June 19, 2020 [ABOVE PHOTO: GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. PIXABAY]
Had a great time talking with Will Deatherage who interviewed me the other day about my article on the German apostasy, “The December Massacre.” Actually, I’ve been a bit of a broken record lately, having also discussed the same issue with Patrick Coffin. But with the pandemic and total anarchy breaking out in America, the German apostasy is not getting the coverage it deserves. For those of you unfamiliar with the German situation, let me get you up to speed. The German bishops want to change Church teaching on sexual ethics by reversing the ancient Biblical condemnations against homosexuality and other sexual sins. They argue that developments in science necessitate such changes. A major chapter of Church history is being written as these events unfold, and tragically, they are being ignored by the media. And when the media does pay attention, they get the story horribly wrong. How we understand what is now taking place in the Church and how we respond will play a crucial role in how this chapter is written. And Will and I break it down for you in this interview.
The Importance of the German Apostasy
In this interview I think I do a better job of explaining the severity of the crisis than in my previous attempts. Let me summarize that part of the interview for you.
The Apostasy Is NOT Confined to the Germans
If this were just a German crisis, the formal apostasy of an entire nation would be catastrophic enough. But this is even worse. The simplest proof that this goes beyond the Germans is the American Jesuit James Martin. In his many lectures across the United States and in his book Building a Bridge, Martin expresses exactly the same ideas of the German bishops, namely, that science shows that Church teaching on homosexuality, and sexual morality in general, is wrong. One of Martin’s great boasts is that he has the support of so many bishops, and indeed he does. Many of them are American: Cardinals Joseph Tobin and Kevin Farrell, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego—the list goes on and on. So don’t kid yourself about this apostasy—it’s American as apple pie.
Amoris Laetitia: Clerical Dog Whistle
A case in point is the story of the small civil war that broke out at my own parish in 2017. NewWalden played a significant role in the conflict, serving as the main source of information for concerned parishioners. We also functioned as the hub of the resistance movement by organizing a boycott of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. It was an ugly and heartbreaking experience, as our local parish was destroyed by a heretical pastor. You can read the whole story by visiting NW’s archives, 2017–2018. But I will recount the gist of the nightmare here.
In the space of a very short time, from 2016 to 2017, all three of our parish priests retired. Our pastor, Fr. David, warned us multiple times before he left that the Church was about to undergo dramatic changes. I didn’t realize at the time that the likely source of his foreboding was the recently published Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis. Catholic media gave little indication of the sweeping changes contained in the papal document. But the priests understood what Amoris L. was all about because it was the heretical theology that most of them were trained in during the rebellious sixties and seventies. That’s what I uncovered in Confronting the Pope of Suspicion. Amoris Laetitia was nothing more than the recycled sexual liberation theology of the late twentieth century.
And as soon as Amoris was published in 2016, all hell broke loose in the Church with sexual liberation being preached everywhere. What was our new pastor’s message? The very same one being preached by the German bishops today: the Church needs to change its teaching on homosexuality because of “science.” It was the same message of Fr. James Martin’s Building a Bridge, not coincidentally published in 2017, the year immediately following the publication of Amoris Laetitia. Thus the reason that my pastor, Fr. David, began sounding alarm bells in 2016 and all three of my elderly parish priests abruptly retired is because they knew exactly what Amoris Laetitia was all about. It was really about saying yes to the sexual revolution and throwing out 2,000 years of Church teaching.
Even the German bishops bear witness to this understanding of Amoris, for they claim their reforms are justified by it. And as I have discussed in so many other places, the Germans aren’t lying. The end of chapter 7 in Amoris L. claims that science is necessary for sex education, and AL 3 states that the magisterium—that is, official Church teaching— is NOT essential for all doctrinal matters! Thus, the evidence is overwhelming that the apostasy includes Pope Francis himself. And it is the dubia Cardinals who bear witness to this tragic fact, for they correctly saw that Amoris rejected the absolute sexual morality of the Church.
The conservative and orthodox dubia Cardinals understood Amoris Laetitia perfectly. It was the very same understanding that the German bishops had. And Fr. James Martin. And my parish priests. All the clergy and theologians around the world understood the message of Amoris Laetitia because it contained the same heresies they learned in seminary.
But the laity was in the dark. While we were busy watching Mother Angelica on EWTN and attending Scott Hahn conferences and reading the new Catechism or the latest encyclical from Pope John Paul II, the clergy around the world were being trained in a strange and heretical curriculum.
It was a secret church with a secret doctrine. And, as I showed in my book, it was this secret doctrine that was responsible for the sexual abuse scandal.
The Media Gets It Wrong
How dangerous it is to fail to see how large this crisis really is. A recent article at the highly respected First Things pushed the idea that the doctrinal crisis was just a German thing. But the reality is that these heresies are being spread to the entire Church through the promotion of Amoris Laetitia.
A principal target of Amoris Laetitia is the seminaries. Pope Francis spoke at the Jesuits’ General Congregation 36 in Rome, which took place only a few months after the publication of Amoris. There, he complained about the state of seminary education and expressed the desire that all seminarians be trained instead in the ideas contained in Amoris Laetita. I tell the story in my book, Confronting the Pope of Suspicion.
And the Bishops of Malta are taking the pope seriously. They have made it clear that the seminaries in their charge will follow the heretical teachings of Amoris Laetitia.
Thus, the idea that the Germans are acting unilaterally is preposterous. We are in the midst of a global sexual revolution in the Church. The Germans are just the most visible contingent of this global movement.
The German Apostasy Is Not a Solution to Clerical Sexual Abuse.
And how, exactly, do the Germans justify their sexual revolution? They claim that their “reforms” are a solution to the terrible sexual abuse scandal. The Wall Street Journal published an article that accepted this explanation uncritically. But my book showed that the German “reform” agenda cannot be a solution to the problem of sexual abuse because these “reforms” were what caused the scandal in the first place! This is so because the German reforms are not new. They were already widely accepted at seminaries around the world as early as the late sixties. (See my book for details.)
Nevertheless, many corners of the media continue to ignore my analysis and, instead, lazily repeat the German propaganda. Here’s a link to an article from the Catholic News Service praising the heretical German Synod as a solution to sexual abuse:
And who runs the CNS? The American bishops do. Clearly, we are a long way off from authentic reform.
I’d like to thank my friend John Zmirak for his testimonial: