The final podcast on Pius X’s encyclical Pascendi. However, I will follow this up with examples of recent theologians spouting modernism.
People ask themselves all the time, “What if my professor, who knows so much – and who is so kind and generous in many ways – spouts heresy? What should I do? How should I know what to say? He’s so smart. I can’t really argue against him. I don’t know what to say!”
Or Mothers and Fathers worry, “My child is going to get heretical professors at that school. I know it’s a good school generally, but it houses heretics as well. Even if they mean well, these heretics will mislead them, take them down wrong paths. My children, whom I love, over whom I have labored these many years, how will they find out the truth?”
How can you defend against this? I am sure, in many ways.
But one new way: Email me the specific problem, and I will, at some point (hopefully quickly), post on the issue in general. If you want, you can be very specific and state professor and course and institution and date. I probably won’t post any of that information. But, I will deal with the claim made, and possibly also the text by which it is supposedly justified, and I will give ample resources and arguments whereby to counteract this deception, this bullying, this predatory recruitment of the City of Man unto the contempt of the City of God.
If I get enough emails on these matters, and enough blog posts, then I’ll start pumping out “How to Refute Your Heretical Prof” books.
Why should we worry so much about orthodoxy?
For this reason at least: You cannot have charity if you do not have orthodoxy. I might fail to have charity while striving to have orthodoxy, that is true, and God forbid the lack of charity! God help us all, for the gate is wide and the road is easy, that leads to eternal perdition. But I cannot have charity if I have not faith. And if I am a heretic, I have no faith. Hence, heresy kills charity. And spreading heresy kills souls. The professors of heresy out there are legion. They prey upon minds less intelligent than theirs. God will grant the student who seeks truth the nose to smell out a rat. However, many rats are very very subtle. The battle is fierce and very real.
Send me the complaints. But you must identify yourself in the complaint email. I will not put your identity on the post, of course, and probably won’t identify the errant professor. But I need to make sure the complaint is real.
We treat here the modernist as theologian and historian. Very incisive descriptions. Meeting these descriptions are many claims by certain historical critics.
Modernist as Believer, arts. 14-18 of the Great Encyclical of Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi.
Here, we will also touch upon some examples of modernism in some claims of historical critics and in a recent highly influential theologian.
This one is about 34.5 minutes.
I have a number of irons in the fire. Here’s another set.
Modernism is a plague afflicting the Church violently and virulently today. We must understand what we are up against. Pope St. Pius X, declared saint under the most stringent standards of assessment for canonization, can teach us what we are up against. The portrait of the “modernist” that he paints will call to mind recent theologians, very influential on prelates today.
Today’s podcast is 28.5 minutes. I thank my good friend and brother-in-law Stephen for the awesome microphone. Much better than my previous use of the built-in computer mic.
“When all are one and one is all.” A memorable clause from Led Zeppelin. “And everything under the sun is in tune.” A memorable clause from Floyd.
If I embrace all that is, that is not under my control qua permitted or willed by God, as handed down from the Father of Lights as gift to me, I am a saint. This is to carry one’s cross in the fullest sense of the term, whether it be the minor illness, the irritating co-worker, the heat, even the pseudo-tranquility of society that I know is a sham. How hard it is to embrace the given!
And yet, there is another way of embracing the given. A way I think gotten at, however differently, by the above-cited statements. These ways are not ways of picking up the cross. They are ways of defining it out of existence. How?
Take Zeppelin. If “all are one and one is all,” then “I am he as you are he as you are me.” Which is to say that I am not and you are not. That is, that there is really only one person. And since I know I am not “The Person,” (The Man, so to speak), therefore, I am not. This is pantheistic swallowing up of all distinctness into the one that is the all, the pan. But, my dearest daughter, who could have died from that fall, over whom I have cried because of that fall, I know that you are. My friend, as you go your way carrying that load, knowing your family would need you and not have you, as you lay dying, I know that you are not I. We see now. Though through a mirror, dimly, yet we see each other. If I see you, and you see me, and if each of us knows the other knowing himself, there is a we. If there is a we, all is not I. Pantheism is loneliness. It is dreaminess. The dream of being in a field, and being one with the field. The dream of drifting – but no-where.
Take Floyd. “All is in tune.” I have had the day when everything under the sun is in tune. I have had the day when it breaks down. The former is real only to be battered by the latter. The former awakes on the shoals of the latter. If I take drugs, I lose my balance. I cannot see your face or hear you, though your lips move and you speak to me.
When these are my models, I shrink from every upturning of the tables. I flinch when you raise your voice at me. I shrink from a challenge. I cower in the cage of unknowing.
We are all being lulled to sleep. We know something is up, we know something is happening here, but we don’t know what it is. We fall asleep, not differentiating, not discriminating, not discerning, – not judging. Our minds grow dull, ground down by piles of data.
We think that everything that is must be and so everything that shall be must be. We have confused matters. Everything qua not controlled by me is, relative to me, a gift from God. Even when you sin against me, this is God’s gift for me. But it was under your control, and no gift to you for you to close your heart to God in that sin. Yet again, now that you have survived, even your reckless past is a gift to you. So you have children out of wedlock, some venereal disease, some mental disorder because of those drugs: This is now your cross to embrace. Embrace it, you are a saint. Shrug it, you continue the path to ruin.
But not everything that is to come must be as it shall come to be. There are possibilities that shall not come to be. For one, there is my decision. Either I shall, or I shall not, embrace the cross. For two, there is God and there is me. I know I need him to be. I am. So is he. I know I am not he, for I need him. Hence, there are two. And I know I am not you. So, there are three. The real is, and many there are who are real. If all was one, I would need no path. If all is not one, and I am not all, I need a path. I need a way. There is a right way, and a wrong way. There is health, and there is sickness. All is not one.
The modern west is asleep in a pantheistic diffusion of being and dissolution of personality, dissolution of discrimination. Perhaps because we are living at the level of the senses. But even the deer knows that it is being chased. We seem to have fallen asleep like a fool on a hill, relaxing, unwinding, minds turned off, sold down the river. If the animal can judge its enemy, why are we sleeping soundly in the undifferentiated “all is one”?
I went sailing yesterday and caught myself yelling at the crew. (Relatives!) Had I not yelled, we would nearly have capsized. Not gotten back. Someone might have been thrown over. Is it wrong to yell? Is there ever a crisis?
But when I have eaten well, I sleep. All is in tune.
The satiated culture has trouble judging the real. In its smooth, “all is one,” it has no idea what the real is. I might protest injustice as a college student, thinking I have found the real. But actually, Mom and Dad have paid for my lunch. I eat well. I sleep. I wear Birkenstocks. I think that my banner and protest makes me real. I haven’t a clue what “the real” is. Because “all is one”. Because I am “in tune”.
But none of this “in tunedness” is saintliness. It is mindless un-differentiation of the sleepy, half-dead. Wake up from your sinfulness, you sinner. Your enemy, the devil, goes about prowling around. “But when the Son of Man comes again, will he find any faith?”
Anger depends on recognition of me and you, two. It depends on recognition of injustice. Not just “pain” but injustice. I cannot grow angry at the shark. Only at someone. Perhaps the One who made the shark that ate my child. Thus, anger speaks of otherness.
And I cannot know injustice without some awareness of justice. Justice is giving another his due (and I am another to me, in some respect). I must know what is due, and what is opposed to what is due: That is right! That is not right!
If we are all asleep in a satiating pantheistic sleep, we cannot rouse ourselves to wonder, to knowledge of justice, and hence to anger. Who cannot get angry, cannot be just. Since we cannot get angry, we cannot be just. This surely is one of our sins, and it may well be that our satiating non-differentiating sleepfulness is the cause. If no one can be wrong, then all is right. We all know that with this something is not right.
A little asceticism here, a little tragedy there, might wake us up from this dreary dream, that we might set things to right.
(Continuing from where we left off….) The final Relatio of 2014, in art. 56, touches on a matter of central importance:
Openness to life is an intrinsic requirement of married love.
Marriage is the only proper setting for the sexual act, and the sexual act is ordered to procreation as its primary end. Hence, married love must be open to life. The paragraphs here, from 56-58 are a good testament to the centrality of fruitfulness and children in marital life, including the heroism of parents who embrace children with disabilities and of married couples who adopt orphans, etc.
I turn now to the section of Questions.
We see a good and balanced question here:
21. In the case of those who have not yet arrived at a full understanding of the gift of Christ’s love, how can the faithful express a friendly attitude and offer trustworthy guidance without failing to proclaim the demands of the Gospel? (cf. n. 24)
Both the truth and love of the individual in a concrete situation are combined here. Always a difficult, but always the necessary, task. The next question is not so fortunate:
22. What can be done so that persons in the various forms of union between a man and a woman — in which human values can be present — might experience a sense of respect, trust and encouragement to grow in the Church’s good will and be helped to arrive at the fulness of Christian marriage? (cf. n. 25)
Once again this notion of the “fulness of marriage” is introduced. This can be a dangerous formulation, making it seem as though there are analogous forms of participation in marriage. There is some truth to the notion of analogous forms of marriage but a truth that must highly be qualified.
The most important qualification: Only marriage is good. The other forms of union – we are speaking of unions in which sexual acts are committed – are evil. Period. Nor do I participate in marriage 50% if I promise 20 years to my spouse. I can’t gain entry by degrees. It is all or nothing: I do – or I don’t. Period. This essentially does away with a notion of real analogy.
On the other hand, we can speak of some remote kinds of analogy, provided we do not lose sight of the previous point.
Natural marriage is analogous to sacramental. Both are intrinsically indissoluble. Both are valid, real contracts. Both involve one man and one woman, for life, and open to life. “Common law” marriages exhibit the elements of natural marriage but lack formal societal recognition. One could say many of these simply are natural marriages (if the spouses are not baptized). But “shacking up” does not really have a resemblance. It has the natural potential for resemblance, in that there is one man and one woman, engaged sexually. However, if they contracept they are already de-naturalizing the act. Thus, the natural potential is obscured.
By contrast, the homosexual partnership has no natural potential for resemblance. Hence, the Catholic Teaching that there is no analogy at all between homosexual union and marriage (see prior posts in this series). This is a crucial point to reiterate in the context of this easily misleading notion of “fulness of marriage”.
It is good if the Church works to bring something potentially a marriage to be an actual marriage. The reason is that there is a real potential here. The ingredients in a common law marriage point towards totality. The Church wants to see that totality take place. Totality takes place in the natural order when it becomes societally recognized, and thus a real natural marriage. The Church however seeks salvation. The Church strives that it become sacramental, because the spouses have embraced Jesus Christ and been baptized in his name. Then we have the flowering of sacramental marriage. The ingredients – common law, and to a lesser extent shacking up (just ask the woman in most cases) – pointed towards that totality as what must exist if the ingredients are to be lived well. The ingredients – sex! – want this totality. That is, the ingredients are – abstractly considered – good. Heterosexual sex is good. However, concretely lived without totality, the result is evil. Sex with one not my spouse is evil. The abstract goodness of the ingredients makes them potentially good, and when the totality is achieved they are actually good.
One more step: If I am already married, then the abstract goodness of sex with a woman can never be good for me except in the context of my real marriage. I cannot get divorced, live with another woman, and “work towards totality” with her as towards something good. It is impossible. She cannot be my spouse, since I already have one – and espousals are for life! That’s what they are. They are total. So, those already blessed, and tasked / burdened, by marriage cannot “work” their illicit relationship towards a “fullness” of marriage. That would be to work towards a “fullness of evil”. For what has no potential for being good, when committed to firmly, is all the more evil.
A fortiori is this the case with the homosexual act and its consequent union. The act is always evil, under every circumstance. It is abstractly evil. Hence, it can never be instantiated in a morally upright way. The object itself is disordered. Hence, if two men who occasionally committed sodomy together were to commit themselves to a “permanent union”, then, just as would the adulterous man who moved to totalize his adultery, they would be going in exactly the wrong direction by trying to make permanent their union. What they need to do is embrace chastity. Similarly, the adulterer will probably need to embrace chastity, since he will likely have grave difficulties going back to normal marital life. Hence, he may well be out of the house forever.
Our Lady of the Americas – Who prays for purity in this land of degeneracy – pray for us.
If man is haphazardly here, an accident in the night of the universe’s thoughtless dream, I suppose liberty is being unfettered, choosing one’s own way, determining one’s own meaning, taking advantage of the time, carpe diem.
So little time, so many options. Gold? Guns? Girls? Metric asks, “Is it ever gonna be enough?” This is our society. The song is brilliant in its pace and in its sudden ending. The mad rush for more, relentless, suddenly terminated. Oh, perhaps it flutters out in old age. But the sudden death of a young man madly pursuing the things that pass away, whose consumption makes him sleepy and presently sated – only to be thrown back into the state of desire for another round – the sudden death of such a man paints the madness, the pointlessness of his….
But if man is greater than the beasts yet less than the heavens above, if man is a seeker of a higher good, if his dream in the higher room is yet to be read, if the shadows paraded before him by marketers on the walls of his concern are but distant many-echoed copies of The Real, then perhaps he is in chains here before the marketers and gobbling profiteers, and equally before the sloganeers chanting in mindless unison against the consumers and in favor of the oncoming collective. Perhaps his life of optionism or collectivism is in chains.
Would not liberty, then, be unfettering oneself from the endless onslaught, waking to the higher dream, turning to face a man, seeing him smile or cry, entering a relationship?
But all men are dust!
If we hold hands today, and today is all, what was it we were after? Why this dread welling up within me as I seek your face, O fellow friend? Why should joy and dread go hand in hand? Why tears that you love me? Tears of uneasy delight. Why did you befriend me? Why did I befriend you? I knew it was right, but confusedly, to take care of you, and you of me. All of this was as a kiss, a first kiss.
A kiss is a promise. A promise has a future of completion, lest it is a tease only. The deep kiss that has no completion is a tease.
Is life a tease for those who wake to its promise, who shuffle off the coils of the consuming mindlessness of the shadowed cave? This wakefulness has only caused me dread, in such case. Better never to have been born again to this expectation without fulfillment, planting without sowing. Is this higher life deadlier then, the living of dying?
Or is all that passes a sign of what does not pass? Is every good moment a sign of what just is Good? Are all my discoveries just here and there bits of knowledge, interlocked and interdependent – this stack here, that stack there: choose as you may your truth for the day? Or is every truth a sign of a Truth that rests not on another but is itself its Anchor? Is everything that is fragile, unstable, resting on yet another? But if this rests on that, and that on another, and that other on yet another – on what does it all rest? Is the universe a meaningless dance of dust, drawn in mindless patterns? Or is every pattern a display of Mind? And is every order a sign of completion to come? Is there is completion to come, genuine fulfillment, where union with the Beloved does not weary me to sleep, or fill my eyes with seeing and my ears with hearing, but refreshes the very eyes in the seeing? Is there Love?
I seek a Good that does not promise only. I seek a Truth that depends on no assumption. I seek a Beauty that is the reason for all beautiful bodies. This I seek. If I sought only you, my good friend, who keeps me company and sings songs with me, who eats with me, if you were all I sought, you who are but dust and ashes, would you not, sensing this higher promise, know I have mistaken you for another? Would you not run from me, if I drunk in every breath you take as my way of being? You know this: All we are is dust.
Liberty requires sight. But sight dawns only for those who study its coming. Study requires faith, for where shall I look for the coming of dawn? But nor is faith blind, for the creatures tell of your Glory – O Lord, and your friends repeat the witness. You bled, and your hosts bleed. You scatter the forest of our confusion with the signs that lead homeward.
I knew you but did not seek you. I sought you but did not know you. You came quietly into my life. To my endless pursuits I clung for some time. But you stole away the stolen goods of my heart, for you are a Jealous God. Take us out of our captivity, O God. Free us from our chains. Let the sinner leave his place of sin and come to the higher realm, where the true dream of the heart sings reality in melody without weariness or end.
Art. 54 has a very important point to make:
“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”
This is a citation of a very good CDF document written under the guidance of the Prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. The message is absolutely clear: There is no resemblance at all between marriage and sodomite unions. The indissolubility of marriage is good because the union of man and woman ordered to procreation is good. If there were a band of ruffians who vowed to be united “indissolubly,” their indissolubility would not be good but evil, as their band’s very unity is evil. Sure, there are abstractly “good elements” in the band, in that they have a code of conduct, look out for each other, feed themselves, etc. But their end is evil and the end defines the union. Similarly, if sodomy is evil, then a vow to bond two men precisely as committed to this act is itself evil. If the bond is evil, so is its indissolubility. It follows with inexorable precision from Catholic teaching that so-called homosexual marriage is an evil thing; hence, it bears no analogy to true marriage. The CDF continues:
Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
The document goes on to declare “the immoral nature of these unions” (art. 5), calling them simply “evil”.
I cannot recommend highly enough this CDF document. It is an important antidote to the Synod on the Family. For sake of edification, I must cite it here at length.
Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” (art. 4).
Although the inclination itself, qua not a product of freely chosen acts (of commission or omission), is not a sin, since only free acts are sins, nevertheless, this inclination to what is intrinsically evil is therefore a “disordered” inclination. Not sin but a disordered inclination. The acts are sin, but not the inclination, qua not free.
What do we mean by “disordered”? Aren’t those men who lust after women also disordered? Isn’t their inclination also a “disorder”?
We can speak loosely or technically. Loosely, any sin is a disorder, and any inclination to sin is a disorder. But when we speak technically, only those inclinations are “disordered” (technical sense) whose object abstractly considered is evil. Since a man having sex with a woman is not an evil object, the inclination to desire such is not disordered. (It is, to be sure, concupiscent and thus wayward since the woman of which we speak is not his wife, but the tendency is not technically dis-ordered. It is wayward because this is not the right woman, or the desire is not measured; etc. These are real problems, to act on which would be to sin. Yet, the very object [a man's desire for sex-with-woman] is – abstractly considered – not evil.) But in the case of same-sex attraction, the object is always evil. A woman is a proper object for a man’s sexual desire. Hence, that a man is inclined sexually towards a woman is not a disorder but an order. However, a virtuous man will have this inclination only habitually. That is, it will not be stirred up within him upon seeing any woman go by. It will be excited only when he sees his wife, or if he happens to be caught off guard by some attractive woman suddenly put into his presence. But then virtue will set to work to moderate the desire; he will change his thoughts to Mozart or the Rangers. (If he doesn’t, then his “concupiscence” can turn to sin, if he fails to do what he can and should.) But the homosexual inclination has an object that is in all cases evil. It is never the case that – even abstractly considered – a man can licitly engage sexually another man. Hence, the very inclination to this object is disordered, even if it is not sinful when no free act (of commission or omission) occasions it. Thus “disordered” means that the very object of the inclination is per se evil: Sex with someone of the same sex. Similarly, the inclination to malign others’ characters would be a “disorder,” for in all cases to will such destruction of reputation is evil.
When it comes to civil unions of gay couples, the CDF states very firmly that such unions are an evil on society. If society is so far gone from the natural order that it finds it cannot but tolerate such unions, the following directives apply:
Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defenses and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. (art. 5).
These directives apply simply for the “toleration” of homosexual unions, say, in one’s neighborhood. The case is more serious if a society legislates in favor of such unions. It is even worse if it legislates “equality” between such unions and real marriage:
Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.
In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection (art. 5)
What the CDF is saying inexorably implies is that the US Supreme Court Decision of June 26 is Null and Void in the Eyes of God!
And it is Null and Void not only before the bar of faith but before the bar of right reason.
Therefore, anyone who rightly thinks concerning this issue is free to treat it as though it does not exist, for it has no force of law. The only “force” it has is that of a band of thieves and brigands with weapons and penal sanctions that can extort behavior out of those who cannot bear the load. (See Augustine, City of God.)
What will we Christians do with regard to this null and void law? Will we bear the load? Will we capitulate? Will we truly love our neighbor? Will we truly have mercy on the poor? Will we go after the several sheep that are wandering towards the cliff and conversing with wolves? That is, will we share with them the full truth of the Gospel? That sodomite acts destroy the human heart, twist one’s ability to befriend and relate, enmesh one in disorder, fail to be fruitful, thus fail to pronounce hope to a fallen world, and thus are evil and sound the soul’s marriage to death? This on the one hand. And on the other hand, a message that cannot be understood unless this former message is thoroughly understood: That Jesus shed his blood so that each of us might be freed from our enslavement to sin, repent, and receive his forgiving grace, imbibe his living Spirit, and journey in peace to the Heavenly Homeland?
(Continuing from where we left off….) The final Relatio of 2014, in art. 52, states:
52. Some synod fathers maintained that divorced and remarried persons or those living together can have fruitful recourse to a spiritual communion.
This really sounds great. Who could be against it? But we must examine the matter more closely. A true spiritual communion involves uniting our hearts to the Lord in the Eucharist. When we rightly receive him sacramentally or bodily, he increases his presence in our hearts by granting us a greater share in sanctifying graces, forgives our venial sins and takes away some of our debt for sins past. Some of these benefits can accrue to us through a spiritual communion, namely, a greater share in sanctifying graces and the indwelling of Christ in our hearts.
But are there any conditions for God dwelling in our hearts? It might sound neat and cool to say, “No! Because God loves us unconditionally.” But the answer would be heresy. It seems that a post refuting Protestantizing heresies is way overdue. Our age of “mercy without law” or “mercy opposed to the law” or “mercy in dialectical tension with law” is precisely a Protestant Heresy. (A future post on that.) Thus, together with a godless, paganizing de-mystificaiton of our religion there is a Protestantization going on. A synthesis of heresies! But a synthesis of dialectically opposed errors does not a truth make! Summarily, God’s presence in me is not a change in God – lest he fail to be God! Rather, it is his opening my heart and mind to him – may he be Blessed and Praised for opening once hardened, and ever-weak, hearts! That “opening” is the faith by which we believe, the hope by which we trust and lean, and the charity by which we cleave with our whole soul to God above All. Hence, if I have not charity, though I have all faith and all the cardinal virtues, I am a noisy gong and a clanging symbol.
Wisdom Flees an Evil Soul! (Wis 1). Where the soul has not charity, God dwells not! He is preparing to dwell in the pilgrim who does not have charity; he is calling such a pilgrim home; but the pilgrim has not yet allowed God to soften his heart of stone. Hence, God as yet dwells not in this heart of stone. So, there most certainly is a condition for the indwelling. That means there is a condition for true spiritual communion. Spiritual communion can take place only when true charity exists in the soul.
But true charity cannot exist in any soul that is committed to mortal sins. Now, those who are living together but not married, or are married but are living with someone not their spouse, are by their very lifestyle committed to commit gravely evil acts. They are so committed with deliberation. Hence, they will these acts to which they commit their lives; thus, these acts are imputable to them (CCC 1736). It is not likely that they are ignorant of God’s law in this matter. Did they forget the “I do” of their youth? Are they riddled with Down’s Syndrome? Are they drugged up constantly? Were they brainwashed? Hardly likely. They may be faint of mind and hazy about the law. This is something to consider and may well constitute the kind of fog of today, a fog that seems to mitigate culpability.
However, another thing to consider, precisely with respect to such a fog, is the First Precept of Natural Law: DO GOOD, SHUN EVIL. That precept is pretty generic. Anyone who wishes to follow through on it will ask himself, “What good must I do? What evil must I shun?” The ignorance one feels within oneself immediately calls for a formation of conscience. One must seek out the True Religion. There are seekers out there who have not yet found. Thus, there are inculpable people out there regarding some of these issues. However, they are probably not many. It seems more likely that many people are not seeking God at all. They are contented with the pleasures and plans of the day. They even shun thoughtfulness. How few were the philosophers in Socrates’s day. How few are those who examine life these days! But the unexamined life is refuse. It is not “inculpable”. Hardly. It is culpable in the very first framework of its liver’s choice: Me!
Hence, most people are quite aware of the law and of what they are doing. Which is why they don’t enjoy the company of John the Baptist.
The result: Those who are living in sin cannot make a spiritual communion. They can assist at Holy Mass in their state of confusion and inner disturbance. Such assistance can assist them if they allow themselves to be disturbed out of their slumber. But what if such assistance were allowed to create a false “equanimity” of self-acceptance of their sin? What if pastors were to tell the person living in an objective state of sin that this state could be a permanent solution, a permanent resting place in his pilgrimage? The person would then be left to remain in his sins! This would not be to shepherd him to happiness, but to leave him in death.
But, “Let the dead bury their dead,” says the Lord, and “He who turns his back is not worthy of me!”
In short, to encourage their assistance at the Holy Sacrifice is not to carve out a long term solution for these people. If it were, it would surely be the spiritual death of them and of those who would attempt to carve out this place of transition as though it were a lasting home. What is required is great pastoral balance with a clear direction. But I fail to see the compass rightly aligned in a consistent manner in this document.