Adebate has broken out online following Catholic radio host Patrick Coffin’s decision to invite pederasty apologist Milo Yiannopoulos on his radio show. Coffin used to be at Catholic Answers; Milo is in a same-sex marriage but presents himself as a critic of Pope Francis and “homosexualist leaders” in the Church. There’s your dose of irony, or hypocrisy (what you will), for today. When he was Cardinal Bergoglio, Pope Francis said that same-sex marriage is a “machination of the father of lies.” Milo, who is in a same-sex marriage, says Pope Francis is not tough enough on homosexuality, and FaithfulCatholics™ swoon. Perhaps you can fathom this, dear reader.
In any case, I want to say a few words about the following apologia for Milo, on a public Facebook thread:
It goes without saying—I hope it goes without saying—that we all must have compassion for Milo given the unspeakable abuse that he experienced. You can’t go through something like that and not have permanent wounds, and Milo deserves the prayers of all Catholics.
But this idea—that Milo “can’t get out of” homosexuality “due to his own weaknesses”—is a heresy. It is a denial of grace. It is condemned by the Council of Trent. Here is Canon 18 on Justification:
If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.
[N]o one ought to make use of that rash saying, one prohibited by the Fathers under an anathema,-that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God commands not impossibilities.
None of this, “Milo can’t get out of it; he’s weak.” This is a denial of grace. It is a heresy. It is condemned by the Council of Trent. More than that, it is an excommunicable heresy.
But there is an irony behind this that I can not help but point out. The very same FaithfulCatholics™ who fall all over themselves to defend Milo in these heretical terms were also among the biggest promoters of the Filial Correction of Pope Francis. And what do you think is the very first heresy The Correctors said the pope promotes in Amoris Laetitia?
Right you are! From the FC:
A justified person has not the strength with God’s grace to carry out the objective demands of the divine law, as though any of the commandments of God are impossible for the justified; or as meaning that God’s grace, when it produces justification in an individual, does not invariably and of its nature produce conversion from all serious sin, or is not sufficient for conversion from all serious sin.
Oh, but Milo has not the strength to carry out the objective demands of the divine law! say his FaithfulCatholic™ apologists. He’s weak! They advance the very heresy, in defense of Milo, that they condemn the pope for (purportedly) advocating.
But indeed—and I have pointed this out myself—the pope expressly denies that the justified are incapable of following the divine law. It’s in Amoris Laetitia 295:
For the law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception; it can be followed with the help of grace.
So think of this. FaithfulCatholics™ charge the pope with a heresy. The pope, in fact, expressly denies that heresy. FaithfulCatholics™ go on to employ that very heresy themselves in defense of Milo.
I just couldn’t resist pointing that out.
But wait, bear with me yet a little while longer, for there is a second heresy in that screenshot from Facebook above. It is the idea that Milo is excused by virtue of his professing what the Church teaches, independent of whether he actually lives it. Trent also condemns this idea. You can find that, too, in the Canons on Justification:
If anyone says that the man who is justified is not bound to observe the commandments of God and the Church, but only to believe; as if the Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life without the condition of observing the commandments, let him be anathema.
But you see, according to the FaithfulCatholics™ Milo professes the ortho-conservative shibboleths; so he’s pure, regardless of what he does. Fr. James Martin is actually obedient to the Church’s teaching and professes that teaching; but he stands condemned (by the FaithfulCatholics™) because he fails to profess the ortho-conservative shibboleths.
I find this kind of thinking shameful.