Does Opposing the Pope really help the Church?

A while back, I read an absolutely ridiculous article, by which I mean an article deserving of ridicule, over at 1Peter5: Our Battle Against Seemingly Insurmountable Odds. It’s about the battle against the Pope, the person chosen by Jesus Christ to shepherd His flock. The author is the founder of 1P5, and, if you are not familiar with the site, it is organized around one guiding principle: stop the Pope from harming the Church.

Steve Skojec says: “I hate what I’m doing,” I thought. “I just talk about problems all the time. I spend my days forced to go on the offensive against one of the things I love most in the world — the Catholic Church. When will I have the chance to do something constructive? Positive? Uplifting?”

Someone asked me recently about how it’s possible to do this all the time. “Because I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.” I said.

Yeah, OK. It’s so tiring and wearing, being “forced” to treat the Supreme Shepherd with contempt and denigration, being “forced” to find fault with everything he says and does, being “forced” to “go on the offensive” against the successor to Peter, so that, what? So that the faithful will not follow the Pope? So that Catholics will not accept teaching and correction from the leader of the Catholic Church? What is the goal here?

I believe Mr. Skojec. He really thinks that he is right, and the Pope is wrong. He sincerely believes that he and others must rise up against the Pope, to counter the Pope’s errors, to save the Church. But he also can’t see beyond the end of his own nose.

“The unexamined life is not worth living,” someone once said. In Catholicism, your theology is not worth reading if you have not examined your own premises. The assumption of Skojec and others is that they could not possibly have misunderstood the teachings of Tradition or the Bible or past Church teachings. The assumption is that they could not possibly have misunderstood the Pope, or his motivations. And they assume that the gift of the indefectibility of the Church is so limited and weak that it cannot withstand the faults of a Pope.

Skojec is “forced to go on the offensive against … the Catholic Church”, forced by his own misunderstanding of Catholic teaching and his own exaggerated sense of self-importance. Does anyone believe that the indefectible Church will fall away from Truth if Skojec and other bloggers do not intervene, to oppose the Supreme Pontiff? He is not forced to oppose the leader of the Church.

The role of the faithful is to be taught and corrected by the Pope. If there is a conflict between Steve Skojec’s understanding of Catholicism and that of any Roman Pontiff, the proper reaction is for Steve to humble himself and be taught and corrected. The proper reaction by all of us is to find ways to be taught by the Pope’s writings, and find charitable interpretations of his non-magisterial words and deeds. We must always consider that we could be in the wrong. The only thing forcing Mr. Skojec to oppose the Pope is his own lack of humility, understanding, and charity.

He says that he could not live with himself, if he did not publicly oppose the Roman Pontiff. Not similarly, I could not live with myself if I did not treat each Pope with humility and charity and faith. I could not live with myself if I did not learn from each Pope and help others learn as well. Why the difference? I have faith. I believe that God would not permit any Pope to teach grave error, nor allow him to lead the Church astray. I believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in every Pope’s words and deeds, magisterial or not.

Steve Skojec hates what he is doing, some of the time, in a manner of speaking. Could that be because it is wearing to have to find a way to disagree with everything the Pope says and does? Is it difficult to treat the leader of the flock of Jesus Christ with constant distrust, and to try to engender that distrust in his own flock? The constant contempt, denigration, and anger found at 1Peter5 and directed at the Pope, yes, it must be difficult to keep that up every day.

But this is the only alternative: to humble yourself to admit that your own understanding of Catholicism is flawed, that you yourself are in need of teaching and correction — from a liberal Pope. Yes, God wants conservative Catholics to be taught or corrected by a liberal successor of Peter, so that they show Him they are devoted to God and truth, not to the false god of conservatism. The alternative to going on the offensive against the leader of Christ’s flock is faith — to believe the teachings of each Pope, even when they seem wrong to one’s own mind and heart. That is true faith.

The articles at OnePeterFive.com vary in their content, usefulness, and in their disrespect for the Vicar of Christ. But some of these articles show a distinct lack of faith. For they speak as if Catholics are not bound by faith to believe whatever the Magisterium teachings, but instead were required to apply their own understanding to magisterial teachings, to first decide if the teaching is correct. Thus, faith and the Magisterium itself and the Pope are all seemingly subordinate to the self-important conservative Catholic, who thinks that he, merely by being conservative, cannot err on any subject.

“Steve Skojec: This month, like every month since August 1st, 2014, 1P5 is in the trenches, leading the fight against the forces of darkness that foolishly thought they could co-opt Christ’s bride.”

The faithful of Christ have a wide latitude to disagree with any Pope’s decisions on discipline, with his theological opinions, with his remarks to the press, and even some latitude to disagree with any Pope’s non-infallible magisterial teachings. But it is always a grave sin to promote opposition to the Pope with the claim that the Pope himself represents “the forces of darkness” and with the foolish idea that the Pope and his supporters are trying to lead astray the Bride of Christ. This attitude toward the Roman Pontiff is not compatible with faith. It is not compatible with the required submission of mind and will to the non-infallible teachings of the Pope, and the required submission to the authority of the Roman Pontiff.

I personally have read nearly every type of complaint against Pope Francis, every point on which anyone accuses him of anything. I see that the Pope may have erred to a limited extent in a few matters. But I see no reason to oppose him at every turn or to accuse him of any grave sin or error. Most of the accusations against him are the result of a lack of understanding of Church teaching, a lack of charity in interpreting the Pope’s words and deeds, and the arrogance of thinking that each Pope must submit to the judgment of the conservative Catholic subculture in all that he does.

Many conservatives Catholics do not realize that, by their excessively harsh criticism of the Roman Pontiff, they are leading many souls ever closer to schism.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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62 Responses to Does Opposing the Pope really help the Church?

  1. Francisco says:

    [Luke]
    {2:34} And Simeon blessed them, and he said to his mother Mary: “Behold, this one has been set for the ruin and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and as a sign which will be contradicted.
    {2:35} And a sword will pass through your own soul, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

    “So that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”. We do have trials or tests in order to see if we are faithful to God. Actually, Adam and Eve were the first ones to be tested by God. The thoughts of many hearts are being revealed now with this new Pope, the previously ‘hidden’ thoughts of those who idolize their version of Catholicism by simplifying and dogmatizing it, as if there is no room for development of doctrine. Perhaps the thoughts of many hearts were not revealed by those who idolize their own version of Catholicism in past years, they were “hidden” with conservative Popes, but now that, by God’s Providence, we now have a liberal but orthodox Pope who is changing some disciplines (which we may respectfully disagree, but still be bound under his authority) and deepening into dogmatic teachings, their rebellion against the Vicar of Christ come manifest. Pope Francis currently holds the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (no one else on earth), and I trust in Jesus’ words (Matt 16:18-19).

  2. sircliges says:

    I think that the problem here is a thing that is sometimes referred ad “pope-latry”, the idolization of the Pope. The feeling (it’s a feeling more than a composite thought) that a Pope cannot do wrong, never, never, he cannot be criticized, never, never.

    It’s wrong.

    I offer you a quote from Gustave Thibon work “What ails mankind? An essay on social physiology”. I read it in italian. This is a quick translation made by me.

    “The past knew distinguish institutions from people: you could blame a king or a pope (middle age did not abstain from it!) without questioning the monarchy or the papacy. The past knew that a sane institution, came from God, were fruitful also through the most imperfect man. Political and religious leaders were joining links between God and people: the past attributed importance more to what was transmitted through them, than to what they were. The altar supported the priest, the throne supported the king. Today we ask to the king to bear the throne, to the priest to bear the altar. Institutions are justified to people’s eyes only for the genius or the magnetism of a single individual. This demand causes two ruinous consequences: the wretched institution’s bearer is forced to substain a degree of tension and activity that is very inhuman; the fate of the institution is linked to the miserable individual case.”

  3. Guest says:

    I believe in the Holy Spirit. He prevents the Church from falling into errors and assists the successors of the apostles and plays some role in guiding the affairs of the Church, even when they are not teaching infallably. I believe that God will never abandon His Church, and that the magisterium teaches His message for our times. I believe in what the Church teaches not because they seem reasonable to me or rationally evident but because God said so, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

  4. Maurilio Piazza says:

    @Sircliges, in reference to your post of 2 May 2018 at 10:35 am

    Seifert, Spaemann and Strumia ARE wrong inasmuch as they: 1) believe it possible for any pope to be in any way a heretic; 2) believe (or fear) it is INTRINSICALLY wrong, and therefore heretical, to allow adulterers to receive absolution and communion without first them renouncing their adulterous sexual intercourses. Here’s why.

    1) They support the “5 Dubia”; now, these Dubia are based on the implicit denial of the Vat I “fidei numquam deficientis” doctrine which asserts the never-failing faith of every pope; as a consequence, the 5 Dubia incur structural antinomy, which constitutes per absurdum demonstration of the doctrine denied.

    (Also, for the sake of completeness: dubium 1’s formulation is equivocal, which violates the requirements for a dubium-type closed question calling for a yes/no answer; dubium 3 is a tautology in the form of a question – basically, a silly non-question. So, we have one grave overall doctrinal violation, plus one grave overall logical error, plus two more logical errors. This makes the 5 Dubia OBJECTIVELY IRRECEIVABLE).

    2) 1983 Canon Law Code’s Can. 844, §§ 3 and 4, authorizes, under certain conditions, Catholic ministers to give absolution, communion and anointing to non-catholic Christians (heretics and schismatics) without them first renouncing their errors. So, it’s not INTRINSICALLY wrong, and therefore not heretical, to give absolution, communion and anointing to heretics and schismatics without them first renouncing their objective mortal sins of heresy and schism. Now, among mortal sins, heresy and schism are graver than adultery, because they violate the 1st Commandment whereas adultery violates the 6th. So, with greater reason, it’s not INTRINSICALLY wrong, and therefore not heretical, to give absolution, communion and anointing to adulterers without them first renouncing their objective mortal sins of adulterous sexual intercourses.

    (For the same reason, points 5 and 6 of the Final Declaration of the recent conference “Catholic Church, where are you going?” (Rome, April 7, 2018) are proven WRONG, making the entire Declaration gravely abusive of the Catholic name and gravely injurious of Pope Francis’ petrine credibility)

    As for Seifert in particular, he also mistook a given continued irregular union (“what is for now the generous response which can be given to God”, AL 303) for the adulterous sexual intercourses themselves that may occur within it, which God may tolerate and forgive on account of various factors but in no way can authorize or approve of through any subjective discernment as being sometimes good acts based on circumstances. In other words, the fallacy in Seifert’s so-called “purely logical” argument lies in reducing the irregular union in question to adulterous sexual intercourses and in errouneously interpreting God’s possible authorization for the continuation of some such unions (an authorization already implied in Familaris Consortio 84) as being unduly transferred by AL to any adulterous sexual intercourses within them.

    • stefano says:

      This is hilarious! Please, for goodness sake, where does FC84 implicitly authorize for the continuation of some such unions (i.e. adulterous sexual intercourses)?

    • Maurilio Piazza says:

      @sircliges: yes, it’s me.

      @Stefano: WRONG! “some such unions” are NOT the same as adulterous sexual intercourses within those unions – please read carefully both my post and Familiaris Consortio 84: “… when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.””. This means that a graver duty arising from particular circumstances binds a man and a woman before God to stay in the irregular union and prevails over the ordinary duty for them to leave the irregular union and avoid proximate occasions for adulterous sexual intercourses as well as for scandal. Also, this graver duty precedes, both in dignity and in tme, therefore does not depend on, their possible decision to start living out their irregular union in complete continence, which under FC’s discipline was an indispensable condition for receiving absolution and communion.

    • stefano says:

      @Maurilio. Are you saying that the couple who have not yet taken the decision to quit their irregurar relation, for the graver duty of children’s upbringing are exemped by God himself even from the obligation to live in chastity in order to receive communion?

      Don’t you find it a little pharisaic? Further, why should this teaching be kept implicit? Why not say this in clear? What is the reason for not being explicit, if indeed this is the will of God?

      If anything, something that is and should stay implicit is that an irregular couple willing to access communion, regardless of any obligation to their children, if theirs is a genuinely strong yearning, should have made their mind already to live at least in chastity.
      Am I wrong?

    • Marco says:

      @Maurilio Piazza

      “2) 1983 Canon Law Code’s Can. 844, §§ 3 and 4, authorizes, under certain conditions, Catholic ministers to give absolution, communion and anointing to non-catholic Christians (heretics and schismatics) without them first renouncing their errors. So, it’s not INTRINSICALLY wrong, and therefore not heretical, to give absolution, communion and anointing to heretics and schismatics without them first renouncing their objective mortal sins of heresy and schism. Now, among mortal sins, heresy and schism are graver than adultery, because they violate the 1st Commandment whereas adultery violates the 6th. So, with greater reason, it’s not INTRINSICALLY wrong, and therefore not heretical, to give absolution, communion and anointing to adulterers without them first renouncing their objective mortal sins of adulterous sexual intercourses.”

      Very good point. I made the same point in this article https://ronconte.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/communion-discipline-for-the-orthodox-shows-the-wisdom-of-amoris-laetitia/ written by me and published by Ron and nobody ever refuted it.

    • sircliges says:

      Actually I did. I refuted it.

    • Marco says:

      @Stefano

      “If anything, something that is and should stay implicit is that an irregular couple willing to access communion, regardless of any obligation to their children, if theirs is a genuinely strong yearning, should have made their mind already to live at least in chastity.
      Am I wrong?”

      You are not wrong, but when a Catholic person is “remarried” with a non catholic or a non Christian who doesn’t accept the teaching of the Church, this might not be possible.

    • stefano says:

      Marco, your opinion cannot be proven: it is at least equally impossible to access communion when living an adulterous relation as to live in chastity with your partner if he/her doesn’t want to.

      Let God deal with the impossible instead of bending his rules.

      Concerning Can. 844, since you keep making your point, I ask permission to repeat mine.
      As of §4, for consistency, I agree that the divorced and re-married can legitimately receive communion in extreme life danger, as and at the same conditions of other christians not in communion with the Church.
      As of §3, it cannot be raised as applicable, defining and being explicitely referred to the interrelations between the Catholic and the Oriental churches (otherwise, it would be in contraddiction with §4).

    • Marco says:

      “ Actually I did. I refuted it.”

      No, you didn’t. And for a very good reason: you cannot refute a fact.

    • sircliges says:

      I did not refute a fact. I refuted your argument. You don’t see the very specific, exceptional feature of the Orthodox Christians: a clergy which does have valid sacraments.

    • Marco says:

      “Marco, your opinion cannot be proven: it is at least equally impossible to access communion when living an adulterous relation as to live in chastity with your partner if he/her doesn’t want to.”

      This doesn’t make sense. It’s impossible to access Communion if you are guilty of actual mortal sin.

      If objective mortal sin makes impossible to access Communion, then the New Code of Canon Law would be heretic, since it says that unrepentant schismatics can access to Communion without converting to the Catholic Faith. While they aren’t guilty of schism, since they are born in their schismatic church, they are still committing the objective mortal sin of omission of not converting to the Catholic Church, which is a very grave sin that warrants damnation when it’s done with full culpability.

      “Concerning Can. 844, since you keep making your point, I ask permission to repeat mine.
      As of §4, for consistency, I agree that the divorced and re-married can legitimately receive communion in extreme life danger, as and at the same conditions of other christians not in communion with the Church.
      As of §3, it cannot be raised as applicable, defining and being explicitely referred to the interrelations between the Catholic and the Oriental churches (otherwise, it would be in contraddiction with §4).”

      This doesn’t make sense either. The oriental Churches are still schismatics, so they aren’t in full Communion with the Church.

      To disprove my opinion you should prove that refusing to convert to the Catholic Faith is not an objective mortal sin for the schismatics of the oriental Churches. This can’t be done, for the Council of Florence states infallibly that the schismatics (just like all those who refuse to convert to the Catholic Faith) are damned to hell (if their refusal is fully culpable, of course).

      There is no getting around it, no matter how you slice it. The ortodox can access Catholic Communion because they have a valid Eucharist AND because their good faith can be reasonably inferred.

    • Maurilio Piazza says:

      @Marco: I learned the argument from your article – thank you!

      @Stefano: you wrote:

      “Are you saying that the couple who have not yet taken the decision to quit their irregurar relation, for the graver duty of children’s upbringing are exemped by God himself even from the obligation to live in chastity in order to receive communion?”

      No, this is not how I explained FC 84. Here God himself exempts the couple not from chastity, but from the ordinary obligation to separate, which means God himself binds them to remain in the irregular union because of their circumstances. If they then don’t decide to live in perfect continence, God himself still binds them to remain in the irregular union because of their circumstances, plus FC’s discipline does not allow them to receive the sacraments.

      That being said, JPII’s law about reception for objective heretics and schismatics belonging to other Churches or ecclesial communities implies that, for greater reason, unrepented objective violation of chastity is only intrinsically incompatible with reception of absolution, communion and anointing if it is committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent (i.e. if it is also an unrepented actual mortal sin).

      So, back to your question, the wording “… are exempted by God himself even from the obligation to live in chastity in order to receive communion?” is wrong in that it mistakes an absolute moral obligation (a negative commandment, the prohibition of an intrinsically evil act) for an intrinsically necessary requirement for reception of the sacraments – hence the shortcircuit. And this mistake can be traced back to confusing objective mortal sin with actual mortal sin – or to a systematic failure to apply the distinction and draw logical conclusions from it.

    • stefano says:

      Well, no. Maurilio and you start turning in circles when you use the wrong argument of Can. 844 §4 to justify the openings of AL (where it clearly does not refer to subjective conditions, but to specific, objective cases); and when you then use the utterly wrong argument of the subjective discernment introduced by AL (as you just did) to justify Can. 844 §3.

      Can. 844 §§3-4 regulate objectively identifiable situations without any indication of individual culpability or subjective mitigating factors. In particular, §4 affirms that people normally excluded can be admitted to the sacraments if in extreme danger of life. Again, the only applicable discernment is on the objective situation.

      FC84 (and the Cathechism) clearly disciplines confession and communion to the divorced and remarried according to defined objective conditions.

      So you can keep repeating that one can access Communion if he is not guilty of actual mortal sin, but this is not what the Church has always been teaching. AL is objectively divergent from the traditional catholic doctrine (a change in paradigm, as card Kasper said enthusiastically).

    • Maurilio Piazza says:

      @Stefano

      You wrote:

      “So you can keep repeating that one can access Communion if he is not guilty of actual mortal sin, but this is not what the Church has always been teaching. AL is objectively divergent from the traditional catholic doctrine (a change in paradigm, as card Kasper said enthusiastically).”

      AL is objectively divergent from past discipline, not from definitive doctrine, just as Can. 844, §§3-4. Being in good faith, i.e. not being guilty of unrepented actual mortal sin, in relation to heresy and schism was explicitly no reason for being allowed to receive the sacraments under the 1917 Code, as had been no reason ever before, whereas it is reason under the current Code: such good faith is tacitly but necessarily presumed in Can. 844 §§ 3-4; to state the opposite and still approve of the pararaphs would be tantamount to maintaining that people guilty of unrepented actual mortal sins can possibly benefit from reception of sacraments and that Catholic ministers can licitly give sacraments to persons whom the law presumes to be guilty of unrepented actual mortal sins.

      Btw, the main difference between §3 and §4 (which also allows for grave necessities other than extreme danger of life, in the judgment of the proper temporal authority of the Church) is that non-catholic Christians considered in §3 are tacitly presumed to have the Catholic faith about the sacraments in question, since they belong to fully sacramental Churches, whereas non-catholic Christians considered in §4 are not presumed to have the Catholic faith about these sacraments, since they do not belong to fully sacramental Churches, and therefore are required to manifest such faith about the sacraments, in order to be granted reception of these sacraments. But Christinas belonging to both groups are not required to have the full Catholic faith and to be in full communion with the Catholic Church, i.e. are not required to renounce their objective mortal sins of not converting from heresy and schism, in order to be granted reception of these sacraments.

      Here ends my debate.

    • Marco says:

      “I did not refute a fact. I refuted your argument. You don’t see the very specific, exceptional feature of the Orthodox Christians: a clergy which does have valid sacraments.”

      It doesn’t change the fact that refusing to convert to the Catholic Faith is an objective mortal sin, which condems to eternal damnation when it is committed with full culpability and it is not forgiven before death.

      Therefore, i have proven that the Catholic Church allows people in objective mortal sin to receive the Sacraments, and this proves that the decision concerning the divorced and remarried is disciplinar, it can be changed by the Church, for they are in a state of objective mortal sin just like the non Catholics who refuse to convert (whether they have valid Sacraments or not).

    • Marco says:

      @Stefano

      “Can. 844 §§3-4 regulate objectively identifiable situations without any indication of individual culpability or subjective mitigating factors. In particular, §4 affirms that people normally excluded can be admitted to the sacraments if in extreme danger of life. Again, the only applicable discernment is on the objective situation.”

      Canon 844 §3 allows the ortodox to the Sacraments even if they aren’t in extreme danger of life. Why? Because very often their good faith makes sure that they aren’t guilty of actual mortal sin for their refusal to convert to the Catholic Faith.

      Therefore they are not admitted because their situation is regular or only when they are in extreme danger of life,. Their case is completely similar to that of the catholic divorced and remarried.

      Sure, maybe is more difficult for the divorced and remarried to be free from actual mortal sin (more difficult in comparison to the ortodox and their culpability regarding their refusal to convert to the Catholic Faith, for in almost all cases the ortodox genuinely believe that they are in the true Church and that we are the schismatics and heretics), but it’s far from impossible, as even Cardinal Müller said http://www.lastampa.it/2017/10/30/vaticaninsider/communion-to-the-remarried-mller-there-can-be-mitigating-factors-in-guilt-OI0rK5MajqAn9gHGQE1YbO/pagina.html

  5. stefano says:

    This Mr Skojec seems more like a troll to me than a catholic, no matter whether conservative or of other denominations. I don’t think he really deserves Ron’s time and effort in order to be disproved.

    However, I do not agree that the test of faith for a catholic is to blindly believe whatever ordinary teaching of the Pope, regardless of it being seemingly contradicting the cathechism, or of one not being able to find a rationale behind it. This looks more like a test of faith of a muslim. Such a faith would be theologically rejected by Saint Thomas Aquinas.

    The test of faith for a catholic is to humbly try to understand, ask questions and confront one’s opinion with others’, while showing respect to the Holy Father and faithfulness to him in all other teachings which are not dubious, keeping for sure (this is the real test) that even in the deepest darkness evil will not prevail on the Church.

    Schism does not make sense for a catholic under any respect, since there is no place to go to find salvation other then the one and only Church of Jesus. Let others make a schism with their pure doctrine, if they so whish. I will stay in, even if I will have to live with (some) wrong or perfectible teachings. This might be a time of darkness: darkness in the Church, or darkness in my heart, but I have no way to know for sure. This is my catholic faith.

  6. Maurilio Piazza says:

    @Marco: I learned the argument from your article – thank you!

    @Stefano: you wrote:

    “Are you saying that the couple who have not yet taken the decision to quit their irregurar relation, for the graver duty of children’s upbringing are exemped by God himself even from the obligation to live in chastity in order to receive communion?”

    No, this is not how I explained FC 84. Here God himself exempts the couple not from chastity, but from the ordinary obligation to separate, which means God himself binds them to remain in the irregular union because of their circumstances. If they then don’t decide to live in perfect continence, God himself still binds them to remain in the irregular union because of their circumstances, plus FC’s discipline does not allow them to receive the sacraments.

    That being said, JPII’s law about reception for objective heretics and schismatics belonging to other Churches or ecclesial communities implies that, for greater reason, unrepented objective violation of chastity is only intrinsically incompatible with reception of absolution, communion and anointing if it is committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent (i.e. if it is also an unrepented actual mortal sin).

    So, back to your question, the wording “… are exempted by God himself even from the obligation to live in chastity in order to receive communion?” is wrong in that it mistakes an absolute moral obligation (a negative commandment, the prohibition of an intrinsically evil act) for an intrinsically necessary requirement for reception of the sacraments – hence the shortcircuit. And this mistake can be traced back to confusing objective mortal sin with actual mortal sin – or to a systematic failure to apply the distinction and draw logical conclusions from it.

    • stefano says:

      Thank you Maurilio, but the moral obligation is to take care of your children, not to live together with your partner; you can, if you deem it necessary, but you are not required to. This cannot be an intrinsically necessary requirement, neither a commandment from God. I have never heard anything like that.

      However, even if God himself required one to live with his partner for the sake of their children, how can you say that, because of that, their sexual incorurses are just objectively, but not actually mortal sins? Maybe the 11th commandment is also requiring the two to sleep in the same bed?

      But, again, the point here is not to determine whether or not, or to what extent, one is guilty of committing an intrinsecally evil act. This is a question for moral theologists, not the scope of FC84. The scope of FC84 is to establish the conditions – objective conditions – for divorced and remarried in which they can be allowed to the sacraments.

      These conditions are set and nobody has the right to let FC84 say something different, less than ever implicitly. You may wish that FC84 said explicitly what you mean, not pretend that it does implicitly.

    • Maurilio Piazza says:

      @Stefano

      You wrote:

      “… to live together with your partner… cannot be an intrinsically necessary requirement, neither a commandment from God.”

      FC 84 says: “… when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman CANNOT satisfy the obligation to separate…” – it doesn’t say “CAN OPT NOT TO satisfy”, it doesn’t consider cases where the moral choice is a free matter of subjective preference: here JPII is contemplating all those situations where, by separating, the couple would violate serious reasons for remaining in the irregular union – in other words, by separating despite serious reasons not to, they would commit serious, i.e. objectively grave, sins. This means that a graver moral obligation (whose ultimate foundation is God’s will) objectively binds them, in light of their particular situations, to remain in the irregular union. Obviously, by definition, such an obligation cannot possibly be intrinsic to the irregular union and, being dependent on the particular situations considered, is an exception to the general norm of separating, as well as changeable over time. But, inasmuch as it is a true moral obligation, it must needs fall under one or the other of the ten commandments.

      You wrote:

      “How can you say that, because of that, their sexual intercourses are just objectively, but not actually mortal sins?”.

      I never said that, nor did I mean it. That would be the fallacy of jumping to conclusions. You should be careful not to jump to the opposite conclusion that, just because an act is an objective mortal sin, then it is also an actual mortal sin. Those sexual intercourses may be actual mortal sins, or they may be actual venial sins.

      You wrote:

      “The scope of FC84 is to establish the conditions – objective conditions – for divorced and remarried in which they can be allowed to the sacraments.”

      I never said the opposite, nor did I mean it.

      You wrote:

      “These conditions are set and nobody has the right to let FC84 say something different, less than ever implicitly.”

      I explained FC 84 faithfully. It does not follow that the Church has not the authority to change those conditions. “Objective” does not imply “intrinsic”.

      You wrote:

      “You may wish that FC84 said explicitly what you mean, not pretend that it does implicitly.”

      I said that FC 84 [necessarily] implies that God himself binds certain irregular couples to remain in their irregular unions because of their circumstances, and I mean to say that a necessary implication of FC 84 is that those couples may correctly discern this moral obligation and correctly identify it as God’s binding will for them for the time being.

      Here ends my debate.

    • stefano says:

      Well, what can I say? Maybe just this: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom”.

      I can only invite you to give a closer look to your logical system and exclude – if you can – that jumping from one moral obligation to another (and another, and another…), whilst being just before God, does not degrade morality to lutheran standards; by the way, introducing “de facto” divorce in the Catholic Church.

      Under these premises, formal divorce is only a matter of time, a logical consequense of the full access to sacraments.

      FC84 used to set conditions that are like a path to sanctity for christians in irregular situation. Now, thanks to arguments worthy of a Pharisee, this path is lost and no one is seeking forgiveness any longer, only blessing for his own wrong choises and permission to continue on the grounds of his righteousness before God.

      All it took was switching from “objective” to “actual”. You can’t beat the devil.

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