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"Pope Must Act To Avoid Schism and Heresy"

September 22, 2016

An Austrian Catholic philosopher said he fears Amoris laetitia may cause a complete split in the Church.

“To avoid schism and to avoid heresy and to avoid the complete split in the Church, I think it is necessary that the pope … be told [these] problems [and revoke them]”, said Josef Seifert, Austrian Catholic philosopher in a new interview with Gloria.TV

Josef Seifert said that he hopes Pope Francis retracts the statements in Amoris laetitia that seemingly contradict Catholic doctrine. If he “persists in it,” then there is the “danger of schism.”

It is “objectively heretical” to claim, as Amoris laetitia does, that someone may be simply unable to live according to the demands of the Gospel, Seifert said. Amoris laetitia suggests that people can “recognize that it’s God’s will to live in an adulterous relationship,” but “that contradicts clearly quite a few dogmas of the Tridentine Council and it clearly contradicts Veritatis splendor and other solemn teachings of the Church,” he said.

Seifert stressed that he was not calling the pope a heretic, but simply pointing out that he made heretical statements that should be corrected.

Since the publication of Amoris laetitia on April 8, 2016, the Catholic world has witnessed a general confusion. Everyday brought news about a deep split within the Church. The main point of discussion is allowing the communion to the "remarried" divorcees. Bishop Fellay had announced this consequence as soon as the Exhortation was published:

 

One parish priest, in keeping with his duty, refuses the Body of Christ to public sinners, while another invites everyone to Holy Communion... A deep division is forming within the episcopate and the Sacred College of Cardinals. The faithful are bewildered; the whole Church is suffering from this rift."

Here below are the historical steps of this drift in chronological order.

In Germany: They Already Receive Communion

Before the publication of Amoris laetitia, in Freibourg, Germany, “remarried” divorcees were already receiving the Sacraments after a time of discernment with the help of a priest.

“The diocese [of Freiburg] has every reason to feel confirmed in the path it has already chosen so far, and thus to continue walking on it with confidence. It would be even better, if other dioceses would now likewise follow [this example],” commented Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff on Vatican Radio a few days after the publication of Amoris laetitia.

In The Philippines: We Will Do It

On April 10, 2016, in a pastoral letter, the Philippine Catholic bishops declared the following: “Mercy cannot wait. Mercy should not wait!" They stated that the Church must welcome those in irregular unions to “the table of sinners at which the All-Holy Lord offers himself as food for the wretched.”

The Pope In Poland: Decide For Yourself

On July 27, 2016, Pope Francis held a private meeting with the country’s bishops. The head of the Polish bishops' conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, revealed that the Holy Father spoke of allowing local bishops' conferences to make decisions about the controversial practice of giving Communion to those who are divorced and remarried.

45 Theologians: This Is Not Catholic!

On June 29, 2016, 45 theologians from all over the world addressed to the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a critical analysis of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris laetitia in which they condemn 19 statements in this Papal document.

The Pope to Argentinan Bishops: "No Other Interpretation"

On September 5, Pope Francis wrote to the Argentine bishops confirming that there is “no other interpretation” of Amoris laetitia other than one admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to Holy Communion in some cases as expressed in the document the bishops published, “Basic Criteria for the Application of Chapter Eight of Amoris laetitia.”

In Canada: It Cannot Be Done

On September 14, 2016, in Canada, the Alberta and Northwest Territory bishops stated in pastoral guidelines that the Catholic Church has not changed her practice towards divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. The guidelines include the following:

  • Marriage is “a sacrament, a public institution with a mission to give witness to the faithful love of Christ.”
  • “Therefore, for baptized Christians, adultery is not only violation of one of the Ten Commandments; it is also a public counter-witness to the very nature of the Church: the spousal union between Christ and the baptized.”
  • The Sacrament of Eucharist celebrates and deepens “precisely this union between Christ and his Church,” so “any serious rupture of this union, such as adultery, must be healed prior to the reception of Holy Communion.”
  • This means Catholic “must sacramentally confess all serious sins of which he or she is aware” before receiving Holy Communion.
  • “Such confession must be motivated by true contrition, which necessarily involves sincere repentance and renunciation of sin and a firm resolution to amend one’s life.”

The Alberta bishops' letter is highly significant, however, because it does not mention the infamous footnote 351 to paragraph 305 in Amoris laetitia in which the Pope insinuates that “in certain cases” the integration of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics “can include the help of the sacraments.”

In the end we should ask Professor Seifert, "Is Amoris laetitia bringing division within the Church or is it rather manifesting heresies and schims already present among the clergy throughout the world?"


[1] "Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.[351]" - Extract of paragraph 305, Amoris laetitia.

[2] "In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, 'I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy' (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 [2013], 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist 'is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak' (ibid., 47: 1039). - Footnote 351, Amoris laetitia.