Pope Francis has announced that beginning on March 19, 2021, an entire year will be dedicated to the “Amoris Laetitia Family” (whatever that means):
In his Angelus address Dec. 27, the feast of the Holy Family, the pope noted that March 19, 2021, would mark five years since the signing of Amoris laetitia following synods on the family in 2014 and 2015.
He said: “Today’s feast reminds us of the example of evangelising with the family, proposing to us once again the ideal of conjugal and family love, as underlined in the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia, promulgated five years ago this coming March 19. And it will be a year of reflection on Amoris laetitia and it will be an opportunity to focus more closely on the contents of the document. These reflections will be made available to ecclesial communities and families, to accompany them on their journey.”
“As of now, I invite everyone to take part in the initiatives that will be promoted during the Year and that will be coordinated by the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life. Let us entrust this journey, with families all over the world, to the Holy Family of Nazareth, in particular to St. Joseph, the devoted spouse and father.”
If you search 1P5 for the phrase, “Amoris Laetitia,” you’ll get 493 unique results. That’s an impressive number for a little publication like ours, and it underscores the significance of that document.
More than any other agenda piece of the current pontificate, this hulking Trojan horse of a post-synodal apostolic exhortation has been the Magnum Opus of what will likely be seen as the most theologically disastrous pontificate in the Church’s 2,000 year history. (I say “likely” because Paul VI gives Francis a run for his money. But then again, Francis “canonized” Paul VI, so in a way he managed to include all the horrific damage the latter did and offer it up for emulation and veneration by the faithful.)
It was Cardinal Kasper’s proposal at the February 2014 consistory that a door be opened for the divorced and remarried to receive Holy Communion — a proposal adopted and promoted by Francis — that set the stage for the the disastrous program of “reform” that followed for the next seven years. It was, in many respects, what put the wheels in motion for the creation of this website.
Always, from the very beginning of his pontificate, amidst his various attacks on traditional doctrine and praxis, there have been three pillars of Catholic life under fire from our chastisement of a pope: Marriage & the family, the priesthood, and the Eucharist.
I can point to a number of reasons why I say the latter two are in his crosshairs, but for the sake of brevity — and because Sister Lucia of Fatima warned that attacks on marriage and the family would be the thrust of the devil’s final battle against Our Lord — let me focus here only on the first.
From the comments about Catholics breeding like rabbits to the open endorsement of contraception by the pope in the face of the Zika virus to his public friendship and praise of Italy’s most notorious abortionist to his handing of the Vatican platform over to horrific population control ideologues like Paul Ehrlich and Jeffrey Sachs to his promotion of the pro-abortion UN Sustainable Development Goals to his gutting and remaking of the Pontifical Academy for Life with pro-abortion, pro-contraception, and overtly homosexual-friendly staff members, Francis has wielded a cudgel against life and family issues like nobody could have imagined a Roman Pontiff would ever do. Out of the starting gate, he made comments indicating that the Church has focused too much on these issues:
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
“The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.
It was these comments that led to exploitation of the pope’s thinking by the Church’s longstanding enemies like this:
But it was Amoris Laetitia that seemed to be tip of the spear in his assault against the family. Because it was through this document that he effectively redefined the family — outside of the Catholic conception of what God designed it to be — and essentially wished away the sin of adultery (and even promotes it!) based on some ambiguous, subjective hand waving at complexity of context. (In the process, he left the Eucharist subject to sacrilege; but the souls damaged by such papally-approved sacrilege should not be forgotten, either.)
Pope Francis has already made certain that we know his position; by placing his letter praising the Argentinian Bishops for creating Amoris Laetitia guidelines that allow those living in adultery to receive Communion in the official acts of the Holy See, he was publicly flipping the bird to anyone trying to offer
mental gymnastics as an excuse for an orthodox interpretation of his document. With both hands.
We know the efforts made to respond. We know about the Dubia, which saw two of the four cardinals — the only four in the entire Church brave enough to raise their voices above a private whimper! — actually die waiting for an audience with the pope to even discuss it. (We also saw the remaining cardinals give up on their promised formal correction of the pope, perhaps deciding that such a gesture would be futile.)
We saw a document created by 45 international theologians and Catholic scholars painstakingly listing theological censures against propositions within Amoris Laetitia sent to the college of cardinals and be completely ignored.
We saw a petition with 800,000 signatures (including 200 Catholic prelates) asking the pope to re-affirm traditional doctrine on marriage treated like it doesn’t even exist.
There were other such initiatives, analyses, and commentaries. Too many to list here.
One the preeminent Catholic Philosophers in the world, the late Robert Spaemann, said in no uncertain terms that Amoris Laetitia would “split the Church” – that the “pope should have known” it would do exactly that. (Then again, Francis admitted that he might go down in history as the one who splits the Church, so perhaps he did — and did it anyway.)
Another preeminent Catholic Philosopher, Josef Seifert, described the potential effect of the document as “a moral theological atomic bomb that threatens to tear down the whole moral edifice of the 10 commandments and of Catholic Moral Teaching.”
And we’re getting an entire year to celebrate it.
An. Entire. Year.
We appear to have a pope who despises the faithful, has contempt for the Catholic faith, and quite likely actually hates God Himself — or at least, His teachings, as given to His Children by both Scripture and Tradition. A pope so riddled with hubris that he thinks he can remake the Church in his own image. And here he is yet again, flipping us all the bird with both hands, because he knows there’s not a damn thing we can do to stop him.
Many of us have gotten better at ignoring him, it’s true, and we’ll mostly ignore this papal slap in the face like we have so many others. But that doesn’t make him any easier to take, or his incessant nuisance-making easy to avoid without simply going off the grid and never again reading any Catholic news.
And despite recurring rumors of his imminent resignation, let’s be honest about what we know: the man loves power and the sound of his own voice far too much. It’s highly unlikely he’s planning on just letting go of the office his relentless ambition allowed him to attain now that he finally has it, and fading off quietly into obscurity.
We know, too, that even when he’s finally gone, he’s stacked the deck of the college of cardinals; odds are we’ll get a like-minded ideological successor, albeit one who is younger and perhaps a bit more tactful, making him that much more dangerous.
But then again, we don’t know what 2021 will actually bring. Who could have seen 2020 coming? Odds are, it’s going to be another wild year. Buckle up.
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.