The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, meeting (as we have all been taught by this pontificate to assume) 'with the guidance of the Spirit', has happily not come to a common mind on the question of the controverted sections of Amoris laetitia. This will be a source of great relief to many biblically-oriented Christians.
It is important to point out that each time a Conference or even a single bishop declines to make use of a formal opportunity to promote the Bergoglian interpretation of AL, this very act of so declining is itself a Magisterial action. Because: it is a formal if tacit clarification that the pro-Bergoglian bishops' interpretation is not part of the Church's Ordinary Universal (hence infallible) Magisterium. And ... important this ... the more panicky pressure that power-hubs in Rome put on the world-wide episcopate to fall into line, the more significant will be any and every failure to submit.
AL, is, of course, far inferior in status to an infallible conciliar or papal decree, and PF's own ambiguous glosses as to what his own original ambiguities really mean are at an even lower (thoroughly sub-Magisterial!) level. These considerations make it yet more important to apply to AL the methodological test which Blessed John Henry Newman insisted had to be applied to Pastor aeternus after it was promulgated in 1870: Does this come to me as the free and unforced teaching of a moral unanimity within the episcopate?
Things are looking up! They're not getting away with it! Two years after AL was published, it is no nearer to passing the Newman Test. Still less near is that particular interpretation of its ambiguities upon which the Bergoglians need to rely.
I get a comforting feeling that some younger bishops may sense that, when the natural time comes for the next stage of their episcopal careers, PF is unlikely still to be Bishop of Rome.
Establishing that the Bishops of the oikoumene have not taught what PF desired them to teach (indeed, he grotesquely manipulated two synods to achieve his end), will also be an important factor when eventually a future pontificate sets about restoring the explicit witness of orthodoxy.
But our bishops have powerfully enforced one particular paragraph in AL. This is the section which deals with, and roundly condemns, Gender Theory and all that. By employing a section of AL to underpin this condemnation, their Lordships have given us a deft and elegant example of an argumentum ad hominem. Nice one!
25 April 2018
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