Times, they are a changing.
Just like time, we cannot stop our accumulation of knowledge. We learn new things about genetics, electronics, robotics and even nature. The internet and cell phones have increased the dissemination of this accumulating knowledge to a wider and wider base of individuals throughout the globe at an alarming rate. But with this accumulation of knowledge and its dissemination and interpretation, we have somehow concluded that life, in general, and the individual in particular, has no meaning and neither are worth relishing. Such malice toward human life leads the uninformed toward a blasé attitude toward society, the family and eventually rips even the individual apart. Anything goes. Pornography, the sex trade, homosexuality, bestiality, satanical worship, abortion become accepted norms within society. The result is the breakdown of the family. The family, which is the building blocks of any society, even the building blocks of any church, disintegrates. The result is war, mass migration, and radical demonstrations. With this denigration of the individual and the family, comes the denigration of the church. The church is led to believe that it must follow the times and adapt to the changes within society to be morally relevant, otherwise its members will not learn and participate in its teachings. Its teachings become less strict to accommodate an ever increasing uninformed and doubting public. The church gets caught up in this vicious circle and its participation exposes itself to evil. The odd thing is that the truth, morals and ethics of the 19th century have not changed even through today. Morals and ethics have remained the same from the beginning of time. Individuals and societies change and people try to conform their lives to this ancient moral ethic and are not successful, so society either attempts to change the moral ethic or it becomes discarded altogether.
Lets take one example in the Catholic Church to justify my position. Recently, more than 60 Roman Catholic theologians, priests and academics have formally accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy in a 25 page “filial correction.” This letter was written and signed by these 60 Catholic theologians in order to shed light on the deliberate or uninformed attempt by the Pope to “water down” the two millennia worth of teachings, canonical law and magisterium of the Catholic Church. They accuse Pope Francis’ attempt to extend communion to the civilly divorced and remarried in Amoris laetitia (The Joy of Love) as a deviation from solid church teaching and thus a heresy. Never mind that they do not address the issue of homosexuality mentioned by the Pope in Amoris Laetitia, a document prepared by the Pope as a result of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church in 2015.
Here is a quote of the ‘filial correction’ letter the by 60 signatories. “The words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness to which we wish to refer, and which in conjunction with these passages of Amoris laetitia are serving to propagate heresies within the Church, are the following:
- Your Holiness has refused to give a positive answer to the dubia submitted to you by Cardinals Burke, Caffarra, Brandmüller, and Meisner, in which you were respectfully requested to confirm that the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia does not abolish five teachings of the Catholic faith.
- Your Holiness intervened in the composition of the Relatio post disceptationem for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. The Relatio proposed allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics on a ‘case-by-case basis’, and said pastors should emphasize the ‘positive aspects’ of lifestyles the Church considers gravely sinful, including civil remarriage after divorce and premarital cohabitation. These proposals were included in the Relatio at your personal insistence, despite the fact that they did not receive the two-thirds majority required by the Synod rules for a proposal to be included in the Relatio.” These are very harsh accusations against the Pope, but the hierarchy and the laity want answers and valid theological reasons for any deviation from 2000 years of church teaching.
Let’s turn briefly to the Dubia mentioned by the ‘filial correction’ letter of the 60 signatories. On September 19, 2016, Catholic Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Burke and Joachim Meisner wrote to Pope Francis asking for an audience, raising the confusion caused by the language in Amoris Laetitia. The word ‘dubia’ is a Latin word meaning ‘doubt.’ In this context it is a letter of cardinals asking the Pope to clarify some questions concerning Catholic faith. Cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner have recently died as the Pope continues to refuse to answer the questions propounded to him.
Here is the list of the five questions:
“1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (nn. 300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance and thus to admit to Holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person ‘more uxorio’ (in a marital way) without fulfilling the conditions provided for by ‘Familiaris Consortio’ n. 84 and subsequently reaffirmed by ‘Reconciliatio et Paenitentia’ n. 34 and ‘Sacramentum Caritatis’ n. 29. Can the expression ‘in certain cases’ found in note 351 (n. 305) of the exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’ be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live ‘more uxorio’ (as man and wife)?
2. After the publication of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (cf. n. 304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’ n. 79, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?
3. After ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (n. 301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (cf. Mt 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration, June 24, 2000)?
4. After the affirmations of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (n. 302) on ‘circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,’ does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’ n. 81, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which ‘circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice?
5. After ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (n. 303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’ n. 56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?”
In other words, must the Church accept what the evident words of the bible clearly means or must we now interpret them in such a way as we do not offend those who partake in open violation of the Bible’s prohibitions? This toleration of moral ineptness results in the examination of my own personal actions so that those who violate biblical laws are not offended, while in the meantime, strict observers of the law and commandments are frowned upon as discriminatory, misogynistic, bigoted and homophobic. Political correctness of our current ‘times’ plays a huge part in this form of reverse polarization. I am sorry that many do not want to follow the clear wording and meaning of 2000 years of church tradition and teaching. But violators have alternatives. Practice your confusion in the Protestant Churches or don’t call yourselves Catholics at all. Unfortunately, this theological chaos has fallen into secular society.
These questions bring up extremely valid points which demand answers. The church’s future existence depends on the correct answers to these probing questions. Another issue raised in Amoris Laetitia was the burning question of homosexuality. Will the church ever validate a homosexual marriage? Can openly married homosexuals receive communion or become Eucharistic ministers? Will the Catholic Church ever perform homosexual marriages? At least this open and frank discussion within the Catholic Church is civil, unlike the political unrest taking place in America today between the conservatives versus the liberals, communists and fascists. One can be certain of one thing. All of the confusion and anarchy occurring in the world today, even with the Muslim jihad extremists, is a direct result of these unanswered questions. Times, they are a changing.