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The Collapse Accelerates:
Holy Communion for Public Adulterers in Sicily

by Christopher A. Ferrara
June 15, 2017

The bishops of Buenos Aires, the bishops of Malta, and now the bishops of Sicily have joined the growing ranks of the episcopate who have begun a catastrophic fracturing of the Church’s bimillenial Eucharistic discipline by authorizing the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and civilly “remarried” people living in what even the Catechism of John Paul II calls “a situation of public and permanent adultery.”

The sole authority for this approval of mass sacrilege, of course, is nothing more than Amoris Laetitia (AL), Pope Bergoglio’s astounding attempt to apply situation ethics to a universally binding, exceptionless negative precept of the natural law, divinely proclaimed in the Sixth Commandment.

The Sicilian bishops, as they must, have had to resort to sophistry — that is, thinly disguised lies and deception — to give Pope Bergoglio what he so ardently desires.  In their “guidelines” for the unleashing of mass sacrilege (translation provided by Rorate Caeli), the Sicilian bishops observe that “The first novelty of AL, especially in Chapter 8, is its view on concrete situations, according to the dictum of Evangelii Gaudium that considers realities greater than ideas (see EG 31).”

Pure hokum.  There can be no “novelty” in moral theology in the sense of suddenly allowing what the Church has always condemned as intrinsically impossible: partaking of the Blessed Sacrament while one maintains a sexual relationship with someone to whom he or she is not married. 

The phrase “realities greater than ideas” is nothing but a disguise for the lie that the moral precepts laid down by God are mere ideas that “reality” often makes it “impossible” to obey, even with the assistance of divine grace.  That notion would mean the destruction of the entire moral edifice of the Church by reducing the natural law written on the heart of man to guide his conduct to mere “ideas” that are inferior to “realities.” 

The phrase “concrete situations” is nothing but situation ethics in disguise: whether one follows the natural law depends on his “concrete situation.”  As everyone’s “situation” is “concrete,” under AL everyone living in an adulterous “second marriage” could claim an excuse from adherence to the Sixth Commandment.

The bishops of Sicily continue with their moral nonsense­ — the moral nonsense that is AL — by declaring more openly their embrace of the Bergoglian “novelty” of situation ethics, citing Pope Bergoglio as their sole authority:

“Another novelty is the consequence of another principle outlined in Evangelii Gaudium (EG 222): ‘Since ‘time is greater than space’, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium.’ (AL 3). Consequently, we cannot expect unique rules for each situation, but we need a discernment over time among different situations, which does not rule out a priori or by decree the possibility of ecclesial communion for some, taking into account different levels of complementarity: between personal discernment and pastoral care (see AL 122), between the internal forum and the external forum (see EG 44), between ecclesial participation and access to the sacraments (see AL 299). In this respect, it is no small matter that Pope Francis states in EG 47: ‘The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’ It is no coincidence that this text is cited in footnote 351 in AL 305.”

This morally subversive blather boils down to the lie that the Sixth Commandment applies differently to different people depending upon their “different situations,” which is nothing but situation ethics, an invention of the devil. 

Here the Sicilian bishops cite Pope Bergoglio’s demagogic slogan that “The Eucharist… is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”   In other words, objective mortal sinners should receive Holy Communion as “nourishment” while they continue to commit the same mortal sin.  By that logic, all habitual mortal sinners should be admitted to Holy Communion, which is exactly the opposite of what the Church has always taught: that no one conscious of grave sin may approach the Blessed Sacrament. 

Moreover, as the phony “process of discernment” is supposed to inform public adulterers that their “second marriages” constitute objective mortal sin, according to the words of Christ Himself, people living in such adulterous unions cannot fail to be conscious of the sin.  Unless, that is, they are now to be told that their adulterous unions are not adulterous because of their “concrete situations,” which is exactly what is happening.

The Sicilian bishops conceal their outright subversion of the moral order with additional meaningless blather: “The formulations of AL cautiously open up a possibility of access to the Sacraments, which lies only in the place of discernment based on dialogue: it is not a canonical norm, but the potential outcome of a journey, the fruit of discernment and of a personal and pastoral maturity (see AL 298).”

Please!  The phrases “cautiously open up a possibility,” “only in the place of discernment based on dialogue,” “not a canonical norm” and “discernment and of a personal and pastoral maturity” are mere window dressing for the authorization of mass sacrilege.   The claim that this will be allowed only in cases of “personal and pastoral maturity” is laughable: a mature Catholic conscience will recognize adultery for what it is and cease offending God if the sinner is truly repentant.

So, what about true repentance?  Citing only Pope Bergoglio’s “novelties” as their authority, the Sicilian bishops declare:

“In every situation, – the Pope remembers – when dealing with those who have difficulties in living God’s law to the full, the invitation to pursue the via caritatis must be clearly heard. (AL 306). This welcoming of the invitation is necessary even if one cannot demand from the repentant penitent more than he can give. The requirement to gain access to the sacraments is repentance and the commitment to pursue a new path, human and spiritual, in the present objective situation in which the person finds himself, and not the abstract perfection. There are circumstances, in fact, in which every norm gets brought back to its proper end, which is the salvation of souls, the good of persons.”

Translation: a public adulterer can continue his adultery while receiving Holy Communion if ceasing his adultery is “more than he can give.” Thus, the Sicilian bishops­, doing just what Francis wishes them to do, now authorize Holy Communion for unrepentant adulterers who, through a nonsensical “process of discernment,” have persuaded themselves ­— with the help of the Sicilian bishops! — that God does not expect them to cease their adultery because this would be “more than they can give.”  According to that moral calculus, mortal sin is simply no longer an impediment to Holy Communion if one determines according to his own private judgment that he is unable to stop committing the sin.  Along with true repentance, the assistance of God’s grace is completely written out of the picture.

The Sicilian bishops conclude their sophistry with another deception: “To avoid relegating these people [the divorced and “remarried”] to a kind of ‘de facto limbo’ — on the one hand, they are not excommunicated, on the other hand, they are not in full communion with the Church — it ought to be considered that their condition is temporary, not from the spiritual point of view, because it is susceptible to change, conversion, and purification.”

The divorced and “remarried” have not been “relegated” by the Church to their situation of exclusion from the Sacraments.  Rather, they have relegated themselves by their own freely willed decision to take up with “partners” to whom they are not married and to engage in sexual relations with them. They can achieve “full communion” simply by doing what the Church has always required as a matter of divine and natural law: repent of this sinful behavior and cease their sexual relations outside of marriage.

But what the Church has always required in faithfulness to the instructions of Our Lord Himself is, according to the Sicilian bishops, no longer required.  Why?  Because Pope Bergoglio has purported to dispense with the requirement — something not even a Pope has any authority to do, as it would contradict the constant teaching of the Church affirmed by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

The Catholic Church is not a cult governed by a guru, who issues the latest instructions for the cult members to follow.  She is the ark of salvation whose integrity depends precisely on the constancy of her teaching, a reflection of the God who does not change His mind.  Thus, AL cannot bind the Church to its “novelties,” nor does Pope Bergoglio himself dare to proclaim that he is doing so. Rather, he winks and nods at those who follow his sly suggestions to undermine the moral order.

Never has the Church witnessed such a spectacle. The signs are many that a dramatic resolution of this debacle cannot be long in coming.