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More on That "Formal Correction"

by Christopher A. Ferrara
March 28, 2017

Yesterday’s column dealt with the futility of a “formal correction” of the errors of Amoris Laetitia (AL) on the part of the four cardinals that does not actually identify those errors and correct them but rather merely sets forth the Church’s traditional teaching. Reasonable readers may think I have been too hard on the four cardinals, and I understand the objection. But a column by John-Henry Westen of Life Site News, also appearing yesterday, demonstrates why any approach short of an actual correction of specified errors in the document would be inadequate to address the unparalleled crisis AL has provoked.

As Westen notes, Francis remains silent in the face of the four cardinals’ dubia even though AL has made possible a seemingly impossible scenario in which “the bishops in Germany would wink at divorce and remarriage while across the border in Poland it would be mortally sinful.” Nothing like this has ever happened in the Church’s history. Thus, as Westen rightly concludes:

“The dichotomy is clear evidence that the Pope himself, in refusing to clarify despite the formal and public request of the four Cardinals and associated pleas by countless other Catholic clergy and laity, is guilty of betraying the entire Church. By letting this charade continue he has sown confusion into the hearts of the faithful. This confusion could lead to mortal sin and thus eternal damnation.

“Pope Francis is indeed playing with fire. Hell fire.”

Westen is right: Francis has betrayed the Church. AL has sown confusion in the hearts of the faithful. Its implementation by progressive bishops, with his blessing, has placed souls in danger of eternal damnation by tolerating relationships that are objectively mortally sinful and by inviting people living in those relationships to receive Holy Communion sacrilegiously. To allow this to happen is literally to play with hell fire.

As astonishing as these accusations are, they reflect the undeniable state of affairs over which this Pope is presiding. And it is no exaggeration to call that state of affairs apocalyptic, in the sense of “momentous or catastrophic.”

That is why no mere polite presentation of correct teaching alongside the teaching of AL will suffice. For AL is nothing short of execrable, as its rapidly ramifying, morally catastrophic effects demonstrate. What is needed to address it, therefore, is nothing short of an execration, meaning “the act of… denouncing.”

AL must be denounced in the same manner as a courageous group of concerned theologians has already done: by a meticulous exposure and censure of its specific errors against the faith. The defense of the Church requires nothing less. And the first line of that defense, it seems to me, ought to be those who are called her Princes, wear the martyr’s red, and hear this admonition from the Pope who has elevated them:

“To the glory of almighty God and the honor of the Apostolic See, receive the scarlet biretta as a sign of the dignity of the cardinalate, signifying your readiness to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and tranquility of the people of God and for the freedom and growth of the Holy Roman Church.”

I hope the four cardinals, should they happen across my views on this subject, will understand the spirit in which they are offered.