Why the Resistence to “Amoris Laetitia”?

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Those who reject AL as morally incorrect, get creation wrong. And if you get creation wrong, you get the Metaphysics wrong. To say the thesis outright: people are not understanding Amoris Laetitia because the notion of creation, according to the testimony of Joseph Ratzinger, has dropped out of theological consciousness, and has left the created order to an abstract rationalism, certainly including matrimony. The correct interpretation of the created order must be made in the light of the Incarnation and the two natures of Christ such that creation is to the Creator as the human nature of Christ is to His divine Nature. The relation of creation to Creator is to be found in the relation of Christ’s humanity to His divinity, and that in the Person of Christ Himself. Creator and creation are really distinct as are human nature in Christ to His divine nature. The human nature of Christ is what the Church understands by the created order. The human nature of Christ is the medium through which the divine Person lives out His relation to the Father. The nature don’t act. The human intellect doesn’t think. The human will does not will. The divine Person thinks and wills through them. His “I” is the protagonist of both. They are not in parallel, but are compenetrated by His Persona. The take away is that the created nature, although distinct from the divinity, cannot be what it really is without being compenetrated by the sanctity of persons who are “other Christs.” And if they live the vocation to be “other Christs,” they will put Christ at the summit by their lives and work, and they will perceive Him there. The conclusion is that the pope’s documents Amoris Laetitia cannot be reduced to morality when its reality is Christ’s Love and Mercy. It is not a document reducible to morality, but a supernatural phenomenology of self-giving. It is a work of the subject living outo who He is as Mercy.

Creation from Nothing – Unavailable to Human Reason Without Revelation

The Greeks got the metaphysics on contact with Abrahamic faith in the 6th c. B.C.,[1] but they did not get creation.  As evidenced by Sokolowski’s ‘Christian Distinction” between God and the world. The Greeks did not “get” creation because creation is not “gettable” by reason alone. Creation from nothing is unavailable to human reason without revelation. One can reason to a supreme being, to a first cause, to a necessary being, to a perfect being, to a final cause of all things. But one cannot reason to a Creator who creates from nothing. That has to be revealed to us. And in the case that the mind reasons to a Supreme Being –  first cause, necessary being, perfect being and final cause –  since they are all in the genus “being,” it becomes a competition, a zero sum such that the more we explain the supreme being, the less we need explain the world (miracles), and the more we explain the world, the less need we have for the supreme being (science and ideology replace religion).

         And, as it is revealed to us, the God-Man Jesus Christ becomes the cognitive key insofar as He is both Creator and divine (as Person) and created (His humanity). The Council of Chalcedon (451) proclaimed that there is one Person and two natures in Christ and that they are not in parallel but dynamized by the same one Person of the Son of God. Such a misunderstanding has in fact developed a two-tiered image of reality as supernatural/ natural, grace/nature, faith/reason, Church/state… and which continually defy resolution because they are false problems arising from a false Christology. The natures in Christ are not tiered in parallel but compenetrated by the same one Person of Christ. There is no divine Will distinct from the divine Persons. So also, there is no human will in Christ that wills independent of Himself. Such a suggestion betrays abstractive and objectifying thought that is not realist. Only persons will. Hence, the one divine Person of Christ wills as both God and man, divine and human, and the uncreated and created natures find themselves one (although really distinct as uncreated and created) in the one Person. The necessary conclusion must be that the created, human nature of Christ must be shot through with the dimensions of the diving Person. And this must mean that we should find the intelligibility, relationality, love of Christ throughout the entire created material order, particularly in the human order. In a word, the meaning of man must be Christ. Gaudium et spes #22 reads: “He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice, and loved with a human heart.

Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.”

And so He, the Son of God, is the prototype of all man’s actions. And so, “You have heard that it was said to the ancients…, You have heard what was said to the ancients…,  But I say to you…. You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect. ”  (Mt. 5, 21-43).

                And this is the light in which Amoris Laetitia is to be interpreted:

                 I consider that the persistent resistance to the papal document “Amoris Laetitia” comes as the result of the pervasive absence of creation as the context of the universal consciousness of the world. And since the media pervasively control public opinion, and is shot through with an empiricist, abstract and reductive ideology, we would do well to consider the remarks of Joseph Ratzinger to comment on what I consider the context forcing the non-reception of the document.

The Correct Interpretation of the Created Order as the Context to Understand Christ’s Mercy  in Matrimony              

  “I [Ratzinger] would like to list three areas within the world-view of the Faith which have witnessed a certain kind of reduction in the last centuries, a reduction which has been gradually preparing the way for another ‘paradigm.’”

In the first place, we have to point out the almost complete disappearance of the doctrine on creation from theology.[2]  Nature still appears as an irrational form even while evincing mathematical structures which we can study technically. That nature has a mathematical intelligibility is to state the obvious, the assertion that it also contains in itself a moral intelligibility, however, is rejected as metaphysical fantasy. The demise of metaphysics goes hand in hand with the displacement of the teaching on creation (my underline).

Enter Duns Scotus and William of Occam

Blogger: What produced the mentality that perceives reality reductively and in abstraction whereby there is no room for gradualness of healing and restoring what was lost? In a word, how was the millennium with Creation understood correctly transmuted into the second reductive millennium?

Let me introduce here what many today consider to be the source of the most profound yet subtle deviation in Western [and therefore global] thought today, that damaged the millennial faith-experience concerning creation: the introduction of univocal thinking that embraces God and the world within the same abstract notion of “being.” I offer Robert Barron: “In an effort to make the ‘to be’ [esse] of God more immediately intelligible, Duns Scotus proposed a univocal conception of existence, according to which God and creatures belong to the same basis metaphysical category, the genus of being. Though God is infinite and therefore quantitatively superior to any creature or collectivity of creatures, there is nevertheless no qualitative difference, in the metaphysical sense between the supreme being, God and finite beings. Whereas Aquinas insisted that God is categorizable in no genus whatsoever, Scotus held that God and creatures do belong together to a logical category that, in a real sense, transcends and includes them. The implications of this shift are enormous and, to my mind, almost entirely negative”.[3]

And on pg. 193 of his “Priority of Christ,” Barron writes that, “A principal consequence of this epistemological decision was that God and worldy things can be compared, since they can be gathered together under thd same general metaphysical category. Though God remains infinite and creatures finite, nevertheless, both God and creatures on this reading, are beings and hence mutually commensurable. As the late medieval world gave way to the modern, this conception of the God-world relationship became solidified. As a result a great confidence that one could speak of God in a rationally clear manner took hold of many moderns.”

[1] The Axial Period

[2] As typical instances, we may cite two compendia of modern theology in which the doctrine on creation is eliminated as part of the content of the faith and is replaced by vague considerations from existential philosophy, the 1973 edition of the ecumenical “Neues Glaubensbuch” published by J. Feiner and L. Vischer, and the basic catechetical work published in Paris in 1984, “La foi des catholiques.” In a time when we are experiencing the agonizing of creation against man’s work and when the question of the limits and standards of creation upon our activity has become the central problem of our ethical responsibility, this fact must appear quite strange. Notwithstanding all this, it remains always a disagreeable fact that “nature” should be viewed as a moral issue. An anxious and unreasonable reaction against technology is also closely associated with the inability to discern a spiritual message in the material world.

[3] R. Barron, “The Priority of Christ,” Brazos (2007) 13.

2 thoughts on “Why the Resistence to “Amoris Laetitia”?

  1. As a divorce lawyer, and a married man, I see every day the action and inaction of married life. Marriage and parenting are the learning ground for the gift of self. The gravitational pull from the need of the spouse or the demands of a family break up the narcissistic center of the modern man and woman. The world rewards none of these behaviors, instead gilding the obsessive, hyper focused, means driven individual who sacrifices his life and himself for external and ephemeral trophies, i.e., idols. It may come as no surprise that the individuals who act out most badly in a divorce and separation, are those with untreated mental health issues, or addictions. These persons are turned most inward on themselves, reject and cannot comprehend the giving of the self to another. Looking to the remedy, it is difficult to preach and live “Christ and Him crucified…a stumbling block to the Jews [and Muslims] and folly to the Greeks [the rest of us].” Even now, as the Christian or Catholic man looks to the past or the future to find stability and meaning in the present, he continues to hold up at the foot of Calvary. The ontological shift that Father Bob, observing the recent Popes, seeks to present to us is both old and new. The reality is old, but the hope is new. We must set out on our missions to become other Christs. Humanity cannot wait for it any longer. But, we must do it without triumphalism. We must begin with Jesus at Gethsemane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Curtis, A most profound and wise commentary. Notice what needs to be said: the preparation for matrimony must be the preparation for life from Baptism up. Pre-Cana is merely at most a moral check list. Vatican II is a major sea-change in the understanding and living of Christian life. Could I ask for the genesis of your thinking and the location of like-minded lawyers Where might you be in the country? Thank you much for your words

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