In the Name of Pope Francis,
Cardinal Cupich Declares the End of Mortal Sin
by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 13, 2018
Cardinal Cupich to people living in sin:
“No, you shall not die the death.”
Made a cardinal by Pope Francis, who elevated him to the vertices of ecclesial power by installing him as Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago and appointing him to the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Bishops as well as the Congregation for Catholic Education, Blase Cupich is spearheading what can only be called the movement to destroy Catholic teaching concerning marriage and procreation that Francis officially launched with Amoris Laetitia (AL).
In my last column I discussed George Weigel’s trenchant comment that “the Church doesn’t do paradigm shifts” because they mean a rupture with the past. But in a speech delivered at the Von Hügel Institute, St. Edmund College, Cambridge, England on February 9, whose text has been published in La Stampa, the reliable propaganda tool of Francis, Cupich announces no fewer than five “paradigm shifts” emanating solely from AL. So much for the prior 2,000 years of constant Church teaching.
Herewith some key quotations from the address along with the necessary “translations” of Cupich’s crafty rhetoric into plain language:
- “[Francis is] introducing a more holistic approach to being church, one that more fully unites what we know and practice in our tradition in order to better respond to the realities people face in their daily lives.”
Translation: The Church must adjust her teaching to accommodate people’s sins.
- “[T]he Holy Father is offering a new paradigm in this document, one that calls us to embrace a new spirit, a change of direction in the way the Church carries out its ministry, especially ministry to families. At the heart of this shift is a fully incarnational approach… On the one hand the Church embraces the family with the Gospel message. Yet, since the family is already itself a Gospel, the Gospel of the family, there is a reciprocity to this incarnational approach that recognizes the contribution that families make to the Church’s understanding and proclamation of the Gospel. In other words, there has to be a holistic connection between our knowledge and our practice. Our ideas and our experience have to inform each other.”
Translation: The Church must adjust her teaching to accommodate people’s sins by heeding the opinions of “families” born of divorce and cohabitation.
- “[T]he complex realities that couples and families face today are singularly different from those of the past.”
Translation: We are going to invent new excuses for the same old sins of adultery and fornication, calling them “complex realities.”
- “A fresh approach is needed, one that is holistic and catholic.”
Translation: The Church’s constant teaching on the intrinsic immorality of adultery and fornication (including contraception) will now be abandoned.
- “[F]amily life today is so dramatically different from the past, leaving many people disoriented and uncertain about their lives to the point that the Church must find a new way to minister to them.”
Translation: The Church must accommodate modern sinful living arrangements.
- “It is not solely in the glimpses of perfection that families may reveal the presence and action of Christ to the Church. Perhaps even more often they reveal Christ’s action in their imperfect attempts at love and compassion, which permeate ordinary life (AL 57, 113).”
Translation: Living according to the Sixth Commandment is “perfection,” but adultery and fornication are laudable “imperfect” forms of love, no longer to be called sins.
- “[Francis] also admits the possibility of God’s grace working in those involved in second marriages: ‘[I]t can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.’” (AL 301)
Translation: Public adultery is no longer to be viewed as mortally sinful.
- “All of this represents an enormous change of approach, a paradigm shift holistically rooted in scripture, tradition and human experience.”
Translation: We are going to cast aside Church teaching on the intrinsic evil and mortally sinful character of adultery and fornication, all the while claiming to be traditional but appealing to the “human experience” of living in sin.
- “Ministers must accompany families in a process of discernment. They must always do so by maintaining a balance between teaching and listening…”
Translation: We must accommodate people who are living in sin rather than teaching them that their behavior is sinful and must be amended for their own temporal and eternal good.
- “It goes without saying that this will also mean rejecting an authoritarian or paternalistic way of dealing with people that lays down the law, that pretends to have all the answers, or easy answers to complex problems, that suggests that general rules will seamlessly bring immediate clarity or that the teachings of our tradition can preemptively be applied to the particular challenges confronting couples and families.”
Translation: We will toss aside the Church’s teaching on the intrinsic evil of adultery and fornication as mere “general rules” that cannot be applied to individual cases.
- “Certainly, the Church, ever faithful to the Great Commission of Matthew 28, will always need those who teach. This is why Pope Francis maintains, ‘In no way must the Church desist from proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its grandeur’ (AL 307).”
Translation: Obedience to the Sixth Commandment is now to be viewed as a mere ideal, no longer a commandment binding on everyone without exception.
- “[T]he core goal of formal teaching on marriage is accompaniment, not the pursuit of an abstract, isolated set of truths. This represents a major shift in our ministerial approach that is nothing short of revolutionary.”
Translation: We have begun a revolution which will discard the Sixth Commandment as a mere abstract rule in favor of “accompanying” sinners in their sin.
- “This is how Pope Francis explains it: ‘Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal…’”
Translation: God does not expect us always to obey the Sixth Commandment and may even ask us to disobey it, depending on the “concrete complexity” of each case. The Sixth Commandment is now to be seen as a mere ideal.
- “A logical consequence of the first three paradigm shifts is the need for the Church to incorporate the insights of the faithful not just generally, but specifically into teachings about marriage and family.”
Translation: The Church must change its very teaching on the demands of the Sixth Commandment according to what the people require.
- “The most appropriate remedy, of course, is to attend to the concrete situations of real families, inviting the lay faithful to help the whole Church understand and promote marriage and family life as a source of true fulfillment.”
Translation: The Church must take advice on how to deal with adultery from people living in adultery.
- “With the insight of those who constantly navigate the tensions between the abstract ideal and its actual manifestation, we will have the resources necessary to articulate the divine plan for marriage and family in a way that inspires hope rather than despair at the awareness of what they currently are not.”
Translation: Telling people that their conduct is sinful makes them despair because they cannot attain the “ideal” of avoiding adultery and fornication, which is only an “abstract idea.”
- “This approach must recognize that people ‘…can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications’ (AL 298). Acknowledging ‘the immense variety of concrete situations,’ the pope calls for ‘a responsible personal and pastoral discernment of particular cases,’ one which would recognize that, since ‘the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases,’ the consequences or effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same (AL 300).”
Translation: The Church must abandon her traditional moral teaching on mortal sin and exceptionless negative precepts of the natural law in favor of situation ethics.
- “The result is not relativism, or an arbitrary application of the doctrinal law, but an authentic receptivity to God’s self-revelation in the concrete realities of family life and to the work of the Holy Spirit in the consciences of the faithful.”
Translation: We will pretend that situation ethics is not relativistic.
- “Likewise, there has to be a balance between universal and local concerns. The pope stresses the importance of local variation in our global Church. ‘Not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by the interventions of the magisterium’ (AL 3)...”
Translation: What is considered wrong in some places, such as Poland, can now be considered right in others, such as the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.
- “In this regard, Pope Francis has now offered a pathway forward with the publication in Acta Apostolica Sedes of his letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires and their pastoral [sic], which confirms that their interpretation of Amoris authentically reflects his mind as being official Church teaching. It will now be up to all in the Church, particularly the hierarchy, to respond in a spirit of affective and effective collegiality with the Successor of Peter…”
Translation: Contrary to what I [Cupich] have just said, there must be no local variation. “All the Church” should eventually admit public adulterers to Holy Communion in “complex” cases in obedience to “the Successor of Peter.”
- “This final [fifth] shift is the result of reinstating mercy at the heart of the Gospel to the point that “we should always consider ‘inadequate any theological conception which in the end puts in doubt the omnipotence of God and, especially, his mercy’” (AL 311).”
Translation: Thanks to Francis the Church is merciful again because Francis recognizes that God’s omnipotence is able to overlook mortal sin.
But I have saved the worst for last. Quoth Cupich:
- “In other words, the voice of conscience… could very well affirm the necessity of living at some distance from the Church’s understanding of the ideal, while nevertheless calling a person ‘to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized.’ (AL 303)”
Translation: There are no longer any sins of the flesh in violation of the Sixth Commandment, but only an ideal amounting to nothing more than “the Church’s understanding,” and it may be necessary to disregard “the Church’s understanding” of the “ideal” until one deems oneself ready to achieve the “ideal” by avoiding adultery and fornication.
Cupich’s address contains not a single mention of sin beyond the one mention discounting it: i.e., “it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin…” In the name of Pope Francis, Cupich effectively declares the abolition of mortal sin in the “pastoral practice” of the Church under the “paradigm shifts” and the “revolution” supposedly launched by AL.
The estimable Father John Hunwicke, in assessing this despicable excursus, dubs Cupich “Cupich the Super Slippery.” But I would go further: With Cupich we hear the hissing of a serpent — the same serpent who, in response to Eve’s protestation that “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die”, replied: “No, you shall not die the death.”
Cupich, who dares to declare the de facto abolition of mortal sin, is the voice of the serpent in the midst of the worst crisis in Church history; the serpent whose head Our Lady finally will crush (Gen. 3:15). But here we must recall once again, with hope, the prophetic warning of Sister Lucia to the late Cardinal Caffarra, uttered in light of the Third Secret of Fatima:
“Father, a time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family. And those who will work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation. But do not be afraid, because Our Lady has already crushed his head.”
The enemies of the truth that makes us free, the betrayers of the Gospel who would consign their own sheep to the bondage of mortal sin, refusing even to call it mortal sin, will inevitably suffer a crushing defeat under the heel of the Blessed Virgin. And the beginning of that defeat will come with the long-delayed Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.