Another reaction to #Amorislaetitia – “The cowardice and hubris of Pope Francis” (Hang on tight!)

participation trophyReactions to Amoris laetitia, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation (I’m getting tired of typing that out), are mixed between cloying gushes and frustrated contempt.

The following is surely more along the lines of the later.

I present it here because he has a perspective I haven’t seen elsewhere… yet.

As I started to read, I wondered if the writer was along the lines of Han Küng who thought that Vatican II didn’t go nearly far enough, or a Fishwrapper who is disappointed that Francis doesn’t condone the ordination of women or same-sex “marriage”.  Liberals: “Why doesn’t Francis just come out and say that everyone can go to Communion!”

Then, as I read, I realized that the writer’s name was familiar and I looked him up in past correspondence.  The writer also a participant in the Traditional Roman Rite.

From The Week:

The cowardice and hubris of Pope Francis [Whew!]
by Michael Brendan Doughtery

To universal fanfare from the mainstream and Catholic media, Pope Francis has issued a long-awaited document, Amoris Laetitia, “the Joy of Love,” as his conclusion to the Catholic Church’s two-year Synod on the Family. But to this Catholic, the pope’s supposedly reformist document is a botch job.

For two years, bishops presented their respective cases for two contradicting views of marriage, re-marriage, and the Church’s own sacraments. Pope Francis didn’t choose between these two options. He chose them both. The pope did not effect some grand synthesis. He merely gave his imprimatur to the Church’s own confused practice on these matters and, more frighteningly, to its self-doubt.  [Problem: The Church doesn’t have self-doubt.  Also, the Church’s doctrine and law are clear when it comes to the issues that were addressed: homosexual acts – NO! Communion for those living in mortal sin without amendment of life – NO!]

As a result, the Joy of Love reads as an admission that God, as Catholics understand him, really isn’t merciful or gracious to poor sinners. So priests should try to do better from now on.

All of this requires some explanation. While the document spends hundreds of pages, some of them quite good, and others quite banal, on the meaning of Christian marriage and family life, the headlines and anxiety all revolve around one topic. The “Great Matter” [a reference to Henry VIII – get it?] of the two-year Synod on the Family came down to one question: Can the divorced and re-married receive holy communion without obtaining an annulment or otherwise amending their life?

The Church’s traditional reasoning is straightforward. If a valid, sacramental marriage is indissoluble, and someone contracts and lives within a second civil marriage, they are committing the sin of adultery, and doing so publicly. [claro!] Like anyone in a state of moral sin — for instance, someone who knowingly missed Sunday Mass through their own fault — they are to exclude themselves from communion, lest they commit a further sin of sacrilege. [genau!] If they repent of the sin and want to amend their life, they can make a sacramental confession and return. [right!]

The German Cardinal Walter Kasper [boooo!] has proposed a way around this — a kind of penitential path in which the remarried person admits some responsibility for their failed first marriage, but persists in the second. [The Kasperite Proposal – “tolerated but not accepted”…] For two years, cardinals and bishops lined up on opposing sides of this proposal. Some argued for retaining the Church’s traditional understanding and practice. Others pressed for some kind of “pastoral” accommodation to better integrate those who persist in their second marriage into the life of the Church.

Pope Francis sided with all of the above. And he did it not by effecting some greater synthesis, but by cowardly obfuscation.

Pope Francis tries to reframe what Catholics have long understood as the truth about marriage and chastity as merely an ideal, possibly an impossible or oppressive one, if taken too seriously by mere Christians. He pits his concept of mercy against marriage, as if a true understanding of the latter were a threat to the former. Pope Francis reveals himself to be a pope of his times, and embodies the defects of the Church he leads; [ummm…. no.  The Church doesn’t have defects.  She has members with faults.  Maybe that is what he meant, but… there it is.] Amoris Laetitia is characterized by loquacity and evasiveness in trying to dignify and disguise moral cowardice borne from a lack of faith.  [WHOA!]

Chapter 8 of this heralded document begins by describing the kind of person in an “irregular union” who might be considered for pastoral counseling back toward communion. It describes that person as someone possessed of “humility, discretion, and love for the Church.” The [key] question of whether this person has sincere sorrow for sin and a firm purpose to amend their life is side-stepped. Repentance and conversion? How old fashioned. Even the term “irregular union” is evidence of the way the Church is abandoning its understanding of adultery, draining away the moral force of its own teaching, as if marriage were merely a matter of paperwork yet to be amended.

Francis cites well-known Catholic teaching about whether a person is truly and fully culpable for their sins as if it were a new revelation, and then draws reckless conclusions from it, such as in paragraph 301 of chapter 8, where Francis simply announces, “Hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.” One can see how this substitution of “ideals” for commandments works when, in paragraph 303, Pope Francis posits, absurdly, that in some instances the most generous response a person can offer to God’s grace is still itself “not fully the objective ideal.”

The message is clear: God’s grace is insufficient to assist you to do what he asks of you. Jesuits can do better. [I suspect the writer is not a fan of Jesuits.]

Finally, although the pope rejects a formal institution of the Kasper proposal as a general rule, he strongly encourages the readmission of people in “objectively” adulterous unions to holy communion. He doesn’t trumpet this, of course. He buries it in the 351st footnote. [The Infamous Footnote 351!] For a man showing such great audacity before God, Francis certainly isn’t bold before men. [So, the writer is saying that Francis should have just gone ahead and said clearly, boldly, openly what he really wanted.]

Many conservatives are revealing themselves as cowards, too. [!] They hope that because the pope’s document seems so confused and self-contradictory, because it hides its innovations under a ton of verbiage, [μέγα βιβλίον μέγα κακόν!] and buried within footnotes, and because it is merely an exhortation and not a more lofty encyclical, that they can embrace what is good in the document, and pass over the rest. “It could have been worse,” they are telling themselves. “It cites the Church’s teaching against contraception, at least.” I would remind them that their forebears said the same thing about the Vatican II’s document on the liturgy. “Oh, it says Latin shall be retained, it promotes Gregorian chant,” they comforted themselves. As now, the betrayal of the institution was too unthinkable, and they willfully overlooked the footnotes that contained within them a mandate to destroy high altars, tabernacles, altar rails, and institute folk music in a synthetic vernacular liturgy. So too, many conservatives will try to find the good parts, an easy feat in a document so prolix.

But progressives are not so timid.  In the talking points handed out to bishops and other spokesmen ahead of the document, the intention was made clear, but plausibly deniable. “Pastors need to do everything possible to help people in these situations to be included in the life of the community.” Words like “possible” and “inclusion” are left to be interpreted broadly, from the footnotes. Cardinal Kasper described the document glowingly as a “definite opening.” Cardinal Schonborn boldly papered over differences between Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II by describing the work of Francis in Amoris Laetitia as the development of doctrine. [It isn’t.]

Traditionalist critics of the modern Church have a kind of slogan: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, the law of prayer is the law of belief. [Indeed we do.] It’s hard not to see how the already incoherent prayer of the Church is leading to incoherent doctrine and practice. [I agree!  This is why the TLM and Summorum Pontificum are so important.] The Church officially teaches that confession is necessary to be restored to holy communion after committing a mortal sin, and that receiving communion in a state of sin is itself sacrilege. Yet rare is the pastor who seems troubled by the long lines for communion and the near disappearance of the sacrament of confession among the people in his parish. Everyone just sort of knows the Church doesn’t really mean what it says.  [Again, NO!  Not “the Church”, but her feckless shepherds, yes.  And “Amen” to the point about incoherent prayer leading to incoherent doctrine and practice.  We saw the corrosive effects of that over decades of horrid English translations, to name one identity dissolving acid.]

The Church’s [again…] blasé attitude here has a pedagogical effect, teaching people that there is no need to have a holy respect or fear when approaching the altar. [I do agree.  The effect has been destructive.] Naturally, this attitude has worked its way up the chain to a papal pronouncement. Pope Francis’ document justifies people receiving communion in a public state of sin by saying that the Eucharist is “not a prize” for good behavior. That is true. But instead the Church has turned it into a participation trophy, something so perfunctory and ultimately meaningless that it seems just too cruel to deny it to anyone.  [Ouch.]

Perhaps worse than Pope Francis’ official invitation to sacrilege is the document’s cowardice, cynicism, and pessimism. The Church can no longer even bring itself to condemn respectable sins such as civilly approved adultery. It can barely bring itself to address a man or woman as if they had a moral conscience that could be roused by words like “sin.” Instead, it merely proposes ideals; ideals cannot be wounded by your failure to realize them. And it promises to help you out of your “irregular” situation.

This supposed paean to love is something much sadder. A Church [Again, the Church is not to be reduced to THE POPE and some lax shepherds.] so anxious to include and accept you that it must deny the faith that transforms and renews you. It admits that God’s commands are not just beyond our reach, but possibly destructive to follow.

Pope Francis is trying to be more merciful than God himself. He ends up being more miserly and condescending instead.

Wow.

I feel a little beaten up by that, come to think of it.

No, but wait.  There are a couple problems here.

First, as I mentioned the Holy Catholic Church is NOT reducible to its members, not even key players such as the Pope.   The Church doesn’t have self-doubt (she has feckless members).  The Church is not cowardly (there are craven Catholics).  The Church is not blasé (though some people in it are, in fact, so).

Second, can we make a distinction between being timid and being decorous?   If liberals are not timid in their dissent, neither are they brave, properly understood.  They are, I insist, rude and pusillanimous in their dissent no matter how vociferous.  Yes, there are times when Catholics who are faithful should speak out more when they encounter heterodoxy and heteropraxis.  But I think they usually err in decorum rather than cowardice.  Furthermore, it is not everyone’s job to correct everyone else all the time.

That said, in the main, the writer, this parrhesiastes, has gouged his finger into a sore spot.  Sometimes that is what doctors do to find where the problems are.

This goes into my Cri de coeur category.

So… a huge question is raised.  In view of the coming confusion and division, …

… what are we going to do about it?

As I mentioned before, we have to be ready – and get ready – to explain clearly and accurately, with charity, what the Church really teaches.

I spoke with one priest friend today who said that if people in what Francis is calling “irregular” situations come to him and want the sacraments, he will explain the situation to them and not simply cave in under the bludgeoning and accusations he might receive.   And if his bishop calls him in, he’ll be glad to explain himself.

And the moderation queue is definitely ON.

 

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32 Responses to Another reaction to #Amorislaetitia – “The cowardice and hubris of Pope Francis” (Hang on tight!)

  1. Clemens Romanus says:

    “He will explain the situation to them and not simply cave in under the bludgeoning and accusations he might receive. And if his bishop calls him in, he’ll be glad to explain himself.”

    I pray many more Priests are as faithful as he!

  2. Benedict Joseph says:

    Michael Brendan Doughtery. Bravo. Ordain him.

  3. cwillia1 says:

    I think the best approach is to ignore the two sessions of the synod and ignore the apostolic exhortation. Nothing has changed. We should be nice to people in difficult situations with respect to their marriage.

  4. comedyeye says:

    It is interesting for me to see all the various opinions on the document.
    This shouldn’t happen this frequently whenever a pope speaks or writes.
    Is simply stating what the Church teaches not pastoral?
    Or is the message to pastors to walk with people and help them gain spiritual strength
    until they can make a difficult decision that reflects the faith?

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Horrid to use such language as this article did….I have been meditating via an old Jesuit book, on the fact that a mere three days after Peter committed a terrible mortal sin not once, but three times, of denying Christ, and repented, John, the Beloved Disciple and most in tune with Christ, more innocent and faithful than Peter, stepped aside at the door of the tomb, to let in the Vicar of Christ, in all his repentance, of course, but still not “right” until Christ called him to love him three times in lieu of the three denials.

    Peter is Peter….I am not. The Pope, regardless of his personal faults, still deserves respect from us lowly laity. If St. John could stand aside, so can we and wait for Christ’s affirmation of Peter.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Horrid to use such language as this article did….I have been meditating via an old Jesuit book, on the fact that a mere three days after Peter committed a terrible mortal sin not once, but three times, of denying Christ, and repented, John, the Beloved Disciple and most in tune with Christ, more innocent and faithful than Peter, stepped aside at the door of the tomb, to let in the Vicar of Christ, in all his repentance, of course, but still not “right” until Christ called him to love him three times in lieu of the three denials.

    Peter is Peter….I am not. The Pope, regardless of his personal faults, still deserves respect from us lowly laity. If St. John could stand aside, so can we and wait for Christ’s affirmation of Peter.

  7. Grumpy Beggar says:

    “The German Cardinal Walter Kasper [ ‘boooo!’ ] ”

    LOL

    That part was priceless Father Z. It was actually the full value of a ‘FOCL’ except that every time I read about Amoris Laetitia now, I fasten my seatbelt first.

    Thank you. God bless you.

  8. anj says:

    It’s hard to disagree with most of what this writer has to say.

    It indeed reveals the reality of the very embarrassing situation we find ourselves in.

    I’ve stopped trying to “explain” Pope Francis to anyone, most of all, myself. Silence is the most charitable response I can come up with.

  9. Maineman1 says:

    I’ve stopped believing in the Catholic Church, as it has apparently ceased to believe in its own mission and message.

    I feel utterly depressed.

    [Man up. Enough of that defeatist garbage.]

  10. Ann Malley says:

    @SuperTradMum,

    This article is a stepping aside to call attention to the Pope who stands in Peter’s shoes. It is to stand aside and say, Holy Father, you ARE the Pope. Step inside first. Lead. Do not pretend that failed Obama policy of “leading from behind” is anything less than failing to do the job that is incumbent upon one to whom much has been given.

    So, yes, St. John stepped aside to let St. Peter in first. This Pope, sadly, seems to demur from that honor to waylay outside with a wet finger raised to the wind. “What do the people want me to do?” being the question.

    Please, remember that being the support of true authority is to call them on the carpet when need be to take a stand as duty demands. Not play everybody’s friend and too often the Devil’s Advocate.

    As to the charge against “The Church” in the article, no, the Church is not in doubt. But, this latest release from the Vatican is nothing new either. The ambiguity of Vatican II documents has set absolute precedence for squidgy double-speak. Churchmen of all levels do themselves zero service to get upset about those who would lay the charge at the door of Holy Mother Church when they themselves engage in soft-speak cowardice in calling out the rampant ambiguities of Vatican II that did little to serve the Church, but rather undermine her. Protect that document and you may as well hoist the banner protecting this latest farce.

  11. anilwang says:

    His criticism of traditionalists trying to bury Amoris Laetitia or cherry pick it misses the point. Yes we do have a Pope that has gone off the rails in some areas. It’s not the first time it has happened and it won’t be the last. But the problem is Vatican I doesn’t leave us a lot of room to maneuver. The Pope is our head, even if he brings harm to the Church, and we cannot place ourselves above the Magisterium so we have to play by the rules even when those who attack us are not so bound.

    Fortunately Vatican II provides a corrective of Vatican I. From my understanding, Pope Paul VI originally wanted Lumen Gentium to affirm that the Pope was the monarch of the Church that could do what he wills. He was corrected by the CDF and what’s in Lumen Gentium states that the Pope and bishops are the guardians of Tradition and is bound by it. That simple “hermeneutic of continuity” qualification should have been enough to prevent the Spirit of Vatican II from running rampant. Unfortunately, many bishops still run their dioceses as princes rather than stewards so Tradition is discarded when inconvenient.

    The question is, how does one properly hold the Magisterium to its own teaching? St Paul did it with St Peter when St Peter’s pastoral practice departed from the Magisterial teaching of the Council of Jerusalem. But St Paul was a bishop who wrote a significant portion of the New Testament and we aren’t.

  12. Athelstan says:

    Maineman1’s cri de couer brought me back to this shot by Dougherty: Everyone just sort of knows the Church doesn’t really mean what it says.

    This one also got a Fr Z red letter fisk, so it’s best to say first: No, this cannot be the Church in its metaphysical sense, as Christ’s Mystical Body. But it seems (alas) a fair descriptor of a pretty large swath of its hierarchy today – which I suspect is how Dougherty meant it, if he were pressed on the point.

    There have always been unbelievers in the hierarchy. What is striking, however, is how widespread the lack of conviction seems to be among so many clergy, especially in high places, when it comes to the moral doctrines of the Church. They simply do not act or talk like men who actually believe any of it. The high profile dissents by large groups of clergy when Humanae Vitae was issued exposed how widespread the problem had become, even by priests who had been formed before the Council. And when the shepherds abandon the flock, it should not surprise us when the flock is scattered and greatly diminished. And, yes, sometimes utterly depressed.

    Which is why I try hard to thank and support priests who really do give every evidence of believing it, and acting on it, when I find them. They usually pay a price for it, after all.

  13. Imrahil says:

    As for me, I’m somewhere into chapter 3 or so of AL, plus footnote 351, plus citations. Speaking from this background,

    on target. Absolutely on target.

    And I do not mean that in the language of sports journalism where a shot on target is still one step away from a goal.

    Now, as a matter of fact, I personally agree to the Holy Father’s sentence “Hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace” (if by “in a state of mortal sin” is understood “in mortal sin”, and apart from the abysmal scare quotes – the situations are irregular). I also think this statement is one of the more concise ones in the document (as far as I’ve read). I also think that even so, it is (at the least) a political necessity to keep divorced-and-remarried people away from the communion rails except for a blessing, but I digress (and as I’m already digressing, I will not elaborate on that).

    But even here, and quite apart from the issue of what is true and what isn’t: couldn’t we just have either/i> a clear upholding of previous teaching (preferably with citations and “as the Church always taught”), or a clear rejection of previous teaching (that is possible, largely, we are not talking about defined dogma here), and when both would be contradictory not both of them?

    And all that in a language that someone of college education with access to a dictionary of theological termini technici cannot possibly misunderstand without making a fool of himself?

    – However, it is, to me, worthy of note that the problematic issue is still “divorced and remarried”. As for the contranatural 6th commandment issues, as well as the case of Humanae vitae and pre-marital sex (where they could, after all, marry), the Church [in the sense used by Mr. Dougherty] still firmly upholds what has always been said. It is, in my humble view, a bit unfair of Mr. Dougherty to just say (in effect) “well, that’s the obvious slippery slope (just look at Sacrosanctum Concilium)”. They may think precisely their position – so and so much progressive, not an inch less, but not an inch more either – is the right one.

  14. Royse87 says:

    Difficult to read indeed and poignant. I think, in the last week, the most painful bit for me has been to see my protestant friends, whom I’ve had the pleasure of evangelizing, throw their hands up in disgust, figuring it would be better to stay in their denomination rather than join a Church who doesn’t even believe in itself. Certainly this is a terrible misunderstanding of the situation we’re in, but it becomes harder and harder to refute, rationalize and explain away with every document Rome releases. At some point, we have to love our Pontiff enough to allow him to have his opinions while we remain faithful to his Church; a painful reality in itself. Anyway, we press on. We do the hard work of penance and sacrificing for our Pope. We keep fighting and pushing away at the darkness always under the safety of the Virgin’s mantle. The Barque of Peter will weather this storm, and we must save as many as we possibly can from the waves.

  15. Mr. Graves says:

    Anj: “I’ve stopped trying to ‘explain’ Pope Francis to anyone, most of all, myself. Silence is the most charitable response I can come up with.”

    Hear, hear. My response to the (usually trick) question, “What do you think of Pope Francis?” is an ornery smile and the reply, “I try not to.” Generally this gets a chuckle and moves the conversation along.

    But as a Catholic who tries to love the Church, I blame myself for this cynical papal minimalism. It just happens that I can’t share with the gotcha-liberal crowd how truly disappointing I find this papacy.

  16. Pingback: Amoris Lætitia: Strong Reactions – Big Pulpit

  17. Ann Malley says:

    …and fortunately for modernists Vatican 2 also handily introduced official unofficial ambiguity to interpret Church teaching in new and different ways that is currently damaging the Church in untold ways. Oh, wait, actually the ways and means of destruction are now broadcast loud and clear for all to hear! Isn’t that a joy?

    That simple hermeneutic of continuity farce is like promoting a scandalous book on the open market wherein folks use it as a manifesto to commit atrocities and then saying, some decades later, oh, sorry, we forgot to include the decoder ring. In the publishing world, a book doesn’t get picked up unless it is clear. This is why it is clearly understood that the purpose of V2 documents – released without any requisite decoder ring and the reality that the body of bishop who were supposed to uphold the Faith in its entirety, were out to lunch…. or just wanted to go home. Kind of like a worn down jury who votes to hang a man out of sheer exhaustion – not the facts. But then when the alphabet itself is called into question – that is an A now being pastorally expressed as a C or maybe Z – well, then that’s crazy making. By design. That way, nobody will speak the same language, you see. It’s a tower of manufactured babel, deconstructing the truth as if nobody knows what it is.

    So your “fortunately” is misfortune because the grinning +Kaspers have zero intention of upholding Catholic Faith. And the Holy Father wants to live in the nursery pretending he has real job duties save photo ops and spending $$$$$ to make it look like he’s working. But hey, giving the Globalists the cue that we’re on board is the way to save the buildings and those trappings that can be taken up or discarded – whatever will make the people behave appropriately for their handlers.

    But then that’s why we have the promise of the Holy Ghost. To supply when shepherds turn wolf or go Judas or just get too tired to do the job, selling out reality so that good can now mean evil and evil, well, that’s just too divisive a word to use. Dad’s really okay because he’s only playing Russian Roulette, kids, not openly shooting anyone. So relax already.

    That is why the question is, “How long, Oh Lord?!” Our tepidity and blind compromise and unwillingness to face the reality that the company is facing bankruptcy and the board is thoroughly corrupt is what threatens to lose us our pensions. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

    As for, “…But St Paul was a bishop who wrote a significant portion of the New Testament and we aren’t.” That is a total cop out. Why? Because we can read it. And Our Lord warms us of what is to come via St. Paul. Cannot imagine the epistle that would be sent down the chain to blogs and parishes and the like were St. Paul still in the business of sending written reprimands. Good grief.

  18. Ann Malley says:

    @supertradmum,

    “…If St. John could stand aside, so can we and wait for Christ’s affirmation of Peter.”

    Should we leave Our Lady alone at the foot of the Cross, Supertradmum? After all, Peter wasn’t there. Truth isn’t dead yet, friend, so please, when admonishing those who would rightfully rally others to the foot of the cross despite the fear and cowardice exhibited by Peter, think about what you’re advocating.

    I’m personally for sticking at the foot of the cross even though witnessing the utter betrayal of those who would deliver truth up to be slaughtered is a gruesome thing. And just think about this. Had St. John done as you advocate, waited upon Peter, then who would Our Lord have given Our Lady to for comfort and shelter in Her trials? Peter WASN’T THERE.

  19. frmattb says:

    As I read this, and so many comments about this latest Exhortation, I come to the same conclusion. Fr. Longenecker posted some of the complex situations. I have heard many traditionalists dance around the point, but I still ask for someone to say it clearly. This, to me, is the most fundamental point of the entire discussion.

    In a case where a valid sacramental bond exists between two validly baptized protestants. The two then divorce and remarry. The validly baptized protestant civilly marries and moves in with and has children with a lapsed Catholic. After pressure from the Catholic party’s family, they have the child baptized. Years later, the Catholic has a spiritual awakening and wish to “set himself right with the Church.”

    What is the appropriate action. Should the person immediately file for a civil divorce, and move out, knowing that they are currently committing adultery? Knowing full well that this decision will result in civil loss of custody and cause them to be unable to fulfill their obligation to “raise and educate the child as a Catholic,” yet, once civilly divorced and moved out, they could receive communion.

    Is it therefore permissible, and encouraged to forsake the promise and obligation taken at the Child’s baptism, to take an action that will in all likelihood strip them of their ability to fulfill the obligation, so that they may avoid the near occasion of sin and the appearance of scandal, and return to the sacraments.

    As I see it, that is the fundamental question, in the clearest terms I can state it. Do we ask a parent to take an action which we know would result in at the appearance of abandoning their child, and present the Church as encouraging a parent to forsake their obligations?

  20. Benedict Joseph says:

    anilwang: Vatican I doesn’t leave anyone much room, particularly the occupant of the Chair of St. Peter.
    From the Dogmatic Constitution “Pastor aeternus” of Vatican I (1869-70) – “The Holy Spirit was not given to the Roman Pontiffs so that they might disclose new doctrine, but so that they might guard and set forth the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles.”
    Pope Benedict affirmed this in in June 2005 at St. John Lateran:
    “…the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.
    The Pope knows that in his important decisions, he is bound to the great community of faith of all times, to the binding interpretations that have developed throughout the Church’s pilgrimage. Thus, his power is not being above, but at the service of, the Word of God. It is incumbent upon him to ensure that this Word continues to be present in its greatness and to resound in its purity, so that it is not torn to pieces by continuous changes in usage.”
    And John XXIII commented in his opening address at the Second Vatican Council that the faith no matter the theological developments must always be formulated “with the same sense and the same meaning.”
    We are all subject to the Magisterium of the Church. That includes all the popes, including the present occupant of the Chair of Peter.

  21. chantgirl says:

    frmattb- That is the right situation for a brother-sister relationship. The church has already provided the solution.

  22. Ann Malley says:

    @frmattb

    “…Is it therefore permissible, and encouraged to forsake the promise and obligation taken at the Child’s baptism, to take an action that will in all likelihood strip them of their ability to fulfill the obligation, so that they may avoid the near occasion of sin and the appearance of scandal, and return to the sacraments.”

    Is it therefore permissible and encourage to forsake LIVING AN EXAMPLE OF ACTUAL CATHOLIC FAITH to pretend and put on falsehoods that the child, upon growing and learning, will see through very clearly. Much like those with thinking brains see through the utter sham of pastoral garbage that has stripped Catholics of their intellect and will.

    Are not these two gifts – intellect and will – what separates us from the animals and makes us most like unto God, frmattb?

    You mistake, father, what is the mere appearance of scandal. Similarly, you mistake the intelligence of children to monkey see, monkey do. That is children are the greatest imitators. And if Catholics return to having Faith and trusting in God, so much so that they put their trust in Him when asked to do the difficult, children will learn via example that God is worth the sacrifice because He is, after all, our Beginning and End.

    What you propose is, sorry, going through the motions of what you believe will produce “faith”. But what you propose has shown itself to do nothing of the kind, rather what you propose has shown itself to deliver noting but a harvest of compromise and a Church hierarchy washing it’s hands as it stares down Truth in the face and asks, “What is truth?” What betrayal.

    You may as well say, “Let’s not go to Jerusalem because doing the hard thing is, well, hard, Lord.” Sorry, Father, that that is rather the point. And that sacrifice is what transmits actual Faith as it is a gift from God, not a product of mechanized compromise of what’s trending now in the pysche community and health and wellness circles.

  23. Imrahil says:

    Only (replying to the dear chantgirl and frmattb),

    the thing is that the brother-sister relationship requires, in practice, both the brother and the sister to agree to it.

    Also, if what I hear is true, the Church at present is rather strongly insisting that the brother-sister relationship is really a brother-sister relationship. As for a “we know that brother-and-sister is what we should do, and we will indeed try it, but we can’t exclude the occasional slip which we would Confess afterwards”-relationship, the Church is (again: if what I hear is true) rather little inclined to regard it as a brother-sister relationship. (One small spot where maybe an increase of mercy-as-popularly-understood perhaps would be legitimate.)

  24. frmattb says:

    I purposely proposed the situation without a resolution. I must admit, I’m pleasantly surprised that folks seem to allow for the “brother-sister” relationship in that case. When I have proposed such in traditional circles around here, it has often been soundly rejected as “impossible in reality” or that they are “simply, still living in sin and lying about it.”

    While I have dealt with a few of these situations myself, much of my ministry has been in youth work, often working to help young people find their faith. There are few situations more difficult than when a child blames the Church for “taking away their parent” and the hatred that ensues in that child afterwards, because a parent “abandoned their marriage” (which in fact was never actually a marriage to begin with) I have also seen many situations where it was the child, having grown into an adult in the Church, who turns and pressures the parents into resolving their situation, either via the annulment process or by the brother-sister arrangement.

    My preferred solution would indeed be the “brother-sister” solution. It is gratifying to see that not all traditional communities would reject that option out of hand

  25. DJAR says:

    frmattb: Is it therefore permissible, and encouraged to forsake the promise and obligation taken at the Child’s baptism, to take an action that will in all likelihood strip them of their ability to fulfill the obligation, so that they may avoid the near occasion of sin and the appearance of scandal, and return to the sacraments.

    What about the conjugal rights of, say, a man who has been left behind while the “remarried” wife is living with another man, perhaps even as brother and sister? He has conjugal rights as a result of the sacrament and the vows that his wife took.

    A man and a woman who marry cede to their spouses certain rights over their bodies. Saint Paul makes that abundantly clear.

    How does he assert such rights when his wife is living with another man, even if she is living with him as brother and sister?

    And if she denies her true husband his conjugal rights, how does she avoid the guilt of mortal sin?

  26. frmattb says:

    From my earlier posts, seeing Fr. Z’s latest “reading Francis through Benedict, I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment on that point, and would accept it as a resolution.

  27. JKnott says:

    I know it’s difficult but St. Teresa of Avila can help.
    Let nothing disturb you,
    Let nothing frighten you,
    All things are passing;
    God only is changeless.
    Patience gains all things.
    Who has God wants nothing.
    God alone suffices.

    I’m so glad that Father has pointed out the confusion between imperfect members and the Church.
    Pray constantly for, “the triumph and exaltation of Holy Mother the Church.” Especially now when all this confusion really seems to be a seamless fit with jolly ole Henry VIII and the 500th anniversary of an apostasy gone wild.
    Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

  28. Ann Malley says:

    @frmattb

    “..When I have proposed such in traditional circles around here, it has often been soundly rejected as “impossible in reality” or that they are “simply, still living in sin and lying about it.”

    Well, sorry, but stating that the above is impossible in reality is a lie. It may seem like it is impossible because those who say so are negating the reality of God’s grace. But knowing those who have and do live this is precisely what increases Faith that all things are possible with God. (…giving off watching sexy television shows, listening to Rock music that centers around sexual gratification, etc is also helpful. What one puts into oneself is what one gets out or what one is “driven” to do.)

    That’s why, very often, the role of a priest, much like a parent, is better served in stating, “This is what you are called to do and you must pray and beg God’s grace.” Doing the round table may work well in politics, but not so in actual leadership wherein the rules in play come from God and are not negotiable.

    You may want to reassess who you are speaking to in these matters when you consider them to be “traditional”.

  29. Ave Crux says:

    This man’s article provides a brilliant, penetrating and devastating condemnation not only of the Exhortation and the Post-Conciliar “Church” (i.e. in its human dimension), but of those in the hierarchy in particular who have grown so effeminate and politically correct that they are only too happy to have such a document to put their consciences to sleep, and to allow those of their sheep to remain so.

    Woe to such shepherds, for their judgment will be great. May God keep those of us in the trenches faithful, for we too are at risk if we were to be so tried.

  30. Charliebird says:

    Maineman1
    This is simply the emergence of a new Heresy, a moral and Sacramental Heresy. As it spreads out now, we have to name it as such in order to fight it appropriately.

    This is a call to arms. None can cower now and survive.

    As Fr. Z said: MAN UP! Draw your sword…

  31. Ave Crux says:

    This is an example of something I find really distressing.

    The entire Church is being turned on its head so that people can have their sexuality under any and all circumstances.

    Essentially,p sexuality is now informing the Church instead of the Church informing sexuality.

    If a man should find himself in the unfortunate circumstance of having his wife leave him, it’s clear he must live a chaste life.

    We are called and created as spiritual beings first – destined for eternal life – to transcend our bodies and this often means spiritual warfare and conquering the world, the flesh and the devil.

    Men in this situation simply have to “MAN UP” – a cross God will surely provide the grace for if he turns to prayer and the Sacraments and an assiduous spiritual life, which is something we all ought to be doing anyway.

    It’s clear there’s no question of being able to bring forth children when the wife has left and so, sexuality loses its God-ordained objective. In such cases, men must become eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. it can also lead to them becoming the Saints we are destined to be.

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