January 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Fr. Gerald Murray, a regular commentator on EWTN’s news program The World Over, told show host Raymond Arroyo in a recent interview that the infamous chapter 8 of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia is in “error,” and that he hopes it will be “withdrawn” by the pope.
Murray, a canon lawyer, also condemned the interpretation of Amoris laetitia published by the Argentinean bishops of the Pastoral Region of Buenos Aires last year, and recently republished by the Pope himself in the official Acts of the Apostolic See, calling it an “overthrow of the moral order” and calling for its withdrawal as well.
Critics say that both Amoris laetitia and the Argentinean bishop’s interpretation of it appear to excuse the sin of adultery and to permit Holy Communion to those who are living in adultery in invalid second 'marriages.'
“Catholic doctrine about the nature of marriage the indissolubility of marriage, about the intrinsic evil of adultery – that can’t change,” Murray told Arroyo in the January 11 interview. “What’s happened here is that the Argentinean bishops have given an interpretation of Amoris laetitia which I believe and so many others do, that contradicts the clearly annunciated teaching of all the previous popes.”
“By speaking out we’re not attacking Pope Francis, we’re simply saying Pope Francis we think that you’ve made an error, we think that the reasoning you’ve given in Amoris laetitia is faulty, and we think that these bishops, by saying that it’s sometimes infeasible for people to observe the sixth commandment, are teaching something that is contrary to the gospel and should be withdrawn,” said Murray.
“Indeed, my hope and prayer is that Amoris laetitia chapter 8 would be withdrawn, because I think it’s causing huge problems in the life of the Church,” he added.
Bishops’ interpretation published by the Pope is the 'overthrow of the moral order'
Murray said that the Argentinean bishops’ interpretation of Amoris laetitia, which was recently published by the Pope himself in the official Acts of the Apostolic See, constitutes nothing less than the “overthrow of the moral order,” and has provoked a “crisis” in the Church.
“The crisis is prompted by the fact that the Argentinean bishops justify this by saying that in some cases it is infeasible for them to avoid committing adultery, and that introduces into Catholic theology a completely contradictory notion that is completely alien to the faith, that somebody could not or would be incapable of observing virtue, and that if they’re incapable of refraining from adultery they’re not really guilty,” Murray told Arroyo.
“So we kind of have here something very serious under the guise of pastoral charity, and that is the overthrow of the moral order. What is intrinsically evil – adultery is intrinsically evil – can never be turned into something good by claiming that, well, people can’t avoid that sin.”
Arroyo agreed, adding, “I am very upset with the notion and I think that it is in ignorance – I’m going to write it off, in mercy, to ignorance – among some of the people that I’ve been reading, because they don’t seem to understand that this is not the Catholic Church, a political institution where when you get a new pope, everything is changed, you suddenly change everything. No, no, no, it is built on a continuity – historical, theological, canon law – all of this builds, one thing upon another, and flows naturally from it.”
“So you do have to square or reconcile what went before with what is being proposed today, and if there is a rupture there is going to be reaction. That is normative,” said Arroyo.
Arroyo illustrated the effects of the progressive breakdown in Catholic moral teaching by citing various news stories, including a recent LifeSiteNews article about a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life who has said that contraception is “required” under certain circumstances.
Lead German bishop is “leading people into sin” by justifying homosexuality
Arroyo and Murray discussed the consequences that are beginning to arise from the theology contained in Amoris laetitia, as the logic of justifying the mortal sin of adultery is applied to other mortal sins by theologians and even bishops.
Murray blasted a lead German bishop who recently said that the Church should discuss blessing homosexual unions because there is “much that is positive” in such relationships.
“He wants us to bless sodomy? He wants the Catholic Church to say to two people who are sodomizing each other: ‘you’re doing something that is pleasing in the sight of God’ and we want God to bless, meaning, we want God to favor this type of activity?” asked Murray.
“This, and this is quite simply a statement of fact, this is a total rejection of Catholic doctrine on the immorality of homosexual activity,” Murray said. “For this bishop to say that is a major scandal. He should repent of it and turn away from it because he’s leading people into sin.”
“If I seem angry it’s because I am,” added Murray. “This is infuriating. A shepherd is sent out to lead the sheep to the pure waters of Catholic truth and this man is saying that immoral activity should be blessed? He needs to repent of that teaching.”
Murray also condemned public statements recently made by Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who has recently claimed that contraception may be morally obligatory under certain circumstances, noting that Chiodi is basing his claim on Amoris laetitia.
“Fr. Chiodi has done a tremendous disservice to the Church and it’s really a disgraceful performance on his part in a lecture at a Catholic university to state that some couples should, as a matter of virtue, as a matter of doing what’s right, use artificial contraception,” said Murray.
“Artificial contraception is intrinsically evil, it’s a moral disorder, it’s a mortal sin,” Murray continued. “For a priest to be telling people to do that is encouraging them to commit sin.”
Chiodi “precisely takes Amoris Laetitia chapter 8 as his launching pad to say that what was taught in the past no longer has relevancy given the changing circumstances. This is wrong,” said Murray. “No priest can contradict Catholic teaching and thereby change it. Catholic teaching remains. What it does is it scandalizes the faithful, weakens the faith, and it’s an invitation to commit sin.”
Praise for the bishops of Kazakhstan for upholding Catholic doctrine
Murray praised the bishops of Kazakhstan for issuing a statement defending the Catholic Church’s doctrines on the grave sinfulness of adultery and condemning the giving of Holy Communion to those who practice it.
“The Kazakh bishops deserve praise in my opinion because they’re raising this discussion precisely to the appropriate level, which is what has Catholic doctrine always been? It needs to be defended and if it’s being misstated or misinterpreted that needs to be rejected,” said Murray.
“This is in no way an attack on the person of the pope,” he added. “I see it precisely as an act of loyalty to the pope and to the See of Peter that we would say ‘Peter, we need clarity here.’”
No “new paradigm” in the Church
Murray rejected the claim made by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, that Amoris laetitia has introduced a “new paradigm” into the Church.
“A paradigm is basically a political category, for like a government policy that we’re going to look at things in a different way, you know, Richard Nixon’s shift on China, things of that sort,” said Murray. “But in the Catholic Church, Catholic doctrine is not subject to paradigm shifts. Catholic doctrine is a treasure given by Christ and entrusted to the Church to be promoted, defended, explained.”
EWTN’s The World Over is viewed by millions of Catholics weekly. The network itself reaches an estimated 250 million households worldwide.
Fr. Murray’s remarks were partially in reference to his recent article for The Catholic Thing, in which he discusses the “crisis” in the Church provoked by the pope’s publication of the Argentinean bishops’ interpretation of Amoris laetitia in the Acts of the Apostolic See. Murray has been denounced bitterly by partisans of the pope for writing the article.
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