The fruits of 50+ Years of Vatican II “theology”…

French Novus Ordo Bishop hesitates to call Pedophilia a Sin

We have long said that Novus Ordo bishops are the most useless people on earth. The latest confirmation of this thesis comes from “Mgr.” Stanislas Lalanne, the local “Catholic bishop” of Pontoise, France, appointed by “Pope” Benedict XVI.

The following story ran in the French Novus Ordo publication La Croix in early April:

Bishop Lalanne Hesitates to Qualify Pedophilia as a Sin

By Marie Malzac, April 6, 2017

Interviewed Tuesday on RCF [Francophone Christian Radio], Bishop Stanislas Lalanne maintained that pedophilia was “an evil,” but not necessarily “in the order of sin,” rousing the condemnation of the victims group La Parole libérée [“The Liberated Word”] and incomprehension from both inside and outside the Church.

What did Bishop Lalanne say?

“Pedophilia is an evil. Is it in the order of sin? That, I cannot say, it is different for each person. But it is an evil, and the first thing to do is to protect the victims and the potential victims.” These words, spoken Tuesday, April 5 by Mgr Stanislas Lalanne, Bishop of Pontoise, on RCF airwaves, very quickly stirred up controversy. So much so that a number of listeners came on the air live upon hearing the words in order to protest them.

The very next day, La Parole libérée, the group that brings together the victims of Fr. Preynat—the priest of the Lyon suburbs charged with having abused approximately sixty scouts in the 1980s—made known in a communiqué its “very strong emotions.”

“After the famous ‘Thanks be to God! The statute of limitations has expired!’ of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the remarks of Bishop Lalanne again resound in a virulent and degrading manner for the victims of acts of pedophilia,” the association says, accusing the Church of “tactlessness and amateurism” in its communication, unable to see in it “the moral reference it is duty-bound to embody.” On the social networks, numerous internet users, Catholic and non-Catholic, are disturbed and are asking questions.

Are the words of Bishop Lalanne theologically sound?

From a theological point of view, the statements of Bishop Lalanne can be explained. “One considers that there is a sin when there is a responsible moral act,” underscores Fr. Laurent Lemoine, a Dominican moral theologian and author of several documents on pedophilia. “Now, among persons guilty of acts of pedophilia, many are very sick perverts.”

However, it seems impossible today, in light of the collective trauma and the scale of the damages caused, to be satisfied with these theological distinctions. “Pedophilia is an offense, and it is even a crime. Now, what crimes are not sins? The question is complex,” says Fr. Lemoine, for whom the considerations of the clergy on pedophilia must absolutely incorporate the civil aspect of such acts.

Therefore, remarks such as those of the Bishop of Pontoise, if they are not absolutely false from a formal point of view, “can no longer be heard,” assures Fr. Lemoine, as much as society has the impression that the word of the Church is much clearer in terms of good and evil on other moral subjects.

How does Bishop Lalanne respond?

“The acts of pedophilia are an objective offense, but sin is of another order,” says Mgr Lalanne to La Croix in defense, restating however “their extreme seriousness and the necessity for punishment.” “For pedophile priests, the way must permit recognition of the evil committed, passing from denial to acknowledgement of his act as a sin,” he admits.

John Paul II himself, when the pedophile scandal exploded in the United States at the beginning of the 2000s, qualified sexual abuse as a “sin detestable in the eyes of God.” Some years later, Benedict XVI spoke of “grave sin,” proof that it is possible to clearly qualify these acts.

For Fr. Lemoine, this debate reveals the fuzziness which still hovers over the question. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses homosexuality but says nothing of pedophilia,” notes the Dominican. “It would perhaps be time for an update.”

(Marie Malzac, “Mgr Lalanne hésite à qualifier la pédophilie de «péché»”La Croix, April 6, 2016; our translation.)

Of course we all know what the typical Novus Ordo reasoning is to justify this nonsense: “Since sin requires consent of the will, anything that sufficiently impairs the will, such as certain psychological disorders, will eliminate or at least lessen culpability.” But is that true, and if so, is it the whole story?

Response: While it is indeed true that certain unusual and rare circumstances can indeed lessen someone’s culpability even for heinous sins, these circumstances must be beyond one’s control, and it would be a fatal mistake to simply switch into a sort of “not-culpable-by-default” mode, because it is necessary to assume by default that, unless proven otherwise, people are in full command of their reason.

But that’s not even the main point here. Regardless of any particular person’s culpability for any particular act, obviously pedophilia is a grave sin, and it is so in and of itself. This isn’t terribly complicated. If we’re going to start using Mr. Lalanne’s logic, then really nothing could ever be properly called a sin, because for any action whatsoever, one could always come up with a theoretical scenario in which the perpetrator was not subjectively culpable (e.g., because he was sleepwalking, or he was under the influence of drugs that were secretly administered by an enemy, etc.). If Lalanne were consistent, he would then have to say also that rape isn’t a sin, or murder, or idolatry, or theft, or detraction, or covetousness, etc. In other words, Catholic moral theology would have had it wrong for 2,000 years, and nothing would really be a sin by that logic. Come to think of it, doesn’t that sound an awful lot like the Novus Ordo religion?

In any case, “Bishop” Lalanne’s remarks caused understandable outrage, and so there quickly followed a damage-control “clarification” and apology:

After His Remarks on Pedophilia, Bishop Lalanne “Asks Forgiveness” with Agence France-Presse | April 7, 2016

The bishop of Pontoise (Val-d’Oise), Mgr Stanislas Lalanne, clarified Thursday, April 7, his remarks on pedophilia. He had initially stated Tuesday on RCF, a network of 63 francophone Christian radio stations, that pedophilia was “an evil” but that he “could not say” if it was “in the order of sin,” asserting that “it is different for each person.” Asked again by RCF, Mgr Lalanne emphasized that “there is no trivializing of pedophilia” in his statements.

The Bishop of Pontoise had already attempted to rectify his words Wednesday evening in a communiqué, but the controversy did not totally subside. The Minister of National Education, Najat Ballaud-Belkacem, therefore asked the prelate to “remove all ambiguity” on the subject.

“My primary concern is first and foremost all of the victims … I know how very deep and lasting their suffering is,” explained Mgr Lalanne on Thursday.

“If I might have hurt this or that person by these remarks which were not understood, I ask forgiveness from them. In fact, pedophilia, in all cases, is an objectively grave sin. What I wanted to also say—and it’s perhaps in this that I was not understood—is that the difficult question which is posed in each situation, which each time is extremely distressing, is the degree of conscience and thus responsibility of the one who commits such atrocious acts.”

Too many subtleties

“Saying there is a question with respect to sin,” does that introduce “a kind of trivialization to the suffering and the perversity of the act? In no way,” insists the bishop, who is additionally in charge of the pedophilia vigilance committee within the French episcopate.

Interviewed in La Croix, Fr. Laurent Lemoine, a specialist in moral theology, confirmed that “one considers that there is a sin when there is a responsible moral act.” But the subtleties which Mgr Lalanne is getting into “can no longer be heard,” he says.

(“Après ses propos sur la pédophilie, Mgr Lalanne «demande pardon»”Le Monde, Apr. 7, 2016; our translation.)

So, let’s see how much clearer things are now. The layman-in-bishop’s-costume now admits that pedophilia is indeed a grave sin objectively and “in all cases.” But subjectively, he argues, it may not be because of “conscience”, such that the perpetrator may not be “responsible” for his acts.

This is Modernist gobbledygook. Every man has a duty to form his conscience correctly. Divine revelation is of great assistance in this regard, although the natural law is already written, so to speak, on everybody’s heart: “…the work of the law [is] written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing, or also defending one another” (Rom 2:15). This means that Divine Revelation is not necessary, strictly speaking, to know what is right and what is wrong.

With regard to the finer points of the moral law, which are not so easily discerned or understood correctly without the aid of Divine Revelation, the Catholic Church can be consulted at any time. Her moral theology is the guiding light in this matter, and countless tomes have been produced for the purpose of guiding people in sound morals. However, pedophilia is as evidently a horrendous evil as it gets and therefore hardly a matter of the “finer points” of morality.

So, for Lalalle to bring up “conscience” as excusing from culpability for pedophilia is patently absurd on several counts. The only time “conscience” can be invoked to excuse from culpability is if it is erroneous and invincibly so, that is, if it would be virtually impossible to inform one’s conscience correctly and one is therefore not at fault with regard to being in error about judging the morality of an act. But even then, it is an intuitive principle of morality that one is forbidden from engaging in any action about which one entertains doubt with regard to its moral licitness (the so-called “doubtful conscience”; cf. John McHugh & Charles Callan, Moral Theology, Vol. I, n. 585). So, no, there is no reasonable way that one could invoke an improperly formed conscience as an excusing factor to make pedophilia into something less than a mortal sin.

This goes to show that after over 50 years of the “Great Renewal” of Vatican II, these people have hit rock bottom. They are absolutely clueless — they are the blind leading the blind (cf. Mt 15:14).

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (Olivier LPB; cropped)
License: CC BY-SA 4.0

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