“Up? No, that’s really Down”, they say. “Black is white.” “2+2=5”
What?!? You don’t see it? Then you must either be a hater or you are afraid of something, or maybe you are incapable of loving. Maybe you are stupid.
Since Amoris laetitia these are the things we have heard in responses to the observations made by many rather smart people that there are internal inconsistencies in the document. One inconsistency is the suggestion that a person who is in the state of mortal sin, and is unrepentant, can be admitted to Holy Communion according to however that sinner’s “conscience” allows. Don’t see it? You must be afraaaaaid to luuuuuuhv.
The fact that there are internal problems in Amoris and in the things people say Amoris proposes is borne out by the fact of internal conflicts of discipline in the Church. One bishops conference says one thing, while a difference conference says another. From diocese to diocese there are differing disciplines. Something is seriously wrong when that happens. There is more than a problem of praxis. The problem stems from lack of clarity or consistency in doctrine that underpins the praxis.
I saw a story in German about how some … some bishops within the German bishops conference are asking for…. get this knee slapper… a clarification from Rome about whether the non-Catholic spouses of Catholics can be admitted to Communion… or not.
Disagreement over communion in the Episcopal Conference: Woelki and other bishops send a letter to the Vatican
Joachim Frank is chief correspondent of Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Berliner Zeitung and Mitteldeutsche Zeitung.
In the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference there has been a serious dispute over the question of inter-communion for Protestant Christians. Without previous agreement with the chairman, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, seven bishops, led by the Cologne Cardinal Rainer Woelki, have approached the Vatican. They consider unlawful a pastoral mandate for mixed marriages decided on February 20 by the Episcopal Conference by a two-thirds majority, since in their view it violates the Catholic doctrine and unity of the Church.
In the view of the minority, the Bishops’ Conference exceeds their competence if, as provided for in the document, they open Communion for Protestant Christians who are married to a Catholic partner and wish to share church life with him in the Communion. In the face of several open dogmatic and canonical questions, the bishops in their letter to the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” ask the Vatican for help and clarification. Specifically, the letter went to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Luis Ladaria, as well as to the “Ecumenical Minister” of the Vatican, Cardinal Kurt Koch.
In addition to Woelki, the three-page letter was also signed by Bishop Archbishop Ludwig Schick and bishops Konrad Zdarsa (Augsburg), Gregory Maria Hanke (Eichstätt), Wolfgang Ipolt (Görlitz), Rudolf Voderholzer (Regensburg) and Stefan Oster (Passau). The focus of opposition to Marx and the majority of bishops is thus in Bavaria, where Marx is also chairman of the Bavarian Bishops’ Conference.
Conflict calls to mind Meisner
The process is unprecedented in recent church history. It recalls the conflict between the German bishops and the then Pope John Paul II on pregnant women’s counseling. The former Cologne Cardinal Joachim Meisner had turned in July 1999 in a single-handed direct letter to the Pope, because he did not want to support the majority vote of his confreres to remain in the state advisory system for reasons of conscience. Meisner’s intervention had a few months later a papal instruction to exit the consultation result.
In a reply to the seven authors, Marx reveals his concern about their approach and emphasizes that this request for help refers only to a draft text [!] in which changes are still possible. The expressed doubts of the seven bishops expressly rejects Marx. Marx sent his answer on April 4 to both the Vatican and all German bishops.
Ahhh… that’s the safe out. It’s only a “draft”! It can be set aside or amended. Right?
The problem is this: How in the world would a bunch of bishop ever come with this harebrained scheme in the first place? How would such monumentally stupid thing garner enough votes as to pass even a first scrutiny? How is it that only 7 of the German bishops raised a fuss about this?
This is madness.
I direct the readership’s attention back the the well-measured new book by Ross Douthat. The book isn’t perfect, but he describes well what is going on today and… for the most part… why. Remember: Wile E. Coyote hates the book. That’s incentive enough to get it.
See the long and excellent new piece about this book at the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald. HERE
To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism