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Bishop Schneider speaks in favor of the 5 Dubia by the 4 Cardinals

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“We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor. 13: 8)

A Prophetic Voice of Four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church

(Reprinted from Rorate Caeli )

Out of “deep pastoral concern,” four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany), His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of  Bologna (Italy), His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and His Eminence Walter Brandmüller, President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission of Historical Sciences, have published on November 14, 2016, the text of five questions, called dubia (Latin for “doubts”), which previously on September 19, 2016, they sent to the Holy Father and to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, along with an accompanying letter. The Cardinals ask Pope Francis to clear up “grave disorientation and great confusion” concerning the interpretation and practical application, particularly of chapter VIII, of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and its passages relating to admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments and the Church’s moral teaching.

In their statement entitled “Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia,” the Cardinals say that to “many — bishops, priests, faithful — these paragraphs allude to or even explicitly teach a change in the discipline of the Church with respect to the divorced who are living in a new union.” Speaking so, the Cardinals have merely stated real facts in the life of the Church. These facts are demonstrated by pastoral orientations on behalf of several dioceses and by public statements of some bishops and cardinals, who affirm that in some cases divorced and remarried Catholics can be admitted to Holy Communion even though they continue to use the rights reserved by Divine law to validly married spouses.

In publishing a plea for clarity in a matter that touches the truth and the sanctity simultaneously of the three sacraments of Marriage, Penance, and the Eucharist, the Four Cardinals only did their basic duty as bishops and cardinals, which consists in actively contributing so that the revelation transmitted through the Apostles might be guarded sacredly and might be faithfully interpreted. It was especially the Second Vatican Council that reminded all the members of the college of bishops as legitimate successors of the Apostles of their obligation, according to which “by Christ’s institution and command they have to be solicitous for the whole Church, and that this solicitude, though it is not exercised by an act of jurisdiction, contributes greatly to the advantage of the universal Church. For it is the duty of all bishops to promote and to safeguard the unity of faith and the discipline common to the whole Church” (Lumen gentium, 23; cf. also Christus Dominus, 5-6).

In making a public appeal to the Pope, bishops and cardinals should be moved by genuine collegial affection for the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth, following the teaching of Vatican Council II (cf. Lumen gentium, 22); in so doing they render “service to the primatial ministry” of the Pope (cf. Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, 13).

The entire Church in our days has to reflect upon the fact that the Holy Spirit has not in vain inspired Saint Paul to write in the Letter to the Galatians about the incident of his public correction of Peter. One has to trust that Pope Francis will accept this public appeal of the Four Cardinals in the spirit of the Apostle Peter, when St Paul offered him a fraternal correction for the good of the whole Church. May the words of that great Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas, illuminate and comfort us all: “When there is a danger for the faith, subjects are required to reprove their prelates, even publicly. Since Paul, who was subject to Peter, out of the danger of scandal, publicly reproved him. And Augustine comments: “Peter himself gave an example to superiors by not disdaining to be corrected by his subjects when it occurred to them that he had departed from the right path” (Summa theol., II-II, 33, 4c).

Pope Francis often calls for an outspoken and fearless dialogue between all members of the Church in matters concerning the spiritual good of souls. In the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, the Pope speaks of a need for “open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions. The thinking of pastors and theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest, realistic and creative, will help us to achieve greater clarity” (n. 2). Furthermore, relationships at all levels within the Church must be free from a climate of fear and intimidation, as Pope Francis has requested in his various pronouncements.

In light of these pronouncements of Pope Francis and the principle of dialogue and acceptance of legitimate plurality of opinions, which was fostered by the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the unusually violent and intolerant reactions on behalf of some bishops and cardinals against the calm and circumspect plea of the Four Cardinals cause great astonishment. Among such intolerant reactions one could read affirmations such as, for instance: the four Cardinals are witless, naive, schismatic, heretical, and even comparable to the Arian heretics.

Such apodictic merciless judgments reveal not only intolerance, refusal of dialogue, and irrational rage, but demonstrate also a surrender to the impossibility of speaking the truth, a surrender to relativism in doctrine and practice, in faith and life. The above-mentioned clerical reaction against the prophetic voice of the Four Cardinals parades ultimately powerlessness before the eyes of the truth. Such a violent reaction has only one aim: to silence the voice of the truth, which is disturbing and annoying the apparently peaceful nebulous ambiguity of these clerical critics.

The negative reactions to the public statement of the Four Cardinals resemble the general doctrinal confusion of the Arian crisis in the fourth century. It is helpful to all to quote in the situation of the doctrinal confusion in our days some affirmations of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, the “Athanasius of the West”.

“You [the bishops of Gaul] who still remain with me faithful in Christ did not give way when threatened with the onset of heresy, and now by meeting that onset you have broken all its violence. Yes, brethren, you have conquered, to the abundant joy of those who share your faith: and your unimpaired constancy gained the double glory of keeping a pure conscience and giving an authoritative example” (Hil. De Syn., 3).

“Your [the bishops of Gaul] invincible faith keeps the honourable distinction of conscious worth and, content with repudiating crafty, vague, or hesitating action, safely abides in Christ, preserving the profession of its liberty. For since we all suffered deep and grievous pain at the actions of the wicked against God, within our boundaries alone is communion in Christ to be found from the time that the Church began to be harried by disturbances such as the expatriation of bishops, the deposition of priests, the intimidation of the people, the threatening of the faith, and the determination of the meaning of Christ’s doctrine by human will and power. Your resolute faith does not pretend to be ignorant of these facts or profess that it can tolerate them, perceiving that by the act of hypocritical assent it would bring itself before the bar of conscience” (Hil. De Syn., 4).

“I have spoken what I myself believed, conscious that I owed it as my soldier’s service to the Church to send to you in accordance with the teaching of the Gospel by these letters the voice of the office which I hold in Christ. It is yours to discuss, to provide and to act, that the inviolable fidelity in which you stand you may still keep with conscientious hearts, and that you may continue to hold what you hold now” (Hil. De Syn., 92).

The following words of Saint Basil the Great, addressed to the Latin Bishops, can be in some aspects applied to the situation of those who in our days ask for doctrinal clarity, including our Four Cardinals: “The one charge which is now sure to secure severe punishment is the careful keeping of the traditions of the Fathers. We are not being attacked for the sake of riches, or glory, or any temporal advantages. We stand in the arena to fight for our common heritage, for the treasure of the sound faith, derived from our Fathers. Grieve with us, all you who love the brethren, at the shutting of the mouths of our men of true religion, and at the opening of the bold and blasphemous lips of all that utter unrighteousness against God. The pillars and foundation of the truth are scattered abroad. We, whose insignificance has allowed of our being overlooked, are deprived of our right of free speech” (Ep. 243, 2.4).

Today those bishops and cardinals, who ask for clarity and who try to fulfill their duty in guarding sacredly and faithfully interpreting the transmitted Divine Revelation concerning the Sacraments of Marriage and the Eucharist, are no longer exiled as it was with the Nicene bishops during the Arian crisis. Contrary to the time of the Arian crisis, today, as wrote Rudolf Graber, the bishop of Ratisbone, in 1973, exile of the bishops is replaced by hush-up strategies and by slander campaigns (cf. Athanasius und die Kirche unserer Zeit, Abensberg 1973, p. 23).

Another champion of the Catholic faith during the Arian crisis was Saint Gregory Nazianzen. He wrote the following striking characterization of the behavior of the majority of the shepherds of the Church in those times. This voice of the great Doctor of the Church should be a salutary warning for the bishops of all times: “Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for, excepting a very few, who either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel by the influences of the Spirit, all temporized, only differing from each other in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle, being overcome by fear, or by interest, or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance” (Orat. 21, 24).

When Pope Liberius in 357 signed one of the so called formulas of Sirmium, in which he deliberately discarded the dogmatically defined expression “homo-ousios” and excommunicated Saint Athanasius in order to have peace and harmony with the Arian and Semi-Arian bishops of the East, faithful Catholics and some few bishops, especially Saint Hilary of Poitiers, were deeply shocked. Saint Hilary transmitted the letter that Pope Liberius wrote to the Oriental bishops, announcing the acceptance of the formula of Sirmium and the excommunication of Saint Athanasius. In his deep pain and dismay, Saint Hilary added to the letter in a kind of desperation the phrase: “Anathema tibi a me dictum, praevaricator Liberi” (I say to you anathema, prevaricator Liberius), cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 141. Pope Liberius wanted to have peace and harmony at any price, even at the expense of the Divine truth. In his letter to the heterodox Latin bishops Ursace, Valence, and Germinius announcing to them the above-mentioned decisions, he wrote that he preferred peace and harmony to martyrdom (cf. cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 142).

“In what a dramatic contrast stood the behavior of Pope Liberius to the following conviction of Saint Hilary of Poitiers: “We don’t make peace at the expense of the truth by making concessions in order to acquire the reputation of tolerance. We make peace by fighting legitimately according to the rules of the Holy Spirit. There is a danger to ally surreptitiously with unbelief under the beautiful name of peace.” (Hil. Ad Const., 2, 6, 2).

Blessed John Henry Newman commented on these unusual sad facts with the following wise and equilibrated affirmation: “While it is historically true, it is in no sense doctrinally false, that a Pope, as a private doctor, and much more Bishops, when not teaching formally, may err, as we find they did err in the fourth century. Pope Liberius might sign a Eusebian formula at Sirmium, and the mass of Bishops at Ariminum or elsewhere, and yet they might, in spite of this error, be infallible in their ex cathedra decisions” (The Arians of the Fourth Century, London, 1876, p. 465).

The Four Cardinals with their prophetic voice demanding doctrinal and pastoral clarity have a great merit before their own conscience, before history, and before the innumerable simple faithful Catholics of our days, who are driven to the ecclesiastical periphery, because of their fidelity to Christ’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. But above all, the Four Cardinals have a great merit in the eyes of Christ. Because of their courageous voice, their names will shine brightly at the Last Judgment. For they obeyed the voice of their conscience remembering the words of Saint Paul: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor 13: 8). Surely, at the Last Judgment the above-mentioned mostly clerical critics of the Four Cardinals will not have an easy answer for their violent attack on such a just, worthy, and meritorious act of these Four Members of the Sacred College of Cardinals.

The following words inspired by the Holy Spirit retain their prophetic value especially in view of the spreading doctrinal and practical confusion regarding the Sacrament of Marriage in our days: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4: 3-5).

May all, who in our days still take seriously their baptismal vows and their priestly and episcopal promises, receive the strength and the grace of God so that they may reiterate together with Saint Hilary the words: “May I always be in exile, if only the truth begins to be preached again!” (De Syn., 78). This strength and grace we wish wholeheartedly to our Four Cardinals and as well as to those who criticize them.

+ Athanasius Schneider,
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

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Bishop Athanasius Schneider speaks on « Amoris Laetitia »

Veri Catholici presents, here, its own English translation of the original Italian text

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Bishop-Athanasius-Schneider

The paradox of contradicting interpretations of «Amoris laetitia»

The recently published Apostolic Exhortation « Amoris Laetitia » (hereafter abbreviated AL), which contains a great spiritual treasure for Christian life in matrimony and family for our age, has unfortunately in short order provoked contradictory interpretations even among the episcopate.

There are bishops and priests who have publicly and openly declared that AL has furnished an manifest opening to Communion for the divorced who have remarried, without asking them to live in continence.  Under this aspect of sacramental practice, which according to them would now be significantly changed, would truly consist the revolutionary character of « Amoris Laetitia ».  Interpreting AL in reference to irregular couples, one President of an Episcopal Conference has declared in a text published on the very website of that Conference:  « One treats of a measure of mercy, of an opening of heart, reason and spirit for which no law is necessary, nor is there need to wait for any directive or directions.  One may and one ought to put it immediately into practice ».

Such a view was further confirmed by the recent declarations made by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S. J., who after the Synod of Bishops in 2015 had written that the Synod had laid down « a foundation » for the access to Communion by the divorced who have remarried, « by opening a door », which was left closed in the preceding Synod in 2014.  Now, Father Spadaro in his own commentary on AL, says that his predication has been confirmed.  The same Fr. Spadaro is said to have been a member of the group which redacted « Amoris Laetitia »-

A way open to abusive interpretations seems to have been indicated by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn himself, who, during the official presentation of « Amoris Laetitia » at Rome, had said in regard to the proposal of irregular unions:  « The great joy that this document gives me rests in the fact that it overcomes in a concrete way the artificial clear external division of “regular” and “irregular”. »  Such an affirmation suggest the idea that there is no clear difference between a valid and sacramental marriage and an irregular union,  between venial sin and mortal sin.

On the other hand, there are bishops who affirm that AL ought to be read in the light of the perennial Magisterium of the Church and that AL does not authorize Communion for the divorced who have remarried, not even in exceptional cases.  In principle, such an affirmation is the correct one and the one worth of approval.  In effect, every text of the Magisterium ought to be, as a general rule, coherent in its own content with the preceding Magisterium, without any rupture.

Nevertheless, it is not secret that in diverse places divorced and remarried persons have been admitted to Holy Communion, without the obligation of living in continence.  Some of the affirmations in « Amoris Laetitia » can realistically be utilized to legitimize the abuse already practiced for some time in various places in the life of the Church (sic).

Some affirmations of « Amoris Laetitia » are objectively open to a bad interpretation

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has invited all of us to offer our own contribution to the reflection and dialogue on the delicate questions concerning marriage and the family.  « The reflection of pastors and of theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest and creative, will help us to reach a greater clarity » (AL, 2).

Analyzing some of the affirmations of AL with an honest understanding, as they are in their own context, one finds that there is a difficulty in interpreting them according to the traditional doctrine of the Church.  This fact is explained by the absence of concrete and explicit affirmation of the constant doctrine and practice of the Church, which is founded upon the Word of God and was reiterated by Pope John Paul II, who said:  « The Church, moreover, reaffirms Her own practice, founded upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion the divorced who have remarried.  These are those who cannot be admitted, from the moment that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church, signified and actuated by the Eucharist.  There is moreover another particular pastoral motive:  if these persons would be admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be lead into error and confusion about the teaching of the Church on the indissolubility of matrimony.  Reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance — which would open the way to the Sacrament of the Eucharist — can be accorded only to those who, having repented of violating the sign of the Covenant and their fidelity to Christ, have been sincerely disposed to a form of life which is no longer in contradiction with the indissolubility of marriage.  That is, which implies, in the concrete, that when a man and wife, for serious motives — such as, for example, the education of their children — cannot satisfy the obligation of separation, « assume the obligation of living in full continence, that is of abstaining from the acts proper to married couples » (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

Pope Francis has not established « a new general norm in canonical form, applicable to all cases » (AL, n. 300). However, in footnote 336, he declares:  « Not even as much as regards sacramental discipline, from the moment that discernment can recognize that in a particular situation there is no grave fault ». By referring himself evidently to the divorced who have remarried, the Pope affirms in AL, n. 305:  « By reason of attenuating conditions or factors, it is possible that, within an objective situation of sin — which is not subjectively culpable or which is is not such in a full manner — one can live in the grace of God, one can love, and one can even grow in the life of grace and charity, receiving for such a purpose the help of the Church ».  In footnote 351, the Pope clarifies his own affirmation, by saying that « in certain cases, there might even been the help of the Sacraments ».

In the same chapter 8 of « Amoris Laetitia », the Pope speaks of « the divorced who live a new union, … with new children, with proven fidelity, generous dedication, christian commitment, conscious of the irregularity of their own situation and of the great difficulty in turing around without feeling in their consciences that one would fall into a new fault.  The Church recognizes situations in which « man and wife, for serious motives, — such as, for example, the education of their children — cannot satisfy the obligation of separation ».  In footnote 329, the Pope cites the document, Gaudium et Spes in an unfortunately incorrect manner, because the Council refers in this case only to a valid Christian marriage. The application of this affirmation to the divorced can provoke the impression that a valid marriage can be assimilated, not in theory, but in practice, with the union of divorced persons.

The admission to Holy Communion of the divorced who have remarried and its consequences

« Amoris Laetitia » is, unfortunately, deprived of textual citations of the principles of the Church’s moral teaching in the form in which they were enunciated in n. 84 of the Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, and in the Encyclical, Veritas Splendor, of Pope John Paul II, in particular in regard to the following themes of capital importance:  « the fundamental option » (Veritatis Splendor, nn. 67-68), « mortal sin and venial sin » (ibid. nn. 69-70), « proportionalism, consequentialism » (ibid. n. 75), « martyrdom and the universal and immutable moral norms » (ibid. nn. 91 ff.).  A verbal citation of Familiaris Consortio n. 84 and of the similar more salient affirmations of Veritatis Splendor would certainly make « Amoris Laetitia » unassailable on the part of heterodox interpretations.  Some generic allusions to the moral principles and doctrine of the Church are certainly not sufficient in a controversial matter which is of delicate and capital importance.

Some representatives of the clergy and even of the episcopate do affirm that even now, according to the spirit of « Amoris Laetitia »’s chapter VIII it has not been excluded that in exceptional cases the divorced who have remarried can be admitted to Holy Communion without it being requested that they live in perfect continence.

By admitting a similar interpretation in the letter and spirit of « Amoris Laetitia », one would have to accept, with an honest understanding and on the basis of the principle of non-contradiction, the following logical conclusions:

The divine Sixth Commandment which prohibits every sexual act outside of a valid marriage, would no longer be universally valid if exceptions were to be admitted.  In our case:  the divorced would  be able to practice the sexual act and they are even encouraged to it for the purpose of conserving reciprocal “fidelity”, cf. AL, 298.  One would be able, therefore, to exchange “fidelity”, in a style of life directly contrary to the expressed will of God.  Moreover, to encourage and legitimize acts which are in themselves (in se) and always contrary to the will of God, would be to contradict Divine Revelation.

The divine word of Christ:  « That man not separate what God has untied » (Mt. 19:6), would, therefore no longer be always valid and for all married couples without exception.

It would be possible in a particular case to receive the Sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion with the intention of continuing to directly violate the Divine commandments:  « Thou shalt not commit adultery » (Exodus 20:14) and « That man not separate what God has united » (Mt. 19:6; Genesis 2:24).

The observance of these commandments and of the Word of God would hold in these cases only in theory and not in practice, inducing thereby the divorced who have remarried « to fool themselves » (James 1:22).  One would, therefore, be able to have faith in the divine character of the Sixth Commandment and in the indissolubility of Matrimony without, however, the corresponding works.

The Divine Word of Christ: « He who repudiates his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if a woman leaves her husband and marries another, she commits adultery » (Mk, 10:12) would, therefore, not longer have a universal validity but would admit exceptions.

The permanent, conscious and free violation of the Sixth Commandment of God and of the sacrality and indissolubility of ones own valid Matrimony (in the case of the divorced who have remarried) would, therefore, no longer be a grave sin, nor in direct opposition to the will of God.

There can (sic) be cases of grave, permanent, conscious and free violation of God’s other commandments (e.g., in the case of a style of life of financial corruption), in which there would be able to granted to a determinate person, on the basis of attenuating circumstances, access to the Sacraments without exacting a sincere resolution to avoid in the future the acts of sin and of scandal.

The perennial and infallible teaching of the Church would no longer be universally valid, in particular the teaching confirmed by Pope John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio, n. 84, and by Pope Benedict XVI, in Sacramentum caritatis, n. 29, according to which the condition of the divorced to receive the Sacraments is (the practice of) perfect continence.

The observance of the Sixth Commandment and of the indissolubility of marriage would not be an ideal realizable on the part of all, but in a certain manner only for an elite.

The intransigent words of Christ which intimate to men the observance of God’s commandments, always and in all circumstances, even when accepting some considerable suffering, or the Cross, for this purpose, would not longer be valid in their truth:  « If you hand is an occasion of sin to you, cut it off and throw it away, because it is better for you that one member perish, than that thy whole body be cast into Gehenna » (Mt. 5:30).

To admit couples in an « irregular union » to Holy Communion, by permitting them to practice the acts reserved to married couples in a valid marriage, would be equivalent to the usurpation of a power, which, however, does not belong to any human authority to exercise, because one treats where with a pretense to correct the very Word of God.

The Dangers of the Church’s collaboration in the spread of the “plague of divorce”

In professing Our Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching for all times, the Church teaches us:  « Faithful to the Lord, the Church cannot recognize as Matrimony the union of the divorced who have remarried civilly. « He who repudiates his wife to marry another commits adultery against her.  If a woman repudiates her husband to marry another, she commits adultery » (Mark 10:11-12).  In their regard, the Church undertakes an attentive solicitude, by inviting them to a life of Faith, to prayer, to the works of charity and to the christian education of their children.  Ma these cannot receive sacramental absolution, nor approach Eucharistic Communion, nor exercise certain ecclesial functions, so long as there endures a situation among them which contracts objectively with the law of God.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 349).

To live in an invalid marital union, contradicting constantly the Commandment of God and the sacrality and indissolubility of Matrimony, does not signify that one lives in the truth.  To declare that the deliberate, free and habitual practice of sexual acts in an invalid marital union could be, in a concrete case, no longer a grace sins, is not the truth, but a grave lie, and, therefore, can never be an authentic joy in love. To permit, therefore, these persons to receive Holy Communion signifies fakery, hypocrisy and mendacity.  Indeed, the Word of God in Sacred Scripture remains valid:  “He who says, « I understand », and does not observe His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4).

The Magisterium of the Church teaches us that the validity of God’s Ten Commandments is universal:  “Since these enunciate the fundamental obligations of man towards God and his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, some grave obligations.  These are fundamentally immutable and their obligation prevails always and at all times.  No one can dispense from them ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2072).  Those who have affirmed that the commandments of God and the particular Commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, can have exceptions, in such cases that there is no imputable fault for a divorce, were the Pharisees and then the Gnostic christians (sic) in the second and third centuries (after Christ).

The following affirmations of the Magisterium remain always valid because they are part of the infallible Magisterium as part of the universal and ordinary Magisterium:  “The negative precepts of the Natural Law are universally valid:  these oblige all and each one, always and in every circumstance.  In fact, one treats here with prohibitions which forbid a determinate action semper et pro semper (i.e. always and at all times), without exceptions, … there are behaviors which can never be, in any situation, the adequate response…The Church has always taught that one can never choose the behaviors prohibited by the moral Commandments, expressed in the negative form, in the Old and New Testaments.  Has has been see, Jesus, Himself, reaffirms the inderogability of these prohibitions:  « If you want to enter into life, observe the Commandments …:  do not kill, do not commit adultery, not do not steal, do not give false testimony » (Mt. 19:17:18). (John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor).

The Magisterium of the Church still teaches us, more clearly:  “A good and pure conscience is illuminated by sincere faith.  In fact, charity wells us, in its pace, “from a pure heart, from a good conscience and from a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5) [Cf. 1 Tim. 3:9; 2 Tim 1:3; 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 24:16] (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1794).

In the case in which a person commits moral acts objectively grave in full knowledge, with a sane mind, with deliberate decision, with the intent to repeat this act in the future, it is impossible to apply the principle of non-imputability of the fault by reason of attenuating circumstances. The application of the principle of non-imputability to these divorced and remarried couples would represent a hypocrisy and a Gnostic sofism.  If the Church would admit these persons, even in only 1 case, to Holy Communion, She would contradict what She professes in doctrine, offering Herself a public contra-testimony to the indissolubility of Matrimony and contributing in this wise to the growth of “the plague of divorce” (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, n 47).

So as to avoid such an intolerable and scandalous contradiction, the Church, infallibly interpreting the Divine truth of the moral law and of the indissolubility of Matrimony, has immutably observed  throughout 2000 years the practice of admitting to Holy Communion only those divorced who live in perfect continence and “removed from scandal”, without any exception or particular privilege.

The first pastoral duty which the Lord entrusted to His Church is teaching, doctrine (cf. Mt. 28:20). The observance of God’s commandments is intrinsically connected to doctrine. For this reason the Church has always rebuffed the contradiction of doctrine and life, qualifying such a contradiction as Gnostic or as the heretical Lutheran theory of “simul iustus et peccator”.  Between the faith and life of the children of the Church there ought to be no contradictions.

When one treats of the observance of an expressed commandment of God and of the indissolubility of Matrimony, one cannot speak of opposed theological interpretations.  If God has said:  “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, no human authority could say:  “in some exceptional cases or for a good purpose, you can commit adultery”.

The following affirmations of Pope Francis are very important. where the Supreme Pontiff speaks to the proposal of integrating divorced and remarried persons into the life of the Church:  “this discernment will never be able to prescind from the requirements of truth and charity proposed in the Gospel by the Church … The necessary conditions of humility, modesty, love for the Church and Her teaching are to be guaranteed, … One avoids the risk that a determinate discernment leads one to think that the Church supports a double morality” (AL, 300).  These praiseworthy affirmations in «Amoris Laetitia », however, remain without concrete specification in regard to the question of the obligation of the divorced who have remarried to separate from one another or at least live in perfect continence.

When one treats of the life or of the death of the body, no doctor would leave anything in ambiguity.  A doctor cannot say to his patient:  “You should decide on the application of this medicine according to your own conscience and respecting the laws of medicine”.  Such a comportment on the part of a doctor would, without a doubt, be considered irresponsible. And, yet, the life of an immortal soul is more important, since upon the health of the soul depends its destiny for all eternity.

The liberating truth of Penance and of the mystery of the Cross.

To affirm that the divorced who have remarried are not public sinners signifies the simulation of a falsehood.  Moreover, being sinners is the true condition of all the members of the Church militant on earth.  If the divorced who have remarried say that their voluntary and deliberate acts against the Sixth Commandment of God are not in in fact sins or grave sins, they fool themselves and the truth is not in them, as St. John says:  “If we say that we are without sin, we fool ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He who is Faithful and Just will forgive our sins and purify us from all iniquity.  If we say, “We have not sinned”, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).

The acceptance on the part of the divorced who have remarried that they are sinners and even public sinners takes nothing from christian hope.  Only the acceptance of reality and truth makes them capable of undertaking the path of fruitful penitence according to the words of Jesus Christ.

It would be very salvific to renew the spirit of the first Christians and of the age of the Fathers of the Church, when there existed a living solidarity of the Faithful with public sinners, and, moreover, a solidarity according to truth.  A solidarity which has nothing to do with discrimination; on the contrary, there was in that age a participation of the whole Church in the penitential path of public sinners by means of the prayer of intercession, of tears, and of acts of expiation and charity on their behalf.

The Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, teaches:  “Even those who have wandered away from the Commandment of the Lord and continue to live in this condition (divorced and remarried) can obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, if they persevere in prayer, in penitence and in (acts of) charity” (n. 84).

During the first ages, public sinners were integrated into the praying community of the Faithful and had to implore the intercession of the Faithful, on bended knee and with arms raised up.  Tertullian gives us a touching testimony:  “The body cannot rejoice when one of its members suffers. It is necessary that its whole entire self grieve and work for its healing. When you extend your hands to the knees of your brothers, it  is Christ whom you touch.  Equally, when they pour out their tears for you, it is Christ who suffers with you” (De paenitentia, bk. 10, ch. 5-6).  In the same manner, St. Ambrose of Milan says:  “The whole Church  has taken upon Herself the yoke of the public sinner, suffering with him by means of Her tears, prayers and sorrows” (De paenitentia, bk. 1, ch. 81).

It is true, that the Church’s forms of penitential disciple have changed, but the spirit of this discipline should remain in the Church for all times. Today, some priests and bishops, basing themselves on some affirmations of AL, are beginning to make the divorced and remarried understand that their condition is not equivalent to the state of an objective public sinner. These tranquilize them by saying that their sexual acts do not constitute a grave sin.  Such a mindset does not correspond to the truth.  These deprive the divorced and remarried of the possibility of a radical conversion to obedience to the Will of God, by leaving these souls in a deceit.  Such a pastoral mindset is very easy, in the open market, it costs nothing.  It does not cost tears, prayers and works of intercession and fraternal expiation on behalf of the divorced who have remarried.

In admitting, even in only exceptional cases, the ‘divorced and remarried’ to Holy Communion without asking them to cease to practice the acts contrary to the Sixth Commandment of God, by declaring presumptuously, moreover, that their acts are not grave sin, one chooses the easy road, one avoids the scandal of the Cross.  Such a pastoral practice for the ‘divorced and remarried’ is an ephemeral and deceitful pastoral practice.  To all who pedal such an easy path at a cheep price to the ‘divorced and remarried’, Jesus turns, even today, with these words:  “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a scandal to me, because you think not according to God, but according to men! Then Jesus said to His disciples:  « If any wills to follow Me, let him renounce himself, take up his cross and follow Me. » (Mt. 16:23-25),

In regard to the pastoral care of the ‘divorced and remarried’, today there is also a need to revive the spirit of following Christ in the truth of the Cross and of penitence, which alone brings a permanent joy, by avoiding the ephemeral joys which serve deceitful reasons.  The following words of Pope St. Gregory the Great show themselves to be truly timely and illuminating:  “We ought not habituate ourselves to much to our earthly exile, the conveniences of this life ought not make us forget our true Fatherland let our spirit become sleepy in midst of conveniences. For this reason, God unites to His gifts His own visitations or punishments, so that all which is enchanting in this world, becomes bitter for us and there be enkindled in the soul that fire which spurs us always a new towards the desire of heavenly things and makes us progress towards them. That fire wounds us in a pleasant way, it crucifies us sweetly and it saddens us joyously” (In Hex, bk. 2, ch. 4, n. 3).

The Church’s spirit of authentic penitential discipline in the first centuries has perdured in the Church through all ages even unto today. We have the moving example of Bl. Laura del Carmen Vicuna, born in Chile in 1891.  Sr. Azocar, who took care of her, narrates:  “I remember that when I first explained the Sacrament of Matrimony, Laura fainted, having understood without a doubt my words that her own mother was in a state of mortal sin so long as she remained with that man.  At that time, in (the town of) Junin, only 1 family lived in conformity to the will of God”. From then on, Laura multiplies her prayers and penances for her mother.  On June 2, 1901, she was to make her first Communion, with great fervor; she wrote these following resolutions:  “1) I desire, o my Jesus, to love Thee and serve Thee for my entire life; for this, I offer Thee all of my souls, my heart, my entire being. — 2) I prefer to die rather than offend Thee with sin; therefore, I want to distance myself from all which could separate me from Thee. — 3) I promise to do everything possible so that Thou may be always more known and loved, and to repair the offenses which the men who do not love Thee inflict upon Thee every day, especially those who receive (Communion) among those who are near to me. — O my God, grant me a life of love, of mortification and of sacrifice!”  But her great joy was overshadowed in seeing her own mother, present at the ceremony, not take communion (on account of having not repented of her sin).  In 1902, Laura offered her own life for her mother who was living with a man in an irregular union in Argentina.  Laura multiplied her prayers and self-denials to obtain the true conversion of her mother.  A few hours before dying, she called her to her self.  Understanding that she was at the last moment of live, she exclaimed:  “Mommie, I am about to die. I asked Jesus and I have offered my life to Him for the grace of your return.  Mommie, will I have the joy to see your repentance before dying?  Overcome, her mother promised:  “Tomorrow morning I will go to church and I will confess.”  Laura, already blind, turned to the priest and said:  “Father, my mother in this moment promises to abandon that man; you be witness to this promise!” and she added, “Now I die content!”  With these words she breathed her last, on January 22, 1904, at Junin, in the Andes (Argentina), at the age of 13, in the arms of her mother who then refound her faith by putting and end to that irregular union in which she was living.

The admirable life of the young Blessed Laura is a demonstration of how much a True Catholic seriously considers the Sixth Commandment of God and the sacrality and indissolubility of Matrimony.  Our Lord Jesus Christ recommends to avoid even the appearance of approbation of an irregular union or adultery.  That Divine command, the Church has always faithful conserved and transmitted without ambiguity in Her doctrine and practice.  By offering her own young life, Bl. Laura was certainly not representing one of many diverse doctrinal or pastoral interpretations. She did not give her life for a possible doctrinal or pastoral interpretation, but for a divine immutable and universally valid truth.  A truth demonstrated with the offer of their life by a great number of Saints, from St. John the Baptist even to the simple faithful of our days, whose names are known to God alone.

The Necessity of a true “veritatis laetitia” (Joy from Truth”)

« Amoris Laetitia » contains, surely and fortunately, some theological affirmations and spiritual and pastoral indications of great value.  Nevertheless, it is realistically insufficient to affirm that AL should be interpreted according to the doctrine and traditional practice of the Church.  When in an ecclesiastical document, which in our case is deprived of a definitive and infallible character, there are found elements of interpretation and application which might have dangerous spiritual consequences, all the members of the Church, and in the first place, the Bishops, as brotherly co-workers with the Sovereign Pontiff in an effective collegiality, have the duty to point out respectfully this fact and to ask for an authentic interpretation.

When one treats of Divine faith, of the Divine commandments of the sacrality and indissolubility of Matrimony, all the members of the Church, from the simple faithful to the highest representatives of the Magisterium, ought to make a common effort to conserve intact the treasure of the Faith and his practical application.  The Second Vatican Council has in effect taught:  “The totality of the Faithful, having the anointing which comes from the Holy One (cf. 1 John 2:20,27), cannot error in believing, and manifests this property by means of the supernatural sense of the faith of the whole People (of God), when « from the bishops even unto the last faithful laymen » (St. Augustine, De Praedestinatione Sanctorum, bk. 14, ch. 27) shows a universal consent in matters of faith and morals. And, in truth, through this sense of the faith, which is suscitated and guided by the Spirit of truth, and under the guide of the sacred magisterium, Who enables, if He is obeyed faithfully, one to receive no longer the words of men, but truly the word of God. (cf. 1 Titus 2:13), the People of God adheres indefectibly to the Faith transmitted to the Saints once and for all (cf. Judges 3), with right judgement It penetrates into it more deeply and applies it to life more fully.” (Lumen Gentium, 12). The Magisterium, for its own part, ” is not above the Word of God, but is at its service, since it teaches only what has been transmitted (Vatican II, Dei Verbum, 10).

It was the Second Vatican Council itself which encouraged all the Faithful and the bishops above all to manifest without fear their worries and observations for the sake of the good of the whole Church.  The servile and politically correct are causing a pernicious evil in the life of the Church. The famous bishop and theologian of the Council of Trent, Melchior Cano, O.P., pronounced this memorable phrase:  “Peter has not need of our lies and adulations.  Those who, with closed eyes and in an indiscriminate manner defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff, are those who compromise most of all the authority of the Holy See.  These are destroying Her foundations rather than strengthening them.”

Our Lord taught us, without ambiguity, by explaining in what consists true love and the true joy of love:  “He who keeps My commandments and observes them, he is the one who loves Me” (John 14:21).  In giving men the Sixth Commandment and the observance of the indissolubility of Matrimony, God has given them to all without exception and not only to an elite.  Already in the Old Testament, God declared:  This commandment which I prescribe to thee today is surely not above your strengths, nor beyond your doing” (Deuteronomy 30:11) and “If you want to, you will observe the Commandments; being faithful will depend upon your goodwill (Sirach 15:15).  And Jesus said to all:  “If you want to enter into life, observe the Commandments.  Which ones?  And Jesus replied:  Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery” (Mt. 19:17-18).  The teaching of the Apostles has transmitted the same doctrine to us:  “Since the love of God consists in the observance of His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

There is no true, supernatural and eternal life, without the observance of God’s commandments:  “I precept you to observe His commandments:  I place before you life and death. Choose life!” (Dt. 30:16-19).  There is, therefore, no true life nor true joy of authentic love without the truth.  “Love consists in living according to His commandments” (2 John 6). The joy of love consists in the joy of truth.  The authentic Christian life consists in the life and joy in the truth: “For me there is no greater joy than that which I find in knowing that my sons live obeying the truth” (3 John 4).

St. Augustine explains for us the intimate bond between joy and truth:  “I ask all of them if they do prefer the joy of truth to that of the lie.  And they do not hesitate here more than for the reply to the question regarding happiness.  Because the happy life consists in the joy of truth, all of us want the joy of truth” (Confessions, bk. X, ch. 23).

The danger of widespread confusion in regard to the indissolubility of Matrimony

Already for a time, in the life of the Church, it has been demonstrated that in some places there is a tacit abuse in the admission of the ‘divorced and remarried’ to Holy Communion, without asking them to life in perfect continence. The scarcely clear affirmations in chapter VIII of AL have given new dynamism to the self-declared propagators of this admission to Holy Communion, in single cases, of the ‘divorced and separated’.

We can now establish that the abuse began to spread into practice mostly because it was thought in some manner to be legitimate.  Moreover, there is a confusion principally as much as regards the interpretations of the affirmations reported in chapter VIII of AL. The confusion reaches its apex since all, whether the supporters of the admission of the ‘divorced and remarried’ to Communion, or those who oppose them, sustain that « The doctrine of the Church in this matter has not been modified. »

With due reckoning of historical and doctrinal differences, our situation shows some similarities and analogies with the situation of general confusion during the Arian crisis of the 4th Century (A.D.).  In that epoch, the traditional Apostolic Faith in the Divinity of the Son of God was guaranteed by means of the term, “consubstantial” (homoousios), dogmatically proclaimed by the universal Magisterium of the First Council of Nicea.  The profound crisis of faith, with a quasi-universal confusion, was caused principally by refusing, avoiding the use and profession of the word “consubstantial” (homoousios).  Instead of using this expression, there was spread about among the clergy and above all the episcopate the use of an alternative formulae which in fine were ambiguous and imprecise, as for example, “similar in substance” (homoiousios) or simply “similar” (homoios).  The formula, “homoousios” of the universal Magisterium of that time expressed the full and true Divinity of the Word in such a clear manner as to not leave space for equivocal interpretations.

In the years, 357-360 (A.D.), nearly the entire episcopate had become Arian or semi-Arian on account of the following events:  in 357 Pope Liberius signed one of the ambiguous formulae of (the Council of) Sirmium, in which the term “homoousious” had been eliminated.  Moreover, the Pope excommunicated in a scandalous way St. Athanasius.  St. Hilary of Poiters was the only Bishop to undertake grave remonstrations with Pope Liberius for such ambiguous acts.  In 359, the parallel Synods of the western episcopacy at Rimini (Italy) and that of the eastern at Seuleukia, accepted expressions which were completely Arian, worse than the ambiguous formula signed by Pope Liberius.  Describing the situation of confusion in that epoch, St. Jerome expressed himself thus:  « The world groaned and found itself, with shock, to have become Arian » (« Ingemuit totus orbis, et arianum se esse miratus est »: Adversus Luciferianum, 19)

One can affirm that our epoch is characterized by a great confusion in regard to sacramental discipline for the ‘divorced and remarried’.  And there there exists a real danger that this confusion expands on a vast scale, if we avoid proposing and proclaiming the formula of the universal and infallible Magisterium:  « The reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance — which would open the way to Eucharistic Communion — can be accorded only to those who, … assume the commitment to live in full continence, that is, to abstain from the acts proper to a married couple.”  ( John Paul II, Familiaris consortio, n. 84).  This formula is, unfortunately, incomprehensibly absent from « Amoris Laetitia ».  « Amoris Laetitia », instead, contains, in an all-together inexplicable manner, the following declaration:  « In these situations (of the ‘divorced and remarried’), many, recognizing and accepting the possibility of cohabitation “as brother and sisters” which the Church offers them, find that, if there are some expressions of intimacy lacking, « it is not rare that fidelity is put in danger and that the good of the children come to be compromised » (Al, 298, footnote 320).  Such an affirmation leaves one to think of a contradiction with the perennial teaching of the universal Magisterium, as it has been formulated in the text cited from Familiaris Consortio, 84.

It is becoming urgent that the Holy See confirms and proclaims anew, eventually under the form of an authentic interpretation of Al, the cited formula of Familiaris Consortio, 84.  This formula could be considered, under certain aspects, as the “homoousios” of our days. The lack of a confirmation in an official and explicit manner of the formula of Familiaris Consortio, 84, on the part of the Holy See could contribute to even greater confusion in sacramental discipline with gradual and inevitable repercussions in the field of doctrine.  In this manner, one might come to create such a situation to which one in the future could apply the following exclamation:  « The whole world groans and finds itself, with shock, to have accepted divorce in practice » («Ingemuit totus orbis, et divortium in praxi se accepisse miratus est »).

A confusion in sacramental disciple in regard to the ‘divorced and separated’, with the consequent doctrinal implications, would contradict the nature of the Catholic church, as She has been described by St. Irenaeus, in the second century (A.D.):  « The Church, even though She is spread throughout in the whole world, keeps this preaching and this Faith, which She has received, with the same care as if She lived in one house; and in the same manner, She believes in these truths, as if She had one soul and one heart; She proclaims, teaches and transmits them, with unanimous voice, as if She had only one mouth » (Adversus haereses, Bk. I, ch. 10, n. 2; from the Office of Readings for the Feast of St. Mark, the Apostle, March 25).

The See of Peter, that is the Sovereign Pontiff, is the guarantee of the unity of Apostolic faith and sacramental discipline. Considering the confusion which has come to be among priests and bishops in the sacramental practice as much as regards the ‘divorced and remarried’ and as much as regards the interpretation of AL, one can consider legitimate an appeal to our dear Pope, Francis, the Vicar of Christ and « sweet Christ upon earth » (St. Catherine of Sienna), so that He order the publication of an authentic interpretation of « Amoris Laetitia », which should necessarily contain an explicit declaration of the disciplinary principle of the universal and infallible Magisterium in regarding to the admission to the Sacraments (sic) for the ‘divorced and separated’, as it has been formulated in n. 84 of Familiaris Consortio.

During the great Arian confusion of the Fourth Century, St. Basil the Great made an urgent appeal to the Pope of Rome to indicate with his own words the clear direction to obtain finally a unity of thought in faith and charity (cf. Epistle 70).

An authentic interpretation of Al, on the part of the Apostolic See, would bring about a joy in clarity (« claritatis laetitia » for the whole Church.  Such a clarity would guarantee a love in joy (« amoris laetitia »), a love and a joy which would not be according to the minds of men, but according to the mind of God (cf. Mt. 16, 23).  And this is what counts for the joy, life, and eternal salvation of the divorced who have remarried and for all men.

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan

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Mons. Athanasius Schneider parla sul «Amoris Laetitia»

Bishop-Athanasius-Schneider

Il paradosso delle interpretazioni contraddittorie di «Amoris laetitia»

L’Esortazione Apostolica «Amoris Laetitia» (AL) pubblicata di recente, che contiene una grande ricchezza spirituale e pastorale per la vita nel matrimonio e nella famiglia cristiana della nostra epoca, purtroppo ha già in poco tempo provocato interpretazioni contraddittorie perfino nell’ambiente dell’episcopato. 

Vi sono vescovi e preti che avevano pubblicamente e apertamente dichiarato che AL avrebbe fornito un’apertura evidente alla Comunione per i divorziati-risposati senza chiedere loro di vivere in continenza. In quest’aspetto della pratica sacramentale, che secondo loro sarebbe ora significativamente cambiato, consisterebbe il carattere veramente rivoluzionario dell’AL. Interpretando AL in riferimento alle coppie irregolari, un Presidente di una Conferenza episcopale ha dichiarato in un testo pubblicato sul sito web della stessa Conferenza: «Si tratta di una misura di misericordia, di un’apertura di cuore, ragione e spirito per la quale non è necessaria alcuna legge, né bisogna attendersi alcuna direttiva o delle indicazioni.  Si può e si deve metterla in pratica immediatamente».

Tale avviso è confermato ulteriormente dalle recenti dichiarazioni del padre Antonio Spadaro S.J., che dopo il Sinodo dei Vescovi del 2015 aveva scritto che il sinodo aveva posto i «fondamenti» per l’accesso dei divorziati-risposati alla Comunione, «aprendo una porta», ancora chiusa nel sinodo precedente del 2014. Ora, dice il Padre Spadaro nel suo commento ad AL, la sua predizione è stata confermata. Si dice che lo stesso padre Spadaro abbia fatto parte del gruppo redazionale di AL.

La strada per le interpretazioni abusive sembra esser stata indicata dallo stesso Cardinale Christoph Schönborn il quale, durante la presentazione ufficiale di AL a Roma, aveva detto a proposito delle unioni irregolari: «La grande gioia che mi procura questo documento risiede nel fatto che esso supera in modo coerente la divisione artificiosa, esteriore e netta fra “regolari” ed “irregolari”«. Una tale affermazione suggerisce l’idea che non vi sia una chiara differenza fra un matrimonio valido e sacramentale ed un’unione irregolare, fra peccato veniale e mortale.

Dall’altra parte, vi sono vescovi che affermano che AL debba essere letta alla luce del Magistero perenne della Chiesa e che AL non autorizza la Comunione ai divorziati-risposati, neanche in caso eccezionale. In principio, tale affermazione è corretta ed auspicabile. In effetti, ogni testo del Magistero dovrebbe in regola generale, essere coerente nel suo contenuto con il Magistero precedente, senza alcuna rottura.

Tuttavia, non è un segreto che in diversi luoghi le persone divorziate e risposate sono ammesse alla Santa Comunione, senza che esse vivano in continenza. Alcune affermazioni di AL possono essere realisticamente utilizzate per legittimare un abuso già praticato per un certo tempo in vari luoghi della vita della Chiesa.

Alcune affermazioni di AL sono oggettivamente passibili di cattiva interpretazione

Il Santo Padre papa Francesco ci ha invitati tutti a offrire il nproprio contributo alla riflessione e al dialogo sulle delicate questioni concernenti il matrimonio e la famiglia. «La riflessione dei pastori e dei teologi, se fedele alla Chiesa, onesta, realistica e creativa, ci aiuterà a raggiungere una maggiore chiarezza» (AL, 2).

Analizzando con onestà intellettuale alcune affermazioni di AL, viste nel loro contesto, si constata una difficoltà di interpretarla secondo la dottrina tradizionale della Chiesa. Questo fatto si spiega con l’assenza dell’affermazione concreta ed esplicita della dottrina e della pratica costante della Chiesa, basata sulla Parola di Dio e reiterata dal papa Giovanni Paolo II che dice: «La Chiesa, tuttavia, ribadisce la sua prassi, fondata sulla Sacra Scrittura, di non ammettere alla comunione eucaristica i divorziati risposati. Sono essi a non poter esservi ammessi, dal momento che il loro stato e la loro condizione di vita contraddicono oggettivamente a quell’unione di amore tra Cristo e la Chiesa, significata e attuata dall’Eucaristia. C’è inoltre un altro peculiare motivo pastorale: se si ammettessero queste persone all’Eucaristia, i fedeli rimarrebbero indotti in errore e confusione circa la dottrina della Chiesa sull’indissolubilità del matrimonio. La riconciliazione nel sacramento della penitenza – che aprirebbe la strada al sacramento eucaristico – può essere accordata solo a quelli che, pentiti di aver violato il segno dell’Alleanza e della fedeltà a Cristo, sono sinceramente disposti ad una forma di vita non più in contraddizione con l’indissolubilità del matrimonio. Ciò comporta, in concreto, che quando l’uomo e la donna, per seri motivi – quali, ad esempio, l’educazione dei figli – non possono soddisfare l’obbligo della separazione, «assumono l’impegno di vivere in piena continenza, cioè di astenersi dagli atti propri dei coniugi» (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

Il papa Francesco non aveva stabilito «una nuova normativa generale di tipo canonico, applicabile a tutti i casi» (AL, n. 300). Però nella nota 336, dichiara: «Nemmeno per quanto riguarda la disciplina sacramentale, dal momento che il discernimento può riconoscere che in una situazione particolare non c’è colpa grave». Riferendosi evidentemente ai divorziati risposati il papa afferma in AL, al n. 305: «A causa dei condizionamenti o dei fattori attenuanti, è possibile che, entro una situazione oggettiva di peccato – che non sia soggettivamente colpevole o che non lo sia in modo pieno – si possa vivere in grazia di Dio, si possa amare, e si possa anche crescere nella vita di grazia e di carità, ricevendo a tale scopo l’aiuto della Chiesa.» Nella nota 351 il papa chiarisce la propria affermazione dicendo che «in certi casi, potrebbe essere anche l’aiuto dei Sacramenti».

Nello stesso capitolo VIII di AL, al n. 298, il Papa parla dei «divorziati che vivono una nuova unione, … con nuovi figli, con provata fedeltà, dedizione generosa, impegno cristiano, consapevolezza dell’irregolarità della propria situazione e grande difficoltà a tornare indietro senza sentire in coscienza che si cadrebbe in nuove colpe. La Chiesa riconosce situazioni in cui «l’uomo e la donna, per seri motivi – quali, ad esempio, l’educazione dei figli – non possono soddisfare l’obbligo della separazione». Nella nota 329 il Papa cita il documento Gaudium et Spes in un modo purtroppo non corretto, perché il Concilio si riferisce in questo caso solo al matrimonio cristiano valido. L’applicazione di quest’affermazione ai divorziati può provocare l’impressione che il matrimonio valido venga assimilato, non in teoria, ma in pratica, ad una unione di divorziati.

L’ammissione dei divorziati-risposati alla Santa Comunione e le sue conseguenze

AL è purtroppo priva delle citazioni verbali dei principi della dottrina morale della Chiesa nella forma in cui sono stati enunciati al n. 84 dell’Esortazione Apostolica Familiaris Consortio e nell’Enciclica Veritatis Splendor del Papa Giovanni Paolo II, in particolare sui seguenti temi d’importanza capitale: «l’opzione fondamentale» (Veritatis Splendor nn.67-68), «peccato mortale e peccato veniale» (ibid., n.69-70), «proporzionalismo, consequenzialismo» (ibid. n.75), «il martirio e le norme morali universali ed immutabili» (ibid., nn.91ss). Una citazione verbale di Familiaris consorzio n.84 e di talune affermazioni più salienti di Veritatis splendor renderebbero peraltro AL inattaccabile da parte di interpretazioni eterodosse. Delle allusioni generiche ai principi morali e alla dottrina della Chiesa sono certamente insufficienti in una materia controversa che è di delicata e di capitale importanza.

Alcuni rappresentanti del clero e anche dell’episcopato affermano già che secondo lo spirito del capitolo VIII di AL non è escluso che in casi eccezionali i divorziati-risposati possano essere ammessi alla Santa Comunione senza che venga loro richiesto di vivere in perfetta continenza.

Ammettendo una simile interpretazione della lettera e dello spirito di AL, bisognerebbe accettare, con onestà intellettuale e in base al principio di non-contraddizione, le seguenti conclusioni logiche:

Il sesto comandamento divino che proibisce ogni atto sessuale al di fuori del matrimonio valido, non sarebbe più universalmente valido se venissero ammesse delle eccezioni. Nel nostro caso: i divorziati potrebbero praticare l’atto sessuale e vi sono anche incoraggiati al fine di conservare la reciproca “fedeltà”, cfr.  AL, 298. Potrebbe dunque darsi una «fedeltà», in uno stile di vita direttamente contrario alla volontà espressa di Dio. Tuttavia, incoraggiare e legittimare atti che sono in sé e sempre contrari alla volontà di Dio, contraddirebbe la Rivelazione Divina.

La parola divina di Cristo: «Che l’uomo non separi quello che Dio ha unito» (Mt 19, 6) non sarebbe quindi più valida sempre e per tutti i coniugi senza eccezione.

Sarebbe possibile in un caso particolare ricevere il sacramento della Penitenza e la Santa Comunione con l’intento di continuare a violare direttamente i comandamenti divini: «Non commetterai adulterio» (Esodo 20, 14) e «Che l’uomo non separi quello che Dio ha unito» (Mt 19, 6; Gen 2, 24).

L’osservanza di questi comandamenti e della Parola di Dio avverrebbe in questi casi solo in teoria e non nella pratica, inducendo quindi i divorziati-risposati “ad ingannare se stessi (Giacomo 1, 22). Si potrebbe dunque avere perfettamente la fede nel carattere divino del sesto comandamento e dell’indissolubilità del matrimonio senza però le opere corrispondenti.

La Parola Divina di Cristo: «Colui che ripudia la moglie e ne sposa un’altra, commette un adulterio nei suoi confronti; e se una donna lascia il marito e ne sposa un altro, commette un adulterio» (Mc 10, 12) non avrebbe dunque più validità universale ma ammetterebbe eccezioni.

La violazione permanente, cosciente e libera del sesto comandamento di Dio e della sacralità e dell’indissolubilità del proprio matrimonio valido (nel caso dei divorziati risposati) non sarebbe dunque più un peccato grave, ovvero un’opposizione diretta alla volontà di Dio.

Possono esservi casi di violazione grave, permanente, cosciente e libera degli altri comandamenti di Dio (per esempio nel caso di uno stile di vita di corruzione finanziaria), nei quali potrebbe essere accordato a una determinata persona, a causa di circostanze attenuanti, l’accesso si sacramenti senza esigere una sincera risoluzione di evitare in avvenire gli atti di peccato e di scandalo.

Il perenne ed infallibile insegnamento della Chiesa non sarebbe più universalmente valido, in particolare l’insegnamento confermato da papa Giovanni Paolo II in Familiaris Consortio, n.84, e da papa Benedetto XVI in Sacramentum caritatis, n,29, secondo il quale la condizione dei divorziati per ricevere i sacramenti sarebbe la continenza perfetta.

L’osservanza del sesto comandamento di Dio e dell’indissolubilità del matrimonio sarebbe un ideale non realizzabile da parte di tutti, ma in qualche modo solo per un’élite.

Le parole intransigenti di Cristo che intimano agli uomini di osservare i comandamenti di Dio sempre e in tutte le circostanze, anche accettando a questo fine delle sofferenze considerevoli, ovvero accettando la Croce, non sarebbero più valide nella loro verità: «Se la tua mano destra ti è causa di peccato, mozzala e gettala via da te, perché è meglio per te che un tuo membro perisca, piuttosto che tutto il tuo corpo sia gettato nella Geenna» (Mt 5, 30).

Ammettere le coppie in «unione irregolare» alla santa Comunione, permettendo loro di praticare gli atti riservati ai coniugi del matrimonio valido, equivarrebbe all’usurpazione di un potere, che però non compete ad alcuna autorità umana, perché si tratterebbe qui di una pretesa di correggere la stessa Parola di Dio.

Pericoli di una collaborazione della Chiesa nella diffusione della “piaga del divorzio”

Professando la dottrina di sempre di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, la Chiesa ci insegna: “Fedele al Signore, la Chiesa non può riconoscere come Matrimonio l’unione dei divorziati risposati civilmente. “Colui che ripudia la moglie per sposarne un’altra commette adulterio contro di lei. Se una donna ripudia il marito per sposarne un altro, commette adulterio” (Mc, 10, 11-12). Nei loro confronti, la Chiesa attua un’attenta sollecitudine, invitandoli ad una vita di fede, alla preghiera, alle opere di carità e all’educazione cristiana dei figli. Ma essi non possono ricevere l’assoluzione sacramentale, né accedere alla Comunione eucaristica, né esercitare certe responsabilità ecclesiali, finché perdura la loro situazione, che oggettivamente contrasta con legge di Dio” (Compendio di Catechismo della Chiesa Cattolica, 349).

Vivere in un’unione maritale non valida contraddicendo costantemente il comandamento di Dio e la sacralità e indissolubilità del matrimonio, non significa vivere nella verità. Dichiarare che la pratica deliberata, libera ed abituale degli atti sessuali in un’unione maritale non valida potrebbe in un caso concreto non essere più un peccato grave, non è la verità, ma una menzogna grave, e dunque non porterà mai una gioia autentica nell’amore. Permettere dunque a queste persone di ricevere la Santa Comunione significa simulazione, ipocrisia e menzogna. Resta valida infatti la Parola di Dio nella Sacra Scrittura: “Chi dice: «Io l’ho conosciuto», e non osserva i suoi comandamenti, è bugiardo e la verità non è in lui.” (1 Gv, 2, 4).

Il Magistero della Chiesa ci insegna la validità universale dei dieci comandamenti di Dio: “Poiché essi enunciano i doveri fondamentali dell’uomo verso Dio e verso il prossimo, i dieci comandamenti rivelano, nel loro contenuto primordiale, delle obbligazioni gravi. Essi sono fondamentalmente immutabili e il loro obbligo vale sempre e ovunque. Nessuno può dispensare da essi.” (Catechismo della Chiesa Cattolica, n. 2072). Coloro che hanno affermato che i comandamenti di Dio ed il particolare il comandamento “Non commetterai adulterio” possono avere delle eccezioni, ed in taluni casi la non imputabilità della colpa del divorzio, erano i Farisei e poi gli Gnostici cristiani nel secondo e terzo secolo.

Le seguenti affermazioni del Magistero restano sempre valide perché fanno parte del Magistero infallibile nella forma del Magistero universale e ordinario: “I precetti negativi della legge naturale sono universalmente validi: essi obbligano tutti e ciascuno, sempre e in ogni circostanza. Si tratta infatti di proibizioni che vietano una determinata azione semper et pro semper, senza eccezioni, … ci sono comportamenti che non possono mai essere, in alcuna situazione, la risposta adeguata … La Chiesa ha sempre insegnato che non si devono mai scegliere comportamenti proibiti dai comandamenti morali, espressi in forma negativa nell’Antico e nel Nuovo Testamento. Come si è visto, Gesù stesso ribadisce l’inderogabilità di queste proibizioni: «Se vuoi entrare nella vita, osserva i comandamenti…: non uccidere, non commettere adulterio, non rubare, non testimoniare il falso» (Mt 19,17-18)” (Giovanni Paolo II, Enciclica Veritatis Splendor, 52).

Il Magistero della Chiesa ci insegna ancor più chiaramente: “La coscienza buona e pura è illuminata dalla fede sincera. Infatti la carità sgorga, ad un tempo, “da un cuore puro, da una buona coscienza e da una fede sincera” (1Tm 1,5 ): [Cf 1Tm 3,9; 2 Tm 1,3; 1794 1 Pt 3,21; At 24,16]  (Catechismo della Chiesa Cattolica, 1794).

Nel caso in cui una persona commetta atti morali oggettivamente gravi in piena coscienza, sana di mente, con libera decisione, con l’intento di ripetere quest’atto in futuro, è impossibile applicare il principio della non-imputabilità della colpa a causa delle circostanze attenuanti. L’applicazione del principio della non-imputabilità a queste coppie di divorziati-risposati rappresenterebbe una ipocrisia ed un sofisma gnostico. Se la Chiesa ammettesse queste persone, anche in un solo caso, alla Santa Comunione, essa contraddirebbe a ciò che professa nella dottrina, offrendo essa stessa una contro-testimonianza pubblica contro l’indissolubilità del matrimonio e contribuendo così alla crescita della “piaga del divorzio” (Concilio Vaticano II, Gaudium et Spes, 47).

Al fine di evitare una tale intollerabile e scandalosa contraddizione, la Chiesa, interpretando infallibilmente la verità Divina della legge morale e dell’indissolubilità del matrimonio, ha osservato immutabilmente per duemila anni la pratica di ammettere alla Santa Comunione solo quei divorziati che vivono in perfetta continenza e “remoto scandalo”, senza alcuna eccezione o privilegio particolare.

Il primo compito pastorale che il Signore ha affidato alla sua Chiesa è l’insegnamento, la dottrina (vedi Mt 28, 20). L’osservanza dei comandamenti di Dio è intrinsecamente connessa alla dottrina. Per questa ragione la Chiesa ha sempre respinto la contraddizione fra la dottrina e la vita, qualificando una simile contraddizione come gnostica o come la teoria luterana eretica del “simul iustus et peccator”. Tra la fede e la vita dei figli della Chiesa non dovrebbe esserci contraddizione.

Quando si tratta dell’osservanza del comandamento espresso di Dio e dell’indissolubilità del matrimonio, non si può parlare di interpretazioni teologiche opposte. Se Dio ha detto: “Non commetterai adulterio”, nessuna autorità umana potrebbe dire: “in qualche caso eccezionale o per un fine buono tu puoi commettere adulterio”.

Le seguenti affermazioni del papa Francesco sono molto importanti, laddove il Sommo Pontefice parla a proposito dell’integrazione dei divorziati risposati nella vita della Chiesa: “questo discernimento non potrà mai prescindere dalle esigenze di verità e di carità del Vangelo proposte dalla Chiesa. … Vanno garantite le necessarie condizioni di umiltà, riservatezza, amore alla Chiesa e al suo insegnamento, … Si evita il rischio che un determinato discernimento porti a pensare che la Chiesa sostenga una doppia morale” (AL, 300). Queste affermazioni lodevoli di AL restano tuttavia senza specificazioni concrete riguardo alla questione dell’obbligo dei divorziati risposati di separarsi o almeno di vivere in perfetta continenza.

Quando si tratta della vita o della morte del corpo, nessun medico lascerebbe le cose nell’ambiguità. Il medico non può dire al paziente: “Dovete decidere l’applicazione della medicina secondo coscienza e rispettando le leggi della medicina”. Un comportamento simile da parte di un medico verrebbe senza dubbio considerato irresponsabile. E tuttavia la vita dell’anima immortale è più importante, poiché dalla salute dell’anima dipende il suo destino per tutta l’eternità.

La verità liberatrice della penitenza e del mistero della Croce. 

Affermare che i divorziati risposati non sono pubblici peccatori significa simulare il falso. Inoltre, essere peccatori è la vera condizione di tutti i membri della Chiesa militante sulla terra. Se i divorziati-risposati dicono che i loro atti volontari e deliberati contro il sesto comandamento di Dio non sono affatto peccati o peccati gravi, essi s’ingannano e la verità non è in loro, come dice San Giovanni: “Se diciamo di essere senza peccato inganniamo noi stessi e la verità non è in noi. Se confessiamo i nostri peccati, egli che è fedele e giusto, ci perdonerà i nostri peccati e ci purificherà da ogni iniquità. Se diciamo “Non abbiamo peccato”, facciamo di lui un bugiardo e la sua parola non è in noi” (1 Gv 1, 8-10).

L’accettazione da parte dei divorziati-risposati della verità che essi sono peccatori ed anche pubblici peccatori non toglie nulla alla loro speranza cristiana. Soltanto l’accettazione della realtà e della verità li rende capaci di intraprendere il cammino di una penitenza fruttuosa secondo le parole di Gesù Cristo.

Sarebbe molto salutare ripristinare lo spirito dei primi cristiani e del tempo dei Padri della Chiesa, quando esisteva una viva solidarietà dei fedeli con i peccatori pubblici, e tuttavia una solidarietà secondo la verità.  Una solidarietà che non aveva nulla di discriminatorio; al contrario, vi era la partecipazione di tutta la Chiesa nel cammino penitenziale dei peccatori pubblici per mezzo delle preghiere d’intercessione, delle lacrime, degli atti di espiazione e di carità in loro favore.

L’Esortazione apostolica Familiaris Consortio insegna: ” Anche coloro che si sono allontanati dal comandamento del Signore e continuano a vivere in questa condizione (divorziati-risposati) potranno ottenere da Dio la grazia della conversione e della salvezza, se avranno perseverato nella preghiera, nella penitenza e nella carità” (n. 84).

Durante i primi secoli i peccatori pubblici erano integrati nella comunità orante dei fedeli e dovevano implorare in ginocchio e con le braccia alzate l’intercessione dei loro fratelli. Tertulliano ce ne dà una testimonianza toccante: “Il corpo non può rallegrarsi quando uno dei suoi membri soffre. È necessario che tutto intero esso si dolga e lavori alla sua guarigione. Quando tendi le mani alle ginocchia dei tuoi fratelli, è Cristo che tocchi, è Cristo che implori. Parimenti, quando loro versano lacrime per te, è Cristo che compatisce” (De paenitentia, 10, 5-6). Nello stesso modo parla Sant’Ambrogio di Milano: “La Chiesa intera ha preso su di sé il fardello del peccatore pubblico, soffrendo con lui per mezzo di lacrime, preghiere e dolori” (De paenitentia, 1, 81).

È vero che le forme della disciplina penitenziale della Chiesa sono cambiate, ma lo spirito di questa disciplina deve restare nella Chiesa di tutti i tempi. Oggi, alcuni preti e vescovi, basandosi su alcune affermazioni di AL, cominciano a far intendere ai divorziati-risposati che la loro condizione non equivaleva allo stato oggettivo di peccatore pubblico. Essi li tranquillizzano dichiarando che i loro atti sessuali non costituiscono un peccato grave.  Un simile atteggiamento non corrisponde alla verità. Essi privano i divorziati-risposati della possibilità di una conversione radicale all’obbedienza alla volontà di Dio, lasciando queste anime nell’inganno. Un tale atteggiamento pastorale è molto facile, a buon mercato, non costa niente. Non costa lacrime, preghiere ed opere diintercessione e di espiazione fraterna in favore dei divorziati-risposati.

Ammettendo, anche solo in casi eccezionali, i divorziati-risposati alla Santa Comunione senza chieder loro di cessare di praticare gli atti contrari al sesto comandamento di Dio, dichiarando inoltre presuntuosamente che l loro atti non sono peccato grave, si sceglie la strada facile, si evita lo scandalo della croce. Una simile pastorale dei divorziati-risposati è una pastorale effimera e ingannatrice. A tutti coloro che propagandano un simile facile cammino a buon mercato ai divorziati-risposati Gesù rivolge ancora oggi queste parole: ” Vattene via da me, Satana! Tu mi sei di scandalo, perché non pensi secondo Dio, ma secondo gli uomini! Allora Gesù disse ai suoi discepoli: “Se qualcuno vuol seguirmi, che rinunzi a se stesso, prenda la sua croce e mi segua” (Mt 16, 23-25).

Riguardo alla pastorale dei divorziati-risposati, oggi bisogna ravvivare anche lo spirito di seguire Cristo nella verità della Croce e della penitenza, che solo porta una gioia permanente, evitando le gioie effimere che sono in fin dei conti ingannatrici. Le seguenti parole del papa San Gregorio Magno si rivelano veramente attuali e luminose: “Non dobbiamo abituarci troppo al nostro esilio terreste, le comodità di questa vita non devono farci dimenticare la nostra vera patria così che il nostro spirito non divenga sonnolento in mezzo alle comodità. Per questo motivo, Dio unisce ai suoi doni le sue visite o punizioni, affinché tutto ciò che c’incanta in questo mondo, divenga per noi amaro e si accenda nell’anima quel fuoco che ci spinge sempre di nuovo verso il desiderio delle cose celesti e ci fa progredire. Quel fuoco ci ferisce in modo piacevole, ci crocifigge dolcemente e ci rattrista gioiosamente” (In Hez, 2, 4, 3).

Lo spirito dell’autentica disciplina penitenziale della Chiesa dei primi secoli è perdurato nella Chiesa di tutti i tempi fino ad oggi. Abbiamo l’esempio commovente della Beata Laura del Carmen Vicuna, nata in Cile nel 1891. Suor Azocar, che aveva curato Laura, ha raccontato: “Mi ricordo che quando spiegai la prima volta il sacramento del matrimonio, Laura svenne, di certo avendo compreso dalle mie parole che sua madre era in stato di peccato mortale finché fosse rimasta con quel signore. A quell’epoca, a Junin, una sola famiglia viveva in conformità alla volontà di Dio.” Da allora, Laura moltiplica preghiere e penitenze per la sua mamma. Il 2 giugno 1901 fa la sua prima comunione, con grande fervore; scrive le seguenti risoluzioni: “1. Voglio, o mio Gesù, amarti e servirti per tutta la vita; per questo ti offro tutta la mia anima, il mio cuore, tutto il mio essere. – 2. Preferisco morire piuttosto che offenderti col peccato; perciò voglio allontanarmi da tutto quello che potrebbe separarmi da te. – 3. Prometto di fare tutto il possibile affinché tu sia sempre più conosciuto e amato, e al fine di riparare le offese che ogni giorno ti infliggono gli uomini che non ti amano, specialmente quelle che ricevi da coloro che mi sono vicini. -Oh mio Dio, concedimi una vita di amore, di mortificazione e di sacrificio!” Ma la sua grande gioia è oscurata nel vedere che sua madre, presente alla cerimonia, non fa la comunione. Nel 1902, Laura offre la propria vita per sua madre che convive con un uomo in una unione irregolare in Argentina. Laura moltiplica le preghiere e le privazioni per ottenere la vera conversione della madre. Poche ore prima di morire la chiama vicino a sé. Capendo di essere al momento supremo, esclama: ” Mamma, sto per morire. L’ho chiesto io a Gesù e gli ho offerto la mia vita per la grazia del tuo ritorno. Mamma, avrò la gioia di vedere il tuo pentimento prima di morire?” Sconvolta, la madre promette: “Domani mattina andrò in chiesa e mi confesserò”. Laura cerca allora lo sguardo del prete e gli dice: “Padre, mia madre in questo momento promette di abbandonare quell’uomo; siate testimone di questa promessa!” E poi aggiunge: “Ora muoio contenta!”. Con queste parole spira, il 22 gennaio 1904, a Junin delle Ande (Argentina), a 13 anni, nelle braccia della madre che ritrova allora la fede ponendo fine all’unione irregolare nella quale viveva.

L’esempio ammirevole della vita della giovane Beata Laura è una dimostrazione di quanto un vero cattolico consideri seriamente il sesto comandamento di Dio e la sacralità e indissolubilità del matrimonio. Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo ci raccomanda di evitare persino l’apparenza di un’approvazione di una unione irregolare o di un adulterio. Quel comando divino la Chiesa l’ha sempre fedelmente conservato e trasmesso senza ambiguità nella dottrina e nella pratica. Offrendo la sua giovane vita la Beata Laura non si era certo rappresentata una delle diverse interpretazioni dottrinali o pastorali possibili. Non si dà la propria vita per una possibile interpretazione dottrinale o pastorale, ma per una verità divina immutabile e universalmente valida. Una verità dimostrata con l’offerta della vita da parte di un gran numero di Santi, da san Giovanni Battista fino ai semplici fedeli dei giorni nostri il cui nome solo Dio conosce.

Necessità di una “veritatis laetitia”

Amoris laetitia contiene di sicuro e per fortuna delle affermazioni teologiche e indicazioni spirituali e pastorali di grande valore. Tuttavia, è realisticamente insufficiente affermare che AL andrebbe interpretata secondo la dottrina e la pratica tradizionale della Chiesa. Quando in un documento ecclesiastico, che nel caso nostro è sprovvisto di carattere definitivo e infallibile, si rinvengono elementi di interpretazioni ed applicazioni che potrebbero avere conseguenze spirituali pericolose, tutti i membri della Chiesa, e in primo luogo i vescovi, quali collaboratori fraterni del Sovrano Pontefice nella collegialità effettiva, hanno il dovere di segnalare rispettosamente questo fatto e di chiedere un’interpretazione autentica.

Quando si tratta della fede divina, dei comandamenti divini e della sacralità e indissolubilità del matrimonio, tutti i membri della Chiesa, dai semplici fedeli fino ai più alti rappresentanti del Magistero devono fare uno sforzo comune per conservare intatto il tesoro della fede e la sua applicazione pratica. Il Concilio Vaticano II ha in effetti ha insegnato: “La totalità dei fedeli, avendo l’unzione che viene dal Santo, (cfr. 1 Gv 2,20 e 27), non può sbagliarsi nel credere, e manifesta questa sua proprietà mediante il senso soprannaturale della fede di tutto il popolo, quando « dai vescovi fino agli ultimi fedeli laici » (S. Agostino, De Praed. Sanct, 14, 27) mostra l’universale suo consenso in cose di fede e di morale. E invero, per quel senso della fede, che è suscitato e sorretto dallo Spirito di verità, e sotto la guida del sacro magistero, il quale permette, se gli si obbedisce fedelmente, di ricevere non più una parola umana, ma veramente la parola di Dio (cfr. 1 Ts 2,13), il popolo di Dio aderisce indefettibilmente alla fede trasmessa ai santi una volta per tutte (cfr. Gdc 3), con retto giudizio penetra in essa più a fondo e più pienamente l’applica nella vita” (Lumen gentium, 12). Il Magistero, per parte sua, “non è al di sopra della Parola di Dio, ma è al suo servizio, poiché insegna solo ciò che è stato trasmesso (Concilio Vaticano II, Dei Verbum, 10).

Fu proprio il Concilio Vaticano II a incoraggiare tutti i fedeli e soprattutto i vescovi a manifestare senza timore le loro preoccupazioni ed osservazioni in vista del bene di tutta la Chiesa. Il servilismo ed il politicamente corretto causano un male pernicioso alla vita della Chiesa. Il famoso vescovo e teologo del Concilio di Trento, Melchior Cano, O.P., pronunciò questa frase memorabile: “Pietro non ha bisogno delle nostre menzogne e adulazioni. Coloro che ad occhi chiusi ed in modo indiscriminato difendono ogni decisione del Sommo Pontefice, sono quelli che maggiormente compromettono l’autorità della Santa Sede. Essi ne distruggono le fondamenta invece di consolidarle”.

Nostro Signore ci ha insegnato senza ambiguità spiegando in cosa consistano il vero amore e la vera gioia dell’amore: “Colui che ha i miei comandamenti e li osserva è colui che mi ama” (Gv 14, 21). Dando agli uomini il sesto comandamento e l’osservanza dell’indissolubilità del matrimonio, Dio li ha dati a tutti senza eccezione e non solo ad un’élite. Già nell’Antico Testamento Dio ha dichiarato: Questo comandamento che ti prescrivo oggi di sicuro non è al di sopra delle tue forze, né fuori della tua portata” (Deuteronomio 30, 11) e “Se vuoi, osserverai i comandamenti;

l’essere fedele dipenderà dal tuo buonvolere.” (Siracide, 15, 15). E Gesù disse a tutti: “Se vuoi entrare nella vita, osserva i comandamenti. Quali? E Gesù rispose: Non ucciderai; non commetterai adulterio” (Mt 19, 17-18). L’insegnamento degli Apostoli ci ha trasmesso la stessa dottrina: “Poiché l’amore di Dio consiste nell’osservare i suoi comandamenti. E i suoi comandamenti non sono gravosi” (1 Gv 5, 3).

Non vi è una vita vera, soprannaturale ed eterna, senza l’osservanza dei comandamenti di Dio: “Ti prescrivo di osservare i suoi comandamenti. Ho posto davanti a te la vita e la morte. Scegli la vita!” (Deuteronomio 30, 16-19). Non vi è dunque una vera vita e una vera gioia d’amore autentica senza la verità. “L’amore consiste nel vivere secondo i suoi comandamenti” (2 Gv 6). La gioia d’amore consiste nella gioia della verità. La vita autenticamente cristiana consiste nella vita e nella gioia della verità: “Per me non c’è gioia maggiore di quella che provo nel sapere che i miei figli vivono ubbidendo alla verità.” (3 Gv 4).

Sant’Agostino ci spiega l’intimo legame fra la gioia e la verità: “Chiedo a tutti loro se non preferiscono la gioia della verità a quella della menzogna. Ed essi non esitano qui più che per la risposta alla domanda sulla felicità. Perché la vita felice consiste nella gioia della verità, noi tutti vogliamo la gioia della verità” (Confessioni, X, 23).

Il pericolo di una confusione generale per quanto riguarda l’indissolubilità del matrimonio

Ormai da tempo, nella vita della Chiesa, si constata in alcuni luoghi, un tacito abuso nell’ammissione dei divorziati-risposati alla Santa Comunione, senza chiedere loro di vivere in perfetta continenza. Le affermazioni poco chiare nel capitolo VIII della AL hanno dato nuovo dinamismo ai propagatori dichiarati della ammissione, in singoli casi, dei divorziati-risposati alla Santa Comunione.

Possiamo ora constatare che l’abuso ha iniziato a diffondersi maggiormente nella pratica sentendosi in qualche modo legittimato. Inoltre vi è confusione per quanto riguarda l’interpretazione principalmente delle affermazioni riportate nel capitolo VIII della AL. La confusione raggiunge il suo apice poiché tutti, sia i sostenitori della ammissione dei divorziati-risposati alla Comunione sia i loro oppositori, sostengono che « La dottrina della Chiesa in questa materia non è stata modificata ».

Tenendo debitamente conto delle differenze storiche e dottrinali, la nostra situazione mostra alcune somiglianze e analogie con la situazione di confusione generale della crisi ariana del 4° secolo. All’epoca, la fede apostolica tradizionale nella vera divinità del Figlio di Dio fu garantita mediante il termine “consustanziale” (“homoousios”), dogmaticamente proclamata dal Magistero universale del Concilio di Nicea I. La crisi profonda della fede, con una confusione quasi universale, fu causata principalmente dal rifiutare o dall’evitare di utilizzare e professare la parola “consustanziale” (“homoousios“). Invece di utilizzare questa espressione, si diffuse tra il clero e soprattutto tra l’episcopato l’utilizzo di formule alternative che alla fine erano ambigue e imprecise come ad esempio “simile nella sostanza” (“homoiousios“) o semplicemente “simile” (“homoios“). La formula “homoousios” del Magistero universale di quel tempo esprimeva la divinità piena e vera del VERBO in modo così chiaro da non lasciare spazio ad interpretazioni equivoche.

Negli anni 357-360 quasi l’intero episcopato era diventato ariano o semi-ariano a causa dei seguenti avvenimenti: nel 357 papa Liberio firmò una delle formule ambigue di Sirmio, nella quale era stato eliminato il termine “homoousios”. Inoltre, il Papa scomunicò, in maniera scandalosa, sant’Atanasio. Sant’Ilario di Poitiers fu l’unico vescovo ad aver mosso gravi rimproveri a Papa Liberio per tali atti ambigui. Nel 359 i sinodi paralleli dell’episcopato occidentale a Rimini e di quello orientale a Seuleukia avevano accettato delle espressioni completamente ariane peggiori ancora della formula ambiguo firmata da Papa Liberio. Descrivendo la situazione di confusione dell’epoca, san Girolamo si espresse così: « “il mondo gemette e si accorse con stupore di essere diventato ariano. » («Ingemuit totus orbis, et arianum se esse miratus est » : Adv. Lucif., 19).

Si può affermare che la nostra epoca è caratterizzata da una gran confusione riguardo alla disciplina sacramentale per i divorziati-risposati. Ed esiste un pericolo reale che questa confusione si espanda su vasta scala, se evitiamo di proporre e proclamare la formula del Magistero universale e infallibile: « La riconciliazione nel sacramento della penitenza – che aprirebbe la strada al sacramento eucaristico – può essere accordata solo a quelli che, (…) assumono l’impegno di vivere in piena continenza, cioè di astenersi dagli atti propri dei coniugi” (Giovanni Paolo II, Familiaris consortio, 84). Questa formula è purtroppo incomprensibilmente assente da AL. L’AL contiene invece, in maniera altrettanto inspiegabile, la seguente dichiarazione: . « In queste situazioni (di divorziati risposati) , molti, conoscendo e accettando la possibilità di convivere “come fratello e sorella” che la Chiesa offre loro, rilevano che, se mancano alcune espressioni di intimità, «non è raro che la fedeltà sia messa in pericolo e possa venir compromesso il bene dei figli» (AL, 298, n. 329). Tale affermazione lascia pensare ad una contraddizione con l’insegnamento perenne del Magistero universale, come è stato formulato nel testo citato della Familiaris Consortio, 84.

Si rende urgente che la Santa Sede confermi e proclami nuovamente, eventualmente sotto forma di interpretazione autentica di AL, la citata formula della Familiaris Consortio, 84.  Questa formula potrebbe essere considerata, sotto certi aspetti, come l’”homoousios” dei nostri giorni. La mancanza di conferma in maniera ufficiale ed esplicita della formula di Familiaris Consortio 84 da parte della Sede Apostolica potrebbe contribuire ad una confusione sempre maggiore nella disciplina sacramentale con ripercussioni graduali e inevitabili in campo dottrinale. In questo modo si verrebbe a creare una tale situazione alla quale si potrebbe in futuro applicare la seguente constatazione: « Tutto il mondo gemette e si accorse con stupore di aver acettato il divorzio nella prassi.» («Ingemuit totus orbis, et divortium in praxi se accepisse miratus est »).

Una confusione nella disciplina sacramentale nei confronti dei divorziati-risposati, con le conseguenti implicazioni dottrinali, contraddirebbe la natura della Chiesa cattolica, così come è stata descritta da sant’Ireneo nel secondo secolo: « La Chiesa,  avendo ricevuto questa predicazione e questa fede, benché dispersa nel mondo intero la conserva con cura come abitando una sola casa; e allo stesso modo crede in queste verità, come se avesse una sola anima e un solo cuore; e le proclama, insegna trasmette, con una voce unanime, come se avesse una sola bocca» (Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2).

La Sede di Pietro, cioè il Sovrano Pontefice, è il garante dell’unità della fede e della disciplina sacramentale apostolica. Considerando la confusione venutasi a creare tra di sacerdoti e vescovi nella pratica sacramentale per quanto riguarda i divorziati risposati e l’interpretazione di AL, si può considerare legittimo un appello al nostro caro papa Francesco, il Vicario di Cristo e « il dolce Cristo in terra » (Santa Caterina da Siena), affinché ordini la pubblicazione di una interpretazione autentica di AL, che dovrebbe necessariamente contenere una dichiarazione esplicita del principio disciplinare del Magistero universale e infallibile riguardo l’ammissione ai sacramenti dei divorziati-risposati, così come è formulato nel n. 84 della  Familiaris consortio.

Nella grande confusione ariana del IV secolo, san Basilio il Grande fece un appello urgente al papa di Roma affinché indicazze con la sua parola una chiara direzione per ottenere finalmente l’unità di pensiero nella fede e nella carità (cf. Ep. 70).

Una interpretazione autentica di AL da parte della Sede Apostolica porterebbe una gioia nella chiarezza (« claritatis laetitia ») per tutta la Chiesa. Tale chiarezza garantirebbe un amore nella gioia (« amoris laetitia »), un amore e una gioia che non sarebbero secondo la mente degli uomini, ma secondo la mente di Dio (cf. Mt 16, 23). Ed è questo ciò che conta per la gioia, la vita e la salvezza eterna di divorziati-risposati e di tutti gli uomini.

+ Athanasius Schneider, Vescovo Ausiliare dell’Arcidiocesi di Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan

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Bishop Athanasius Schneider condemns Synod’s Final Relatio & its Perpetrators

A back door to a neo-Mosaic practice in the Final Report of the Synod

By Most Rev. Athanasius Schneider

Bishop-Athanasius-Schneider

The XIV General Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops (October 4 – 25, 2015), which was dedicated to the theme of “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World”, issued a Final Report with some pastoral proposals submitted to the discernment of the Pope. The document itself is only of an advisory nature and does not possess a formal magisterial value.

Yet during the Synod, there appeared those real new disciples of Moses and the new Pharisees, who in the numbers 84-86 of the Final Report opened a back door or looming time bombs for the admittance of divorced and remarried to Holy Communion. At the same time those bishops who intrepidly defended “the Church’s own fidelity to Christ and to His truth” (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, 84) were in some media reports unjustly labeled as Pharisees.

The new disciples of Moses and the new Pharisees during the last two Assemblies of the Synod (2014 and 2014) masked their practical deny of the indissolubility of marriage and of a suspension of the Sixth Commandment on a case-by-case basis under the guise of the concept of mercy, using expressions such as: “way of discernment,” “accompaniment”, “orientations of the bishop,” “dialogue with the priest,” “forum internum,” “a more fuller integration into the life of the Church,” a possible suppression of imputability regarding the cohabitation in irregular unions (cf. Final Report, nn. 84-86).

This text section in the Final Report contains indeed a trace of a neo-mosaic practice of divorce, even though the redactors skillfully and, in a cunning manner, avoided any direct change of the doctrine of the Church. Therefore, all parties, both the promotors of the so-called “Kasper agenda” and their opponents, are apparently satisfied stating: “All is OK. The Synod did not change the doctrine.” Yet, such a perception is quite naive, because it ignores the back door and the pending time bombs in the abovementioned text section which becomes manifest by a careful examination of the text by its internal interpretive criteria.

Even when speaking of a “way of discernment” there is talk of “repentance” (Final Report, n. 85), there remains nevertheless a great deal of ambiguity. In fact, according to the reiterated affirmations of Cardinal Kasper and like-minded churchmen, such a repentance concerns the past sins against the spouse of the first valid marriage and the repentance of the divorced indeed may not refer to the acts of their marital cohabitation with the new civilly married partner.

The assurance of the text in the numbers 85 and 86 of the Final Report that such a discernment has to be made according to the teaching of the Church and in a correct judgement remains nevertheless ambiguous. Indeed, Cardinal Kasper and like-minded clerics emphatically and repeatedly assured that the admittance of the divorced and civilly remarried to Holy Communion will not touch the dogma of the indissolubility and of the sacramentality of marriage, and that a judgement in the conscience in that case has to be considered as being correct even when the divorced and remarried continue to cohabitate in a marital manner, and that they should not be required to live in complete continence as brother and sister.

In quoting the famous number 84 of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio of Pope John Paul II in number 85 of the Final Report, the redactors censured the text, cutting out the following decisive formulation: “The way to the Eucharist can only be granted to those who take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples”.

This practice of the Church is based on Divine Revelation of the Word of God: Written and transmitted through Tradition. This practice of the Church is an expression of the uninterrupted Tradition since the Apostles and, thus, remains unchangeable for all times. Already Saint Augustine affirmed: “Who dismisses his adulterous wife and marries another woman, whereas his first wife still lives, remains perpetually in the state of adultery. Such a man does not any efficacious penance while he refuses to abandon the new wife. If he is a catechumen, he cannot be admitted to baptism, because his will remains rooted in the evil. If he is a (baptized) penitent, he cannot receive the (ecclesiastical) reconciliation as long as he does not break with his bad attitude” (De adulterinis coniugiis, 2, 16). In fact, the above intentional censorship of the teaching of Familaris Consortio in n. 85 of the Final Report, represents for any sane hermeneutics the very interpretation key for the understanding of the text section on divorced and remarried (numbers 84-86).

In our days exists a permanent and omnipresent ideological pressure on behalf of the mass media, which are compliant with the unique thought imposed by the anti-Christian world powers, with the aim to abolish the truth of the indissolubility of the marriage – trivializing the sacred character of this Divine institution by spreading an anti-culture of divorce and concubinage. Already 50 years ago, the Second Vatican Council stated that the modern times are infected with the plague of the divorce (cf. Gaudium et spes, 47). The same Council warns that the Christian marriage as Christ’s sacrament should “never be profaned by adultery or divorce” (Gaudium et spes, 49).

The profanation of the “great sacrament” (Eph 5, 32) of the marriage by adultery and divorce has assumed massive proportions at an alarming rate not only in the civil society but also among Catholics. When Catholics by means of divorce and adultery theoretically and as well as practically repudiate the will of God expressed in the Sixth Commandment, they put themselves in a spiritually serious danger of losing their eternal salvation.

The most merciful act on behalf of the Shepherds of the Church would be to draw the attention to this danger by means of a clear – and at the same time loving – admonition about the necessarily full acceptance of the Sixth Commandment of God. They have to call the things by their right name exhorting: “divorce is divorce,” “adultery is adultery” and “who commits consciously and freely grave sins against the Commandments of God – and in this case against the Sixth Commandment – and dies unrepentantly will receive eternal condemnation being excluded forever from the kingdom of God.”

Such an admonition and exhortation is the very work of the Holy Spirit as Christ taught: “He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16: 8). Explaining the work of the Holy Spirit in “convincing sin,” Pope John Paul II said: “Every sin wherever and whenever committed has a reference to the Cross of Christ-and therefore indirectly also to the sin of those who “have not believed in him,” and who condemned Jesus Christ to death on the Cross” (Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem, 29). Those who conduct a married life with a partner, who is not their legitimate spouse, as it is the case with divorced and civilly remarried, reject the will of God. To convince such persons concerning this sin is a work moved by the Holy Spirit and commanded by Jesus Christ and thus an eminently pastoral and merciful work.

The Final Report of the Synod unfortunately omits to convince the divorced and remarried concerning their concrete sin. On the contrary, under the pretext of mercy and a false pastorality, those Synod Fathers who supported the formulations in the numbers 84-86 of the Report tried to cover up the spiritually dangerous state of the divorced and remarried.

De facto, they say to them that their sin of adultery is not a sin, and is definitely not adultery or at least is not a grave sin and that there is no spiritual danger in their state of life. Such a behavior of these Shepherds is directly contrary to the work of the Holy Spirit and is therefore anti-pastoral and a work of the false prophets to whom one could apply the following words of the Holy Scripture: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Is 5:20) and: “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading” (Lam 2: 14). To such bishops the Apostle Paul without any doubt would say today these words: “Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13).

The text of the Final Report of the Synod not only omits to convince unambiguously divorced and civilly remarried persons concerning the adulterous and thus gravely sinful character of their life style. It justifies indirectly such a lifestyle by means of assigning this question ultimately in the area of the individual conscience and by means of an improper applying of the moral principle of imputability to the case of cohabitation of the divorced and remarried. In fact, the applying of the principle of imputability to a stable, permanent and public life in adultery is improper and deceptive.

The diminution of the subjective responsibility is given only in the case when the partners have the firm intention to live in complete continence and make sincere efforts therein. As long as the partners intentionally persist to continue a sinful life, there can be no suspension of imputability. The Final Report gives the impression to intimate that a public life style in adultery – as it is the case of civilly remarried – is not violating the indissoluble sacramental bond of a marriage or that it does not represents a mortal or grave sin and that this issue is furthermore a matter of private conscience. Hereby one can state a closer drift towards the Protestant principle of subjective judgement on matters of faith and discipline and intellectual closeness to the erroneous theory of “fundamental option,” a theory already condemned by the Magisterium (cf. Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 65-70).

The Shepherds of the Church should not in the slightest manner promote a culture of divorce amongst the faithful. Even the smallest hint of yielding to the practice or to the culture of divorce should be avoided. The Church as a whole should give a convincing and strong witness to the indissolubility of the marriage. Pope John Paul II said that divorce “is an evil that, like the others, is affecting more and more Catholics as well, the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay” (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

The Church has to help the divorced and remarried with love and patience to recognize their own sinfulness and to help them to convert with one’s whole heart to God and to the obedience to His holy will, which is expressed in the Sixth Commandment. As long as they continue giving a public anti-witness to the indissolubility of marriage and contributing to a culture of divorce, the divorced and remarried cannot exercise those liturgical, catechetical and institutional ministries in the Church, which demand by their own nature a public life in accordance with the Commandments of God.

It is obvious that public violators for instance of the Fifth and Seventh Commandments, such as owners of an abortion clinic or collaborators of a corruption network, not only cannot receive Holy Communion but, evidently, cannot be admitted to public liturgical and catechetical services. In an analogous manner, public violators of the Sixth Commandment, such as divorced and remarried, cannot be admitted to the office of lectors, godparents or catechists. Of course, one must distinguish the gravity of the evil caused by the life style of public promotors of abortion and corruption from the adulterous life of divorced people. One cannot put them on the same footing. The advocacy for the admission of divorced and remarried to the task of godparents and catechists aims ultimately not the true spiritual good of the children, but turns out to be an istrumentalization of a specific ideological agenda. This is a dishonesty and a mockery of the institute of godparents or catechists who by means of a public promise took on the task of educators of the faith.

In the case of godparents or catechists who are divorced and remarried, their life continuously contradicts their words, and so they have to face the admonition of the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the Apostle Saint James: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1: 22).   Unfortunately, the Final Report in n. 84 pleads for an admittance of the divorced and remarried to liturgical, pastoral and educational offices. Such a proposal represents an indirect support to the culture of divorce and a practical denial of an objectively sinful lifestyle. Pope John Paul II on the contrary indicated only the following possibilities of participating in the life of the Church, which for their part aim a true conversion: “They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace” (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

There should remain a salutary area of exclusion (non-admittance to the Sacraments and to the public liturgical and catechetical offices) in order to remind the divorced their real serious and dangerous spiritual state and, at the same time, to promote in their souls the attitude of humility, obedience and of longing for the authentic conversion. Humility means courage for truth, and only to those who humbly subject themselves to God, will receive His graces.

The faithful, who have not yet the readiness and the will to stop with the adulterous life, should be spiritually helped. Their spiritual state is similar to a kind of “catechumenate” regarding the sacrament of Penance. They can receive the sacrament of Penance, which was called in the Tradition of the Church “the second baptism” or “the second penance,” only if they sincerely break with the habit of the adulterous cohabitation and avoid public scandal in an analogous manner as do the catechumens, the candidates to the Baptism. The Final Report omits to call the divorced and remarried to the humble recognition of their objective sinful state, because it omits to encourage them to accept with the spirit of faith the non-admittance to the Sacraments and to the public liturgical and catechetical offices. Without such a realistic and humble recognition of their own real spiritual state, there is no effective progress towards the authentic Christian conversion, which in the case of the divorced and remarried consists in a life of complete continence, ceasing to sin against the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage and to disobey publicly the Sixth Commandment of God.

The Shepherds of the Church and especially the public texts of the Magisterium have to speak in an utmost clear manner, since this is the essential characteristic of the task of the official teaching. Christ demanded from all His disciples to speak in an extremely clear manner: “Let what you say be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Math 5: 37). This is valid all the more when the Shepherds of the Church preach or when the Magisterium speaks in a document.

In the text section of the numbers 84-86 the Final Report represents, unfortunately, a serious departure from this Divine command. Indeed in the mentioned passages the text does not plead directly in favor for the legitimacy of the admittance of the divorce and remarried to Holy Communion, the text even avoids the expression “Holy Communion” or “Sacraments.” Instead, the text by means of obfuscating tactics, uses ambiguous expressions like “a more full participation in the life of the Church” and “discernment and integration.”

By such obfuscating tactics the Final Report in fact put time bombs and a back door for the admittance of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion, causing by this a profanation of the two great sacraments of Marriage and Eucharist, and contributing at least indirectly to the culture of divorce – to the spreading of the “plague of divorce” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 47).

When reading carefully the ambiguous text of the text section “Discernment and integration” in the Final Report, one has the impression of a highly skillful, elaborated ambiguity. One is reminded of the following words of Saint Irenaeus in his “Adversus haereses”: “He who retains unchangeable in his heart the rule of the truth which he received by means of baptism, will doubtless recognize the names, the expressions, and the parables taken from the Scriptures, but will by no means acknowledge the blasphemous use which these men make of them. For, though he will acknowledge the gems, he will certainly not receive the fox instead of the likeness of the king.  But since what may prove a finishing-stroke to this exhibition is wanting, so that any one, on following out their farce to the end, may then at once append an argument which shall overthrow it, we have judged it well to point out, first of all, in what respects the very fathers of this fable differ among themselves, as if they were inspired by different spirits of error. For this very fact forms a proof from the outset that the truth proclaimed by the Church is immoveable, and that the theories of these men are but a tissue of falsehoods.” (I, 9, 4-5).

The Final Report seems to leave the solution of the question of the admittance of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion to local Church authorities: “accompaniment of the priests” and “orientations of the bishop.” Such a matter is however connected essentially with the deposit of faith i.e. with the revealed word of God. The non-admittance of divorced who are living in a public state of adultery belongs to the unchangeable truth of the law of the Catholic faith and consequently also of the law of Catholic liturgical practice.

The Final Report seems to inaugurate a doctrinal and disciplinary cacophony in the Catholic Church, which contradicts the very essence of being Catholic. One has to be reminded of the words of Saint Irenaeus, about the authentic shape of the Catholic Church in all times and in all places: “The Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes the points of doctrine just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world (Italy). But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.” (Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2).

The Final Report in the section on the divorced and remarried carefully avoids confessing the unchangeable principle of the entire Catholic tradition, that those who live in an invalid marital union can be admitted to Holy Communion only under the condition that their promise to live in complete continence and avoid public scandal. John Paul II and Benedict XVI confirmed strongly this Catholic principle. The deliberate avoidance of mentioning and reaffirming this principle in the text of the Final Report can be compared with the systematic avoidance of the expression “homoousios” on behalf of the opponents of the dogma of the Council of Nicea in the fourth century – the formal Arians and the so-called Semi-Arians – , who invented continuously other expressions in order not to confess directly the consubstantiality of the Son of God with God the Father.

Such a declination from an open Catholic confession on behalf of the majority of the episcopate in the fourth century caused a feverish ecclesiastical activity with continuous synodal meetings and a proliferation of new doctrinal formula with the common denominator of avoiding terminological clarity i.e. the expression “homoousios.” Likewise, in our days the two last Synods on Family avoided naming and confessing clearly the principle of the entire Catholic tradition, that those who live in an invalid marital union can be admitted to Holy Communion only under the condition that their promise to live in complete continence and avoid public scandal.

This fact is proven also by the immediate unequivocal reaction of the secular media and by the reaction of the main advocators of the new un-Catholic practice to admit divorced and remarried to Holy Communion while maintaining a life of public adultery. Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Forte, for instance, publicly affirmed that, according to the Final Report, one can assume that a door in some way has been opened to Communion for the divorced and remarried. There exists as well a considerable number of bishops, priests and laity who rejoice because of the so-called “opened door” they found in the Final Report. Instead of guiding the faithful with a clear and an utmost unambiguous teaching, the Final Report caused a situation of obscuration, confusion, subjectivity (the judgement of the conscience of the divorced and forum internum) and an un-Catholic doctrinal and disciplinary particularism in a matter which is essentially connected to the deposit of faith transmitted by the Apostles.

Those who in our days strongly defend the sanctity of the sacraments of Marriage and Eucharist are labeled as Pharisees. Yet, since the logical principle of non-contradiction is valid and common sense still functions, the contrary is true.

The obfuscators of the Divine truth in the Final Report are more like Pharisees. For in order to reconcile a life in adultery with the reception of Holy Communion, they skillfully invented new letters, a new law of “discernment and integration,” introducing new human traditions against the crystalline commandment of God. To the advocators of the so-called “Kasper agenda” are addressed these words of the Incarnated Truth: “You made void the word of God by introducing your own tradition” (Mark 7: 13). Those who during 2,000 years spoke relentlessly and with an utmost clarity about the immutability of the Divine truth, often at the cost of their own life, would be labelled in our days as Pharisees as well; so Saint John the Baptist, Saint Paul, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Athanasius, Saint Basil, Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher, Saint Pius X, just to mention the most glowing examples.

The real result of the Synod in the perception of the faithful and of the secular public opinion was that there has been practically only one focus on the question of the admittance of the divorced to Holy Communion. One can affirm that the Synod in a certain sense turned out to be in the eyes of public opinion a Synod of adultery, not the Synod of family. Indeed, all the beautiful affirmations of the Final Report on marriage and family are eclipsed by the ambiguous affirmations in the text section on the divorced and remarried, a topic which was already confirmed and decided by the Magisterium of the last Roman Pontiffs in faithful conformity with the bi-millennial teaching and practice of the Church. It is therefore a real shame that Catholic bishops, the successors of the Apostles, used synodal assemblies in order to make an attempt on the constant and unchangeable practice of the Church regarding the indissolubility of the marriage, i.e. the non-admittance of the divorced who live in an adulterous union to the Sacraments.

In his letter to Pope Damasus, Saint Basil drew a realistic picture of the doctrinal confusion caused by those churchmen who sought an empty compromise, and an adaptation to the spirit of the world in his time: “Traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the Churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross. The elders lament when they compare the present with the past. The younger are yet more to be compassionated, for they do not know of what they have been deprived” (Ep. 90, 2).

In a letter to Pope Damasus and to the Occidental Bishops, Saint Basil describes as follows the confused situation inside the Church: “The laws of the Church are in confusion.  The ambition of men, who have no fear of God, rushes into high posts, and exalted office is now publicly known as the prize of impiety.  The result is, that the worse a man blasphemes, the fitter the people think him to be a bishop.  Clerical dignity is a thing of the past. There is no precise knowledge of canons.  There is complete immunity in sinning; for when men have been placed in office by the favour of men, they are obliged to return the favour by continually showing indulgence to offenders. Just judgment is a thing of the past; and everyone walks according to his heart’s desire. Men in authority are afraid to speak, for those who have reached power by human interest are the slaves of those to whom they owe their advancement. And now the very vindication of orthodoxy is looked upon in some quarters as an opportunity for mutual attack; and men conceal their private ill-will and pretend that their hostility is all for the sake of the truth. All the while unbelievers laugh; men of weak faith are shaken; faith is uncertain; souls are drenched in ignorance, because adulterators of the word imitate the truth. The better ones of the laity shun the churches as schools of impiety and lift their hands in the deserts with sighs and tears to their Lord in heaven. The faith of the Fathers we have received; that faith we know is stamped with the marks of the Apostles; to that faith we assent, as well as to all that in the past was canonically and lawfully promulgated.” (Ep. 92, 2).

Each period of confusion during the history of the Church is at the same time a possibility to receive many graces of strength and courage and a chance to demonstrate one’s love for Christ the Incarnated Truth. To Him each baptized and each priest and bishop promised inviolable fidelity, everyone according to his own state: through the baptismal vows, through the priestly promises, through the solemn promise in the episcopal ordination. Indeed, every candidate to the episcopacy promised: “I will keep pure and integral the deposit of faith according the tradition which was always and everywhere preserved in the Church.” The ambiguity found in the section on divorced and remarried of the Final Report contradicts the abovementioned solemn episcopal vow. Notwithstanding this, everyone in the Church – from the simple faithful to the holders of the Magisterium – should say:

“Non possumus!” I will not accept an obfuscated speech nor a skilfully masked back door to a profanation of the Sacrament of Marriage and Eucharist. Likewise, I will not accept a mockery of the Sixth Commandment of God. I prefer to be ridiculed and persecuted rather than to accept ambiguous texts and insincere methods. I prefer the crystalline “image of Christ the Truth, rather than the image of the fox ornamented with gemstones” (Saint Irenaeus), for “I know whom I have believed”, “Scio, Cui credidi!” (2 Tim 1: 12).

November 2nd, 2015

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

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Reblogged from http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/11/rorate-exclusive-bishop-athanasius.html

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Biskup Athanasius Schneider: Walka z Nowym Gnostycyzmem

Bishop-Athanasius-Schneider

Od redakcji VeriCatholici.org Następujący artykuł jest własnym tłumaczeniem artykułu opublikowanego przez wydawcę OnePeterFive.com, wraz z całą zawartością. Oryginał w języku angielskim znajduje się pod tym odnośnikiem.

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Przypis redakcji: Po jego zdecydowanych słowach w wywiadzie udzielonym Polonia Christiana nawiązującego do pierwszej części Nadzwyczajnego Synodu na temat małżeństwa i rodziny, postanowiliśmy zasięgnąć porady Biskupa Athanasiusa Schneidera na temat konkretnych działań jakie katolicy mogą podjąć w czasie zamieszania w Kościele. W szczególności poprosiliśmy o radę jak wierni mogą przeciwdziałać heterodoksji i przeciwstawić się błędom (a przynajmniej niejasnościom), które wydają się być wprowadzane przez najwyższych dostojników Kościoła. Choć jego wskazówki są krótkie, to jednak głęboko przemyślane, i wytyczają nam dużo zadań jakie są do wykonania. W związku ze zbliżającym się synodem za niecałe osiem miesięcy, nie możemy trwonić więcej czasu.

 

To smutna prawda, że ​​jesteśmy w czasie wielkiego kryzysu w Kościele. Bóg jednak jest z nami. Zapytano mnie, co mogą zrobić wierni, aby zwalczać błędy rozpowszechniane w Kościele. Chciałbym odpowiedzieć podając następujące sugestie:

Musimy tworzyć grupy prawdziwych katolików pośród uczonych, rodzin i duchownych, którzy będą rozpowszechniać odważnie pełną prawdę katolicką, zwłaszcza o nauczaniu Kościoła na temat rodziny, porządku naturalnego i przykazań Bożych.

Aby osiągnąć powyższy cel musimy korzystać z wszystkich zasobów, które oferuje nam współczesny świat. Nie popadajmy w bezczynność, oczekując, że media rozpowszechnią wiadomości za nas. Nie oczekujmy aby każdy ks. proboszcz głosił je z ambony. Powinniśmy opanować korzystanie z nowych form mediów, które umożliwią nam przekazywanie Ewangelii i nauczania naszej Świętej Matki – Kościoła. Powinniśmy szerzyć nasze orędzie w Internecie poprzez publikowanie go na stronach internetowych, blogach i mediach społecznościowych.

Ponadto, nie możemy zapominać o współpracy z naszymi braćmi katolikami angażując się w bardziej tradycyjne sposoby przekazu. Powinniśmy organizować konferencje i sympozja na poziomie naukowym oraz na podstawie ich treści wydawać publikacje, dokumenty i książki, które będą punktem odniesienia dla poszerzenia naszej dyskusji.

Powinniśmy również utworzyć ruch rodzin katolickich, “domowych kościołów”, celem dawania świadectwa, obrony i głoszenia integralnej wiary i nauczania o rodzinie, małżeństwie i porządku naturalnym.

W tym niebezpiecznym dla nas czasie , musimy być odważni w demaskowaniu prawdziwie gnostyckiego i rewolucyjnego charakteru “planu Kaspera”, poprzez wykazywanie ciągłości doktryny Bożej o małżeństwie w nauczaniu i praktyce w ciągu dwóch tysięcy lat historii naszego Kościoła. Powinniśmy zainspirować wiernych przykładem świętych małżonków, rodzin, dzieci i młodzieży. W pierwszej kolejności należy pokazać prawdziwe piękno powołania do życia w małżeństwie, rodzinie, a w drugiej do życia w stanie bezżennym w czystości i wierności. Z drugiej strony, musimy wykazywać zewnętrzną brzydotę, brak prawdziwego szczęścia i schizofrenię w życiu godzącym w naturalny porządek ustanowiony przez Boga.

Aby dać nadzieję tym, którzy przeżywają trudności, ważne jest abyśmy ukazywali przykłady katolików pokutujących z czasów przeszłych i teraźniejszych. Tych którzy porzucili życie w grzechu cudzołóstwa, rozwodu, lub sodomii.

Aby przeciwstawić się błędom obecnie rozpowszechnianym, prawowici małżonkowie katoliccy, rodziny i osoby samotne powinny pisać do papieża, do biskupów i do właściwych dykasterii Kurii Rzymskiej, celem denuncjacji heretyckich, bliskich herezji i gnostyckich poglądów osób duchownych i wydarzeń promowanych przez osoby duchowne lub wspólnoty według wspomnianej agendy.

Powyższe środki służą nauczaniu i formacji. Jednak walka, którą toczymy jest z czymś więcej aniżeli tylko z ignorancją. Jest to walka przeciw zwierzchnością i władzom. Nie odniesiemy sukcesu jeśli nie zorganizujemy wielkiej narodowej i międzynarodowej sieci modlitewnej poprzez adorację eucharystyczną, pielgrzymki, uroczyste Msze Święte, błagalne i pokutne procesje z motywami przewodnimi, takimi jak “Świętość rodziny i małżeństwa”, “Powołanie do czystości”, “Piękno i szczęście życia w czystości”, “O naśladowaniu Chrystusa w życiu rodzinnym” i “Ekspiacja za grzechy przeciwko rodzinie i małżeństwu.”

Może najbardziej podstawowym obowiązkiem jest oddanie się przez nas żarliwej modlitwie, aby Bóg dał swemu Kościołowi świętych biskupów i świętych papieży. Taka modlitwa powinna być praktykowana zwłaszcza przez dzieci, ponieważ modlitwa niewinnych przenika niebiosa, jak żadna inna.

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Episcopul Athanasius Schneider: Lupta împotriva noului gnosticism

Bishop-Athanasius-Schneider

Notă Veri Catholici: În cele ce urmează redăm, în traducere proprie în limba română, un articol publicat inițial pe site-ul OnePeterFive.com. Originalul în limba engleză poate fi accesat aici.

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Nota editorului: În urma publicării interviului Episcopului Schneider cu Polonia Christiana, în care acesta vorbește, în termeni fermi și fără echivoc, despre Sinodul Episcopilor pe tema familiei din 2014, am luat contact cu Excelența Sa, rugându-l să ne ofere câteva sfaturi despre posibilele acțiuni concrete pe care credincioșii catolici le-ar putea întreprinde, în această perioadă de restriște prin care trece Biserica Catolică. Concret, am solicitat sfatul Excelenței Sale despre modul în care credincioșii ar trebui să se opună heterodoxiei și să abordeze erorile (sau, cel puțin, confuzia) care par să emaneze din gura unor prelați care fac parte din cele mai înalte eșaloane ale Bisericii. Cu toată brevitatea lor, sfaturile episcopului sunt foarte bine gândite, iar punerea lor în aplicare presupune o muncă asiduă. La doar opt luni câte ne mai despart de deschiderea lucrărilor următoarei sesiuni a Sinodului, nu ne rămâne deloc timp de pierdut.

 

Tristul adevăr este că, în vremurile noastre, Biserica trece printr-o criză majoră. Dar Dumnezeu este cu noi. M-ați întrebat cum ar putea lupta credincioșii împotriva erorilor care sunt răspândite astăzi în Biserică. Aș dori să vă răspund cu câteva sugestii:

Trebuie să creăm grupuri de adevărați catolici, de învățați, de familii și de membri ai clerului, care să răspândească cu curaj învățătura integrală despre adevărul Bisericii Catolice, cu precădere cea despre familie, despre natura [creației] și despre poruncile lui Dumnezeu.

Pentru a atinge acest țel, trebie să facem uz de toate resursele pe care ni le oferă lumea. Nimic nu ne silește să așteptăm ca mass media să disemineze acest mesaj. Nimic nu ne silește să așteptăm ca fiecare pastor să propovăduisacă de la amvon aceste adevăruri. Trebuie să adoptăm formulele oferite de noile medii [de comunicare], care ne permit să propovăduim Sfânta Evanghelie și învățăturile Sfintei noastre Mame, Biserica. Trebuie să transmitem acest mesaj prin internet, să-l publicăm pe site-urile noastre web, pe blogurile noastre și pe rețelele de socializare.

În același timp, nu trebuie nici să neglijăm să-i abordăm pe frații noștri catolici pe căi tradiționale. Trebuie să organizăm conferințe și simpozioane de nivel academic. Trebuie să ne folosim de acestea pentru a produce publicații, articole și cărți care să servească drept lucrări de referință, precum și pentru a lărgi discuțiile pe aceste teme.

De asemenea, trebuie să înființăm o mișcare a familiilor, a “bisericilor domestice”, care să dea mărturie și să propovăduiască credința integrală și doctrina despre familie, căsătorie și ordinea naturală.

În aceste vremuri periculoase, trebuie să avem curajul să punem în lumină caracterul evident gnostic și revoluționar al “agendei Kasper”, demonstrând în același timp continuitatea doctrinei divine despre căsătorie și modul în care a fost ea transpusă în practică de-a lungul celor două mii de ani de existență a Bisericii. Trebuie să-i inspirăm pe credincioși cu exemplele unor soți sfinți, ale unor familii sfinte și cu cele ale unor copii și adolescenți sfinți. Pe de o parte, trebuie să demonstrăm frumusețea căsătoriei, a vieții de familie și a vieții de celibatar în castitate și fidelitate. Pe de altă parte, trebuie să subliniem evidenta urâțenie, nefericire și schizofrenie a vieții trăite contrar ordinii stabilite de Dumnezeu.

Pentru a le putea da speranță celor care întâmpină dificultăți, este important să oferim exemplele unor catolici smeriți, din trecut și din prezent. Exemplul unora care s-au căit și care au abandonat o viață de adulter, divorț, sau sodomie.

Pentru a aborda erorile actualmente în curs de răspândire în Biserică, adevărații soți, adevăratele familii și persoane celibatare trebuie să-i scrie Papei, să le scrie episcopilor lor și să scrie Dicasteriilor competente ale Curiei Romane, aducându-le la cunoștință declarațiile eretice, semi-eretice sau gnostice venite din partea unor clerici, precum și desfășurarea unor manifestări care se încadrează pe această linie, organizate de membri ai clerului sau de grupuri de clerici.

Toate cele de mai sus reprezintă mijloace de educație și formare. Dar lupta în care ne-am angajat nu este îndreptată doar împotriva ignoranței, ci împotriva stăpânirilor și puterilor. Nu putem fi victorioși în lipsa unei rețele internaționale de rugăciune, al cărei scop este acela de organiza adorații euharistice, pelerinaje, Sfinte Liturghii solemne, procesiuni de mijlocire și de penitență, cu teme ca “Sfințenia familiei și căsătoriei”, “Chemarea la castitate”, “Frumusețea și fericirea unei vieți caste”, “Imitațiunea lui Cristos în viața de familie” și “Ispășirea păcatelor împotriva familiei și căsătoriei”.

Dar, poate mai mult decât orice, ar trebui să ne rugăm lui Dumnezeu cu fervoare, pentru ca El să-i dăruiască Bisericii Lui episcopi și Papi sfinți. O astfel de rugăciune ar trebui spusă mai ales de către copii, căci nicio altă rugăciune nu penetrează cerul ca rugăciunea celor nevinovați.

 

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Weihbishof Athanasius Schneider: Der Kampf gegen den neuen Gnostizismus

Bishop-Athanasius-Schneider

Anmerkung (Veri Catholici): Unsere eigene Deutsche Übersetzung des gesamten OnePeterFive-Beitrags folgt. Das englishe Original findet man hier.

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Anmerkung der Redaktion: Nach Erscheinen seines scharf formulierten Interviews mit Polonia Christiana über den ersten Teil der Familiensynode, baten wir Weihbischof Athanasius Schneider um seinen Rat hinsichtlich konkreter Maßnahmen, die Katholiken während dieser Zeit innerkirchlicher Aufruhr ergreifen können. Wir fragten ausdrücklich nach Mitteln, die den Gläubigen zur Verfügung stehen, um Heterodoxie zu bekämpfen und sich mit den Irrtümern (oder zumindest Verschleierungen) auseinanderzusetzen, die in letzter Zeit anscheinend von höchstrangigen Prälaten der katholischen Kirche geäußert wurden. Sein Rat ist zwar kurz, aber tief durchdacht und sieht eine ganze Menge Arbeit vor. Da die nächste Sitzung der Synode nur noch acht Monate entfernt ist, dürfen wir keine Zeit verschwenden.

 

Die traurige Wahrheit ist, dass wir in einer Zeit großer innerkirchlicher Krise leben. Gott is aber mit uns. Auf Ihre Frage nach den Irrtümer, die innerhalb der Kirche verbreitet werden, sowie den Mitteln für deren Bekämpfung, die den Gläubigen zur Verfügung stehen, darf ich mit einigen Vorschlägen antworten:

Wir müssen Gruppen von wahren Katholiken – von Gelehrten, Familien und Geistlichen – bilden, die die katholische Wahrheit und vor allem die Kirchenlehre über die Familie, die Natur [der Schöpfung] und die Gebote Gottes mutig verbreiten sollen.

Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, müssen wir von allen Ressourcen Gebrauch machen, die uns die Welt zur Verfügung stellt. Wir brauchen nicht darauf warten, dass die Medien diese Botschaft verbreiten. Wir brauchen nicht darauf warten, dass diese Wahrheiten von jedem individuellen Pastor von der Kanzel gepredigt werden. Wir sollen von den Neuen Medien Gebrauch machen, die uns erlauben, das Evangelium und die Lehre unserer heiligen Mutter, die Kirche, zu verbreiten. Wir sollen unsere Botschaft über das Internet, mittels unserer Webseiten, Blogs und “Social Media” verbreiten.

Dabei dürfen wir jedoch nicht versäumen, mit anderen Katholiken auch auf traditioneller Weise ins Gespräch zu kommen. Wir sollen Konferenzen und Symposien auf hohem akademischem Niveau organisieren. Diese Veranstaltungen können als Ausgangspunkt für Publikationen, Artikeln und Bücher dienen, die man als Nachschlagewerke und auch als Mittel zur Erweiterung dieser Diskussion nutzen kann.

Darüber hinaus sollen wir eine katholische Familienbewegung, eine Bewegung der “Hauskirchen” gründen, die sich damit befassen soll, den Gesamtglauben und die Kirchenlehre über die Familie und Ehe zu bezeugen, zu verteidigen und zu verbreiten.

In diesem gefährlichen Zeitalter müssen wir voller Mut den eindeutig gnostischen und revolutionären Charakter der “Kasper-Agenda” ans Licht bringen. Außerdem müssen wir die Kontinuität der von Gott empfangenen Kirchenlehre über die Ehe und ihre praktische Umsetzung im Laufe der 2000 Jahre langen Kirchengeschichte demonstrieren. Wir sollen Beispiele von heiligen Eheleuten, Familien, Kinder und Jugendliche geben, die die Gläubige beseelen sollen. Einerseits müssen wir die wahre Schönheit des ehelichen Lebens, der Familie und des Lebens als Single, in Keuschheit und Treue, demonstrieren. Andererseits müssen wir die bewiesene Hässlichkeit, Bekümmertheit und Schizophrenie eines Lebens demonstrieren, das sich der von Gott festgelegten Ordnung widersetzt.

Jenen, die es schwer finden, ihr Leben im Einklang mit den Geboten Gottes zu führen, müssen wir Hoffnung geben. Dafür können Beispiele von reuigen Katholiken aus der Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, die sich von einem sündigen Leben in Ehebruch, Scheidung und Sodomie bekehrten, sehr hilfreich sein.

Damit die Verbreitung dieser Irrtümer innerhalb der Kirche verhindert werden kann, wahre katholische Familien und Singles müssen den Papst, deren Bischöfe und auch die dafür zuständigen Dikasterien der Römischen Kurie anschreiben, um sie über häretische, halb-häretische oder gnostisch-geprägte Äußerungen von Geistlichen, sowie über Veranstaltungen mit einer solchen Agenda, die von Geistlichen oder Gruppen von Geistlichen organisiert werden, zu informieren.

Zwar stellen alle o.e. Maßnahmen Erziehungs- und Bildungsmittel dar. Unser Kampf richtet sich aber nicht nur gegen Ignoranz, sondern vor allem gegen Fürsten und Gewalten. Daher ist ein großes internationales Gebetsnetzwerk für das Erringen unseres Sieges unverzichtbar. Zweck dieses Netwerks ist es, eucharistische Anbetungen, Wallfahrten, Hochämter, Fürbitten- und Bußprozessionen zu organisieren, mit solchen Themen wie “Die Heiligkeit der Familie und der Ehe”, “Aufruf zur Keuschheit”, “Die Schönheit und das Glück eines keuschen Lebens”, “Die Nachfolge Christi im Familienleben”, “Büßen für Sünden gegen die Familie und Ehe”.

Am allerwichtigsten wäre es vielleicht, inbrünstig dafür zu beten, dass Gott seiner Kirche heilige Bischöfe und Päpste schenken mag. Diese Aufgabe sollte vor allem den Kindern übertragen werden, denn das Gebet der Unschuldigen, wie kein anderes den Himmel durchdringt.

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