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An Indictment That Cannot Be Quashed

by Christopher A. Ferrara
December 14, 2016

In an historic address delivered at the Lepanto Foundation and translated by LifeSiteNews, the aptly named Bishop Athanasius Schneider leveled the following implicit indictment of the Bergoglian program to overthrow the Church’s bimillennial teaching and integrally related Eucharistic discipline regarding divorced and “remarried” persons by positing certain “exceptions” to an exceptionless negative precept of the divine and natural law:

“The commandment to not remarry following a separation from a legitimate spouse is not fundamentally a positive or canonical norm of the Church, but is the word of God, as Saint Paul the apostle taught… In consequence, the Church, in accordance with reason, divine and human, does not have the authority to approve, even implicitly, a more uxorio (conjugal) union outside of a valid marriage, admitting such adulterous people to Holy Communion.

“An ecclesiastical authority that issues norms or pastoral guidance that provides for such admission arrogates to itself a right that God has not given it. A pastoral accompaniment and discernment that does not communicate to the adulterous person, the so-called divorced and remarried, the divinely-established obligation to live in continence as a sine qua non condition for admission to the sacraments, exposes itself in reality as an arrogant clericalism, as there does not exist any clericalism so pharisaical as that which arrogates to itself rights reserved to God.”

Bishop Schneider does not name Pope Bergoglio, but rather takes aim at the outrage the whole Catholic world knows he has approved in his campaign to extend to the universal Church his “permission” for mass sacrilege when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Leaving no doubt of the matter, Francis wrote precisely to the bishops of Buenos Aires to confirm that “there is no other interpretation” of his Amoris Laetitia than what the bishops’ guidelines for its “implementation” provide:

“When the concrete circumstances of a couple make it feasible, especially when both are Christians with a journey of faith, it is possible to propose that they make the effort of living in continence….

“In other, more complex circumstances, and when it is not possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, the aforementioned option may not, in fact, be feasible [!]. Nonetheless, it is equally possible to undertake a journey of discernment. If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability… Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (cf.  [Amoris] notes 336 and 351)….”

Thus Francis approves the notion that living in continence may not be “feasible” and that some divorced and “remarried” people in “more complex circumstances” — whatever that means — may be allowed to receive Holy Communion while continuing to engage in sexual relations outside of marriage.  The Catholic mind staggers at the spectacle before us!

Why does Bishop Schneider call this insane idea “arrogant clericalism” which is “so pharisaical… that [it] arrogates to itself rights reserved to God”?  The answer, incredibly enough, is that Francis — like the Pharisees he never ceases to denounce — has done the very thing Our Lord condemned the Pharisees for doing: tolerating divorce.  He has dared to arrogate to himself rights reserved to God — doing so, moreover, in the name of the “God of surprises”.

Again, Bishop Schneider has avoided any direct mention of the author of this arrogant, pharisaical clericalism, but is there anyone still paying attention to Church affairs who does not know that the ultimate author is Francis and him alone?

What can the faithful do when no less than a Pope harkens back to the casuistry of the Pharisees at the same time that he denounces the casuistry of the so-called Pharisees of today, such as Bishop Schneider, who are defending Our Lord’s teaching against the Pope and his collaborators? We can only hope and pray for the Church’s deliverance from what is undeniably a quasi-apocalyptic state of affairs.

Meanwhile, Bishop Schneider’s indictment cannot be quashed, for the grand jury is Heaven itself and the trial has from all eternity ended in favor of the Truth that makes us free. Time will inevitably reveal the dreadful sentence to be passed by the heavenly court.