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Behold the Face of the New Doctrine-Free Catholicism

by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 24, 2017

The very image of Modernist suavity, the newly elected, smooth-talking and impeccably groomed head of the Jesuit order, Arturo Sosa, has just proclaimed the end of Catholic doctrine. No one should be surprised to learn that, as Sandro Magister reports, Sosa is “very close to Jose Mario Bergoglio.”

This closeness to Pope Bergoglio would explain Sosa’s prominent role in promoting the Bergoglian novelty of “discernment,” launched into the Church via Amoris Laetitia (AL) as the vehicle for circumventing the Sixth Commandment. 

In its traditional sense, “discernment” is the spiritual practice of mental prayer and contemplation by which one seeks to determine God’s will regarding a particular morally correct decision or path in life.  In AL, however, “discernment” is the proposed ruse by which an individual living in adultery can deceive himself that God wills that he/she continue in an immoral sexual relationship — thus opening a path for unrepentant public sinners to receive Holy Communion. The priest is to aid in “discerning” whether continued adultery and sacrilege are acceptable to God “for now.”  

To recall the disgraceful language of AL, § ¶303:

“Naturally, every effort should be made to encourage the development of an enlightened conscience, formed and guided by the responsible and serious discernment of one’s pastor, and to encourage an ever greater trust in God’s grace. 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.”

This gnostic application of “discernment” is bad enough. But Sosa has taken it a giant step further: Now, according to him, one must “discern” what the Gospel really means as opposed to what the Church had previously taught.

In an interview translated in Magister’s article, Sosa was confronted with the declaration of Cardinal Müller that the words of Jesus on divorce and remarriage are very clear, and that “no power in heaven and on earth, neither an angel nor the pope, neither a council nor a law of the bishops has the faculty to modify them.”

Sosa’s classically Modernist reply is as follows:

“So then, there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said. At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words. What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized, they are expressed in a language, in a specific setting, they are addressed to someone in particular.”

In short: the historicizing of the Gospel, which means there is no Gospel but only a collection of words whose meaning changes over time according to who is doing the reading. Realizing this, the interviewer objects: “But if all the words of Jesus must be examined and brought back to their historical context, they do not have an absolute value.” 

In reply, the Modernist Jesuit offered another Modernist chestnut:

“Over the last century in the Church there has been a great blossoming of studies that seek to understand exactly what Jesus meant to say… That is not relativism, but attests that the word is relative, the Gospel is written by human beings, it is accepted by the Church which is made up of human persons… So it is true that no one can change the word of Jesus, but one must know what it was!”

Notice Sosa’s classic Modernist two-step: denying that he is preaching relativism only to assert that the meaning of the Gospel is relative because it is the work of “human persons.”  Divine Revelation is utterly negated.

And now for the application of “discernment” to doctrine, thus producing its death in practice:

Q. Is it also possible to question the statement in Matthew 19:3-6: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder”?

A: I go along with what Pope Francis says. One does not bring into doubt, one brings into discernment. . .

Q: But discernment is evaluation, it is choosing among different options. There is no longer an obligation to follow just one interpretation. . .

A: No, the obligation is still there, but to follow the result of discernment.

The questioner states the obvious objection, but Sosa, in typical Modernist style, denies that he is doing precisely what he is doing: effectively abolishing doctrine in favor of private judgment. He simply labels private judgment “discernment” — in line with the Bergoglian novelty — and then declares that everyone must “discern” whether to follow the moral obligation.

Evidently exasperated, the interviewer again protests that this notion of “discernment” brings into doubt the words of Jesus “let no man put asunder,” to which Sosa replies:  “Not the word of Jesus, but the word of Jesus as we have interpreted it. Discernment does not select among different hypotheses but listens to the Holy Spirit, who – as Jesus has promised – helps us to understand the signs of God’s presence in human history.”

This is a combination of Gnosticism, historicism and Protestant private judgment: everyone decides for himself what doctrine means based on special interior knowledge imparted by God, which changes over the course of history.

When the interviewer further objected that this would mean that everyone could decide for himself whether to receive Holy Communion while living in adultery, Sosa deployed the master-heresy of the Modernist — the evolution of dogma:

“The Church has developed over the centuries, it is not a piece of reinforced concrete. It was born, it has learned, it has changed. This is why the ecumenical councils are held, to try to bring developments of doctrine into focus. Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much, it brings with it the image of the hardness of stone. Instead the human reality is much more nuanced, it is never black or white, it is in continual development.”

And there we have it: Sosa doesn’t like doctrine very much. Neither, it would appear, does Pope Bergoglio. Doctrine must be replaced by “discernment.” The remainder of the interview leaves no doubt of Sosa’s meaning:

Q: I seem to understand that for you there is a priority for the practice of the discernment of doctrine.

A: Yes, but doctrine is part of discernment. True discernment cannot dispense with doctrine.

Q: But it can reach conclusions different from doctrine.

A: That is so, because doctrine does not replace discernment, nor does it [replace] the Holy Spirit.

Note well: “discernment” is now superior to doctrine, which is merely part of “discernment,” and “discernment” may contradict doctrine because doctrine cannot replace discernment.

Behold the new doctrine-free religion founded entirely on “discernment,” a novelty originating with a wayward Pope whose utterances are without parallel in the history of the Church.

One can scarcely believe this is happening. But then, Our Lady foretold what we now witness when She conveyed to the seers of Fatima Her precious message/warning to the Church and the world, which began: “In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved…”

The words that follow, which thus far have been kept from us, no doubt foretell the ecclesial chaos that now surrounds us, as well as the dramatic manner in which it will finally be resolved.