Dear readers… a lot of time and electrons are being spilled on Amoris laetitia these days because it may be the most important controversy of our time, with long lasting implications for doctrine on faith and morals, and on discipline. Our Catholic identity is tied to the controversy. We have to pay attention even though I am sure that many of you are ready for Amorexit (opting out of further discussion of the controverted Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation). Mind you: Some people should vote for Amorexit and stop paying attention, particularly if it is becoming spiritually toxic for you. For people who are saying things like “I don’t know if I can remain Catholic because of this!”, I say, tune out and start reciting, often, your memorized Acts of Faith and of Hope.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are in the scrum.
Check out Ross Douthat’s examination of the controversy surrounding Amoris laetitia in his NYT – yes, NYT – Hell’s Bible – column. HERE Pope Francis and his surrogates do not get a pass.
Indeed, the exact same post-“Amoris” pattern that we’ve seen on second marriages and the sacraments is playing out presently in Canada with assisted suicide. The bishops in the western provinces are taking the traditional line that Catholics who are planning their own suicides can’t be given last rites, because you can’t grant absolution to someone who intends to commit the gravest of sins shortly afterward … while the Catholic bishops of the Maritime provinces, citing Pope Francis’s innovations as a model, suggest that actually pastoral accompaniment could include giving last rites to people who are about to receive “medical assistance in dying,” because every case of assisted suicide is different and who are we to judge?
In other words, thanks in part to the pope and to “Amoris,” we now have two different implicit teachings from two different groups of Catholic bishops on a literal matter of life and death. And saying “the train has left the station” and labeling one camp of bishops the “dissenters” – which, on the issue of euthanasia, I don’t think Ivereigh [See his ghastly piece.] would do – tells us exactly nothing about how this conflict ought to be resolved.
Not. Going. Away.
One thing leads to another in our Catholic Faith.
Admission of people to Communion who are objectively committing a sin (whether it is adultery or contemplating suicide, etc) has implications for what we believe the Eucharistic to be, about who we believe Christ to be. Was the Lord (God) wrong when he taught about the indissolubility of marriage? If He was wrong, then is He divine? Was the Lord wrong about eating His Body and drinking His Blood? Is that just idolatry? If objective adulterers can be admitted to Communion, then why can’t those contemplating suicide be anointed first? Why not every sacrament for everyone? What are sacraments anyway?
This is why the Five Dubia are so important and why so many desire clear answers. It’s not about a lack of “mercy”.