Heresy In Amoris Laetitia: 302 & 303
The text of 302 (emphases always mine)
302. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly mentions these factors: “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors”. In another paragraph, the Catechism refers once again to circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility, and mentions at length “affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability”. For this reason, a negative judgment about an objective situation does not imply a judgment about the imputability or culpability of the person involved. On the basis of these convictions, I consider very fitting what many Synod Fathers wanted to affirm: “Under certain circumstances people find it very difficult to act differently. Therefore, while upholding a general rule, it is necessary to recognize that responsibility with respect to certain actions or decisions is not the same in all cases. Pastoral discernment, while taking into account a person’s properly formed conscience, must take responsibility for these situations. Even the consequences of actions taken are not necessarily the same in all cases”.
This paragraph is the priming of a bomb about to explode. Francis starts from something already mentioned in the Catechism of JP II, and always known in Church doctrine: we aren’t Jews, who consider a behaviour only in its external manifestation, without consideration for the subjective element. We also know, and have always known, how these situations apply: the eight years old child who steals from the cookie jar is a different situation from the eighteen years old who steals scooters, and the like. The suicide in a sudden raptus of madness is difference than the suicide deliberate and planned, and so on. We all know this, it has always been that way, each one of you can bring infinite examples.
This is also why the statements in that sense of the October Relatio were – and are – not problematic. They are in line with what the Church has always said. There’s nothing new or worrying here.
However, this has never applied to the situation of objective scandal and mortal sin. For these, the answer given by the Church has always been the one given by JP II. With the important difference that I very much doubt that in, say, 1898, the “living like brothers and sisters” idea would have found many friends. But then again it is always that way: you start by conceding a finger, at some point the entire hand goes.
Francis here takes a general principle that applies in limited circumstances and extends it – and this is a novelty and subversion of established truth, which in common parlance is rightly called heresy – to situations to which these principles have never applied. I have written about this in the linked article, so you can read it again if you like.
Francis closes this primer with another subtly subversive statement: that pastoral discernment in these situation must take into account a person’s properly formed conscience.
This is an exercise in Jesuit hypocrisy. If the conscience of a person is properly formed there can be no discussion at all: he knows that he is in adultery, public scandal, and mortal sin. There can be no other pastoral work than to say to this man “pack you things NOW!”. What the Evil Clown here means is that the priest must consider what the distorted, hypocritical, self-righteous “conscience” of the adulterer tells him. How do I know this? because it is the only way how what follows makes any sense. If, as already stated, the conscience is properly formed, there can be no discussion at all, and the only “pastoral” exercise can be a reiteration of why what can’t be can never, ever be.
The bomb, now primed, is ready to explode. Enter paragraph 303:
303. Recognizing the influence of such concrete factors, we can add that individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage. Naturally, every effort should be made to encourage the development of an enlightened conscience, formed and guided by the responsible and serious discernment of one’s pastor, and to encourage an ever greater trust in God’s grace. Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. In any event, let us recall that this discernment is dynamic; it must remain ever open to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized.
Heretical bullshit like this would, in Christian past, have deserved its author the stake.
Read it carefully. Francis has already said that the “properly formed conscience” must guide the adulterer’s action, but it was immediately obvious that a properly formed conscience has no need at all for discussion, because it knows that truth isn’t there for discussion. Therefore, he now examines how to deal with your typical unrepentant adulterer. What follows is an open support for the heresy of Kasper, and this happens in the most brutal of ways:
*for now* this is the most the adulterers can do
*God Himself* asks them not to do more (not only heresy! Blasphemy, too!!)
The adulterous situation is downplayed to *not the objective ideal*
I see here more than a hint to what is called “situation ethics”: what appears bad can actually be good given the circumstances. The mother and wife can consent to sex with the prison guard in order to be let go and go back to her husband and children, and such like. The Church has always condemned such thinking, refusing any kind of “lesser evil” (much less, making of the evil anything “good”) and stating that evil is not committed, period.
Even V II Popes (before Francis) clearly saw this and defended it robustly. From Veritatis Splendor, paragraph 72:
72. The morality of acts is defined by the relationship of man’s freedom with the authentic good. This good is established, as the eternal law, by Divine Wisdom which orders every being towards its end: this eternal law is known both by man’s natural reason (hence it is “natural law”), and — in an integral and perfect way — by God’s supernatural Revelation (hence it is called “divine law”). Acting is morally good when the choices of freedom are in conformity with man’s true good and thus express the voluntary ordering of the person towards his ultimate end: God himself, the supreme good in whom man finds his full and perfect happiness.
The rational ordering of the human act to the good in its truth and the voluntary pursuit of that good, known by reason, constitute morality. Hence human activity cannot be judged as morally good merely because it is a means for attaining one or another of its goals, or simply because the subject’s intention is good.122 Activity is morally good when it attests to and expresses the voluntary ordering of the person to his ultimate end and the conformity of a concrete action with the human good as it is acknowledged in its truth by reason. If the object of the concrete action is not in harmony with the true good of the person, the choice of that action makes our will and ourselves morally evil, thus putting us in conflict with our ultimate end, the supreme good, God himself.
There you have it, in very clear words. And mind, it is not that JP II is making some difficult, little-known, sophisticated argument here. This is confirmation stuff. Francis throws everything out of the window, and profoundly subverts the very basis of Catholic thinking.
Let me say it once again: in our Christian past, such rubbish would have led its proponent to die at the stake.
This is heresy and blasphemy in the most open form imaginable. There is nothing ambiguous in this. This is pure poison. It is not enough for our shepherds to ignore this fetid words. They must condemn them.
Heresy! Blasphemy! Where are our shepherds?