Catholics head for spiritual catastrophe

In Catholic World Report today, Dr. E. Christian Brugger writes a most excellent appeal to the bishops of the world. His article is both concise and precise, succinctly identifying the huge problem we face in the Church right now as well as a potential course of action to resolve the issue.

Brugger is a Senior Fellow of Ethics and Director of the Fellows Program at the Culture of Life Foundation in Washington, D.C. who holds Master degrees in moral theology and moral philosophy from Seton Hall, Harvard and Oxford Universities and received his D.Phil. (Ph.D.) in Christian ethics from Oxford in 2000.

He identifies Cardinal Parolin's "Paradigm shift" drawn from Amoris Laetitia, as the old adversary of moral theology from the sixties and seventies: proportionalism.  Proportionalism proposes that on the basis of complex circumstances, the activity of conscience and the notion that the moral law is merely an ideal, some Catholics are not required to submit obediently to the objective and concrete demands of the divine and natural laws. Of course this false notion was firmly and definitively dealt with by Pope St. John Paul II in Veritatis splendor, where he taught clearly that by appealing to complex circumstances, the activity of conscience and the notion that the moral law is merely an ideal, they end by justifying forms of behaviour that have long been held to be contrary to the divine and natural laws (VS 56, 76, 103).

Brugger makes crystal clear his own concern that this “new paradigm” is contrary to Catholic fides et moralibus; that its teaching is harmful to souls; and that its further dissemination will greatly undermine Catholic morality.

To me, the clarity with which Brugger identifies the problem with no waffle, no prevarication, demonstrates his intellect. Pope Francis and his "helpers" use all manner of obfuscation to make it look like they are doing something Catholic, but even if one ignores the theft of books from Cardinalsallusions to Don Quixote, the affirmations that China is the model of Catholic social teaching, the fake news about "impromptu" weddings on aeroplanes and the airbrushing of letters from the Pope emeritus, openly racist remarks, the honouring of abortion activists, not to mention the strange anti-maths of Antonio Spadaro (the list goes on and on and on), anyone who has studied can see that they are not affirming the teaching of the Church but undermining it in an essential way.

Brugger suggests bishops must take action and addresses them in this letter:

Dear Archbishops, Bishops and Brothers in Christ,

Some influential voices in the Church are using a “new paradigm” to justify forms of behavior long recognized as contrary to the precepts of the Divine and Natural Laws. As I recently wrote:

“The ‘new paradigm’ — although never explicitly saying it — allows priests and bishops simultaneously to affirm that they accept the Church’s moral teaching and yet to liberate ‘individual consciences’ that are not living by that teaching to continue not living by it, while approaching the Table of the Lord.”

We see this in places where Catholics living in objectively sinful unions are being freed to return to Holy Communion without a sincere resolution to amend their behavior. The “new paradigm” effectively makes permissible actions rejected by Christ and St. Paul in the New Testament and by the Church for 20 centuries. In Germany, Argentina, Malta, and elsewhere we now have “Catholic divorce and remarriage” and “Catholic adultery.”

Unless you intervene to prevent the “new paradigm” from being brought to bear upon the wider body of Catholic moral teaching, its logic will surely be applied to contraceptive acts (despite the Church’s ancient teaching reaffirmed in Gaudium et Spes and Humanae Vitae), to homosexual behavior (despite the teaching reaffirmed in Persona Humana and the Catechism of the Catholic Church), and to other traditionally rejected behaviors.

And defenders of the “new paradigm” will say: “All we’re doing is applying Church teaching with greater pastoral sensitivity by paying heightened attention to the complexity of concrete ‘circumstances’ and by according greater respect to the dignity of ‘conscience’; the settled moral doctrines themselves are not in question.”

The interventions of laypeople and faithful priests are important, but are unlikely to influence the decisions of the Pope. Only fraternal episcopal interventions can now hope to avert what is sure otherwise to be a spiritual catastrophe for the Catholic Church. For if the “new paradigm” is officially applied to contraceptive acts, all the norms of Catholic sexual morality will fall like dominos. Great evil will occur. And many souls will be lost. God, of course, will bring good out of it. But not without immeasurable loss.

Therefore, to all Catholic bishops — East and West — who believe that the “new paradigm” is and will continue to be used to justify forms of behavior traditionally judged contrary to the divine and natural laws, I respectfully ask that you consider taking action in the following four ways:

To privately write to the apostolic nuncio of your country and ask him respectfully to make known to the Holy Father your concerns about the “new paradigm” and especially to urge him to refrain from applying it to the teaching of Humanae Vitae.
To privately write to Pope Francis himself fraternally expressing these same concerns and respectfully asking him to teach unambiguously the moral truths of the Catholic faith, especially on matters pertaining to the Fifth and Sixth Precepts of the Decalogue, and to correct the pastoral errors to which some of his teachings have given rise.

To officially promulgate for your diocese a set of norms pastorally addressing the sensitive issues raised in Amoris Laetitia (especially Chapter 8), norms consistent with the teachings of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Catholic moral and pastoral tradition.

To privately liaise with like-minded bishops and consider constructive ways to use your magisterium to carry out the episcopal duties affirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“It is this Magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates” (890).

When you address the “new paradigm” in your correspondences, you might consider a form similar to what John Paul II used when addressing Proportionalism in Veritatis Splendor:

“Such theories [in this case ‘paradigms’] are not faithful to the Church’s teaching, when they believe they can justify, as morally good, deliberate choices of kinds of behavior contrary to the commandments of the divine and natural law. These [paradigms] cannot claim to be grounded in the Catholic moral tradition” (76).

It would be easy to say: “I’ve done all I can. It is all in God’s hands. We must be content to leave it there.” Please see that you are Jesus’ hands for addressing this very grave situation.

I am willing to assist you in any way I can — with summaries of concerns, talking points, diocesan guidelines, etc. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Very respectfully yours in Jesus,

E. Christian Brugger D.Phil.Moral Theologian

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

I am strongly behind this initiative and, wondering what I can do about it, all I can think is to ask you, dear reader, can we disseminate this as widely as possible? Forward it to your own bishop?

My fear is that we have reached a tipping point where it won't matter. The fact is, as a catechist, all I see is a Church unwilling to teach the gospel leading to unformed young people and confused adults.

My fear is that the bishops are driving this silence and more of them are proportionalists than not.

I won't just give up though, because the "new paradigm" is patently not Catholic and cannot be reconciled with the Catholic faith.

Unless of course, you're with Fr Antonio:


Popular posts from this blog

Pope Francis: Dismantling Marriage

Establishing a New Object of Worship

Cardinal Nichol’s Checklist for Priestly Formation