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.