By Don Pietro Leone
A spiritu fornicationis
libera nos, Domine
(invocation from the Litany of the Saints)
The intention in writing this essay was to investigate how the concupiscence of the flesh, or, more particularly, the spirit of fornication, or impurity, has been able to penetrate the mind of the contemporary Church. We have been at pains to trace it back, through various canons of the New Church Law and various doctrines of recent Magisterium, to the Second Vatican Council, where the spirit of Fallen Nature made its official entry into the Catholic Church.
This spirit of impurity corresponds to the World’s vision of sexuality. Quoting our earlier analysis of this vision, and alluding briefly to the period extending from the last Vatican Council to the present pontificate, we shall proceed to examine how and to what extent this spirit informs the encyclical Amoris Laetitia.
A. ‘Sexuality does not have a particular finality. Its use is pleasurable and a means for expressing love between two persons, not necessarily married to each other’
We have seen how Gaudium et Spes suppressed the term ‘finality’, a suppression all the more evident in the New Canon Law, when one compares the new and the old canons. Subsequently, up to and including Amoris Laetitia, the procreation and education of children has never regained its previous, traditional status.
The suppression of this term, either in isolation or in association with the designation ‘primary’, certainly marks the breach in the bastion of perennial Church marital teaching, on the part of the Demon Asmodeus.
It is this suppression that has permitted an undefined ‘love’ to move into the foreground of marital ethics, contemporary Churchmen not viewing sexuality solely as pleasurable (in conformity to the most superficial of worldly attitudes).
In the period inaugurated by Gaudium et Spes, Church Magisterium insinuated increasingly that this ‘love’ was in fact the primary end of marriage and erotic in content, until the encyclical Amoris Laetitia was finally to state both doctrines explicitly (see above).
Up to this point the encyclical represents solely a development of recent marital heterodoxy; in its advocacy of adultery, by contrast, it represents a novum of particular moral gravity, ever closer to the spirit of the World in all its headstrong and brazen audacity.
B. ‘Sexuality is unqualifiedly good, and is to be used and talked about with complete license’
The unqualified goodness of sexuality had been insinuated since the Council by the suppression of the Church doctrine on the concupiscence of Fallen Nature. This suppression was particularly evident in Canon Law, and in ‘Theology of the Body’ where Pope John Paul II did not hesitate even to advocate a return to ‘Original Purity’ .
Its putative goodness was elevated to a divine level by Pope John Paul II, albeit in the context of marital love as a whole. In conformity with this view, marriage was no longer regarded as inferior to virginity or celibacy. Pope Francis followed his predecessor, at least on the latter count.
Both Popes, while sustaining Church teaching on sins against purity, speak about such themes with complete license, Pope Francis in effect recommending this license also publically, inasmuch as he supports school programmes of ‘sex education’.
C ‘Sexual morality is determined by the canons of hedonism’
If the Church officially maintains Her position on the gravity of sins against purity, we have observed how recent modifications in Canon Law and the Magisterium have opened the door to Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin under certain conditions. The dispositions of Pope Francis for adulterers to communicate (also under certain conditions), must be seen in line with this relaxation of Eucharistic discipline.
As noted above, the great novelty of Amoris Laetitia is the advocacy of adultery. In the light of this laxity one cannot but be alarmed at the Pope’s analysis of the sexuality of contemporary youth in exclusively sociological and psychological terms, without so much a hint at morality. Impurity, alone or with another, is nowhere condemned. Indeed, as we observed above, it seems actively to be encouraged, as in the phrase: ‘The important thing is to teach them sensitivity to different expressions of love...’ in preparation ‘for sexual union in marriage as a sign of an all-inclusive commitment enriched by everything that has preceded it’. What is the nature of the love that is supposed to enrich sexual union, if it is not sexual love? But if the author of the text does not intend this, because it is contrary to Church teaching, why does he not say so?
In short, although the encyclical does not promote sexual hedonism explicitly, it advocates impurity of a particularly grave type; it analyzes sexuality in terms of psychology, which is typically allied to a hedonistic world-view; it instills a permissive spirit into the faithful; and it passes over the Church’s perennial condemnation of impurity in complete silence.
In a word, what we are hearing ever more clearly, from the Second Vatican Council to the encyclical Amoris Laetitia, is the voice of the World. This voice proclaims the following message: ‘Sexuality is for love; it is an unqualified good; it should be used for the pursuit of happiness’. Cardinal Browne OP has been proved correct in stating that the innovations proposed at the Council were to ‘pervert the whole meaning of marriage’.
Some-one might object: ‘The Church has changed Her outlook on these matters - and about time too’. To which we might reply: The Church in Her declarations is not like a government or a firm which changes its policies according to changing circumstances: Rather She is Guardian and Teacher, Guardian and Teacher of the Faith and morals. Faith and morals constitute Supernatural Truth, Revelation, the Depositum Fidei. The Truth does not change in itself, but only in the depth and profundity of its expression; Revelation is a revelation of x and not of y; the Depositum Fidei is deposited as it is and not as anything else.
In the face of Truth, which in the last instance is God Himself, the virtues required of man are humility, docility, obedience, subjection, and subjugation. Man is on this earth to serve, he is a ‘useless servant’ in the words of Our Blessed Lord, a mere instrument, whether he is Pope, King, or layman. When a Council member or a Pope takes it on himself to touch, alter, or reform that which is untouchable, unalterable, and irreformable, then the consequences will be grave indeed.
The Status Quo
Amongst the various indignities that have followed Amoris Laetitia we wish to mention solely: ‘The Meeting Point, Course of Affectivity and Sex Education for Young People’, emanating from the Pontifical Council for the Family, and widely distributed to the young on ‘World Youth Day’ in Poland last year. Here the Personalism of Pope John Paul II encounters the sexual amorality of Pope Francis, in a glorification of love, where neither mortal sin nor parental responsibility is mentioned even once. The document is charged with eroticism, which does not shrink even from pornography, a fact which is entirely reprehensible.
The glorification of eroticism has drawn a veil of obscurity over both marriage and (perfect) chastity: over marriage, by obscuring its finality which is the procreation of children; over (perfect) chastity, by obscuring its very possibility. The result is that married couples enter marriage without knowing what it is, and hence end up by failing in the enterprise; while fewer and fewer young people embrace the religious state. For the religious makes a vow of perfect chastity, but if the Church does not say what that vow is or what it means, why should a young person make it? And if marriage is on the same level as the religious state (which is virginity\celibacy in its ecclesial form), then why take the trouble to embrace the latter?
The Hierarchy and the Clergy are not fulfilling their duty to communicate the Faith on these matters. A number of their members seem saturated by the same spirit of eroticism that they are preaching. They demand liberation from celibacy, and their scandals continue day by day, as monotonous as they are nauseating. Here we see Asmodeus at work again, in this his most gratifying, and final, assignment: that of contaminating the men and the doctrine of the Church.
God has been passed over and ignored, together with His purpose inscribed in human nature, which is the procreation of children for the population of Heaven; together with His Real Presence in the Blessed Eucharist sacrilegiously received; together with the love due to Him, which is total self-giving love, the love of perfect chastity, the love of purity, the supernatural love of Charity in its perfect ordering to Him, the love with undivided heart, the love which is more blessed and higher, and a more perfect sign of Christ’s union with His Church, than is marriage itself , the love of which Our Blessed Lord Himself said: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’.
Mater Divinae Gratiae, ora pro nobis
Mater Purissima, ora pro nobis
Mater Castissima, ora pro nobis
Sancte Joannes Evangelista, ora pro nobis
Sancte Aloisi Gonzaga, ora pro nobis
Sancte Dominice Savio, ora pro nobis
Sancte Joannes Baptista, ora pro nobis
Sancte Joannes Fisher, ora pro nobis
Sancte Thoma More, ora pro nobis
 We have accordingly chosen as frontispiece for this essay a detail from the Ysenheimer Altar by Matthaeus Gruenewald represented an androgyne demon storming a church.
 connected with this, we observe the intellectual dishonesty of the argumentation for adultery (analyzed above). Besides, how could argumentation against the Natural Law and Faith be otherwise? Such dishonesty was a feature of the Council (see the book on the book on the Second Vatican Council by Professor de Mattei), but this is surely its first instance in a Papal document.
 cf. ‘The Family under Attack’
 although see above for the theological problem involved
 although see the next section for a doubt in the case of Pope Francis.
 Pope Francis not hesitating even to speak publically of perversions in this field with complete nonchalance
 İt seems that recent Vatican documents on the religious life tend to its further diminution
 Let them meditate on the pains that they are accumulating for themselves, either in Purgatory where a rigorous reparation will be exacted even for a single sign of the Cross made without reverence, or in the deepest abysses of Hell reserved for the damned clergy. Or if they have no pity for their own souls, let them at least have pity on the victim souls who have offered their lives in expiation of the sins of the clergy.
 cf. Sacra Virginitas, Pope Pius XII
Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana