Must Catholic doctrine on marriage now be affirmed by every bishop and bishops conference individually?

At the peculiarly appellated Eponymous Flower there is (in addition to a poll on the sidebar about Amoris laetitia) a piece gleaned from about a presser held by the honchos of the Spanish Bishops Conference on, yes, Familiaris divortio … ooops … the aforementioned Amoris laetitia.

A couple points:

All participants of the press conference stressed that the Church’s teaching “does not change”. Pope Francis had proposed to the bishops, however, “a new form of application” of this doctrine. The papal letter “recommends,” said Father Julio Martinez, Rector of the Pontifical University of Comillas and the second Jesuit at the conference table, not to divide the world into “Pure and Impure” and not in “good and bad”.

“The full recognition of the Magisterium is not inconsistent with an internal Church debate. We are facing a new style of Magisterium. It is about the harmonious coexistence between salvation and morality [does that mean “sin”? I think he means “sin”.] in order not to fall into a religious rigor.”

With this the Spanish Episcopal Conference seems to acknowledge the softening of the indissolubility of marriage. Because with the aforementioned “universal and equal criteria” that should be given to the priests in guiding, implicitly recognizing that there are situations in which the indissoluble marriage is still dissoluble. At the same time, the Episcopal Conference is trying to prevent anarchic situation that according to Amoris Laetitia, every priest could decide at their own discretion. The Episcopal Conference is expected to draw the question of “general and identical criteria” for the clergy itself.  [So… the Conference is going to draw up criteria by which priests will judge individual cases… hmmm…]

And… something pretty scary.

Pope Francis has burst the door open so that every Episcopal Conference and every diocesan bishop may adopt criteria to allow divorced and remarried to communion. The traditional doctrine must now be confirmed individually by each Episcopal Conference and every diocesan bishop. [AL doesn’t say that, but is that what is going to happen?  Frankly, wouldn’t each parish priest be the Bishops Conference of his own parish?] The probability that there will be at least only one Episcopal Conference or a bishop who softens the indissolubility of sacramental marriage is based on approximately 130 global Episcopal Conferences and Synods of Bishops and nearly 3,000 dioceses is quite likely. In any case, a question valid for the unity of the entire world Church is a question to be answered a hundred times.

Is the “lío” that Pope Francis called for? I honestly don’t know.

One of my interlocutors quipped:




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  1. Christ_opher says:

    In France there is a questionnaire being circulated that have some very strange questions. It seems that there could be more bad news to come. Why all of a sudden has the church become a democracy or a popularity contest to potentially introduce the most radical (deceitful) ideas and why has the emphasis moved away from worshiping Jesus Christ? However the reality is possibly that there is an effort to discourage Catholics from being Catholic. Recently taize has been introduced into our mass when there wasn’t anything wrong with the existing Glory to God in the highest.

    Anne Catherine Emerich anyone?

  2. McCall1981 says:

    Cardinal Blazquez Perez, president of the Spanish Bishops Conference, said the discernment proposed by AL “presupposes the acceptance of the doctrine of the Church and respect for canonical norms.”

  3. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    More sadness.

  4. “We’ve still got holy and apostolic going for us, and two out of four ain’t bad.”

  5. Traductora says:

    Well, they seem to have gotten the message clearly enough…For those who wish to insist that “nothing has changed.” Now it’s all up for grabs, but on a regional basis, which the Pope believes exempts him of his responsibility for this dismal state of affairs.

    Poor Spain! The Church is under enormous attack there, and most of the bishops – especially the new Francis appointee, Abp.Osoro of Madrid, who replaced the orthodox Cdl. Rouco, are liberal and/or weak. The Spanish have a few excellent bishops, such as Reig y Pla and Munilla, and I wonder how these bishops will handle this. Reig y Pla and Munilla are already under attack from their peers for things such as opposing the latest leftwing transgender law. So what happens to the good bishops who don’t want to go with the flow on the “divorced and remarried”?

  6. robtbrown says:

    Reading the comments of Fr Martinez SJ referencing rigorism and various comments by the Holy Father, I have to wonder when did Straw Man arguments become part of Jesuit spirituality.

  7. yatzer says:

    It sounds very much like the 60s drivel that confused many and got more into situations we are still regretting, having been given what we thought was permission by people who would not directly suffer the consequences.

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