Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Smoldering Smoke in the Temple?

Monsignor Michael Scooyans

A principal adviser to Pope St. John Paul II who was also close to Pope Benedict XVI, Monsignor Michel Schooyans, has issued an ominous warning about the current course in the Catholic Church. In a paper, retired Professor Schooyans, a member of several Pontifical Academies and Councils, says that “the Synod on the Family has revealed a profound malaise in the Church,” writing of the 'crisis' in the Church: “it is futile to close our eyes: the Church is challenged in its very foundations.”
Monsignor warns of what he says is an organized group in the Church that operates with “backing from some of the highest authorities in the Church.”
The Synod on the Family showed, he says, the determination of “a group of pastors and theologians” that “do not hesitate to undermine the Church's doctrinal cohesion.” This group, he added, “functions in the manner of a powerful, international, well-heeled, organized and disciplined party.”
The active members of this cabal have easy access to the media, operating with backing from some of the highest Church authorities. Their main target is Catholic moral teaching condemned for having a strictness unsuited to the "values" of our time. Through this network these sophists will be able to hold sway over the helm of the Church, influence the selection of candidates for high office, and make alliances which put at risk the Church’s very existence (emphasis mine—here I think Monsignor’s contention is a bit  histrionic, though his findings warrant attention).

Professor Schooyans counsels specifically against suggestions for “decentralization” of the Church: “The actions of casuists today affect not only the Church's moral teaching but also the entirety of dogmatic theology, in particular the question of the Magisterium,” adding: “The unity of the Church is in peril where there are suggestions of biased, at times demagogic, proposals for decentralization, largely inspired by Lutheran reform.”
The renowned philosopher points to confusions (for Paul VI, a sign of the demonic) in the Church around “’remarried’ divorced persons, “models” for the family, the role of women, birth control, surrogate motherhood, homosexuality," and euthanasia. The Church “has not been given by the Lord a mission to modify” the truths taught by Christ about all these matters, Schooyans says. “The Church is the guardian of this treasure.”
“The causuist,” he says, (i.e., a sophist) “cultivates the art of confusing the faithful. Concern for the truth, revealed and accessible to reason, is now of no interest. … Progressively, the rules of behavior proceeding from the will of the Lord and handed down by the Magisterium of the Church are languishing in decline.” As I recount in my book, in 1972 Paul VI forewarned of the Devil’s role in such sophistry. Scbooyans summarizes this sophistry in the paper--the moral assessment of an act no longer depends on whether it conforms to the will of God, as made known to us by the Revelation, but the intention of the moral agent. This intention can be modified and shaped by the spiritual adviser who, in order to please, will have to soften the objectivity of the doctrine handed down by tradition. The pastor will have to adapt his words to the nature of man, whose passions are naturally led into sin. Schooyans continues:
How great is the number of pastors of all ranks who wish to make allegiance to the powerful of this world, albeit easily and without the need to swear publicly fidelity to the new “values" of the world today?” In pushing to facilitate ‘remarriage,’ the neo-casuists are giving their backing to all those political players who are undermining respect for life and the family.

I have reason to think that Pope Francis will prevail in the end, for speaking to a large gathering of charismatic Catholics in the Rome Olympic Stadium, Pope Francis spoke of how the devil “attacks the family so much. The demon does not love it and seeks to destroy it.”
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