Much is being said about the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops just completed. Typically for such an event, ecclesiastical politics of the worst sort were on display, as can be seen from the excellent reportage of Sandro Magister and Rorate Caeli. In this respect, we have just witnessed a repeat performance of the kind of procedural manipulation very well documented to have taken place at Vatican II.
But more important than the politics is the doctrine, as reflected in the Relatio post disceptationem, that scandalous document that caused such a firestorm and then much consequent blowback, and which was capably critiqued on our web site by Dr. Maike Hickson.
This document was produced by the Kasperite revolutionaries and shows their hand.
Yes, this Relatio has been surpassed by the final document, the “Relatio Synodi,” which has not appeared, as of this writing, in English translation. Apparently, some of the more egregious errors have been removed, but the troubles are not over, not by a long shot. According to Voice of the Family:
Paragraphs containing controversial ideas on sexual morality remain in the published document, even though these paragraphs did not receive the required two-thirds majority of Synod members. The Vatican’s spokesmen made clear that these paragraphs remain subject to discussion at next year’s Ordinary Synod. Although the final report contains some significant improvements on the original draft, the voting numbers reveal that most Synod Fathers remain open to proposals contrary to Catholic teaching, such as Holy Communion for Catholics in invalid ‘second’ marriages. [Emphasis mine.]
So, for the next year, the progressivists will be doing all they can — and we know they are not generally limited by ethical restraints — to get their heresy sanctioned by hook or by crook. Let us pray that they will be converted or confounded.
Let us now consider their false doctrine.
At the heart of the document are four paragraphs (17-20), which I reproduce here:
The discernment of values present in wounded families and in irregular situations
17. In considering the principle of gradualness in the divine salvific plan, one asks what possibilities are given to married couples who experience the failure of their marriage, or rather how it is possible to offer them Christ’s help through the ministry of the Church. In this respect, a significant hermeneutic key comes from the teaching of Vatican Council II, which, while it affirms that “although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure … these elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward Catholic unity” (Lumen Gentium, 8).
18. In this light, the value and consistency of natural marriage must first be emphasized. Some ask whether the sacramental fullness of marriage does not exclude the possibility of recognizing positive elements even the imperfect forms that may be found outside this nuptial situation, which are in any case ordered in relation to it. The doctrine of levels of communion, formulated by Vatican Council II, confirms the vision of a structured way of participating in the Mysterium Ecclesiae by baptized persons.
19. In the same, perspective, that we may consider inclusive, the Council opens up the horizon for appreciating the positive elements present in other religions (cf. Nostra Aetate, 2) and cultures, despite their limits and their insufficiencies (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 55). Indeed, looking at the human wisdom present in these, the Church learns how the family is universally considered as the necessary and fruitful form of human cohabitation. In this sense, the order of creation, in which the Christian vision of the family is rooted, unfolds historically, in different cultural and geographical expressions.
20. 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. Following the expansive gaze of Christ, whose light illuminates every man (cf. Jn 1,9; cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22), the Church turns respectfully to those who participate in her life in an incomplete and imperfect way, appreciating the positive values they contain rather than their limitations and shortcomings.
As Maike Hickson has pointed out, the so-called “law [or “principle”] of Gradualness,” derived from Pope John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, is being seriously abused, that is, applied in a way that John Paul did not use it. In the context of the Relatio, this undefined “law” or “principle” was used as a shorthand for the modernist’s novel and elastic conceptions about the Church. In the ecumenical and indifferentist ecclesiology such concepts as schism, heresy, and error are largely neglected while considering non-Catholic religions. Instead, the emphasis is put on what is true and good in other religions, whether Christian or not. These true and good things are referred to as “seeds of the Word,” and “elements of sanctification and truth.”
From a mere recognition of things that are of themselves good, the typical liberal almost always goes so far as to claim that false religions are positively salfivic due to the presence of these Catholic elements.
Among the applications of this false doctrine is the common modernist claim that the true Church of Christ extends beyond the limits of the Catholic Church. Just how far beyond depends on the “generosity” of the progressivist. The true Church, of course, “subsists” in the Catholic Church, but it may also subsist in other “ecclesial bodies” or non-Christian religions as well. In fine, there is no salvation outside the Church, but the Church herself may very well extend to all of humanity, irrespective of such theological realities as faith, baptism, or subjection to the Pope.
Precisely with reference to this error of indifferentist, ecumenical ecclesiology, the modernists are now pushing a revolutionary doctrine on matrimony. And this makes perfect sense, because the union of man and woman in Holy Matrimony is a sign of the union of Jesus Christ with His Church (cf. Eph. 5:22-33, Catechism of the Council of Trent, and the CCC). Pope John Paul II spoke of this sign being an “analogy.” If it is analogy, then that greater union of God with Humanity via Christ’s union with His Church is the primary analogue — the higher, and more important of the two terms of the analogy — just as God’s Fatherhood is the primary analogue of human fatherhood.
Misunderstanding the primary analogue of Christ and His Church will lead to a misunderstanding of the secondary analogue of husband and wife.
Take note, dear reader, of how Pope Boniface VIII’s doctrinaire Unam Sanctam begins with spousal imagery from that most nuptial of inspired books, the Canticle of Canticles:
WE ARE COMPELLED, OUR FAITH URGING us, to believe and to hold — and we do firmly believe and simply confess—that there is one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sins; her Spouse proclaiming it in the canticles, “My dove, my undefiled is but one, she is the choice one of her that bore her”; which represents one mystical body, of which body the head is Christ, but of Christ, God.
For the radicals that drafted the Relatio, the law of gradualism allows “elements of truth and sanctification” to transform illicit unions of all sorts into something approximating Christian Matrimony. They go so far as to promote the unspeakable: “accepting and valuing [homo-] sexual orientation” (para. 50).
The modernist hatred of true doctrine may explain the absence from the document of such things as:
- God’s Will.
- God’s Law.
- Conversion — except the very confused mention of it in paragraphs 28 and 29, where we are told that conversion “has primarily to be seen in the language we use so that it might prove to be effectively meaningful… ,” which language itself is not effectively meaningful.
- Sanctifying Grace. There is a mention of the “state of grace” in paragraph 47, but read it in context to see how horribly subjectivist is the point being made!
- Mortal sin.
- The sacrament of Penance (confession) — except for a passage in paragraph 47 which countenances changing the Church’s discipline on the sacrament in the case of habitual adulterers!
Much will take place between now and Synod 2015. Meantime, keep calm and carry on… like good Catholic Counterrevolutionaries.