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I Place Before You St. Augustine and Jorge Bergoglio; Choose The Saint

 

 

St. Augustine had views on marriage, sin, adultery,  and conscience directly contrary to those of Jorge Bergolgio as stated in his proclamation Amoris Laetitia (“AL” below). Passages quoted below from the works of St. Augustine, (henceforth “St. Augustine”) and Jorge Bergoglio (henceforth “Jorge”) show how widely the views of Jorge depart from, and in many instances contradict, Church teaching.

 

  1. Can there be eternal condemnation ?

Jorge:  “The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for ever” (AL, 296).

St. Augustine:  “The Death of the Wicked Shall Be Eternal in the Same Sense as the Life of the Saints.This perpetual death of the wicked, then, that is, their alienation from the life of God, shall abide for ever, and shall be common to them all, whatever men, prompted by their human affections, may conjecture as to a variety of punishments, or as to a mitigation or intermission of their woes; just as the eternal life of the saints shall abide for ever, and shall be common to them all, whatever grades of rank and honor there may be among those who shine with an harmonious effulgence.” (Enchiridion, Chapter 113).

 

  1. Can saying Hell is not eternal make it so, even if you are wearing papal white ?

Jorge:  “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel !” (AL. 297)

St. Augustine: “There is No Ground in Scripture for the Opinion of Those Who Deny the Eternity of Future Punishments. It is in vain, then, that some, indeed very many, make moan over the eternal punishment, and perpetual, unintermitted torments of the lost, and say they do not believe it shall be so; . . . at the suggestion of their own feelings, they soften down everything that seems hard, . . .there is no reason why they should therefore suppose that there will be an end to the punishment of those of whom it is said, These shall go away into everlasting punishment; for this shall end in the same manner and at the same time as the happiness of those of whom it is said, but the righteous unto life eternal. “(Enchiridion, Chapter 112).

 

  1.  Is there a  Mortal Sin-Loving Adultery-Full Holy Marriage  sacramental matrimony continuum ?

Jorge:  “Christian marriage, as a reflection of the union between Christ and his Church, is fully realized in the union between a man and a woman who give themselves to each other . . . Some forms of union radically contradict this ideal, while others realize it in at least a partial and analogous way. “ (AL, 292).

St. Augustine:  “Let us suppose another, a fornicator, unclean, lascivious, covetous, or even more openly given to idolatry, a student of witchcraft, a lover of strife and contention, envious, hot-tempered, seditious, jealous, drunken, and a reveller, but a Catholic; can it be that for this sole merit, that he is a Catholic, he will inherit the kingdom of God, though his deeds are of the kind of which the apostle thus concludes: “Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”  (On Baptism, Against The Donatists, Book IV, Chap 18).

 

Jorge: “Whatever the case, “all these situations  [civil marriage without sacramental marriage; divorced and civil remarriage;  simple cohabitation;  de facto unions;  material poverty] require a constructive response seeking to transform them into opportunities that can lead to the full reality of marriage and family in conformity with the Gospel.” (AL, 294).

St. Augustine: “Let us therefore not flatter the Catholic who is hemmed in with all these vices, nor venture, merely because he is a Catholic Christian, to promise him the impunity which holy Scripture does not promise him . . .  For, in writing to the Corinthians, the apostle enumerates the several sins, under each of which it is implicitly understood that it shall not inherit the kingdom of God: “Be not deceived,” he says: “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,  . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.  He does not say, those who possess all these vices together shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but neither these nor those: so that, as each is named, you may understand that no one of them shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (On Baptism, Against The Donatists, Book IV, Chap 19).

 

  1. Is marriage a holy “Reality” for some &  loving adultery a holy “Reality” for others ?

Jorge: “ For the Church’s pastors are not only responsible for promoting Christian marriage, but also the “pastoral discernment of the situations of a great many who no longer live this reality.” (AL, 293)

St. Augustine: “We must, however, beware of incurring the prophetic condemnation: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. . . . Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil! For he condemns the work of God, which is the man, and praises the defect of man, which is the wickedness. .” (Enchiridion: Chapter 13).

 

  1. Can we enlist sympathy for innocent children to justify adultery ?

Jorge: “The Church acknowledges situations “where, for se- rious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate” (AL 298).

Jorge:  “I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal. . . .. This integration is also needed in the care and Christian upbring ing of their children, who ought to be considered most important”. (AL 299).

St. Augustine:  “ . . the good sons of adulterers are no defense of adulteries . . “ (On The Good Of Marriage, Section 18).

 

  1. Hirelings Say To The Sinner: You Do Not Sin

Jorge:  “ . . .since “the degree of responsibility is not equal  in  all  cases”, the  consequences  or  effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same.”  (AL, 300).

Jorge:  “This is also the case with regard to sacramental discipline, since discernment can recognize that in a particular situation no grave fault exists” (AL, 300, footnote 336).

Jorge: “   Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace “ (AL, 301).

St. Augustine: “If the hireling observe anyone indulging in wicked talking, or in sentiments to the deadly hurt of his soul, or doing ought that is abominable and unclean, and notwithstanding that he seems to bear a character of some importance in the Church (from which if he hopes for advantage he is an hireling); says nothing, and when he sees the man perishing in his sin, sees the wolf following him, sees his throat dragged by his teeth to punishment; says not to him, You sin; does not chide him, lest he lose his own advantage. This I say is, When he sees the wolf, he flees; he does not say to him, You are doing wickedly. This is no flight of the body, but of the soul. He whom you see standing still in body flies in heart, when he sees a sinner, and does not say to him, You sin; yea when he even is in concert with him.” (Sermons ON New Testament Lessons, Sermon LXXXVII).

 

  1. Can an individual conscience make evil good ?

Jorge:  “Therefore, while upholding a general rule, it is necessary to recognize that responsibility with respect to certain actions or decisions is not the same in all cases. Pastoral discernment, while taking into account a person’s properly formed conscience, must take responsibility for these situations. Even the consequences of actions taken are not necessarily the same in all cases.” (AL, 302).

Jorge:  “ . . . individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage.” (AL, 303).

Jorge:  “ Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. ”(AL, 303; emphasis added)

St. Augustine:   “But however strong may be the purposes either of angels or of men, whether of good or bad, whether these purposes fall in with the will of God or run counter to it, the will of the Omnipotent is never defeated; and His will never can be evil.” (Enchiridion, Chapter 102).

 

  1. Can there be God’s grace & good in the “faithfulnesss” of one adulterer to another ?

Jorge:  “ . . . it  is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace . . . By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God. ” (AL, 305).

St. Augustine:  “ . . .they [married people] owe faith alike to one another.  . . But the violation of this faith is called adultery, when either by instigation of one’s own lust, or by consent of lust of another, there is sexual intercourse on either side with another against the marriage compact: and thus faith is broken . . . But when faith is employed to commit sin, it were strange that we should have to call it faith; however of whatever kind it be, if also the deed be done against it, it is the worse done;. . . . Thus a woman, if, having broken her marriage faith, she keep faith with her adulterer, is certainly evil . . ..” (On The Good Of Marriage, Section 4).

 

 

Conclusion

St. Augustine, over sixteen hundred years ago, warned about those within the Church itself who would proclaim heresy and lead the faithful into sin:

“. . . . Nevertheless, what ought above all things to be guarded against is, that no individual may allow himself to be tempted and deceived by men who are within the Catholic Church itself, and who are borne by it like the chaff that is sustained against the time of its winnowing. . . .. Accordingly, you will have to witness many drunkards, covetous men, deceivers gamesters, adulterers, fornicators, men who bind upon their persons sacrilegious charms and others given up to sorcerers and astrologers, and diviners practised in all kinds of impious arts..  . . . . .. Consequently, when you see many not only doing these things but also defending and recommending them, keep yourself firmly by the law of God, and follow not its willful transgressors. For it is not according to their mind, but according to His truth that you will be judged . . . .Believe these things, therefore, and be on your guard against temptations (for the devil seeks for others who may be brought to perish along with himself); so that not only may that adversary fail to seduce you by the help of those who are without the Church, whether they be pagans, or Jews, or heretics; but you yourself also may decline to follow the example of those within the Catholic Church itself whom you see leading an evil life,. . . But as regards the perverse, even if they find their way within the walls of the Church, think not that they will find their way into the kingdom of heaven; for in their own time they will be set apart, if they have not altered to the better.”  (On The Catechising Of The Uninstructed, Chapter 25, Section 48, emphasis added).

 

Link to Augustine’s Works: (and many other Fathers Of The Church: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/index.html)

 

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Guy McClung

3 Comments

  1. It is a very notable thing, when we find Aristotle and St Augustine in solid agreement.

    “All wicked men are ignorant of what they ought to do, and what they ought to avoid,” says Aristotle, “and it is this very ignorance which makes them wicked and vicious. Accordingly, a man cannot be said to act involuntarily merely because he is ignorant of what it is proper for him to do in order to fulfil his duty. This ignorance in the choice of good and evil does not make the action involuntary; it only makes it vicious. The same thing may be affirmed of the man who is ignorant generally of the rules of his duty; such ignorance is worthy of blame, not of excuse.”

    St Augustine, too, says, “’Those who sin through ignorance, though they sin without meaning to sin, commit the deed only because they will commit it. And, therefore, even this sin of ignorance cannot be committed except by the will of him who commits it, though by a will which incites him to the action merely, and not to the sin; and yet the action itself is nevertheless sinful, for it is enough to constitute it such that he has done what he was bound not to do.’

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