Jorge Bergoglio’s new teaching in the papal exhortation Amoris Laetitia, (“AL”), is explicitly directed to unrependant adulterers, still living in adultery, who can, according to the new morality of AL, be doing the will of God, as they continue in sin. From this it follows that they can receive the sacraments. The teaching then goes further: they should be integrated into the daily public life of the Church, joyfully.
The New Bergoglian Morality Applies To All Sins
AL’s new (im)morality does not stop at adultery-as-virtue. It goes further:
“No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! Here I am not speaking of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone in whatever situation they find themselves. (AL, 297)“
This annihilation of hellish condemnation includes those who unrepentantly will continue in what Holy Mother Church teaches are “intrinsic evils,” those actions that are sinful no matter what the circumstances. Since this covers abortion, racism, and torture, it must certainly cover those who accuse a man wearing papal white of heresy.
This Is How Sinners Must Be Treated
Section 299 of AL provides for the “integration” in the life of the Church of those continuing in sin, unrepentant:
“ I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal.
The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral care, a care which would allow them not only to realize that they belong to the Church as the body of Christ, but also to know that they can have a joyful and fruitful experience in it. . . . Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services, which necessarily requires discerning which of the various forms of exclusion currently practiced in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional framework, can be surmounted. Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church and experience her as a mother who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and encourages them along the path of life and the Gospel.”
Pastoral Accompaniment for Those Who Call Jorge Bergoglio A Heretic
If the alleged principles of Amoris Laetitia are just that – principles for moral action – they must apply across the board to all actions. This is why AL says that its new teachings apply in “all situations.” Without such universal scope, there is no moral principle.
Many, including this writer, have said that Amoris Laetitia, without further explanation, proclaims heresy; that its author, Jorge Bergoglio, is a heretic; and those, including lay people, theologians, pastors, bishops, and cardinals who echo it to the faithful are also heretics.
Argentine Bishops Show The Way To Accompany Heretic Accusers
According to Amoris Laetitia itself, how are these heretic accusers to be treated by the Church? The answer – assuming AL does put forth universal principles for all actions, many of which previously were sins – is to be found in the published Guidelines of the Argentine bishops for their implementation of the new morality. Jorge Bergoglio said this about those Guidelines: “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia,” and “There are no other intepretations.” (link to Argentine Guidelines: https://cvcomment.org/2016/09/18/buenos-aires-bishops-guidelines-on-amoris-laetitia-full-text/ )
What follows is the application of those Guidelines to those who say Jorge Bergoglio is a heretic.
1) Firstly, we should remember that it is not right to speak of giving “permission” for access to the sacraments to those who call Jorge Bergoglio a heretic (“Jorge’s heretic accusers”), but rather of a discernment process under the guidance of a pastor. This is a “personal and pastoral discernment.”
2) In this journey, the pastor should emphasize the fundamental proclamation, the kerygma, so as to foster or renew a personal encounter between the living Christ and each Jorge heretic accuser.
3) This via caritatis is an invitation to follow “the way of Jesus, the way of mercy and integration” and calls for the pastoral charity of the priest who welcomes the Jorge heretic accusers, listens to them attentively and shows them the maternal face of the Church, at the same time accepting the righteous intentions and goodwill of the Jorge heretic accusers.
4) The goal is further integration of the Jorge heretic accusers into the life of the Church: a more active presence in the community, participation in prayer or reflection groups, or giving time to church activities etc. Even in difficult cases, pastors should be patient companions, looking for ways of integrating the Jorge heretic accusers.
5) It may be right for Jorge heretic accusers to have eventual access to sacraments privately. But at the same time, we have to accompany our communities in their growing understanding and welcome of the Jorge heretic accusers, without this creating confusion about the Bergoglian teachings of the Church. The community is an instrument of mercy, which is “unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous” and this mercy is also for Jorge heretic accusers.
6) Above all, in dealing with Jorge heretic accusers, pastors should rejoice in the following words of Jorge Bergoglio and apply them to the Jorge heretic accusers: “I also encourage the Church’s pastors to listen with sensitivity and serenity, with a sincere desire to understand their plight and their point of view, in order to help them live better lives and to recognize their proper place in the Church.”
Sadly, many in the Church have not only shunned, but have publicly condemned the Jorge heretic accusers. Some have unjustly lost their positions and their jobs. They have not been showered with the joyful love of Amoris Laetitia as have been public adulterers and fornicators. Rather than saying that they are not condemned forever, or “Come, ye, blessed . . ,” Jorge Bergoglio himself has let it be known, “I know who they are.”