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The Latest on the Kasper Proposal

Is the campaign to promote Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to allow the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried Catholics simply prompted by misguided but understandable sympathy, or is it motivated by something more sinister and revolutionary? The publication of the proceedings of the “Study Day on Pastoral Practice concerning Marriage and the Family,” organized in Rome on May 25, 2015 by the presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Germany, France, and Switzerland reveals that the agenda of the Kasper proposal proponents is about a lot more than reminding people in adulterous unions that God loves them. The real issue, to put it bluntly, is the redefinition of sin. Adultery is just one of the targeted subjects; homosexuality also looms large.

One of the presenters, Alain Thomasset, S.J., is vexed by the idea that some acts are intrinsically evil: “The interpretation of the doctrine of acts called ‘intrinsically evil’ seems to me to be one of the fundamental sources of the present difficulties in the pastoral care of families, since it underlies to a great extent the condemnation of artificial contraception, of the sexual acts of the divorced and remarried and of homosexual couples, including stable ones. This appears to many as incomprehensible and seems pastorally counterproductive.”

In essence, this blurs the difference between and right and wrong. Nothing can be intrinsically evil; it all depends upon the circumstances and intentions of the persons involved. Fr. Thomasset writes that a stable divorced-and-remarried couple trying to reconstitute a family would no longer be considered as guilty of adultery. And that a “homosexual relationship lived in stability and fidelity can be a path of holiness.”

How can a Catholic theologian say this? He is contradicting the constant teaching of the Church on the objective evil of sin and the moral imputability of sinful acts. Sin has been redefined out of existence. Do whatever you want, and do not worry about outdated categories that produce guilty feelings. In fact, having guilty feelings is seen as evidence of the cruelty, and hence the falsity, of the Church’s moral doctrine. If you are made to feel guilty for doing what you want to do, then you have been robbed of freedom and are a victim of a dictatorial system.

Those who reject the doctrine of the intrinsic evil of adulterous behavior and of homosexual acts cannot possibly conceive of the mission of the Church in the same way as the Church always has. That mission is the salvation of souls. Church teaching is the sure guide for living in harmony with God’s plan, and for avoiding those things that harm our soul now, and can lead us to lose our soul at the moment of our death.

Fr. Thomasset
Fr. Thomasset

For the innovators who reject that sure and certain teaching, the Church’s mission is about consolation, reassurance, affirmation. Salvation is not a question to be considered; it is presumed. The pressing urgency for the Church now is to justify people in violating what the Church has always taught to be binding in the realm of sexual morality. In this new approach, the guilty feelings and social stigma experienced by those once considered to be living in sin are obstacles to living in tranquil harmony with God and their fellow believers. The constant and unchanged moral teaching, not the sinner, is guilty of offending God. It must be changed.

The debate about the Kasper proposal has revealed that many now terribly misconstrue the nature of Christianity. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and open the way to Paradise. Jesus did not die on the cross to offer us the false reassurance that, in the end, you can do whatever you want, no matter what He revealed to his disciples about morality and justice. The whole notion that morality depends upon what you want it to mean is a revolutionary imposition on the Church. True consolation for the sinner comes from abandoning sin, not pretending it is not wrong.

The “Study Day” proceedings conclude with an unsigned “Summary” of the discussions. The effort to redefine sin out of existence is plainly evident. We read:

The directive images of marriage and the family define an ethical point of reference of great importance whose different facets human beings can only gradually transform into reality. From another angle this principle is important: he who loves lives a transcendental experience. Some aspects that must be considered as authentic testimonies of the love of God and of the action of the Spirit are to be found also in relations of love that do not apparently conform to the norms of the Church. We must look for God everywhere! In this context the importance of theological reflection on the “logoi spermatikoi” (seeds of the Word) was stressed. Faced with these structures of reality the Church is challenged to go beyond any form of un-nuanced reflection. In relation to the thematic of homosexuality a particular challenge is here posed to which we must respond in our reflection.

In short, the doctrine of the Faith is rendered meaningless when an “apparently” immoral lifestyle such as homosexual unions are, in the estimation of the “Summary” authors, “transcendental experiences” and “authentic testimonies of the love of God and of the action of the Spirit” that reveal the “seeds of the Word” of God hidden in what “un-nuanced” reflection has wrongly condemned as gravely offensive to God.

The duty to uphold Catholic teaching is paramount for all followers of Christ, especially for the Church’s shepherds. Because the salvation of souls depends upon our knowing and living what Christ taught us. The presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Germany, France, and Switzerland have failed that duty by sponsoring this effort to redefine the mission of the Church, offering the supposed consolation of a radical “new teaching” to those whose refuse to accept and live by Catholic doctrine. This is disastrous for souls.

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is pastor of Holy Family Church, New York, NY, and a canon lawyer.

  • Howard Kainz

    The problem may be at the parish level. After last year’s synod, our parish priest mentioned that he and other priests frequently grant permission to divorced and remarried couples to receive communion, using the “in foro interno” canonical privilege, which was supported by Cardinal Ratzinger in his early theological writings, but later discountenanced. If this is going on widely, and not just in my own diocese (Milwaukee), we may be dealing with a fait accompli. But perhaps the situation is different elsewhere.

    • RainingAgain

      Not happening in my parish here in Ireland.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      The doctrine of the “forum internum” stands on a very different footing.

      The question, “Is this marriage valid?” and the question “Can the invalidity of this marriage be proved beyond reasonable doubt and on corroborated evidence?” are two questions, not one and it is logically possible to answer yes to the first and no to the second. We have only to consider the Scottish verdict of “not proven” and the Roman judgment of “non liquet” to appreciate the distinction.

      What follows? In its public discipline, the Church has always followed the maxim of the Roman law that in such a case “idem est non probari et non esse; non deficit jus, sed probatio” (what is not proved and what is not is the same; it is not the defect of the law but of the proof and has consistently refused to allow a party to be a judge in his own cause.

      The Sixteenth century casuist, amidst their innumerable and ingenious speculations, discussed the case of a person convinced of the invalidity of his or her marriage, faced with a decree from the bishop “ad conjugalia obsequia exsequenda” ; a situation unlikely enough to occur then and even less likely to occur today, when the consistorial jurisdiction has fallen into desuetude.

  • RainingAgain

    This is nothing less than an attempt to replace the Kingship of Christ with that of Satan. It is the ultimate heresy-the Golden Rule superseded by “do as you will”.

    • Aramis

      Amen

    • Tamsin

      But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

  • Michael Dowd

    Outstanding column Fr. Murray! We all love to hear the truth spoken without equivocation. Following the logic of all this, the question to Fr.Thomasset, S.J. is then, what is the point of the Catholic Church if it is not to help us be obedient to God’s Word? According to Father it appears the purpose is to help us eliminate the guilt of sinning.

  • Chris in Maryland

    I thank my Lord Jesus for faithful witnesses like Fr. Murray, who speak the truth out of love for souls, and with knowledge of why God humbled himself and became man and sacrificed his life that we might know the truth about good and evil.
    What is pathetic is that the “Church-of-the-Synod” is utterly emptied out of Christ. Men like Thomasset are its perfect icons…a “priest” who projects that he doesn’t identify as a Catholic priest.

  • kathleen

    Looking at the photo of Fr.Thomasset I am wondering: why doesn’t he dress like a priest? The bigger question is, of course, why doesn’t he talk like a priest of God? Sometime in the 1970’s Pope Paul VI said that the smoke of Satan had entered the Church. It hasn’t left and is getting worse by the minute. Why don’t these priests, bishops and cardinals who no longer believe in the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church leave and join a church that believes as they do? We should all keep up our prayers for our priests who are leading people astray by their erroneous opinions and teachings. On this special feast day of Our Lady, let us ask for her powerful intercession. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well-beloved spouse.

    • Fr Kloster

      The dress of priests is largely brushed aside. When a priest refuses to dress like a priest, he is being disobedient and therefore has a basis for other renegade ideas. For a priest not to dress in a cassock or clericals, he has given a visible disregard for his priestly character. On a much lower level; how would we know a policeman were he not dressed in uniform? I am often approached for clarifications/explanations of the faith or to receive the sacraments. Had I not been dressed as a priest, those encounters would never have happened.

      The fact that prelates largely no longer enforce disciplines nor doctrine is at the root of the bigger problem. We have a lot of bratty priests and faithful as a result.

      • DeaconEdPeitler

        “Bratty”: you are being kind.

    • SD

      He might be a priest, but he ain’t Catholic.

  • LAM

    It is very difficult to understand why the Vicar of Christ has failed to correct the pervasive homosexual agenda in the Episcopacy and the priesthood that is attempting to change the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church on sexual morality, marriage and the Eucharist at what is now more clearly seen as the Synod against the Family (Catholic marriages and children). Why does he fail to teach?

    • Questioner @ large

      I remember when he was elected Pope his niece said that her Uncle Mario was going to get rid of all those old fashioned rules. Perhaps this is what he is doing by deliberately being ambiguous.

      • Frank

        Very good point. My late grandmother would have said he is “dumb like a fox.” He also reminds me of some modern theologians who make straightforward and strong statements of orthodoxy and then contradict it with their more detailed reflections. (Balthasar being one notorious example.).

    • Paddy Brennan

      Why did Benedict run and hide? “Germany, France, Switzerland….” We already know how Italy and Iberia have gone to the dogs. Ireland is an atheistic mess. South America is awash with Godless Socialist polemic. Francis prefers to speak out of both sides of his mouth at once: read “Laudato Si” – there is something in it for everyone; but it lacks any kind of authentic magisterial direction.

  • It is hedonism which is a heresy

  • Christophe

    Apparently our garrulous pope does not have the time to respond to this openly heretical statement by the BISHOP’S CONFERENCES of Germany, France, and Switzerland. Does he approve of it? QED

    • DeaconEdPeitler

      He’s busy phoning up people in Argentina.

  • Tom Piatak

    Fr. Murray is great!

  • Clearly an overhaul of doctrine in favor of unbounded and continuous mercy to any and all mortal sin, would be a grave error. Fr. Thomasset offers the most extreme position, and of course this will not be adopted. However there are others who stress the long overdue process of evangelization, who would seek an amendment only, to define how major and public contritions may be formally undertaken and granted. If the Synod does not adopt guidelines for this, we will be keeping the walls in place for those who are deeply contrite in their hearts, and who beg for any path even if tortuous, back into their beloved Church.

    • SD

      What?

  • givelifeachance2

    What connects remarriage with homosex is that each pair have children who would be scandalized by their own “parents” if the school taught them the truth about marriage . It is important to brave new state that children feel no special regard for the conjugal bond which brought them into existence, but instead reverence Big State who granted these irregulars their guardianship and from Whom all human rights flow.

  • sg4402

    “Blessed are the stable, for they shall inherit the earth.”

  • sg4402

    A far greater mind than Thomasset, Kasper, et.al. once said: “For to love God is to love oneself in truth; to help another human being to love God is to love another man; to be helped by another human being to love God is to be loved.” THIS is Christian love. All the other is all too human.

  • Mj anderson

    God bless Fr. Murray! If it is “pastorally counterproductive” to speak of intrinsically evil sins, that is because there has been little catechesis on sin in the last 30’years. The solution isn’t to toss out “intrinsically evil” as a definition of some sins, much less declare such aberrations as “OK, good-to-go now.” The solution is to retrace our path and take the right direction at the crossroad. The harsh truth is that we cannot get back on right path without going through a painful re-Catechizing process that will take an entire generation. I expect Heaven to hit a reset button unless we find the courage to turn around.

  • Questioner @ large

    Thank you Father Murray for some clarity. So many Catholics that I know are disturbed about the messages coming out of Rome.

  • o_mlly

    “Nothing can be intrinsically evil; it all depends upon the circumstances and intentions of the persons involved.”

    This statement seems to me to conflate as identical two very different qualities of a moral act: evilness and sinfulness. Can a moral act be both intrinsically evil and not sinful? I think the Church’s teaching is “yes.”

    We believe some acts are intrinsically evil because in all places at all times the act produces evil effects (objectively evil). No exceptions. However, we do not believe that any act is intrinsically sinful or intrinsically good. The disposition of the subject, the actor, makes all the difference. No one but the actor and God enter this sacred space.

    Therefore, all sinful acts have evil effects (at least on the actor); not all evil acts are sinful.

    More broadly on the work of the bishops, I think the Church’s determination on the validity of a marriage is akin to its determination of a saint. A marriage is or is not valid and a person is or is not a saint independent of the Church’s action. Theologians argue on papal infallibility on the canonization of a saint; I have not heard of a marriage tribunal ever invoking infallibility.

    Since Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life, exclusion, it seems to me, is a grave and serious responsibility that falls to our Magisterium. Periodic reviews of such laws are only prudent.

    As to the work of the Bishops’ Conference on Cardinal Kasper’s proposal, I do not fear the outcomes and take comfort in Divine Providence (Acts 5:38-39).

    • SD

      All intrinsically evil acts are objectivel sinful. They are always a sin. Personal culpability will vary depending on circumstance.

      • o_mlly

        Only the effects of an act may be objectively discerned. We cannot know the mind of another.

        • SD

          As I said the acts are always sinful. How culpable one may be is another matter. Pope JPII spoke to this very issue in Veritas Splendour.

          • o_mlly

            Yes, St. JPII did speak to this very issue.

            ” … both in moral theology and in pastoral practice one is familiar with cases in which an act which is grave by reason of its matter does not constitute a mortal sin because of a lack of full awareness or deliberate consent on the part of the person performing it.”

            VERITATIS SPLENDOR
            IOANNES PAULUS PP. II

          • Frank

            Venial sins are still sins. You folks are talking past each other, I think. An intrinsically evil act is a sin, by definition. Whether it is mortal or venial depends on many factors. Can all agree on that much?

        • Aliquantillus

          The mindset is irrelevant to the question of the sinfulness of the external act. It cannot change its basic moral category. If I commit adultery with the explicit intention not to act unlovingly to my wife it is still adultery and a grave sin.

          • o_mlly

            Matthew 5:28 tells us sin first occurs in the mind. The mindset is not only relevant, Christ tells us it determines sin.

            We cannot cite with authority the actual (not theoretical) sin of another, only our own.

          • Aliquantillus

            I admit that sin begins in the mind, at least intentional sin. My point, however, is that an external act of sin, such as adultery, or stealing, cannot be made good by a misguided intention, such as the intention not to hurt anybody by the act of adultery, or the intention of giving stolen money to charity. The basic intention, and the basic outward acts, are and remain in the category of wrondoing, no matter how “noble” a purpose I may have in mind in committing them.

          • o_mlly

            “The mindset is irrelevant to the question of the sinfulness of the external act.”

            Not according to our Catholic teaching. From the CCC:
            1735 Imputability and
            responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by
            ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments,
            and other psychological or social factors.

        • DeaconEdPeitler

          Unless they tell you…as when you go to confession.

          • o_mlly

            That’s right. Only God and the actor enter this sacred space. The priest in the confessional acts in the persona of Christ. The accuser is always and only the penitent.

          • Phil Steinacker

            The problem with your emphasis – not necessarily your argument – is that severe repetition emphasizing state of mind over the sinful nature of the act itself. Everyone was better off when self-certified catechists didn’t wag their fingers at those invoking intrinsic evil of mortally sinful acts.

            The overall result is that in the minds of far too many Catholics the criteria actively used has not been the objective sinful nature of the act. It is dismissed with a litany of accusations that those who stress the intrinsic evil are being judgmental.

            What you say is technically so, but it has been co-opted and transformed into a sort of spiritual hall pass which allows the bearer to dismiss any warnings or admonishment (Scripturally demanded of us throughout the Bible) as irrelevant because he doesn’t believe it’s wrong or he has some other excuse at work which precludes the admonishment.

            As I said, everyone was better off when the intrinsic evil of an act was clearly and universally understood by all – and I remember that time when this was mostly so. Back then it was a big deal to suggest something contrary to Church teaching on what constitutes sin. One didn’t put that foot forward lightly, because one might not be able to convince enough of one’s fellows to walk that line alone.

            Not so today. I am coming to believe that those too quick to provide this “loophole” may face severely intense questioning by the Judge Himself for their role in too freely offering that hall pass to those better off if no on offered them the solace of a way to sin “without sinning.”

    • Windswept House

      Re: Acts 5. I do fear the outcomes of sinful acts or errors in judgment. Lives and souls can literally be lost. The sins in the Garden of Eden are still rumbling through time. Have you forgot the sex abuse scandal? There is much to be said for fidelity and prevention.

      • o_mlly

        No, I have not forgotten the sex scandal.

        I think the greater evil was in the cover-up where those granted authority mistakenly attempted to protect the instrument (Church) at the expense of the end (salvation of children) thereby propagating all the more evil. I also remember Matthew 16:18.

        • Phil Steinacker

          I doubt those fondled or worse would agree that the cover-up was worse than the crime.

          Also, you ignore what most ignore…that at that time, every institution which began to encounter this issue went to the mental health authorities first and not police because even the police made that referral. Laws were not as clear and didn’t speak as specifically to the details of that crime as they do now.

          As a result, it was seen by the various types of authorities as a mental health and personnel issue; the laws didn’t provide the tailored response we have today.

          Moving priests around was less the conspiratorial practice claimed today, and more compliance with the best advice offered by mental health professionals at the time who foolishly believed they could cure this “disease.”

          BTW, we saw these same “professionals” make similar claims they could cure serial murderers and rapists. It is long forgotten by most that their dismal failure rate was nearly 100%. That is no surprise; today’s mental health “pros” would rather not discuss the terrible track record they’ve accrued, while they continue to do more damage than good by peddling homosexuality as normal.

          Next on the APA sell-out will be legitimizing polyamory, bestiality, and the lowering to age 12 and eventual the complete removal of the age of consent.

    • Athelstane

      As to the work of the Bishops’ Conference on Cardinal Kasper’s proposal, I do not fear the outcomes and take comfort in Divine Providence (Acts 5:38-39)

      But we cannot help but note that Divine Providence did not keep various synods throughout the centuries from going off the rails and even endorsing heretical positions, or the material harm to the faithful that often ensued. One thinks of the various Arian and Semi-Arian synods of the 4th century, the “Robber Council” of Ephesus in 449, or the quasi-Janesneist Council of Pistoia.

      We must all keep the theological virtue of Hope. But this should not be license to indulge a polyanna outlook on all proceedings within the Church. History warns us too well of the dangers of doing so.

      • o_mlly

        “…But we cannot help but note that Divine Providence did not keep various synods throughout the centuries from going off the rails and even endorsing heretical positions. …”

        Really? Do you believe any heresy ever survived the synodal process to be subsequently proclaimed by the pope as dogma? I think not. Christ keeps his promises. The Church has always protected the faith from the beginning.

        Nicea, the first of several ecumenical councils, demonstrated the Church’s early ability to organize itself and coordinate its authority against its enemies. Responding
        to Arianism, which held that Christ did not co-exist with the Father from eternity, Nicea produced our Nicene Creed, a formal statement of faith carefully defining both Christ’s co-eternity and consubstantiality with the Father. The councils that followed:
        Ephesus (431) condemning Nestorianism, and Chalcedon (451), condemning
        Monophysianism; furthered the Church’s understanding of itself as protector of the deposit of faith.

        • Phil Steinacker

          “Going off the rails” after a council has ben a typical occurrence throughout the history of the Church. There are always those living in the shadow of a council who distort and high jack a council or capitalize on some of its errors or its weaknesses in language to take the Church away from Her Bridegroom.

          As for councils endorsing heresy, there have been several instances when a council has been convened precisely to overturn an earlier council and repudiate some or all of its errors.

          Also, Nicea was ineffective in conclusively shutting down the Arian Heresy, which took another 55 years for another council to finally do the job. It continued to spread into the Germanic colonies for another 50-60 years after that.

  • Thomas Johnson

    The Church as been given the fullness of truth. We can certainly see bits of truth expressed in every faith community – christian or not. We do not doubt that where love is found, God is (if not actually present then at a minimum He is approached or come near to). The love held between divorced and remarried but not annulled, and homosexual relations present this case.

    To me, the pastoral approach would be to love the individual(s) and lead them into the better/fuller/more-complete way of love always taught by the Church.

    This is most difficult today in that many priests and bishops have not/do not teach about relationships, sex, or marriage, let alone the why’s and what’s of sin, etc. I fear this will only intensify/become worse unless the concepts are openly grappled with. We are just beginning to see that now in forums such as this. It has yet to occur within the parish.

  • Rene

    There is no question that the Church is in deep, deep, trouble and that many Catholics have accepted Modernity and rejected the Good News of Jesus Christ. The culture of dissent from Church teaching is alive and well and has been given a shot in the arm by many of Pope Francis’ statements and appointments. One wonders with trepidation what the future will bring. Apparently,the Pope does not want the Church to obsess about sexual morality, but he wants for her to obsess about climate change. And although the care of the Earth is clearly a moral issue, whether there is climate change, and whether this change is brought about by human activity, are scientific issues about which the Pope has no particular expertise. His priorities, therefore, appear to be upside-down. May God have mercy on us!

  • Cheryl Jefferies

    Re-defining sin? How can any human being, any member of Mankind, be so arrogant as to attempt to re-define Sin?! The very thought of attempting that is truly horrifying, not only in its implications, but, in its very allowance as an idea. While we cannot stop the human mind from coming up with any kind of idea, and while I am not advocating that, it goes without saying that there have been some very bad ideas expressed and acted on throughout the history of Man on this earth. Why cannot any thinking person not see the essential badness, the essential evil, in THIS idea, these proposals by some very misguided (to say the least) people? Someone needs to remind both Thomasset and Kasper that only God can define sin and He has already done that. And, to attempt to redefine sin is to step into an area that is exclusively God’s purview. It is to invade the province of God Himself. Someone already tried that: Satan. Lucifer. The Father of Lies. Or, do they not believe in Satan or Evil at all? Are they that willing to risk their own souls and the souls of the rest of us in this manner? God save us all.

  • MSDOTT

    “The presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Germany, France, and Switzerland have failed that duty by sponsoring this effort to redefine the mission of the Church, offering the supposed consolation of a radical “new teaching” to those whose refuse to accept and live by Catholic doctrine. This is disastrous for souls.”
    Thank you Fr. Murray for speaking plainly the truth. From your mouth to Pope Francis’ ears… and then hopefully to his mouth, ….verbatim!

  • Athelstane

    ” Jesus did not die on the cross to offer us the false reassurance that, in the end, you can do whatever you want, no matter what He revealed to his disciples about morality and justice.”

    Fr. Murray comes to the heart of the matter here identifying what the proportionalism advocated by Fr. Thomasset amounts to: a universalist antinomianism. He might not apply it evenly to all acts, but the logic leads to it, relentlessly.

    It might be an interesting and attractive moral ethic to many people. But it has nothing to do with orthodox Christianity, let alone of Catholicism.

  • Thomist

    As a child, I used to love the Jesuits, “God’s Marines”. Now, most of the Jesuit universities are chock full of priests like Fr. Thomasset. The Jesuit college system is a scandal. Yet, some Jesuits still follow strict adherence to the spirituality of St. Ignatius. Why hasn’t the the highest ranking Jesuit, (need I name him?) not straightened them out? The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius have had a profound impact on my life. I pray the order will return to it’s founder’s principles.

    • FrankieB

      Why hasn’t the local bishop ? Why hasn’t the Vatican ?

  • James

    Curiously we should be thankful that this vile era is playing out because rising to the surface is the reality of the heresy that is rife within the Church since at least when I was leaving high school 45 years ago. It was coming up like weeds in the Catholic university where I majored in theology. We are sitting in a collapsed cesspool and almost everyone has been, at one time or another, denying the reality. Now we can no longer deny the reality. The heterodox are essentially denying human experience, grievously wounded by sin, ascribing that reality any number of other monikers out of their treasury of psychoanalysis, sociology or the gnostic sciences.
    Denying the reality of sin, its nature and consequences, gives us free reign to do what we
    want and call it courageous and virtuous. Who needs a Redeemer when there is nothing from which to be redeemed? Worship? What about a communal assembly to provide a cover for our isolation in sin. Who needs that magic cookie anyway? The Communion of Saints evaporates as a bunch of fools who engaged the Christian battle out of the stimulus of deception and psychotic obsessive-compulsiveness. Blessed Virgin? What’s that?
    If the ecclesiastics gathering in Rome in October are not aware of the deep moral-existential
    realities they are playing with, and the consequences of even a “soft” accommodation to unbalanced academics proposing radical change to the Christian perception of reality, they need be removed and quickly. Make no mistake – we are already in a moral Armageddon. If we blink now the victory is pushed ever further down the road.
    As I look back it seems the Council was a foray into the Promised Land, but the surveyors
    collapsed in front of the giants of modernity and retreated back to the desert of doubt and unbelief. Perhaps now there will be a Joshua to lead us across the Jordan, finally, and rectify this madness? Please, Lord!

    • Joan Ellen Kopacz

      James: Your above words, in a well thought out way, synthesize what, sadly, appears to be the ‘condition’ of the Church. Thank you for paying attention…and sorting, separating and sifting to arrive at those words. Perhaps praying also.
      Pope Francis has succeeded in ‘exposing’ this “vile era” of “Denying the reality of sin” which then denies, because they are not now needed: Apostolic Succession, the 7 Sacraments, thousands of Saints who help us…three major reasons I remain Catholic.
      I agree that “psychoanalysis, sociology or the gnostic sciences” have forced the very Reality of God out of our souls, by explaining away our every thought, word, deed, feeling, emotion, and passion that offends Almighty God so that we do not need Him nor His Church.
      Pope Francis has ‘opened the doors’ wide for all to see, so that we take action…1st in prayer…then in catechesis…the lack of which has led to this sorry state of affairs.
      The sorriest yet to come in the upcoming Synod…without the prayers and catechesis…so needed…or the ‘church’ will be sanctioning Serial Monogamy which = ‘Moral Bigamy’ and/or ‘Moral Polygamy’ with all of its societal devastations.
      Besides praying for Christian Unity, it is important to pray much ASAP:Such as the Liturgy of the Hours (Succession), spend time in Eucharistic Adoration (Sacraments), and pray the prayers of the Rosary…requested by the Mother of God, the Theotokos, the Queen of All Saints (Saints).
      So…our prayers, our words, our actions…our examples…can still, hopefully, prevent the religious, no, rather, the catholic disaster that looms. Real Catholic thought will remain. It is in the hearts of many (Sensus fidei/Sensus fidelium…sense of the faith/sense of the faithful). This remaining thought may cause us to go from ‘carrying the Cross’ to ‘dying on the Cross’ as has happened, is happening, and will happen.

      *

      • James

        You attribute to Pope Francis the uncovering of this situation. It is yet to be seen if he is not deeply immersed in sustaining it. It is yet to be seen if his very comportment extolls it. Be not naïve.
        October will tell.

  • Manfred

    “I have prayed for you Simon Peter as Satan wished to sift you as wheat, so that when you turn, you might confirm the faithful.” Jesus in Luke Do you think that pope Bergoglio is confirming anyone? He is engendering chaos among the faithful because he is a devil. He alone is responsible for this as it was he who selected Kasper der kester(heretic) in February, 2014 to be the lead speaker at the 2014 Synod.
    It is long past time for Catholics to put the myths away and realize what evil really is. Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges could never have occurred without the Modernist victory at Vatican II.That victory continues to our day.

  • DeaconEdPeitler

    Has fr tomasette identified himself as a homosexual? If he did, the mystery of his wanting to abandon the reality of adultery as mortal sin would be immediately understood. Just another day in the life of the Jesuits who are in serious need of reform. Too bad we have one sitting in Peter’s Chair.

  • uwesiemon

    As a Lutheran, I am ashamed to admit that the German, Swiss and French Catholic leaders are following Protestantism in this respect, but they are following a false Protestantism! They’d better not appeal to authentic Lutheran doctrine in doing this.

    Article II of the Augsburg Confession, the most significant doctrinal document of Lutheran Christianity, defines Original Sin as 1) man’s innate inability to trust and believe in God, and 2) concupiscence. By “un-sinning” adultery or homosexuality, church leaders arbitrarily remove the second of the two principal pillars of Original Sin. This is a heresy in that it makes light of Christ’s work on the cross. I trust our faithful Roman Catholic brethren can follow my very Lutheran argument here.

    There is also a Lutheran answer to the deviation from sound Christian doctrine Fr. Murray describes thus: “Jesus did not die on the cross to offer us the false reassurance that, in the end, you can do whatever you want, no matter what He revealed to his disciples about morality and justice.”

    The Lutheran answer was given by our martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He called such false reassurance CHEAP GRACE.

  • DeaconEdPeitler

    Fr. Tomasset thinks adultery no sin sufficient enough to refrain from receiving Christ in the Eucharist. Does this apply to those still married? How about those divorced and just “sleeping around?” I guess he figures that many Catholics contracept and still receive Communion, why not those in adultery? Some Catholics have abortions and w/o the benefit of Confession, receive Communion so why not adultery? Some Catholics miss Mass for no good reason and receive Communion w/o confession the next time around, so why not with adultery?

    I don’t see a huge lobby of divorced and remarried clamoring for a change of the rules. Given the current practices of so many Catholics, why don’t they just go to Communion like the rest and none of us would be the wiser? They’d be like so many Catholics who make Church teaching conform to their particular moral dilemma.

    When will we realize that this is NOT about the divorced and remarried receiving the Eucharist; it is about Satan trying to thwart the salvific work of Christ among men.

  • Peter

    In the end, if wrong is accepted, then it is no different from right.

    We all do wrong – but we must surely aim to turn away from wrong and do right?

    You don’t reward wrong. You challenge it. You stand up to it.

  • fritzpatrick

    I see no evidence that Fr. Thomasset is rejecting the idea of intrinsic evil, any more than the people who changed the Church’s teaching on usury were rejecting intrinsic evil. The Jesuit priest may be right or wrong but to imply that he thinks there is no difference between right and wrong or that Christianity is about feeling OK with ourselves and not feeling guilty seems like slander to me.

    • Phil Steinacker

      You’re correct, insofar as it goes. He doesn’t reject outright “the doctrine of intrinsic evil.” Progressive bishops, priests, and theologians know better than to challenge it head-on. Go back and read his careful phrasing. You’ll see that, instead, he sidesteps it without further comment on its legitimacy by reducing it to a matter of “interpretation.” His reductionism employs the old feelings-centered sob story long favored by progressives, so rooted as it is in the “lived experience” seen as the legitimate foundation to the development of doctrine (another high-jacked term meant to jettison authentic doctrine eventually).

      The long term goal is that what the Church understands and teaches to be right vs. wrong must reflect what the not-so-faithful desire to be able to do in their daily lives without feeling bad.

      Indeed, this criteria has become the defining characteristic of what constitutes being “pastoral” – that the Church not make anyone feel bad (aka “guilty”).

      There is no slander here. If you object that there’s too much reading into his meaning from the offered text, please remember the bishops (and their public statements) and their allies who constitute membership in this group. Those of us following them regularly know what they mean because we’ve encountered their thinking repeatedly, often with clarification offered by one of their own. They are becoming quite cocky and brazen in that regard, which may help lead to their downfall. It is becoming easier and easier to highlight their thinking and motives because they willingly provide the ammunition.

    • St Donatus

      ‘Some aspects that must be considered as authentic testimonies of the love of God and of the action of the Spirit are to be found also in relations of love that do not apparently conform to the norms of the Church. We must look for God everywhere!’ are his words. Do we look for God in a murderer who kills a husband because he is in love with the man’s wife? No. In that case it would be pure selfish desire, just as is found in so many so called love relationships today.

      My sister in law abandoned her children and family for a ‘love’ relationship with another woman. Was that some place we should look for God? If we truly love God, we don’t commit adultery, we don’t commit fornication, we don’t commit murder, we simply do God’s will. Jesus did’nt tell the adulterous woman at the well to ‘see God in your love with various men’, he told her to ‘sin no more’.

    • FrankieB

      I wonder if liberal progressives believe that racism is ‘intrinsically evil’ or employing a Survival-of-the-Fittest policy and elminating all social welfare programs is also not “intrinsically evil.”

  • BXVI

    There is a concerted effort underway to “rehabilitate” the progressives, who had no legitimacy under the past two Popes, and they knew it. Pope Francis is encouraging this rehabilitation. I suspect that he saw (as the rest of us did) that the Church was divided and that only one side was given any credibility by Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict. Progressive and modernist clergy were marginalized and as an extention, so were the great body of Catholics who consider themselves progressive and modernist. My sense is that poor Pope Francis is trying to bring “unity” to the Church by “fixing” this “problem.” The ultimate symbol of this benighted attempt to bring “healing” to the Church was the joint canonization of the “liberal” St. John XXIII and the “conservative” St. John Paul the Great.

    There are two ways to approach this divide. One way is to continue to intentionally marginalize the “progressives” until they die off or leave. Another way is to give them back their voice and then try to achieve “unity” through forging some kind of “consensus.” It seems to me that this is the path Pope Francis has chosen. He seems to value the concepts of “unity” and “inclusion” above all else – and especially above the defense of moral doctrine.

    I believe this approach will be a disaster. First, the “progressives” are clearly wrong, in that they approach issues of sexual morality from a sociological point of view rather than starting from the Deposit of Faith. So, forging a consensus that includes their prescriptions in any form can only lead to error. Second, the attempt to achieve unity will utterly fail because the worldviews of the progressives and the orthodox are entirely incompatible. Neither side will ever accept the other as legitimate. The two views are different at their very core; there is no way to forge a consensus between the two. It turns out you really can’t mix oil and water.

    Our last two Popes did amazing work in suppressing the progressives, but they were always there, just under the surface. Now they have been resurrected. They despised Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict, but they love Pope Francis (they were responsible for his election) because he is allowing them to speak again, and to present their case, without declaring it completely out of bounds. Does he agree with them? No, not completely. But I think he wants to bring them back in out of the darkness to which they have been exiled and allow them to have their say and then try to forge a consensus “for the sake of unity.” And again, in reading Pope Francis’s many statements, it seems to me that he values unity above all else. If this is the case, he fails to realize that the progressives will not rest until they have completely transformed the Church. This path can only lead to disunity or schism. The Church will ultimately become all one thing or all the other.

    • Dave Fladlien

      I disagree: while I am anything but a fan of Pope Francis, I think what he is trying to do is say, ‘we don’t contend that what various people are doing sexually is right, we simply recognize that they are doing those things, and that we have to figure out how to react, how to treat them’. And on that — if nothing else at all — I do agree with the Pope: we have to figure out the correct response. In my opinion, that response *must* be determined on a case-by-case basis, precisely because each case is different.

      The upcoming Synod on Marriage and the Family may be our last time to address this for a long time. Whatever you think of my views, please join me in praying for the Synod…

      • Diane

        Sorry, it is black and white. That is how we deal with it. Remarriage after divorce, without the benefit of an annulment and active homosexuality are mortal sins and disallows one from receiving the Holy Eucharist, PERIOD. Jesus was very clear, go and sin no more and come and follow me.

        • BXVI

          Yes, it really is that simple. Or at least it should be. Pope Francis could clear all this up very easily but it is obvious he does not want to clear it up. He want’s the debate. He thinks it is good, even “healthy” to air it all out. But, it is never good to give voice and license to heresy or dissent. These are issues that were decided a long time ago and should not be legitimate subjects for debate in 2015. It is a scandal of gargatuan proportions that the synod has been allowed to devolve into a referendum on whether to hold on to the sacrament of Holy Matrimony or to give it up. And that is what this has become.

          • Dave Fladlien

            This is a question I had to ask myself…

            As a heterosexual man, I cannot even imagine wanting to have sex with another man. The thought disgusts me. But if I were internally totally a homosexual, that is I could not even imagine wanting a sexual relationship with a woman (that is with a member of the opposite sex), how could I most fully live a life of love? And that is *the* commandment, as Jesus Himself made unmistakeably clear: Love God first and completely, then neighbor and self. If that is the ultimate law, the law which “sums up all the law and the Prophets”, then we must seek how we are to do that. I don’t know what the answer is if one is truly a homosexual, but I do think the question has to be asked, and I do think, no matter how disgraceful I find some of this Pope’s behavior and attitudes, that he is correct in asking that question and asking the Synod to resolve it.

            I am not convinced that the answer is to just love platonically and ignore the rest of your being. For many, that will be grossly incomplete if not nearly impossible. I find *every* answer that has been proposed to be unsatisfactory.

            I don’t think we should approve gay marriage. That is just a contradiction; it can’t exist in reality. But I am not much of a believer in “one size fits all” either. Two homosexuals living together (not pretending to be “married”) may be the best they can do. I think God is more than capable of dealing with that. Whatever the answer is, I want to hear what the Synod says before I decide in my heart what I believe… Please pray for the Synod.

          • Diane

            If the two homosexuals living together are actively having sex, still no Holy Eucharist, still mortal sin, no different than a man and woman living together, having sex, no Holy Eucharist, still mortal sin, period, no exceptions. Sex is not the end all to everything that exists. The sooner humans understand this, the better life will be.

          • standtall909

            Exactly Diane. We live is a sex saturated culture. EVERYTHING is about sex. You cannot turn on the TV without being assaulted by nudity, homosexuality, promiscuity, and it goes on and on. Paul Vl’s Humanae Vitae told us EVERYTHING that would happen if we accepted artificial contraception, right down to the acceptance of perverted sex and we are now LIVING IT.

          • standtall909

            To tell you the truth, I wish Pope Francis had never called for a ‘Synod on the Family’. When I first heard inklings of this I was positive about it. After all, the family in today’s culture is under attack, and there are so many ways that the Church can help families in their journey. I had no idea that the entire Synod was only a push for giving in to the immoral whims of the culture, and at this point it is fairly obvious that the grand prize is the acceptance of ‘stable’ homosexual relationships.

            And to add to your comment BXVI, Marriage is not the only sacrament being attacked. The Holy Eucharist itself is being targeted. This is not a battle of flesh and blood but of principalities and powers. Satan himself if behind this one. Even the ATTEMPT to defile Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament by inviting those in Mortal Sin to receive, to me is unconscionable and this by the Princes of the Church??? I cannot think of a greater evil.

          • Diane

            I agree. There should have been no reason to call for a synod on the family, unless one wants to change the family or how one views the family in the Catholic Church. All of the rules for marriage and homosexuality under the Catholic Church should no change. It seems that this is what they want to change.

        • FrankieB

          You nailed it, Diane !

    • Jeanne

      I am relying on The Catholic Church to remain firm and strong in their stand on morality as preached by Christ in the Bible. To cave into the Progressives will only being
      Disaster to the Church. Christ would not be pleased. I am not a Catholic, yet!

    • FrankieB

      If they allow these behaviors to be whitewashed, then the Catholic Church needs to reach out to the Westboro Baptist Church in an ecumenical alliance. After all…..who are WE to judge, right ? Or does that only apply to liberal garbage ?

  • Cotton

    The proposals appear to address how the Church and its teachings is to react to this new theology but has anyone addressed how we in the pew are to deal with those divorced and remarried outside the Church? How is one to deal with the temptation of leaving one’s current wife for another since it would somehow be acceptable? Does the one with SSA now simply give in? Does the heterosexual also simply give in to their desires and not fight the temptation? It appears to resemble many Protestant’s
    stand on the subject….

    How they can turn away from the teaching of Christ in scripture is beyond me – they sound more like guys that are trying to “win friends and influence people.” We’ll just have to wait and see. After all, look at all the other schisms/heresies the Church has dealt with in the past.
    Cotton

  • Diane

    This is so disheartening on so many levels. There is an article in the Observer (a Catholic paper that I receive in my diocese) written by a priest. In this article, he is trying to redefine what the Catechism means by intrinsically evil and disordered. Those who are pro-homosexual try to spin this sin either as not a sin, or not very much a sin, or not worse than other sins. This is the most ugly, disgusting, depraved, dangerous and disordered sin, even the devil cannot watch this act. If the Catholic Church changes to allow active homosexuals to receive the Holy Eucharist, what are faithful Catholics to do and where are we to go!

  • Diane

    Father Murray, if at all possible, please take over for Fr. Morris as a Fox News Contributor. Whenever he speaks he is wrong, stupid and not Catholic. He is causing scandal to the Catholic Church every time he opens his mouth.

  • Diane

    Being Catholic is not for wimps. It isn’t easy to be Catholic and it is not supposed to be. Jesus was very clear, ‘go and sin NO MORE” and come and follow Me’. God is merciful, but He is also Just. Those in homosexual relationships need mental, emotional and spiritual help to leave this sinful, depraved, disordered and dangerous lifestyle. It is not to be condoned by the Catholic Church as Godly. Those who remarry after divorce must seek an annulment If at all possible. If one cannot be granted an annulment then they can continue to attend Mass and be involved in the Church, but must never be able to receive the Eucharist. They are living in adultery. If an annulment cannot be sanctioned by the Church, then, the marriage is not Holy and these individuals should not present themselves to the Holy Eucharist. The rules are very simple. Our society is just too over sexed. Sex is to between one man and one woman, in marriage and only to be opened to life in love and not for any other reason. That is why contraception is also sinful. This is how it is, this is how it should be and there should never be any exceptions for living a Catholic life. If you don’t agree with the Catholic life and rules, then you should not be Catholic, period.

  • Diane

    Jesus, alone, is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He treated everyone the same, counseling each person to not sin anymore, while also showing them love and how they must live their lives. The situations were different, but the message the same. That is what the Catholic Church does. All sinners, no matter what the sin, is allowed to attend the Mass and find God in the Church. No person, in the state of mortal sin, is allowed to present themselves for the Holy Eucharist. At the last Supper, Jesus waited until Judas left before He presented His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to the others. This was the first Holy Eucharist. He, therefore, showed us that if one is not worthy to receive, they are not allowed to receive! We are not allowed to do just what we want to do without consequence. This is called order.

  • MMoore

    Dave, let me try: Certain anomalies/exceptions in creation have to do with the original sin of mankind. Jesus wears a crown of thorns on the cross as a sign that all of creation awaits final redemption at the second coming. Morals are indeed black and white in the sense that absolute truth exists and is knowable. Catholic moral life is all about imitating Christ in this life and being saints (i.e., in heaven) in the next, and hopefully bringing others with us to our heavenly home. (“Regulating behavior” is thus an incomplete view of the purpose of moral theology.) If you do not believe that certain things are intrinsically true always and everywhere, then you are a relativist. Culpability for an objectively immoral act may be what you are trying to get at. In a court of law, if a man has murdered his neighbor, his sentence may be lightened if mitigating circumstances are demonstrated, like finding his wife in bed with the neighbor just prior to the murder. Similarly, even though homosexual acts are mortally sinful (i.e., grave matter), culpability for those acts may be affected/lessened by lack of knowledge, ingrained habit/compulsion, circumstances & more. So your “gray” areas are acknowledged in spades in the confessional, but a person has to avail himself of the sacrament. (The woman at the well was in the confessional!) Loving God means following His commands as set forth by the Church, the successors to the Apostles, to whom Jesus said, “he who hears you hears me.” Loving our neighbor means wanting the highest and best thing for him, which is heaven, AND being willing to sacrifice our own selves to help him get there. (Love IS as love DOES.) Love for one’s neighbor may only be sexualized in a marriage (the dual purposes of sex, procreation and bonding, cannot morally be separated). Otherwise true love exists in helping one’s neighbors to AVOID sexual temptations, and sometimes it means avoiding posing a sexual temptation ourselves. Our culture literally worships sex, and not even as a life-giving mystery, but rather as the ultimate recreational sport. A peak manifestation of this idol-worship is the homosexual culture, where specific sexual acts have supplanted personal identity, and extreme promiscuity (for men) is a given. If we had any integrity in this country we would be urging men to avoid a homosexual lifestyle for the same reasons we discourage smoking, as the data demonstrate that both lead to early death by cancer and a myriad of other medical problems; moreover violence and mental health issues accompany the homosexual lifestyle even in countries where it has been long “accepted.”

  • Beth

    Mr. Thomasset is no Father.

  • W Meyer

    Another Jesuit, and no collar….

  • FrankieB

    What if some of what the Pharisees were saying was the Truth ?