Card. Urosa Savino of Caracas to the Synod: Can we contradict the teachings of the Lord, St. Paul, the Church?

From CNA a little ray of sunshine:

Strengthen marriage with truth and mercy, Venezuela’s Cardinal Urosa tells synod

Vatican City, Oct 20, 2015 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Both truth and mercy can be found in consistent Catholic teaching on marriage, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas told the Synod of Bishops on Thursday.

“United to Christ, who has overcome the world, the Church is called to maintain the splendor of truth even in difficult situations,” he said in his Oct. 15 intervention. “Mercy invites the sinner and it becomes forgiveness when one repents and changes one’s life. The prodigal son was greeted with an embrace from his father only when he returned home.”

[…]He cited St. John Paul II’s 1981 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, and the 2007 ‘Aparecida document’ of the Fifth Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops. These all reaffirmed pastoral care for couples in an irregular situation, while acknowledging that they may not receive Communion.

The Aparecida document was approved by then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who would be elected as Pope Francis in 2013.

“Can we contradict those teachings?” Cardinal Urosa asked.

The full text of Cardinal Urosa’s Oct. 15 intervention at the synod with my emphases and comments.

The Proposal of Admission to the Eucharist for the Divorced and Remarried

I refer to numbers 121, 122, and 123 of the Instrumentum Laboris in which is considered the proposal for the acceptance to the table of the Eucharist – counting on certain conditions been met, among them a penitential journey – or the divorced and remarried, yet maintaining the conjugal life .

We are all driven by the desire to find a better solution to this painful situation. We must do it with the spirit of the Good Shepherd and the truth that sets us free. In the evangelical spirit of mercy, I think the penitential journey should conclude in conversion and the purpose of amendment and to live in continence, as taught in other words by Saint John Paul II in Familiaris consortio 84.  [He does not think that the Magisterium of St. JP2 is outdated.]

I wonder: Can we forget the words of the Lord in the Gospel, Matthew 19, and the teaching of Saint Paul (Rom 7:2-3; 1 Cor 7:10; Eph 5:31) and of the Church over the centuries? Can we dismiss the teachings of John Paul II in his 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio? [Which is precisely what some people want.] This document, published a year after the 1980 Synod on the Family, seriously considered and consulted by the Pope over many months of study and reflection, in communication with experts from various theological disciplines, clearly rule out this possibility (FC 84) .

We also have the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992 with the traditional doctrine on the conditions for access to Communion and the Church’s teachings on sexual morality. (CCC 1650) We also have the Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of September 14, 1994, written specifically on this issue. Can we forget the concluding document of the Fifth Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops in Aparecida, which asks us: “Accompany with care, prudence and compassionate love, following the guidelines of the magisterium, couples who live together out of wedlock, bearing in mind that those who are divorced and remarried may not receive communion.” (n. 437)  [BTW… centenary of the Aparecida event is coming up in 2017.  It is after that, I think, that Pope Francis will resign, if he really plans to do so according to certain hints that he made in respect to his 80th year. CELAM at Aparecida was important to him.  He’ll want to be at the centenary celebrations … as Pope.]

Can we contradict those teachings? Can we forget the very recent statement by Pope Benedict XVI in his 2007 apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis, reiterating the practice of the Church, rooted in Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10: 2-12) of not admitting to the sacraments the divorced and remarried, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and made present in the Eucharist? (n. 29)

United to Christ, who has overcome the world (cf. Jn 16:33),  [and did not cave in to it] the Church is called to maintain the splendor of truth even in difficult situations. Mercy invites the sinner and it becomes forgiveness when one repents and changes one’s life. The prodigal son was greeted with an embrace from his father only when he returned home.

This Synod, without a doubt in the light of the revealed truth and with eyes of mercy, is called to reflect very clearly the teaching of the Gospel and of the Church through the centuries about the nature and dignity of Christian marriage, on the greatness of the Eucharist and on the need of having the necessary dispositions to be in union with God to be able to receive Holy Communion; on the need for penance, repentance and the firm purpose of amendment for the repentant sinner to be able to receive Divine forgiveness; and the strength and continuity of both dogmatic and moral truth of the ordinary and extraordinary Magisterium of the Church. It provides as well lights inspired by mercy to assist more effectively those in irregular situations to alleviate their moral suffering and to better live their Catholic faith.

Furthermore, the Synod must indicate lines of action that strengthen marriage, making it more attractive to young people, and keeping it alive in the hearts of the spouses over time. In this matter it will provide Pope Francis with very important elements to promote an intense evangelization of the family, and a re-appreciation of the sacrament of marriage.

Fr. Z kudos to Card. Urosa Savino.

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  1. Akita says:

    This is heartening, yet what if the decentralisation of the church prevails with Pope Francis directing each bishop to enforce this doctrine as he deems pastoral for his diocese? This seems the most urgent concern and if it comes to pass will cause schism in the minds of many.

  2. mburn16 says:

    I’m still waiting for a credible suggestion as to what manner of “penitential path” sufficiently atones for persistent and continued adultery…and indeed, to what other mortal sins we might be able to apply this model of absolution in the absence of contrition.

  3. MikeM says:

    Perhaps, rather, we’ll redefine contrition.

    A job might open up for a post synodal Act of Contrition. “I firmly intend, with your help, to say one Hail Maey, to try to sin a little bit less, but to focus on the positives of my sins.”

  4. juergensen says:

    Arinze … Savino … Sarah … Napier … Pell … and others I am forgetting … when I listen to these faithful servants, I have hope for this Synod.

  5. Legisperitus says:

    Akita: Devolution to individual bishops wouldn’t bother me half as much as devolution of teaching authority to national bishops’ conferences, which I think is the actual thing being discussed. National conferences are not part of the Church structure established by Christ and thus have no authority from Christ. The worst thing I can imagine is a heterodox national conference being given a purported power to dictate to a faithful bishop that he must teach error, and Rome refusing to hear any appeal.

    And this supposed distinction between doctrine and practice can’t hold. A bishop teaches as much by what he does as by what he says. Isn’t that the essence of Modernism anyway… claiming to believe the teachings of the Church with your words while claiming a right to negate them with your actions?

  6. Ben Kenobi says:

    It’s wrong. Nationalism has no place in the church and this is the fruit of nationalist vernacular. Full stop. It is a core part of nationalism, and why they were very happy to break us apart because we do not know our Latin, and break us into “their” groups.

  7. Legisperitus says:

    Ben Kenobi? Boy, am I glad to see you. It is tragic how far the Church has fallen in the last 50 years, since all the Council Fathers (as any priests in the world) were able to converse in the Church’s own language with ease.

  8. Sonshine135 says:

    I am so thankful to almighty God for Cardinal Urosa and for the intercession of St. John Paul II. These may well one day be remembered as heroic statements that prevented the One, Holy, Apostolic Church from devolving into a bunch of Unitarian Universalists.

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