and a woman and says to the Pharisees that “for your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”(Mt 19: 8). The indissolubility of marriage (“what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” Mt 19:6), is not to be understood as a “yoke” imposed on persons but as a “gift” to a husband and wife united in marriage. In this way, Jesus shows how God’s humbling act of coming to earth might always accompany the human journey …

It in now way removes the errors previous to it, because, according to the natural principle of human language, every affirmation is to be understood not only according to what it affirms but also according to the context in which it makes that affirmation.  Note, then, how n. 14 says nothing against the false forms of marriage, but only calls the true one the “original plan”; given that the Final Relatio in its previous sections opens the way to novel readings of scripture, and new proposals, the affirmation of “original” does not close the way to a future affirmation of what is “novel”, since the novel can be seen as a new fruit of reading Scripture or Tradition, in harmony with the God of surprises, which is the god of this document.

 became the historical form of marriage among the People of God…

What follows in n. 15, while seemingly very good, contains several errors of expression which leave open the door to all the errors, which I have previously pointed out in this critique.  The description of marriage in history is faulty, in such a way as to do this; because the truth of history is that the People of God were called from among those sons of Adam who had fallen into sin and idolatry, and hence when they were called they were not living in marriages which were always in accord with God’s original plan given in Adam and Eve, which is monogamous life long marriage of 1 man and 1 woman.  By saying, contrariwise, that these sinful forms became the historical form of marriage among God’s people, the Final Relatio opens the door, by giving precedent, to the possibility that the Church Herself can embrace forms of marriage being proposed in the historical moment of today.

The Gospel of the Family spans the history of the world from the creation of man in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1: 26-27)

I paragraph n. 16, we have the error of confounding the natural and supernatural orders, affirmed again. Because, in theology, the Gospel regards the message of salvation which God alone revealed in Christ; one does not call the original order of things which God established at the beginning of the world or of our race a “gospel”, because it regards the natural order, not the order of grace and salvation.  It is also nonsensical to call the original plan a “gospel” since “Gospel” means “good news” and what is old is not news, even if it is good.

The Family in the Church’s Documents

17.       “Throughout the centuries, the Church has maintained her constant teaching on marriage and family. One of the highest expressions of this teaching was proposed by the Second Vatican Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which devotes an entire chapter to promoting the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 47-52).

It is so common to find, since Vatican II, the same stupid exaggerations in Church documents, that you can almost guess that they will be there in any long-enough document.  One of these stupidities is the assertion that at Vatican II the Church taught in the best way She had ever done, as if She was ignorant and illiterate for 1929 years (1962 — 33 = 1929)!

To call Gaudium et Spes “one of the highest expressions” of Church teaching is thus as laughable as it is a-historical.  But is its laughable too, since Benedict XVI, while still a mere theologian, said of Gaudium et Spes, that it was by far the most problematic of Vatican II documents, one which is thoroughly colored by the heresy of Pelagianism, which held that the salvation and grace offered in Christ was useful but not necessary for salvation, and hence attention to things natural with little emphasis on those which are supernatural or gratuitous (i. e. of grace) is no large fault.

To take Gaudium et Spes, therefore, as the highest expression, is thus to denigrate others as lower.  But as a matter of fact, every Papal Encyclical for 200 years before Vatican II has more authority than any document of Vatican II, because as Pope Pius XII declared, what is taught in Encyclicals has to be accepted as Catholic teaching; but Vatican II and Pope Paul VI imposed no such obligation on Vatican II documents.

The Church, however, has a certain, clear and much more authoritative document on Marriage and the Family: the Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XII, Casti Canubi, Dec. 31, 1930 A.D., the text of which is still available at the Vatican Website.  In paragraph nns. 5-6, the Church teaches:

5. And to begin with that same Encyclical, which is wholly concerned in vindicating the divine institution of matrimony, its sacramental dignity, and its perpetual stability, let it be repeated as an immutable and inviolable fundamental doctrine that matrimony was not instituted or restored by man but by God; not by man were the laws made to strengthen and confirm and elevate it but by God, the Author of nature, and by Christ Our Lord by Whom nature was redeemed, and hence these laws cannot be subject to any human decrees or to any contrary pact even of the spouses themselves. This is the doctrine of Holy Scripture;[2] this is the constant tradition of the Universal Church; this the solemn definition of the sacred Council of Trent, which declares and establishes from the words of Holy Writ itself that God is the Author of the perpetual stability of the marriage bond, its unity and its firmness.[3]

6. Yet although matrimony is of its very nature of divine institution, the human will, too, enters into it and performs a most noble part. For each individual marriage, inasmuch as it is a conjugal union of a particular man and woman, arises only from the free consent of each of the spouses; and this free act of the will, by which each party hands over and accepts those rights proper to the state of marriage,[4] is so necessary to constitute true marriage that it cannot be supplied by any human power.[5] This freedom, however, regards only the question whether the contracting parties really wish to enter upon matrimony or to marry this particular person; but the nature of matrimony is entirely independent of the free will of man, so that if one has once contracted matrimony he is thereby subject to its divinely made laws and its essential properties. For the Angelic Doctor, writing on conjugal honor and on the offspring which is the fruit of marriage, says: “These things are so contained in matrimony by the marriage pact itself that, if anything to the contrary were expressed in the consent which makes the marriage, it would not be a true marriage.”[6]

Why this Encyclical was not quoted in this section of the Final Relatio, is a very grave question; the omission of it puts in doubt the honesty of the intention of the Synod Fathers to hold fast to Catholic teaching.

The Erroneous Definition of Family in the Final Relatio

is found in paragraph n. 17, of the same, where it says in the official English translation, speaking of the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes:

This document defined marriage as a community of life and love (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48),

Every human being with some intelligence can see immediately that this definition is insufficient.  Because, a human being can share a community of life and love with many other human persons, not just those in his family; and a community of human love can exist between any number or gender of persons; a community of the human affection of love can also exist, unilaterally, between a human person and a pet, such as a dog.  Hence, this definition of a family, after all the scandals of Synod14 is remarkable in its insufficiency.  It allows every error regarding the Family and Marriage, which Catholics supposed the Synod was convened to refute!

This error is not corrected in nns. 17-20, because NO WHERE does it exclude all the possible notions of family which could fall under such a loose definition.  Nor do affirmations regarding the family formed by man and woman, logically exclude these other concepts of family and marriage.  Let us not be stupid, as to suppose otherwise; those who wrote this document have degrees in theology and philosophy, they understand logic and its rules, and cannot be exculpated from the open door to perversion and immorality which they left wide open in the very heart of the final text of the Relatio.  To cite this most loose of definitions, when Pius XII had given a very good one in Casti Canubi, nn. 5-6, is simply beyond belief and renders void of all credibility the ecclesiological value of the Final Relatio.

I will end my critique here, since I believe that the reader can continue reading the Relatio and find the same errors repeated, the same open doors open, etc. and reasonably conclude, that the Final Text of Synod14 is a Trojan horse in the city of God.

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Br. Alexis Bugnolo holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Florida, where he was nominated to Phi Beta Kapa; he is a graduate of Our Lady of Grace Seminary (cum laude), Boston, and has studied at three Pontifical Universities at Rome: the Angelicum, Santa Croce, and the Seraphicum.  He is in the midst of studies for a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology.  For a list of his publications, see The Franciscan Archive and his personal page at Academia.edu.

Bergoglio’s Past Catches up with him, with a vengeance

I have intently watched the Papacy of Pope Francis, from the first day of his election as Roman Pontiff.  Though I am a resident in Rome, I did not go to St. Peter’s square to see who would be elected, since I had a chest cold, and did not want to make it worse.

But, I confess to be one of the many who were enthused by his election, especially of his name selection, “Francis”, after the saintly founder of my Order, St. Francis of Assisi.  So much was my confidence, that I am among the first to write him a letter, which he received on the first day of his Petrine ministry, and which one of his secretaries confirmed by calling me — Though I never got a response to my request.

With the loud and clamorous and scandalous happenings at Synod 14, I became more certain that if there were anything about his background which was untoward, that some journalist would reveal it.  Indeed, from the first day of his election, the media have been exceedingly supportive of Bergoglio, and thus there have been almost no reports about his background, childhood, family, upbringing.

Today, on October 14, Sandro Magister, one of the leading Vaticanistas (that is, journalist who reports on Vatican affairs), published a very telling exposé of Pope Francis, with specific reference to the kind of pastoral practice he promoted at Buenas Aires as Archbishop.  You can read the official English translation of that article, here.

The really damning evidence is referred to in this paragraph of Magister’s report (Bold Facing and Coloring not in the original):

On communion for the divorced and remarried, it is already known how the pope thinks. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he authorized the “curas villeros,” the priests sent to the peripheries, to give communion to all, although four fifths of the couples were not even married. And as pope, by telephone or letter he is not afraid of encouraging some of the faithful who have remarried to receive communion without worrying about it, right away, even without those “penitential paths under the guidance of the diocesan bishop” projected by some at the synod, and without issuing any denials when the news of his actions comes out.

The entire affair is outrageously sacrilegious and offensive.  Because to put Our Lord, Who is truly, really, and substantially present in the Sacrament, into the hands or mouth of someone in mortal sin, is to crucify Him anew.  And to order such a thing done, is a horrendous monstrosity.

But, I am particularly troubled that Magister seems to have indicated, in the text I have highlighted in red, that this was done with the omission of any encouragement to attend confession, nay, with the apparent implication that omitting confession was encouraged.

This is particularly grievous, because such a doctrine and teaching such a practice was condemned by the infallible and Ecumenical Council of Trent, in its 13th session, and XI canon, which is found here, the text of which is:

CANON XI.-lf any one saith, that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; let him be anathema. And for fear lest so great a sacrament may be received unworthily, and so unto death and condemnation, this holy Synod ordains and declares, that sacramental confession, when a confessor may be had, is of necessity to be made beforehand, by those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, how contrite even soever they may think themselves. But if any one shall presume to teach, preach, or obstinately to assert, or even in public disputation to defend the contrary, he shall be thereupon excommunicated.

I do not see how Bergoglio as Archbishop could habitually conduct such a practice in his Archdiocese if he did not teach or preach to his clergy at least, that such a practice was licit, allowed, or proper, all of which would have put him under the pain of excommunication from the day he first began to teach such an omission of penance before reception of communion by public sinners.

Obviously this needs to be investigated and the testimony of the faithful in the Archdiocese needs to be heard.

Also, experts in canon law need to be questioned, whether this excommunication imposed by Trent is latae sententiae or ferendae, that is, whether one falls immediately under this punishment when committing the act condemned, or whether the Pope would have to impose it.

This is important, because in the decree of Pope Paul IV, Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, an Archbishop who was under the sentence of excommunication could not be validly named a Cardinal, and such a Cardinal could not be validly elected Pope (cf. in particular, n. 2, especially in its final paragraph; n. 6).

It is another, thornier question, whether a Pope saying that communion can be given to impenitent public sinners, without the requirement of confessing their sins and repenting, would be excommunicated by the excommunication handed down in Trent, Session 34, Canon XI.  If he has counseled this even over the telephone, then he would, according to the norms of canon law, certainly be subject to suspicion for its violation.  But the canon established by Trent regards discipline, the mere practice is not heretical, but makes one suspect of heresy, because if one were to do such, either he does not believe in the dogma of transubstantiation or he does not believe in the ecclesiological and theological necessity of faith and penance as prerequisites to receive a Sacrament, any of which is heretical.

 

The Prophecies of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich

“I saw again the new and odd-looking Church which they were trying to build. There was nothing holy about it… People were kneading bread in the crypt below… but it would not rise, nor did they receive the body of Our Lord, but only bread. Those who were in error, through no fault of their own, and who piously and ardently longed for the Body of Jesus were spiritually consoled, but not by their communion. Then, my Guide [Jesus] said: ‘THIS IS BABEL.’ [The Mass in many languages].”

“I saw deplorable things: they were gambling, drinking, and talking in church; they were also courting women. All sorts of abominations were perpetrated there. Priests allowed everything and said Mass with much irreverence. I saw that few of them were still godly, and only a few had sound views on things. I also saw Jews standing under the porch of the Church. All these things caused me much distress.”

“The Church is in great danger. We must pray so that the Pope may not leave Rome; countless evils would result if he did. They are now demanding something from him. The Protestant doctrine and that of the schismatic Greeks are to spread everywhere. I now see that in this place (Rome) the (Catholic) Church is being so cleverly undermined, that there hardly remain a hundred or so priests who have not been deceived. They all work for destruction, even the clergy. A great devastation is now near at hand.”

“Among the strangest things that I saw, were long processions of bishops. Their thoughts and utterances were made known to me through images issuing from their mouths. Their faults towards religion were shown by external deformities. A few had only a body, with a dark cloud of fog instead of a head. Others had only a head, their bodies and hearts were like thick vapors. Some were lame, others were paralytics; others were asleep or staggering.

“I saw what I believe to be nearly all the bishops of the world, but only a small number were perfectly sound. I saw a number of people looking quickly right and left, that is, in the direction of the world.

“Then, I saw that everything that pertained to Protestantism was gradually gaining the upper hand, and the Catholic religion fell into complete decadence. Most priests were lured by the glittering but false knowledge of young school-teachers, and they all contributed to the work of the destruction.

“In those days, Faith will fall very low, and it will be preserved in some places only, in a few cottages and in a few families which God has protected from disasters and wars.”

“I see many excommunicated ecclesiastics who do not seem to be concerned about it, nor even aware of it. Yet, they are (ispso facto) excommunicated whenever they cooperate [sic] enterprises, enter into associations, and embrace opinions on which an anathema has been cast. It can be seen thereby that God ratifies the decrees, orders, and interdictions issued by the Head of the Church, and that He keeps them in force even though men show no concern for them, reject them, or laugh them to scorn.”

Source: The Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich – Carl E. Schmoeger

If you have doubts about the Synod, doubt again!

INTRODUCTION AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Here is the troubling story of how 1 Franciscan brother petitioned Cardinal Napier of South Africa, urging him to see that the final version of the Synod’s document would not contain any deviation from Christ’s teaching regarding the absolute necessity of repentance and faith as criteria of membership in the Church and directives for pastoral praxis.

I wrote this petition in response to the now infamous 3 paragraphs in the Relatio post deceptationem (the Report after received responses) which was published at the Extra-Ordinary Synod of the Family, at Rome, on Monday morning, October 13, 2014, by the drafting committee headed by Cardinal Erdo.  Which paragraphs, regarding the unspeakable vice, sodomy, where subsequently attributed in the press to Bishop Bruno Forte (famous for his book on Christ, in which he declared that if the body of Christ crucified were found, he’d still believe in the Resurrection!).

However, when it was reported in the UK press that the revised document contained something worse, the explicit affirmation of the value of a vice, namely the requirement that Catholics “value the homosexual orientation”, I was utterly shocked.

In those paragraphs, there was an obvious and intentional attempt to introduce the language of the homo-agenda and homo-heresy into the Synod’s final document.  The homo-heresy is a term coined recently to refer to the political and ideological doctrine that homosexuality is a good to be appreciated, valued, accepted in all human society, even in the Church.  It is a heretical doctrine, because it contradicts the clear teaching of Moses and St. Paul that this vice and its practice are abominations to God and contrary to nature, and because it directly contradicts the teaching of Our Lord and Master, Christ Jesus, the Eternal Son of God, the Lord of the Ages, the Creator of Man, the Author of Scripture, the Most High, Eternal, All Holy God of Israel! In that He teaches that the fundamental rule or requirement for membership in His Church and for communion with Him is that one first repent of his sins and then believe all his teaching.

These were Our Lord’s first words, when He opened His Mouth and began His own public ministry:  Repent and Believe!  The Apostles, His faithful and infallible disciples after the Pentecost Day of grace, taught clearly in all their writings, gathered now in the New Testament, that these words are to be understood as the utter repudiation of carnality, immorality, and all that is contrary to the moral precepts of the Mosaic Law and of the Evangelical Law, and of the natural, moral, and divine laws implicit in these.

For this reason, and because by my vocation as a son of St. Francis of Assisi, I deemed it necessary to speak out against the tide of grave, manifest, public scandal given to the faithful throughout this world.  Especially since as an Italian citizen, resident at Rome, I consider it a duty as a member of the Diocese of Rome, which shall never loose the Faith, to speak boldly in favor of Christ’s Magisterium against the false magisterium of the flesh being proposed in the Relatio post deceptationem.

When the Holy Father, in response to the outcry against the patently racist and very insulting remarks of Cardinal Kasper against the Synod Fathers from Africa, appointed Wilfrid Cardinal Napier, OFM, the Archbishop of Durban, South Africa, (Cardinal-Priest of San Francesco d’Assisi ad Acilia, at Rome), as member of the drafting committee, I was encouraged on account of the reports showing that he was a faithful Cardinal and fighting to protect the faith.

You see, according to the Rule of Saint Francis of Assisi, we sons of St. Francis are bound to give and receive remonstrations in the Lord, so that as brothers in one family we might assist the salvation of one another.  Seeing that Cardinal Napier was before his elevation to the episcopate on Feb. 21, 1981, was a member of the Order of Friars Minor of the Leonine Union, I saw this as an opportunity and sign from God to plead with him to fight the good fight and see to it that the final draft of the Synod Document not contain any approval of the abomination of sodomy, whether in act or in vice, directly or indirectly, or even in some sort of linguistic construction whereby the Church would seem or in fact, be bound to surrender to the homo-heresy of our age.

This is the historical background to the exchange which now follows.

 

The Petition sent to Cardinal Napier

The petition sent on Thursday, October 16, 2014, via twitter to Cardinal Napier.  His Eminence had followed me on Twitter the very night before, which enabled me to send him a private message.  First I wrote the petition, then I presented in in a series of Direct Messages.

First, the petition, which contains several tweets, in this order:

This final tweet was favorited by Cardinal Giuseppe (@vaticanvalet) who, however, unlike @CardinalNapier, seems to be someone feigning to be a cardinal.

My Presentation of the Petition to Cardinal Napier

After tweeting the petition, I presented it in a Direct Message to His Eminence, since, as I have said, he had followed me the night before, and I was already following him. On twitter those are the 2 necessaries for sending and receiving Direct Messages; these are a form of private, non-publicized communication.

After the Cardinal’s initial shocking response to the petition, I captured the DM in a jpg image, to preserve the historical record.  Here is that image:

 

Direct Message from @BrAlexisBugnolo to @CardinalNapier on Twitter, presenting the Petition re Fidelity to Christ

Direct Message from @BrAlexisBugnolo to @CardinalNapier on Twitter, presenting the Petition re Fidelity to Christ

 These direct messages make clear the intent of the Petition and my grave concerns about the dangers to the Faith and to the  Church, inherent in the revised version of the Relatio, which Relatio emanated from the drafting committee of which Cardinal Napier was the newly appointed member, “representing” the Synod Fathers who came from Africa.

 

The Stunning Replies of Cardinal Napier

Now it is obvious to anyone, who knows anything about the Catholic Church and what it means to be a member of Her, that the above cited petition is most respectful, serious, and one made fully in accord with the norms of Canon Law, which regard the rights of the faithful to petition members of the Sacred Hierarchy. By the time Cardinal Napier replied, 30 members of the faithful from Europe, Africa and North America had signed it.  Subsequently, at least 6 more signed it that night.

But to this sensible, sane, calm, fully catholic, dutiful, honest and zealous petition, Cardinal Napier chose to respond with this tweet, which I have captured in a jpg image:

Cardinal Napier's First Response to the Petition

Cardinal Napier’s First Response to the Petition

Moved by my love for Cardinal Napier in Christ, and mindful that if I were silent, I would consent to his scandalous remarks, I replied with a series of tweets:

To These tweets, the Cardinal surprised me, by replying a second time:

Cardinal Napier's second reply to the Petition, remonstrating with Br Alexis Bugnolo

Cardinal Napier’s second reply to the Petition, remonstrating with Br Alexis Bugnolo

You can see my own subsequent replies, in that image, but for ease of reading, I recite them here:

 

 If it might seem that I am being to bold in my “dialogue” with the Cardinal, remember that we are both sons of St. Francis, and are obliged to this give and take, according to the Rule of St. Francis: also, because of his membership on the drafting committee Cardinal Napier has a direct capability to have his own input and correct errors.  In addition, seeing the grave scandal going on at the Synod, I considered it morally necessary, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, to speak to His Eminence with boldness.

The Cardinal, however, chose to reply to me again, here is the jpg image.

 

Cardinal Napier's Third Reply to the petition of Br Alexis Bugnolo and 30 other faithful.

Cardinal Napier’s Third Reply to the petition of Br Alexis Bugnolo and 30 other faithful.

It was clear from this response, that in the Cardinal’s mind there was some confusion, so I replied with a series of tweets to explain and attempt to remove that confusion, spurred by my zeal for God and for the Cardinal’s soul.

And thus, I boldly asked:

At that point, I shut down my computer, for it was very late, and the Cardinal seems to have done likewise; in the morning, upon waking early around 5 AM Rome time, he tweeted me 1 last time:

Cardinal Napier's 4th reply to the Petition submitted to him by Br. Alexis Bugnolo and now 36 members of the faithul

Cardinal Napier’s 4th reply to the Petition submitted to him by Br. Alexis Bugnolo and now 36 members of the faithul

As you can see, the Cardinal was taking the Petition totally out of context, and twisting scripture to oppose it.  I have seen this tactic on many a street-corner, but it is one used by non-Catholics who are insisting in their perverse or erroneous doctrines against the teaching of the Catholic Faith, so I recognized it immediately, and replied thus, on Friday Morning, when I logged on Twitter and saw it:

 

Final Remarks from Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Throughout this exchange of tweets with His Eminence Cardinal Napier of Durban, South Africa, many members of the faithful tweeted, retweeted, replied, or favorited the Petition, his replies or my replies to him.  I have omitted these in the course of this report, since they had no bearing upon the exchange between the Cardinal and myself.

Let me remind the faithful of 2 great truths.  First, that we must always remain faithful to Christ Jesus and His Magisterium, as it has been recorded in the Gospels, explained by the Apostles, handed down in Tradition by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, explained in the perennial, perduring, constant and unchangeable Magisterium of the Church, which expresses Herself in an infallible manner only when our Sacred Pastors, who have the authority, teach in harmony with Christ, the Apostles, Scripture and Tradition.

Secondly, even when our Sacred Pastors might not live up to what we expect of them in Christ, or up to what Christ expects of them, we should remain respectful in our discourses, even if we might at times have to be bold (So long as they do not become pertinacious, public heretics, because if they did we’d be obliged by faith, hope and charity to no longer regard them as members of the Church).  We are Catholics not stoics, so we do not hold it to be a sin to be passionate or emotional about our Faith, rather we repudiate all the false morals of the world, the errors of Modernism which would reduce faith to sentimentalism, to the errors of Freemasonry which want to return mankind to the slavery of the idols of Egypt and Babylon, and the false and so-called wisdom of the flesh in our own day, which would have us be so polite as to offend God, not man.

Let us pray for Cardinal Napier and all the Fathers at the Synod; resolving to reject the final document if it deviates from the Faith in any particular. And finally, I ask your prayers, that I might give a humble an zealous witness to the faith, expecting as I do to suffer for the witness I have given here today.

A leading Vatican journalist, on the Synod: We have a problem!

marco-tosattiWhat follows is an unofficial English translation of an article, entitled, Un Sinodo un pò tarrocato, which appeared today in La Stampa, in Italy, written by Marco Tosatti, one of the leading Catholic journalists who specialize in Vatican affairs. The bold face is not in the original.

When the speaker – a cardinal of the Holy Roman Church – more or less expressly disclaims authorship of a report that bears his signature, there is a problem.
When the cardinal himself, in reference to a passage from the text certainly very interesting and a harbinger of trouble, asked for an explanation, and the answer turns to an archbishop Deputy Secretary (rather than the Pope) at the Synod because he is the author, there is a issue.

When many bishops and cardinals from Poland to Africa to Australia, they complain because the Relatio as it has been written and presented to the press does not reflect what they said in the hall, and adds things that have never been said, there is a problem.

When the text is declared “unacceptable” by Cardinals and Bishops, “irredeemable” by another, and when the Circuli Minores it is said that “we are working to revise the text, set aside some expressions and so on, but it is a sick-text and not you know how the proposals will be accepted,” there is a problem.

When there are bishops – and more than one – who say they no longer want to come to any future Synods, if they are conducted like this, because it is turning into a farce, there is a problem. When the South African Cardinal Napier said via twitter, that is, in public, that “while it is possible that some elements are trying to adapt to the opinion of the world, the majority wants to remain firmly with the truth”; which says exactly the opposite of the thesis that some journalists for various reasons, try to credit to the Synod, there is a problem.

When among the choices of leaders for the Synod, an entire continent in which you are making the greatest growth of Christianity and Catholicism, in terms of the faithful (unlike Europe and North America, or Latin America where millions of evangelicals swallow up ex-catholics), namely Africa, is forgotten, there is a problem.

The regime governing the Synod has decided not to make public the activities of the participants, compared with a decade of practice, transparency and the right of Christians to know; and then has decided to make public a working document in which many do not recognize, and in which the phrases are the most controversial and debated with great probability the expression of a few theologians and bishops. It’s hard not to think in an attempt to drive and manipulate the course of the Synod.

When, following the publication of the document, you are forced to back down, and “Voice of the Family”, which brings together millions of Catholics around the world in fifteen different organizations defines it as open “treason”, and states that “Those who control the Synod have betrayed Catholic parents. The report is one of the worst official documents ever written in the history of the Church,” there is a problem.

The Synod of Bishops on the Family is the first official event of the Church of the reign of Pope Francis. And it is proving to be a success, under any point of view, if not that of confusion. Unfortunately, the Pope does not appear, as it might be more prudent and desirable to reassure Catholics, above and outside the party. Cardinal Kasper, one of the fiercest protagonists of the battle, merely repeats that he spoke to the Pope. The one choosing Archbishop Forte, author of the report, according to many in recent days, as Deputy Secretary, is the Pope. As well as those of additional members of the Commission will draw up the final report; all of whom are oriented in one direction, but – according to what Cardinal  Napier says, it is not only him, who does not represent the common sense and majority of the assembly.

And this is not a good thing, if you search for unity of feelings, and not what the card. Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, called a “single thought in the Church.” If it is true that the Church is not a democracy, and you do not go forward with the hammer blows of a majority, you certainly cannot, however, submit all believers to a theological and doctrinal little-clique.

Like nature, the Church does not like leaps or earthquakes.

Eminent Vatican theologian faults Kaspars Proposals

What follows is my unofficial translation of Monsignor Antonio Livi’s criticisms of the Synod on the Family, which were published in Italian on October 10th.

 

The Divorced: the ambiguous solutions of  the “pietists”

Alongside the discussions which preceded and now accompany the Extraordinary Synod on the Family (Oct 5-19), one needs to observe the continuing and growing interventions of “false teachers” and of “false prophets” who announce a new Church as already arrived, no longer in subjugation to the chains of the moral law, open to the insistence of the “base” and ready to tear down the “historical fences” which separate Catholics and Protestants and the Orthodox.

Many scholars have already highlighted the “anti-dogmatic”, or better “a-dogmatic” aspect of these discourses, received (naturally) with the enthusiasm of the secular media, from La Repubblica to il Sole24Ore and La Stampa (especially Gianni Vattimo, the philosopher of the “weak thought”, who already 25 years ago quipped aloud that “a Christianity without a pope and without dogma”).  I have already spoken in detail about this in my book on True and False Theology (2014).  But even Pope Benedict XVI wisely commented that “pastoral praxis and dogma intertwine in an indissoluble manner; it is the truth of Him who is in time  “Word” and “Shepherd”, as primitive Christian art has profoundly understood, which presents the Word as Shepherd and in the guise of the Shepherd makes flow the eternal Word which for man is the true direction for life”.

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, returned to this argument.  In a book length interview which was published simultaneously a month ago in Italy, Spain and the United States (published in Italian by Ares, and entitled La speranza della famiglia), the German cardinal clearly showed the a-dogmatic character of the proposals for change in ecclesiastical praxis in regard to marriage and the family.

In announcing the impossibility of accepting these proposals — which, according to Walter Kasper and many others, would be justified on the basis of current social changes and in the inability of many faithful to live up to Catholic morals — Cardinal Müller, has expressed himself with great theological precision:  “A simple ‘adaptation’ of the reality of marriage to the expectations of the world bears no fruit, rather, it has counterproductive results: the Church cannot respond to the challenge of today’s world with a pragmatic adaptation.  As ones opposing a facile, pragmatic adaptation, we are called to choose for ourselves the prophetic audacity of the martyr. With this, we can testify to the Gospel of holy matrimony.  A tepid prophet, with an adequation to to the spirit of the age, would seek to save himself, but not by the means of salvation which comes from God alone “.

There were many Cardinals (besides the just mentioned Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller; I recall Carlo Caffarra, Velasio de Paolis, Walter Brandmüller, Thomas Collins and Raymond L Burke) who wanted to publish their some writings to oppose, with serene and above-all pertinent argumentations, the attempt to pressure the Synod in the hope to obtain a pronouncement from the majority of the 120 fathers of the Synod, and even, from pope Francis, in favor of changing the pastoral practice of the Church.

Which, however, cannot ever possibly happen, because it would constitute a substantial change in the Church Herself, or rather the advent of a new a-dogmatic Church as so many evil masters such as Hans Kung and so many false prophets as Enzo Bianchi have announced and prepared for (preparing by announcing it), shamelessly attributing their revolutionary plans to pope Francis.  The implementation of such designs, as much as regards the pastoral practice concerning matrimony and the family, would lead to the abolition of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae (of Pope Paul VI) and of the Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris consortio (of Pope John Paul II), besides, naturally, the cannon of the Ecumenical Council of Trent on the Sacraments of Matrimony, Eucharist and Penance.

 

Cardinal Burke denounces manipulation of Synod on Family

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Cardinal Burke, praying the Traditional Latin Mass.

The following is my unofficial translation of extracts from original Italian text of Alessandro Gnocci’s interview with Cardinal Burke, which will appear in full in Italian tomorrow in Il Foglio:

Q.  What do you see behind the curtain hung by the press around the Synod?

A. There is emerging a worrisome tendency, because some are sustaining the possibility of adopting a praxis which departs from the truth of the Faith.  Even if it should be evident that one cannot proceed in that directly, many are encouraging, for example, dangerous openings on the question of communion conceded to the divorced & remarried. I do not see how one can reconcile the reformable concept of the indissolubility of Matrimony with the possibility of admitting to communion those who live in an irregular situation.  Here one is puting directly in discussion what Our Lord has said when He taught that he who divorces his own wife and marries another commits adultery.

Q. According to the reformers, this teaching of Our Lord is too hard.

A. They forget that Our Lord has promised the help of grace to those who have been called to live Matrimony. This does not signify that there will not be difficulties and sufferings, but that there will always be divine help to confront them and to remain faithful even unto the end.

R. I do not understand how the Briefing is to be understood, but it seems to be that something is functioning well if the information is being manipulated in a manner to give support only to one thesis instead of reporting faithfully the various positions as expounded.  This is very worrisome to me because a consistent number of Bishops do not accept the idea of opening the praxis, but few know of it.  They are speaking only of the necessity of the Church opening Herself to the insistence of the world, as expressed in February by Cardinal Kasper.  In reality, his thesis on the themes of the family and on a new discipline for communion for the divorced & remarried is not new, and it has already been discussed 30 years ago.  Then, in February, it returned in force and was faultily allowed to grow.  But all this needs to stop, because it is provoking grave damage to the Faith.  Bishops and priests are telling me that there are now many remarried who are asking to be admitted to communion because Pope Francis wants it.  In reality, I take note, that, instead, up to this point he has not expressed himself on the point.

Q.  But, it seems evident that Cardinal Kasper and all those holding to his line, are speaking with the support of the Pope.

A. That is true.  The Pope has nominated Cardinal Kasper to the Synod and has left the debate progress along these lines.  But, as he has said to another Cardinal, the Pope has not yet pronounced.  I am awaiting his pronouncement, which can be only in continuity with the teaching given to the Church throughout all Her history.  A teaching which has never changed, because it cannot change.

D.  Admitting the divorced & remarried to communion undermines the Sacrament of Matrimony, and also that of the Eucharist.  Does it not seem to you, to also touch upon the heart of what it means to be the Church?

A. In the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 11, the Apostle teaches that he who receives the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, eats unto his own damnation.  To approach the Eucharist signifies to be in communion with Christ, to be in conformity to Him.  Many argue contrariwise, that the Eucharist is not the Sacrament of the perfect, but this argument is a false one.  No man is perfect and the Eucharist is the Sacrament of those who are fighting to be perfect, according to what Jesus Himself said:  to be perfect even as Our Father in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Even the one who is fighting to reach perfection sins, and if he is in the state of mortal sin, he cannot take communion.  To be able to do so, he needs to confess his sin with repentance and with the proposal of not committing it again: this is true for all, even the divorced and remarried…