A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Has Been Set to Guard the Lord's Flock. By Father Brian Harrison.
Today July 1st, 2023, Francis took one of the most revolutionary steps so far in his decade-long novelty-studded pontificate.
He has appointed his fellow-Argentinian, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, the main theologian behind Amoris Laetitia, as the new Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Fernández has a long track record of promoting the modernist idea of the evolution of doctrine, claiming (wrongly) that the magisterium has contradicted itself on religious liberty and slavery, and that this sets a precedent for further evolution on … you guessed it, sexual morality.
In an essay he promoted the sophistry that while indeed divorced and remarried Catholics who remain sexually active are in an "objective state of mortal sin", they can nevertheless sometimes be absolved in the confessional and receive sanctifying grace without a firm purpose of amendment, and so receive Communion.
How does Fernández try to justify this position? Well, the Catholic doctrine that most of us have learned since adolescence does indeed recognize that the guilt of a sin involving grave matter can be subjectively diminished or even eliminated for one of two reasons:
1) inculpable ignorance that the act is gravely contrary to the moral law; or
2) lack of full consent of the will in committing that act.
However Fernández has invented two more exculpating circumstances unknown to Catholic moral theology (but which he persuaded Francis to include in Amoris Laetitia).
He claims that in some situations a woman (for instance) can be in the state of grace and approach Communion even though she knows that Christ's law calls her activity adultery, and gravely forbids it, and even though she gives her full consent of the will to carry on doing it (i.e., she has a firm purpose of non-amendment!).
Our new Chief Doctrinal Guardian claims she will still retain sanctifying grace with that disposition if either:
3) she doesn't understand why Christ's teaching should apply to her in her situation, or
4) if she is incapable of obeying that teaching.
But option 4) runs up against the infallible teaching of the Church that God does not command the impossible, so will always give us the grace to obey his commandments and avoid at least mortal sin.
And option 3) amounts to claiming that we Catholics are under no obligation to form our consciences by submitting our own judgment to what we know is Christ's teaching, even if we don't fully understand the reasons for it. But that claim is just a new form of the old Protestant heresy of 'private judgment', which rejects the authority of the Church to form and bind consciences.
In short, friends, a wolf in sheep's clothing has been set to guard the Lord's flock.
The crisis in the Church has overnight become much deeper. The kind of moral reasoning set forth by this new doctrinal 'guardian' will all too easily lend itself to a similar "evolution" in doctrine that will allow practicing homosexuals to receive absolution and Communion.
So this new appointment seems right in line with preparations for the upcoming "Synod on Synodality", at which the homosex ideology will be unleashed.
And it gets worse! Just in case our new Prefect might be thinking that as CDF Prefect he may now have to change some of his progressivist ways and adopt a more cautious or conservative approach to doctrine, Francis has taken pains to disabuse him of any such scruples, right from Day One!
Francis declared in a personal letter to Fernández that his predecessors in this Congregation/Dicastery (including perhaps, the late Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI?) used "immoral" methods which the new incumbent must studiously avoid! Francis says:
"The Dicastery over which you will preside in other times came to use immoral methods. Those were times when, rather than promoting theological knowledge, possible doctrinal errors were pursued. What I expect from you is certainly something very different."
Unbelievable. The Successor of Peter, whose chief duty is to hand down, pure and incorrupt, the "faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude, v.7), is publicly and explicitly telling his chief adviser on doctrine not to "pursue" "possible doctrinal errors".
Further on his letter Francis tells Fernández that theologians should not be "content with a desk-bound theology” or with “a cold and harsh logic that seeks to dominate everything”.
On these terms it will be open season for modernism, and open season on orthodoxy.
Enough. Prayer and penance will more than ever be our main weapons now.