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Monday, December 5, 2016

Pulling Back the Veil: Orthodox Patriarch Defends Francis Featured

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8574983317 0ba27cfb37Is Amoris Laetitia and the Orthodox: What's the Connection?

Did you know that Amoris Laetitia is really about rewriting Catholic Trinitarian dogma? Did you know that with it, Pope Francis has freed us, not only from the “canonical regulations of man,” but from our Biblical concept of God as Father? And that we no longer have to concern ourselves with moral restraints or even behavioural preferences imposed by this “heavenly father”? Did you know that the Church no longer teaches that there is any divinely authored moral law at all?


I realize that the language was deliberately ambiguous and imprecise in order that nearly any gloss could be laid over it to serve nearly any agenda. But I bet you thought all that was mostly about marriage and the family. I bet you were worried that it was a vehicle for imposing the Kasperian doctrine of giving sacrilegious Holy Communion to divorced and civilly “remarried” people, and that it would only indirectly and by logical extrapolation undermine all of the Church’s other teachings.

Having read the letter, published on Friday in the pope’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano by the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, I am left wondering what the message was that we, as Catholics, are supposed to take to heart. Are we really to understand that the pope approved a message that there isn’t really such a person as the “heavenly father”? And that this new god of Amoris Laetitia has no interest in how we behave? Is this a message from the pope, through one of his chosen proxies, that there is simply no such thing any more as sin?

Does Pope Francis intend to endorse this letter? If not, then how do we explain its presence, without correction or comment, in L’Osservatore Romano? Is this a catechism lesson of the Bergoglian New Paradigm, through an op-ed in the pope’s newspaper?

Are we to take Amoris Laetitia not as a document of the Catholic Church on the family but as a manifesto of an entirely new religion?

In the midst of all the chaos and shouting, is it possible that we might have missed something? The document is 200 pages, after all. Written in deliberately ambiguous and imprecise language, the pope’s document has allowed quite an array of “interpretations” and bishops are busy fighting over it around the world in what has become the most divisive crisis in the Church since the Protestant Revolution.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “first among equals” of the (formally schismatic) Orthodox Church, says that Amoris Laetitia gives us a new God who doesn’t care about “human conduct” or “custom,” is instead to be thought of exclusively as “life, love and light”.  

First the good patriarch blows a little smoke, hardly surprising for the “squid ink pontificate,” the most predictable characteristic of which is to squirt a little ink and make a break for it when confronted. Bartholomew launches a little cloud of distraction about migrants and his joint trip with the pope to Lesbos in April, “to express our solidarity with persecuted refugees from the Middle East.”

But that’s just journalist bait; CNN are going to eat it up. The narrative will be that the document is really about loving the poor (Muslim) “refugees.” But make no mistake. Bartholomew is indeed dropping some pretty big hints about the Church’s attitude towards “the most sensitive issues” regarding “divorce, or even of sexuality and childrearing”. There’s a lot of flowery verbiage to plough through, but buried in a nice warm fluffy pillow of ecclesial blither, we have a few unmistakable landmines.

Regarding the “commentaries and evaluations on this significant document,” Bartholomew writes, “People have wondered how specific doctrine has been developed or defended, whether pastoral questions have been reformed or resolved, and if particular rules have been either reinforced or mitigated…

“However … [ecclesial blither redacted] … it is important to observe that Amoris Laetitia recalls first and foremost the mercy and compassion of God, rather than solely the moral rules and canonical regulations of men.

Wait, what? The “canonical regulations of men?” Really?

Because all the people I’ve talked to who are worried about it, tell me it’s about this:

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

The last time I checked, the Person quoted here was not just any man, and was not merely creating “canonical regulations” but speaking with Divine authority about the nature of man and of marriage.

Bartholomew does not linger, however, diving forward, always forward:

“What has undoubtedly smothered and hampered people in the past,” he says, “is the fear that a ‘heavenly father’ somehow dictates human conduct and prescribes human custom.”

This old fashioned view of God is all wrong, he says. “The truth is quite the opposite,” Bartholomew assures us. “Religious leaders,” he adds, are called to “remember and in turn to remind that God is life and love and light.”

And in case we were still in any doubt that this is just an idea of his own, he draws in Pope Francis and Amoris Laetitia as leading an entirely New Paradigm of our understanding of God:

“Indeed, these are the terms repeatedly emphasized by Pope Francis in his encyclical, which discerns the experience and challenges of contemporary society in order to discern a spirituality of marriage and family for today’s world.”

As everyone who has been paying attention was expecting, Amoris Laetitia is magnificently fulfilling its most obvious purpose of facilitating the Bergoglian Purge of believing Catholics from the Church. It is neatly lining up the sides that have existed in the Church for fifty years so they can be clearly identified. It’s funny in a way that the ambiguity of the document is paradoxically finally creating clarity on issues that have remained muddy for fifty years; it is becoming clear which prelates are and are not willing to abandon Christ for the New Bergoglian Paradigm – a paradigm that Francis himself insists is nothing more than the long-delayed fulfilment of Vatican II.

And what a brazenly anti-Christian paradigm it is turning out to be!

We have known that these people, the pope’s supporters in his project to re-write Catholic doctrine on a broad swathe of topics, are habitual liars. We have seen them twisting and misrepresenting scripture and Catholic doctrine – and the objections of their questioners – in the most outrageously brazen way from the start of this whole circus. The manipulations have not only been devious and underhanded, they’ve been conducted in front of the cameras without the least hint of shame. These are people who are capable of asserting with a perfectly straight face that black is really white, and then will become outraged and indignant when you question them.

As is typical with the Kasperian/Bergoglian apologists, Bartholomew indulges a little dig, a nasty little insult – also based on a lie – accusing believers of “discrimination and disdain” for those who have quite freely barred themselves from Communion by placing themselves into a state of mortal sin.

“The church fathers are not afraid to speak openly and honestly about the Christian life. Nonetheless, their starting point is always the loving and saving grace of God, which shines on all people without discrimination or disdain.”

So far, what the cardinals have asked, what all the remaining believing Catholics of the Church want to know, is, “Does the pope agree with Cardinal Kasper’s explicit and insistent assertion that the words of Our Lord, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, just don’t matter.

But Patriarch Bartholomew has picked up the whole controversy, tucked it under his arm, and run with it right over the 40 yard line. While he continues to downgrade the divinely authored moral law as just “canonical regulations of man,” he has actually stated that God – who isn’t a heavenly father – simply isn’t interested in “human conduct” or “custom” at all. “Do as you will, shall be the whole of the law,” as the Satanists put it. Sorry, but how else can we read this?

Perhaps the cardinals could draft a couple more Dubia: “Are we no longer to consider the First Person of the Holy Trinity as a ‘heavenly father’?” and “Is there such a thing as the moral law?” Are we simply to adopt the secularist standards of behaviour, to do whatever we want as long as “it doesn’t hurt anyone”? As long as there is “consent”?

With these kind of outrageously brazen denials of essential Christian doctrine – coupled with the demands that we abandon them on pain of being accused of disobedience – “heresy! schism!” – how can we look upon this letter – indeed the entire Kasper/Synod/Amoris Laetitia campaign – as anything less than a concerted assault on what Christianity is at its very core? The nature of God and the moral life?

But why is it important what this schismatic bishop says? Why should we care? What does it have to do with anything that happens in the Church?

First, because of the publication of the letter in the pope’s own newspaper.

But much more importantly because Bartholomew, as the leader of the Orthodox, is serving to confirm the legitimacy of the Kasper Plan that has from the start used the practice of the Orthodox Churches as a justification.

All the way back in July 2013, Pope Francis started dropping hints about his intention to follow the Orthodox example. It elicited very little speculation at the time, but on the plane ride home from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro – the same plane ride in which he gave the notorious “who am I to judge” comment on active homosexual priests – Francis held up the Orthodox habit of allowing non-sacramental second “marriages” as a kind of toleration, a line that Cardinal Kasper was later to use to explain his infamous consistory speech the following February.

Read the quote carefully, and you will see that the plans were laid immediately and have been systematically implemented from the first days of this pontificate:

The pope was asked: “With regard to the reception of the sacraments by the divorced and remarried, is there the possibility of a change in the Church’s discipline?”

John Paul II had the first intuition of this, when he began with Faustina Kowalska, the Divine Mercy… He had something, he had intuited that this was a need in our time. With reference to the issue of giving communion to persons in a second union (because those who are divorced can receive communion, there is no problem, but when they are in a second union, they can’t…), I believe that we need to look at this within the larger context of the entire pastoral care of marriage. And so it is a problem. But also – a parenthesis – the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology of what they call oikonomia, and they give a second chance, they allow it. But I believe that this problem – and here I close the parenthesis – must be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage.”

The announcement of the Synod on the Family came three months later, on October 8, 2013. But his first hints about where we were all going came even earlier. In his very first Angelus address, he praised the book, “Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life,” by Cardinal Kasper in which the German theologian laid out his plan.

The pope said that he had been reading “a book by a cardinal—Cardinal Kasper, a talented theologian, a good theologian—on mercy.

“And it did me such good, that book, but don't think that I'm publicizing the books of my cardinals. That is not the case! But it did me such good, so much good... Cardinal Kasper said that hearing the word mercy changes everything.”

I’ll say.

All of this, including the letter denying the Trinity by Patriarch Bartholomew appearing in the pope’s newspaper, endorsing the Kasperian proposal for the Catholic Church, prompts more questions. It does make one wonder, just how long ago was Amoris Laetitia actually drafted? How long has it been sitting in the drawer, waiting to be unleashed upon the Church?

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Last modified on Monday, December 5, 2016
Hilary White

Our Italy correspondent is known throughout the English-speaking world as a champion of family and cultural issues. First introduced by our allies and friends at the incomparable, Miss White lives in Norcia, Italy.