I’ve been traveling and – frankly – backing off from the blog in order to have an actual vacation (NB: vacation, not rest).
However, one of my Roman correspondents has again done yeoman’s work on a SUPER IMPORTANT point about Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Exhortation which continues to produce theological and disciplinary hairballs.
I have written before about a deeply disturbing misuse of Gaudium et spes in a footnote, 329. BUT … ad perpetuam rei memoriam….
Remember everyone: I suggest that the Powers That Be correct AL in the version to appear in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Unless, of course, they intend these problems because they wanted them in the first place.
So here is some analysis:
Michael Pakaluk of Ave Maria University has published a piece at First Things, attacking another footnote in the infamous Chapter 8. You’ll remember the ink that has been spilt, notably by Cardinal Mueller, rolling back the erroneous interpretation of Footnote 351 offered by, among others Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, and Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, both of whom maintain that the footnote opens a path toward admission of CDR’s [civilly divorced and remarries] to Holy Communion without their living “as brother and sister”.
Pakaluk finds another serious error in Footnote 329, which I copy for you below in the translation that Pakaluk employs:
“In [second marriages], many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living “as brothers and sisters” which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy [i.e. sexual intercourse] are lacking, “it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers” (cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 51).”
The argument implied in this footnote, is that for the good of their “marriage”, the partners in a civil marriage following a civil divorce ought to be permitted to enjoy sexual intercourse despite the fact that is is prohibited by current Church teaching as expressed in Familiaris Consortio, 84, and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, among other Magisterial documents. In support of this view, the footnote references a Vatican II document (cue celestial music!). For the sake of comparison, I copy below the pertinent section of the Second Vatican Council document Gaudium et Spes, 51, (= GS 51) that is referenced in the footnote:
“51. This council realizes that certain modern conditions often keep couples from arranging their married lives harmoniously, and that they find themselves in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased. As a result, the faithful exercise of love and the full intimacy of their lives is hard to maintain. But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.”
Pakaluk shows that AL intentionally twists the meaning of GS 51, out of context. AL footnote 329 is talking about sexual intimacy in second “marriages” — i.e., civil marriages follwing civil divorce which are invalid; GS 51 is talking about sexual intimacy in valid, sacramental marriages. Hence, GS 51 cannot be used as an authority in order to trump the prohibition of sexual intercourse between CDR’s mandated by St. John Paul II at Familiaris Consortio, 84.
What is most insidious about Footnote 329 is the callous way it tries to use the “good of the children” and “faithfulness between partners” in order to cover up the adultery (there, I said it!) that the footnote seeks to justify. Anyone can understand exactly what GS 51 is talking about, and what it is not talking about.
Anyone, that is, who tries to read the document with rhe Church. The peoblem is that it seems to contradict the Church’s teaching in some serious matters.
No one is serves by silence about this.
The only way to work through it is to work through it.
If you choose to try to commnent, think before posting. Think and weigh before posting.