The frightening thing, he reflected for the ten thousandth time as he forced his shoulders painfully backward (with hands on hips, they were gyrating their bodies from the waist, an exercise that was supposed to be good for the back muscles) — the frightening thing was that it might all be true. If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened — that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death.
The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
— George Orwell, 1984
In yesterday’s piece about Cardinal Kasper and Amoris Laetitia, I noted that the German Cardinal had made a blatant attempt to co-opt Pope John Paul II’s gradualism in Familiaris Consortio as a stepping stone for the much more subversive approach in AL. I then concluded:
It seems that we have at last come full circle. In February, 2014, when Cardinal Kasper gave the consistory keynote that introduced us to the idea of a push for Communion for the Divorced and Remarried, we could see that it wasn’t just talk. Time after time, Francis made clear that he supported the agenda, at first by silence, then by action, and finally by words.
The coup is complete. They got what they wanted. And just like every other doctrinal perversion that has come along in the past 50 years, they will try to shove every understanding but this one down the memory hole and call it “development.”
Today, I spent some time connecting dots, and I realized that this assault is already well underway.
We saw evidence of this reality first with the appointment of the Kasperite Cardinal Paglia and his appointment as the new head of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Shortly thereafter, Paglia gave an interview to Vatican Radio — with a very distinct message:
With these new appointments, in Paglia’s eyes the pope clearly wants to continue the new course which emanates from the Synod of Bishops [on Marriage and the Family] and his encyclical [sic] Amoris Laetitia. [my emphasis added]
What I hadn’t realized is that at the same time as we were hearing of Paglia’s appointment, Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri was tapped to be the head of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome. Sequeri, according to LifeSiteNews,
was consultor for both the extraordinary and ordinary Synod of Bishops and took part in the working groups who helped draftAmoris Laetitia. It seems that the implementation of such documents would be in his field of interest. Yet only time and further developments in the Institute will tell if the nominations are in contrast to its mission.
Then earlier this month, it was announced that Cardinal Robert Sarah — who continuously makes waves in the Church by simple statements of basic orthodoxy — would be replaced at the last minute as the keynote speaker at the Roman Institute’s commencement of the academic year. His replacement? Pope Francis himself. That speech took place earlier today. In it, the Holy Father returned to a familiar theme — that the Catholic concept of marriage is an unattainable ideal that requires pastoral innovation and compromise:
“At times we have also proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families. This excessive idealization, especially when we have failed to inspire trust in God’s grace, has not helped to make marriage more desirable and attractive, but quite the opposite.”
“Theology and pastoral solicitude go hand-in-hand,” said Pope Francis. “A theological doctrine that does not let itself be guided and shaped by the evangelizing purpose and the pastoral concern of the Church is just as unthinkable as a pastoral plan for the Church that does not know how to make a treasure of revelation and tradition with a view to the better understanding and transmission of the faith.”
In yet another story that broke just this morning, it was learned that Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, Australia, “shocked students and staff” by announcing that the John Paul II Institute in his diocese, would be closed at the end of 2018:
The archbishop yesterday sent a letter to faculty and staff of the institute notifying them of the decision citing concerns about low student numbers.
The Catholic Weekly understands that student numbers had increased in recent years.
The institute was founded in 2001 to “promote marriage and the family for the good of the whole Church and the wider community, within the context of higher education in Australia and education in theology”, according to its website.
I couldn’t find any statements made by Archbishop Hart on Amoris Laetitia, but I did pull up a news story from January of this year in which this shepherd of over a million Catholics (as of 2013) “urged schools to be sensitive and respectful to students who wanted to invite a same-sex date to the biggest night of the year.”
“These are quite often emotional situations and it’s very important that we always have respect for the dignity of the human being involved,” he said.
“Students in a secondary school are growing up and in developmental stages where relationships are more like strong friendships and are not usually permanent, they are not in a situation where they are committing,” Archbishop Hart said in a statement to Fairfax Media.
“The Catholic Church respects any relationship but always sticks quite firmly with its teaching that a relationship in the eyes of the church is heterosexual, between a male and female, and that is something we would always stand by.”
Archbishop Hart was criticised last year for allegedly burying Jesuit Social Services’s Not So Straight report, which had found widespread bullying and homophobic abuse of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students in Catholic schools, leading to high-levels of self harm, and even suicide.
Academy principal Sister Mary Moloney said it was a progressive and modern Catholic school that dealt with any issue or concern with an open mind.
“The philosophy of allowing students to choose whomever they wish to accompany them to our school formal will continue into the future,” Sister Moloney said.
You can reach your own conclusions about such moral leadership. Joseph Sciambra (whom I interviewed this summer about his formerly “gay” lifestyle and his conversion to Catholicism) has his own take here.
This is systematic. Cardinal Schönborn as official interpreter saying that AL is “binding”. The Buenos Aires letter. The capitulation of various bishops conferences (which Francis and his cabal have sought to empower from the earliest days of his pontificate). The Cardinal Vicar of Rome — who reports directly to the pope as “bishop of Rome” — allowing communion for the “remarried” in his diocese. Cardinal Farrell, new head of the Vatican division for Laity and Family, saying that AL “is the Holy Spirit Speaking”. Countless other examples, if you want to start digging.
And it is amazing to see that as progressive as Pope John Paul II was capable of being — even on marriage — he was a bastion of orthodoxy compared to these revolutionaries. This is why they have been attacking his work on marriage and family from the get go. Familiaris Consortio is simply an impediment to Amoris Laetitia. As are, no doubt, some of JPII’s other writings on the matter.
The rapidity with which AL is becoming the de facto law of the Church by diktat is breathtaking. I return again to the words of Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, close friend of Francis and ghostwriter of most of the major documents of this pontificate — particularly Amoris Laetitia. You will perhaps recall that he told us to expect this:
“The pope goes slow because he wants to be sure that the changes have a deep impact. The slow pace is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the changes. He knows there are those hoping that the next pope will turn everything back around. If you go slowly it’s more difficult to turn things back.” The interviewer then proceeded to ask him whether it does not help his adversaries when they know that Pope Francis says that his papacy might be short. Fernández answered: “The pope must have his reasons, because he knows very well what he’s doing. He must have an objective that we don’t understand yet. You have to realize that he is aiming at reform that is irreversible. If one day he should sense that he’s running out of time and doesn’t have enough time to do what the Spirit is asking him, you can be sure he will speed up.” [emphasis added]
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.