Saturday, December 10, 2016

THESE RESPECTED SCHOLARS POINT TO A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER


When Fr. MJK was in the seminary in the early 1980's at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, an ultra traditional Seminary for that time, Dr. Germain Grisez, a married lay moral theologian, taught him.

Two More Scholars Issue a Letter of Concern on Amoris Laetitia


At First Things, two more scholars have published a summary of a letter they sent to Pope Francis last month. The full letter (PDF link) is entitled, The Misuse of Amoris Laetitia To Support Errors against the Catholic FaithThe authors are John Finnis, emeritus professor of law and legal philosophy at the University of Oxford and Biolchini Family Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, and Germain Grisez is emeritus professor of Christian ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University.
 In their summary, they explain:
In this letter we request Pope Francis to condemn eight positions against the Catholic faith that are being supported, or likely will be, by the misuse of his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. We ask all bishops to join in this request and to issue their own condemnations of the erroneous positions we identify, while reaffirming the Catholic teachings these positions contradict.
The following considerations make it clear why appeals to Amoris Laetitia in support of these positions are correctly described as misuse of the Pope’s document.
The authors are more circumspect than other critics of the document have been, stating:
In our letter we deal only with the misuse of Amoris Laetitia to support positions held by theologians and pastors who are not teaching in persona Christ. [sic] We neither assert nor deny that Amoris Laetitia contains teachings needing qualification or delimitation, nor do we make any suggestions about how to do that, supposing it were necessary.
The meat of the issue, as the authors see it, is contained in certain positions that have emerged with apparent support to be found in the text of Amoris Laetitia. These positions, they assert, are likely a manifestation of an attempt to deal “realistically with Catholics influenced by secularized culture who are breaking with the Church or drifting away.” Nevertheless, they insist that such a strategy “sets aside the Church’s tradition and primary mission—to preach the Gospel everywhere and always, and to teach believers all that Jesus has commanded.”
Further:
The letter explains how proponents of the eight positions we identify can find support in statements by or omissions from the Apostolic Exhortation, and indicates how these positions are or include errors against the Catholic faith. In each case we explain briefly how the position has emerged among Catholic theologians or pastors and show how certain statements or omissions from Amoris Laetitia are being used, or likely will be used, to support it. We then set out grounds for judging the position to be contrary to Catholic faith, that is, to Scripture and teachings that definitively pertain to Tradition, each interpreted in the other’s light.
The eight positions are as follows:
Position A: A priest administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation may sometimes absolve a penitent who lacks a purpose of amendment with respect to a sin in grave matter that either pertains to his or her ongoing form of life or is habitually repetitive.
Position B: Some of the faithful are too weak to keep God’s commandments; though resigned to committing ongoing and habitual sins in grave matter, they can live in grace.
Position C: No general moral rule is exceptionless. Even divine commandments forbidding specific kinds of actions are subject to exceptions in some situations.
Position D: While some of God’s commandments or precepts seem to require that one never choose an act of one of the kinds to which they refer, those commandments and precepts actually are rules that express ideals and identify goods that one should always serve and strive after as best one can, given one’s weaknesses and one’s complex, concrete situation, which may require one to choose an act at odds with the letter of the rule.
Position E: If one bears in mind one’s concrete situation and personal limitations, one’s conscience may at times discern that doing an act of a kind contrary even to divine commandment will be doing one’s best to respond to God, which is all that he asks, and then one ought to choose to do that act but also be ready to conform fully to the divine commandment if and when one can do so.
Position F: Choosing to bring about one’s own, another’s, or others’ sexual arousal and/or satisfaction is morally acceptable provided only that (1) no adult has bodily contact with a child; (2) no participant’s body is contacted without his or her free and clear consent to both the mode and the extent of contact; (3) nothing done knowingly brings about or unduly risks significant physical harm, disease transmission, or unwanted pregnancy; and (4) no moral norm governing behavior in general is violated.
Position G: A consummated, sacramental marriage is indissoluble in the sense that spouses ought always to foster marital love and ought never to choose to dissolve their marriage. But by causes beyond the spouses’ control and/or by grave faults of at least one of them, their human relationship as a married couple sometimes deteriorates until it ceases to exist. When a couple’s marriage relationship no longer exists, their marriage has dissolved, and at least one of the parties may rightly obtain a divorce and remarry.
Position H: A Catholic need not believe that many human beings will end in hell.Our letter concludes by indicating how theologians and pastors who teach and put into practice any of these eight positions can thereby do grave harm to many souls, and pointing to some ways in which this may happen. It also notes the grave damage these errors do to marriage and to young people who otherwise might have entered into authentic married life with good hearts and been signs of Christ’s covenantal love for his Church.
Our letter concludes by indicating how theologians and pastors who teach and put into practice any of these eight positions can thereby do grave harm to many souls, and pointing to some ways in which this may happen. It also notes the grave damage these errors do to marriage and to young people who otherwise might have entered into authentic married life with good hearts and been signs of Christ’s covenantal love for his Church.

20 comments:

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - Mt. St. Mary's was not "an ultra traditional Seminary for that time...".

As I have pointed out to you when you have previously made this uninformed comment, The Mount was, for that time, as middle-of-the-road as seminaries could be. And before you go spouting - again - what people who did not attend The Mount said about it, recall that I spent 3.5 years inhabiting the halls and classrooms and chapels of Holy Mother Mountain. You and they didn't.

We had professors who were very conservative and professors who were very liberal. All were orthodox. Germaine Grisez, who you cite in your post, once gave a very compelling paper in a public lecture which showed that the very possession of nuclear weapons was grossly immoral. And recall that he was one of the top neo-Thomist scholars in his day.

To those who never were blessed with more than a visit or two, The Mount seemed "ultra traditional." Those of us who were formed there know this is a mistaken appreciation of the place.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Those of us at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore which unabashedly was liberal to HETERODOX know that compared to our Seminary your Seminary was ultra tradition and pre Vatican II which as you know and evidently still feel, is the worst insult that could be hurled at any Catholic institution, religious order, diocese or individual in that period.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The wise saying is, "Comparisons are odious." Another is by the great theologian Theodore Roosevelt: "Comparison is the thief of joy."

No, not even by comparison was The Mount "ultra traditional."

Neither was it "pre-Vatican II," so, no, I am not insulted in the least. Your attempt at hurling such...fails.

Anonymous said...

Francis just compared those who disagree with him to people with a severe mental disorder that like to "eat shit". Excuse the vulgarity but this is what the Vicar of Christ said. The man needs to be committed to an institution ASAP.

rcg said...

School rivalries aside, these positions are interesting because they seem to have been reached through some sort of intellectual process and are exactly the same as observations I have made of human nature over my lifetime. This is the sort testing that Pope Francis should seek from trusted advisors to help him craft guidance that won't be misused by people with different agendas or even bad intent.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that one of the authors was from the University of Notre Dame.
Maybe not all the apples in that cart are so bad.

Sheila

TJM said...

Fr.Kavy,

As a card carrying member of the Abortion and Gay Marriage Party (formerly the Democratic Party) you have zero credibility with Faithful Catholics. I'd accept Fr. McDonald's description over yours any day.

At the bottom of this is that the liberals who destroyed the Catholic Church following the Council, are so desperate for bodies, that they will admit divorced and remarried Catholics without the benefit of an annulment, to Holy Communion in their delusional attempt to buoy up sagging membership. That effort will backfire

Mark Thomas said...

For each "prominent" person opposed to Amoris Laetitia, a "prominent" person may be presented who has declared Amoris Laetitia orthodox.

Example:

http://www.lastampa.it/2016/11/22/vaticaninsider/eng/comment/prominent-italian-philosopher-explains-his-response-to-doubts-surrounding-the-amoris-laetitia-PlkfDOSNRNHs8XoErKA5XJ/pagina.html

-- Prominent Italian philosopher explains his response to doubts surrounding the Amoris Laetitia

"It seems obvious to me, therefore, that the Amoris Laetitia is perfectly in keeping with the doctrine and sacred tradition of the Church and does not in any way contradict the theological teaching of the Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II’s magisterium (as well as the magisterial of his predecessors and successors)..."

Rocco Buttiglione served as an adviser to Pope Saint John Paul II and is expert on Pope Saint John Paul II's magisterium, as noted by La Stampa. Rocco Buttiglione responded point-by-point to the dubia. The bottom line is that he declared the following at the end of his article in question:

"It seems obvious to me, therefore, that the Amoris Laetitia is perfectly in keeping with the doctrine and sacred tradition of the Church and does not in any way contradict the theological teaching of the Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II’s magisterium (as well as the magisterial of his predecessors and successors), opposes the relativist approach of those who claim that the virtue or evil of a given action depends on the conscience of the person who performs it but recognises that the subjective elements of the action need to be taken into account when judging the responsibility of the person, i.e. (to use the words of the catechism I studied as a child) “full knowledge and deliberate consent”.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

As I did via my previous comment, we can play all day long the "Amoris Laetita is heretical or at least is ambiguous to the point that certain folks employ AL to advance unorthodox teachings game..."

...just as we can play the "Amoris Laetitia is 100 percent in line with Church Teaching" game.

We can cite one "prominent" person after another to "prove" that Amoris Laetitia is orthodox. We can cite one "prominent" person after another to "prove" that Amoris Laetitia is unorthodox.

We can cite right-wing blogs day after day to "prove" that His Holiness Pope Francis is a vile, evil, heretical man. Conversely, we can cite Vatican press reports day after day to "prove" that His Holiness Pope Francis is a kind, holy, orthodox man.

Right-wing bloggers may be cited to "prove" that Pope Francis has remained silent in regard to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, abortion, traditional marriage, and the need to confess one's sins and amend one's life.

Vatican press statements may be cited to "prove" that Pope Francis has time and again condemned the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, abortion, and upheld traditional marriage, as well as the need to confess one's sins and amend one's life.

We can spin anything as we please to "prove" this or that.

What does all this mean? It means the following: As DJR noted the other day, only Pope Francis can speak authoritatively to clear the air in regard to Amoris Laetitia (as well as one Church-related issue after another).

Other than Pope Francis' voice...it's just a bunch of chatter (I lead the league in that category).

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

The battle for orthodoxy is not theologian vs. theologian, it is Pope vs. revelation and tradition, holy scripture. That the Kasper-Bergoglio line was totally discredited at the Synod no true Catholic doubts. Yet, the Holy Father chose to issue AL full of ambiguities that now has become a manifesto for action among schismatics and heretics. Let us pray that he finds his humble self one more time and answer the dubia.
Anon-1

Gene said...

Kavanaugh is Pope Francis' ideal Priest.

rcg said...

Mark, you miss the point. The thoughts, ideas, in AL are not wrong, but as guidance it is lacking in clarity and precision. This is exactly the same problem we have with our Protestant, Evangelical, and some others that use the Bible as an instruction maual. They can misunderstand and act wrongly with apparent good intent. And, as we know, people can dissemble the words to get the message they want.

Manuals for operation of aircraft are filled with instructions embedded with warnings and cautions that relate terrible things that can happen even while following the instructions. One must have the situational awareness of the circumstances of the operation. Most of the warnings are composed after someone suffered the result of following the instructions blindly. We say that each word is written in someone's blood.

Anonymous said...

TJM - I'm sure a vote of confidence coming from you just warms the cockles of Fr. McDonald's heart, like support from John Wayne Gacy would warm the heart of Emmett Kelly.

Feliz Navidad!

John Nolan said...

Mark Thomas

It's not a game, nor is it an academic debate. It's simply an unholy mess. Francis told the youth in Rio to 'make a mess'. He seems to have taken his own advice to heart.

TJM said...

Anonymous,

Did it take you two or three hours to come up with that witty repartee? Gacy was a Dem, so he's part of YOUR team

Anonymous said...

TJM - Three hours? No, three seconds. And it is a witty riposte, not a witty repartee.

Anonymous said...

Gacy was white. If you are white, he's part of YOUR team.

Gacy was American. If you are American, he's part of YOUR team.

Insightful!

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous above - we have sunk very low. I don't think that Francis could sink any lower. As Rod Dreher says:

"The Vicar of Christ, ladies and gentlemen.

I know I’m the sort of person Francis would call “rigid,” but I think we could all stand a bit more rigidity from this guy. Whoever thought they would live to see the day when the Roman pontiff gave an interview in which he raised the subject eating poo for sexual pleasure?" (Link provided for easy reference by Anon 2)

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/poop-talk-pope-francis/

Jan

Anonymous said...

Priests that are gay can and are priests so long as they are celibate, we have always known this and most are very Tradition minded and love the TLM, folks this pope is on the verge of "cracking up" there is something wrong with him.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God I just read the article about what Francis said about anyone who does not agree with him should eat "s--t" forgive me but I cleaned up what he said, in complete and total shock here folks, Francis needs to be committed or at least step down he is destroying our Church.