Rise of the Neo-Casuists
by Christopher A. Ferrara
July 13, 2016
Among the bishops one hears only the sound of crickets as Francis goes his merry way. “I am by nature oblivious (incosciente), and so I go ahead,” Francis airily informed a group of students at the Vatican last May.
The laity and some courageous priests, however, are rising in growing numbers to sound the alarm about the reckless course of this pontificate. A major new voice in this regard is no less than Monsignor Michel Schooyans, a close adviser to Pope John Paul II and a confidant of Pope Benedict XVI, who, as LifeSiteNews reports, “has issued a dire warning about the current trajectory in the Catholic Church.”
Lifesite has published a paper by Schooyans whose conclusions could not be more devastating to the myth of the Bergoglian pontificate of “mercy” and “simplicity” which leaves behind the Pharisaical “rigorism” of the past. On the contrary, Schooyans warns that the Synod on the Family “has revealed… a profound malaise in the Church” whose symptoms include “recurrent debates on the question of remarried, divorced persons, models for the family, the role of women, birth control, surrogate motherhood, homosexuality, euthanasia.” Quite simply, says Schooyans, “The Church is challenged in its very foundations.”
Exactly so. That much has been obvious for the past three years. But Schooyans’ analysis sheds a new and shocking light on the situation. He writes of “the dictates of the new jurists, heirs to the scribes and Pharisees,” meaning, of course, Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Baldisseri, Cardinal Marx, Archbishop (“The Art of Kissing”) Fernandez, Archbishop Bruno (“valuing” the “homosexual orientation”) Forte and the rest of the gang of kooks, sophists and uber-Modernists with which Francis has surrounded himself in his inner circle. That is, the same gang that stage-managed the Phony Synod from start to finish.
With an exquisite irony that penetrates like a knife, Schooyans — without naming names, but we know who they are — writes of “the return of casuistry, believed to allow moralists to examine and resolve matters of conscience. Certain moralists intend to offer solutions which please those who have recourse to their superior knowledge. Among the casuists of yesterday and today, the fundamental principles of morality are eclipsed by the (frequently divergent) opinions pronounced by these grave spiritual advisors.”
And then these stunning observations from the advisor and confidant of both of Francis’ immediate predecessors:
Progressively, the rules of behavior proceeding from the will of the Lord and handed down by the Magisterium of the Church are languishing in decline. The moral assessment of acts can therefore be modified. Not content with toning down this assessment, the casuists wish to transform the moral law itself. This will be the task of casuists, confessors, spiritual advisors and, on occasion, bishops. All must have a concern to please….
In order to please, the spiritual adviser will have to soften the rigor of the doctrine handed down by tradition. The pastor will have to adapt his words to the nature of man, whose passions are naturally leading to sin. Hence the progressive relegation of references to original sin and grace. The influence of Pelagius (a monk of British origin) is evident: Man must save himself and take his destiny into his own hands. Telling the truth forms no part of the role of the casuist, who must captivate, present a line of argument which is engaging, curry favor, make salvation easy, delight those who aspire to have itching ears. (2 Timothy 4:3)
Schooyans does everything but name Francis as the leader of the gang, but there is no need to state the obvious. He simply outlines Francis’ entire synodal and post-synodal program — above all, Amoris Laetitia — for subverting the Church’s teaching and constant discipline regarding the admission to the sacraments of the divorced and “remarried.” He writes:
The neo-casuists [i.e. Francis and company] show great interest in cases of divorced persons who are “remarried.” As in other cases, the different stages of their approach provide a good illustration of salami tactics. According to these tactics, what one would never concede as a whole is conceded slice by slice. So let us follow the process.
First slice: At the point of departure we find, of course, references to the teaching in the Scriptures on marriage and the Church’s doctrine on this question. Second slice: Emphasis is placed on the difficulties in “receiving” this teaching. Third slice, in the form of a question: Are “remarried” divorced persons in a state of grave sin? The fourth slice consists of the entry on the scene of the spiritual adviser, who will help “remarried” divorced persons to “discern,” that is, to choose whatever suits them in their situation. The spiritual adviser must show himself to be understanding and indulgent. He must demonstrate compassion, but what compassion?
For the casuist in effect, when one undertakes a moral assessment of an act, concern for compassion must take precedence over the assessment of actions which are objectively wrong: the adviser must be lenient, adapt to circumstances. With the fifth slice of salami, each individual will be able to discern, personally and with full freedom of thought, what suits him best. [paragraph breaks and emphasis added]
Sound familiar? In sum, under Francis the Church now witnesses the rise of the very things Francis himself has so ostentatiously condemned in others: neo-Pharisaism, neo-casuistry and, most famously, “neo-Pelagianism.” Never before in Church history has there been such a Pope. How can this astounding situation be viewed as anything less than apocalyptic — in the sense of “momentous or catastrophic” — even if the Apocalypse of Saint John is not yet upon us?
Our Lady of Fatima, intercede for us!