THIRD PART AND THE TEACHINGS OF THE MAGISTERIUM
Regarding the confusion caused by the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and after having shown in two recent studies the lamentable incoherencies and falsities in the document (see here and here), The Denzinger-Bergoglio would like to remind its readers of the teachings that the Church has always conveyed to the ‘remarried divorced’ and to sinners in general.
Let us not forget that the Church is a Mother and, as such, She has always looked out for her children, especially those in situations of risk to their eternal salvation. Her maternal care has never deceived them about their real situation of departure from Catholic teaching. She has always been able to indicate the path of salvation and provide the necessary means to rescue whoever accepts her help.
An efficacious medicine is often bitter; but when dosed by a mother’s hand, the child is grateful for it. Many of us have fond memories of the care our mothers gave during illnesses, and the tireless efforts they devoted to our speedy recovery.
Failure to administer an unpleasant medicine is not true love; love requires that the dose be accompanied by assuring words on the medicine’s wonderful effects. Let us be faithful to the enduring doctrine of the Magisterium of the Church and bear in mind that God doesn’t abandon his Church even when assailed by contrary winds.
Quote AQuote BQuote CQuote DQuote EQuote FQuote GQuote HQuote IQuote JQuote KQuote L
295. Along these lines, Saint John Paul II proposed the so-called ‘law of gradualness’ in the knowledge that the human being ‘knows, loves and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth’. This is not a ‘gradualness of law’ but rather a gradualness in the prudential exercise of free acts on the part of subjects who are not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law. For the law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception; it can be followed with the help of grace, even though each human being ‘advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God and the demands of God’s definitive and absolute love in his or her entire personal and social life’.
296. The Synod addressed various situations of weakness or imperfection.
298. The divorced who have entered a new union, for example, can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment. One thing is a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins. The Church acknowledges situations ‘where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate’.
298. It must remain clear that this is not the ideal which the Gospel proposes for marriage and the family… The discernment of pastors must always take place ‘by adequately distinguishing’, with an approach which ‘carefully discerns situations’. We know that no ‘easy recipes’ exist.
300. If we consider the immense variety of concrete situations such as those I have mentioned, it is understandable that neither the Synod nor this Exhortation could be expected to provide a new set of general rules, canonical in nature and applicable to all cases. What is possible is simply a renewed encouragement to undertake a responsible personal and pastoral discernment of particular cases, one which would recognize that, since ‘the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases’, the consequences or effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same.
301. 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. As the Synod Fathers put it, ‘factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision’.
302. For this reason, a negative judgment about an objective situation does not imply a judgment about the imputability or culpability of the person involved .
303. Recognizing the influence of such concrete factors, we can add that individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage. 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.
304. It is reductive simply to consider whether or not an individual’s actions correspond to a general law or rule, because that is not enough to discern and ensure full fidelity to God in the concrete life of a human being. It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations. At the same time, it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances cannot be elevated to the level of a rule. That would not only lead to an intolerable casuistry, but would endanger the very values which must be preserved with special care.
305. Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.
298. One thing is a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins. The Church acknowledges situations ‘where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate’.
329. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio (22 November 1981), 84: AAS 74 (1982), 186. In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers’ (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 51).
Enter the various parts of our study
II – Considerations regarding the Church’s zeal for her children who find themselves in sinful situations with no easy way out
III – Two thousand years of the true ‘law of graduality’, or the pastoral care employed by the saints: one without harshness, but also without misleading concessions