Rorate Caeli

De Mattei on the Synod Relatio: "The Need to Resist Heretical Tendencies"

The Need to Resist Heretical Tendencies

Erdö's Relatio cancels sin and the natural law in an instant

Roberto de Mattei
Il Foglio
October 15, 2014

The sense of sin cancelled;  the idea of good and evil abolished; Natural Law suppressed; any positive  reference to the value of virginity and chastity abandoned.  With the report presented on October 13, 2014 to the Synod on the Family by Cardinal Pèter Erdö, the sexual revolution has now officially invaded the Church, with devastating consequences to souls and society itself.

The Relatio post disceptationem drawn up by Cardinal Erdö is the synopsis of the first week of  the Synod’s work and it is this that will orient its conclusions. The first part of the document, attempts to impose (in the language of the worst kind of 1968er) the “anthropological-cultural change” in society as a “challenge” for the Church.  Faced with a picture from polygamy to African “marriage in stages” we now have “the praxis of cohabitation” in western society; the report notes the existence of “a widespread desire for family”. No element of moral evaluation is present.

To the threat of individualism and individualist egoism, the text compares the positive aspect of “relationality” considered a good thing in itself, especially when it aims at being transformed into a stable relationship (nn. 9-10). The Church forgoes voicing judgments on values, but “[offers] a meaningful word of hope ”(n.11).  So a new astounding moral principle is affirmed: the “law of gradualness” which allows for the appreciation of the positive elements in all situations, till now, defined by the Church as sinful.  Evil and sin really don’t exist. Only “imperfect forms of the good”  exist (n.18) according to a doctrine of the “levels of communion” attributed to the Second Vatican Council.  “Realizing the need, therefore, for spiritual discernment with regard to cohabitation, civil marriages and divorced and remarried persons, it is the task of the Church to recognize those seeds of the Word that have spread beyond its visible and sacramental boundaries.” 

The question of the divorced and remarried is the pretext which allows for a principal that dismantles two thousand years of Catholic faith.  Following Gaudium et Spesthe Church turns with respect towards those who are part of Her life in an incomplete and imperfect way, appreciating more the positive values that they preserve, rather than the limits and faults” (ivi). Which means that any type of moral condemnation fails, since  any sin whatever constitutes an imperfect form of the good and an incomplete way of being part of the Church. In this respect, a new dimension of today’s family pastoral consists of accepting the reality of civil marriage and also cohabitation, taking into account the due differences.” (n.22) And this especially “when a union reaches a notable level of stability through a public bond, is characterized by deep affection, responsibility with regard to offspring, and capacity to withstand tests” (ivi).

With this the doctrine of the Church has been turned upside down according to which the stabilizing of sin, through a civil marriage constitutes a sin graver than an occasional and fleeting sexual union, since the latter allows for less difficulty in a return to the right path.

“A new sensitivity in today’s pastoral consists in grasping the positive reality of civil weddings and, having pointed out our differences, of cohabitation.(n.36)  So the new pastoral practice then, entails being silent about evil, renouncing the conversion of the sinner and accepting the status quo as irreversible. These are what the report calls “courageous pastoral choices” (n.40).  The courage, it seems, is not in opposing evil but in adapting to it.  The passages dedicated to the acceptance of homosexual people are those that appeared the most scandalous, but they are the logical coherence of the principles exposed here. Even the man in the street understands that if it’s possible for the divorced and remarried to receive the Sacraments, then everything else is permitted, starting from homosexual pseudo-marriage.

            Marco Politi in “Il Fatto” (October 14), stressed that never, ever, had a sentence of this sort been found in an official document from the ecclesiastical hierarchy:   “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community”. Followed by a question to the bishops of the whole world: “are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? “ (n.50). Although not comparing unions between the same sexes to marriage between a man and woman, the Church proposes to: “elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension” (n.51) “Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.” (n.52).  No moral objection was made on the adoption of children by homosexual couples: all that was said was “the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.” (ivi). At the press conference, Monsignor Bruno Forte even hoped for “a codification of rights that would be guaranteed to people living in homosexual unions.
The fulminating words of St. Paul: neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers: nor the effeminate, nor sodomites, nor thieves nor covetous nor drunkards nor railers nor extortioners shall possess the kingdom of God”(I Corinthians chapt. 6 v 9)  have no meaning for the ‘jugglers’ of the new pan-sexual morality. For them you need to accept the positive reality of what was once a sin that “cried to heaven for vengeance” (Catechism St. Pius X). The “morality of prohibition” needs to be substituted by dialogue and mercy and the slogan of ‘68, “forbidden, to forbid”  is now updated with the pastoral formula to which “nothing can be condemned”. Not only two commandments fall, the sixth and the ninth, which forbid impure thoughts and acts outside of marriage, but the idea of an objective natural and divine order summed up in the Decalogue, disappears. Acts intrinsically illicit, truth and moral values, for which one must be disposed to give even their life for (n. 51 and n.94),( as defined in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor) no longer exist. It is not only Veritatis Splendor and the recent statement from the Congregation of the Faith in matters of sexual morality, that are in the dock, but also the Council of Trent itself, which dogmatically formulated the nature of the Seven Sacraments, starting with the Eucharist and Matrimony.

 It all started in October 2013, when Pope Francis, after having announced the call for the two synods on the family, the ordinary and extraordinary, promoted a “Questionnaire” directed to the bishops of the world. The distorted use of the survey and questionnaires is well-known. Public opinion thinks that just because a choice is made by the majority of people, it must be the right one. And the surveys attribute to the majority of the people opinions already predetermined by the manipulators of the consensus. The questionnaire wanted by Pope Francis dealt with the most burning issues from contraception to communion for the divorced, cohabitation and “matrimony” between homosexuals, more with an indicative aim than an informative one. The first response published by the German Episcopal Conference on February 3 (“Il Regno Documenti” 5 (2014), pp 16-172) was clearly made public in order to condition the preparations for the Synod and above all to offer Cardinal Kasper the sociological basis which he needed for his report at the Consistory Pope Francis had entrusted to him.
What emerged was in fact the explicit rejection by German Catholics of “the affirmations from the Church on pre-matrimonial sexual relationships, homosexuality, the divorced and remarried, and birth control (p.163). “The responses which came from the dioceses – it was repeated – give us a glimpse of the great distance between the baptized and official doctrine, especially regarding pre-matrimonial cohabitation, birth control and homosexuality” (p. 172). This distance was not presented as an estrangement by the Catholics themselves from the Magisterium of the Church, but as the Church’s incapacity to understand and comply with the times. Cardinal Kasper in his report to the Consistory on February 20 would define that distance as an “abyss” that the Church would have had to fill by adapting to the praxis of immorality.
         According to one of Kasper’s followers, a priest from Genoa , Giovanni Cereti, famous for a tendentious study on divorce in the primitive Church, the questionnaire was promoted by Pope Francis to avoid the debate taking place “in secret rooms” (Il Regno-Attualità”,6 (2014).p.158). Yet if it is true that the Pope wanted the discussion carried out in a transparent manner, it is difficult to understand the decision of holding the Extraordinary Consistory in February and then the Synod in October behind closed doors.  The only text we knew about, thanks to “Il Foglio”, was Cardinal Kasper’s report. Afterwards, regarding the work  -  complete silence.
In his Diary of the Council, on November 10, 1962, Father Chenu notes this sentence by Father Giuseppe Dossetti, one of the main strategists on the progressive front: “The winning battle is run in dealing with the procedure. I have always won in this way.  In assemblies the decisional process  does not belong to the majority, but to the minority which controls the procedure. Democracy doesn’t exist in political society and even less so in religion.  Democracy in the Church, observed the philosopher, Marcel De Corte, is ecclesiastic Caesarism, the worst of all the regimes. In this synod’s proceedings the existence of this ecclesiastic Caesarism is demonstrated by the atmosphere of heavy censorship which has accompanied it until now.

The most alert Vatican reporters, such as Sandro Magister and Marco Tosatti have highlighted that in this Synod (differently from previous  ones)  a veto was put on the Synod Fathers and their interventions. Magister, recalling the distinction made by Benedict XVI between the “real” Second Vatican Council and the “virtual” which superimposed it, spoke of: “a split between the real synod and the virtual synod, the latter built up by the media  through its  systematic overemphasis on the things favoured by the “spirit” of the times. Today, however, it is actually the texts  of the Synod that stand out for their destructive power, with no possible distortion from  the mass-media who truly showed their amazement at the explosive effect of Cardinal Erdò’s Relatio.
Naturally this document has no magisterial value whatsoever. It is  also legitimate to doubt that it reflects the true thought of the Synod Fathers. The Relatio,  however, prefigures the Relatio Synodi, the concluding document of the bishops’ assembly.
The real problem now that is posed, is the one of resistance, mentioned in the book, Remaining in the Truth of Christ, by Cardinals Brandmuller, Burke, Caffarra, De Paolis and Mueller (Cantagalli 2014).  Cardinal Burke in his interview to Alessandro Gnocchi in Il Foglio of October 14, stated that eventual changes to doctrine or the practice of the Church coming from the Pope would be unacceptable, “since the Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ on earth and is therefore the first servant of the truth of the faith. Knowing the teachings of Christ, I cannot see how it is possible to deviate from this teaching with a doctrinal declaration or a pastoral praxis which ignore the truth.”
The bishops and cardinals, even more than the ordinary faithful, find themselves faced with a terrible drama of conscience, very much graver than the one the English martyrs had to face in the XVI century. Then, in fact it was about disobeying the highest civil authority, King Henry VIII, who, because of his divorce, opened a schism with the Roman Church. Today however, the resistance goes against the highest religious authority should they deviate from the perennial teaching of the Church.  And the ones who are called to resist are not disobedient Catholics or dissenters, but actually those that most profoundly venerate the Papal institution. At the time of Henry VIII, the ones who resisted were consigned to the secular arm, which destined them for decapitation or dismemberment. The modern secular arm applies moral lynching, through psychological pressure from the mass-media on public opinion.  The outcome is often the psychological and physical collapse  of the victims, a crisis of identity, the loss of a vocation and the faith - unless one is able to exercise the heroic virtue of fortitude with the help of grace.  
To resist means, in the final analysis, to reaffirm the integral coherence of one’s own life with the immutable Truth of Jesus Christ, by toppling the theses of those who would like to dissolve the eternal Truth into the precariousness of  life experiences.

[Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]