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Can Doctrinal “Development” Flout the Laws of Logic?

Speaking in Rome on October 11th, 2017 (55th anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II), at a conference promoting the ‘New Evangelization’, Pope Francis made known his will for the Catechism of the Catholic Church to be revised so as to condemn capital punishment as absolutely immoral in principle. He declared the death penalty to be “in itself contrary to the Gospel” (“in sé stessa contraria al Vangelo”).

In an effort to reassure Catholics of the orthodoxy of such a dramatic about face from two millennia of biblical, magisterial and approved catechetical teaching, the Pope added:

“Here we are not in the presence of any kind of contradiction with the teaching of the past, because the defense of the dignity of human life from the first moment of conception until natural death has always found its coherent and authoritative voice in the teaching of the Church. The harmonious development of doctrine, however, requires us to cease defending arguments which now appear decisively contrary to the new understanding of Christian truth”.

With all due respect, this is a jawdropping travesty of logic. The Holy Father doesn’t seem to comprehend the law of non-contradiction, the first principle of all rational thought, and, therefore, an essential foundation of the very possibility of a rationally credible body of revealed truth. In a seemingly calm, routine, business-as-usual discourse to Roman prelates and scholars, Christ’s own Vicar on earth has effectively laid the axe to the root of coherent Christian belief.

If the above comments seem too presumptuous or severe, dear reader, please bear with me for a few moments to consider just what is at stake here.

The Church, in line with Sacred Scripture, has always taught firmly, clearly, and consistently that capital punishment is, under certain circumstances, morally acceptable (even though John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae issued a prudential judgment restricting those circumstances very drastically under modern circumstances). Pope Innocent III even excluded from communion with the Catholic Church certain medieval sectarians who, like Pope Francis, believed and taught that it is never morally acceptable (cf. DS 795 = Dz 425). For further discussion, see my recently published article on this subject here.

Now, I suspect any eighth-grade child of average intelligence will be able to see that this Proposition (P), “Capital punishment is always contrary to the Gospel”, contradicts Proposition P1, “Capital punishment is not always contrary to the Gospel”. Yet Francis denies the reality of this clear doctrinal contradiction. He asserts that P, which he now wants to impose on the universal Church as a new and supposedly harmonious doctrinal “development”, is not “in contradiction with the teaching of the past” (i.e., with P1, which he knows has been unanimously taught by all his predecessors in Peter’s See). And he attempts to justify this assertion by pointing out the irrelevant fact that P is in harmony with a quite different and much broader doctrinal proposition which the Church has always taught, namely, P3: “The dignity of human life from the first moment of conception until natural death is always to be defended.”

This amounts to a syllogism of the following nonsensical form:

Major: Doctrine X is true;

Minor: Doctrine X is in harmony with Doctrine Y;

Conclusion: Therefore Doctrine X is in harmony with Doctrine non-X.

A moment’s further consideration of this sophism reveals that the Pope’s appeal to P3 above is not only logically irrelevant, but begs the very question at issue, namely, Does the (undoubted) dignity of all human life from conception onwards imply that it is always immoral for the State to impose the death penalty? And how ironic it is that this question is already answered in the negative by the most authoritative source possible, divine revelation! For while Pope Francis asserts baldly (without argument) that human dignity implies the immorality of capital punishment, God tells us in the first book of the Bible the exact opposite, namely, that it is precisely because of human dignity that capital punishment is legitimate: “If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has man been made” (Genesis 9: 5-6, emphasis added). For a full philosophical, theological and criminological discussion of this issue, see the excellent new 420-page book by Professors Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette, By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: a Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2017).

What further implications are there for other Catholic doctrines in the transparently fallacious argument used by the Holy Father to condemn capital punishment in principle? Several decades ago, in the aftermath of Humanae Vitae, progressivist dissenters were fond of saying sardonically, “When the Church finally comes round to allowing contraception, the papal document announcing this change will begin with the words, ‘As the Church has always taught, . . . ‘.”  They meant this, of course, as a joke.

Alas, it is no longer a joke. In today’s Church, Ridiculous is the new Real. Peter’s Successor is seriously and openly proposing to reverse a rock-solid bimillennial doctrine while simultaneously claiming that it is not in “contradiction with the teaching of the past”. With exactly the same kind of “logic” – papering over the crack between two contrary teachings with a smooth and uncontroversial generality – almost any real contradiction of existing doctrine could be portrayed as a “harmonious development” thereof. If the present Catechism is indeed revised so as to condemn capital punishment unequivocally, then once that precedent is set we might well hear the following kind of argumentation from the Vatican a little further down the road: “As of the first Sunday of Advent, 2020, in accordance with the Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Homophobia Deplorabilis, those living in same-sex relationships may no longer lawfully be denied sacramental absolution and Holy Communion simply because of that relationship. However, this development, which is the fruit of the Church’s gradually deepening discernment and recognition of the positive values of love and faithfulness that are evident in so many same-sex relationships, is by no means to be seen as a contradiction of past Catholic teaching; for the Church has always clearly recognized that those with same-sex attraction are truly loved by God and enjoy the same human dignity as their heterosexual brothers and sisters”.

Or again: “In accordance with the Apostolic Constitution Sexismi Discriminatorii Denuntiandi, the 2022 edition of the Code of Canon Law will be amended so as to allow women to receive ordination to the diaconate and ministerial priesthood. By no means, however, should this development of doctrine be seen as a contradiction of past Catholic teaching; on the contrary, it is the harmonious flowering and maturation of the Church’s constant traditional teaching, based firmly on Sacred Scripture, that both man and woman are created equally in God’s image and enjoy equal dignity in his sight.”

Will our church leaders now recognize Pope Francis’ spurious “doctrinal development” on capital punishment for the sophistry it is, and have the courage to resist it accordingly? Because if not – that is, if our Catholic bishops, cardinals, scholars, universities, religious orders and establishment Catholic newspapers and websites all nod their heads wisely in grave, sycophantic admiration of the naked emperor’s latest New Clothes – we can have little confidence that in the near future they will resist still more blatant papal sacrifices of Catholic orthodoxy on the altar of ‘enlightened’ modernity.

270 thoughts on “Can Doctrinal “Development” Flout the Laws of Logic?”

  1. What is “harmonious development” and the “new understanding of Christian truth”? How does a parent explain this to his little ones? Does this man have actual conversations with people? Seriously, who speaks like this? It’s as if we are living in an episode of the twilight zone!

  2. He’s just laughing at us now. I mean, he’s in our faces sneering at us. He knows he can say whatever the hell he wants and nobody will actually do a darn thing. He’s flipped the bird at the dubia and the cardinals who submitted them for over a year, he rigged two Synods, wrote a heretical apostolic exhortation, talks trash about “rigid” (read faithful) Catholics every day and he’s overflowing with self-confidence. Now he’s ready to change the Catechism. Oh sure, a certain section of the Catholic blogosphere will have apoplexy for the umpteenth time but who cares, right? Whatcha gonna do about it, huh??

    The cardinals don’t seem to get it. Bergoglio is like a serial killer. He’s a psychopath. He will continue to kill and kill and kill until he’s caught and terminated.

    • Based on his behaviour, I would certainly say he suffers from some sort of mental issue. I think it’s plain to see. He doesn’t even comprehend basic logic or the principle of non-contradiction. That’s a clear sign of delusion and ineptitude of the brain. Sad to say, I think he is actually insane.

        • Really? Please tell me you don’t actually believe that. I know many in the “traditionalist” community (i.e. faithful, orthodox Catholics) don’t like some of the things JPII did, but saying he is as bad as PF is ridiculous.

          • That is my considered opinion, which I see no reason to back down from. That JP2 has been canonised does not the change the facts of his pontificate, for better or for worse. I don’t find PF much of a problem, because his actions and words, at their worst, are far less scandalous than some of what JP2 did and said and allowed.

            After a major shock like the Assisi Abomination of 1986, or the unsaying in 1980 to the Jews of Mainz of the doctrine, found in the NT and taught ever since, that the Church is the New Israel, the peccadillos ascribed – not always justly – to PF are a mere hiccup. His adoption of a Modernist doctrine of doctrinal development is almost to be expected, after the errors – which none of the clergy, including Burke and co., rebuked him for – of JP2.

            The scandal is not only that PF is adopting a Modernist theory: it is also that he is being resisted whereas the errors of JP2 were accepted and not resisted. It is hypocritical in the last degree of PF’s accusers to accuse and correct him, when they had no scruples at all about accepting the errors of JP2. These men are hypocrites, and cowards; liberals no different, except in their position in the Church, from their fellow-liberals JP2, B16 and Francis. So their unprincipled behaviour in correcting a Pope who is no worse than they are is not admirable or courageous, but sick-making. For genuine courage in the fight against Papal evil-doing and error, one has to look to a truly heroic bishop like Abp Lefebvre. A man who sets the integrity of the Faith, the reverence due the Sacraments, the piety due to Sacred Tradition, and the salvation of souls. before his own reputation, is truly worthy of praise.

          • You make some very good points. I was not a Catholic until 1997, and back in the 1980s I was a full-blown Hindu- and Buddhist-sympathizing syncretist, so I thought JPII was wonderful. I honestly don’t know what I would have thought if I had been a believing, practicing Catholic at the time. I do remember being VERY upset about the Koran-kissing incident — but by then (1999), I was Catholic. And I was even more upset about it in retrospect in the following years, after 2001, when I began reading up on Islam and realizing how evil it is.

            But I think PF is upsetting because it feels like he is attacking much closer to home. Sexuality, marriage and family, Mass and the Eucharist…. to start trying to change the very MEANING of those deeply personal, all-important things is to inflict a deep and personal wound on Catholics who really know, feel, live, and love their faith.

          • The Saint you refer to is the Pope who made Bergoglio a bishop against the plea of a leader of the Argentinian Jesuits.

          • Saints, real or supposed, are as open to criticism as anyone else. A Saint who must not be criticised is probably not really a Saint, because real holiness can withstand every test, however severe. That JP2’s cause was hurried through with such indecent haste. and such lack of rigour, and with no regard for the passage of time between the death of candidates for beatification and the opening of the causes that he himself had established, does not leave one confident of his alleged holiness. If the law he made had been kept, he would not even be Servant of God by now, just 12 years after his death.

        • Absurd, James. JPII certainly had his own problems, but i’d never say he was in any way as much a danger to the Faith as Bergoglio, who is the Devil’s Disciple.

          • Both JPII and BXVI were products of the 2nd Vat. Council, and yes they were infected with Modernism as well. But you’re right, they didn’t push it to the point of heresy like Jorge the Merciful, but they certainly paved the way for him. Just look at what has happened since JPII inserted his personal opinion on the DP in the CCC.

          • And one of his problems was Modernism – which St Pius X, no less legitimate a Pope than JP2, had condemned as a heresy, less than 70 years before JP2 became Pope. It is magical thinking to suppose that if a Pope espouses ideas condemned as grave error by one of his predecessors, he cannot be guilty of that error. Error is error, whether the Pope espousing it is canonised or not. There is no “Get Out of Gaol Free” card for Popes who are in error or who do wrong, canonised or not: if lesser men would be considered worthy of criticism for holding the error, the same judgement applies to Popes. If anything, their position in the Church, and the vastness of their power to do harm, renders them liable to severer criticism than other men are liable to. It’s not every member of the Church who is rebuked as “Satan” by Christ Himself.

          • I agree with everything you said here, but I don’t put JPII in the same category with Bergoglio. I stop there. He made Bergoglio a bishop against the advice of the Jesuit superior in Argentina. That’s reason enough to criticize him. He also wrote much of ‘Gaudium et Spes, a heresy if there ever was one. It’s a blueprint for the destruction of the primacy of the Church and one reason why Archbishop Lefebvre was so opposed to VII.

            I agree with what you said about him. JPII tried to silence him and, to his everlasting credit, he would not be silenced. I’m convinced he will be a saint some day.

          • But they made small steps to deminished the Traditional Catholic faith. It’s called deception.

      • Do you think he knows he routinely contradicts himself? Does he say whatever he feels and not care if there is a contradiction? In that case I don’t think it’s a mental illness but I have no idea honestly

        • I think he honestly does not see any contradiction; I suspect he is one of those people, who, with the best intentions, manages to do a lot of damage. That people’s behaviour has terrible results, is quite compatible with their having good intentions, even though this is no comfort to those who have to pick up the pieces.

    • Calm down,
      I concur, (and we are angry) but too much focus on the front door leaves the back door unguarded
      and the Devil slips in to trip us up and cause trouble, distraction from immediate duties, anxiety, and
      panic. We temper our anger to avoid mistakes in our lives.
      God wins!

    • The Church is not a block of concrete but a living People of God. They, human beings are always developing, growing, becoming more articulate and wise. Dei Verbum says as much:

      “The Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes” (DV 8 [par. 1]) […] ‘This Tradition develops […] grows […] and constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth, until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her’ (DV 8 [par. 2])” […] ‘God, who in many and various ways spoke of old to our fathers’ (Heb 1:1), ‘uninterruptedly converses with the bride of his beloved Son’ (DV 8 [par. 3]).”

      Ratzinger/Benedict wrote probably the finest commentary on this key Vatican II document and is still widely quoted by scholars regardless of where they are on the Catholic spectrum.
      You need to get some help with anger then go and read a few books. Both would, I suspect, be new experiences.

      • Yeah, how absolutely unbelievable! Imagine that! Some people actually get angry when they see the Catholic faith which they love being subverted and trashed. Amazing! Here’s a clue. Anyone who is not angry about what’s happened in the Church this past 50 years, is a clueless Pollyanna.

        As for your post, it’s nothing more than a vacuous, pretentious regurgitation of irrelevant cliches . The Church is much, much more than “a living People of God”. It is the Mystical Body of Christ who is the head and who is the same, yesterday, today and forever. For this reason, doctrine never changes and therefore your post has absolutely zero relevance to the proposed 180 degree change to Catholic teaching on the death penalty and the just war doctrine being discussed here.

        Take your patronizing, self-congratulatory prose elsewhere.

        • Cheers kiwi , I’m angry too and don’t feel like being calm and quiet about the Catholic teachings being undermined , lay scholars that are dripping with turn the other cheek are also the problem , unless Catholics get a bit of steel in their backbones then it’s going to end in tears , Australia is fighting the homosexual marriage fight at the moment , with only a few days left we finally hear from the archbishops of Sydney and Brisbane in support of traditional marriage ( a bit late ) the Anglican archbishop finally supported traditional marriage but the Anglican archbishop of Perth ( a woman ) is in full support of the homosexual agenda ,however at parish level we’ve been told constantly to pray for them and hope for them to repent and they need our support but they are doing too much ongoing damage to society in the meantime and that’s if they ever repent ,this is very similar to the point of the death penalty how much damage are people permitted to do to society before being rebuked or stopped , even as some are deluded into thinking Anglicans and Protestants are like Catholics they prove again they hold decidedly different views but now our pope holds the same views , I’m so sick of being polite about it

      • As my someday-Sainted mothers says: “Who died and left you in charge?” You might not mean it but your comment comes across as belittling and dismissive.

        • Julia, what is disturbing me greatly is the ‘belittling and dismissive’ tone of Fr Harrison uses in his critique of Pope Francis and Amoris Latitia.

          He is not the only one either. Just read a the tread closely and you will detect the seam of hostility, passive and active aggression, contempt and even hatred directed towards the Pope. No one with a deep knowledge and understanding of the theological tradition of the Church founded in the Gospel and brilliantly articulated by Thomas Aquinas eight hundred years ago has brought a professional criticism to bear against either Francis or Amoris Laetitia.

          It’s all the folk from the same end of the Catholic spectrum who almost invariably lapse into cafeteria Catholicism in the way they arbitrarily dismiss the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council as merely ‘pastoral’. They conveniently ‘forget’ that both John Paul II and Benedict XVI insisted that Catholics accept Vatican II in its entirety because it authoritatively contains, preserves and passes on all of the teaching of all of the Councils before it.

          I hope people commenting here might take this to heart.

          • ‘Subjective conscience’ is never above the moral law’. Thomas Aquinas, echoed by theologian Ratzinger says you’re wrong.

          • Aquinas fully and completely acknowledged that consciences can be defiled. Unless God contradicts himself–which is impossible–then the moral law as passed down in the Bible, the unerring, inspired Word of God, is above all. God would not give binding laws and commandments to mankind and then command certain individuals to disobey him.

            That is preposterous and blasphemous.

          • Quiet the contrary, they both agree with my assertion. Erroneous conscience is never above true law. Your logic has made yourself a type of god.

          • Gregory, this is an absolute joke, right? There are highly respected theologians and cannon lawyers who question this pope and Amoris Latetia at every turn. You are, my friend, are either deceived or trying to deceive.

            1Then Jesus left that place and went into the region of Judea, beyond the Jordan. Again the crowds came to Him and He taught them, as was His custom.

            2Some Pharisees came to test Him. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” they inquired.

            3“What did Moses command you?” He replied.

            4They answered, “Moses permitted a man to write his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

            5But Jesus told them, “Moses wrote this commandment for you because your hearts were hard. 6However, from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’a 7‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,b 8and the two will become one flesh.’c So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

            10When they were back inside the house, the disciples asked Jesus about this matter. 11So He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

            Seems pretty clear to me. Jesus’ words are not open to “development” in this case: the words are clear and unambiguous. There is not a single opening there for any other interpretation of the genders and numbers of people who can marry. And the unbreakable covenant.

          • Gregory this is diabolical – there have been many holy and articulate articles and talks explaining how AL is not Thomistic, etc….just do a search as a very well respected OP, ie Dominican, dismantled AL as Thomistic with Thomas own words in the last week….Seifert and Spademan are also very well respected and appointed by Saint John Paul and/or Pope Benedict and have done precisely what you say no one has done….you glorify satan with such lies or deceits…..please don’t do this any more, blessings

          • If council VATII limited itself only in recalling previous magisterial teachings, I would be free to disregard this council since I agree with ALL these previous teachings.
            But no, VAT II introduced new concepts that broke with old previous teachings, for example for what concerns the religious freedom.
            Therefore, I am not only free, but my conscience obliges me to disregard it.

          • … what is disturbing me greatly is the ‘belittling and dismissive’ tone of Fr Harrison uses in his critique of Pope Francis and Amoris Latitia.

            In the old days, it would have gone beyond belittling and dismissive. He would have been thrown in the Tiber.

          • “No one with a deep knowledge and understanding of the theological tradition of the Church founded in the Gospel and brilliantly articulated by Thomas Aquinas eight hundred years ago has brought a professional criticism to bear against either Francis or Amoris Laetitia.”

            I don’t think you’ve been paying attention.

          • Indeed. I can think of one Thomas Crean OP, who signed the Correctio and one Aidan Nichols OP who separately took AL apart. Both qualified scholars in the tradition of St. Thomas.

      • Revelation ceased with the death of St. John the Evangelist.
        The Gospel has blank pages?
        Maybe recognizing your passive/aggressive comportment for what it is would allow you a clarifying lens.

        • Revelation never stops in the sense that human imagination and the ability to comprehend and apply revelation will never cease from inquiry.
          As I said to someone else, the Church is not a concrete block but a living people (a key biblical idea) Bricks don’t think, adapt, develop and change but people do.

          • There is no further revelation. Christ’s words are not contradicted by the inventions of popes, heretics, friends of the pope, heretical friends of the popes, nor heretical friends of heretical popes

          • What you wrote above is bull: it’s your opinion, the value of which extends to the tip of your nose. Jesus Christ was the Word made flesh. The final Word. The last Word. We are not free to reimagine him or his teachings.

          • If you really believed in the Incarnation and the moral consequences for believers, you would wholeheartedly embrace what Pope Francis is teaching in Amoris Laetita. It’s all about the Word becoming flesh. Real Barrio stuff.
            I think that you are, however, more comfortable with a form of Neo-Platonism with its code of disembodied unctuous moralisms

          • No, Gregory, no. I am worried about people being led to hell. Contradicting developed dogma is, I guess, one matter. Contradicting the Word of God is quite another and they are contradicting it. At some point, instead of giving subjective arguments that are pure opinion, you have to tackle the theology, actually respond to my comments. I gave you Christ’s words–you have not remarked once on those words.

          • Brian you should worry less about people going to hell and more about infantalizing them with the tabloid doggerel you have trotted out in this article and sloganeering about ‘the principle of contradiction’ which the legion of poorly catechised and easily led who follow sites like this one take up and treat like a divine oracle. You have assumed that high ground with you disciples but what you offer is pure subjectivism tarted up as scholarship and passed off as authority. I think you ceased being a credible theologian a very long time ago and have become an ideologist and apologist for a particular vested interests.

          • Greg, rebut the points, do not attack me as a person. I do not claim to be theologian but Cardinal Newman, Father Harrison, Cardinal Pell….these are men with doctorates in systematic theology. In no way, shape or form did God ever indicate in the Bible that conscience is primacy. God’s laws and commandments have the prime place, the primacy of truth.

            As for the poorly cathecized comment, well, all I can say is that the people on this site are upholding the truth. It is the pope and his sycophants who infantalize the people by claiming that they didn’t understand the marriage covenant (it’s just so confusing) and that people aren’t “receiving” the message and therefore are not accountable. I say phooey: it’s very easy to understand the faith (The Ten Commandments are unambiguous) and I believe people can do it. I also believe that if God wanted us to follow our conscience then we would not need the Bible, Saints….Christ Jesus. Why would we? What would we need to learn from anybody when it’s all written in hearts? Hmm?

          • Why not bring this discussion into focus, Gregory, by telling us which element(s) of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia apply to you? You obviously have a dog in the fight. Clarifying your intention may help move things along.

          • Learn your terms and drop the vacuous poetics. Tossed salad will not substitute for authentic theological reflection.
            Notions and feelings won’t do it. You exhibit the problem perfectly.
            Ignorance. Utter ignorance. No catechesis. You appear to be the product of local collegiate theological fun house.
            Divine revelation ceased with the death of the last apostle. Determine what that means and its implications for authentic, conscientious and devoted Christian existence.
            Theology is the study which through participation in and reflection upon a religious faith seeks to express the content of the faith in the clearest and most coherent language available.
            It does not seek to reconfigure it. It does not seek to metamorphosis it. It seeks to express it.
            If you want your own religion based on your imagination do it and drop the masquerade of being a Catholic. Presently it appears the theological academy and the episcopate is composed of a bunch of queens with a hankering, a deep drive, to redo the window display.
            It is pathetic.

          • These narcissists seek to remake God in their own image.
            Why insist on speaking as a Catholic, when one obviously isn’t one? They do not understand, how revolting their ways are to anyone honorable.

          • Perhaps you would be willing to get out your box, and receive a revelation.
            God is the Creator of our universe (we so believe), and He had known its end from the beginning. His Law never changes. We are not co-creators of the universe with “new insights”, but only creatures of God. Because our understanding of the universe is very limited, we ask God for guidance, and He gives it in His Word and through His Son, Jesus Christ.

            Change is only possible for individual souls, as they brake through the flesh, and become more like Jesus. It does not happen through collectivism, recycling, ideologies and wealth redistribution. It does not happen through plotting behind the scenes and denial of sin and hell.

            When societal norms deteriorate, when God is removed from the public sphere, when flesh is celebrated, obviously, the Holy Spirit is not responsible. This is not a NEW revelation, because God has destroyed it already – mercifully – with Sodom and Gomorrah for our learning.

          • You understand? – We don’t teach God anything in our “new contexts as new insights emerge”. We got nothing new to show God, but a renewed, grateful, obedient heart.
            Say, does it offend you that YOUR progress is ONLY possible via obedience, and that the more obedience to WHAT IS SET IN STONE, the better for your real growth? The discovery of new things is only possible through obedience. New things are only new to YOU.
            Your life doesn’t become meaningful through teaching God new things (I was born a sodomite and fisting is an expression of love! – You were mistaken, oh silly backward Demiurg!), but through rejecting your own ideas, your own desires,, and submitting to your Creator’s plan for you. You got very precise instructions from your loving Father, on how to accomplish it.

          • People can and do change – both for the better and the worse. But human nature does not change – it is a given, and has been from the time of Adam and will be to the end.

            Similarly the deposit of faith received once from the saints is a given – it does not and cannot change. Our understanding of that deposit can grow and develop, but within clearly defined limits. Those limits are also set out by Conciliar decree:

            “For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.
            Hence, too,that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.

            May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the SAME doctrine, the SAME sense, and the SAME understanding.” Ch 4, On faith and reason, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Vatican Council I

            Canon 3.: ” If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the church which is different from that which the church has understood and understands:
            let him be anathema.”

      • There is a big difference between growing and developing, and that of changing, contradicting, and trashing the unchangeable truth given to us by our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit.

        • I don’t see any of the Dubia Cardinals charging that Amoris Laetitia has changed, contradicted or trashed unchangeable truth. I see no other prominent bishops and theologians making such charges either. What the critics are saying is that some people are confused about the Amoris Laetitia’s teaching on pastoral care for those in ‘irregular’ sacramental or canonical circumstances.

          The fundamental appeal Amoris Laetitia makes in addressing and dealing with these situations is to he accepted principles of gradual moral growth and to the theology of Thomas Aquinas on the primacy of conscience and the paramount role of Prudence/Epikeia in moral reasoning. It’s all in the third part of the Summa (De Prudentia).
          Harrison either is not sufficiently informed theologically or he is theologically literate but is blindsided by the same kind of ideological posturing that is stirring up so many people and keeping them in the dark.

          BTW, there are very few essential or core teachings within the Catholic Tradition. Most are found in the Creed. People often confuse these core truths with theological speculation. They’re not the same.

          • Don’t try to twist Aquinas’ teaching into primacy of conscience without understanding that Aquinas was referring to a conscience well formed by the teachings of the Church. I am tired of people distorting St. Thomas.

            And see the passage of the Bible I quoted above: there’s nothing left to the conscience there. We are not free to contradict God because of sinful desires.

          • Aquinas elaborated on Paul’s teaching on conscience in Corinthians and Philemon in particular and on the absolute necessity of freedom in its adequate formation:

            “Every judgment of conscience is obligatory, be it right or wrong, be it about things evil in themselves or morally indifferent, in such wise that he who acts against his conscience always does moral evil.” — III Quodlibet, 27 His discussion on whether one is
            bound to do what an erring conscience calls for in the Summa Theologica
            I-II, q 19, art 5 is rather involved, but, finally, the answer is in the affirmative: every conscience binds, even one which is objectively erring.

            Fr Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) was a theological expert or peritus in 1967 during Vatican II. In his Commentary on the Documents of
            Vatican II (his Council Diaries) Ratzinger wrote a section on Conscience
            following the debate on Religious Freedom. It reflects the moral position of
            Thomas Aquinas and the standard doctrine of the Catholic Church:

            the pope as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one’s own conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirements of ecclesiastic authority. This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which is the last resort, is beyond the claims of external social groups, even the official church, and also establishes a principle in opposition to totalitarianism.”

            Paul’s attitude towards compliance with law and blind obedience to it is important to understand as it provided an important theological foundation for Aquinas’ teaching on the development of virtue. A habit is transformed into a virtue only when there is a free acceptance of the intrinsic value of that which is commanded.

            “Whoever acts of his own accord acts freely, but one who is impelled by another is not free. He who avoids evil, not because it is evil, but because of a precept of the Lord forbids it, is not free. On the other hand, he who avoids evil because it is evil is free. …. So, we are said to be free, not because we submit to the divine law, but because we
            are prompted by our good habit…” – Supp 2 Cor. 3:17, N.

          • From the CCC–which is in agreement with the Summa because St. TA did not write the Summa so that it could be twisted by half- wits with 1/4 the understanding of philosphy that even average medievalists possessed:


            1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

            1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

            1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path,54 we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.55

            NOTE 1785 WHICH DESCRIBES HOW A CONSCIENCE IS FORMED. And note that St. TA didn’t believe in, to turn a phrase, “sola synderesis”.

            Not everybody can be fooled by out-of-context quotes and snippets of different theological works. In other words, liberal tricks work well with the uninformed masses, not so well with those who are informed.

          • Well, Brian you have obviously opted for the lazy way out by doing cut and pasting bits and pieces of the CCC, penned by anonymous authors, who while making ambient, generalization about the formation of conscience don’t even mention the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas which has been standard Catholic teaching for 8 hundred years. The authors are even much excited about the part you are keen on namely, compliance with Church teaching. Maybe they needed to be coy because the Thomistic doctrine is the best articulation of Catholic teaching. Ratzinger got that one right.
            BTW, who mentioned ‘sola synderesis’? Thomas stressed the primacy of conscience at the ultimate moral meeting place between believers and God especially in the most conflicted moral situations and in doctrinally and canonically intractable circumstances. This is what Amoris Laetita is addressing because millions of Catholics are in this moral place. Belting them over the head with the CCC, the Codex Iuris Canonici and the rule book of the Catholic Taliban will not save them. Grace of Christ will, that’s Francis point and no one but ideologically driven malcontents and whiners are protesting.

          • Greg: Aquianas did not have teaching authority that superseded the Magesterium. Aquinas is not the last word. Even if he were, he agreed that conscience was based in being informed by Church teaching. He did not ever, EVER, contend that men should simply make up their minds and the CCC, in it’s development, took the Summa into account.

            Instead of recourse to juvenile acts, you show me the authoritative Church teaching in full context that describes the primacy of conscience without any referee to a well formed conscience. As for snippets, I provided the portion of the CCC that describes what constitutes a well formed conscience in it’s entirety. Drop the ad hominems and refute it. I want a full throated rebuttal with citations.

          • You have clearly not read what I have said about the Thomistic theology of the primacy of conscience in the context of the actual canonical and doctrinally intractable situation millions of Catholics find themselves in. This is at the heart of the matter as it is intrinsically linked to the prudential use of the internal forum.

            It was this that many of the bishops at the 2015 Synod resisted until the German speaking bishops, many highly experienced theologians like Schonborn, Kasper and Muller confronted the Synod with the traditional Catholic theology of conscience and the internal forum. Their contribution became the core of Amoris Laetitia. What you are offering here is a tabloid piece of free association on all sorts of all sorts of disconnected issues.

            How about you take a challenge and write all this up into a professional paper that you would present to a meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America. See if your colleagues would take you anywhere near as seriously or credibly at your followers here on 1P5.

          • Your gods are left wing pseudo academics. The Truth is perpetual adultery leads to eternal damnation. No “theologian” has the authority of Jesus. You are a propagandist, not a scholar.

          • Haha! Greg, there are a number of Catholic theologians who have trashed AL. The popes defenders do exactly what you have done and are doing: they duck and run, they never address points. Instead they fall back on situational ethics and ad hominem attacks.

            Come on, Greg, address the words of Christ. Call him a liar or a Pharisee. Go ahead, I dare you.

          • It seems that you don’t have the confidence outside the circle of the like minded to stand before your theological peers in the Academy and bring the dissenters to account.
            As for the words of Christ about the divine law absolutely forbidding divorce, I have no difficulty with that at all. The Jewish teachers of his time made exceptions and Jesus challenged the authority they gave to their own semitic tribal customary law over the command of God which allows of no exceptions.

            Now, Brian, what about the exceptions the Church allows for the dissolution of marriage: the Petrine and Pauline ‘privileges’? The theologians can argue till they are hoarse that these unions were not sacramental therefore they can be dissolved by virtue of the power of the Keys. The elephant in the room is that there Divine Command on the union between man and woman which forbids divorce absolutely, there were no ‘Keys’ mentioned and has nothing to say about sacramental bonds.

            Another elephant in your theological room Brian, is the fact that since 1968 when Humanae Vitae was published, somewhere between 90-95 % of couples, at least in the West, have dissented from Paul VI’s prohibition of artificial birth control. They have rejected its claimed authority to bind them to submission of will, they have rejected HV as doctrine that is congruent with the Catholic tradition and, have done so with informed consciences. The old chestnut trotted out by the apologists for HV that 90% of Catholic couples are ‘invincibly ignorant’ is a clear nonsense. They know exactly what was taught and what authority it claimed and have not only dissented from it but consciously rejected it as representing the mind and moral intentions of God. It’s called the Sensus Fidei Fidelium and it ticks all the boxes for it to be correct.

          • Oh my Lord, Grergory you are supremely incompetent. No, it does not matter what the laity think: it is clearly laid out in the gospels: the purpose of marriage is procreative. The people following VII do not have well formed consciences because a well formed Catholic conscience consents to Church teaching and eternal truths. The faith is not a democracy. Further, Pew has shown repeatedly that Catholics are near universally illiterate in the faith. Dissent from the people does not rewrite God’s laws. Good Lord, you can read that as early as Exodus when the Jews started worshipping idols in the desert. God did not say “oh, well, they must be correct because they have rejected what Moses has told them”. Are you kidding me with this? I suppose since over 50% of Catholics support abortion and same sex marriage that the Church is wrong on those issues, too?

            The term you are groping for is “heretical”. As for annulments, I agree: the Church has no business granting annulments. That being said, the solution is not universally invite all adulterers back to communion.

          • Then you have multiple problems with some very important people that you need to resolve before you come bleating and making demands. The first you have difficulties with are the 90% of Catholic people (laity, bishops and priests) not just the laity who have not ‘received’ or accepted HV as a genuine reflection of God’s will and not morally binding on their consciences. Cardinal Newman wrote a complete track on this in “One Consulting the Laity in Matters of Doctrine.” This is a perfect example of the Sensus Fidelium at work. And, just to add to the mix, in rejecting HV, the Catholic people have also rejected the bogus arguments about contraception in Casti Conubii. You also have a problem about what Vatican II taught about the ends of marriage. It did not say that the primary end of marriage is procreation. Look it up.
            You also have to deal with the fact that Christian morality is not fundamentally based on the 10 Commandments but on the living teaching of Christ and the Scriptures. The 10 Commandments are semitic tribal law that even the Taliban and ISIS would accept as authoritative. That doesn’t make them Christians.
            Finally, I would suggest that you gather your friends and begin a noisy protest movement directed at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith over annulments. I’m sure you’ll get a very warm welcome and generous response.

            Let the board know how it goes.

          • Your understanding of the Sensus Fidelium is erroneous. The Sensus Fidelium, or Sensus Fidei, is not a majority opinion. Pope Benedict XVI explained this:

            “Today, however, it is particularly important to explain the criteria that make it possible to distinguish the authentic sensus fidelium from its counterfeit. It is certainly not a kind of public ecclesial opinion and invoking it in order to contest the teachings of the Magisterium would be unthinkable, since the sensus fidei cannot be authentically developed in believers, except to the extent in which they fully participate in the life of the Church, and this demands responsible adherence to the Magisterium, to the deposit of faith.” [TO THE INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION, December 2012:

            The CDF published in 1990, an INSTRUCTION ON THE ECCLESIAL VOCATION
            OF THE THEOLOGIAN, in which it states:

            “35. Dissent sometimes also appeals to a kind of sociological argumentation which holds that the opinion of a large number of Christians would be a direct and adequate expression of the “supernatural sense of the faith”.

            Actually, the opinions of the faithful cannot be purely and simply identified with the “sensus fidei”. The sense of the faith is a property of theological faith; and, as God’s gift which enables one to adhere personally to the Truth, it cannot err. This personal faith is also the faith of the Church since God has given guardianship of the Word to the Church. Consequently, what the believer believes is what the Church believes. The “sensus fidei” implies then by its nature a profound agreement of spirit and heart with the Church, “sentire cum Ecclesia”.

            Although theological faith as such then cannot err, the believer can still have erroneous opinions since all his thoughts do not spring from faith. Not all the ideas which circulate among the People of God are compatible with the faith. This is all the more so given that people can be swayed by a public opinion influenced by modern communications media. Not without reason did the Second Vatican Council emphasize the indissoluble bond between the “sensus fidei” and the guidance of God’s People by the magisterium of the Pastors. These two realities cannot be separated.

            Here is referenced Lumen Gentium, No 12, in which is stated:

            “The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God. Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints, penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life.”

            Your position is “well, since 90% of the Church rejects Humanae Vitae, it must be wrong”. That is such a Modernist view of things! And, your idea that a doctrine must be “received” in order to be binding is ludicrous. The notorious Fr. James Martin, SJ, claims that because homosexuals do not “receive” the Church’s teaching against homosexual practises, that somehow means they are not bound by the Church’s teaching. Well, if the majority of the people do not receive the teaching that Jesus is God, then I suppose, according to you, that dogma must go out the window! I mean, what a ludicrous and heretical proposition! And it seems to work in the opposite way. Since the growing majority of Catholics accept Communion for adulterers, that must be the teaching of the Church, right?! What next? Ordination of women; the blessing of homosexual unions?!

            As to Cdl. Newman, this EWTN article explains the meaning of Newman regarding the consultation of the Laity: Cardinal Newman wanted a Laity that knew their Faith. Today, most Catholics are completely ignorant about the Faith and/or just simply reject it.

            Touching on the subject of Humanae Vitae, Fr. John Hardon, SJ, explains that the Church’s teaching on contraception is infallible:

            And in this article, Fr. Brian Harrison, OS, explains that Humanae Vitae is also infallible:

            Thus, regarding the 90% of the “faithful” who reject HV, the words of Fr. Hardon are quite cutting: Therefore, those who defend contraception forfeit their claim to being professed Catholics.

            Thus, it clearly shows that the Remnant of Israel are those 10% of Catholics who faithfully adhere to Humanae Vitae:

            “And Isaias crieth out concerning Israel: If the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” [Romans 9:27]

            You also have to deal with the fact that Christian morality is not fundamentally based on the 10 Commandments but on the living teaching of Christ and the Scriptures. The 10 Commandments are semitic tribal law that even the Taliban and ISIS would accept as authoritative. That doesn’t make them Christians .”

            So the Commandments are tribal law are they? That sounds awfully like Francis who claims they are “ideals”. And you talk about the “living teaching of Christ”. Well, what did Christ say? If you love me, keep my commandments [John 14:15]. And one of those Commandments was: “thou shalt not commit adultery”.

            Jesus also said: “But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He [the man who approached Jesus] said to Him: Which? And Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery,/b>, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness.” [Matt. 19:18]

            For a bunch of tribal law, Jesus sure puts an awful weight on them! Do you think it could be because they are Divine Law given by God, perhaps?! And, I thought the Commandments were,/i> the fundamental basis for morality! I mean, I have prayer books that move me to consult the Commandments when I go to Confession. Strange, that.

            And, the Catechism contains a whole section going through the Commandments, saying: ” Since they express man’s fundamentalduties towards God….the Ten Commandments reveal….grave obligations ” [2072]

          • Lumen Gentium and John Henry Newman are the paramount authorities on the Sensus Fidei Fidelium.
            Harrison is dead wrong on HV being infallible. It is an opinion piece trotted out by Ottaviani’s minority team who persuaded Paul VI that if he did not condemn artificial birth control he would risk contradicting Casti Connubii and undermining the authority of the Papacy. By publishing the ban in HV, Paul VI clearly demonstrated what an ass Casti Conubii always was and he almost totally wrecked the credibility of the papal teaching office because over 90 % of Catholic people totally rejected HV’s ban on artificial birth control as uncatholic and non binding on their consciences.
            The creeping infallibility that was later attached to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis has been similarly rejected by most Catholics including a majority of bishops and priests. The hierarchy is its own worst enemy and the papacy has done more to subvert the Faith and drive more Catholics out of the Church in the last 150 years than in the previous 1300.

          • Lumen Gentium and John Henry Newman are the paramount authorities on the Sensus Fidei Fidelium.

            The paramount authority is the Church, and I quote from three of the highest sources regarding Doctrine: the Vicar of Jesus Christ, a Council, and the CDF. I even quoted from Lumen Gentium which shows that the Sensus Fidei is subordinate to the Magisterium. You seemingly reject the Pope and the CDF. The writings of Bl. Newman are not a paramount authority. His writings, like those of all others, are subject to the judgment of the Church, and the Church has judged, as I have quoted above, that the Sensus Fidei is not an opinion poll, or a democracy where the faithful choose what they accept as Doctrine. So, Bl. Newman’s writings, however saintly the man, must be interpreted according to the judgment of the Church, which I have displayed briefly above.

            However, I shall not get into a debate with you, as others have done, because it is quite clear that you have your own views, and no amount of debate is going to change that, it seems.

            All I wish to ask is this: Do you believe that a Catholic may use contraception, and be in good standing with God and the Church?

          • 90-95% of the Catholic laity, predominantly in developed countries have, since 1968, chosen to dissent from the HV ban on artificial birth-control. They were probably using contraception decades, centuries before that. HV is based on biblical fundamentalism and a flawed understanding of ‘the natural law’ Paul VI was persuaded not to contradict Casti Connubii. It was fundamentally deficient in the firs place. Both have been emphatically rejected by the Catholic People. That’s the Sensus Fidei Fidelium at work and that includes most of the episcopate and clergy of the world.

          • BTW, Gregory, Christ confirmed every one of the commandments. Every. Single. One. You seem to forget that he and the apostles were Jews. They did not throw down the Mosaic law: that law was passed on directly from God.

            Also, VII is riddled with error. I would never, ever, cite VII as authoritative. I know good and well that VII perverted the reason for marriage. We see the fruits of that stupidity today.

          • All the Popes since Vat II have affirmed its authenticity as a General Council of the Church and have confirmed its teachings as authoritative for the whole Church. Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have made it clear in their own Magisterial teachings that Vatican II is not discontinuous or in rupture from the Tradition of the Church but rather the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council preserves, embodies and passes on all of the teaching of all General Councils before it.
            You need to understand this very clearly because the consequences of not accepting Vatican II in its entirety are that you are in schism from the Catholic Church and, if you wish to return to Catholicism, you will need to accept a great deal of catechesis to prepare you.

          • There is ample evidence that VII was not legitimate. That being said, one who holds to 1,962 years of teaching cannot be in schism. You, my friend, are an apostate, a protestant.

          • The first part is an ambit claim, the second is a statement. I’m very interested in your assertion in the first line. For the benefit of the reader, please explain in detail what you have claimed about ‘There is ample evidence that VII was not legitimate.’
            In the interest of truth and equity you need to show here publicly where the 2300 bishops gathered around two Popes at Vatican II participated in an ‘illegitimate’ Council and that since 1965 all the Popes, bishops, bishops Synods and Catholic education curricula have been ‘illegitimate.’
            I await your full and detailed rebuttal of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. If you refuse or simply cannot substantiate your allegations then you must understand that you have forfeited any claim to credibility whatsoever.

          • No problem. First, I want you to finally refute Christ’s words in Matthew 19. I also want you to address the rest of the comment–no more picking and choosing like you attempt to do with the Bible. Address the whole comment and reject the words of Christ in Matthew 19. You’re on trial here, not me.

          • You seem to have forgotten that on at least two comments I assured you that I have no problem in accepting the teaching of Jesus that marriage is a union intended by the Creator at the beginning and that, without exception, no person may break that union. I then went on to note that just as Judaism allowed exceptions to a divine command which excluded exception, the Catholic Church allows annulments for a number of reasons. I then invited you to make sense of the Church claiming an authority Jesus explicitly taught that no one had.

            Now onto a comprehensive refutation of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.

          • That is entirely your opinion. In fact, Christ called it out and said that Moses allowed it because of hardness of heart. He says that time is now over. So, no, you haven’t explained communion for the D&”R”. We the people don’t have the right or ability to demand a change in divine law– a claim which you make regarding contraception.

            Ambiguous teachings in the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) have been
            used for the past five decades and are still being used today to create
            “another church” that claims to be Catholic, but is not, said
            Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

            This does not mean, however, that Vatican II must be rejected, but it
            must be interpreted according to the “entire Tradition and of the
            constant Magisterium of the Church,” he wrote in an article published July 21 by Rorate Caeli.

            Stated Schneider: “As to the attitude towards the Second Vatican
            Council, we must avoid two extremes: a complete rejection (as do the
            sedevacantists and a part of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) or a
            ‘infallibilization’ of everything the council spoke.”

            “Vatican II was a legitimate assembly presided by the Popes and we
            must maintain towards this council a respectful attitude. Nevertheless,
            this does not mean that we are forbidden to express well-founded doubts
            or respectful improvement suggestions regarding some specific items,
            while doing so based on the entire tradition of the Church and on the
            constant Magisterium,” he added.

            The Bishop’s article comes at a time when many faithful Catholics
            perceive a general crisis within the Church and have a tendency to place
            the blame for the crisis squarely on the shoulders of Vatican II.

            Schneider said the Vatican II council must be interpreted as the
            Council Fathers meant it to be, namely a “primarily pastoral council,”
            not a council that proposed “new doctrines.”

            “From an objective point of view, the statements of the Magisterium
            (Popes and councils) of definitive character, have more value and more
            weight compared with the statements of pastoral character, which have
            naturally a changeable and temporary quality depending on historical
            circumstances or responding to pastoral situations of a certain period
            of time, as it is the case with the major part of the statements of
            Vatican II,” he said.

            “The original and valuable contribution of the Vatican II consists in
            the universal call to holiness of all members of the Church (chap. 5 of
            Lumen gentium), in the doctrine about the central role of Our Lady in
            the life of the Church (chap. 8 of Lumen gentium), in the importance of
            the lay faithful in maintaining, defending and promoting the Catholic
            faith and in their duty to evangelize and sanctify the temporal
            realities according to the perennial sense of the Church (chap. 4 of
            Lumen gentium), in the primacy of the adoration of God in the life of
            the Church and in the celebration of the liturgy (Sacrosanctum
            Concilium, nn. 2; 5-10). The rest one can consider to a certain extent
            secondary, temporary and, in the future, probably forgettable, as it was
            the case with some non-definitive, pastoral and disciplinary statements
            of various ecumenical councils in the past,” he added.

            Schneider said a problem arises when various ambiguous statements
            from Vatican II are “infallibilisized” and used to “create another
            church – a church of a relativistic or Protestant type.”

            “In our days, we are experiencing the culmination of this development,” he added.

            Such ambiguous statements, he said, involve the role of the pope in
            relation to bishops, the neutrality of the state in relation to public
            worship, and the Catholic Church as the unique path to salvation.
            Schneider said these issues discussed in Vatican II should be looked at
            through a pastoral lens that is non-fallible.

            “We must free ourselves from the chains of the absolutization and of
            the total infallibilization of Vatican II. We must ask for a climate of a
            serene and respectful debate out of a sincere love for the Church and
            for the immutable faith of the Church,” he said.

            The bishop said he has hope that if the Society of Saint Pius X
            (SSPX) is fully integrated back into the life of the Church, then it
            could provide needed balance for such a debate.

            “The fully canonical presence of the SSPX in the life of the Church
            of our days could also help to create a general climate of constructive
            debate, in order that that, which was believed always, everywhere and by
            all Catholics for 2,000 years, would be believed in a more clear and in
            a more sure manner in our days as well, realizing thereby the true
            pastoral intention of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council,” he

            Schneider said faithful Catholics must hold fast to the truth that
            the Church belongs to Christ and he will intervene to renew the Church
            in his own time.

            “We must renew our faith in believing that the Church is in the safe
            hands of Christ, and that He will always intervene to renew the Church
            in the moments in which the boat of the Church seems to capsize, as is
            the obvious case in our days,” he said.

            Earlier this month, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in a message
            at the funeral of his friend Cardinal Joachim Meisner said “the Lord
            does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”

          • Brian,
            Bishop Athanasius Schneider is the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan and Rorate Caeli is a website. Neither or both together are the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Neither or both together constitute an authority in any way comparable to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, the popes and bishops who participated in it, who have led the Church since the Council and who have continued to interpret and apply the teaching of the Council.

            Furthermore, ‘the true pastoral intention of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council’ is made clear in the reforms they have made in the structures and governance of the Church since the Council. It was their Council and the Documents of Vat II are their documents. They are the mind and heart of the Council and they applied it by their reforms. The Holy Spirit did not cease the work of inspiration and illumination in 1962. If so, has anyone informed the third Person of the Trinity that this was the cut off date?

            You’ll have to do better than to quote an auxiliary bishop and a website to make a compelling case Brian that Vatican II is an option.

            As for Pell’s account of conscience, it does not pass the criteria set out in the standard Catholic teaching on conscience crystalized in the definitions of Thomas Aquinas and Joseph Ratzinger. Pell does not eclipse either of them. Pell is not teaching the standard orthodox doctrine of the Catholic Church but a narrow, inadequate teaching based on an authoritarian concept of Church which treats the laity and ordinary clergy as the legion of the passive and compliant.

            You have lots more work to do Brian. Go to it.

          • Athanasius Schneider is auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan and Rorate Caeli is a website. Neither or both together enjoy anything like comparable authority as the Magisterium of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, the two popes and 2300 hundred bishops of the Council plus the popes, bishops and Catholic people since then.
            As for ‘the true intention of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council’, it is what they did with their Council, the documents they wrote, how they understood, interpreted and applied the teaching of the Council that authenticates and confirms their ‘intention.’ It is on that firm basis that both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who participated at the Council in different roles, insist that Vatican II is continuous with the Tradition and that it encapsulates, preserves and transmits the Magisterium of all preceding Councils. Therefore, if you reject Vatican II or any part of it, then you make yourself schismatic from the Tradition of the Church and have chosen to break communion with it.

            As for Pell’s deviant account of conscience, I have cited both Thomas Aquinas and Joseph Ratzinger who teach the authentic Catholic doctrine. Pell’s position is clearly defective and needs correction.

          • Brian, you’ll have to do a lot better than this to attract any kind of serious credibility.
            You are effectively pitting the private opinion of Athansius Schneider,
            auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan published in the lunar fringe rag like
            Rorate-Caeli against the authority and Magisterium of the Second Vatican
            Ecumenical Council. Schneider is smart enough not to compromise his meal ticket
            by dismissing Vat II or its teaching.

            Two popes and over 2300 bishops participated in Vatican II over four years but the
            Council did not finish its teaching in 1965. The Council was the creation of
            those bishops and popes, the Documents came from their collective debates and
            they went on to interpret ‘their intention’ by the pastoral application of
            Vatican II in the reform and renewal of the Church’s rituals and its various
            structures of governance.

            That work continues in their successors and validly so. Vatican II stands firmly at
            the center of the Catholic Tradition as affirmed by both John Paul II and
            Benedict. These two popes affirmed that all of the teaching of all of the
            previous Councils are crystalized, preserved and transmitted in and through the
            Magisterium of Vatican II in its entirely not just in piecemeal elective parts.
            Therefore, if a Catholic does not receive the Council in its fulness, is
            schismatic from the Catholic Church and estranged its Tradition.

            Asfor Pell’s idea of conscience and its primacy, he is deviant from the standard
            Catholic theology articulated clearly in the teaching of Thomas Aquinas and
            echoed in the definition of Joseph Ratzinger. I have supplied both these citations
            in a previous comment. Pell’s presentation of conscience is profoundly flawed
            and gravely inadequate.

            One can only hope that whoever is controlling the edit button wont scratch this third attempt at posting won’t end up like the others that seem to have been deleted.

          • Ah, right, Gregory, instead I should put my trust in you? Bishop Schneider lays out the facts of VII perfectly, including the fact that it was not a council about remaking doctrine and that all development must conform to the hermeneutic of continuity.

            Regarding Pell and Aquinas, Aquinas’s own definition of a heretic and heresy involve those who reject Church teaching and Biblical truths. Conscience must be well formed in conformity with the Church. When conscience is not, as I have cited, then such conscience is wrong and debased according to Aquinas. Again, God does not contradict God, he would never write into somebody’s heart a command or compelling conscientious urge to sin under the guise that it would be a sin not to sin.

            Finally, VII as conceived by those who called it was hijacked and that’s a historical fact. The goals, the agenda were hijacked. Still, the council had no right to change doctrine, which it did and clearly is being interpreted as doing. Proof of this can be found in the ramblings of people who do nothing but harken back to VII, talk about the spirit of VII and cite snippets of things to back them up. Take a gander at the article today in which overwhelming proof of just such tendencies and habits is evinced by Pope Francis with his concept of soul annihilation and selective truncating of parables and the words of Christ that speak of judgement, condemnation and consequences and not just mercy.

          • Yeah, that sums it up doesn’t, Gregory? Having nothing further to fall back but appeals to yourself and anger that others stand for the truth against your errors.

            My help is Christ on the cross, not my own mind, desires and modernist inventions. How about you, Gregory?

          • Oh…and your further exposition on the meaninglessness of the Ten Commandments, please.

            And still waiting for something aside from invective that refuted the article from Cardinal Pell.

          • Brian,
            you’ll have to do a lot better than this to attract any kind of serious
            credibility. You are effectively pitting the private opinion of Athansius
            Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan published in the lunar fringe
            rag like Rorate-Caeli against the authority and Magisterium of the Second
            Vatican Ecumenical Council. Schneider is smart enough not to compromise his
            meal ticket by dismissing Vat II or its teaching.

            Two popes and over 2300 bishops participated in Vatican II over four years but the
            Council did not finish its teaching in 1965. The Council was the creation of
            those bishops and popes, the Documents came from their collective debates and they
            went on to interpret ‘their intention’ by the pastoral application of Vatican II
            in the reform and renewal of the Church’s rituals and its various structures of

            That work continues in their successors and validly so. Vatican II stands firmly at the center of the Catholic Tradition as affirmed by both John Paul II and Benedict. These two
            popes affirmed that all of the teaching of all of the previous Councils are crystalized,
            preserved and transmitted in and through the Magisterium of Vatican II in its entirely
            not just in piecemeal elective parts. Therefore, if a Catholic does not receive
            the Council in its fulness, is schismatic from the Catholic Church and estranged
            its Tradition.

            As for Pell’s idea of conscience and its primacy, he is deviant from the standard Catholic
            theology articulated clearly in the teaching of Thomas Aquinas and echoed in the
            definition of Joseph Ratzinger. I have supplied both these citations in a previous
            comment. Pell’s presentation of conscience is profoundly flawed and gravely inadequate.

          • But Gregory, where you go wrong is in saying they are in “doctrinally and canonically intractable situations.” They are not.

          • Those you call anonymous authors include Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger, who chaired a commission of 12 Cardinals who prepared the first draft of the CCC. I suspect their names are available to you in the Vatican archives.

            Your attempt to enlist Thomas Aquinas in your effort to make good what is evil is scandalous. It appears you are a bergoglian.

          • Belting them over the head with the CCC, the Codex Iuris Canonici and the rule book of the Catholic Taliban will not save them.

            Fornicating with people not their lawful spouses and committing sacrilege on top of it certainly won’t save them.

          • Right, so that could lessen or remove the moral culpability of someone who, not knowing the fact that marriage is an indissoluble bond and an attempt to break it and form a new one with another person (i.e. engage in adultery) is always morally wrong. But then through the discernment and accompaniment of a solid priest, the Church enlightens this erring conscience with the light of Christ’s truth and then they are morally responsible for what they do from that point forward. Then they can either 1. ignore what they learned in the discernment process, keep on living like they had in the past, even possibly receiving Holy Communion because their “conscience” tells them that it’s ok (which would be the grave sin of sacrilege, since the good priest duly informed him or her of the Church’s perpetual teaching) and go to hell at death or 2. Separate from the person with whom they are fornicating, possibly going back to their spouse, or, if necessary for the sake of any children, continue to reside in the same house but live as brother and sister. If they (wisely) choose #2, then they go to confession, confessing any sins they may have committed regarding the separation and fornication (which may not even be necessary if they truly did what they did in complete ignorance) and start receiving Holy Communion in a state of grace and go on to live a good and holy life. This is what ALL of us have to do with ANY sin in our lives. Adultery is no different. It’s not in any special class by itself. Sin is sin.

            “I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

            “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”

            “But if the wicked do penance for all his sins which he hath committed, and keep all my commandments, and do judgment, and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die. I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done: in his justice which he hath wrought, he shall live. Is it my will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live?”

            “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

            “Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.”

            “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (which includes His Sixth Commandment, of course)

            Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that OBJECTIVELY contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they CANNOT receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted ONLY to those WHO HAVE REPENTED FOR HAVING VIOLATED THE SIGN OF THE COVENANT AND OF FIDELITY TO CHRIST, AND WHO ARE COMMITTED TO LIVING IN COMPLETE CONTINENCE.

            It is therefore an ERROR to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are ALWAYS gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and ADULTERY. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.

            The married couple forms “the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their IRREVOCABLE personal consent.” Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and INDISSOLUBLE. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

            Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations – even transient ones – they commit adultery. Christ condemns EVEN ADULTERY OF MERE DESIRE. The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery ABSOLUTELY. The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry.

            The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He ABROGATES THE ACCOMMODATIONS that had slipped into the old Law. Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved BY ANY HUMAN POWER OR FOR ANY REASON OTHER THAN DEATH.”

            Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It CLAIMS TO break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of PUBLIC AND PERMANENT ADULTERY.

            You don’t disagree with the Catechism, do you?

            “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.”

            “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly…This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.”

            No one on earth has any authority to change the infallible and perennial teachings of the Church, not even the pope.

          • Let us suppose that an invincibly erroneous conscience binds – the qualification ‘invincibly’ is necessary because everyone is obliged to inform their conscience – it does not follow that if one obeys such a conscience one is acting rightly. It only follows that if one disobeys it one is acting wrongly. The trouble with an erroneous conscience is that one acts wrongly whether or not one obeys it. While it does indeed bind it also ensures that one is bound to do the wrong thing! An error in one’s conscience has real consequences in relation to one’s ability to act well just as an error in one’s speculative thought has real consequences in relation to one’s ability to speak well. If what you think on a certain matter is wrong but you are obliged to speak about it then it is impossible for you to speak well. If you say what you think then you are deceiving others while if you gainsay it you are being dishonest. You are skewered either way just as you are whether you obey or disobey an erroneous conscience. Nor is the parallel here merely coincidental because the conscience binds by means of the judgements it makes. So your attempt to show that the dictates of conscience can get somebody off the requirement to obey the moral law is a failure. Nor do your other comments convince. One has to be wary of the judgement of someone who thinks that there’s not much essential Christian doctrine outside the Creed but that we really ought to take on board the musings of the young Joseph Ratzinger in his Council Diaries!

          • You have not the foggiest understanding of the Catholic concept of conscience. Invincible ignorance comes to mind.

            And you are way off the mark when you assert that I am attempting ‘to show that the dictates of conscience can bet somebody off the requirement to obey the moral law..” What a freely informed conscience does is not to give people a pass on what the moral law requires of them, but how to find their way over time and in the grace of God, to align themselves to the moral criteria found in the teaching of Christ.

            You are wrong about essential teachings in the Catholic tradition. There are only a very few and furthermore, Vatican II taught that there is a hierarchy of truths. And your dismissal of the musings of a young Joseph Ratzinger is both arrogant and ignorant. What he wrote back then, was and is the formal teaching of the Catholic Church on the primacy of conscience. You’ve got a big problem. I suggest you make a start with Dignitatis Humanae the more on to Gaudium et Spes.

          • I note that you did not attempt to respond to my argument but just tried to cloud the issue with a bit of invective. Such irrelevance does not help your case and neither do nebulous assertions about a ‘freely informed conscience’. You were trying to argue that one would act rightly in following one’s conscience rather than the moral law in the case of a conflict. I have pointed out why you have not established your case. You need to show which of my assumptions is wrong or where I have reasoned incorrectly from them. Mere assertions of my ignorance do not cut it.

            You appear to be quite confused about what makes a Catholic teaching essential. It pertains only to whether one could be said to adhere to Catholic teaching if one rejected it and has nothing to do with its position in any hierarchical ordering of teachings. You appear to be confusing whether something is essential with whether it is foundational. A teaching which rests on others may still be essential and an inessential teaching is likely quite unsupported! Of course talk of ‘hierarchy’ is merely metaphorical unless one spells out the relationship which arranges things into a hierarchy. As I’m sure you know, there are a number of requirements on a relation which orders things hierarchically. It must be asymmetrical, one-to-many, have one and only one beginner and be such that its converse domain is identical with the terms to which the beginner stands in some power of the relation. Perhaps you can point out which such relation you think Vatican II had in mind when it spoke of a hierarchical arrangement of Catholic truths? It should then be clear to everyone why the logical equivalents of the assertions of Joseph Ratzinger’s Council Diaries appear quite early on in the ordering!

          • That same GS which the “young Joseph Ratzinger” branded as being infested with Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism?

            The bottom line is that nobody is obliged to be a Catholic. If their erring conscience leads them to reject the teaching of Christ and His Church, then if they have any integrity they should leave. If people wish to persevere in a state of public permanent adultery, and their erring conscience tells them that this is ok, fine. But there are consequences based on Divine Law for their choice to do so.

          • Vatican II taught that there is a hierarchy of truths.

            A “hierarchy of truths”?? Is that a hierarchy of the importance of certain definitive doctrines, or a hierarchy of the extent to which they are “true” (i.e. some are totally true, some are half-truths etc)??

            Citations of Vatican documents required.

          • That’s a weird reply, Gregory since Opacus is saying about conscience exactly what you say in your second para. here. And you’re both right on this point. But what THIS proves is what Cardinal Pell says: namely that it’s the primacy of truth (the moral law) which matters, not merely following one’s conscience – the latter being a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for doing a moral act.

          • Here’s something for you to think about in relation to the natural law, God’s original moral intention for creation, and how people deal with it and attempt to respond to it within the complexity of their lives.

            I have already put this case to Brian W but received nothing of substance in reply. Perhaps you can and will. After the creation of the first human beings, a man and a woman, God decreed that they should come together in an lifelong and unbreakable union. This command was absolute; it is the natural law for all time which admitted of no exceptions or contradiction.

            Later on in history, the Paul, acting on his apostolic authority (God-given), took it upon himself to contradict and make an exception to the God given absolute natural law which admits of no exceptions or contradictions. It is known as the ‘Pauline Privilege.’ Further down the track, the Church’s magisterium (God-given) extended the ‘Pauline Privilege’ into the ‘Petrine Privilege’ which again gives an exception to the absolute God given natural law which allows for no contradiction or exemption.

            I notice that apologists and critics of Amoris Laetita such as Fr Murray the Canonist, Brian Harrison and others are awfully quiet about this. Have you got a plausible and persuasive explanation for how God’s universal unchangeable law can be contradicted and be subject to exemption by God’s own human representatives?

          • “This command was absolute; it is the natural law for all time which admitted of no exceptions or contradiction.”

            Says who, Gregory? Where is the biblical text which states this, and where does the Church, the definitive interpreter of scripture, assert same?

            “Later on in history, … Paul, acting on his apostolic authority (God-given), took it upon himself to contradict and make an exception to the God given absolute natural law which admits of no exceptions or contradictions.”

            This makes no sense. If Paul’s apostolic authority was “God-given” then how was he “taking it upon himself” to “contradict” the “absolute natural law”? If he had power from God to refine the law of marriage, he had power from God, who as Eternal Truth allows no contradictions. Are you saying the omniscient Divinity made a boo boo in giving Paul such power, not foreseeing what he might do with it?

          • Hugh, consult the Catechism, Trent, Baltimore, Penny Catechism. CCC or whatever and note what the Catholic Church teaches about God’s creative intention for marriage. Cut and paste the passages then let me know how the Church can, in at least the Pauline and Petrine ‘privileges’, permit exceptions to the original Command which makes no exceptions as expressly affirmed by Jesus himself in Matthew 19: 3-9.
            Please explain to me how it is permitted in Church doctrine and practice to contradict the Law of God.

          • Gregory: Fair enough.

            Here’s the Catechism of the Catholic Church at para. 1640:

            “Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded AND CONSUMMATED BETWEEN BAPTIZED PERSONS can never be dissolved.” [My emphasis. H.]

            It doesn’t say that marriages between anyone, baptized or not, can never be dissolved or even that an unconsummated marriage between baptized persons can never be dissolved. And that makes sense, because truth is one, and God revealed through the apostle St Paul that certain marriages CAN be dissolved.

            So this view that every marriage whatsoever, validly conducted, can never be dissolved, has no support from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or St Paul, an infallible author of scripture.

          • Gregory, you’ve strangely neglected to point out that in the very next article, I-II Article 6, St Thomas goes on to say that, while an erring conscience binds, an erring conscience does not necessarily EXCUSE. That means that although we are always sin when we don’t follow our conscience, if following our (in fact erring) conscience causes us to commit an evil act, it may be that we are NOT excused of culpability for the evil of that act despite the fact we didn’t know in the moment of the act that our conscience was in error.

            And – very apt for a discussion of Amoris Laetitia Ch 8 – St Thomas uses the example of an objectively adulterous act to lay down when an erring conscience does excuse and when it doesn’t.

            Here is St Thomas’ example of when an erring conscience DOES excuse: a man genuinely mistakes another for his wife and, thinking he is giving his wife her right to marital intercourse when she asks for it, has sex with the woman not his wife.

            Here is his example of when an erring conscience does NOT excuse: “[I]f erring reason [conscience] tell a man that he should go to another man’s wife.” St Thomas says in this case “the will that abides by that erring reason is evil.”

            Why does St Thomas say the will is evil? Because – and this is very important: “this error arises from ignorance of Divine Law, WHICH HE IS BOUND TO KNOW.”

            We are always bound to follow our consciences. But if our conscience is telling us something against the Law we are bound to know, then we are not excused from the evil we (in ignorance) will. The evil in this evil act is not that we have followed our ( in fact erring) conscience, but that we have somehow (e.g. through a previous history of sinful acts) lost touch with what we are bound to know, which has meant that in this situation our conscience has erred.

            So, yes, we are always bound to follow our consciences. But, says St Thomas, our act may still be an evil one for which evil we are culpable. Should we die without repenting of this act, we’ll certainly go to hell because we’ve been responsible for causing our conscience to lose sight of what all man are bound to know. But you’re right: the reason we will be in hell is not that we’ve duly followed our (in fact erring) conscience in that particular act of adultery. I don’t know if knowing the latter at that stage will be of any great consolation.

          • Here is a beautiful exposition from George Cardinal Pell in First Things:

            One master defender of moral truth in our lifetime has been Pope John Paul II. He is also a man learned in modern thought and passionate about freedom and the responsibility that arises from the possession of freedom. And what the pope has aimed at is a path between those who assert moral truth but ignore personal freedom, and those who assert freedom but ignore moral truth.

            More, he has charted this path using coordinates established by the Scholastics, developed by Newman, and confirmed by the Second Vatican Council. The pope argues that in their consciences human persons encounter moral truth, freely embrace it, and personally commit themselves to its enactment. This account (in the pope’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor , sections 54-64, for instance) builds upon John Henry Newman’s theory of conscience as man’s free adoption of God’s law. Conscience, in this view, is neither the apprehending of an alien law nor the devising of our own laws. Rather, conscience is the free acceptance of the objective moral law as the basis of all our choices. The formation of a Christian conscience is thus a dignifying and liberating experience; it does not mean a resentful submission to God’s law but a free choosing of that law as our life’s ideal.

            This specifically Catholic view rejects the mistaken doctrine of the primacy of conscience and clearly asserts the primacy of truth. “It is always from the truth that the dignity of conscience derives,” the pope writes. “In the case of the correct conscience, it is a question of the objective truth received by man; in the case of the erroneous conscience, it is a question of what man, mistakenly, subjectively considers to be true. It is never acceptable to confuse a ‘subjective’ error about moral good with the ‘objective’ truth rationally proposed to man in virtue of his end, or to make the moral value of an act performed with a true and correct conscience equivalent to the moral value of an act performed by following the judgment of an erroneous conscience.”

          • Brian, you should know betterthan most of the others on this Blog that George Cardinal Pell is a backstreet brawler who has cashed in his Oxford D.Phil and defaulted to a lower form of theological and hisotrical literacy. In the First Things article you reference and cite, Pell takes the tired old apologetics approach to the question of Conscience, its formation and function. He cherry picks his way through Newman’s Grammar of Assent, is dismissive of Lewis, a professional Moral Theologian and never refers to Thomas Aquinas. After trotting out his doctrinal pantomime horse, Pell proceeds to shoot it. He’s been doing this for years as you will find out if you study his historical record as a bishop in Australia.

            For instance, as early as 12 May 1988 in a lecture at La Trobe University he said: ‘The
            doctrine of the primacy of conscience should be quietly ditched, at least in
            our schools, or comprehensively restated, because too many Catholic youngsters have concluded that values are personal inventions, that we can paint our moral pictures any way we choose’. He restated similar views in an article he wrote in The Weekend Australian (September 11-12, 1993). He has consistently repeated this. In his Acton Lecture (4 August 1999) he said: ‘Catholic teachers should stop talking about the primacy of conscience.This has never been a Catholic doctrine…such language is not conducive to identifying what contributes to human development’.

            In his address to the Catalyst for Renewal Bishops’ Forum (30 May 2003) he set up a dichotomy between conscience and truth and said: ‘It is somewhat misleading to claim that our conscience is free… I believe that the mischievous doctrine of the primacy of
            conscience has been used to white-ant the church’. He is completely at variance with the Catholic Tradition on this. I suspect that if he did not have the patronage he did at that stage, the CDF will have hauled him up for a ‘please explain.’

            As recently as 20 September 2005 in an extended lecture on ‘Cardinal Newman and Conscience’ he returned to the same theme: ‘For some years I have spoken and written
            against the so-called “doctrine of the primacy of conscience”, arguing that it is incompatible with traditional Catholic teaching. Not surprisingly this has in turn provoked a number of hostile public criticisms and quite a number of letters from friends and acquaintances attempting to persuade me of the error of my ways’.

            Brian, I suggest that you should be very careful citing Pell as an authority on things like conscience when the Royal Commission on two occasions told Pell to his face that the Commission has determined that his evidence is ‘implausible.’ It is also clear
            from his performance during the Ellis hearings at the Royal Commission that George
            Pell has the moral development of an adolescent.

          • Again, he doesn’t need to cite Aquinas. The Summa is not the Bible. Further, just because you wish it not to be so does not make what he contends fallacious. You are not citing anything to contradict him except your own take the issue. Quote the Bible, Christ, the Cathecism something authoritative. Again, stop he invective Greg and address the points. All you have cited in the comment are quotes from Cardinal Pell with which you disagree things like “he is at variance with Catholic tradition on this” and “I suspect he would have been hauled before the CDF” are not rebuttals. It is your invective and subjective commentary.

            As for the Royal Commission, that has nothing to do with this. And the man has been found guilty of nothing, need I remind you?

          • Cardinal Pell is right to refute the “primacy of conscience” ideal peddled by liberal theologians. As I show in a post below, it’s a dangerous half-truth: it suggests that as long as you’re following your conscience your act is a good one. Absolute tosh. The church has never taught that. Aquinas never taught that. Pell is right when he says that truth has primacy. There are moral truths written on the heart of every man coming into the world. If a man heeds those truths he will be doing good. If he does evil things and thereby clouds his sight of those truths, then even if in a given subsequent act he is sincerely following his warped conscience, he is guilty of the immoral acts he commits thereby. He is like a man who has packed his parachute the wrong way. You should always depend on your parachute when you jump out of the plane. To unhook yourself from it is fatal (“primacy of conscience” – liberal half-truth). But if you’ve packed it the wrong way, then no matter how much you trust your parachute, you’re done for (“primacy of truth” – Cardinal Pell/Catholicism).

          • What a pity you don’t quote Aquinas in full here, leaving out the bits where he says that following one’s conscience is not a sufficient condition for doing a good act. In other words, you can go to hell following your conscience.

          • BTW, there are very few essential or core teachings within the Catholic Tradition.

            Define “essential” and “core.”

      • They, human beings are always developing, growing, becoming more articulate and wise.

        Allow me to suggest that human nature has not changed one hair since 33 AD, nor has hell grown less crowded. We do have niftier gadgets.

  3. I understand you have a problem with Pope Francis’ logic, but I’m not clear on whether or not you are in favor of the death penalty. Seems as if in reading the post here it is a defense against what I have always been taught (in a variety of diocese across the country) in that the death penalty is not pro-life.

    • Hey dad, if an armed invader enters your home and threatens the lives of your wife and children, you have the right, nay the duty, to enforce the death penalty, in order to protect the lives of the innocent. This is the essence of the Catholic “just war” doctrine which is also under threat here with Francis’s half-baked theology.

      The point here is the the death penalty, when justified and the “just war” theory are actually “pro-life”. Francis’ ideas on the death penalty are just a Jesuit head trip which deny the right of the innocent to fight off unjust aggression.

      • Exactly.
        If Francis’ new teaching hat the death penalty is always against the Gospel because only God has the right to take a life is followed to its conclusions, then no one (state or individual) may ever use lethal force to defend against an aggressor. No more just war theory. No more right to use lethal force in self-defense. No more duty to use lethal if necessary to protect the innocent from murderers, rapists or those who would enslave them.

      • “Hey dad, if an armed invader enters your home and threatens the lives of your wife and children”

        Do you honestly think somebody with the moniker “post post modern dad” who regurgitates “have always been taught (in a variety of diocese across the country) in that the death penalty is not pro-life.” without checking for himself about the historicity of the claim is going to do anything but cower when the glass shatters at 3am?

        Me: I sleep with a loaded 45 and an aluminum baseball bat at the side of my bed. My job is kill or be killed. Until I have the protection of the Swiss Guard, I will continue to do so.

        I really am starting to wonder whether this Pope is punishment.

        • As I noted elsewhere, The Religion Of Peace mandates the death penalty for unrepentant apostates. I am reminded of el-Tayyib, the Chief Imam of Al-Azar University who explained to Francis that Islam is a religion of peace. He then went home to Cairo and reiteratated the need to execute apostates, including, obviously, converts to Catholicism. Surely Francis’ insisting that the death penalty is impermissible is Islamophobic?

    • If justly applied, the death penalty is entirely pro life, for the very reason that there’s a moral duty to defend the innocent, not excluding the use of lethal force if nothing less will do.

      • I am replying to Romulus’ statement because his statement is short and succinct, but my question is to all y’all.

        Here’s what I don’t understand….

        If a person has committed heinous acts that would qualify for the death penalty, and that person could be incarcerated until the end of their natural life, why is capital punishment necessary? I have always thought that the Catholic Church believed and taught that a person’s soul is salvageable until the moment of death and incarceration allows the person — no matter how evil — the opportunity to repent and be saved.

        Help me out here….to my way of thinking, capital punishment would never be “necessary.”

        • The DP is not just about the protection of society, it’s a matter of retributive justice. JPII “omits” this, as he saw the DP as only a deterrent (restorative justice), and therefore it is not really necessary anymore. But it was God Himself who instituted the DP as a matter of retributive justice in Genesis 9:6 — “Whosoever shall shed man’s blood, by man shall his blood shall be shed: for man was made to the image of God”.

          • I will indeed Google Fr. Rutler’s article. Thank you for the reference.

            However, each argument I’ve seen in favor of keeping DP goes back to the Old Testament sayings such as the one you quoted in Genesis 9:6. It is the same idea as “An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” type of justice which we see throughout the OT.

            I used to be staunchly in favor of DP until a conversation with a good and holy priest about a dozen years ago, wherein he admonished me for that position, saying that we don’t know at what point a person may repent and give their life to Christ, and therefore extinguishing their life before God gives them every chance to repent is itself sinful. I could see the wisdom in that.

            This is NOT to say that self-defense or killing someone who is intent on gross harm of others is wrong. It is just to say that once the person is apprehended, tried and sentenced, there are ways to keep that person perpetually isolated until the time of their natural death. The death penalty is therefore not “necessary.”

            Killing a person as “restorative justice” does not bring back the life of their victim(s). Nor does it completely assuage the grief of those left behind. Knowing that the perpetrator is kept in total isolation with no ability to converse or be comforted by others for the remainder of their life on earth is, in itself, a form of restorative justice. Misery and loneliness is their lot.

            I am not defending Pope Francis on this, as it is obvious that the Church has held a different position for two millennia. However, it still causes me to scratch my head, especially after seeing that JPII had altered the Church’s official stance — if merely by highlighting another perspective of the DP.

          • First of all, shame on that supposedly “good and holy” priest for guilting you about simply adhering to 2,000 years of Church teaching. Fr. Rutler’s article addresses this priest’s ignorant argument about repentance. Secondly, retribution as a justification for punishment is lodged in two unbending ethical realities: the degree of wrongness of the criminal act, and the degree of the individual’s criminal responsibility in committing such an act. Retribution, then, requires that wrongdoers get no more and no less than what is proportionate—or just—to their crime. Retributive justice has nothing to do with how society can supposedly now protect us from these criminals. This sort of justice is integral to Catholic moral thinking about a free and just society.

        • There’s nothing to stop a permanently imprisoned murderer killing other prisoners, as we can see from the killings within UK and USA prisons. Our extreme example is Robert Maudsley who has killed three men in prison. As he can’t be executed (death penalty was abolished in England in 1960s) and he can’t even be held in an ordinary maximum security prison, he is now in a unique, hyper-secure, Silence of the Lambs style isolation unit.

          “The only furnishings are a table and chair, both made of compressed cardboard. The lavatory and sink are bolted to the floor while the bed is a concrete slab.

          A solid steel door opens into a small cage within the cell, encased in thick Perspex, with a small slot at the bottom through which guards pass him food and other items. He remains in the cell for 23 hours a day. During his daily hour of exercise, he is escorted to the yard by six prison officers. He is not allowed contact with any other inmates.”

          • What you call “Silence of the Lambs” we call “Solitary Confinement.” It’s quite common, actually, and I believe every prison (not jail — prison) has accommodations for violent convicts which keeps them in isolation 23 hours a day.

        • I believe there have been instances of mobsters or drug lords in prison getting word out to their followers on the outside to carry out a “hit” on someone. I would classify that as still being able to murder, or being responsible for murder, while they are incarcerated.

        • Here is my answer. “Life in prison” is a promise, not a payment. Sometimes promises are broken. Laws can change, governments can change, judges can order new trials, and politics can influence results. Capital punishment is definitive and certain. This is not a bug; it’s a feature, because it provides the possibility of justice in a manner that can’t be subsequently snatched away. Yes, capital punishment can be abused. So can any other law. So what. Abusus non tollit usum.

          • At the time of Our Lord’s crucifixion the Good Thief repented before he died on the cross. His impending death help to repent. The death penalty is always just. The Good thief accepted his just punishment. And his crime was stealing.

    • There is a difference between saying the death penalty should be rare and saying that it is always wrong and contrary to the Gospel. Aside from undermining the credibility of the Church by flatly contradicting Scripture and the consistent teaching of 2,000 years, there are serious logical consequences that flow from taking that next step. The use of force by police to stop crimes in progress like mass murder, the use of military force even entirely defensively to prevent the invasion, slaughter or enslavement of a nation’s population, and the use of lethal force in self-defense by individuals must all be ruled out if the death penalty is always impermissible. See my post on that below.

      • The authors of the book cited by Fr. Harrison in his article opine (correctly I believe) that the death penalty should be used more frequently. In fact, I believe that it is a sign of the disintegration of civilized society that it is used rarely nowadays.

    • “I have always been taught (in a variety of diocese across the country) in that the death penalty is not pro-life.”

      So what?

    • Given the type of people on this site–faithful to the eternal (see “unchanging”) truths of Christ, His Church and Word–I think it’s obvious what he believes when begins by citing one of the aforementioned truths.

    • Catechism of the Council is explains how the Death Penalty is pro-life (note it received approbation for teaching the faith in the Universal Church by two pope saints and the Council of Trent itself):

      Also one would have to say that Pope Innocent I or III are not pro-life in their teaching but the condemned Waldensian heretics *are* pro-life. If we define pro-life such that its a heresy it means that its soul-killing and could hardly count in favor of life:

    • To oppose the death penalty as a prudential judgement is legitimate. To say it is a dogma of the Church is heretical. Those who equate it with the murder of the preborn children do the pro-life cause much harm. I do not doubt the promotion of this heretical idea is widespread.

      • The Holy Ghost cannot tell me that the death penalty is OK but than the Holy Ghost tells someone else that it’s wrong. That makes no sense.

  4. What Pope Francis has proposed is contrary to authoritative Church teaching and will have grave consequences if it is formally adopted. This, of course, is why Pope St. John Paul II did not go that far. Think about the implications. The current Catechism states that the death penalty can be legitimate, for example, if it is the only way to stop a criminal from killing people in the future. It says this should be exceedingly rare in modern, developed societies because we can incarcerate people instead.

    But if the state cannot ever execute anyone under any circumstances because (as Francis claims) only God has the right to take a life, then these things logically follow:

    1. The police may not use lethal force to stop a serious crime in progress (think of the Las Vegas shooter, for example).
    2. The state may not use military force to defend its people from invasion or attack.
    3. An individual may not use lethal force in self-defense, or to defend his family.

    I suppose in a world where “realities are greater than ideas” (which, of course, is itself an “idea”) and “2+2=5” the current pontificate is simply not concerned about the intellectual integrity of the faith. If you think its fine for the faith to be logically inconsistent then I suppose you may not be worried about the above arguments. On the other hand, we know that Francis’ core group are already stridently advocating for throwing away the Church’s just war theory, which has been developed over more than a millennium, for a new theology of pure pacifism.

    • JP2 laid the egg. His successors, liberals like him, have incubated and hatched it. And now the chickens are coming home to roost. Since foxes are guarding the hen-house, this is to be expected.

    • He has also stated his opposition to life in prison. Maybe he will next give us the exact “merciful” sentence that is acceptable.

      • Well, if we can’t execute criminals and it is, of course, totally unmerciful to keep them in prison indefinitely, I can name several gentlemen in permanent British custody whom I’m sure Pope Francis can accommodate in his luxury hotel. I’m sure he can find a small suite for repentant, or even unrepentant, sinners”.

        1) Robert Maudsley; killed one guy outside prison, three after he was imprisoned. Also has taste for human flesh, so Francis can feed him very cheaply off all those fleshy clerics surrounding the Vatican.

        2) Ian Huntley: murdered two little girls. Shouldn’t be a problem, as the Vatican is staffed by blokes or elderly nuns.

        3) Levi Bellfield, now called Yusuf Rahim after his conversion to the Religion of Peace. Killed at least three girls, so, like Huntley, shouldn’t be a danger to Vatican staff. And, as a paedophile and rapist, he should have plenty of sympathisers within Vatican walls. As Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium, para 253) assures us that Islam is firmly opposed to all forms of violence, we have an extra anti-violence guarantee here.

        4) Dennis Nilsen: Er, yes, he killed 12 blokes and is a bit of a necrophiliac. Just don’t turn your back on him or accept any invitations to dinner, as cooked rent boy might be on the menu.

        I could name more, but I’m sure that I would upset any number of Americans, Canadians, French, etc who also want Vatican accommodation.

        • By all means leave some room for American mass murderers and child killers at the humble Castle Santa Marta, we wouldn’t him to appear xenophobic.

  5. “With all due respect, this is a jawdropping travesty of logic.”

    Amen. He doesn’t “do” logic, Fr H. Logic is what sane people do.

    • On the positive side, Deacon, Francis is helping many Catholics to finally see the light. Like the character Woody Allen played in the movie Bananas, they too may soon start to ask, “What’s the Spanish word for straight jacket?”

      • Yes, the revelation of those who follow Christ as opposed to those who follow Francis is very revealing. Unfortunately the numbers with Christ are relatively small. However, He did say something about that, didn’t He?

  6. This quote from Luke 23 may appropriate, given that today is his feast day. “We are condemned justly, for the sentence we have received (i.e., the death penalty) corresponds to our crimes.” Pope Francis might take a few minutes to reflect on this passage.

    LK 23:40-43: The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise.”

  7. The principle of evolution is what is being put forward once again. Altering the Catechism to adjust some teaching will provide an opportunity to “adjust” other “small” matters. So what then ? So then we would be hamstrung by not being able to cite the Catechism as a reliable reference. We would have to say Catechisms produced in particular years are ok but latest editions are unreliable! Unchanged Catholic teachings of Christ Himself is what the Catholic Church possesses and defends. How can we evangelise without reliable officially sanctioned Source documents ?

  8. Two things strike me here–and the first I’ve been saying repetitively:

    1) St. Anthony of the Desert said in the fourth century (1,700 or more years ago) that we will know we are in the end times when:
    “Men will surrender to the spirit of the age. They will say that if they had lived in our day, Faith would be simple and easy. But in their day, they will say, things are complex; the Church must be brought up to date and made meaningful to the day’s problems. When the Church and the world are one, then those days are at hand because our Divine Master placed a barrier between His things and the things of the world.”

    2) We know what this means from a standpoint of tearing down Church doctrine and indeed the Church. Those are symptoms. The problem: the people peddling these doctrines don’t believe in eternity. Everything is about the hardship of life on Earth, about the here and now. Anybody capable of reasonable thought would concede that risking disobedience to God in order to be comfortable or popular for 70 to 80 years on Earth is absolutely asinine when compared to burning in Hell for eternity. So when people who are supposed to believe in the Four Last Things seem not to believe in three of the four things, what is the problem? What do they believe? What do they not believe? Who do they serve?

    Those are the bigger questions for us. It feels like we’re in a spiritual war.

      • I cannot help you with the Latin original. I heard it discussed in one the sermons I listen to available on YouTube via a channel called Sensus Fidelium. Unfortunately, I cannot recall which particular sermon or retreat in which the priest mentioned it.

    • Well said. I came across a quote (perhaps from St.Athanasius) regarding the thinking of the opposition during the Arian heresy. They were saying then that what they needed was a Creed worded in such a way that most people could accept it! Well hello! That’s the same thinking, basically right from the earliest years of Christianity. As you say so well above, “the spirit of the age” but it seems that spirit has been around perhaps from the Garden of Eden!

      • St. Athanasisus is one of my favorite saints to study. i have a question….The Pope’s recent remarks, in what way does this fall outside the power of his office to be infallible? what condition is violated? thank you.

        • Its not a definitive declaration for one, its also not clear that he’s even invoked the the authority of his office to expound the doctrine. Declaring it as such would be a reversal of past statements of Popes (Innocent III, Pius XII, for instance) but the Holy Father stated: “Qui non siamo in presenza di contraddizione alcuna con l’insegnamento del passato” = “Here we are not in any way contradicting past teaching”, so its likely he his developing for “new conditions and new forms of life introduced into the modern world” so its a prudential judgment subject to time/place rather than an unqualified condemnation. He also specifically stated that this “non significa affatto un cambiamento di dottrina.” = “in no way represents a change in doctrine”

          • “I know I’m eating a cookie from this jar. I also know the rule is that I’m not allowed to eat cookies from this jar, which is the ideal. Therefore, I’m not changing the rules about eating cookies from this jar. I’m simply eating cookies from this jar in the most generous way that I can, amidst the concrete difficulties of snack time.”

          • O perhaps I know it is forbidden to eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, but it is so good so we do. And this does not change the law that it is forbidden. [ there is subtlety here ]

          • Well, Max, he says he’s not changing doctrine even while he’s changing doctrine. He’s been doing just that from Day One. We should be on to his deceits by now, shouldn’t we?

        • What helped me to better understand the infallibility of the Pope, was reading that every Pope as a Catholic, must first of all be a faithful orthodox Catholic himself. So he must accept what the Church has taught consistently, in every time/epoch, from the beginning. Pope Benedict said no Pope can just decide to ditch what was previously taught by the Catholic Church. The role of the Pope is to defend, to defend the Faith which was handed down to him. The Pope is infallible only when he teaches regarding faith and morals, but even on these two subjects, he must be faithful to the apostolic truth as taught by Jesus Christ. None of us should walk away from what the Church has always taught because we are answerable to God. Each of us Catholics needs to be increasing our knowledge of the Faith constantly during these dark days. Otherwise, we will not be sure what the Church has taught in the past. Other essentials – I believe we all need to be attending a parish with a very knowledgeable faithful Catholic parish priest. That priest will need our support right now. We all need to have personal relationships with even a few faithful knowledgeable Catholics as well. That way, we always have someone not too far away with whom we can speak and clear up concerns. Essential : the Rosary and as many Masses as you can attend. God bless you and lead you.

    • “…the people peddling these doctrines don’t believe in eternity.”
      The bitter pill, what we all don’t want to say, is that these bishops, priests and religious are atheists. They cling to some vacuous placebo which provides a consolation — its merely a self-constructed safe space that neutralizes their self-loathing.
      The whole enterprise is about assuaging their guilt.
      God is met on the cross, the very last place they want to go.

    • There can be no doubt, Brian, that Bergoglio is a manifest heretic, an enemy of Our Lord and a tool of Satan. There can be no doubt he does not believe in God, let alone eternity. The only question left is, are there any faithful Cardinals, bishops and priests with the courage to band together and rid the Lord’s Church of this monster?

      Silly question. Cardinal Burke cannot even bring himself to pronounce his long awaited formal correction of Bergoglio as it continues to gather dust in the closet of his ‘to do’ list. Without Christ, we can do nothing, and we’re doing it.

      • It is quite possible that the formal correction has already been made and is simply not public yet. It took several months for them to go public with the dubia after they had given him reasonable time to respond.

          • Winslow, if you study anything about Cardinal Burke, you will understand that, in every instance, he is prudent and without rancor. We must trust that, as always, Burke is going to do the right thing, at the timing he feels led by the Holy Spirit to do so.

            Trust. This entire debacle in our beloved Church must be anchored by Trust.

          • My gut instinct is to say yes it should be very public. However, I just can’t imagine Cardinal Burke would go public before he had given the Pope chance to respond first. He is a decent chap and I’m sure would always “play by the rules” irrespective of how dire the situation became.

          • Agreed, but hasn’t Cardinal Burke been down that road once already? The Dubia have been in the Pope’s lap for well over a year and he has ignored them. Does Cardinal Burke or anyone else expect a different outcome now?

            You said it’s possible the formal correction has been made. I agree. Perhaps made months ago. It’s all fine and proper for Cardinal Burke to give the Pope all the time he thinks he needs, but meanwhile the Pope is steadily applying a wrecking ball to the Church. There isn’t much left for him to do.

          • Trust, Winslow. Trust. Our glorious God above isn’t wringing His hands, trying to figure out what’s going on.

            We share in your frustration, but when it’s all over, we will share with Him in the glory of His divine and perfect Will and our small, meager part in praying and sacrificing for it.

          • Francis has surrounded himself with a cadre of like-thinking, Francis adoring “bodyguards” whose duties include I suspect, screening all communications to him to weed out and trash anything which might resemble criticism and even mild disagreement — the “new messiah” must never learn he’s naked. If true, it is quite possible Francis has never seen either the dubia or the fillial correction or God knows how many other letters or packages which express concern over his spiritual canon fire at the “palace” of the Church, where the True Great King resides.

          • My comment was mere speculation. It is possible Francis has seen these things. It is equally possible the things to which he has replied are items not screened out. Even if the latter is true, he is ultimately responsible — to quote Harry Truman, ‘The buck stops here.’

            I doubt the first warning of the formal correction has been given. I believe if it had been, the lack of reply would have prompted it being made public. But, at the same time, we’re not anywhere near the inner circle. Thus, we are left in the dark amid the quagmire.

    • And there will come a time when the humanoid android you ‘adopted’ as your child will be granted access to the sacraments including Communion and Holy Orders because he (the android) “has been created in the image of god (lowercase is intentional).” This is possible, even probable, because man now worships man, the apex of idolatry and violation of the First Commandment
      So, watch out — Mr. Data could be Francis’ handpicked successor. 🙂

      • Ha! Were it an impossibility, your observation would be hilarious.

        CCC 675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

        • I was attempting to be humorously ironic. Your statenent and mine speak the sane Truth in different ways. Actually, I think mine is hilarious in spite of the sadness of the CCC’s blunt statement.

  9. Amen. I whole heartedly concur with Fr. Harrisons assessment in the above.

    Trouble. Trouble. Trouble: Here and now and up ahead.

  10. When Mao began his cultural revolution, he destroyed reminders of past thinking, and human past thinking by inciting students to kill their teachers, and to reject the past. The French Revolution wiped out the calendar and wrote their own. This idea of wiping out knowledge and wisdom and history, and in the Church’s case the truth, is part of Revolution. This is the work of the first revolutionary, Lucifer. It becomes more evident daily who seeks the truth amongst our Bishops and clergy, friends and acquaintances, and those unfortunates who deny the truth and reality.

        • To be ready for what exactly? It cannot be called even a schism. Eastern Churches are the only one who are in schism with the Catholic Church. All others are apostates, the outcasts.
          We, if we are the faithful ones, are (must be) already ready for them and their lies and even their percussions. For everything what they might bring with the next day.
          We just need to stay faithful, as always, as that were our forefathers, the first Christians.
          And those who want so desperately to go to the Hell, they might go. And they will go anyhow.

    • Shocking to say, shocking to think, but some form of acceptance of pedophilia at a nascent stage
      will be the final straw. We may think this is impossible BUT look at what has become acceptable
      over the last number of years.
      The juggernaut will not stop until ITS stopped….( Divine Correction )

      • Actually, I understand that a “scholarly psychological” magazine has just published an article by a man who was pushed out of the mainstream 20 years ago after trying to normalize adults fornicating with “consenting” children as young as 13 (maybe it was 8…I cannot recall). Now he’s back and his position has not changed.

    • It’s hard to say. In the west, in Christendom, our hope is divine intervention and that’s it. Our laws, our fellow people of European descent and/or cultures heavily influenced by Europe, are too far down the road for anything but a miracle. We always have and are called to hope. However, optimism and hope are not synonyms: I have absolutely no optimism/delusion that our culture can be brought back to Christianity en masse short of divine intervention. All we can do is teach our own kids in our own homes and pray.

      So what does it mean? Well….this sure seems like a great apostasy (don’t know if it’s THE great apostasy) but the collapse of the Church is breathtaking and though the Church still seems okay–boasting of one billion members–I think the facade is going to come tumbling down as millennials come of age. I heard a recent sermon in which the priest cited survey results that indicated something like 45% of Catholics born prior to VII had strong commitment to the faith versus 23% born after VII and 0%, YES 0%, of millennials have a strong commitment to the faith.

      Also note that there are three catastrophic events mentioned in the Bible, three times in which God directly intervened to destroy decayed, totally immoral cultures: the Flood, Sodom & Gomorrah and Nineveh. The Ninevites listened to Jonah and repented. The peoples before the Flood and S&G did not listen to the prophets. The three events had one thing in common: the Bible directly talks about sodomy and immorality with regard to S&G while according to ancient Jewish writings (not from the Bible) God sent the Flood after the people of those days “solemnized marriages between men and men and men and animals”. Well….that would seem not to bode well for us.

      • Yes, I’ve read the same material regarding the Flood and S&G. The key issue is sexualisation of children because once they are corrupted and addicted, violence and anarchy grow. That’s why the gender programs in schools focus on sexual pleasure as a right – at any age, and no one (even mommy and daddy) are going to be allowed to take away your right to sexual pleasure. Once kids stop trusting their parents and prefer to trust “the State” they are adrift. JP2 said the “Chastisement” can no longer be avoided, just mitigated by prayer and penance, and he said that early 80’s. God’s cleansing of the Church and society will be greater, deeper and that is our hope now.

      • Comcast and NBC are now constantly running ads designating October as LGBT month and flashing pictures of so-called icons for us to honor. We live in a depraved culture.

        • As crazy at it sounds, I watch Notre Dame football games and that’s it. I do not watch the commercials so I have not see these advertisements. The question to ask NBC is why they feel the need to celebrate either:
          A. Assuming “born that way”, something that is just a matter fact? Do we celebrate heroes of left-handedness? How about near sighted heroes month?; or
          B. Assuming it is a choice, a group of people based on the type of people with whom they fornicate? Why not a month celebrating men attracted to buxom blondes or women attracted to bad boys?

          There is no good answer, is there? It it totally depraved and, frankly, it’s satanic.

          • Sodomy is one of the four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. As with all things it’s the action, not the inclination. It on the list of the Pope to change as soon as he get through with the death penalty. I grieve for my grandchildren. May God have mercy on us all.

          • Forget mercy, may we simply just know God and pray that our children at least get the opportunity to know Him, the real him.

      • There are prophecies from the Blessed Virgin to Sister Mariana
        de Jesus Torres, an Ecuadorian religious sister in 1634 speaking about the 20th Century. The description of the state of the world is very much what we see today. I personally believe the chastisement is soon. We have the words of Jesus to St. Faustina where He said “a spark will come from Poland which will prepare the world for My second coming”. Would the spark be the Divine Mercy devotion? or was it Pope JP2? or it something else? So I believe, the wait is years.

  11. Bergoglio is a Leftist. Leftists never worry about logic. They know logic. They understand logic. They just reject logic because it gets in the way of Leftism.

  12. His explicit denial of an intent to contradict shows that this is not heresy since there is clearly no obstinate denial. One of the more interesting defenses of this nonsense I read was to say: its contrary to the Gospel meaning contrary to Mercy even if it accords with justice. This is still very wrong, but the contrary has been taught more implicitly than explicitly. Catechism of Trent, though, explains that the death penalty can be an act of obedience by the sovereign and hence required to be of Justice proving that it can’t be contrary to the Gospel.

    The argument that its rarely applicable now in the context of the defense of society to me also never made sense. Although the estimates of how many deaths are prevented by the death penalty vary its always non-negative (and sometimes presents a strong protective effect) whereas sentence commutations tend to lead to more crime/murders. If even a few innocent lives are saved by executing murderers that should be sufficient for the policy since all lives possess dignity.

      • To be clear, there are clear parallels between how Honorius wrote his letter to Sergius and the frequent statements made publicly in this pontificate. Also the 1917 Pio-Benedictine code of canon law CIC 1325 § 1 condemned failure to profess the faith when one’s silence/evasiveness would constitute an “implicit denial of the faith” or “give scandal”.

  13. “The Holy Father doesn’t seem to comprehend the law of non-contradiction, the first principle of all rational thought, and, therefore, an essential foundation of the very possibility of a rationally credible body of revealed truth.” That indeed would seem to be the case. We have, then, to ask ourselves: How did the Catholic Church go in one papal election from a towering intellect like Benedict’s to…..this?

    • It’s a miracle Benedict got in at all. Because of the popularity of JP2, perhaps they thought to extend his effect through the same “policies” . But thanks be to God, we were allowed a period to spread a new enthusiasm for understanding the Catholic faith, an enthusiasm begun through those converts entering the church in the mid 80’s and there is now a big number of active doctrine loving, people loving Catholics out there. It’s down to the leadership of Popes JP2 and Benedict XVI that we have such a group of leaders in the laity in particular, today!

      • I am aware of a monastic community who at the time of John Paul’s death asked the abbot if they could watch the funeral on television — unheard of, really. He consented and expressed utter and absolute shock that any one was there. He thought everyone hated John Paul like all his ecclesiastical buddies.
        I lived in that community,
        Is it not possible that they were shamed by the crowds of devoted faithful who descended upon Rome to pay their respects to Pope John Paul?
        And then there was Cardinal Ratzinger’s incredible homily at the funeral.
        They were shamed. The laity had held up the mirror to them and they recognized themselves for what they were — and are.
        Faithless clerics.
        Tragic cadavers.
        Well now they have their man. Lets see who shows up to bury him.

        • Well the numbers at his funeral have been called by one writer ‘the biggest farewell in history’. I think those numbers shocked the hierarchy and others at the time. He attracted people of good will generally. JP2 used his charisma to go after the youth and lift them up. It became ‘cool’ for young adults to love the Pope.

  14. The problem with the ‘reasoning’ behind this criticism of Pope Francis’ “Amoris Laetitiae” is that the major premise is flawed from the start. The People of God, in the baptized wisdom of the Sensus Fidei Fidelium, worked this out nearly fifty years ago when they rejected the flawed, disingenuous reasoning behind the Majority Report’s thesis in Humanae Vitae.
    An even more graphic example is the sheer scope of the theological and ecclesiological shift in fundamental Catholic thinking that took place at Vatican II and in the pastoral application of its teaching by the nearly 3,000 bishops since the Council.

  15. This development is patent Modernism – the HF is confusing development of doctrine, defended by Newman, who was himself defended by St Pius X, with the Modernist notion of evolution of doctrine, condemned by the same Pope.

    I would love to know how Fr Harrison has been able to reconcile the ditching of Limbo with what he wrote in his (very helpful) essay on the subject, some months before it was ditched:

  16. The issue of capital punishment is a blip on the screen compared to “Amoris Laetitia” with its acceptance of “fornication, adultery, and sodomy” as being in the forefront of a “new understanding of Christian truth”. Just where does this guy get the affront capability to contradict the Gospel as being obsolete? His pride is obvious. He knows more than Jesus the Christ because he has a better understanding of modern human nature.


    The Vatican uses St. Vincent Lerins’ to champion the development of doctrine, but they twist his writings to their own destruction. Though the whole of “Commonitory” thoroughly destroys this innovation, Chapter 23 is specific in how this development takes place. He warned us of Luther and Modernists clear back on the 5th century.

  18. I’d say he’s not the first Peter to oppose capital punishment (expiation of wrong-doing). We have that guy in the Bible.

    How does it go again? “Retro vade…” Something like that.

  19. “Several decades ago, in the aftermath of Humanae Vitae, progressivist dissenters were fond of saying sardonically, “When the Church finally comes round to allowing contraception, the papal document announcing this change will begin with the words, ‘As the Church has always taught, . . . ‘.” They meant this, of course, as a joke.”

    And they will be right. The Revd. Charles Kingsley wrote: “”Truth, for its own sake, had never been a virtue with the Roman clergy.” These are the words that began the exchange that resulted in Newman’s Apologia pro vita Sua. Seems to me that Kingsley was right: that truth is really of rather minor importance to the Church as she now is. There was a time when Popes were regarded with respect because of their position, but were frequently ignored when they said or did things Catholics disagreed with. This may be much healthier for the Church than the current intense concern with every word they are reported to utter. Maybe it is past high time to ignore them, and to treat them as white noise. Otherwise, we are likely to scramble our minds trying to reconcile them with Catholic Tradition, and with each other. When they talk nonsense, leave them be.

    • Unfortunately, much like our government, the so-called pope can affect our daily lives, our peace of mind and our very salvation. Would 100% of those in each of our Catholic corners ignore him? If not, each of our corners of true Catholism is in danger. Have a faithful, holy priest at your parish? If someone in authority above him wants to advance the Francis agenda, out he goes to Timbuktu. Lucky Timbuktu. And what will replace him? I shudder to think.

      • The only way I can make sense of PF’s words, is to suppose that he takes the view that given certain social arrangements, the DP was or is tolerable, but in others, it is completely wrong. So it could be legitimate in the Middle Ages, but be illegitimate now. It would be like slavery – tolerable in the past, totally wrong now. IOW, a social doctrine can be true given certain social arrangements, and false or inapplicable given others.

        This does actually make sense. Whether it is compatible with Catholic Christianity, is another matter. What is needed is a coherent theory or set of principles, so that one can see how such changes can be regarded as legitimate. Since the HF is adopting a Modernist notion of doctrinal change, there is a problem. Maybe the doctrine of the legitimacy of the DP is regarded, not as true, but as applicable. I’m just throwing out ideas here, trying to make sense of this development, and to account for it.

        This “social relativism”, so to call it, already applies to other things. Like belief in Transubstantiation. Catholics of the Eastern Rites can reject it, and do. So we are presented with a Unity in a Faith that has different contents depending on the Rite one follows. This is like saying that Unitarianism and Catholicism are one in Faith. Maddening. I really hate being Catholic at times – the sole “advantage” seems to be that one gets a load of post-V2 nonsense and unreason to believe. I have every sympathy with those who are sick and tired of it, and give up or go elsewhere. How the Popes can imagine that such incoherence and nonsense can promote a “New Evangelisation”, I cannot imagine. This is mindrape, nothing less.

  20. Who agrees with me that we have THE WORST pope in history at the moment? I don’t think there has been a pope before who deliberately tries to white-ant the Catholic Faith – to use his office to deliberately attempt to change the faith. All other ‘bad’ popes were merely sexual sinners, greedy or confused about developing doctrine, but never deliberately putting themselves above revealed truth.

    • You are without doubt absolutely correct.
      The man is a loose cannon, unhinged, theologically moronic and ill willed. The office has enhanced the hubris he has been running on since he was an adolescent. Geriatric diminishment is only aggravating the situation. He thinks its still the golden sixties.
      And then you have him surrounded by sycophants and puppet masters massaging his ego.
      It reminds me a little of “Arsenic and Old Lace” with the batty old uncle — or whatever — under the illusion he is Teddy Roosevelt and running up and down the stairs he believes to be San Juan Hill.
      Well guess who Jorge Mario Bergoglio thinks he is?
      We have one big problem on our hands.

      • It is the sixties again. The forces of modernism waited out JPII and BXVI and have re-emerged from the woodwork, so to speak, now that they have one of their own on the throne of Peter. They are simply picking up where they left off.

    • Disagree strongly. P6 and JP2 are arguably very much worse than PF. JP2 legalised sacrilege, by approving Canon 844#4 in the 1983 Code:

      Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and ⇒ can. 861, §2.

      §2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-

      Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

      §3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.

      §4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

      §5. For the cases mentioned in §§2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.

  21. “requires us to cease defending arguments which now appear decisively contrary to the new understanding of Christian truth”.
    Tell me what this means. Did my father who taught me my faith err? Is he in hell?

    • He means we should shut up, that’s what it means.

      It has become the liberals favorite argument: the argument from silencing.

      When evolutionary biologists responded to Intelligent Design theorists by debating them publicly in colleges and universities, polls taken afterwards showed the the students were overwhelmingly convinced by Intelligent Design.

      Result? They stopped all public debates, and turned to ridicule, name calling, and deliberately identifying Intelligent Design with Creationism, which it is not.

      The New Logic: Why is X true? Answer: Because I said so, so shut up.

      Actually, that’s what Bergoglio said when Cardinal Mueller asked him why he was firing three of the Cardinal’s best assistants. “Because I said so,” and pointed to the door.

  22. I did forget to mention that Fr Kasper was very involved in the Compedinium of the Catholic Catechism. A quote by FR John Hardon 30 years ago. Fr John made the claim he did think that Fr now Card Kasper was a bit dicky on the Incarnation

  23. I would bet that 99.9% of those reading my comment have no power to do what is necessary to incise the non-Catholic from the Chair of Peter. Do not those could affect such a possibility not kmow that the average faithful Catholic is in anquish, sorrow and fear? We can pray hard and often, but the fact that we are also the hands, mouths, etc of Jesus seems lost on those whose actions could correct the mistake made during the last ‘election’, aka conspiracy, when a non-Catholic was made pope.

    • I too am very worried and sad. We know the end, but this is really hard nonetheless. And… there are the children, deprived of sound teaching, and the suffering and humiliation the false teachings cause all who attempt to be faithful.

  24. Unfortunately, he is echoing what most Bishops and Cardinals have been saying for years. It is a heretical statement, unfortunately one of many. And yes, it is but a trial balloon for many more to come. I think God expects more of us than prayer, but I’m just a “bad” Catholic who learned the truth late only to witness those in authority try to destroy it.

  25. When Bergoglio said that Emma Bonino, who takes pride in killing thousands of unborn babies with a bicycle pump each year, for many years, is one of Italy’s greatest, he did not consider the inherent and yet unspoilt dignity of the lives of innocent, helpless babies (as opposed to criminals).

    Bergoglio will wickedly use the dignity of unborn babies to push his evil agenda, which is denial of sin. He will excuse and defend unrepented evil, only to offend human dignity by calling parents rabbits. Not only does he not care about the affirmation of the dignity of unborn babies. he does not care about the dignity of the marital act, of potential parents, and of brainwashed women who celebrate as progress and demand as a basic human right to have babies torn out of their wombs with a specially adjusted bicycle pump. Rather than focusing on teaching women chastity and virtue, he encourages them to be undignified – to seek pleasures of sex when unmarried or married, followed by removal of unwanted consequences.

    • It is unimaginable that the pope didn’t consider the effect of his astonishing words in praise of the mass murderer Bonino. He had to know not only her sordid history but also the immediate baleful consequences of his commendation. That is what makes his words so distressing. Consider for just a moment what the reaction would be had he instead made similar laudatory comments about, say, Jozef Tiso, the Catholic priest and leader of Slovakia during WW II. What if he had said Tiso was one of Slovakia’s greatest? I think meditating on this analogy helps illustrate boldly how totally misguided and outrageous his endorsement of Bonino really is.

    • Francis praises Mrs Bonino the number one italy’s abortress, and in the same time he opposes the death penalty.
      So he approves death penalty but only when it is inflicted to the unborn babies.
      Can anyone be as schizophrenic as this pope?

  26. I agree with you. I really do. The man is (use your choice of mad/ heretic/ anti-Pope/ evil/ clown/ whatever) unfit to be Pope.

    But again I have concerns over one point in what you have said.

    Eighth grade children have been taught by progressive teachers to believe all sorts of garbage. Many of them have no difficulty believing that 2+2 =5.

    In saying this I have to defend my younger son who has almost got through school without falling for much of it. But he is in a small minority and has me to support his objections to the insanity that is taught. And indeed a lot of that insanity is taught by RE teachers in a Catholic School.

    Believe in God or not, they don’t care. As long as you can logically and coherently explain your view.

    Go to Church, if you want to.

    Believe that women footballers do not deserve the same pay as men. You are evil.

    And trust me. That’s not just one RE teacher. And about 3/4 of the class are fine with that.

    Believing when the Pope (the darling of the secular media) says something is easy.

  27. Pope Francis is the greatest heretic to sit on the Throne of Peter. He is unworthy of the Papacy and a destroyer on a monumental scale. Only God can save us from these evil days. O Lord God, hear our prayer!

  28. I loved the sentence: “The Holy Father doesn’t seem to comprehend the law of non-contradiction, the first principle of all rational thought, and, therefore, an essential foundation of the very possibility of a rationally credible body of revealed truth.”

    Hey, have people just noticed? Pope Francis’ ramblings, both verbal and written, have been riddled with logical (or illogical) contradictions for years.

    On the death sentence, he gave a speech to a big meeting of jurists where he condemned both the death penalty AND life imprisonment. As at least one commentator noted, if you deny the possibility of life imprisonment, the case against the death penalty immediately collapses.

    On one occasion he declared that working for the arms industry was not fitting for a Christian. One sincerely hopes that only non-Christians work at Heckler and Koch, who supply the Swiss Guards’ weapons, especially the superb MP7 with armour-piercing ammo:

    He then asked why the Allies didn’t bomb the railway line to Auschwitz in WW2. Apart from the fact that this was near-impossible for most of the war, wouldn’t this involve Christian British and/or American workers in making and operating the warplanes and bombs?

    In the ludicrous “Evangelii Gaudium”, Para 253, he declared that Islam is opposed to all forms of violence. Then later he admitted verbally that conquest is part of the soul of Islam. A touchie-feelie, non-violent form of conquest, I guess.

  29. Gal 1:8 “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

    “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” – G. K. Chesterton

    “Whoever does not hate error, does not love the truth”.  – G.K. Chesterton

  30. The rate at which Francis is, with the quickness of his mouth, overturning the Teachings of the Church is quite stomach-wrenching. It’s like being on a roller-coaster (which I never liked), being tossed to and fro, whilst being unable to escape!

    Naturally, the Modernists convince themselves that their new doctrines are not in contradiction of the teachings of the past because, to a Modernist, revelation is a human thing. Thus, it can change. I believe the words of St. Pius X are quite fitting:

    “We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.” [Pascendi Dominic Gregis, No 2, 1907] This should explain why Francis is “reforming” the Church, as he calls it, and appears so ignorant of theology, etc.

    “…it must first of all be noted that every Modernist sustains and comprises within himself many personalities; he is a philosopher, a believer, a theologian, an historian, a critic, an apologist, a reformer.” [ibid, No 5] Doesn’t Francis exude these personalities in his words?

    “In like manner, he who believes may pass through different phases. Consequently, the formulae too, which we call dogmas, must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. An immense collection of sophisms this, that ruins and destroys all religion. Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and as clearly flows from their principles.” [ibid, No 13] How often do we hear about the “evolution of dogma”. Indeed, when Francis changes something but claims it’s not really changing anything, or that it is continuity with the past, Pius calls it sophism!

    “Hence it comes that these formulas, to be living, should be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him who believes Wherefore if for any reason this adaptation should cease to exist, they lose their first meaning and accordingly must be changed. And since the character and lot of dogmatic formulas is so precarious, there is no room for surprise that Modernists regard them so lightly and in such open disrespect.” [ibid, No 13] Does is not seem that Francis et al., hold the Church’s dogmas in open disrespect?

    “…. the Modernists…. fall into the opinion of the Protestants…”[ibid, No 14] I think the saintly Pontiff just explained why Francis glorifies Luther.

  31. This is an excellent article, and cuts to the heart of the danger: i.e., that they will claim “doctrinal development” (a good and truly Catholic thing; for example, the 4th century development of the terminology of a Trinity of three persons) when, as you show very clearly here, there is no development but a flat contradiction. Especially helpful are the examples you offer at the end of how they will justify all kinds of destruction by a kind of what I’d call ‘lateral movement,’ which is to say side-stepping the doctrine contradicted and appealing to a different, unquestionable principle.

    • This is a violation of our comment policy. What you assert you cannot possibly know for certain, and moreover is a matter — should it ever become necessary — that Church alone will decide. If you post anything like this again, including any links to Barnhardt or Verrechio’s musing on the matter, you will be banned.

  32. This is an excellent article. Thank you for the clarity. 1 thought among many that struck me while reading was a similar explanation I had published in a local paper contradicting a local leader. On an infinitely smaller scale- I had to use the very same ‘brass tacks’, explicit mapping of logic that Fr. Harrison has used here. It was nearly embarrassing the simplicity of defining ‘good’ and ‘bad’ that was necessary to respond to this leader’s flagrant massaging of language to make the illegitimate and undesirable not only legitimate, but excellent and worthy of celebration. It was a forehead-slapping exchange, where one is literally astonished at the ‘authority’s’ exploitation of reason for who-knows-what benefit. It has infected our human family at every possible level! – from local government, to the Vatican- And so with this article, on, of course, an incomparably more grave scale- we have again, individuals in need of pointing out the obvious against a seeming force of unstoppable illogic masquerading unapologetically as logic. “Confusion reigns” is all I could think. Looking out the window and seeing such beauty and order in the natural world, as the sun rises and sets with precision predictability, as the forcible mangling of reason carries on in increasingly profound ways in human endeavors- talk about signs of contradictions.

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