Yesterday, the Vatican Press office published the Italian text of the Lineamenta (Outlines) for next Year’s Synod on the Family (#Synod15). As this document has shown itself to be stained by the same errors which the From Rome blog highlighted in its own critique of the Final Relatio of this year’s Synod, it will be useful to consider in what ways the committee charged by Pope Francis with preparing for the upcoming Synod next year has embraced the errors contained in that Final Relatio. It is for that reason, that The From Rome blog is honored to publish as a guest editorial, our own English translation of Mrs. Maria Guarini’s, Sinodalità recidiva: “Lineamenta” per il 2015, a critique of the new Lineamenta for next year’s Synod on the Family.
Mrs. Maria Guarini, is the editor and publisher of Chiesa e post Concilio, one of the most influential theological blogs in the Italian language and the only one of its kind in the city of Rome. For several years, Mrs. Guarini has proved her mettle by putting on display the erroneous theological presuppositions of all those who have raised their voices against the perennial Magisterium of the Church. She holds a Baccalareate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure (the Seraphicum) and can be considered one the members of the Roman Theological Circle which sustains faithfully still, the theological heritage of the Roman Church. She lives at Rome with her husband and son.
In our English translation, we have attempted to present the same signification as the original, but frequently on account of the many metaphors unique to modern Italian, we have had to reformulate the syntax and alter the terms to give the equivalent signification in English. In citations, even those to the Lineamenta, we have followed the Italian text quoted by Mrs. Guarini.
Backsliding to Synod15
We note that the “spirit of the Council”, in its own more revolutionary aspects not to mention its negationary semantics (the horrible, deleterious effect of affirming a correct principle conjoined with an erroneous one by means of the conjunction, “but”, which has so stirred the waters of theology that the eddies are now becoming consuming whirlpools) is now transferring its bad influence, little by little, to the upcoming Synod on the Family.
We have already spoken amply about this in our blog-post, Sinodo conciliarista (see here & here).
Now, I will limit myself to the following, essential off-the-cuff reflections, as I have before my eyes the just published document, “Lineamenta” per la XIV Assemblea Generale Ordinaria: La vocazione e la missione della famiglia nella Chiesa e nel mondo contemporeaneo (Oct. 4-25, 2014) which was published on Dec. 9, 2014.
The points which should never even have been put in discussion
If I pause for a moment on these points, it is because the relative questions — among which, of themselves, should not even be put in discussion — have not been approved and nevertheless, since they have, by the will of the Holy Father, been kept in the text of the Relatio which was published, they are thereby put once again into discussion as a result of the confusion mentioned in my premise. Not only this, but the Questionnaire which has been published along with the new Lineamenta has been redacted in such wise as to solicit a certain response, by means of assumptions which have been evidently chosen by the animus which is running the game.
So here we go, again! The Circus begins anew and the swirl of sophistry and nonsense proceeds with its obstinate arrogance. If one were to use the same energetic commitment to fight against error and to reaffirm the perennial Catholic truth, we would not find ourselves in this absurd crisis and on the rim of the abyss which is threatening the entire human race. But all this is because of the obscuring, if not the out-right renunciation, of the universality of salvation which Christ came to give the world through its transmission by the Church, which, instead of being centered on Her Center and Foundation, is going out of Her mind in the worse sense of the term and appealing now to the seductive seeds of the Word which are always called into play and employed in a sophistic and inappropriate sense, in Council or in a non-council. Moreover, the Second Vatican Council is not a Gospel and, additionally, Nostra Aetate, which is cited in the text of the Lineamenta, is only a document of secondary importance, inasmuch as it is a Declaration, and thus a document of the fourth and lowest grade, among those indicated by Msgr. Gherardini [here]:1 the amount of innovations, which cannot pretend to have an infallible and irreformable character, consequently, allows the possibility of a dissent based on faith and reason. A simple Declaration asserts itself as the fundamental principle of this new ecclesiology, based on the whims of newly-exalted barbarians, who use the excuse of praxis to get around doctrine. But Catholic doctrine and discipline are the pre-conditions of authentic encounter with Christ. Again, pastoral praxis reigns over doctrine, and thus right praxis presupposes right doctrine. The reversal of this order carries one easily to the affirmation that with a new reality of pastoral praxis one can develop a new doctrine.
One needs to ask oneself, in regard to n. 22 of the new Lineamenta, “What’s the purpose of the Church valuing natural marriage?” Which soon becomes a “matrimonial and familial reality of so many cultures and non-christian persons”. What’s the point? Do these have, perhaps, something that they can teach to those who alone have the duty to receive and transmit the fulfillment of salvation, which the Church has guarded (or used to guard) for 2,000 years, which salvation Christ worked and with the Apostles revealed and handed down to the Church, and which He continues to work despite our infidelities? The same creation which was conceived in view of Him, awaits the revelation of the sons of God, just as all peoples do, who to be saved, must come to know of and welcome it. In this passage, n. 22, from the Lineamenta, one hears the echo of Gaudium et Spes (nn. 12 & 24) (here). That one is able or that one should enter into dialogue with diverse cultures for political reasons or for the sake of civil concord does not regard the sphere of the Faith or the teaching of morals which flow from It (and not from other sources, those “befouled springs and polluted cisterns”, as the Bible calls them). This is what the Lineamenta says:
The Indissolubility of Matrimony and the Joy of living together
21. The reciprocal and constitutive gift of sacramental Matrimony is rooted in the grace of Baptism which establishes the fundamental alliance of every person with Christ in the Church. In the reciprocal welcoming and with Christ’s grace, the spouses-to-be promise one another the total gift of self, their fidelity and their openness to live; they recognize as constitutive elements of Matrimony the gifts which God offers them, taking seriously their mutual commitment, in His Name and in the presence of the Church. Now, in this bond it is possible to assume the goods of matrimony as well-endurable commitments by means of the help of grace and sacrament. God consecrates the love of the spouses and confirms its indissolubility, by offering them His help to live that fidelity, that reciprocal integration and that openness to life. Moreover, the Church turns Her gaze to the spouses as to the heart of the entire family which in turn turns its gaze to Jesus.
22. In the same respect, making our own the teaching of the Apostle according to which the entire creation was conceived of in Christ and in view of Him (cf. Colossians 1:16), the Second Vatican Council wanted to express its appreciation of natural marriage both through the valid elements present in other religions (cf Nostra Aetate, n. 2) and in other cultures, notwithstanding their limits and insufficiencies (cf. Redemptoris Missio, n. 55). The presence of the semina Verbi (the seeds of the Word) in these cultures (cf. Ad Gentes, n. 11) could apply, in some of its passages, even to the reality of matrimony and family in some forms outside of Christian matrimony — though founded on the stable and true relation of one man and one woman — which in every case, we judge, are orientated to this. With Herr gaze turned to the human wisdom of nations and cultures, the Church also recognizes this family as the basic necessary and fecund cell of human cohabitation.
Will the manipulation continue on in a contrived Synod? 2
In the Questionnaire, sent along with the Lineamenta in several languages to the Episcopal conferences throughout the world, the purpose of which, according to Cardinal Baldisseri is “the deepening of understanding of the questions confronted in the debate, all of them, but above all those which have need to be discussed in a more accurate manner”, there is associated to the above cited, n. 22, this question:
Question 19: The Second Vatican Council has expressed appreciation for natural marriage, renewing the ancient tradition of the Church. To what extent does pastoral praxis in the Diocese understand how to value even this wisdom of the nations, as something fundamental for culture and the common society? (cf. n. 22).
Note the ever-more explicit deceit, contained in this questionnaire. The Question just cited reveals it, by taking for granted both the appreciation of natural marriage and the valuing of the wisdom of the nations; it seeks only to verify the “how” it is to be done … You’d think that it would have been sufficient to limit itself to reorienting disoriented Catholics and in forming rightly those who are deformed.
There is a famine for formation, that is, for teaching
In a recent article published by the Italian-language blog, la Bussola quotidiana, there were proposed several interesting reflections on the expectations which laymen have regarding the openings and promises promoted during the recent Synod (at least as they seemed to progressives), expectations and motives shared by a large slice of those Catholics who are “open to the world”, by means of sleepy consciences and hearts, accustomed to consider in a positive light and according to the norm of what “everyone is doing”, that mode of morality which has always been practiced, which it always finds tiresome. No one remembers any longer that a moral life is possible only with Christ’s grace conveyed by the sanctifying action of His Church, prepared and accompanied by a teaching which gives sense to and makes savory the Divine Commandments founded on imperishable truth. Behold, this is what is at stake. This is what no one seems willing to speak of anymore.
For example, there are many, even among the shepherds, who recall that the indissolubility of Matrimony is derived from the Commandment of the Lord presented in the Gospel — correctly affirmed in paragraph n. 21, though with a following “but” — but they do not break open the delightful reasons which make this Commandment so acceptable to mind and heart, so worthy of being translated into life even if it’s a sacrifice, and a big one, to do so.
One understands and accepts this indissolubility of Matrimony, if one considers that it is linked to a faithfulness which has its fontal origin in the faithfulness of the Lord and Creator to His own creature, as something conceived, willed by, and ordered to Him, and thus in continuous dialogue with Him (and this is the only relationship which saves) by means of an exclusive relationship, which puts the Lord first and causes to descend Therefrom all which is consequent to it in true fecundity: all this because it is a relationship which implies an intimate and profound union, one which is faithful and exclusive, in a word, “spousal”. This kind of relationship does not only regard consecrated souls, who have chosen the better part, but every believing soul, everyone in a different measure and according to diverse situations. One speaks of a relationship which is exclusive in the sight of God, because it implies the rejection of other gods, which can be any one of the lusts of which the world is constantly insinuating and to which the inclination to evil, remaining in us from original sin, makes us neither deaf nor immune. We can not flee from all this except by means of grace and the choices which it enables us to make, out of a sort of second nature rather than a sense of obligation (which could be a starting point, but certainly not the destination of a Christian life).
This exclusivity regards, before all else, our relationship with God, the only one which enlarges our heart and makes it capable of embracing the reality of the other, of giving itself without expecting anything in return: this is the true life, which can only be lived in the Lord and in His Church and which no United-Nations-of-Religions could ever make possible or acceptable.
I speak of this in regard to the anthropological alteration contained in the Lineamenta, expressed in the open by some of the Fathers of Synod 14:
n. 5.The anthropological-cultural change influences, today, every aspect of life and requires an analytic and diversified approach…
And this appears to be the new founding principle for the new praxis. But in the real word, there has been no anthropological change. Man, with his own needs and fundamental questions, is the same man of all times according to his essence. The only thing that he has come to lack, today, is a metaphysical consideration of God and man, and this is what impedes our consideration of the true problem. If we could only succeed in seeing this, we would already have made a great step forwards. We risk becoming what has already been put into praxis, from the mentality which dominates our own day, very often in oblivion of the Council, but most of all of the Church Herself. The true crisis is not other than the crisis of the Church inasmuch as She is a Mystery. The true theological knot leads back to the very loss of the metaphysical concept of participation in the Church as a Mystery. And in such wise, Theology has been reduced to Anthropology. In fact, Theology has been, for some time now, in the process of coining a new language for itself, having put aside, more or less, that metaphysical language of the Scholastics, to make room for one which is more modern, which degenerated from the former — and we are seeing first hand the results — in the adoption of the philosophies of the Existentialists and Phenomenologists.
The epoch-shaking recognition of homosexual tendencies as “rights”
From the points in the Lineamenta which follow nn. 21 & 22, we note the incredible displacement of attention toward elements which are foreign to the Faith and away from the doctrine, which though maintained in the following proposition, notwithstanding the votes to the contrary, takes its point of departure from marginal matters, those “existential” to the heart of the discussion, without omitting putting into play, once more, the “poor nations” and the insistence of international organizations (!?).
But the Church is not a teacher of psychology or sociology, though they are certainly not to be ignored, or, moreover, undervalued as handmaids of theology, if such an expression still has any sense given the novel sense “theology” has today.
It is, in fact, the duty and function of the Church to affirm and teach. She should not recriminate nor be conditioned by pressures of any sort, nor should She pause upon secondary elements or take them as foundations by expressing them after a nevertheless — by means of which one imagines to avoid obstacles by causing to re-enter by means of another door, that which was jettisoned through the window … playing in this manner with words by mentioning what is obvious, like human respect and gentleness, but putting it in the midst of a discussion of the Church as a Church of Mercy, the True Church and not that one unhinged from the Truth and from Justice. But the risk is — and not an improbable one on account of what has already transpired — that the mark of unjust discrimination³ ends up in appearing to be but a legal recognition of homosexual unions. What sense has it, in fact, that we recall this in the midst of such a discussion? And from the rest of the document, already cited, there is sufficiently clear and explicit the difference there is between respect for human persons and the masquerade, behind these words, for the instrumentalized and ideological use of them to tolerate evil, which is is, moreover, something very different from the approbation and legalization of evil itself. It would have been better to begin with that distinction than an existentialist pastoral praxis from which it becomes possible to spin inalienable principles, at the risk of making the document something equivalent to John Paul II’s Familiaris consortio, to which it would have been better to pay attention than to look elsewhere. Here, I am speaking of paragraph 55 of the Lineamenta, which reads:
Pastoral attention towards persons of a homosexual orientation
55. Some families live with the experience of having in their midst persons with a homosexual orientation. In this regard, we are questioned about which kind of pastoral practices is opportune to confront this situation, in reference to what the Church teaches: “There does not exist any foundation for likening or establishing analogies, not even remote ones, between homosexual unions and God’s design for matrimony and the family”. Nevertheless, the men and women with homosexual tendencies should be welcomed with respect and gentleness. “In this regard, one will avoid every mark of unjust discrimination” (CDF, “Considerations on the proposals for legal recognition of the unions between homosexual persons”, n. 4).*
56. It is entirely unacceptable that the Pastors of the Church undergo any pressuring in this matter or that international organizations condition their financial assistance to Poor Countries upon the introduction of laws which establish “marriage” between persons of the same sex.
At this point it is legitimate to ask what ever happened to that infamous secret dossier, compiled by three 007 Cardinals, received by Pope Benedict XVI and consigned by him to his successor, which disclosed the impropriam influentiam (improper influence) which crisscrossed between the homosexual lines in the Curia and those outside the Vatican.
This topic, moreover, as I have already mentioned, is certainly one which needs to be drawn out. But the very fact that that there has entered into discussion those elements which of themselves can never be put in dispute, justifies amply the fears and perplexity which this very thing has caused. And there is no need to lower one’s attention, especially on the part of our Pastors, even those who are not directly involved in the upcoming Synod (see my Exhortation on this here).
A fundamental Question which needs an answer
But, here, do we not need to ask another, more fundamental question, which implies the others? A synod of Bishops, can it be considered a competent organ for treating of questions which touch upon doctrinal points, which by their nature are unchangeable, not only inasmuch as they have been already sanctioned by the definitive living discipline of the Church in the course of centuries and even by the interventions of the supreme magisterium of the Church, but in the case of sacramental Matrimony, which are derived from a Divine Commandment? Even if the last word belongs to the Pope, and it is his duty to pronounce it, for what reason does he persist in putting into discussion such very questions?
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