More on the Maltese Debacle
by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 17, 2017
The Church has reached a turning point in her history whose magnitude cannot be exaggerated. With the evident approval of a sitting Roman Pontiff, who immediately published their “guidelines” in his semi-official newspaper, the bishops of Malta have turned what was once a veritable fortress of orthodox Catholicism into an outpost for the institutionalized acceptance of divorce and “remarriage” in the Catholic Church. The Maltese prelates accomplish their evil end by proclaiming patent moral nonsense not even worthy of being called casuistry. As they write (citing Amoris Laetitia [AL]):
“If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with ‘humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching [!], in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it’ (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).”
This is devilish sophistry, shamelessly dependent upon a deliberate abuse of language. How can “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching,” “a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it” and “an informed and enlightened conscience” be consistent with a belief that one can be “at peace with God” while continuing to engage in adulterous sexual relations outside of marriage? How can the bishops of Malta, successors of the Apostles themselves, dare to proclaim that public adulterers thus deluded must be admitted to Holy Communion?
Have these bishops gone mad? Or are they merely the cunning proponents of a new religion that is attempting to impose itself upon the universal Church during this pontificate? A religion that drapes itself in pious blandishments while it promotes an intrinsic evil at war with the piety it deviously professes.
Of course the bishops of Malta are no mere outliers. They are only following the trend that Francis has set in motion throughout the Catholic world. For example, before the bishops of Malta made explicit what was always implicit in AL, Bishop Robert McElroy, installed as the Bishop of San Diego by none other than Francis, had already done the same. In a statement issued to parishes in San Diego, McElroy declared that priests of the diocese must “assist those who are divorced and remarried and cannot receive an annulment to utilize the internal forum of conscience in order to discern if God is calling them to return to the Eucharist.”
That’s right: the bishop personally installed by Francis in a major American diocese has decreed that Catholics who cannot obtain an annulment, and thus are bound for life to their spouses in Holy Matrimony, may nonetheless “discern” that they can “return to the Eucharist” while engaging in sexual relations with someone to whom they are not married.
As the always sober and balanced Father Brian Harrison has observed, “if Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marital love comes to be generally interpreted and applied as liberally as it has been in the Diocese of San Diego, California, it will in effect mean the death of this sacrament as the Gospel of Christ and the Catholic Church have always presented it: a sacred covenant whose indissoluble character means that remarriage after divorce constitutes adultery — a violation of the Sixth Commandment that excludes one from sacramental absolution and Eucharistic communion.”
Apocalyptic is the only word that captures the gravity of this situation. One cannot say too much about it. No doubt more will be said here, for nothing like this has ever happened in the entire history of the Catholic Church. The impression of a terminal phase in the ecclesial crisis of the past half-century is now almost palpable, as is the sense of an impending and quite dramatic intervention from on high. God will not be mocked, and His mockers will not have long to continue trampling upon His law.
There is no doubt any longer: to recall the famous words of Cardinal Ciappi, this is the apostasy that “begins at the top” as foretold in the Third Secret of Fatima. May Our Lady of Fatima protect us from the chastisement that is surely approaching as the human element of the Church widely rebels against her divine Founder!