Thursday, March 08, 2018

Relativism, Proportionalism, Amoris Laetitia

When B-16 decried relativism, as he often did, there was a good reason.  Relativism is closely connected to proportionalism, which underlies Amoris Laetitiae.  Clearly, Benedict 'smelled the sheep' who were in the fullness of priesthood; that is, Bishops.  And the smell was not pleasant.

...While in the prime of his career, Grisez in The Way of the Lord Jesus (1983) deals with the moral theory we call proportionalism. Not only does he describe it there as an appeal to the proportion of good and bad as a basis of moral judgment, but he critiques it as a misconstrual of morality. It undermines the absoluteness of moral norms, he contends, and makes possible the unravelling of unconditional commitments such as are made by spouses in holy matrimony. We must be careful though not to think of proportionalism as some kind of inchoate, arbitrary arrangement which happens to be at the service of moral actors. It really is a conceptual framework or mentality which then is made habitual after repeated personal usage.

Proportionalism is, not surprisingly, subject to an exacting assessment in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993). There, Saint John Paul II says that proportionalism cannot be considered a sound moral theory because its precepts are always relative and open to exceptions. The upshot of this mentality, he argues, would be to deny that there is a universally valid objective morality. He goes on to observe that only a morality which acknowledges certain norms as valid always and for everyone, with no exceptions, can guarantee the ethical foundation of society....

You should recognize the formulation 'always, for everyone, exceptions,' because that's the foundation of the questions addressed to Pp. Francis by Cdl. Burke et al.  If has been more than 500 days since those questions were asked, and there is no response from the Pope.

That is not surprising, is it?

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