May 25, 2016
Who really wrote Amoris Laetitia?
Sandro Magister offers a very astute guess.
In his latest article on Chiesa, see here, he writes:
“Amoris Laetitia” Has a Ghostwriter. His Name Is Víctor Manuel Fernández
Startling resemblances between the key passages of the exhortation by Pope Francis and two texts from ten years ago by his main adviser. A double synod for a solution that had already been written.”
See link above for complete article. The following are excerpts with my comments in red.
Magister notes that the key passages in Amoris Laetitia, the ones which are most intentionally ambiguous, that is, the paragraphs of chapter eight that give the go-ahead for communion for the divorced and remarried have an Argentine prehistory, based as they are on a pair of articles from 2005 and 2006 by Víctor Manuel Fernández, already back then and even more today a thinker of reference for Pope Francis and the ghostwriter of his major texts.
“During those years Fernández was professor of theology at the Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires.
“And at that same university in 2004 an international theological conference was held on “Veritatis Splendor,” the encyclical of John Paul II on “certain fundamental truths of Catholic doctrine,” decisively critical of “situational” ethics, the permissive tendency already present among the Jesuits in the 17th century and today more widespread than ever in the Church.
Magister emphasises that ‘Veritatis Splendor’ is not a minor encyclical. In 2014 Benedict XVI cited its “unchanged relevance” and concluded that “studying and assimilating this encyclical remains a great and important duty.” In fact, Magister concluded that Pope Benedict affirms ‘Veritatis Splendor’ to be essential for “overcoming the pragmatic drift of current morality, ‘in which there no longer exists that which is truly evil and that which is truly good, but only that which, from the point of view of efficacy, is better or worse.’ ”
“So then, that 2004 conference in Buenos Aires, dedicated in particular to the theology of the family, moved in the same direction later examined by Ratzinger. And it was precisely in order to react to that conference that Fernández wrote the two articles cited here, practically in defense of situational ethics.
“Partly on account of those two articles, the congregation for Catholic education blocked the candidacy of Fernández as rector of the Universidad Católica Argentina, only to have to give in later, in 2009, to then-archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who fought tooth and nail to clear the way for the promotion of his protege.
“In 2013, just after he was elected pope, Bergoglio even bestowed episcopal ordination upon Fernández, with the title of the extinct metropolitan see of Teurnia. While he confined to the Vatican Apostolic Library the chief culprit of the rejection, Dominican theologian Jean-Louis Bruguès, without making him a cardinal, as instead is the tradition for all the librarians of the Holy Roman Church.
“And since then Fernández has almost spent more time in Rome than in Buenos Aires, swamped as he is with acting as ghostwriter to his friend the pope, without any growth in the meantime of his credentials as a theologian, already anything but brilliant at the outset.
“The first book, in fact, that revealed the genius of Fernández to the world, was: “Heal me with your mouth. The art of kissing,” published in 1995 in Argentina with this presentation to the reader, written by the author himself:
“Let me explain to you that I write this book not so much on the basis of my personal experience as on that of the life of people who kiss. In these pages I would like to summarize the popular sentiment, that which people feel when they think of a kiss, that which mortals feel when they kiss. This is why I spoke for a long time with many persons who have a great deal of experience in this matter, and also with many young people who are learning to kiss in their way. Moreover, I have consulted many books and I wanted to show how the poets speak of the kiss. In this way, with the intention of summarizing the immense richness of life have come these pages on behalf of the kiss, which I hope may help you to kiss better, urge you to liberate in a kiss the best of your being.”
“So this is the figure that Francis keeps close as his thinker of reference, the man who put down in writing large parts of “Evangelii Gaudium,” the program of the pontificate, of “Laudato Si’,” the encyclical on the environment, and finally of “Amoris Laetitia,” the post-synodal exhortation on the family.
Magister then presents the passages of “Amoris Laetitia” comparing them with earlier passages from Fernandez’s writing from ten years ago. But first, he points out, “It is helpful to read while keeping in mind what was said recently by Robert Spaemann, a great philosopher and theologian with whom Fernández cannot even be compared:
“The true problem is an influential style of moral theology, already present among the Jesuits in the 17th century, which upholds a merely situational ethics. John Paul II rejected situational ethics and condemned it in his encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor.’ “Amoris Laetitia’ also breaks with this magisterial document.”
Comparison between “Amoris Laetitia” and two articles by Víctor Manuel Fernández from ten years ago
“AMORIS LAETITIA” 300
“There can be no risk that a specific discernment may lead people to think that the Church maintains a double standard.”
(Fernández 2006: 160)
“In this way there is not proposed a double standard or a ‘situational morality.’ ”
“AMORIS LAETITIA” 301
For an adequate understanding of the possibility and need of special discernment in certain “irregular” situations, one thing must always be taken into account, lest anyone think that the demands of the Gospel are in any way being compromised. The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations. Hence it is 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.
(Fernández 2005: 42)
Taking into account the influences that attenuate or eliminate imputability (cf. CCC 1735), there always exists the possibility that an objective situation of sin could coexist with the life 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” [Footnote 339: John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” (22 November 1981), 33: AAS 74 (1982), 121], or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin.
(Fernández 2006: 159)
When the historical subject does not find himself in subjective conditions to act differently or to understand “the values inherent in the norm” (cf. FC 33c), or when “a sincere commitment to a certain norm may not lead immediately to verify the observance of said norm” [Footnote 45].
As the Synod Fathers put it, “factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision”. Saint Thomas Aquinas himself recognized that someone may possess grace and charity, yet not be able to exercise any one of the virtues well; in other words, although someone may possess all the infused moral virtues, he does not clearly manifest the existence of one of them, because the outward practice of that virtue is rendered difficult: “Certain saints are said not to possess certain virtues, in so far as they experience difficulty in the acts of those virtues, even though they have the habits of all the virtues” [Footnote 342].[Footnote 341: cf. Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 65, a. 3, ad 2; De malo, q. 2, a. 2].
[Footnote 342: Ibid., ad 3].
(Fernández 2006: 156)
Saint Thomas recognized that someone could have grace and charity, but without being able to exercise well one of the virtues “propter aliquas dispositiones contrarias” (ST I-II 65, 3, ad 2). This does not mean that he does not possess all the virtues, but rather that he cannot manifest clearly the existence of one of them because the external action of this virtue encounters difficulties from contrary dispositions: “Certain saints are said not to possess certain virtues, in so far as they experience difficulty in the acts of those virtues, even though they have the habits of all the virtues” (ibid., ad 3).
“AMORIS LAETITIA” 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. Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits. [Footnote 351: In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. . .].
(Fernández 2006: 158)
“There is no doubt that the Catholic magisterium has clearly admitted that an objectively evil act, as is the case with a premarital relationship or the use of a condom in a sexual relationship, does not necessarily lead to losing the life of sanctifying grace, from which the dynamism of charity draws its origin.
(Fernández 2005: 42)
On the other hand, given that we cannot judge the subjective situation of persons and taking into account the influences that attenuate or eliminate imputability (cf. CCC 1735), there always exists the possibility that an objective situation of sin may coexist with the life of sanctifying grace.
There really is no excuse for the professional “catholics” who continue to defend the indefensible. Tomorrow, faithful Catholics will honor the Blessed Sacrament in the beautiful feast of Corpus Christi. Even those who are constrained by unavoidable circumstances from attending Mass, please take time to follow the Mass of Corpus Christi in your Missals and make a devout spiritual Communion of reparation.
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Most Precious Blood of Jesus, save us, save our priests.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come!
~ by evensong at ReturntoFatima.org. for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.