A woman asked today if I’ve written anything to clarify the confusion over the Pope’s post-Synodal document, Amoris Laetitia. She said,
I love the Church and always plan to be a Catholic. Yet, I am confused about Pope Francis’ last Exhortation. I know the true teachings on marriage. Sadly I am a divorced Catholic. My husband started another family while still married to me. It still hurts very much. As the Church can’t change its teachings, why hasn’t this been made clear or professed?
She is correct: the teachings on marriage are clear and immutable. The present confusion is really a sad reflection of the Church’s sinfulness within her individual members. This woman’s pain is for her a double-edged sword. For she is cut to the heart by her husband’s infidelity and then, at the same time, cut by those bishops who are now suggesting that her husband might be able to receive the Sacraments, even while in a state of objective adultery.
The following was published on March 4th, 2017 regarding a novel re-interpretation of marriage and the sacraments by some bishop’s conferences, and the emerging “anti-mercy” in our times…
THE hour of the “great battle” which Our Lady and popes alike have been warning about for many generations—a coming Great Storm that was on the horizon and steadily approaching—is now here. It is a battle over truth. For if the truth sets us free, then falsehood enslaves—which is the “end game” of that “beast” in Revelation. But why is it now “here”?
Because all the turmoil, immorality, and distress in the world—from wars and genocides to greed and the Great Poisoning… have only been “signs” of a general collapse of faith in the truth of God’s Word. But when that collapse begins to occur within the Church herself, then we know that “the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, of the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the anti-christ” Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II ), at the Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, PA; August 13, 1976; Deacon Keith Fournier, an attendee at the Congress, reported the words as above; cf. Catholic Online is imminent. For St. Paul was clear that, before “the day of the Lord” that ushers in a triumph of Christ in His Church and an Era of Peace, cf. Faustina, and the Day of the Lord the Church herself must suffer a great “apostasy”, a terrible falling away of the faithful from truth. Then, when the seemingly inexhaustible patience of the Lord has delayed as long as possible the purification of the world, He will permit a “strong delusion”…
…for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. Therefore, God is sending them a strong delusion so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned. (2 Thess 2:10-12)
Where are we now in an eschatological sense? It is arguable that we are in the midst of the rebellion [apostasy] and that in fact a strong delusion has come upon many, many people. It is this delusion and rebellion that foreshadows what will happen next: “and the man of lawlessness will be revealed.” —Msgr. Charles Pope, “Are These the Outer Bands of a Coming Judgment?”, November 11th, 2014; blog
This “strong delusion” is taking many forms that, in their essence, appear as “right”, “just”, and “merciful,” but are in fact diabolical because they deny the inherent dignity and truth about the human person: cf. Political Correctness and the Great Apostasy
• The inherent truth that we are all sinners and that, in order to receive eternal life, we must repent from sin and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
• The inherent dignity of our body, soul, and spirit which are made in the image of God, and therefore, must govern every ethical principle and activity in politics, economics, medicine, education and science.
When he was still a cardinal, Pope Benedict warned of this…
…dissolution of the image of man, with extremely grave consequences. —May, 14, 2005, Rome; Cardinal Ratzinger, in a speech on European identity.
…and then continued to sound the trumpet after his election:
The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general. If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other “lights” that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress, but also dangers that put us and the world at risk. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Easter Vigil Homily, April 7th, 2012
This strong delusion, a Spiritual Tsunami that is sweeping through the world and now the Church, can rightly be called a “false” or “anti-mercy”, not because compassion is misplaced, but the solutions. And thus, abortion is “merciful” to the unprepared parent; euthanasia is “merciful” for the sick and suffering; gender ideology is “merciful” to those confused in their sexuality; sterilization is “merciful” to those in impoverished nations; and population reduction is “merciful” to an ailing and “overcrowded” planet. And to these we now add the pinnacle, the crown jewel of this strong delusion, and it is the idea that it is “merciful” to “welcome” the sinner without calling them to conversion.
In today’s Gospel (liturgical texts here), Jesus is questioned as to why he eats with “tax collectors and sinners.” He answers:
Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.
If it is not clear in this text that Jesus “welcomes” sinners into His presence precisely in order to bring them to repentance, then this text is:
The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed this parable. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:4-7)
The rejoicing in Heaven is not because Jesus welcomed sinners, but because one sinner repented; because one sinner said, “Today, I will no longer do what I did yesterday.”
Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked…? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live? (Ez 18:23)
What we heard in that parable, we then see unfold in the conversion of Zacchaeus. Jesus welcomed this tax collector into his presence, but it was not until he turned from his sin, and only then, that Jesus declares that he is saved:
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house… (Luk 19:8-9)
But now we see emerging a novel version of these Gospel truths:
If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with ‘humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it’, a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. —Bishops of Malta, Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia; ms.maltadiocese.org
…to which the “watchdog” of orthodoxy in the Catholic Church, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said:
…it is not right that so many bishops are interpreting Amoris Laetitia according to their way of understanding the Pope’s teaching. This does not keep to the line of Catholic doctrine… These are sophistries: the Word of God is very clear and the Church does not accept the secularization of marriage. —Cardinal Müller, Catholic Herald, Feb. 1st, 2017; Catholic World Report, Feb. 1st, 2017
This apparent elevation of “conscience” as the supreme tribunal in the moral order and “which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil”Veritatis Splendor, n. 32 is creating, in fact, a new order divorced from objective truth. The ultimate criterion of one’s salvation is a feeling of being “at peace with God.” St. John Paul II made clear however, that “Conscience is not an independent and exclusive capacity to decide what is good and what is evil.” Dominum et Vivificantem, n. 443
Such understanding never means compromising and falsifying the standard of good and evil in order to adapt it to particular circumstances. It is quite human for the sinner to acknowledge his weakness and to ask mercy for his failings; what is unacceptable is the attitude of one who makes his own weakness the criterion of the truth about the good, so that he can feel self-justified, without even the need to have recourse to God and his mercy. An attitude of this sort corrupts the morality of society as a whole, since it encourages doubt about the objectivity of the moral law in general and a rejection of the absoluteness of moral prohibitions regarding specific human acts, and it ends up by confusing all judgments about values. —Veritatis Splendor, n. 104; vatican.va
In this scenario, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is essentially rendered moot. Then the names in the Book of Life are comprised no longer of those who remained faithful to God’s commandments to the end, or of those who chose to be martyred rather than sin against the Most High, but of those who were faithful according to their own ideal. This notion, however, is an anti-mercy that not only neglects the necessity of conversion for salvation, but hides or disfigures the Good News that every repentant soul is made a “new creation” in Christ: “the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor 5:17
It would be a very serious error to conclude… that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an “ideal” which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man, according to a “balancing of the goods in question”. But what are the “concrete possibilities of man” ? And of which man are we speaking? Of man dominated by lust or of man redeemed by Christ? This is what is at stake: the reality of Christ’s redemption. Christ has redeemed us! This means that he has given us the possibility of realizing the entire truth of our being; he has set our freedom free from the domination of concupiscence. And if redeemed man still sins, this is not due to an imperfection of Christ’s redemptive act, but to man’s will not to avail himself of the grace which flows from that act. God’s command is of course proportioned to man’s capabilities; but to the capabilities of the man to whom the Holy Spirit has been given; of the man who, though he has fallen into sin, can always obtain pardon and enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Veritatis Splendor, n. 103; vatican.va
This is the incredible message of authentic Divine Mercy! That even the greatest sinner can obtain pardon and enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit by recourse to the fount of Mercy, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Peace with God is not a subjective assumption, but is only objectively true when, through the confession of one’s sins, one makes peace with God through Christ Jesus who made “peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20).
Thus, Jesus did not tell the adulteress, “Go now, and continue to commit adultery if you are at peace with yourself and God.” Rather, “go and sin no more.” cf. John 8:11; John 5:14
And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. (Rom 13:9-14)
And if she did, if she made “no provision for the desires of the flesh,” then all of Heaven rejoiced over her.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. (Today’s Psalm)
But if she did not, tragically assuming that when Jesus said “Neither do I condemn you” that He meant that He did not condemn her actions, then over this woman—and all those who would lead her and such like-minded astray… all of Heaven weeps.
Read the followup to this writing: The Authentic Mercy
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|↑1||Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II ), at the Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, PA; August 13, 1976; Deacon Keith Fournier, an attendee at the Congress, reported the words as above; cf. Catholic Online|
|↑2||cf. Faustina, and the Day of the Lord|
|↑3||cf. Political Correctness and the Great Apostasy|
|↑4||Veritatis Splendor, n. 32|
|↑5||Dominum et Vivificantem, n. 443|
|↑6||2 Cor 5:17|
|↑7||cf. John 8:11; John 5:14|