Devastating critique of Papal response to the Dubia. "An “answer” to the Dubia that is not even Christian".

I read with amazement and sadness the letter that Pope Francis wrote to the Dubia presented by five Cardinals on the issues that will be debated in the sadly famous Synod of Synodality. We are not going to go into whether it was written by the Pope himself or by Cardinal Fernández. It doesn't really matter: it is signed by the Pope and that is what matters.

This “response”, as could be expected given the current confusion, does not answer the questions, but merely confuses the issues more instead of clarifying them, a way of acting that, as far as I can see, is unprecedented in the Magisterium. of two millennia of Church history. Unfortunately, that is not the worst and I said that I have read the response with astonishment and sadness because I am forced to conclude that it is not simply confusing and erroneous, but that it does not even meet the minimum requirements to be considered Christian. At least in my (fallible) judgment. Let's see it briefly.

In the response are astonishing statements, which, as far as I can see, at any time in the history of the Church (except the present, apparently), would have received universal condemnation from all Catholics. For example:

“f) On the other hand, it is true that the Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but it is also true that both the texts of the Scriptures and the testimonies of Tradition need an interpretation that allows their perennial substance to be distinguished from the conditions cultural. It is evident, for example, in biblical texts (such as Ex 21:20-21) and in some magisterial interventions that tolerated slavery (cf. Nicholas V, Bula Dum Diversas, 1452). It is not a minor issue given its intimate connection with the perennial truth of the inalienable dignity of the human person. These texts need an interpretation. The same applies to some considerations in the New Testament about women (1 Cor 11:3-10; 1 Tim 2:11-14) and for other texts of Scripture and testimonies of Tradition that cannot be materially repeated today.

This is, simply, incredible. It is a dogma of faith that Holy Scripture is free from error. The Second Vatican Council recalled this basic truth of the Catholic faith: “For, since everything that inspired authors or hagiographers affirm, must be taken as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, it must be confessed that the books of Scripture teach firmly, faithfully. and without error, the truth that God wanted to record in the sacred letters for our salvation” (Dei Verbum 11). If someone does not recognize this fundamental and evident truth that the Word of God is not wrong, he cannot even be considered a Christian, much less a Catholic.

I never thought I would see the day when a Papal document said, quite naturally, that “some New Testament considerations on women” and other issues “cannot today” be repeated “materially” by the Church. And what are we going to repeat then? What do the Vedas say, Capital or The Art of Kissing? If that's not putting yourself above the Word of God, I don't know what is. With that criterion, anything can be taught. Today you can no longer repeat what the Word of God says about women, tomorrow what it says about same-sex couples or adultery will not be accepted, and the day after tomorrow it will be murder (at least for children and the elderly) to the resurrection of Christ or the Holy Trinity. A complete nonsense.

He said that this criterion is not even Christian because it completely dissolves the faith and the Church itself. Ultimately, the mission of the Church as a whole and of the Magisterium specifically is to transmit the Revelation of Jesus Christ, contained in the two twin sources of Scripture and Tradition. If the Magisterium, instead of transmitting what is revealed, begins to choose which parts of Scripture and Tradition can be “materially repeated” and which parts cannot because they are already obsolete, it has turned the Pope into a source of revelation, in a kind again Messiah, better and more merciful than Jesus Christ. It is an idea completely incompatible with faith.

On slavery, and briefly for the sake of brevity, it is unfortunate that the document makes use of a widespread anti-Catholic hoax, claiming that the Church has changed its mind on slavery (and has done so by abandoning what Scripture affirms on the subject!) The reality, obvious to anyone who knows anything about morality, is that moral and immoral are not names. The word "slavery" is neither moral nor immoral and has referred throughout history to a wide variety of realities, from forced labour to indentured servitude, debt bondage, imprisonment, etc. Some of these realities are intrinsically reprehensible and others were not necessarily so in their circumstances.

What is immoral, which has always been condemned by the Church and by the Word of God, is treating a person as if they were an object. In that sense, for example, the laws on slavery existing in North America (the so-called "chattel slavery", which considered slaves as objects) allowed masters to sell the children of slaves, cruelly mistreat them, sleep with slaves at will and a long etcetera and, therefore, they were evidently immoral, not because of the word “slavery”, but because of those immoralities that they allowed. On the other hand, in Catholic countries it was understood that these immoralities should be prohibited, because the fact that someone, legally, had the status of “slave” did not mean that they stopped being a person. Likewise, Saint Paul, when speaking to a master about his escaped slave Onesimus, tells him to treat him as a “dear brother in the Lord,” as a person and not as an object of his possession, thus rejecting any immorality. That is to say, the moral doctrine on this issue has not changed, because what is immoral today was also immoral a thousand years ago, although of course prudential judgments on legal structures that depend on the circumstances have changed. It is very sad that a papal document takes advantage of false anti-Christian accusations to “demonstrate” that Catholic doctrine can change.

Likewise, the Papal response states that “the Church must constantly discern between that which is essential for salvation and that which is secondary or less directly connected to this objective.” That is true, but irrelevant to the Cardinals' question, unless, as it seems, by “distinguishing” we mean abandoning what we do not like and which, precisely for that reason, we have classified as secondary, such as, for example , the teaching of the Church on the immorality of adultery, the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the legality of the death penalty, the impossibility of God wanting us to sin on some occasions, the fact that God always gives the necessary grace to not to sin or the existence of a just war, all doctrines that have been denied in various documents or declarations of this pontificate.

In the same line of apparently deliberate confusion, we are assured that “every theological line has its risks but also its opportunities.” This is obvious nonsense. The “theological line” of Luther, Calvin, Tyrrell or Cerinthus, to give four examples, did not simply have “risks” and “opportunities”. They were heresies, major errors that separated the faithful from the true faith. That is why the Church determined that they did not fit in the Church. This modern pretense that everything is good and there is nothing bad (except defending the traditional Catholic faith) is nothing more than an application of two old Castilian sayings: at night all the cats are brown and the troubled river is fishermen's profit. That is to say, it is a clear attempt to introduce confusion in order to carry out the desired changes, without making it obvious that they are completely opposed to the Catholic faith. Woe to those who call good evil and evil good, says Isaiah (although perhaps it is one of those statements from the Word of God that cannot be “materially repeated”, who knows).

With respect to same-sex couples, misleading simplifications abound in the text. For example, we are assured that the Church “avoids any type of rite or sacramental that could contradict this conviction [that marriage is between a man and a woman] and imply that something is recognized as marriage that is not.” ”. This is an evidently misleading simplification because it omits the most important thing: the Church not only teaches that these unions are not marriage. The Catholic faith also teaches that they are seriously immoral, contrary to the law of God and, by their very nature, lead to hell and not to heaven. That is why they cannot be blessed and not for reasons of appearances!

It is also deceptively simplified when we are told that “we cannot become judges who only deny, reject, exclude.” This is misleading because there is absolutely no one in the world who only denies, rejects or excludes. What is done is to deny, reject or exclude what violates the Law of God, as the Church has always done, because it cannot do anything else. There can be no doubt about this and it certainly has nothing to do with “constituting ourselves as judges”, but rather with recognizing that the divine Judge has spoken on this issue and we cannot do more than accept what God commands. Obeying and remembering what God himself has ruled is the opposite of becoming judges, it is becoming servants and disciples. On the other hand, rejecting the Law of God is becoming judges above the only Judge.

Likewise, we are told that it is necessary "that not only the hierarchy but the entire People of God in different ways and at different levels can make his voice heard and feel part of the path of the Church." What is hidden in this apparently beautiful response is that whoever makes “his voice heard” against the doctrine of the Church, for that very fact, is not part of the People of God. If synodality, as we are seeing and as happened in previous synods, consists of opening the door so that everyone can deny without consequences what the Church teaches and so that the possibility of accepting these denials of faith is accepted, That has nothing to do with the sensus fidei, nor with the “way of the Church” nor with anything remotely Catholic. It is simply the confusion of Babel blasphemously elevated to the rank of Pentecost.

We are also assured that the Church's teaching on the essential difference between the sacramental priesthood and the common priesthood of the faithful (pointed out very clearly by the Second Vatican Council) is equivalent to saying that "it is not appropriate to maintain a difference of degree that implies considering the common priesthood of the faithful as something of 'second category' or of lesser value ('a lower degree'). “Both forms of priesthood illuminate and support each other.” This is amazing. Precisely, the fact that the difference is essential indicates that this comparison cannot be made, which puts everything on the same level, in which the ordained priests enlighten the laymen and the laymen enlighten the priests, as if, in practice, , they were all the same. The reality is that an essential and qualitative difference implies essentially different ministries and that the triple munus of teaching, sanctifying and governing has been entrusted to the priesthood ordained by the will of God. We lay people can and should collaborate with clerics, but this attempt to usurp their specific and distinct mission (manifested in the delusional fact that lay people are allowed to vote in the Synod of Bishops as if it were the same to be a bishop or a layman) is completely contrary to the doctrine of the Church.

Once again, an attempt is made to sow confusion rather than provide clarity when we are assured that the “exact nature” of John Paul II's “definitive declaration” that the Church cannot ordain women is not fully known. Given this statement, I think it is appropriate to speak clearly: everyone knows the “exact nature” of what John Paul II taught about the ordination of women except those who insist on denying it against all odds. Ultimately, the doctrine that the Church is not empowered to ordain women has always been taught by the Magisterium, follows the example of Christ himself, and is part of the Catholic faith. Collecting a long succession of magisterial texts on the same topic, Saint John Paul II taught that:

“In order to remove all doubt about a question of great importance, which concerns the very divine constitution of the Church, by virtue of my ministry of confirming the brothers in the faith (cf. Luke 22:32), I declare that The Church does not in any way have the power to confer priestly ordination on women, and that this ruling must be considered definitive by all the faithful of the Church” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis)

As if that were not enough, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared a year later that “the Church does not have the power to confer priestly ordination on women” and that this truth, “requires definitive assent,” is “based on the Word of God written and constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church from the beginning", "must be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith" and "has been proposed infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, response to Dubia of October 28, 1995).

In principle, one would think that “infallible”, “definitive”, “Word of God”, “Tradition” and “deposit of faith” are enough to make a topic perfectly clear for Catholics. However, apparently, the author of the document, be it the Pope himself or Cardinal Fernández, is not clear.

There are some paragraphs of the papal letter that leave one stunned, due to the confusion they show:

“There are many ways to express regret. Frequently, in people who have a very damaged self-esteem, declaring guilt is cruel torture, but the mere fact of approaching confession is a symbolic expression of repentance and seeking divine help.

No. This is a mere attempt to make things worse. Repentance is regret. Everything else will be fine and God will certainly take it into account, but it is not repentance. And without repentance, including the purpose of the amendment, there is not and cannot be forgiveness of sins. This is dogma of faith and no one can change it, as the Council of Trent infallibly teaches by affirming that it is part of the matter of the sacrament (canon IV, session XIV). If a person goes to confession with the intention of continuing to commit adultery (which is what we are talking about), he has no repentance. Any attempt to obscure this basic fact is actually an excuse to consider that some sins, which are fashionable in our time, are no longer truly sins.

I am also horrified that in this document, following a regrettable practice that we have observed on several occasions (starting with Amoris Laetitia), Saint John Paul II is cited to say exactly the opposite of what he taught. For example, we are told that “following Saint John Paul II, I maintain that we should not demand from the faithful overly precise and certain purposes of amendment, which ultimately end up being abstract or even egotistical.” The difference, of course, is that Saint John Paul II, like all Catholic moralists, knew that the purpose of the amendment does not ensure that one will act well, just as happens with other purposes. One can have the intention of not sinning again and, even so, the next day he sins, because we are weak. This has nothing to do with the situation that Pope Francis has allowed and promoted, in which people without any purpose for the amendment (because they do not intend to stop committing adultery with their new partner) are (invalidly) given absolution and allows them to receive Communion. This is the absence of repentance and, let us repeat, it makes it impossible to receive forgiveness.

Along the same lines, we are assured that “all the conditions that are usually placed in confession are generally not applicable when the person is in a situation of agony, or with very limited mental and psychic capacities.” This, again, is not true. Because, as we have seen, the conditions of purpose of amendment and sorrow for sins are an essential part of the sacrament and, without them, there can be no absolution, as the Church has always taught. What is accidental can be dispensed with, but not what is essential according to the teaching of the Church.

How do you try to escape this obvious doctrine of the Church in the document? Following a tactic that we have already seen many times: the doctrine is affirmed theoretically, but it is denied in practice:

“Repentance is necessary for the validity of sacramental absolution, and implies the purpose not to sin. But there is no mathematics here and once again I must remember that the confessional is not a customs office."

That is, since “there is no mathematics here” it cannot be said that repentance is different from non-repentance. What will the author think “mathematics” is? It's not mathematics, it's the most basic truth. If repentance, including the purpose of amendment, is essential to receiving absolution, that means that without repentance there is no absolution, even if it seems that way or even if an unworthy or deluded confessor says the words. And although a whole Pope affirms the opposite, because in the Church what we follow is Jesus Christ and his Word and if someone, whoever it may be, deviates from the Catholic faith, we must respond with great regret as Saint Paul taught us: anathema sit .

It is not surprising that the Cardinals who wrote the Dubia have pointed out that Pope Francis' responses "have not resolved the doubts we raised, but rather, if anything, they have deepened them." It seems the same to me. It is very sad, as I said at the beginning, to have to write this article, but magis amica veritas. If the letter denies basic doctrines of the Catholic faith, sows confusion instead of clarity and denies even the most basic logic, I can do nothing but point it out with all the pain in my heart. And pray a lot for the Pope and for the Church.