Written by Christopher A. Ferrara
More than three years into the Bergoglian pontificate there is no mistaking its principal line of development, which is Francis’s grand obsession: the admission of unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages” to Holy Communion, the “Kasper proposal” he has been promoting almost from the moment of his election. To that end, Francis has relentlessly put in place a kind of moral mafia to carry out his design. Let us meet some of its soldiers.
First, meet Archbishop Vincenzo (“the Enforcer”) Paglia, head of the (now) ludicrously misnamed Pontifical Council “for the Family”:
It was Paglia who oversaw the pontifical council’s production of the first Vatican-approved “sex-ed” program in Church history—a document so disgustingly immoral that it has already provoked a petition from the faithful pleading with Francis to order its withdrawal (they might as well be petitioning a pile of cinderblocks). Note Paglia’s rainbow-colored glasses, which are quite in keeping with his sympathy for sodomy: “In the world there are 20 or 25 countries where homosexuality is a crime. I would like the church to fight against all this.”Paglia is just the man for Francis to place in charge of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute of Studies on Marriage and Family (as grand chancellor). Paglia replaces the relatively conservative heads of those dicasteries, who, having defended the teaching of John Paul II and Benedict XVI to the contrary, were blocking the road to Holy Communion for unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages.”
Paglia openly advocates the “Kasper proposal”—that is, the Francis Proposal— for Holy Communion for unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages.” During the Phony Synod on the Family, Paglia also oversaw publication of a book presenting arguments in a favor of the overthrow of all prior teaching to the contrary, especially that of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, in favor of Kasper’s bogus “penitential path” that would allow some unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages” to receive Holy Communion while they consider whether they will obey Church teaching regarding their continuing adulterous sexual relations.
Paglia declares that the new titles Francis has bestowed upon him mean that the Pope wishes him to “continue the new course which emanates from the Synod of Bishops and his encyclical [sic] Amoris Laetitia.” And what is this new course? What else: Holy Communion for unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages.”
Next, meet Monsignor Pierangelo (“the Violinist”) Sequeri:
Msgr. Sequieri, a liberal academic and musician who is often seen in clerical garb, replaces Monsignor Livio Melina as President of the John Paul II Institute (to serve under Paglia as grand chancellor). Melina had “defended the Church’s perennial teachingthat remarried divorcees who are not living as ‘brother and sister’ are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Melina had also bravely insisted that Amoris Laetitia “does not change the Church’s discipline” and that “it continues to be the case that admitting to communion the divorced and ‘remarried,’ (apart from the situations foreseen by Familiaris Consortio 84 and Sacramentum Caritatis 29) goes against the Church’s discipline.” Naturally, Melina had to sleep with the fishes.
Next is the only American member of the moral mafia, a kind of equivalent to the Irish consigliere Tom Hagan in The Godfather. Meet Bishop Kevin (“the Jokester”) Farrell of Dallas:
Francis has just made Farrell head of his newly created super-dicastery: the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Family and Life which will absorb and thus remove any remaining roadblocks to Holy Communion for unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages” still to be found in the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for the Laity, both of which will cease to exist on September 1. (While the Pontifical Academy for Life will continue to exist, Paglia’s appointment as its head will remove any roadblock there, including the German philosopher Josef Siefert, who published a devastating critique of Amoris Laetitia, calling upon Francis to correct its errors against the Faith.)
The squishy semi-conservative Farrell, equipped with the appropriate “keen sense of humor, ” is a suitably “pro-gay” prelate. Farrell installed as pastor of a Texas parish a homosexual priest caught participating in a sexually explicit “gay” website. (This pervert was removed as pastor only after a public outcry.) Farrell clearly accepts as a given that there will be homosexual priests, formed and ordained as such with full knowledge of their “orientation.” Citing remarks by Francis concerning “respect” for “homosexual persons,” Farrell declared: “The Church still has the expectation that priests must commit to a life of celibate chastity whether they are homosexual or heterosexual.”
Yes, if you are a homosexual priest, the Church still “expects” you to be celibate! Otherwise, no problem! So much for the Church’s constant teaching that “gay” men are unfit for ordination and must not be admitted to the seminary. But then as Francis so famously declared in the context of questions about the flagrantly homosexual priest he made head of his very household (Msgr. Battista Ricca, who was found trapped in an elevator with a young male object of his attentions): “Who am I to judge?”
One cannot overlook a minor but nonetheless significant player in the moral mafia: meet Thomas (“the Mug”) Rosica:
The virulently pro-“gay” Rosica is the vicious and vindictive English language attaché of the Vatican Press Office whose lawyers bluffed a lawsuit suit against the publisher of the Vox Cantoris blog for telling the truth about him. Rosica is delighted with Farrell’s appointment, hailing it as “one of the most significant restructuring moves and appointments of his [Francis’s] Petrine Ministry” because “Bishop Farrell will have a very special concern for the implementation of Pope Francis’ landmark Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.” That is, Farrell will have a “very special concern” for finding a way to permit Holy Communion for unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages.”
It was Rosica who huffily declared during Synod 2016: “The jubilee of mercy requires a language of mercy, in particular in speaking about homosexuals or gay persons. We do not pity gay persons but we recognize them for who they are. They are our sons and daughters and brothers and sisters.” Farrell apparently agrees, which is why he staunchly defended Rosica when the latter “denounced a ‘cesspool of hatred’ in the Catholic blogosphere”—meaning lay bloggers who recognize that Rosica is a hissing snake-in-the-grass who needs to be exposed as an enemy of the Faith and driven out of any position of authority in the Church.
Farrell—as if there were any doubt—is fully on board with Holy Communion for unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages.” As he said of Amoris Laetitia shortly after its publication: “Some feel Pope Francis does not go far enough in addressing the hopes of those in irregular marriages, others who feel it compromises traditional teaching. In my opinion, it reflects the call of Jesus to his church to continue his healing and saving mission.” Farrell “also warmly praised comments on Amoris made by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria, who was among the proponents of opening Communion to the divorced and remarried at the pope’s two Synods of Bishops on the family.”
That brings us to the next member of the mafia. Meet Cardinal Christoph (“the Clown”) Schönborn:
Schönborn is Francis’s designated interpreter of Amoris Laetitia , meaning the one appointed to declare that the doctrine defended by John Paul II has “evolved” to contradict itself, so that the way is now open “in some cases” (meaning all cases eventually) to Holy Communion for unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages.”
Then there is that famous but lower-ranked oracle of Francis. Meet Antonio (“the Mouthpiece”) Spadaro:
As editor of Civiltà Catholica , Spadaro, Francis’s fellow liberal Jesuit and close confidant, was assigned the task of announcingthat the Phony Synod on the Family had already “‘laid the foundations’ for civilly remarried divorcees to be admitted to the sacraments” and that respecting Holy Communion for unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages” Amoris Latetia“affirms essentially that all cases cannot be enclosed within a valid general norm for all, always and in every case.”
That is, some unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages” can be admitted to Holy Communion. But which cases are to be exempted from the “general norm”—that is, from the natural law?
That question brings us, finally, to the capo di tutti capi. Meet Jorge Mario (“the Merciful”) Bergoglio, alias “Father Bergoglio” as he called himself when giving telephonic permission to receive Holy Communion to a woman living in adultery:
Francis insists that he is still Jorge Mario Bergoglio, having renewed his passport under that name. But, under the additional alias “Pope Francis,” Don Mario has dictated every move of his moral mafia according to the policy he reaffirmed in his remarks to a group of Polish Jesuits during his trip to Poland: sexual morality is not black and white, but gray. It all depends on the situation! To quote thetranscript of those remarks, which Don Mario authorized Father Spadaro to publish in Civiltà Catholica:
I want to add something now. I ask you to work with the seminarians. Above all give them that which they have not received from the Exercises [of St. Ignatius]. The Church today has need of growth in the capacity of spiritual discernment. Some plans of priestly formation run the risk of educating in the light of ideas that are too clear and distinct, and therefore of acting within rigidly a priori limits and criteria, and which prescind from concrete situations: “This must be done, this must not be done”….
It is necessary to form future priests not with general and abstract ideas, but with this aim of discerning spirits, so that they can help people in their concrete life. It is really necessary to understand this: in life not everything is black and white. No! In life shades of gray prevail. It is necessary then to teach how to discern in this gray area.
So, Don Mario has given his foot soldiers their orders: We must not have any clear and distinct ideas about sexual morality, but only unclear and indistinct ones, requiring “discernment of spirits” rather than telling people simply that they ought to amend their lives and cease committing sins of the flesh. It’s all a gray area. And where sexual behavior is concerned, there must be a least fifty shades of gray.
Regarding other matters, however, such as “inequality” and the death penalty, Don Mario still demands the sharpest of black and white distinctions: “This must be done, this must not be done” indeed!
Therefore—herewith the fulfillment of Don Mario’s grand obsession—there must be an opening to Holy Communion for unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages.” But for cohabiters as well! As Don Mario announces in Amoris Laetitia, for the first time in 2,000 years of Church history:
Hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin.
No longer! Since when? Since Francis! He has decreed that it can no longer “simply” be said that Holy Communion must be denied to unrepentant public adulterers in “second marriages” (like his sister) or cohabiters (like his nephew) because some of them might be in the state of grace even if they know that the Church teaches that what they are doing is immoral. Who knew? Francis knew!
But which lucky few are to be exempted from “the rules” prohibiting adultery and fornication and rendering Holy Communion impossible for those living in adultery or simply “shacked up” without even a marriage certificate? That is for the newly trained masters of “discerning spirits” to find out as they navigate the vast new “gray area” of sexual morality Don Mario discerns where once there was just as much clarity as there is with any other moral teaching of the Church.
To his credit, Phil Lawler notes that Francis has written to Paglia giving him a “list of concerns” he wishes Paglia to address, but that “Conspicuously missing from the Holy Father’s list of concerns were the sort of clear-cut statements on abortion and euthanasia, divorce and contraception, that Catholics came to expect during the pontificate of St. John Paul II.” Given the overwhelming evidence, Lawler wonders whether “Pope Francis is deliberately moving away from the teachings of St. John Paul II on marriage, family, and life.” That is, he wonders whether Francis is deliberately departing from sound orthodoxy. That’s quite a concern for a “mainstream” commentator to express publicly regarding a Roman Pontiff.
Yes, this entire piece is an exercise in mockery. But mockery seems to be demanded in respect to this ongoing and ever-worsening mockery of a pontificate, which will surely go down in Church history as a grotesque anomaly in comparison to which even the pontificate of the anathematized Pope Honorius appears utterly benign.