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Forte Spills the Beans, and What It Means

by Christopher A. Ferrara
May 9, 2016

During a press conference on Amoris Laetitia on May 3, Archbishop Bruno Forte revealed a little joke (“una battuta”) that Francis made during the Synod concerning his obsessive drive to admit the divorced and “remarried” to Holy Communion, just as he did when Archbishop of Buenos Aires: “If we speak explicitly about communion for the divorced and remarried, you do not know what a terrible mess we will make. So, we don’t speak of it plainly; do it in a way that the premises are there, and I will draw the conclusions.”

I have written about this revelation elsewhere, but here I will comment on what it means for the efforts of those who think that all Amoris Laetitia (AL) needs is a Band Aid in the form of an “authentic interpretation” consistent with the Church’s constant teaching, affirmed by John Paul II in Familiaris consortio 84, that those living in a state Our Lord Himself condemned as adultery cannot possibly be admitted to Holy Communion so long as they continue their adulterous relations.

First of all, this request for an “authentic interpretation” by Francis of his own document is absurd on its face. A Pope should not have to “interpret” his teaching in order to align it with orthodoxy. Its orthodoxy should be self-evident.  Any papal pronouncement that urgently needs to be “interpreted” in an orthodox manner is fatally flawed and should never have been issued.

Secondly, those who request from Francis an “authentic interpretation” that AL does not depart from the constant sacramental discipline of the Church, and Familiaris consortio 84 in particular, cannot be unaware that such an “interpretation” is the last thing Francis would provide, as it would undo his entire program of “integrating weakness” in the Church, to allude to the astounding title of Chapter 8 of AL.

Francis put that program in motion almost from the moment of his election, when he praised Cardinal Kasper’s “theology of mercy” from the balcony of Saint Peter’s during his first Angelus address, and then proceeded relentlessly to promote it at the special consistory of February 2014, the Phony Synod’s first session in 2014, and its concluding session in 2015 — a two-year-long process during which he repeatedly blasted his conservative opponents in the hierarchy and invoked a quasi-gnostic “Spirit” and the “God of surprises.”

With all due respect to Cardinal Muller, therefore, one can only regard as ironic his recent protestation that Francis cannot have meant to open the door to admission of public adulterers to Holy Communion in “certain cases.”  As he stated:

If the Church were to admit remarried divorcees to Holy Communion without demanding a change of their way of life by allowing them to remain in their situation – should one then not simply say that she has accepted divorce in some cases? Certainly, on paper, she would not accept it. She would continue to consider marriage as an ideal. But, does society today not also consider it an ideal? How, then, would the Church be different? Could she then still claim to have remained loyal to the Word of Jesus which, even at the time, was considered to be hard? 

Was not His Word also then in opposition to the culture and the practice of His time, which allowed for divorce in certain cases in order to adapt to human weakness? In practice, the indissolubility of marriage would remain merely a pleasant principle, because it would not any more be manifestly confessed in the Eucharist, the true place where the Christian truths are being confessed that relate to life and that form the public witness of the Church.

What an indictment of AL is implicit in these words, because they were prompted by the very fact that Francis has produced a document that lends itself precisely to the disastrous outcome Muller ironically insists Francis could not possibly have intended. But Forte’s revelation — which, of course, Francis will not deny — renders vain any such noble pretense. AL is what it is: an unprecedented debacle in the annals of the papacy.  Quite in keeping with the word ‘apocalyptic’ in the sense of an unveiling, an unveiling we no doubt would find in the integral Third Secret of Fatima.  It is no use to pretend otherwise.

To which Forte added: “Typical of a Jesuit.”  The press account notes that by this Forte meant that Francis the Jesuit had exhibited a “wisdom that permitted the maturation necessary to reach Amoris Laetitia.” That comment dovetails perfectly with Francis’ own statement — or, more aptly, his warning — at the end of Phony Synod 2014: “Now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront.” 

Again, Forte is not telling us anything that wasn’t already perfectly obvious: that the Phony Synod was merely the delivery vehicle for what Francis had already decided to do.  What is remarkable about Bruno’s admission, however, is his utter lack of concern about revealing explicitly to the world that the “synodal journey” was an exercise in cunning and deception designed to hide from the faithful and the few opponents in the hierarchy what Francis had in mind from the very beginning of his pontificate, when he heaped praise on Cardinal Kasper’s “theology of mercy” from the balcony of Saint Peter’s during his first Angelus address.

In other words, Bruno simply does not care if the world knows that Francis has been engaging in a massive ecclesiastical con job, culminating in a document that attacks the very foundations of the moral order by reducing the natural law to a “general rule” and the indissolubility of marriage to an “ideal.”  

From which it follows that Francis does not care either, for of course there will be no denial of Forte’s revelation, just as there was no denial of the revelation by that woman from Argentina whom Francis gave telephonic permission to receive Holy Communion even though she was living in adultery with a divorced man.  For Francis merely told the woman to do precisely what he had already planned to allow throughout the universal Church — but only in “certain cases” (Novus Ordo code for every case in short order).

Forte’s disclosure is significant for another reason: It confirms the utter futility of petitioning Francis for an “authentic interpretation” of Amoris Laetitia that would reaffirm the Church’s constant teaching on the impossibility of admitting public adulterers to the sacraments. Why would Francis “interpret” his own document in a manner exactly contrary to the aim of all his scheming and plotting with the likes of Forte?  In the Bergoglian dictatorship of mercy there is no appeal to justice.