Backsliding to Synod15

Yesterday, the Vatican Press office published the Italian text of the Lineamenta (Outlines) for next Year’s Synod on the Family (#Synod15). As this document has shown itself to be stained by the same errors which the From Rome blog highlighted in its own critique of the Final Relatio of this year’s Synod, it will be useful to consider in what ways the committee charged by Pope Francis with preparing for the upcoming Synod next year has embraced the errors contained in that Final Relatio.  It is for that reason, that The From Rome blog is honored to publish as a guest editorial, our own English translation of Mrs. Maria Guarini’s, Sinodalità recidiva: “Lineamenta” per il 2015, a critique of the new Lineamenta for next year’s Synod on the Family.

Mrs. Maria Guarini, being interviewed by Radio Maria (Sept 12, 2007).

Mrs. Maria Guarini, being interviewed by La Repubblica (Sept 14, 2007).

Mrs. Maria Guarini, is the editor and publisher of Chiesa e post Concilio, one of the most influential theological blogs in the Italian language and the only one of its kind in the city of Rome.  For several years, Mrs. Guarini has proved her mettle by putting on display the erroneous theological presuppositions of all those who have raised their voices against the perennial Magisterium of the Church.  She holds a Baccalareate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure (the Seraphicum) and can be considered one the members of the Roman Theological Circle which sustains faithfully still, the theological heritage of the Roman Church. She lives at Rome with her husband and son.

In our English translation, we have attempted to present the same signification as the original, but frequently on account of the many metaphors unique to modern Italian, we have had to reformulate the syntax and alter the terms to give the equivalent signification in English. In citations, even those to the Lineamenta, we have followed the Italian text quoted by Mrs. Guarini.

Backsliding to Synod15

PREMISE

We note that the “spirit of the Council”, in its own more revolutionary aspects  not to mention its negationary semantics (the horrible, deleterious effect of affirming a correct principle conjoined with an erroneous one by means of the conjunction, “but”, which has so stirred the waters of theology that the eddies are now becoming consuming whirlpools) is now transferring its bad influence, little by little, to the upcoming Synod on the Family.

We have already spoken amply about this in our blog-post, Sinodo conciliarista (see here & here).

Now, I will limit myself to the following, essential off-the-cuff reflections, as I have before my eyes the just published document, “Lineamenta” per la XIV Assemblea Generale Ordinaria: La vocazione e la missione della famiglia nella Chiesa e nel mondo contemporeaneo (Oct. 4-25, 2014) which was published on Dec. 9, 2014.

The points which should never even have been put in discussion

If I pause for a moment on these points, it is because the relative questions — among which, of themselves, should not even be put in discussion — have not been approved and nevertheless, since they have, by the will of the Holy Father, been kept in the text of the Relatio which was published, they are thereby put once again into discussion as a result of the confusion mentioned in my premise.  Not only this, but the Questionnaire which has been published along with the new Lineamenta has been redacted in such wise as to solicit a certain response, by means of assumptions which have been evidently chosen by the animus which is running the game.

So here we go, again!  The Circus begins anew and the swirl of sophistry and nonsense proceeds with its obstinate arrogance.  If one were to use the same energetic commitment to fight against error and to reaffirm the perennial Catholic truth, we would not find ourselves in this absurd crisis and on the rim of the abyss which is threatening the entire human race.  But all this is because of the obscuring, if not the out-right renunciation, of the universality of salvation which Christ came to give the world through its transmission by the Church, which, instead of being centered on Her Center and Foundation, is going out of Her mind in the worse sense of the term and appealing now to the seductive seeds of the Word which are always called into play and employed in a sophistic and inappropriate sense, in Council or in a non-council. Moreover, the Second Vatican Council is not a Gospel and, additionally, Nostra Aetate, which is cited in the text of the Lineamenta, is only a document of secondary importance, inasmuch as it is a Declaration, and thus a document of the fourth and lowest grade, among those indicated by Msgr. Gherardini [here]:1  the amount of innovations, which cannot pretend to have an infallible and irreformable character, consequently, allows the possibility of a dissent based on faith and reason.  A simple Declaration asserts itself as the fundamental principle of this new ecclesiology, based on the whims of newly-exalted barbarians, who use the excuse of praxis to get around doctrine. But Catholic doctrine and discipline are the pre-conditions of authentic encounter with Christ.  Again, pastoral praxis reigns over doctrine, and thus right praxis presupposes right doctrine.  The reversal of this order carries one easily to the affirmation that with a new reality of pastoral praxis one can develop a new doctrine.

One needs to ask oneself, in regard to n. 22 of the new Lineamenta, “What’s the purpose of the Church valuing natural marriage?” Which soon becomes a “matrimonial and familial reality of so many cultures and non-christian persons”.  What’s the point?  Do these have, perhaps, something that they can teach to those who alone have the duty to receive and transmit the fulfillment of salvation, which the Church has guarded (or used to guard) for 2,000 years, which salvation Christ worked and with the Apostles revealed and handed down to the Church, and which He continues to work despite our infidelities?  The same creation which was conceived in view of Him, awaits the revelation of the sons of God, just as all peoples do, who to be saved, must come to know of and welcome it.  In this passage, n. 22, from the Lineamenta, one hears the echo of Gaudium et Spes (nn. 12 & 24) (here).  That one is able or that one should enter into dialogue with diverse cultures for political reasons or for the sake of civil concord does not regard the sphere of the Faith or the teaching of morals which flow from It (and not from other sources, those “befouled springs and polluted cisterns”, as the Bible calls them).  This is what the Lineamenta says:

The Indissolubility of Matrimony and the Joy of living together

21. The reciprocal and constitutive gift of sacramental Matrimony is rooted in the grace of Baptism which establishes the fundamental alliance of every person with Christ in the Church.  In the reciprocal welcoming and with Christ’s grace, the spouses-to-be promise one another the total gift of self, their fidelity and their openness to live; they recognize as constitutive elements of Matrimony the gifts which God offers them, taking seriously their mutual commitment, in His Name and in the presence of the Church.  Now, in this bond it is possible to assume the goods of matrimony as well-endurable commitments by means of the help of grace and sacrament.  God consecrates the love of the spouses and confirms its indissolubility, by offering them His help to live that fidelity, that reciprocal integration and that openness to life.  Moreover, the Church turns Her gaze to the spouses as to the heart of the entire family which in turn turns its gaze to Jesus.

22.  In the same respect, making our own the teaching of the Apostle according to which the entire creation was conceived of in Christ and in view of Him (cf. Colossians 1:16), the Second Vatican Council wanted to express its appreciation of natural marriage both through the valid elements present in other religions (cf Nostra Aetate, n. 2) and in other cultures, notwithstanding their limits and insufficiencies (cf. Redemptoris Missio, n. 55).  The presence of the semina Verbi (the seeds of the Word) in these cultures (cf. Ad Gentes, n. 11) could apply, in some of its passages, even to the reality of matrimony and family in some forms outside of Christian matrimony — though founded on the stable and true relation of one man and one woman — which in every case, we judge, are orientated to this.  With Herr gaze turned to the human wisdom of nations and cultures, the Church also recognizes this family as the basic necessary and fecund cell of human cohabitation.

Will the manipulation continue on in a contrived Synod? 2

In the Questionnaire, sent along with the Lineamenta in several languages to the Episcopal conferences throughout the world, the purpose of which, according to Cardinal Baldisseri is “the deepening of understanding of the questions confronted in the debate, all of them, but above all those which have need to be discussed in a more accurate manner”, there is associated to the above cited, n. 22, this question:

Question 19:  The Second Vatican Council has expressed appreciation for natural marriage, renewing the ancient tradition of the Church.  To what extent does pastoral praxis in the Diocese understand how to value even this wisdom of the nations, as something fundamental for culture and the common society? (cf. n. 22).

Note the ever-more explicit deceit, contained in this questionnaire.  The Question just cited reveals it, by taking for granted both the appreciation of natural marriage and the valuing of the wisdom of the nations; it seeks only to verify the “how” it is to be done … You’d think that it would have been sufficient to limit itself to reorienting disoriented Catholics and in forming rightly those who are deformed.

There is a famine for formation, that is, for teaching

In a recent article published by the Italian-language blog, la Bussola quotidiana, there were proposed several interesting reflections on the expectations which laymen have regarding the openings and promises promoted during the recent Synod (at least as they seemed to progressives), expectations and motives shared by a large slice of those Catholics who are “open to the world”, by means of sleepy consciences and hearts, accustomed to consider in a positive light and according to the norm of what “everyone is doing”,  that mode of morality which has always been practiced, which it always finds tiresome.  No one remembers any longer that a moral life is possible only with Christ’s grace conveyed by the sanctifying action of His Church, prepared and accompanied by a teaching which gives sense to and makes savory the Divine Commandments founded on imperishable truth. Behold, this is what is at stake. This is what no one seems willing to speak of anymore.

For example, there are many, even among the shepherds, who recall that the indissolubility of Matrimony is derived from the Commandment of the Lord presented in the Gospel — correctly affirmed in paragraph n. 21, though with a following “but” — but they do not break open the delightful reasons which make this Commandment so acceptable to mind and heart, so worthy of being translated into life even if it’s a sacrifice, and a big one, to do so.

One understands and accepts this indissolubility of Matrimony, if one considers that it is linked to a faithfulness which has its fontal origin in the faithfulness of the Lord and Creator to His own creature, as something conceived, willed by, and ordered to Him, and thus in continuous dialogue with Him (and this is the only relationship which saves) by means of an exclusive relationship, which puts the Lord first and causes to descend Therefrom all which is consequent to it in true fecundity:  all this because it is a relationship which implies an intimate and profound union, one which is faithful and exclusive, in a word, “spousal”.  This kind of relationship does not only regard consecrated souls, who have chosen the better part, but every believing soul, everyone in a different measure and according to diverse situations.  One speaks of a relationship which is exclusive in the sight of God, because it implies the rejection of other gods, which can be any one of the lusts of which the world is constantly insinuating and to which the inclination to evil, remaining in us from original sin, makes us neither deaf nor immune.  We can not flee from all this except by means of grace and the choices which it enables us to make, out of a sort of second nature rather than a sense of obligation (which could be a starting point, but certainly not the destination of a Christian life).

This exclusivity regards, before all else, our relationship with God, the only one which enlarges our heart and makes it capable of embracing the reality of the other, of giving itself without expecting anything in return:  this is the true life, which can only be lived in the Lord and in His Church and which no United-Nations-of-Religions could ever make possible or acceptable.

I speak of this in regard to the anthropological alteration contained in the Lineamenta, expressed in the open by some of the Fathers of Synod 14:

n. 5.The anthropological-cultural change influences, today, every aspect of life and requires an analytic and diversified approach…

And this appears to be the new founding principle for the new praxis.  But in the real word, there has been no anthropological change.  Man, with his own needs and fundamental questions, is the same man of all times according to his essence.  The only thing that he has come to lack, today, is a metaphysical consideration of God and man, and this is what impedes our consideration of the true problem.  If we could only succeed in seeing this, we would already have made a great step forwards.  We risk becoming what has already been put into praxis, from the mentality which dominates our own day, very often in oblivion of the Council, but most of all of the Church Herself.  The true crisis is not other than the crisis of the Church inasmuch as She is a Mystery.  The true theological knot leads back to the very loss of the metaphysical concept of participation in the Church as a Mystery.  And in such wise, Theology has been reduced to Anthropology.  In fact, Theology has been, for some time now, in the process of coining a new language for itself, having put aside, more or less, that metaphysical language of the Scholastics, to make room for one which is more modern, which degenerated from the former — and we are seeing first hand the results — in the adoption of the philosophies of the Existentialists and Phenomenologists.

The epoch-shaking recognition of homosexual tendencies as “rights”

From the points in the Lineamenta which follow nn. 21 & 22, we note the incredible displacement of attention toward elements which are foreign to the Faith and away from the doctrine, which though maintained in the following proposition, notwithstanding the votes to the contrary, takes its point of departure from marginal matters, those “existential” to the heart of the discussion, without omitting putting into play, once more, the “poor nations” and the insistence of international organizations (!?).

But the Church is not a teacher of psychology or sociology, though they are certainly not to be ignored, or, moreover, undervalued as handmaids of theology, if such an expression still has any sense given the novel sense “theology” has today.

It is, in fact, the duty and function of the Church to affirm and teach. She should not recriminate nor be conditioned by pressures of any sort, nor should She pause upon secondary elements or take them as foundations by expressing them after a nevertheless — by means of which one imagines to avoid obstacles by causing to re-enter by means of another door, that which was jettisoned through the window … playing in this manner with words by mentioning what is obvious, like human respect and gentleness, but putting it in the midst of a discussion of the Church as a Church of Mercy, the True Church and not that one unhinged from the Truth and from Justice.  But the risk is — and not an improbable one on account of what has already transpired — that the mark of unjust discrimination³  ends up in appearing to be but a legal recognition of homosexual unions.  What sense has it, in fact, that we recall this in the midst of such a discussion?  And from the rest of the document, already cited, there is sufficiently clear and explicit the difference there is between respect for human persons and the masquerade, behind these words, for the instrumentalized and ideological use of them to tolerate evil, which is is, moreover, something very different from the approbation and legalization of evil itself.  It would have been better to begin with that distinction than an existentialist pastoral praxis from which it becomes possible to spin inalienable principles, at the risk of making the document something equivalent to John Paul II’s Familiaris consortio, to which it would have been better to pay attention than to look elsewhere.  Here, I am speaking of paragraph 55 of the Lineamenta, which reads:

Pastoral attention towards persons of a homosexual orientation

55. Some families live with the experience of having in their midst persons with a homosexual orientation.  In this regard, we are questioned about which kind of pastoral practices is opportune to confront this situation, in reference to what the Church teaches:  “There does not exist any foundation for likening or establishing analogies, not even remote ones, between homosexual unions and God’s design for matrimony and the family”.  Nevertheless, the men and women with homosexual tendencies should be welcomed with respect and gentleness.  “In this regard, one will avoid every mark of unjust discrimination” (CDF, “Considerations on the proposals for legal recognition of the unions between homosexual persons”, n. 4).*

56. It is entirely unacceptable that the Pastors of the Church undergo any pressuring in this matter or that international organizations condition their financial assistance to Poor Countries upon the introduction of laws which establish “marriage” between persons of the same sex.

 At this point it is legitimate to ask what ever happened to that infamous secret dossier, compiled by three 007 Cardinals, received by Pope Benedict XVI and consigned by him to his successor, which disclosed the impropriam influentiam (improper influence) which crisscrossed between the homosexual lines in the Curia and those outside the Vatican.

This topic, moreover, as I have already mentioned, is certainly one which needs to be drawn out.  But the very fact that that there has entered into discussion those elements which of themselves can never be put in dispute, justifies amply the fears and perplexity which this very thing has caused.  And there is no need to lower one’s attention, especially on the part of our Pastors, even those who are not directly involved in the upcoming Synod (see my Exhortation on this here).

A fundamental Question which needs an answer

But, here, do we not need to ask another, more fundamental question, which implies the others? A synod of Bishops, can it be considered a competent organ for treating of questions which touch upon doctrinal points, which by their nature are unchangeable, not only inasmuch as they have been already sanctioned by the definitive living discipline of the Church in the course of centuries and even by the interventions of the supreme magisterium of the Church, but in the case of sacramental Matrimony, which are derived from a Divine Commandment?  Even if the last word belongs to the Pope, and it is his duty to pronounce it, for what reason does he persist in putting into discussion such very questions?

________________________________

If you would like to financially assist the work of Mrs. Guarini through her blog, Chiesa e post Concilio, click here and scroll down for how you can make a donation via PayPal.

________________________________

FOOTNOTES

1. Considering the historical context of the moment in which this Document has been published, we understand why the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate have been treated as outcasts and why Pd. Serafino Lanzetta has been sent into “exile”, he who is one of their most learned,  clearheaded, and good-mannered members — who have never denied the Council nor have twisted it to demonstrate a non-existent continuity with the past — who has clear ideas on noted controversial points and has documented everything from original sources [here, in the same occasion on which I have cited the intervention of Mons. Gherardini: il Convegno del 2010 sul Vaticano II] e [here, more recently].
2.The term “tarrocato” (contrived) was coined by Marco Tosatti [here], the Vaticanista from the Italian daily, La Stampa.— And at this point, I wish to add a note.  The removal of Cardinal Burke, one of the most authoritative opponents of the points raised by Cardinal Kasper, was sanctioned before the Synod but was differed, so that he could participate in the first round of talks, but not so that he could participate in the successive ones, and was consequently removed from the Apostolic Signatura which has jurisdiction over the determination of the nullity of marriages.
3. It is necessary to ask for the reason for this attention to a possible mark of discrimination in regard to homosexuals and those who live in a situation of sin — which mark the Church has always reserved for the error and not the person — and the persistence, with growing force, about the mark of disdain which breaks out in discriminatory persecution of those who love Tradition, whether towards persons (pastors and faithful) or towards their spiritual needs.  For example, since October 1st the papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore has defiantly excluded the Missa Antiquior ever since the final celebration there at 7:30 AM on that morning.
* In this regard, Cardinal Burke declared:  I refuse to speak of homosexual persons, because no one can be identified by this tendency.  One speaks of those who have a tendency, which is a suffering (qui).
Advertisements

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.

_______

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.

___________________

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.