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A Leaven In The World… Pelagian And Gnostic: Amoris Laetitia Gets Placuit Deo Fail

March 12, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s letter Placuit Deo to the Church’s bishops on “Certain Aspects of Christian Salvation” contradicts those elements of Amoris Laetitia that have been interpreted to allow reception of Communion by the divorced and civilly remarried.
Many of our readers are already familiar with the time bombs planted in the latter document by means of its nefarious Chapter 8 and a smoking gun footnote which have already been exploited by several bishops’ conferences for the purpose of admitting adulterers to the sacrament.
The issue is far from settled and has become a simmering controversy in the Church with respected theologians and opposing bishops calling for no change in practice. Donald Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, D.C., has just released a pastoral plan for implementation of Amoris Laetitia which, in sum, also calls for no change in doctrine or sacramental practices in marriage or in the reception of Holy Communion.
Now, in a new document, we have added evidence, from the Vatican itself, of Amoris Laetitia’s incompatibility with settled Catholic teaching.
Placuit Deo, signed by prefect Luis Cardinal Ladaria on February 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, seeks to correct contemporary errors which undermine the Catholic faith. Its primary thesis is: “Both neo-Pelagian individualism and the neo-Gnostic disregard of the body deface the confession of faith in Christ, the one, universal Savior.” The starting point is that Christ saves each person and everything about each person, body and soul:
“The contemporary world perceives not without difficulty the confession of the Christian faith, which proclaims Jesus as the only Savior of the whole human person and of all humanity (cf. Acts 4:12; Romans 3:23-24; 1 Tim. 2:4-5; Titus 2:11-15)” (PD, II, 2).
Why does Placuit Deo render Amoris Laetitia incompatible with Catholic faith, without actually mentioning it? First, the individualistic approach to modifying moral teaching for certain individuals as allowed by chapter 8, with adaptations to Communion practices for “some” Catholics as an exception to the general norms, disregards the universal discipline necessitated by its nature as founded on the truth about sin and the truth about the Body of Christ.
Those bishops’ conferences that have legislated in favor of giving Holy Communion “in some cases” to those who are divorced and civilly remarried encourage an individualistic approach at odds with the unity of all the Church’s members as flowing from the Eucharist.
Here, Placuit Deo shows how this approach by these bishops with appeal to the authority of Amoris Laetitia for individual exceptions to universal sacramental discipline effectively nullifies the necessity of grace for all. “On one hand, individualism centered on the autonomous subject tends to see the human person as a being whose sole fulfillment depends only on his or her own strength” (PD II, 2).
If anything renders Christ as merely a good example to follow, without being as One having the power to thoroughly transform individuals, it’s giving the Most Blessed Sacrament to those living in practical adultery without demanding repentance and conversion of life.
“In this vision, the figure of Christ appears as a model that inspires generous actions with His words and His gestures, rather than as He who transforms the human condition by incorporating us into a new existence, reconciling us with the Father and dwelling among us in the Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 2:18)” (PD II, 2).
Placuit Deo goes on to further explain the error of individualism — which could amount to a “feeling” that one merits the reception of Communion with the permission of Amoris Laetitia. With individualism, one has a personal conviction that, even though a Catholic spouse is still alive, the person with whom he or she is currently committing adultery in fact deserves that title.
“On the other hand, a merely interior vision of salvation is becoming common, a vision which, marked by a strong personal conviction or feeling of being united to God, does not take into account the need to accept, heal, and renew our relationships with others and with the created world” (PD II,2).
Many who undergo the process of applying for a decree of nullity attest to the healing they experience as they submit to its rigors necessitated by an accounting for the truth about marriage. Amoris Laetitia, on the other hand, enables ignoring of the need for healing under the light of truth called for here by Placuit Deo, and simply papers over, by means of chapter 8, “the need to accept, heal and renew our relationships with others” with whom one has been previously validly married.
The Lordship of Jesus Christ over all humanity as sole Savior is thus denied: “In this perspective, it becomes difficult to understand the meaning of the Incarnation of the Word, by which He was made a member of the human family, assuming our flesh and our history, for us and for our salvation” (PD II, 2).
“A new form of Pelagianism is spreading in our days, one in which the individual, understood to be radically autonomous, presumes to save oneself, without recognizing that, at the deepest level of being, he or she derives from God and from others” (PD II, 3).
Is it not rank Pelagianism to claim to believe one can be saved while living in practical state of adultery? No reception of Communion, rendered useless and sacrilegious by one’s sinful state of life, can change this fact.
As Placuit Deo makes clear: “According to this way of thinking, salvation depends on the strength of the individual or on purely human structures, which are incapable of welcoming the newness of the Spirit of God” (PD II, 3).
Communion for the divorced and remarried fails also by reason of the subjectivism involved in deciding autonomously that one merits reception of the Blessed Sacrament without reference to the defined conditions necessary for a state of grace.
“On the other hand, a new form of Gnosticism puts forward a model of salvation that is merely interior, closed off in its own subjectivism. In this model, salvation consists of improving oneself, of being ‘intellectually capable of rising above the flesh of Jesus towards the mysteries of the unknown divinity’” (PD II, 3).
One does not rise despite the flesh of Christ, but ascends only in and through Him, and that only by receiving Him worthily, “grace upon grace” as a “fountain welling up to eternal life.” The Eucharist, the real and substantial reception of the Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, is the gift of the Savior par excellence.
Subjectivism operates within the reception of the sacrament by adulterers living in practical rejection of God, setting aside the necessity of cooperation with grace through reform of life in order to be saved.
Gnosticism “presumes to liberate the human person from the body and from the material universe” (PD II, 3). If the use of the body in the act of adultery no longer matters for one’s salvation positively or negatively but can be rendered neutral “in some cases” depending upon subjective factors, bodily moral agency is denied as well as salvation of the whole person.
Placuit Deo is one more symptom of the current incoherence in Church teaching. But the problem is easily resolved if the Vatican follows its own advice and scrubs Amoris Laetitia of any elements incompatible with the Pelagianism and Gnosticism it properly condemns therein. They can begin with the infamous Chapter 8.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

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