Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich just gave a big speech defending Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation. From the National Catholic Reporter‘s take:
The third of Cupich’s principles calls the conscience of the individual person an “essential” element in the task of discerning how God is calling them to live their life.
The cardinal cites at length from paragraph 303 of the exhortation: “Conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God.”
He also cites the definition for conscience given in Gaudium et Spes as “the most secret core and sanctuary of a man … [where] he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.”
“When taken seriously, this definition demands a profound respect for the discernment of married couples and families,” the cardinal states. “Their decisions of conscience represent God’s personal guidance for the particularities of their lives. In other words, the voice of conscience — the voice of God … could very well affirm the necessity of living at some distance from the Church’s understanding of the ideal.” [Emphasis mine — RD]
Cupich notes that Francis urges pastors to carefully exercise discernment, working with individuals to “take into account the complexity of various situations.”
“It is hard to overstate the significance of this hermeneutical shift,” the cardinal states. “By fully embracing the understanding of conscience found in Gaudium et Spes, Pope Francis points not only to the possibility of accompaniment in the Church’s ministry with families but also to its necessity.”
Well, I agree with His Eminence that it is hard to overstate the significance of this hermeneutical shift. Notice the highlighted part above. The voice of the individual’s conscience is the voice of God. The Church no longer teaches truth, but its own opinion of the “ideal.”
“The result is not relativism, or an arbitrary application of the doctrinal law, but an authentic receptivity to God’s self-revelation in the concrete realities of family life and to the work of the Holy Spirit in the consciences of the faithful,” states the cardinal.
“As pastoral discernment attends to the reality of a situation, the conscience based Christian moral life does not focus primarily on the automatic application of universal precepts,” he continues. “Rather, it is continually immersed in the concrete situations which give vital context to our moral choices.”
Oh, please. The result is relativism, straight up.
Here is a link to the full text of the Cupich speech. I want to point out sections that the NCR report didn’t cover. Such as:
At the heart of this shift is a fully incarnational approach, which the Cardinal explains, is a two-way street. On the one hand the Church embraces the family with the Gospel message. Yet, since the family is already itself a Gospel, the Gospel of the family, there is a reciprocity to this incarnational approach that recognizes the contribution that families make to the Church’s understanding and proclamation of the Gospel. In other words, there has to be a holistic connection between our knowledge and our practice, our ideas and our experience have to inform each other.
See that? The family “is already itself a Gospel”. What does that mean? Could it mean that the family is on the same level as the Gospel in terms of the proclamation of Truth?
This insight has enormous consequences. If we are serious about fully appreciating that the concrete lives of families and couples are part of salvation history in which God continues to engage and redeem humanity, then at the least it will mean moving away from presenting an abstract and idealized presentation of marriage. Instead, we should begin with a view that married life is “…a challenging mosaic made up of many different realities, with all their joys, hopes and problems” (AL 38). Likewise, if we accept that families are a privileged place of God’s self-revelation and activity, then no family should be considered deprived of God’s grace. Our ministerial approach should begin with the understanding that families are not problems to solve. Rather, they are opportunities for the Church to discern with the aid of the Spirit how God is active in our time and what God is calling us to do here and now.
Oh? What about the families of the “three-person babies” that labs in Britain are about to manufacture? What about polygamist families?
The presupposition must always be that whenever there is a family striving to live together and to love one another, the Spirit is already present. The task of those who minister to families, then, is to open their eyes to see, and to help families discern where God is calling them. All of this represents an enormous change of approach, a paradigm shift holistically rooted in scripture, tradition and human experience.
Uh huh. In what sense is the Spirit present in the family of four, all of whom call themselves transgender? In what sense can this be considered blessed by God?
It goes without saying that this will also mean rejecting an authoritarian or paternalistic way of dealing with people that lays down the law, that pretends to have all the answers, or easy answers to complex problems, that suggests that general rules will seamlessly bring immediate clarity or that the teachings of our tradition can preemptively be applied to the particular challenges confronting couples and families. In its place a new direction will be required, one that envisions ministry as accompaniment, an accompaniment, which we will see, is marked by a deep respect for the conscience of the faithful.
In 2016, some of Canada’s Catholic bishops approved clerical cooperation with euthanasia, explicitly citing Amoris Laetitia and Pope Francis’s idea of “accompaniment”.
Again, read the entire Cupich speech to see for yourself what one of Pope Francis’s closest allies has said.
I could be wrong, but this seems to me like a new religion. Cardinal Cupich recently denounced The Benedict Option. Having read this speech, I see why he finds the Ben Op so threatening. You conservative Catholic readers should too, and read the signs of the times.