[Sandro Magister | Lifesite News] It is a fact, not an opinion. The words “adultery” and “homosexuality” have both disappeared from the Magisterium of the Church, the highest, that which reports to the Roman pontiff.
About the first word this was already known. It disappeared completely just when it would have been most natural to say it, at the two synods on the family and shortly afterward, when Pope Francis settled the accounts in the exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”
The disappearance of the second is more recent. And this too happened right at the moment at which it seemed impossible not to say it: at the February 21–24 summit at the Vatican on sexual abuse committed by priests and bishops, almost all of it against the young and very young of the same sex.
“It is known that when one wishes to marginalize or eliminate some truth, there is no need to contradict it openly; on the contrary, this would be the worst strategy, because it would prompt open reactions and draw attention. Much better, instead, to pass over it in silence, not talk about it anymore, to lock it up with the old junk in the attic or the basement, and over the span of some time all memory of it will be lost, and life will go on as if it were no longer there.”
This observation was made by Dom Giulio Meiattini, a Benedictine monk of the abbey of the Madonna della Scala in Noci, professor of theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome, in the preface to the second edition of his book “Amoris laetitia? The sacraments reduced to morality.”
The preface can be read in its entirety on the blog of Aldo Maria Valli. But it is enough here to sample the passages most focused on the banning of these two words.
Dom Meiattini writes:
The first change, which does not seem to have been grasped in its effective gravity because it has been dissembled, is the complete disappearance, not to say the banning, of the word ‘adultery.’ This is entirely absent from the two ‘Instrumenta laboris’ preceding the synods of 2014 and 2015, absent from the respective intermediate relations (‘Relationes post disceptationem’), never used by the two final documents submitted for the approval of the synod fathers, and finally definitively buried by ‘Amoris Laeitia.’ Not a detail of little account. The teaching of the Church, from the time of the Fathers, has always made unmistakable reference to the evangelical and New Testament texts relative to adultery as an essential part of its teaching on indissoluble marriage, with the relative consequences on pastoral practice and canonical discipline. In the aforementioned presynodal, synodal, and postsynodal documents, however, these passages are never expressly cited, apart from a couple of fragments of Mt 19:8-9, from which however is censored precisely the passage that makes explicit reference to adultery.
It is the passage in which Jesus says that “whoever repudiates his wife, except in case of concubinage, and marries another commits adultery.”
Dom Meiattini continues:
One must have the honesty to say it and to recognize it: already for some time in the Church there is very rarely any use of the word ‘adultery’ in preaching or in catechesis. Now instead, in deference to chapter 8 of ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ the preference is to use the neutral and innocuous term ‘frailty,’ which in most cases also replaces the very word ‘sin.’ Occasional conjugal infidelity or stable new unions subsequent to the sole marriage celebrated before God are no longer designated with the appropriate term with which Jesus and the Christian tradition define them: adultery. … In the two synods and in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ the sin of adultery has been erased not with a sponge stroke, but rather with a stroke of silence: it is simply no longer spoken of. And what has become of all of those New Testament passages, above all from the gospels, that speak of it openly? All that appears of them is a faded reference in parentheses, preceded by the initials ‘cf.’
The disappearance of the second word from the Church’s magisterium — Dom Meiattini points out — has happened more gradually — first with a change of meaning and therefore of judgment, and then with its total abandonment.
The key moment of the change of judgment on homosexuality can be seen in paragraphs 50, 51, and 52 of the “Relatio post disceptationem” made public halfway through the 2014 synod on the family.
When on Ocober 13, 2014 the “Relatio” was presented to the press, cardinal delegate Péter Erdő — who formally figured as the author of the document — dissociated himself from those three paragraphs and attributed their surreptitious composition to Bruno Forte, appointed by the pope as special secretary of the synod. And the next day another cardinal of the highest rank, the South African Wilfrid Napier, denounced the irreparable damage that had been done with that coup de main: “The message has gone out: This is what the synod is saying, this is what the Catholic church is saying. No matter how we try correcting that … there’s no way of retrieving it.”
What was written, in fact, in those three paragraphs? That homosexual behaviors must be “accepted” and that “mutual support to the point of sacrifice constitutes a valuable mainstay for the life of couples of the same sex,” better still if gladdened by children.
[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Sandro Magister and first published at Lifesite News. This is not an endorsement of the theology of Lifesite News]