Archbishop Bergoglio Answers Most of the Dubia in a Catholic Manner
Of the five “dubia” submitted to Pope Francis and made public by four cardinals concerning the correct interpretation of “Amoris Laetitia,” three make reference to a previous papal document, the 1993 encyclical of John Paul II “Veritatis Splendor.” And they ask if three truths of faith forcefully reaffirmed by that encyclical still apply.
In doubt number two this is the truth for which the cardinals ask confirmation:
– the existence of absolute moral norms, valid without exception, that prohibit intrinsically evil acts (Veritatis Splendor, 79).
In doubt number four it is this other truth for which they ask clarification:
– the impossibility that “circumstances or intentions” may transform “an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act subjectively good or defensible as a choice” (Veritatis Splendor, 81).
And finally, in doubt number five it is this other truth for which they are awaiting illumination:
– the certainty that conscience is never authorized to legitimize exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit acts that are intrinsically evil by virtue of their object (Veritatis Splendor, 56).
None of these “dubia” has received a response from Jorge Mario Bergoglio so far. But if one goes back in time, to when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he would give the answers. Sure and reassuring.
In October of 2004 in Buenos Aires, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Cátedra Juan Pablo II at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina, an international theological conference was held on none other than “Veritatis Splendor.”
Attention. “Veritatis Splendor” is not a minor encyclical. In March of 2014, in one of his rare and deeply pondered writings as pope emeritus, indicating the encyclicals out of the fourteen published by John Paul II that in his judgment are “most important for the Church,” Joseph Ratzinger cited four of these, with a few lines for each, but then he added a fifth, which was precisely “Veritatis Splendor,” to which he dedicated an entire page, calling it “of unchanged relevance” and concluding that “studying and assimilating this encyclical remains a great and important duty.”
In “Veritatis Splendor” the pope emeritus saw the restoration to Catholic morality of its metaphysical and Christological foundation, the only one capable of overcoming the pragmatic drift of current morality, “in which there no longer exists that which is truly evil and that which is truly good, but only that which, from the point of view of efficacy, is better or worse.”
In other words, the target of “Veritatis Splendor” was “situational” ethics, the permissive movement in favor among the Jesuits in the 17th century that never went away, but instead is even more widespread in the Church today.
So then, among the speakers at that conference the first was Bergoglio. And his talk can be reread in the proceedings published in 2005 by Ediciones Paulinas of Buenos Aires, in a volume entitled: “La verdad los hará libres.”
A talk, that of Bergoglio, of powerful, unquestionable adherence to the truths reaffirmed by “Veritatis Splendor” and in particular to the three mentioned above, or precisely the ones that seem to be wobbling today, after the publication of “Amoris Laetitia.”
For example, on page 34 of the book, the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires writes that “only a moral theology that recognizes norms that are valid always and for everyone, without any exception, can guarantee the ethical foundation of social coexistence, both national and international,” in defense of the equal rights both of the powerful and of the least of the earth, while the relativism of a democracy without values leads to totalitarianism.
And this would be a response to the second doubt of the four cardinals.
On page 32 Bergoglio writes that the understanding of human weakness “can never mean a compromise and falsification of the criterion of good and evil, with the intention of adapting it to the existential circumstances of human persons and groups.”
And this would be a response to doubt number four.
On page 30, finally, he rejects it as a “grave temptation” to maintain that it is impossible for sinful man to observe the holy law of God, and therefore to want to “decide for himself what is good and what is evil” instead of invoking the grace that God always grants.
And this would be a response to the fifth doubt.
But then what happened, after that 2004 conference in Buenos Aires?
What happened, among other things, is that in reaction to the conference an Argentine theologian named Víctor Manuel Fernández in 2005 and 2006 wrote a pair of articles in defense of situational ethics.
Fernández was the pupil of Bergoglio, who wanted him as rector of the Universidad Católica Argentina and in effect was able to secure his appointment in 2009, overcoming the understandable resistance from the Vatican congregation for Catholic education.
Not only that. When in 2013 Bergoglio became pope, he immediately promoted Fernández as archbishop and wanted him to be part of the composition of the agenda-setting document of his pontificate, the exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” as also of other prominent speeches and documents of his.
With the effect that has been seen in “Amoris Laetitia,” thoroughly imbued with permissive moral theology and even with some paragraphs copied from previous writings by Fernández.
Copied in particular from his two articles of 2005 and 2006 cited above:
As also from other articles of his of 1995 and 2001:
And “Veritatis Splendor,” which Bergoglio extolled so vigorously in 2004?
Forgotten. In the two hundred pages of “Amoris Laetitia” it is not cited even once.
Read the full article at Sandro Magister Blog