The Pastoral and Moral Crises That Lie Ahead | Fr. Mark Pilon | CWR
What we are witnessing today, following the publication of "Amoris Laetitia", is a radical adoption of the absolutizing principle of subjective judgments of conscience and private interpretation of all moral norms.
There has been a moral and pastoral crisis for the last half century in the Church, but I honestly think we haven’t yet seen anything like what might lie ahead. The 4 Cardinals—I like to call them "The Four Just Men" (coined by the prolfiic Edgar Wallace a century ago)—have nailed the roots of this threat in their five questions related to the apparent undermining of Church doctrine on intrinsically evil acts and the objective formation of conscience in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia (AL). In fact, we are already seeing the very divisive effects of this document’s confusion.
For instance, we are witnessing the very different implementations of AL in different local Churches. Some continue to follow the traditional pastoral practice of the Church which denies Holy Communion to couples living as husband and wife in invalid second unions following divorce. Others call for a case by case resolution where the Catholics involved are encouraged to decide whether this second [adulterous] union is God’s will for them and whether they are allowed to receive Communion. Thus one American bishop has now encouraged divorced and remarried Catholics to “utilize the internal forum of conscience” in making their decision as to whether they should receive Communion or refrain. In other words, private conscience now trumps the canon law of the Church and the moral law of God.
Another division arises when an American bishop, now a Cardinal, openly criticizes an American Archbishop’s directives regarding Communion for the divorced and remarried as being out of step with the Church. Then there was the unseemly attack of the Dean of the Roman Rota, bitterly criticizing the 4 Cardinals for their supposed betrayal of their office, which evidently requires that they never asks clarification from a pope, never mind question the actions of a pope.
Following that divisive incident, an Australian Archbishop demeaned the 4 Cardinals by asserting thatthey are seeking a “false clarity that comes because you don’t address reality.” He went on to say that during the Synod he himself “heard voices that sounded very clear and certain but only because they never grappled with the real question or never dealt with the real facts.”
So much for the intelligence, integrity and pastoral experience of 4 distinguished Cardinals and their supporters!
In another part of the world, an Archbishop in Ireland joined the chorus of criticism with this bit of ecclesial wisdom: