The Pontifical Academy of Anything Goes

It’s taking all of my will to not whip out some serious vulgarities after reading this.  

Pontifical Academy for Life Member: Term ‘Intrinsically Evil’ Too Restricting

Edward Pentin

A reflection on Amoris Laetitia has been posted on the website of the Pontifical Academy for Life in which its author, a new member of the academy, proposes that the term “intrinsically evil” is outdated.

Honestly, I’m starting to think I might be overqualified to serve on the Pontifical Academy for Life these days. I’m totally willing to do it, Your Holiness, but seriously?  What are we supposed to go with here??? I mean, I thought “intrinsically evil” was quite truthful and succinct. Shall we go with “really jacked-up” to make it a little more modern?!?! What in the what?! 

Hypothesizing on the moral theology of Amoris Laetitia and Pope Francis’ principle that “time is greater than space” mentioned in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Professor Gerhard Höver argues that changes in perception, “namely, space and time,” have an “effect on specific theologies, such as the theological view of marriage and the family.”

The professor of moral theology at the University of Bonn, Germany, uses selected writings of St. Bonaventure and Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI to argue — quoting from Amoris Laetitia — against thinking that everything is “black and white” which results in closing off the “way of grace and of growth.” 

“He believes that the principle “time is greater than space” relates to an interplay between the eternal and temporal spheres, taking on a “moral-theological significance” that “affects the previous teaching about ‘intrinsically evil actions.'”

Oh, my gosh, I feel like I’m watching a sci-fi movie here. I’d expect this to be a line out of Interstellar or The Arrival. Can’t you just see Matthew McConaughey saying this?

Good stinking luck with this juju. (It’s sad when juju makes more sense than the what the professors comprising the Pontifical Academy of Life come up with these days.) I’m starting to think these windbags just have to say something to hear themselves talk.  They want to sound new and hip no matter how little they make sense.

“It is not without reason that some have requested further clarification on this point,” he adds, referring to the second of the five dubia which asked the Pope whether, after Amoris Laetitia, one still needs to regard as valid “the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions.”

How kind of him. 

The Church currently teaches that intrinsically evil acts are always and everywhere wrong and immoral, regardless of intention or circumstances. This is because, in part, they do not bring one closer to God, and prevent the common good.

But Höver argues that the term “intrinsically evil” is too restricting as it fails to account for some “regularity” within “irregular” situations, ones which could be allowed if one abides by the principle that ‘time is greater than space.’ “If even only one element is defective, the consequence is ‘badness’ and (in this sense) also ‘irregularity,’” he says.

I’m sure Pentin is about to give a behind-whipping on this silly fallacy but in case he doesn’t… No! Situation ethics to not apply. My guess is Pentin will point out that some things are always good or always evil (like abortion) but the person’s situation might mitigate their culpability in the action. It NEVER changes the fact that some things are intrinsically evil – the act is always evil just by its very nature.

“It seems theological reasons lead Pope Francis to refuse to go on accepting this restriction,” Höver continues. “This does not in the least dispute the necessity of calling oppositions and irregularities by their names, above all in cases of injustice and unfairness vis-à-vis other persons. But the Pope regards the path that has been taken hitherto as inadequate to cope with the differentness and complexity of the situations in which people stand or live.”

Huh?!? Does Google Translate work with Wacky Theologian-ese? More importantly, can he cite a teaching of Pope Francis which removes the status of intrinsic evil?

“A moral theologian speaking to the Register on condition of anonymity expressed astonishment that Höver was “digging into obscure references to Ratzinger’s first doctoral dissertation on St. Bonaventure, which doesn’t discuss intrinsic evil anywhere.”

EXACTLY! This is the liberals’ new game. Let’s just say that then-Cardinal Ratzinger said this without any proof that these ideas exist. It’s like they simply think the internet does not exist or that we laity are too stupid to do the research.

“Where are the clear statements about the topic in St. John Paul II’s encyclical on the moral teaching of the Church, Veritatis Splendor?” he asked, adding that even if Höver’s thesis were correct, which he “could not admit, he is placing philosophy over the clear teaching of Christ, St. Paul, St. Peter and the entire moral tradition of the Church, not least Ratzinger himself who admits that intrinsic evil exists.”

BAM! Thank you Anonymous Moral Theologian.

Undermining Morality

Höver’s article is the latest example of a Vatican-appointed figure raising questions about the Church’s teaching on intrinsically evil acts.

Yes! These latest losers on the various academies don’t want any sort of truth. I’m dumb but I think that rather qualifies as Nihilism, right? “God is dead!” probably isn’t far from the minds of some members of the Pontifical Academy of Life. Le sigh!

In a lecture last month, new academy member and moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi partly justified his theory of allowing artificial contraception in some cases because the Pope makes no “explicit reference” to contraception as “intrinsically evil,” and adding that “it would have been very easy to do so given Veritatis Splendor.”

“Another new member of the Pontifical Academy, Jesuit Father Alain Thomasset, has said he does not believe in the existence of the term.

Geez. One has to wonder if they even bothered to read Veritatis Splendor.

67. These tendencies are therefore contrary to the teaching of Scripture itself, which sees the fundamental option as a genuine choice of freedom and links that choice profoundly to particular acts. By his fundamental choice, man is capable of giving his life direction and of progressing, with the help of grace, towards his end, following God’s call. But this capacity is actually exercised in the particular choices of specific actions, through which man deliberately conforms himself to God’s will, wisdom and law. It thus needs to be stated that the so-called fundamental option, to the extent that it is distinct from a generic intention and hence one not yet determined in such a way that freedom is obligated, is always brought into play through conscious and free decisions. Precisely for this reason, it is revoked when man engages his freedom in conscious decisions to the contrary, with regard to morally grave matter.

To separate the fundamental option from concrete kinds of behaviour means to contradict the substantial integrity or personal unity of the moral agent in his body and in his soul. A fundamental option understood without explicit consideration of the potentialities which it puts into effect and the determinations which express it does not do justice to the rational finality immanent in man’s acting and in each of his deliberate decisions. In point of fact, the morality of human acts is not deduced only from one’s intention, orientation or fundamental option, understood as an intention devoid of a clearly determined binding content or as an intention with no corresponding positive effort to fulfil the different obligations of the moral life. Judgments about morality cannot be made without taking into consideration whether or not the deliberate choice of a specific kind of behaviour is in conformity with the dignity and integral vocation of the human person. Every choice always implies a reference by the deliberate will to the goods and evils indicated by the natural law as goods to be pursued and evils to be avoided. In the case of the positive moral precepts, prudence always has the task of verifying that they apply in a specific situation, for example, in view of other duties which may be more important or urgent. But the negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behaviour as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the “creativity” of any contrary determination whatsoever. Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized, the only morally good act is that of obeying the moral law and of refraining from the action which it forbids.

  1. Here an important pastoral consideration must be added. According to the logic of the positions mentioned above, an individual could, by virtue of a fundamental option, remain faithful to God independently of whether or not certain of his choices and his acts are in conformity with specific moral norms or rules. By virtue of a primordial option for charity, that individual could continue to be morally good, persevere in God’s grace and attain salvation, even if certain of his specific kinds of behaviour were deliberately and gravely contrary to God’s commandments as set forth by the Church.

In point of fact, man does not suffer perdition only by being unfaithful to that fundamental option whereby he has made “a free self-commitment to God”.113 With every freely committed mortal sin, he offends God as the giver of the law and as a result becomes guilty with regard to the entire law (cf. Jas 2:8-11); even if he perseveres in faith, he loses “sanctifying grace”, “charity” and “eternal happiness”.114 As the Council of Trent teaches, “the grace of justification once received is lost not only by apostasy, by which faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin”.115

Here is the smack-down I was looking for earlier.

“Veritatis Splendor states that intrinsically evil acts “do not allow for any legitimate exception,” nor do they “leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the ‘creativity’ of any contrary determination whatsoever.”

Like I said, no situation in life is going to justify committing these acts. These idiots are trying to mix up acts and culpability. Sorry. These acts are always evil by their nature but a person’s culpability in cooperating with these acts will vary. See? Was that soooooo hard to say???

The Church teaches that abortion, contraception, homosexual acts, adultery, and other gravely sinful actions are deemed “intrinsically evil.”

Rendering the term obsolete therefore potentially radically changes the Church’s moral teaching, according to the anonymous moral theologian, “undermining the whole notion of morality.”

And, of course, that’s EXACTLY what they’re trying to do.  

His concerns are echoed by others as the Church marks 25 years since the publication of Veritatis Splendor and its clear articulation of the Church’s moral teaching on intrinsically evil acts, as well as the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae and its ban on the use of artificial contraception, deeming its use as “intrinsically wrong.”

A spokesman for Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told the Register Jan. 25 that Höver’s position “does not necessarily correspond to the position of the academy” and that it is normal for the academy to publish abstracts of members’ published works, with links to their full versions. If they publish something the academy fully agrees with, then he said they make that known.

Boo on them. Don’t post crud. It’s a really good plan. Trust me. Personally, I think “does not necessarily correspond” is waffling. Does it or does it not, Archbishop Paglia?

But allowing academy members to publish hypotheses like Höver’s, challenging the Church’s moral doctrine and the teaching of previous popes, is something new. In the past, new members had to sign a declaration of fidelity to the Church’s pro-life teachings, but new statutes implemented last year ended that requirement.

Word! Might be nice to not post the rantings and musings in an area so serious. By the way, who else would like to see the declaration of fidelity mandatory once again?!

In an interview with the Register last year, Archbishop Paglia offered reassurance that the new statutes “require a stronger commitment on the part of members to the Church’s pro-life teaching” and that they “promote and defend the principles of the value of life and the dignity of the person, interpreted in conformity with the magisterium of the Church.

But last summer, the archbishop oversaw the selection of new members, including Höver, Father Chiodi and Father Thomasset, who clearly have differences with the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life.

This has really been the new status quo. “We’ll totally toe the authentically pro-life line until we don’t and hope you don’t notice.”

Asked if the academy’s leaders were aware of their views before they were selected, the spokesman told the Register “we knew” but added that it was important to provide them “space,” in continuity with “Pope Francis’ preference for dialogue and debate with those holding differing opinions.”

Let’s just ask satan for his opinion on the subject. Sigh. Look, you want to talk with people holding differing opinions? Fine. They don’t need to be appointed to a position in the Academy to do so. It’s not like we don’t know what the rest of the world thinks on the subject. Duh! If you don’t know what the opposition thinks, please get another job.

Archbishop Paglia was asked to comment on how these members of the academy reflect a new requirement for a “stronger commitment” to uphold the Church’s pro-life teaching, but he was unavailable.


7 thoughts on “The Pontifical Academy of Anything Goes

  1. What we are seeing from the current pope and his supporters/henchmen/surrogates is the revival of proportionalism without it being called that. Proportionalism is the erroneous and dangerous moral theory that someone can justifiably intend and choose to do evil if he determines there is a proportionate reason for doing so; intending and choosing evil isn’t morally good, but it can be excused according to proportionalism. The reason the person who is the subject of the article didn’t refer to Veritatis Splendor at all is because VS makes mincemeat out of proportionalism and teaches that it has no place in Catholic moral theology.


  2. Is it intrinsically evil to define certain actions as intrinsically evil? If not, then there is a strong case to be made for so defining some actions. If so…….well, then we see again the peculiar logic of Anthony Spadaro that 2+2 may indeed equal 5.


  3. Sad to see institutions like Pontifical academyof Life, Franciscan friars of atonement Rc church in Red china, , Knights of Malta, Cdf priests ousted there and ab Sarah undermined by Nitwits promoted by the Vatican and cino clergy Paglia ,Sparando, Fagoli and Martin of Amer. well.


  4. So how long will it take to modify (alter? change? delete?) the following paragraphs from the catechism?

    “The *circumstances*, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent’s responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.” (CCC 1754, “circumstances” italicized in original)

    “It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.” (CCC 1756)

    [scratching head]

    Right. Uh, don’t see a thing about that time and space thingy. (I thought that was for Star Trek, X-Men, Flash or some other science fiction ditty…)


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