“I can’t believe it’s not mortal!”
Adultery as a Venial Sin?
Amoris Laetitia and Mitigating Circumstances
Response to Dr. Pedro Gabriel
On April 8, 2016, the Argentinian apostate Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope” Francis) released the so-called “apostolic exhortation” Amoris Laetitia. Proposing a theological version of situation ethics, the pseudo-papal document has thrown the conservative adherents of the Vatican II Sect into a complete tizzy, eliciting a cacophony of reactions as it permits the so-called “divorced-and-remarried” to receive the Novus Ordo sacraments after a process of “discernment”, on a case-by-case basis.
One of the most loyal supporters of Francis and his false magisterium is the web site Where Peter is. On July 29, 2019, Dr. Pedro Gabriel, a Portuguese physician, published an article there entitled “The Doctrine of Mitigating Circumstances”. It is an attempt at a theological justification of Amoris Laetitia.
In this post, we will give a brief summary of Dr. Gabriel’s arguments and proceed to refute them with sound Catholic theology from before the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).
In a nutshell, Dr. Gabriel tries to justify the teaching of Amoris Laetitia by arguing the following:
- For a sin to be mortal, three conditions are required: the matter must be grave; the sinner must have full knowledge of the sinfulness of the deed; and the sinner must freely consent to it
- Although the sin of adultery never admits of light matter, not every sin of adultery has to be mortal because a sinner might be lacking full knowledge of the sinfulness of the act
- Although the sin of adultery never admits of light matter, not every sin of adultery has to be mortal because a sinner might be lacking full consent of the will
- It is impossible for us to know whether someone who is divorced and “remarried” is in mortal sin without a process of discernment because his adultery may not be a mortal sin in his particular case due to ignorance (lack of knowledge) or impaired consent (lack of freedom)
- For a priest to simply tell an adulterer that he’s living in sin does not of itself suffice to dispel ignorance, and at times it is more prudent to temporarily leave an adulterer in ignorance concerning the mortal sinfulness of adultery
As is evident from this summary, Francis’ cheerleaders are trying their darndest to squeeze every jot and tittle out of the moral law in order to find a way to discover “venial adultery” and thus “save” the blasphemous and heretical Amoris Laetitia. However, this latest effort, too, must fail, as we will now demonstrate.
(1) The Requirements for Mortal Sin
Dr. Gabriel is right, of course, in identifying grave matter, full knowledge, and full consent as the three conditions for mortal sin. That is the traditional teaching, as confirmed in all moral theology books, such as this one:
For a mortal sin three conditions must be verified: (1) There must be grave matter (or at least matter considered grave by the agent). (2) There must be full advertence of the intellect, which means that the agent must know or suspect that the matter is gravely sinful. (3) There must be full consent of the will to the act visualized as gravely sinful. If the first condition is lacking, but the other two present, the sin is deliberately venial. If the second and third conditions are not fulfilled, in the sense that the advertence and the consent are only partially present, the sin is a semideliberate venial sin.
(Very Rev. Francis J. Connell, Outlines of Moral Theology [Milwaukee, WI: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1958], p. 55)
In other words, to commit a mortal sin one must knowingly and willingly transgress a divine law in a serious matter. Gabriel agrees that, like all sins of sexual impurity, adultery is always grave matter.
So far, so good. In order for adultery to ever be less than a mortal sin, then, one would have to be lacking full knowledge with regard to its sinfulness or not fully consent to the act.
This is where it gets interesting.
(2) Adultery without Full Knowledge
That adultery should ever be committed without full knowledge is theoretically possible, but it would be an extremely rare occurrence and certainly not the kind of case that Amoris Laetitia envisions.
For example, one may conceive of a situation in which a woman innocently mistakes another man for her husband, whom she has not seen in many years due to military service abroad, and whose twin brother, whom she did not know he had, one day showed up on her doorstep convincingly impersonating her husband. The marital act in such a situation would still be adultery materially for the woman but not formally. She would have no sin whatsoever for as long as she was sincerely and innocently convinced that the man in question was her husband, for she had neither knowledge of his true identity nor did she willingly consent to anything sinful. But this is obviously not at all what Amoris Laetitia is about.
Regarding the question of impaired knowledge as a mitigating factor, Dr. Gabriel writes:
If “full knowledge” is a necessary condition for a sin with grave matter to be a mortal sin, then ignorance can act as a mitigating factor. Sin remains objectively a sin, but ignorance diminished the culpability of the sinner, so that he may not be in mortal sin. On this point, the [1992 Novus Ordo] Catechism teaches:
“Mortal sin requires full knowledge (…) It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law (…) Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense”
Please note, unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a sin with grave matter (like adultery.) This is doctrine, inscribed in the Catechism since St. John Paul II’s pontificate. It is not an innovation from Pope Francis.
Granted, the Catechism also states, “no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man.” However, this cannot be interpreted as meaning that ignorance cannot ever exist. Otherwise, the Catechism would be self-contradictory. Rather, it means that the principles of the moral law are written in the conscience of every man, so every man has the potential to understand them. No one is unable to understand that a particular sin is wrong, but they can be ignorant of the sinful nature of a particular act at a specific time.
(Pedro Gabriel, “The Doctrine of Mitigating Circumstances”, Where Peter is, July 29, 2019; formatting given.)
A number of things need to be said here. Gabriel quotes the Modernist Catechism of “Saint” John Paul II, which he uses several times throughout his article. In the case at hand, it appears to restate traditional Catholic doctrine correctly, so we take no issue with it for now.
The first problem with Gabriel’s argument is that the “full knowledge” condition for mortal sin implies a bit more than he is willing to concede, namely, it “means that the agent must know or suspect that the matter is gravely sinful”, as Fr. Connell said (italics added). Is Gabriel seriously going to tell us that the “remarried” divorcees who were not permitted to receive “communion” before Amoris Laetitia were so ignorant of the Sixth Commandment that they did not even suspect its violation to be mortally sinful? That would be absurdity on stilts.
With regard to such a grave and manifest evil as adultery, no one who is a member of the Catholic Church or even the Novus Ordo Sect can plead inculpable ignorance of its sinfulness, for not only is this precept of the natural law enshrined in every man’s heart (see Rom 2:14-15), it’s also explicitly revealed by God in the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, which are taught even in the Vatican II religion: “Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house: neither shalt thou desire his wife…” (Ex 20:14,17).
Dr. Gabriel contends that this does not mean that every man actually knows the moral law, only that he “has the potential to understand” it. We wonder whether he would make that claim also if instead of adultery we were talking about murder.
It is certainly true that not every detail of the natural law is clearly understood by all people, but that’s not even relevant to the point at issue, which is people professing to be Catholics and claiming to be worthy to receive Holy Communion being (supposedly) so ignorant of even their First Communion catechism — not to mention their marriage instruction — that they do not know that the violation of the indissoluble marriage bond is grave matter.
In fact, since in the context of Amoris Laetitia we are talking about such people no longer being barred from the Novus Ordo sacraments, it is clear that they very much had knowledge of the sinfulness of their union — it was so sinful that they had to be publicly denied “communion”!
Here it is important to note that full knowledge — some moral theologians use the term “advertence” rather than “knowledge” — does not mean that one has to explicitly think about God’s Law or about going to hell. It suffices to know or suspect that one is transgressing the divine law in a serious matter. Two Dominican moral theologians explain:
Though full advertence is required for a mortal sin, it is not required that this advertence be the most perfect. (a) It is not necessary that the advertence be preceded by long deliberation, for advertence can be full even when the consideration is only momentary. (b) It is not necessary that advertence be continued during the commission of a sin, for what follows is foreseen if adverted to at the beginning. (c) It is not necessary that advertence to the malice of the sin be clear or exact. One who perceives that there is some special malice in robbing a church, even though he does not understand just what the malice is, has sufficient advertence to become guilty of sacrilege. Likewise, one who has doubts as to whether a certain sin is mortal, or who suspects that it is mortal, has sufficient advertence for grave guilt if he commits that sin. (d) It is not necessary that advertence to the malice of the sin be reflex (i.e., that one advert to the fact that one is conscious of the gravity of the sin); for to will the malice, it suffices that one be conscious of the malice. (e) It is not necessary that advertence to the malice of the sin be explicit (i.e., that one have in mind the precise nature of sin as an offense against God, which produces a stain on the soul and incurs the debt of punishment); for to will evil and its gravity, it suffices that one perceive the evil and its gravity, even though one does not analyze the meaning or seek out the ultimate reasons.
(John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan, Moral Theology, vol. 1 [New York, NY: Joseph F. Wagner, 1958], n. 177; underlining added.)
No one claiming to be a Catholic will be able to plead inculpable ignorance, therefore. As for ignorance that is culpable, that may perhaps be present, but such does not get the adulterer off the hook:
Actual advertence by the intellect is a necessary condition for all mortal sins. It may be advertence to the act of sinning here and now, or advertence to a serious doubt as to the sinfulness of an act about to be done, or advertence to a state of culpable ignorance whilst acting….
(Rev. Henry Davis, Moral and Pastoral Theology, vol. 1 [New York, NY: Sheed and Ward Inc., 1935], p. 216)
It is easy to see how quickly any argument from lack of full knowledge goes up in smoke with regard to people living in adultery.
Dr. Gabriel notes that “the only part of Amoris where Francis mentions impaired knowledge and ignorance is one sole sentence…. While Francis dedicates half a sentence to ‘full knowledge’, he develops the concept of ‘full consent’ throughout almost two paragraphs!”
Let us turn, then, to the issue of full consent — though it’s not going to get any better for defenders of Amoris Laetitia.
(3) Adultery without Full Consent
With regard to full consent, Gabriel’s argument becomes even more untenable. Lack of full consent means one is not entirely free to act. In other words, one’s sin would not be fully deliberate. But here too we must warn that full consent is not as easily impaired as some might think:
As in advertence, so in consent, a man need not know nor intend the full malice of a grievous sin in order to commit a mortal sin, nor need he intend to offend God in a particular way; it is sufficient that he know and intend the grievous wrongfulness of an act. Real malice usually exists only in an impious heart, but mortal sin may be committed by a person who does not intend to be formally malicious.
(Davis, Moral and Pastoral Theology, vol. 1, p. 217)
Consent is genuinely impaired only in the following ways: (a) by lack of full knowledge, since one can only consent to what one understands; but this we covered above; (b) by habit; (c) by passion; (d) by fear; and (e) by force. On the face of it it may seem like these provide plenty a way out of mortal sin, but this is not so once we see how Catholic morality understands these factors.
Habit “is defined as a fixed tendency to perform an act which has come about because this act was frequently repeated in the past” (Rev. Anthony F. Alexander, College Moral Theology [Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Company, 1958], p. 12). In other words, a person’s present action must be so determined by his habitual past actions that his will is no longer free. A typical example of this would be someone who used to have the bad habit of taking God’s name in vain, still occasionally doing so but without really meaning to. He does it not with full deliberation but inadvertently, simply from habit.
That this cannot be the case for such a deliberate and prolonged act as an adulterous union is clear from the words of Fr. Connell:
If a person has contracted a bad habit, so that he frequently commits an evil act with very little or no advertence, but is now seriously trying to eradicate the habit, any acts which proceed from this habit without advertence are involuntary. But, on the other hand, if he adverts to the habit and decides to do nothing about it, he sins, and acts which subsequently follow from the habit are voluntary in cause. Usually, however, even in this event there is sufficient actual advertence to render these actions voluntary in themselves, especially if they are gravely sinful, such as impure desires or blasphemy.
(Connell, Outlines of Moral Theology, p. 17)
Thus, it is pretty clear that habit cannot be invoked to mitigate the mortal sin of adultery. The “Oops! I accidentally just committed adultery” argument won’t fly.
Passion (alternatively called “emotion” or “concupiscence”) “is defined as feeling or physical reaction toward a thing seen as desirable, or away from a thing seen as undesirable” (Alexander, College Moral Theology, p. 14). It impairs free consent completely if it “deprive[s] a person temporarily of the use of reason and free will”, but this is hardly the case with people living in an “irregular situation”, as Amoris Laetitia likes to put it.
Passion impairs consent partially — thus rendering a mortal sin venial — only if it occurs prior to an act of the will (the technical term for this is antecedent passion). In other words, when the emotion is spontaneous and one does not will it, then and only then does its influence excuse from mortal sin if the matter is grave. Once again it is easy to see that this does not apply to the “divorced-and-remarried” of Amoris Laetitia.
Fear, which is also an emotion but typically treated separately by moral theologians, “is defined as a recoiling or drawing back from a present or future danger” (Alexander, College Moral Theology, p. 17). With regard to adultery, fear cannot be invoked to reduce the mortal sin to the status of venial sin, for although fear “diminishes the responsibility of the human agent, if he act in consequence of it and under its influence”, nevertheless the sinner “can at least discern with sufficient clearness the difference between what is grievously wrong and what is right” (Davis, Moral and Pastoral Theology, vol. 1, p. 27). That is the reason why, Fr. Davis continues, fear of imprisonment, torture, or death cannot be invoked as an excuse for committing anything intrinsically evil, such as breaking the seal of confession or “theft, murder, lying, because evil may never be done” (p. 28). Adultery belongs to this category as well, for it too is an intrinsic evil.
Lastly, force (alternatively called “violence”) “is defined as a person physically and unjustly compelling another to do something which he does not want to do” (Alexander, College Moral Theology, p. 18). To cut right to the chase: No, properly speaking, one cannot be forced to commit adultery either. As Fr. Alexander explains:
Nothing external to [an intrinsically evil] act can ever render it permissible. Force is an extrinsic circumstance which can never change the intrinsic nature of an act. When one takes positive steps to perform or to cooperate in an intrinsically evil act, he is to that extent consenting to it and is blamed for his consent. But this is very different from remaining completely passive to one of these acts. In the latter case, one cannot avoid the act yet he does not consent to it. He takes no steps to perform it. All the activity comes from the one exerting the force. The entrapped person is clearly not responsible for the act.
(Alexander, College Moral Theology, p. 19; underlining added.)
And once again we see that this has no application to the cases envisioned by Amoris Laetitia. Just like with habit, passion, and fear, so force too cannot be used as a mitigating factor to make adultery venial.
In making his case for venial adultery by virtue of impaired consent, Dr. Gabriel had quoted the Novus Ordo Catechism as follows:
To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.
(Novus Ordo Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2352)
If this is the rule of faith and morals Gabriel goes by, it’s no wonder he gets it wrong. The Modernist Catechism leaves plenty of leeway to make one’s favorite mortal sin merely venial: “immaturity”, “anxiety”, and “social factors” — so many options to choose from! Real Catholic morality, on the other hand, is quite strict, and does not allow any kind of leeway, short of a Catholic genuinely losing his mind, with regard to adultery.
If Dr. Gabriel merely wants to demonstrate that Francis’ Amoris Laetitia is not opposed in principle to John Paul II’s bogus Catechism, he may very well have accomplished that. But, being real Catholics here, we really don’t care what the pseudo-magisterium of Karol the Koran Kisser has to say on any issue.
(4) We cannot know who is in Mortal Sin
Thinking he has successfully managed to make adultery a venial sin for some through mitigating circumstances concerning knowledge or consent, Gabriel proposes that “we cannot know if those conditions are fulfilled if we do not consider the particular situation of the individual sinner.” In other words, “…we can only know if someone acts with full knowledge and full consent if we know the sinner and its [sic] situation.”
If this were a valid line of argumentation, we would have to conclude that the Catholic Church was wrong in her pastoral practice all those centuries before Francis the Merciful finally appeared to correct the Church’s understanding. But why stop with adulterers? What about public sodomites, usurers, robbers, and abortionists? Do they too get a discernment session to determine their very own personal level of knowledge and consent?
No, the Bride of Christ, the Ark of Salvation, is not rash or unjust in her practice and law concerning “remarried” divorcees, refusing them a process of discernment and holding them up to public contempt. In the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope Benedict XV in 1917, people who have contracted a valid marriage and then “divorce” and attempt another marriage are considered “bigamists.” This is more than “mere” adulterous relations in that there has been another “marriage.” Canon 2356 legislates that all such bigamists are automatically legally infamous and, if they do not end their unlawful union after being admonished by the local bishop, they are to be excommunicated or interdicted by him.
A person who is infamous according to the Church’s law is not permitted to be a godparent, among other things, and “if the infamy is publicly known he ought to be refused holy communion” (Very Rev. H. A. Ayrinhac, Penal Legislation in the new Code of Canon Law [New York, NY: Benziger Brothers, 1920], p. 157; cf. Canon 855). No process of discernment! No accompaniment! No mercy! How is this possible?
It is possible because marriage is a public matter. Although adultery is committed in secret, a pretended marital union is public, since the “husband and wife” live together, go to church together, perhaps even have children together. If the first and valid marriage is public knowledge, then so is the subsequent adulterious union, and therefore the Church must refuse such people Holy Communion, not only for their own good — they would be committing another mortal sin by receiving — but also to prevent scandal, that is, to prevent others from concluding that the Church accepts “remarriage” after divorce, or that adulterous unions are compatible with the state of sanctifying grace.
Bergoglio’s “process of discernment” is a sham. If there are no grounds for annulment of the prior union — that is, if the first marriage was certainly valid — then there is nothing to discern other than that the new union is adulterous and must be ended, or, in the case where separation is not possible because the couple has children to care for, they must agree to live as brother and sister. But in no case is the couple permitted to engage in activity that is proper to the married state.
With his idea that we cannot know who is in mortal sin because this requires not only grave matter but also full knowledge and consent, Dr. Gabriel has single-handedly eliminated the very concept of public sinner from the Church’s life. Nor will it do to say that the Pope has the power to change Church law on this, based on “prudential judgment”, for if Francis’ discernment jazz is now necessary to know whether a couple is living in an adulterous union, then it was always necessary, and the Church’s law or practice was unjust for centuries.
Of course all this is very much a merely academic exercise, for we all know that there will not be a single case in which a couple goes through a process of discernment only to be told that they are indeed in mortal sin and must continue to be refused the Novus Ordo sacraments. Not one!
(5) Ignorance of Sin is not dispelled simply by a Priest informing the Sinner, and it may be more prudent to leave Adulterers in Ignorance for a while
Another major contention found in Dr. Gabriel’s “The Doctrine of Mitigating Circumstances” article is that it “is a simplistic way of looking at reality” to think that in order to dispel ignorance concerning the gravity of the sin of adultery (and thus ensure there is full knowledge), it suffices to tell the sinner that he is in sin: “A person cannot be formally informed that he is sinning and from that point on, be liable and fully culpable if he does not accept our explanation,” he writes. While that may be the case for “Joe Blow” informing the sinner, it is certainly not true if the parish priest does so.
“Since our objective should be the salvation of souls and not their damnation, the Catholic is urged to exercise discernment about the best timing and way to lay the truth on the sinner”, Gabriel says, appealing to various scriptural and papal quotes to support his claim. The problem is that while the passages he cites are perhaps relevant in some cases, they are certainly not applicable to such a grave and intrinsic evil as adultery. In fact, let’s look at two concrete examples of how informing an adulterer that he is in sin has been handled in the New Testament — two passages which Gabriel did not quote:
First, there is the case of St. John the Baptist, herald of the New Covenant. In a pastoral discernment session he had with King Herod, the Baptist told the monarch flat out: “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife” (Mk 6:18). That joyful message got him imprisoned and eventually killed. Then again, if we take Amoris Laetitia and the Modernist Catechism into account, perhaps that wasn’t a mortal sin on Herod’s part either, since his consent was clearly impaired due to “conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors”, having sworn an oath that he would give the damsel whatsoever she would ask for (see Mt 14:6-11). Too bad the process of discernment could not continue!
Second, there is the example of our Blessed Lord Himself, who is Wisdom, Prudence, and Charity Incarnate. During an encounter with a Samaritan woman fetching water from a well, Christ accompanied her with the words: “…thou hast had five husbands: and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband” (Jn 4:18). This came a shock to the woman — not the revelation that she was living in adultery, for this she knew well enough, but rather the fact that our Blessed Lord knew this about her, although they had never met before: “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet”, was her only response (Jn 4:19). Thus we see that far from first preaching the Beatitudes and waiting until much later to upbraid the woman for her sinful life, our Lord made it one of the first things He told her.
So much for the biblical testimony.
It is undoubtedly true that, according to Catholic moral theology, with regard to certain sins and in certain circumstances it can be advisable to leave a soul in ignorance for a while, but this is not the case for the adultery of the “divorced-and-remarried.”
In his 1930 encyclical on Holy Matrimony, Pope Pius XI made clear that confessors leaving penitents in ignorance about the mortal sin of contraception was not permissible but would amount to a betrayal of their mission:
We admonish, therefore, priests who hear confessions and others who have the care of souls, in virtue of Our supreme authority and in Our solicitude for the salvation of souls, not to allow the faithful entrusted to them to err regarding this most grave law of God; much more, that they keep themselves immune from such false opinions, in no way conniving in them. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: “They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.” [Luke 6:38]
(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Casti Connubii, n. 57; underlining added.)
If this is the case for contraception, it obviously holds true also for adultery!
All the foregoing is bad news for the folks over at the Where Peter is blog. They may want to change their name to Where Bergoglio is, for St. Peter or his successors have nothing to do with the Novus Ordo claptrap they are spreading.
The fact is that in Amoris Laetitia Francis preaches a slightly modified form of what Pope Pius XII condemned in the 1950s. What was then called the “new morality”, “situation ethics”, or “ethical existentialism”, is now being sold to the unsuspecting sheeple as a new “pastoral” approach to morality, away from “rigid rules” and on towards “mercy.”
In September of 1952, Fathers Edouard Gagnon and Aidan Carr published an article in the American Ecclesiastical Review against the “new conjugal morality” that was then emerging and beginning to influence the Catholic clergy. Take a look at what the authors wrote and see if it sounds familiar. Although the issue they were addressing directly was that of contraception, the same principles are quite evidently applicable to adultery:
The promoters of the changed perspective [“new paradigm”?] argue that married people often are not prepared to accept traditional morality in this connection; that confessors achieve nothing by their “brutal providentialist attitude”; that present economic and social conditions impose a need for prudence in determining the number of offspring; that conjugal spirituality does not admit of an absolute continence which may well strain the bonds of love and even shatter the harmony of the home.
Such a point of view eschews the hope offered by supernatural faith…. And even granting — for the sake of the argument — the truth of the opposition thesis — has one therefore the right to countenance contraceptive practices? May a confessor absolve a penitent without more ado, once he discovers a vague good will?
…A confessor who absolves a penitent pleading incapability to observe the commandments of God in married life makes short shrift of the words of the Holy Spirit: ”And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it” (I Cor., X, 13).
Even if one admits the hypothetical possibility of there being an impossibility to observe conjugal chastity, that “impossibility” can be nothing else, in the final analysis, except a moral weakness. A weakness due in part perhaps to external circumstances, but due particularly and formally to a defective control of the sexual appetite. In his November address to Italian Midwives, the Holy Father [Pius XII] excoriated this very teaching when he said that God does not oblige people to do the impossible, and so if for certain reasons some married couples must abstain from marital union, in such cases abstinence is possible.
(Rev. Edouard Gagnon and Rev. Aidan Carr, “A New Conjugal Morality?”, American Ecclesiastical Review, vol. 127 [Sep. 1952], pp. 178-180; underlining added.)
The “divorced-and-remarried” cannot receive the sacraments for as long as they persist in their unlawful union or are not celibate. That’s because adultery is an intrinsically evil act, no married person in the Vatican II Church is inculpably ignorant of the Sixth Commandment, and no one can engage in adulterous relations without full consent of the will. No process of discernment is needed because if the union is unlawful, then there is nothing to discern.
What Bergoglio does in Amoris Laetitia, using all kinds of specious arguments, is lay the theological groundwork for a de facto acceptance of “divorce and remarriage.” In the process of doing so, he undermines the very notion of sin by redefining it from being a voluntary transgression of a divine law to being a partial or imperfect realization of a moral ideal. The result is that in the end, vice has elements of virtue! We have covered this at length in our special podcast episode on Amoris Laetitia, TRADCAST 013:
The Vatican II Church issues a flood of marriage annulments every year as it is, and by doing so it has already made a mockery of the Sacrament of Matrimony, destroyed countless families, and given annulments the perceived status of “Catholic divorce.”
Amoris Laetitia, it must be remembered, is meant for those few who couldn’t manage to get an annulment or didn’t bother applying for one. The idea of a process of discernment being required to determine whether one’s adulterous union is a mortal sin in one’s particular case, is beyond preposterous.
Of course all this is just window dressing to give the matter a superficial theological veneer. In reality the intent is simply to open the floodgates to allow “remarried” divorcees access to the Novus Ordo sacraments. In ten years, the discernment process will consist of nothing more than the pastor telling the couple that if they believe in conscience that they are really married or, in any case, that they are not sinning, then they can go ahead and receive the sacraments. Should the occasional super-conservative pastor not be willing to do that, he will quickly be disciplined by his “bishop”, perhaps even dismissed from the parish altogether. And then Life Site News will have a petition handy for you to sign to ask the “bishop” to reinstate the man. We’ve seen this all before.
But then, it’s not like anyone is ever refused “communion” in Novus Ordo Land anyway, so it’s not clear what all the fuss is about. Those who are so unfortunate as to indeed encounter a stern presbyter who refuses them the invalid host, their easiest option is to simply approach one of the innumerable “Eucharistic ministers” instead — you know, Dennis, Bob, or Valerie. In most dioceses, not even politicians who publicly support the murder of the unborn or the acceptance of sexual perversion are refused. It seems the only realistic chance one has of actually being denied the Novus Ordo cookie is to be kneeling down to receive. Now that is intolerable!
Readers who are interested in more information about Amoris Laetitia and how to refute its errors, are encouraged to check out the following links:
- Francis’ “Apostolic Exhortation” Amoris Laetitia: The Highlights
- Amoris Laetitia and Concrete Cases: Reply to Austen Ivereigh
- Pope Pius XII destroys Amoris Laetitia and Francis’ False-Mercy Gospel
- Conscience, Sin, and a “New Paradigm”: Blase Cupich unloads Bergoglian Bilge at Cambridge
- Subjective Morality: The Error of Amoris Laetitia Condemned and Refuted before Vatican II
We also have a few of our Amoris Laetitia-themed memes to share. They illustrate the absurdity of the Vatican II Sect’s new paradigm of “discerning” adultery to be a venial sin or no sin at all — but only in one’s own specific case, of course:
It is tragic to see such intelligent people as Dr. Pedro Gabriel waste their intellectual prowess to carry the water for Bergoglio, an apostate who couldn’t care less about their sophisticated theological defenses, and who probably thinks of them as mere useful idiots whom he is ready to betray as soon as they cease being useful.
Image sources: wherepeteris.com (screenshot)
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