July 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Monsignor Michel Schooyans, a top adviser to Pope St. John Paul II who was also close to Pope Benedict XVI, has issued a dire warning about the current trajectory in the Catholic Church. In a paper, published on LifeSiteNews, Professor Schooyans, a member of several Pontifical Academies and Councils, writes that “the Synod on the Family has revealed a profound malaise in the Church.”
The retired professor from Belgium, now 86, speaks of the “crisis” in the Church, saying, “it is futile to close our eyes: the Church is challenged in its very foundations.”
Credited with inspiring Pope John Paul’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae with his own book on abortion, Msgr. Schooyans is warning of what he says is an organized group in the Church that operates with “backing from some of the highest authorities in the Church.”
The Synod on the Family revealed, he says, the determination of, “a group of pastors and theologians” that “do not hesitate to undermine the Church's doctrinal cohesion.” This group, he added, “functions in the manner of a powerful, international, well-heeled, organized and disciplined party.”
The active members of this party have ready access to the media; they frequently appear unmasked. They operate with backing from some of the highest authorities in the Church. The main target of these activists is Christian morality, criticized for having a severity incompatible with the “values” of our time. We must find ways which lead the Church to please, by reconciling its moral teaching with human passions. … Through this network, the neo-casuists will be able to hold sway over the wheels of the Church, influence the choice of candidates for high office, forge alliances which imperil the Church’s very existence.
Professor Schooyans warns specifically against proposals for “decentralization” of the Church. “The actions of casuists today affect not only the Church's moral teaching but also the entirety of dogmatic theology, in particular the question of the Magisterium,” Schooyans warns. “The unity of the Church is in peril where there are suggestions of biased, at times demagogic, proposals for decentralization, largely inspired by Lutheran reform.”
The celebrated philosopher whose books were praised by Popes John Paul and Benedict points to confusions in the Church around “’remarried’ divorced persons, “models” for the family, the role of women, birth control, surrogate motherhood, homosexuality,” and euthanasia. The Church “has not been given by the Lord a mission to modify” the truths taught by Christ about all these matters, Schooyans says. “The Church is the guardian of this treasure.”
“The causuist,” he says, referring to a person who uses clever but unsound reasoning, especially in relation to moral questions, “cultivates the art of confusing the faithful. Concern for the truth, revealed and accessible to reason, is now of no interest. … Progressively, the rules of behavior proceeding from the will of the Lord and handed down by the Magisterium of the Church are languishing in decline.”
The moral assessment of an act no longer depends on whether it conforms to the will of God, as made known to us by the Revelation. It depends on the intention of the moral agent and this intention can be modulated and molded by the spiritual adviser who “supports” his followers. In order to please, the spiritual adviser will have to soften the rigor of the doctrine handed down by tradition. The pastor will have to adapt his words to the nature of man, whose passions are naturally led into sin. Hence, the progressive relegation of references to original sin and grace.
“How great is the number of pastors of all ranks who wish to make allegiance to the powerful of this world, albeit easily and without the need to swear publicly fidelity to the new “values” of the world today?” Schooyans writes. “In pushing to facilitate ‘remarriage,’ the neo-casuists are giving their backing to all those political players who are undermining respect for life and the family.”