Taking Amoris Laetitia to the next level…
“Bishop” Peter Kohlgraf:
“We need to work on our View of Sin”
For over 30 years, the ancient German diocese of Mainz was occupied by the notorious Modernist “Cardinal” Karl Lehmann, a student of Karl Rahner and mentor of the heretical “Cardinal” Gerhard Ludwig Muller. When Lehmann reached the mandatory retirement age of 80 on May 16, 2016, it was clear that it would only be a matter of time before a successor would be chosen.
Almost a year later, on April 18, 2017, “Pope” Francis appointed “Fr.” Peter Kohlgraf, a pastoral theologian from the region, to succeed Lehmann. Kohlgraf officially took over as chief shepherd in Mainz this past Sunday, Aug. 27, at his “episcopal ordination” (video and photos) in the invalid Novus Ordo rite.
A few days ahead of his installation, the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine conducted an interview with Mr. Kohlgraf, in which he demonstrated plainly the chief qualification he brings to his new position: He isn’t a Catholic.
He made this absolutely clear when he addressed the issue of cohabitation between couples before they are married. Asked about whether he might adopt “Bishop” Stefan Oster‘s suggestion of replacing some sacramental wedding ceremonies with a rite of blessing instead, since many people who get married in church are not practicing Catholics and don’t really know what a sacramental marriage even is, the “pastoral theologian” Kohlgraf replied:
A ceremony of blessing is a good approach, I think; I can imagine that. Without, of course, abandoning the sacramentality of marriage. But there is another thing to consider. It is a fact that most couples live together before they decide to get married. According to strict Catholic doctrine, sexual intercourse between two people who are not married, is a sin. If henceforth a priest merely blesses a couple, who then, however, go back to cohabiting, then these partners would only be allowed to talk philosophy at night [i.e. have no sexual relations] according to traditional Catholic teaching. This shows that as a church we need to work on our view of sin and that traditional moral theology does not correspond to reality.
(Peter Kohlgraf, “Wir müssen an unserem Sündenverständnis arbeiten”, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Aug. 18, 2017; our translation.)
The theological balderdash expressed here defies belief!
First of all, if a couple is known to cohabit, not only can they not have a public wedding in church, they cannot even receive a public blessing. Secondly, they wouldn’t even be allowed to “talk philosophy at night” because they would not be allowed to spend the night under one roof at all. Even living as brother and sister would not be permitted for them because it would obviously constitute an unnecessary occasion of sin, not to mention scandal.
Kohlgraf’s references to “strict Catholic doctrine” and “traditional Catholic teaching” show that he is very well acquainted with the truth of Catholicism — he just rejects it anyway. Also, notice the contempt the new pretend-bishop has for the moral law, expressed tacitly in his “only talk philosophy at night” quip.
Modernists like Kohlgraf always act as though rampant sexual immorality were somehow a “new” thing, something the Church had never enountered until relatively recent times and that she now needs to find a fitting “approach” to. Far from it!
Sexual immorality is as old as sin itself. It was the reason why God sent the deluge in the time of Noah (see Gen 6); it was the reason why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (see Gen 18-19); it was the reason why King Solomon fell into idolatry (see 3 Kgs 11); it was not unknown among the Corinthians (see 1 Cor 6); it was a favorite sin of Ancient Rome; and it is, according to Our Lady of Fatima, the primary reason why most souls go to hell.
So, let’s stop this ridiculous idea that fornication and adultery (and worse) are recent developments that the Church still needs to figure out how to address. Sexual sin has been around for as long as there have been fallen human beings, and it will always be this way, because human nature does not change. The good news (and the Good News!) is that our fallen human nature was redeemed by our Blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (cf. Titus 2:14). With His grace, we can overcome our sinful inclinations, regain control over our passions, and be forgiven if we fall. That is the only genuine — and infinitely sufficient — remedy against this evil, for which reason Christ commanded His Church to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15).
The divine mandate to the Church is clear, but not everyone is happy with it. “For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”, St. Paul warned (2 Tim 4:3). Mr. Kohlgraf is one of them.
His proposal is very much in the spirit of Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, which he is really just taking to the next level: Having “accompanied” sinners by telling them that even their sins have “elements” of virtue and are therefore not altogether bad, Kohlgraf now wants to move to eradicate the concept of sin altogether. The results are guaranteed to be stellar: After all, if there is no sin, there are no sinners! And if there are no sinners, there is no need for a Redeemer!
Do you see where this is leading? This is what Pope St. Pius X meant when He said that the Modernists are “the enemies of the Cross of Christ, who, by arts entirely new and full of deceit, are striving … utterly to subvert the very Kingdom of Christ” (Encyclical Pascendi, n. 1). They are so haughty and evil that they are not ashamed even to “deny the Lord who bought them” (2 Pet 2:1).
By why stop at morality? Perhaps we should “work on our view” of crime, too: If the murder rate is too high in a particular city, we could just change the definition of what constitutes murder, and, voilà, problem solved! After all, we want to make sure that our criminal code corresponds to “reality”, don’t we?!
The Kohlgraf proposal is, in truth, a betrayal of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Mainz’s new pretend-bishop does not want to preach the hard truth of supernatural contrition and a firm purpose of amendment, aided by grace, as a necessary precondition for receiving forgiveness (cf. 2 Para 7:14; Lk 14:27; 1 Jn 1:9); rather, he wants the Church to change her understanding of what constitutes sin!
This is the very opposite of what the divine commission is about: Instead of teaching man to conform to the law of God, the Modernists want to tell God to conform His law to man! Again we can turn to Pope Pius X to find an apt description of what is going on here:
…[M]an has with infinite temerity put himself in the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God; in such wise that although he cannot utterly extinguish in himself all knowledge of God, he has contemned God’s majesty and, as it were, made of the universe a temple wherein he himself is to be adored. “He sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God” (2 Thess 2:2).
(Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical E Supremi, n. 5)
What makes Kohlgraf’s proposition even worse is that it is not simply idiotic — it is criminal, in a spiritual sense, because this abhorrent departure from the Gospel is obviously deliberate. Kohlgraf is no idiot. He has a doctorate in Ancient Church History, and he knows very well that man must conform to God if he wishes to be saved, not the other way around.
The Church’s “view” of sin is rooted in the natural law and in God’s revelation and not in the social mores of a bygone era. Anyone who claims to be a Catholic theologian and demands that God and the Church conform to the sinful habits of self-worshipping modern man, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (cf. Mt 7:15; Acts 20:29), a spiritual criminal of the worst sort.
If “traditional moral theology does not correspond to reality”, then the problem is with reality, not with Catholic morality. The very idea, concealed in this accusation, that morality ought to “correspond to” (that is, be driven by) sinful man’s “reality”, is gratuitous and false. It is precisely the mission of the Church to change “reality” — the status quo — by teaching, ruling, and sanctifying the human race. That is why the Church exists. She does not exist to make sinners feel comfortable in their sins, to accompany migrants, or to prevent mudslides in Sierra Leone.
Ladies and gentlemen, beware of Novus Ordos telling you about morality being opposed to “reality”, because this is a sure indication that they have embraced the error of “situation ethics”, also known as “ethical existentalism”, which was condemned by Pope Pius XII:
The authors who follow this system hold that the decisive and ultimate norm of conduct is not the objective right order, determined by the law of nature and known with certainty from that law, but a certain intimate judgment and light of the mind of each individual, by means of which, in the concrete situation in which he is placed, he learns what he ought to do.
And so, according to them, this ultimate decision a man makes is not, as the objective ethics handed down by authors of great weight teaches, the application of the objective law to a particular case, which at the same time takes into account and weighs according to the rules of prudence the particular circumstances of the “situation”, but that immediate, internal light and judgment. Ultimately, at least in many matters, this judgment is not measured, must not and cannot be measured, as regards its objective rectitude and truth, by any objective norm situated outside man and independent of his subjective persuasion but is entirely self-sufficient.
According to these authors, the traditional concept of “human nature” does not suffice; but recourse must be had to the concept of “existent” human nature, which in many respects does not have absolute objective value, but only a relative and, therefore, changeable value, except, perhaps, for those few factors and principles that pertain to metaphysical (absolute and unchangeable) human nature.
Of the same merely relative value is the traditional concept of the “law of nature”. Thus, many things that are commonly considered today as absolute postulates of the natural law, according to their opinion and doctrine, rest upon the aforesaid concept of existent nature and are, therefore, but relative and changeable; they can always be adapted to every situation.
Having accepted these principles and put them into practice, they assert and teach that men are preserved or easily liberated from many otherwise insoluble ethical conflicts when each one judges in his own conscience, not primarily according to objective laws, but by means of that internal, individual light based on personal intuition, what he must do in a concrete situation. Many of the things set forth in this system of “situation ethics” contradict the truth of the matter and the dictates of sound reason, betray traces of relativism and modernism, and wander far from the Catholic doctrine handed down through the centuries. In many of their assertions they are akin to several non-Catholic ethical systems.
(Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, Instruction Contra Doctrinam)
Speaking of “reality”, it stands to reason that the ultimate reality is God Himself. Those who want to spend eternity enjoying His Presence in Heaven instead of facing His just wrath in hell, would do well to adjust their “concrete situation” to such an extent that their lives become acceptable to Him, for “[t]here shall not enter into [Heaven] any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie…” (Apoc 21:27; cf. Acts 10:35; 1 Pet 2:5).
No, “Bishop” Kohlgraf, the Catholic Church need not work on her view of sin. She got her “view” of sin from God Himself. Sinners, instead, need to get their act together if they want to be saved (cf. Phil 2:12).
Like all Modernists, Mr. Kohlgraf uses an inductive approach to theology: He begins with a particular given situation and then wants to produce general principles from it. That’s what he is getting at when he says that because the “reality” is not in agreement with traditional theology, then we need to “work on” our view of sin. The particular case determines the general rule. This is totally backwards.
The Catholic theological method is deductive, not inductive: We begin with general principles and then apply them to particular cases, as Pope Pius XII makes clear in the above quote. A pretty good explanation and illustration of the difference between the two methods can be found in an article by John Vennari on the “psychotic synod” of 2014.
It is surely no surprise that Kohlgraf is a Modernist through and through. We will have to leave it to a future post to examine his thought in some depth, but what he said about morality in the Frankfurter Allgemeine interview is a scary enough preview.
Aside from being completely irreconcilable with Catholicism, Kohlgraf’s thesis is also not particularly bright, despite all of the man’s academic credentials. Essentially, his prospoal reflects all the intellectualism of a sixth grader who asks: How can it be wrong if everyone is doing it?
Fifty years after Vatican II, this is where Novus Ordo theology has gotten them.
No wonder Francis appointed the man successor to “Cardinal” Lehmann. He’s a perfect fit.