Weekend Reading: Does the heresy of gradualism inform the Synodal documents? July 10, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, Society, SOD, the struggle for the Church.
Reader JF sent me a link to a very good post by “On The Side of the Angles” at the Guild of Blessed Titus Blandsma blog. It’s about the synodal documents and the heresy of gradualism. Gradualism in this case concerns the idea that God just doesn’t love us enough, or provide with adequate means of Grace, to keep us from sinning. We can only, at best, be expected to maybe gradually wean ourselves of grievous sin. This is the foundational error underlying the Kasperite position at the Synod, and it appears to have seeped directly into both the Relatio from last year’s Synod (which was not approved by the bishops) AND the new Instrumentum Laboris (statement of work) for this year’s Synod.
I quote quite a bit of Bones’ analysis below, but there is much, much more at the link. Do go read it all, it’s very good:
However, Cardinals Erdo, Baldisseri, Marx, Nichols and many others, as well as the later #Relatio and now the #Instrumentum laboris misrepresent this Law of Graduality and instead make it appear as if the law of Graduality also refers to ‘Gradiuality of the Law’ – i.e. the Principle of Gradualism – a Gradualist stategy (actually a heresy) – which is ironically exactly what Pope St JPII condemns in Familiaris Consortio 34, as well as in the beginning of Evangelium Vitae but most specifically in Veritatis Splendor 68. This was a direct response to the Bishops of Synod 1980 who wished active homosexuals, co-habiting couples and the divorced/civilly remarried to have access to the sacraments.
Gradualism refers to the formal/efficient causal ‘Principle of Graduality’ which is a pastoral strategy towards achieving perfection grounded upon two premises:
a) that God has not provided enough readily available grace for a sinner to immediately stop sinning and
b) The dignity of the human being is so diminished by sin that they cannot escape their sinfulness except by slowly diminishing the intensity and amount of their sins on a gradual incremental basis. This amounts to a sin-controlled diet – a pastoral personal sin-reduction fitness regime.
This amounts to a thinly disguised Jansenism – but viewed from the other end of the telescope – rather than the sinner being ‘doomed’ by their sin – it is instead ‘unavoidable’ that sinners will sin and continue to do so. This is a truth exemplified by quotes such as this…
“Once one holds that the sin condition of the world forces us to do something that should not be done, there are no genuine moral boundaries. If it is believed that the human person is incapable of avoiding certain sinful actions, there is a simultaneous readiness to look for assistance from forces external to the human person. Technology and medicine, for example, can then be used in ways that replace authentic human sexual expression” (Toward a Theology of the Body, p. 102-3) [Sr Mary Prokes]
Gradualism is a fatalistic pessimistic principle that a ‘less than Loving’ God has not provided us with enough available “sufficient” grace to leave our sinful lives and not given us the capacity to not fall into sin. Therefore, we should be advised to remain in a limited sinful way and attempt to gradually reduce our sins and neither aspire to perfection nor to never sin – merely to diminish the amount of sins or the intensity or gravity of our sins. In this case, the sinner is to be treated more like a drug addict put on the ‘methadone’ of lesser sins rather than the alcoholic necessitating total abstinence or a gambler a total end to gambling.
In the 2000 years of Church Moral Teaching the psychologically astute and empathetic Church is fully aware just how disastrously counterproductive – calamitously futile – lethally aggravating and dangerous – this would be for the poor individual trying to repent of their sins and become holy. Gradualism, as a strategy, or as a principle for moral action, or pastoral intervention or counselling, is an heretical position. [It’s also not just ineffective, but counterproductive. Any time the Church seems to contradict earlier “hard” stands, it appears She did not know what She was talking about then, so why should She now?]
Scripturally, it is a proven falsehood and a grave calumny against a beneficent God bestowing a plenitude of Grace and against human dignity. “My Grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9)……
………It has been condemned by Church Fathers such as Sts Chrysostom, Ambrose, Jerome and most especially by St Augustine in ‘De Peccatorum 2,6,7 when he says,
“A man, helped by God, can, if he will, be without sin” and “God, therefore, does not command what is impossible, but in commanding he also admonishes you to do what you are able, and to ask his help for what you are unable to do” (FEF 1795). Even the most hardened sinner is offered help enough to repent, if only the grace is accepted (see FEF 2097, 2232)…….
……Therefore, let the whole Church understand that the Synod on the Family, as it stands, amounts to a full-scale, multi-pronged attack on the foundations of the Catholic Church and Her Infallible teachings, teachings which we have been taught to believe, if dismissed or rejected, leave souls, the sanctity and permanence of marriage and the institution of the family in the gravest of danger. We must arm ourselves with prayer and send ‘flaming prayers’ to Heaven as Bishop Athanasius Schneider has asked. We must arm ourselves, too, with Catholic truth so that we may give answer when deceits are placed before us during this time of anguish, so that when new winds of doctrine blow like a hurricane through the Church, we, and many others, are not blown away.
As I said, there is much more at the link, and it’s all very good.
I have to conclude by wondering aloud whether those prelates who push (already refuted) novelties such as this gradualism are not simply projecting their own inability to refrain from sin onto the entire Church, in an attempt to justify themselves in much the same manner as Luther did? It is best to avoid searching into motivations, yes, but when we have a movement that threatens the entire moral edifice of the Faith, examining the motivations of the men behind this resurgence of modernism is not, I do not think, beyond the pale.
There is nothing new under the Son. There are no new heresies, only the same old errors dredged up again and again due to lack of memory. It is truly amazing these tired gnostic theories can gain a large following, least of all among so many great princes and leaders of the Church, but pride knoweth no boundary and satan is active in every age. I do think it fair to wonder whether men like Cardinal Kasper work their revolutionary plan from a conscious view to destroy the Church, or if they are simply blinded by titanic pride? I suppose we won’t fully know the answer in this life, but those with eyes to see can probably come to their own conclusion.