Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Responses to Ivereigh on 'dissent'

Austen Ivereigh has written a rambling and intensly boring article on Crux in which he describes anyone not on board with his personal interpretation of Amoris laetitia as 'dissenters'. Yes, it is his personal interpretation because, as yet, there is no magisterial indication of how it should be understood, and liberals claiming to support the Pope over it have come up with a bewildering range of views. What does Austen think the authentic interpretation is? He doesn't say. But beware! If you reject it, you have dissented, just as those who wanted female ordination dissented back under Pope John Paul II.

Dissent from what? The word is usually used to refer to the teaching of the Church, but Ivereigh appears to mean from the personal views of the current Pope, which may of course vary from day to day and depend on whether he has toothache.

It would be nice to be able to say that anything so utterly ludicrous should be ignored but, sadly, this impassioned but empty invective appears to be the best that the semi-official Francis media team can come up with, and they are saying not only loudly, but with real menace. It serves to demonstrate, if nothing else, how completely empty is the intellectual backing for their position. Since Buttiglione tried to make a serious case for a 'liberal Amoris' and ended up contradicting what the Pope's favourite bishops were saying all around the world, they have actually nothing to say to defend themselves.

I don't have time to write more right now but several good responses to Ivereigh have appeared.

Christine Niles (Church Militant)

Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman

Fr John Hunwicke

Carl Olsen (Catholic World Report)

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.


  1. In all the blather from Ivereigh there is one paragraph which I found interesting. It deals with the suggestion that where there is lack of culpability in adultery so there is no mortal sin then the adulterer can receive communion. Ivereigh wrote as follows with my comments in brackets:

    "And in some, rare cases it might lead, yes, to being admitted to Communion where the lack of subjective culpability is beyond doubt, where, for example, an annulment is impossible [So where there is no doubt about the validity of the first marriage adultery is okay], where the marriage is irrecoverable [So if you are careful to make it irrecoverable adultery will be okay], where there are children by a new union [I wonder if this works retrospectively or does it only apply to the adultery after that in which the child was conceived] , where a conversion has taken place in a person that creates a new state [What state?], and where the notion of ‘adultery’ simply fails to capture a reality [This must be the final get out clause; it doesn't feel like adultery].

    And this is the man who runs Catholic Voices with whom I have had one or two run-ins.

    1. I'm perfectly happy to believe many people in adulterous second unions don't realize what they've done/have been doing, and are innocent of mortal sin as a result.

      The problem is, once they do become aware of what they've done/have been doing, the "lack of full knowledge" excuse is no longer on offer: they know exactly what they're doing at that moment. And if they are sincere, they will resolve to stop doing it. Hence, if that awareness is not paired with the resolve to refrain from further acts of adultery, "invincible ignorance" is no longer really an explanation, is it?

    2. Sean: Perhaps the invincibly ignorant should be warned not to get into any accompaniment and discernment in case they find out and their behaviour becomes a mortal sin. Would that not be more merciful?

    3. Saint Paul says that the moral law is written on our hearts. People in adulterous second unions know what they are doing. The Catholic Church has never held otherwise. Even assuming arguendo they do not, they are not excused, because they have a duty to find out. And that duty was present at the time they entered into the second union. The Catholic Church has now entered a period where Catholics are excusing adultery and ignoring the very words of Our Lord, and the only reason they are now doing this is because their ideas, which they would never have expressed in the past, are coming from the summit of the Church. This is an unconscionable situation. The effects will be dire for the entire planet.

  2. It's because he is an adulterer himself and like all these Liberals, he seeks to manipulate Church teaching to support his own weaknesses.