More on the Coccopalmerio Affair
by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 16, 2017
One aspect of yesterday’s column concerning Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s disgraceful "book" on Amoris Laetitia (AL) — actually a 51-page pamphlet — merits specific focus today.
I am referring to those passages wherein Coccopalmerio, no less than the President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, dares to declare that obedience to the Sixth Commandment, which binds all men, everywhere and always, is merely a standard of “absolute perfection” that that may be impossible to achieve. Here, in pertinent part, are the Cardinal’s incredible affirmations:
“The divorced and remarried, de facto couples, those cohabiting, are certainly not models of unions in sync with Catholic Doctrine, but the Church cannot look the other way….
“Yes, therefore, to admission to the sacraments for those who, despite living in irregular situations, sincerely ask for admission into the fullness of ecclesial life, it is a gesture of openness and profound mercy on the part of Mother Church, who does not leave behind any of her children, aware that absolute perfection is a precious gift, but one which cannot be reached by everyone.”
In other words, Coccopalmerio declares that not everyone can be expected to achieve the “absolute perfection” of avoiding sexual relations outside of marriage! That idea represents the de facto destruction of the Church’s entire teaching on sexual morality, for it purports to reduce a fundamental moral precept — the very least that God expects of us with the aid of His grace — to a mere ideal. The natural moral law would thus no longer be a law at all but rather a kind of benchmark for personal growth and development. Reach it if you can, but if you cannot, God will forgive you anyway.
Then there is the implication that those living in “irregular situations” — meaning that they habitually engage in adultery or fornication — while not “absolutely perfect” in their behavior are nonetheless living in some degree of moral perfection, as if there could be gradations of obedience to the Sixth Commandment.
This is moral madness. But what is the source of this madness? Not Coccopalmerio, but Amoris Laetitia, the bizarre creation of Pope Bergoglio and his team of Modernist ghostwriters. Chief among these is his old friend Víctor Manuel Fernández, aka “Tucho,” a theological menace who wrote a book on “the art of kissing” and whom Bergoglio made a titular archbishop as one of his first acts of office.
Even the staid, resolutely middle-of-the-road Catholic Herald has just run a headline story on Coccopalmerio’s bombshell under the headline “The Church is now in a full-blown civil war over doctrine.” After sketching the trajectory on which none other than Francis has launched the Church, the Herald does not hesitate to draw this momentous conclusion about what is happening:
“Cardinal Coccopalmerio is a senior Vatican figure: his book has appeared with evident support from within the Vatican, and without official contradiction. And his opinion is close to that of many other prelates (such as the bishops of Malta and most of those in Germany). So the debate about Communion can no longer be seen – if it ever could – as a marginal squabble between “liberals” and “conservatives”. Nor can it be framed as a question of whether you prefer a bit more mercy or a bit more justice. It is now, quite plainly, a debate about whether the teaching of the Church is still valid.”
Of course Church teaching is still valid. Not even a Pope can alter, much less declare invalid, what the Church has always taught on faith and morals. But this Pope has given the impression that such a thing is possible, thus igniting a “civil war” in the Church over a moral precept as basic as “Thou shall not commit adultery.”
Father Ray Blake doubtless speaks for the growing number of faithful priests and laity who are alarmed by the ever-growing crisis of this pontificate: “The Church being divided into partisan groups is what I fear if Pope Francis’ papacy goes much further, it is the risk of be[ing] distanced from Christ that I dread and Francis and those of his faction seem to want me to take.”
What we are witnessing now is nothing short of apocalyptic. Yet one suspects that even worse is yet to come. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!