These are the words of Novus Ordo Archbishop Tomash Peta of Astana, Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga of Karaganda, and Bishop Schneider, an auxiliary of Astana, all of Kazakhstan, who issued a document on December 31st entitled Profession of the Immutable Truths about Sacramental Marriage. Two other bishops added their names to this document: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, and Archbishop Luigi Negri, both retired. I cite here some of the salient passages:
The admission of so-called “divorced and re-married” faithful to Holy Communion, which is the highest expression of the unity of Christ the Spouse with His Church, means in practice a way of approving or legitimizing divorce, and in this meaning a kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.
An approval or legitimization of the violation of the sacredness of the marriage bond, even indirectly through the mentioned new sacra-mental discipline, seriously contradicts God’s express will and His commandment. This practice therefore represents a substantial alteration of the two thousand-year- old sacramental discipline of the Church. Furthermore, a substantially altered discipline will eventually lead to an alteration in the corresponding doctrine.
In view of the vital importance that the doctrine and discipline of marriage and the Eucharist constitute, the Church is obliged to speak with the same voice. The pastoral norms regarding the indissolubility of marriage must not, therefore, be contradicted between one diocese and another, between one country and another. Since the time of the Apostles, the Church has observed this principle as St. Irenæus of Lyons testifies: “The Church, though spread through-out the world to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the Apostles and their disciples, preserves this preaching and this faith with care and, as if she inhabits a single house, believes in the same identical way, as if she had only one soul and only one heart, and preaches the truth of the faith, teaches it and transmits it in a unanimous voice, as if she had only one mouth” (Adversus hæreses, 1, 10, 2). Saint Thomas Aquinas transmits to us the same perennial principle of the life of the Church: “There is one and the same faith of the ancients and the moderns, otherwise there would not be one and the same Church” (Quæstiones Disputatæ de Veritate, q. 14, a. 12c).
It is not licit (non licet) to justify, approve, or legitimize either directly or indirectly divorce and a non-conjugal stable sexual relationship through the sacramental discipline of the admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion, in this case a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.
A positive development, but with a long way to go. At long last, there are at least some Novus Ordo bishops who understand the problem of continuity. They correctly cite St. Irenæus, from the second century A.D., and Saint Thomas Aquinas in support of this absolutely essential quality of Catholic doctrine and discipline: that it must be always substantially the same. St. Thomas underscores the importance of it by saying that if there should be a rupture in faith, it would not be the same Church. The reason for this continuity is that the Church is guided by the Holy Ghost in all of her universal doctrines and disciplines. The Holy Ghost, however, is forever constant and always the same.
What is to be lamented is that it did not drop the “H-bomb,” that is, it did not accuse Bergoglio of heresy. They might respond that they were only addressing a discipline, i.e., to give Holy Communion to those who are publicly living in mortal sin. They themselves, however, point out that this discipline is effectively an approval of divorce and remarriage. But this is heresy.
It is furthermore appalling that it took more than fifty years for some bishops to recognize that there is doctrinal and disciplinary discontinuity. This break did not take place with Amoris Lætitia, the document approving of fornication and adultery, but with Vatican II, starting in 1962, containing in itself all of the logical underpinning of Amoris Lætitia. (I pointed this out in my newsletter of December 2017). The Novus Ordo conservatives, however, conscious that there was something wrong with Vatican II, have for these past 50+ years hidden behind the “false interpretation of Vatican II” argument in order to avoid the obvious problem of discontinuity. This document of these bishops is a sign that the Novus Ordo conservative bubble of “misinterpretation” has burst. Even Bishop Schneider, one of the signatories of this document, has said that Vatican II was a “rupture” with the past.
Is a schism in the making? Very possibly. Indeed these Novus Ordo bishops have laid down all of the ground work, theologically, for separating from Bergoglio. Now that they have said these things, they cannot just return to business as usual. They have accused Bergoglio of making a substantial disciplinary change. Either Bergoglio has to back down, or they have to act. If they do not act, then they accuse themselves of being complicit in the destruction of the Catholic Church.
None of this would have taken place if Vatican II had not happened. This council un-leashed a new mentality of relativism of truth, of a spirit of accommodation to the world, of a mania for change, and with these a rigid hatred for dogma, for absolute truths, for the un-changeable natural law, and for anything of the Church’s past, indeed a hatred for continuity with the past. This spirit of Vatican II is what produced a Bergoglio. But the makers of Vatican II were Roncalli, Montini, Wojtyla, and Ratzinger. They were all there, and were the true destroyers.
As imperfect as this document is, it is yet another step in the right direction. It takes time for ideas to develop in people’s minds. Perhaps these Novus Ordo bishops and others will be given the grace to realize that Vatican II is a disaster which must be undone.
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