Monday, December 12, 2016

Austen Ivereigh Contradicts Austen Ivereigh

Austen Ivereigh has recently been contradicting himself.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, mind you. Indeed, quite the reverse. As we have learned from Ivereigh himself and other defenders of Amoris Laetitia in the last few weeks, it is a sign of spiritual maturity to deny the Law of Noncontradiction, or its corollary, the Law of the Excluded Middle (that a proposition of a certain type must be either true or not true).*

As our Lord said to the Pharisees as He traced the formula -(A or -A) in the sand, "logic was made for man, not man for logic." Or as He would earlier proclaim in the Sermon on the Mount "don't be so binary, dudes."

Jesus didn't do or say these things, of course, but one almost gets the impression that the defenders of Amoris Laetitia think that he did.

Here was Ivereigh last year on the final relatio for the second synod on the family:

And here is Ivereigh seemingly confirming that version today on Twitter, as well as making an additional claim about Amoris Laetitia:

But here is Ivereigh in a post he wrote yesterday for Crux on Amoris Laetitia:
As (Pope Francis) last week told the Belgian Christian weekly Tertio, everything in Amoris Laetitia - including the controversial Chapter 8 - received a two-thirds majority in a synod that was notoriously frank, open and drawn out... 
The synod decided, by a two-thirds majority, that they wanted both to preserve the doctrine of indissolubility in the current discipline of the Eucharist while at the same time creating sufficient pastoral latitude in the application of the Church’s law to allow pastors to respond to situations where there was a subjective lack of culpability... 
And in some, rare cases it (what the Synod and Amoris Laetitia allows) might lead, yes, to being admitted to Communion where the lack of subjective culpability is beyond doubt, where, for example, an annulment is impossible, where the marriage is irrecoverable, where there are children by a new union, where a conversion has taken place in a person that creates a new state, and where the notion of ‘adultery’ simply fails to capture a reality.
Please keep the laughter down at the back regarding the "in some, rare cases." I want to instead look at the logical issue.

How would Ivereigh answer the above seeming contradiction? Let me suggest three possibilities:
  1. Don't be so binary, dudes.
  2. I said it didn't change the rule. I didn't say there might not be exceptions to the rule.
  3. Shut up, dissidents, the Pope train is leaving the station (the themes of "dissidents" and "the train is leaving" appear extensively in the post).
Obviously, the only answer that merits a reply is 2. That reply is simple: the question (if there ever was a question) has always been about whether the rule (involving communion for those who were divorced, remarried and involved in ongoing conjugal relations) had any exceptions. The Church up through John Paul II in Familiaris Consortia, explicitly answered in the negative. Ivereigh claims Amoris Laetitia answers in the positive.

If you want to boil the debate over Amoris Laetitia down to anything it would be that. And indeed, that issue was the subject of the first of the five dubia that the Pope refused to answer.

If Ivereigh and a host of others can answer it or say it, it isn't clear why the Pope can't. Even here, Ivereigh gives a sort of an answer in his post - something about the Holy Spirit not liking it when the actual workings of the pastoral sausage factory are exposed, or some such.

Also, don't be so binary, dude.


These collective shenanigans are a mockery of God, the truth and yes, logic. Christ didn't walk the Earth and die on the cross so His words could be twisted into a set of paradoxical Zen koans.

Though calling the weaselly, disingenuous and contradictory "arguments" of the Amoris Laetitia spin crowd koans would be an insult to the Buddhists.

*This sentence originally read, "it is a sign of spiritual maturity to deny the so-called Law of the Excluded Middle (that two contradictory statements cannot both be true)." See the comment by Hillary White, below.


  1. The history of the twentieth century conveys a singular truth with respect to rail systems under the control of certain Communist and Socialist authoritarian leaders; tens of millions of people on those trains were sent directly to their doom. Enjoy your train ride Mr. Ivereigh.

  2. Austen is probably the best example of what I've been saying about how useless the term "conservative" has become under this pontificate. He made his name by creating "Catholic Voices" in the lead up to Pope Benedict's visit to Britain when the loons were screeching about it, calling the pope nasty names and whatnot. The Richard Dawkins, Johan Haari types. Of course, having defended Benedict the "conservative" pope, Austen became "conservative" by default. And now here we are. "Conservatism," at least in its Catholic iteration, seems to be nothing more in our times than craven papolatry; do whatever the pope says shall be the whole of the law. There are no principles involved, and certainly no objective interest in doctrine. It really is coming down to a choice between being what we have up til now been forced to label "traditionalist" Catholicism or no Catholicism at all. With Bergoglio's sect busy re-writing the Ten Commandments and ordaining "gay couples," there is no longer any pretense to this false middle position. The only thing "conservative" Catholicism ever was was a compromis between actual Catholicism's less popular/known teachings and full-on hippie-dippie heresy. For which I will continue to thank Pope Francis the Great Clarifier.

  3. " Law of the Excluded Middle (that two contradictory statements cannot both be true)."

    No. That's the Law of Non-Contradiction

    The Law of the Excluded Middle says there can be no middle proposition between two opposed things. There is nothing between a proposition and its negation. It's actually more relevant to the conservative/liberal falsehood than Non-Contradiction because it is this imaginary middle-thing - a thing that somehow is imagined to stand between Catholicism and not-Catholicism - that these "conservatives" have been pretending to hold. And it is precisely this imaginary middle thing that Kasper and Co have been trying to invent between "Yes, you can receive Communion" and "No, you can't." Understanding Excluded Middle is actually the key to understanding the whole business.