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As the 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae Approaches,
Cardinal Wuerl Calls for Obedience to Peter.

DOES ANYONE HEAR THAT HISSING SOUND?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
April 9, 2018

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, close collaborator of Pope Francis in the project of admitting public adulterers to Holy Communion in contradiction of the teaching of John Paul II and all previous popes, now wants us to know how very important it is to respect “the special and unique role of Peter” regarding the teaching of Paul VI in Humanae Vitae (HV).

Does he mean that, given “the special and unique role of Peter,” all Catholics should respect and be bound in conscience by that encyclical’s declaration that no one may engage in “any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation — whether as an end or as a means” because such actions are “deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong” — that is, always wrong without exception? Anyone who has followed the slithery path of Wuerl’s Modernist polemic will know that the answer is in the negative. 

At a Catholic University of America symposium on the 50th anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, Wuerl did what anyone who knows his game would expect: he came to praise the encyclical in order to bury it.  After remarking on how when HVfirst appeared, “vehement” dissent from the document was addressed by the United States Catholic Conference (which later became the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), Wuerl claimed to be “impressed then with the alacrity of the response in defense of the teaching office of Saint Peter and therefore the validation of the teaching of Humanae Vitae.”

Of course, in typical Wuerlian style there would be a “but.”  And the “but” was a sneaky switch from the truth of the teaching in HV on the intrinsic evil of contraception, which Paul VI merely defended in keeping with the divine and natural law, to “the importance of the teaching role of Peter. The issue was not just what was said, but also who said it.”

Having stressed the transient person of the Pope rather than the timeless truth of his teaching, Wuerl delivered the poison fruit: “One half century later, we continue to set forth the teaching of Blessed Pope Paul VI concerning the proper regulation of the propagation of offspring, and over these five decades we have learned that it is not sufficient simply to announce the teaching and repeat the words of the encyclical.”

I detect the sound of hissing.  By focusing on the person of a particular Pope as opposed to the moral truth that any Pope must defend precisely and only because it is unchangingly true, Wuerl is introducing what he has reason to believe is on the way:  the demand for false obedience to a “pastoral rereading” of HV, approved by Francis with the usual wink and nod.  This “rereading” will not simply affirm an infallible moral teaching as not subject to change, but rather will open the way to the moral nonsense of “discerning” how to apply the teaching in “concrete circumstances” according to Amoris Laetita (AL), the “apostolic exhortation” that attempts to impose situation ethics on the Church. 

In like manner has AL opened the way to “pastoral” applications of the Sixth Commandment to public adulterers in “second marriages” depending on “the concrete complexity of one’s limits.”  In short, the elimination of absolutely binding moral norms, which are nominally affirmed as they are practically negated.  That development is nothing short of apocalyptic.

To Cardinal Wuerl I would say this:  Your moves are transparent.  We see you coming from a mile away.  You may think you are clever, but you are merely obvious.  You will not fool anyone who does not wish to be fooled.  And you will not be able to convince Catholics who know their faith to ignore the diagnosis of this uniquely dysfunctional pontificate, which you are cynically exploiting.  To quote Cardinal Burke on this score:

“The Pope, through the divine will, enjoys all the power necessary to safeguard and promote the true faith, true divine worship, and the requisite sound discipline. This power belongs not to his person but to his office as Successor of St. Peter….

“At present there is a dangerous and even harmful confusion between the person of the Pope and his office, that results in the obscuring of the Petrine Office and in a worldly and political idea of the service of the Roman Pontiff in the Church.” 

“Any act of a Pope that undermines the salvific mission of Christ in the Church, whether it be a heretical act or an act that is in itself sinful, is simply void from the point of view of the Petrine Office. Thus also if any action of a Pope clearly causes grave harm to souls, it does not command the obedience of pastors and faithful.” 

Prepare, then, for the next demand for “obedience” to Peter in disobedience to the Truth.  This is the devil’s greatest trick in our epoch of diabolical disorientation in the Church: the use of false obedience to destroy true obedience.  This is the evil against which Father Gruner never ceased to make public protest.  And now we see the prophetic wisdom of his relentless opposition to this lie.

Keep the faith.  And ignore the liars, no matter how high their office in the Church.  We are indeed in the midst of “the devil’s final battle” — the one that he will lose when Our Lady crushes the head of the hissing snake.