And Then There Were Six. Part 1 of a Response to The Correctors.

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T
he “filial correction” of Pope Francis—but let us, dear reader, pause over this descriptor. Edward Pentin at the Register breathlessly says that this is the first “filial correction” since 1333! I mean, wow. Let us cry over Jerusalem. But what canonical standing, may I ask, do any of the signators have to be correcting Peter? Can anyone correct Peter, other than, you know, Christ? The highest-ranking individual among them is Bp. Fellay. He used to be excommunicated, until Pope Benedict XVI lifted it. But the SSPX, of which he is the head, has no canonical standing in the Church; it is not in communion with Rome. The rest are a bunch of “lay scholars” and a few clergy. There is Fr. Claude Barthe, a “diocesan priest.” There is Fr Isio Cecchini, a “parish priest in Tuscany.” There is Fr. Linus F Clovis, the director of the Secretariat for Family and Life in the Archdiocese of Castries. Fr. Paul Cocard is a “religious.” Then there’s Martin Mosebach, a “writer and essayist.” (I looked him up; he writes novels, opera, theatre.) There’s Prof. Robert Hickson, a “retired professor of Literature and of Strategic-Cultural Studies.” Dr. Philip Blosser is a philosophy professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary; I suppose that’s something. Christopher Ferrara, contributor to The Remnant, is among them. Mainly, it reads like a who’s who of Who?

Anyway, The “filial correction” claims to find seven heresies in Amoris Laetitia. But, the Correctors add, there may be more than that:

In listing these seven propositions we do not intend to give an exhaustive list of all the heresies and errors which an unbiased reader, attempting to read Amoris laetitia in its natural and obvious sense, would plausibly take to be affirmed, suggested or favoured by this document: a letter sent to all the cardinals of the Church and to the Eastern Catholic patriarchs lists 19 such propositions.

See, if you find no heresies in Amoris Laetitia, it must be because you’re biased. The Correctors entertain no other possibility. But if you are unbiased, who knows how many heresies you may find? There might be 19, or 47, or 95, or 476, or three gajillion and twenty.

The Correctors list the heresies in Latin—in order to give the appearance of true Catholic gravitas, I imagine. Fortunately, for those of us in the Novus Ordo sect, they graciously translate them in the footnotes.

Here is the first:

A justified person has not the strength with God’s grace to carry out the objective demands of the divine law, as though any of the commandments of God are impossible for the justified; or as meaning that God’s grace, when it produces justification in an individual, does not invariably and of its nature produce conversion from all serious sin, or is not sufficient for conversion from all serious sin.

Now, I am sorry to have to point this out to The Correctors, but Amoris Laetitia not only does not endorse this heretical view, but it expressly denies it. Go to §295. There you will read:

For the law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception; it can be followed with the help of grace.

Imagine that. The Correctors say that the pope denies the justified can follow the law with the help of grace. Amoris Laetitia asserts that the justified can follow the law with the help of grace. Not only that, but the law is “a gift for everyone without exception.” No one is excluded.

Now, perhaps The Correctors will say that the pope is being devious. He is including this sentence in Amoris Laetitia, but wink wink, we know he doesn’t really mean it. Perhaps they will say that the sentence was not in the original text, but Modernist conspirators full of malice and deception went in and added it later as part of a cover up. Perhaps they will say that anyone who sees such a sentence in §295 is hallucinating and needs a prescription for Risperdal, or Zyprexa.

Who knows what The Correctors will say, but they leave that part out when they quote from §295. As a result, they present an incomplete picture of what the pope is saying there. This is the full paragraph:

Saint John Paul II proposed the so-called “law of gradualness” in the knowledge that the human being “knows, loves and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth.” This is not a “gradualness of law” but rather a gradualness in the prudential exercise of free acts on the part of subjects who are not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law. For the law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception; it can be followed with the help of grace, even though each human being “advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God and the demands of God’s definitive and absolute love in his or her entire personal and social life.”

The Correctors latch on to the part where the pope says that some people “are not in a position to … carry out the objective demands of the law.” The text goes on, however, to say that everyone can follow the law with the help of grace. Since the context here is the Law of Gradualness espoused by St. John Paul II, the pope is initially referring to people who can not yet carry out the objective demands of the law, due to a malformed conscience or some other mitigating factor. They can, however, with the help of grace, be led in that direction. Thus “each person advances gradually.” That’s what the pope is getting at. But he is not asserting that grace is insufficient.

So I need to correct The Correctors. They are just wrong.

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6 thoughts on “And Then There Were Six. Part 1 of a Response to The Correctors.

  1. If this is true, then the divorced and remarried already have their answer for how to return to the one true faith, and it isn’t the Maltese “nobody can follow this law so we won’t enforce it” answer.

    Which puts you directly at odds with Pope Francis himself, who prefers the Maltese interpretation.

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  2. The way to read any controversial document by a Pope, is to read it with the assumptions that:

    1. the Pope is an orthodox Catholic
    2. he has a Catholic intention
    3. his words are to be taken in a Catholic sense, and in no other
    4. he knows what he is doing
    5, he is sufficiently informed
    6. his critics may not be as well-equipped to comment as he is.

    IMO, anyway.

    Keep up the good work.

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  3. I read that the correctors explicitly said they weren’t accusing the pope himself of heresy, but of basically creating a fertile field, via AL, for heresy to grow in. So isn’t what you’re doing here a classic straw man fallacy?

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    1. No. I’m refuting a position they actually take on AL in the words they actually use. Whether they think the pope is guilty personally of these heresies or whether they think the heresies potential within the text is irrelevant.

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