Is ‘Amoris Laetitia’ being twisted in such a way that real blasphemy results?

by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Initial notes.

Blasphemy involves words or gestures, also thoughts, which show contempt for God or dishonor God regardless of whether the person intends that contempt or dishonor or not.  Blasphemy is against the virtue of religion and a mortal sin.  Blasphemy is direct when it is aimed at God.  It is indirect when aimed at Holy Church or the saints or any sacred thing or person or place.   A deadly sort of blasphemy concerns the Holy Spirit (cf. Matthew 12, 31-32).  This  ghastly sin denies to the Holy Spirit the power or will to purify, forgive, lead to penance, etc., resulting in final impenitence and hardness of heart.  That sort of sin, the “unpardonable sin” cannot be forgiven because the person rejects forgiveness.

Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB,  a Benedictine monk and priest at Douay in England, writes a blog called Dominus mihi adiutor (the motto of Douay Abbey from Ps 117:7).  He put his finger on something that I have worried about constantly since the ongoing controversies erupted over the objectively unclear content in Amoris laetita concerning Communion for the divorced and remarried who seemingly have no firm purpose of amendment.

There is an antinomian wind ripping tornadically through the Church.  There is a lot of dangerous talk about exoneration by a “conscience” not formed in harmony with Natural Law and the Church’s teachings that yawns like a sink hole under the Church’s law and doctrine.

“What has been proposed about matrimony is an ideal!  It’s impossible!  We have to be merciful to those who can’t live according to some pie in the sky ideal!”, some of the turncoats say. “Laws are unmerciful and papal teachings that are over thirty years old are lacking in compassion!”

One of the things that has bothered me greatly is that this debate over Communion threads back to other matters central to the Church’s very identity, indeed Christianity’s core beliefs.  For example, if Christ was wrong about marriage and remarriage and adultery, then He isn’t God.  If Christ isn’t God, then we are idolaters and we are in a very bad way indeed.

Fr. Hugh has another approach which is like to mine.  He points out that they commit blasphemy who say that the ideal of marriage as proposed by Christ can’t be lived by ordinary people.   It is tantamount to saying that, not only was Christ wrong, but that burdens were placed on people but the graces to live the vocation were not given.  This is a variant on the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit.

Let’s see some of the post that Fr. Hugh offered… I’ll cut to where he really gets to it.  My emphases and comments:

[…]

So when some start twisting the admittedly woolier and imperfect parts of Amoris Laetitia to make the case for allowing civilly divorced and remarried Catholics to continue in a state that Christ calls adultery, and to allow them at the same time to receive Holy Communion, surely they commit a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Implicit in their approach is the assertion that some baptised and confirmed are somehow unable to live as Christ commanded, and that these people form an exception that charity, yea mercy, must accommodate. If some, then potentially all are unable. Christ is made at best a liar, and at worst a tyrant in imposing on all humanity a precept some, apparently, cannot obey.

Do you see the blasphemy? Christ’s law on marriage is beyond us, even a burden to us, and so God is denied the good that he has done, and implicitly we attribute to God responsibility for the failure of some to live up to the teaching, because their natural state and even their re-created state after baptism and confirmation is still not able to live up to Christ’s commandments. So if that is how he has made us then we cannot be responsible for our failings. The gift of the Holy Spirit is not, then, really the gift that it is made out to be.

The blasphemy is compounded when those in such adulterous unions are effectively encouraged to remain in adultery, without the necessary requirement that they live as brother and sister, and yet still receive Holy Communion. Given St Paul’s inspired teaching on Holy Communion in 1 Corinthians 11, such an indulgence is an atrocity. It encourages such unhappy sinners to eat and drink judgment upon themselves. In effect, the libertines would have the adulterous eat and drink what would be for them only poison for their souls.

It is hard to see how those such as the two bishops of Malta have become anything other than abetters of spiritual poisoning and blasphemers against the Holy Spirit. Our Lord’s judgment on those who persist in such a sin is clear. It is still hard to believe that they have done so. However, it seems they have.

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
Mark 9:42

Not my words, but Christ’s. But they still have to time to repent. So do we. Best not to waste it.

You see, dear readers, there is more, far more, to this debate than whether a really rare, heart-string pulling case about abandonment and “luv” and divorce and a remarriage that’s really great and all manner of sentimental stuff can be scraped up to fling into the faces of those who uphold the Church’s teachings rooted in the Deposit of Faith going back to the Lord and the Apostles.  The ramifications of being able to go to Communion without a purpose of amendment about any sin, because ideals are tooo haaard, undermine Christology, Sacramental Theology, Ecclesiology… the whole ball of wax, the whole nine yards, the whole… you know.

By the way, the whole of Ps 117:7 is: Dominus mihi adiutor et ego despiciam inimicos meos.

See also this analysis by Edward Peters

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2 Responses to Is ‘Amoris Laetitia’ being twisted in such a way that real blasphemy results?

  1. toadspittle says:

    [The moderator – Do you not have a CCC in your abode Toad? Do your own homework. Enough of displaying your “paranoid” questions in our comment section. Besides, you never show the slightest interest in any answers you are sometimes given.]

  2. toadspittle says:

    What’s a CCC?

    [Moderator – Catechism of the Catholic Church. Back to school you go!]

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