Let’s Just Set Reality Aside, Shall We?

I’m glad to see John Allen weighing in on this one, but I’m not exactly sure what he’s saying.  Maybe you all can help?  It seems as confused as the reactions to Amoris Laetitia itself. https://cruxnow.com/analysis/2016/12/17/thoughts-turning-heat-amoris-debate/

Thoughts on turning down the heat in the ‘Amoris’ debate

John L. Allen Jr.December 17, 2016

EDITOR

Someone trying to remain objective about today’s debates over ‘Amoris Laetitia’ would probably have a hard time concluding that either side has a strong claim to the moral high ground, since both are charging the other with virtually the vilest crime in their respective vocabularies.

First of all, is the debate really about Amoris Laetitia or is it about how it’s being interpreted (one could say muddled) by Cardinal Kasper and club?  I mean, I’ve seen many good bishops around the world give pastoral directives on Amoris Laetitia. Not one has said to ignore it.  They have said, “This is how is should be implemented!”, but it’s not in the way Bishop McElroy, Cardinal (that still hurts to say) Cupich, and Cardinal Kasper seem to want.

As most everyone knows, Pope Francis has both fans and critics within the Catholic fold. For those with long memories, that insight rates up there with “water is wet” and “the sun came up this morning” in terms of news value, since every pontiff in the long history of the Church has faced much the same situation.

On this we can concur.  However, that hardly leads to the “dissent” label being thrown around as of late.

Fans of Francis, however, often insist that the dynamic under this pope is different than the previous two, St. Pope John Paul II and emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, because today papal critics generally are not being accused of dissent, and thus are not being threatened with possible ecclesiastical sanctions.

Well, that may or may not be the reality.  I mean, a whole lot of the liberal members of the clergy have said that Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Pell, etc., have all been “demoted” or fired from their spots.  So, which is it?

For now, let’s set aside the fact that this assertion isn’t even true anymore, since here at Crux our own Austen Ivereigh recently leveled precisely the charge of dissent against at least some critics of Francis’s document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, though certainly without any call for sanctions.

RIGHT!  He just heaped on where the liberal clergy left off.  His condescension was really on display.  Why are we setting this aside, though?  It happened, yet it would seem you don’t want to deal with it.

Let’s also set aside the truth that the number of people subject to formal censures, gag orders, publishing bans and the like during the John Paul and Benedict years was remarkably low – zero, in fact, under Pope Benedict – and the idea of papal “thought control” was mostly a fiction.

There were occasional hints of tighter discipline, such as the requirement for a mandate for Catholic theologians in John Paul’s 1990 document Ex Corde Ecclesiae, but for the most part those decrees, in time-honored Catholic fashion, were implemented with great latitude and patience, and very few heads actually rolled.”

Again, why are we setting aside what you acknowledge as reality? Or what is reality?

So, onto your point …

The main point is this: It’s true, so far as it goes, that at this point most defenders of Pope Francis haven’t accused critics of being dissenters, nor have they suggested that people who uphold contrary positions on the substantive positions associated with the pontiff, such as opening Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, are thereby committing heresy.

Yeah, hardly anyone has done that. Just the guy at your publication, the dean of the Roman Rota, the head of the Greek bishops, Cardinal JOSEPH Tobin, etc.  I think you need to narrow it down just a bit.  People in high places are scourging them, or at least hoping it’ll happen and doing their best to make it so.  The average person in the pew, probably not so much.  The average person in the pew doesn’t know who these people even are, but we are told some very public people are making very public statements and it should be glossed over.

The implication seems to be that fans of the pope are more generous, less vicious, and less inclined to question people’s bona fides as Catholics. There is, in other words, often a presumption of moral superiority in the observation that “we don’t talk that way.”

Reality, John, it’s a beautiful thing.  Embrace it.  The truth will set you free.  And, more importantly, calling a spade a spade might actually keep people from doing it again.

Simply as a descriptive matter, that proposition seems a bit disingenuous. Many in the pro-Francis camp don’t invoke concepts such as “heresy” and “dissent,” because frankly, it’s not the worst insult they can think of with which to slur an opponent.”  Instead, they use terms that Francis himself also regards as abhorrent, such as “rigid,” “inflexible,” “legalistic,” “clerical,” and, of course, worst of all, “anti-Vatican II.”

Seriously?  You’re simply fanning the flames here, John.  In the Catholic world, what would be a stronger “slur?”  You can keep stating the “no big deal” fantasy or you can accept that it actually is a big deal.  How is it that you can say out of one side of your mouth that Francis supporters are much kinder, and then turn around and list the slurs they use?  It seems disingenuous because it is!  It’s a typical liberal tactic.  “Let’s throw every horrible label possible at the likes of the four Cardinals and maybe the laity will believe it!”

In effect, what’s on display here is one of the defining differences between the Catholic left and the Catholic right over the last fifty years.

On this sentence, I can agree.  The left will twist reality and try to get everyone on board, while the right will call a spade a spade and put it in writing to boot so there’s no possible wiggle room.

For the right, “heresy” and “dissent” are about the worst things imaginable, so when they want to say “x is terrible,” that’s the language that comes naturally.

Uh, who’s been using these terms???  It ain’t the right who’s been attacking the four cardinals.  That would be the left.  You seem quite confused.

For the left, the equivalent horror is “rolling back the clock” on the Second Vatican Council, so when they want to call something or someone awful, that tends to be the verbal packaging in which the complaint comes wrapped.

So you’re saying the guy who writes for you is “left” and that he’s using that to win an argument because he’s paranoid about the people who actually wanted Vatican II implemented properly?  I missed where these four cardinals said they wanted anything other than that.

Someone trying to remain objective about today’s debates would probably have a hard time concluding that either side has a claim on the moral high ground, since both are charging the other with virtually the vilest crime in their respective vocabularies.

Who are the objective ones in this little play you’ve got running in your head?  You? Objectivity is based in facts, John.  Not seeing a whole lot of correct ones listed thus far.

To be clear, this tit-for-tat isn’t especially widespread among the Catholic rank and file. Walk into most ordinary parishes and ask what people make of the debate over Amoris Laetitia, and probably, people would stare back with uncomprehending expressions.

I agree with you on this statement.  We can only address those participating in the debate.  That’s why have trouble with your use of “many”, “most”, etc.  They are inaccurate if you are simply looking at those involved in the debate.

That said, there is nevertheless an increasingly nasty cycle of finger-pointing in print, online, in social media, and sometimes even face-to-face, and if there’s to be an end to it, perhaps what we need is the equivalent of a verbal truce.

Great.  Call off Ivereigh.  Probably not going to happen, though, so then it’s a very one-sided truce, right?  John, you’re trying to play middle ground here.  You can’t be the “Can’t we all just get along?” guy and decide who is for or against Pope Francis, who is the left or the right, and who has been nice and who has been naughty.  That makes you a commentator, not objective.  Cardinal Burke, time and again, has said that those who label him as anti-Francis are incorrect.  That would be the same for those who support their quest to have the dubia answered.

If conservatives troubled by some aspects of Amoris Laetitia and other aspects of the present papacy could at least concede that, in the main, those on the other side are not enemies of the faith, and that their positions are not a blatant rupture with Catholic tradition, that might be a powerful confidence-building measure.

Likewise, if supporters of Amoris Laetitia could stop insisting that everyone who raises legitimate questions, either about its content or its binding force, are therefore obstructionists suffering from assorted forms of psychological dysfunction, that would help too – as would acknowledging that there are various readings of Vatican II, and that not everyone who doesn’t quite share theirs is necessarily “rejecting the council.”

Read what you wrote here, John.  Where have the “conservatives” said that those “in the main” are enemies of the Faith?  It seems like you understand that there is a small group doing this, and since the four cardinals have never opposed supporting Amoris Laetitia, you are arguing against the reality of the situation. They simply want clarity.

Now, as for the other side, it would seem that you think that only bizarre accusations are being made (and by your publication to boot).

It would also likely be a balm if both sides could abandon their pretense of not only being right on the issues, but having the more virtuous motives.

Wow!  So glad you are omniscient to know their motives!  We’re talking about two diametrically opposed versions of Truth.  Only one of them can be right, but you seem to want everyone just to give in a little.  You don’t give in on Truth.  You grab onto it as hard as you can.  So, when you have one group saying that the misinterpretations are a jeopardy to the faithful and another group saying “They’re just crazy!”, it should give you pause.

Granted, this cycle of charge and counter-charge has become so habitual over the last five decades that abandoning it now may be little more than a pipe dream. Granted, too, the fact that these terms are wildly over-used doesn’t mean there no longer really is such a thing as dissent, or openly rejecting the teaching of a council.

Really?  This is your take away?  Again, you have people who are totally and utterly willing to back up every charge they make with Church teaching and tradition, and another group that says “They’re just stuck in the past!  The Church is living and breathing and you just don’t like this Pope!”

To reverse Thomas Aquinas’s famous dictum, however, the fact that a thing may be legitimately used does not negate the very real possibility of abuse.

In the end, there are serious questions raised by Amoris Laetitia regarding the Church’s pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried persons, and just in terms of betting odds, it’s a long-shot that one camp possesses all the right answers and the other absolutely none.

I’ll take that bet!  That said, you’re acting as if people are saying the whole document should be ditched.  Is this the case with Archibishop Chaput, who has expressed support for the dubia?  https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2016/11/18/chaput-says-issued-amoris-rules-pope-asked/  It’s all about the interpretation!

For the pro-Amoris Laetitia side, there are important values at stake, including the authority of the synodal process that led to the document as well as that of the pope who issued it. For the camp with doubts, it’s the broader tradition of the Church with regard to marriage and divorce.

I don’t know what common ground between the two might look like, but I suspect it begins by accepting all of the above as valid, as well as a “cease and desist” order on impugning people’s integrity.

Who’s questioning the authority of the pope????

Over time, the Church will almost certainly evolve towards one of its classic “both/and” solutions to what were initially seen as “either/or” problems. How long it takes to get there, however, may in part be determined by whether in the here-and-now, the rhetorical heat can at least be turned down.

Yes, the slowly boiled frog does die much easier.  Sigh.  What can a guy say who’s just published a scathing review of the four cardinals say?  “Let’s all turn it down while my publication just turned it up!”  Come on, John.  It would have been better just to say “Whoa!  I didn’t read before I published!”  Trying to play the middleman now is rather hypocritical.

I think what you might have meant to say, John, was “Mea culpa.”

 

 

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A canonical primer on popes and heresy

This is a very important read amidst the hysterial accusations being made all over the place! Take a breath people!

In the Light of the Law

No one in a position of ecclesial responsibility—not the Four Cardinals posing dubia, not Grisez & Finnis cautioning about misuses, and not the 45 Catholics appealing to the College, among others—has, despite the bizarre accusations made about some of them, accused Pope Francis of being a heretic or of teaching heresy. While many are concerned for the clarity of various Church teachings in the wake of some of Francis’ writings and comments, and while some of these concerns do involve matters of faith and morals, no responsible voice in the Church has, I repeat, accused Pope Francis of holding or teaching heresy.

That’s good, because the stakes in regard to papal heresy are quite high. Those flirting with such suspicions or engaging in such ruminations should be very clear about what is at issue.

First. Heresy is, and only is, “the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt…

View original post 1,287 more words

Dubious or Dubia?

This was a rather disappointing read from Crux.  https://cruxnow.com/analysis/2016/12/11/anti-amoris-critics-cross-dissent-church-must-move/

The anti-Francis revolt spearheaded and legitimated by four mostly retired cardinals has acquired a newly vicious tone. A line has been crossed.

Anti-Francis?  Says who?  Let’s say my kids say something to the effect of “Dad, you said x.  Bobby thinks it means this and I think it means that.  Which is it?” Does this mean that they are anti-Dad?  Please.  Can we just admit that there is some big-time confusion?  You’ve got bishops saying “Come, active sinners, to Communion!” and others saying “We long for you to fully embrace the teaching of the Church and to repent so you can receive Communion!”  Two very different interpretations and only one of them can be right.  My money is one that supports the permanency of marriage.

I don’t just mean the line of good manners and respect. That was crossed some time ago, when the four cardinals made public their letter challenging Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and threatened him with a kind of public censure. Since then the tone of disrespect and contempt of some writers who back them has plumbed shocking new lows.

Bitter much?  How about we actually look at the text of the 4 Cardinals’ letter and the dubia which is so woefully absent.  I will actually dissect this down below to just to make sure people see it.  It’s not really all it’s been portrayed to be, which is probably why some have so much trouble quoting it. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/full-text-and-explanatory-notes-of-cardinals-questions-on-amoris-laetitia

But far more important than tone, the critiques have crossed a frontier into a territory marked “dissent”.

Whoa there, buddy!  That is a HUGE accusation.  Again, let’s back it up with some quotes.

Dissent, to be clear, is not the same as disagreement. Catholics often disagree with this or that decision or statement of a pope, object to his theology, or don’t share his priorities. And pope Francis is not only relaxed about disagreement, but positively encourages it.

Dissent is different. Dissent is to disagreement what disbelief is to doubt.

Dissent is, essentially, to question the legitimacy of a pope’s rule. It is to cast into doubt that the development of the Church under this Successor of St. Peter is a fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit.

And, again, look at the dang text.  For you to put words into the Cardinals’ mouth that they didn’t utter (and actually dispelled) is quite, well, awful.

Dissent is nothing new. At the time of the Second Vatican Council, the dissenting party set its face against its pastoral direction, as well as key developments in liturgy, religious freedom and ecumenism.

Under John Paul II, on the other hand, the dissenters were convinced he had betrayed the Council. They argued for women priests, an end to mandatory celibacy and an opening in areas such as contraception.

Now, under Francis, the dissenting party opposes the synod and its major fruit, Amoris Laetitia.

PROVE IT!

Because dissenters almost always end up looking and sounding like each other, the four cardinals and their supporters look every day more like those lobbies under the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI calling for liberal reforms.

Oh yeah.  Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Cupich are two peas in a pod.

Catholics know that going against the pope is a serious matter, and so when they dissent they adopt a regretful, pained tone that stresses conscience and the impossibility of betraying whatever they have absolutized – their idea of unchanging tradition, say, or their version of the Second Vatican Council.

Or…  Maybe they are pained at the confusion flying about ALL OVER THE PLACE!  Please.  Are we really going to say that every “dubia” put forth was done by a bunch of dissenters?  Here’s an earth shattering bomb shell.  Dubias are not uncommon and they certainly don’t equal dissent. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2016/11/24/submitting-dubia-is-a-standard-part-of-church-life-its-not-unreasonable-to-expect-a-clear-answer/

What they have in common is that they are almost always lay, educated and from the wealthy world or the wealthy parts of the developing world. They are mostly intellectuals and lawyers and teachers and writers who put great store in their reason.

Wait! “It’s a bunch of rich, educated white dudes!” is really your argument, Mr. Ivereigh?  Personally, I put a great store in all of these men.  Do you have some evidence of why we should feel the contrary?  Just conjecture, huh?

What to them seems entirely self-evident – arguments, logically developed from absolute first principles, backed by a few emeritus bishops, building to a case that cries out to be answered – almost always meets with silence from Rome. At this point there is a reaction of anger and stupefaction which over time coagulates into suppurating resentment.

Projecting much?

Some will break off, claiming the one true Church lies elsewhere or nowhere, but most resentfully stay, “clinging onto my faith by my fingertips” as they like to say, or “still a Catholic – despite the pope’s best efforts to drive me out.”

Wouldn’t it be best to wait to see if that happens, rather they to pre-accuse some of schism?

Clinging to the pain of their betrayal, they take refuge in their progressive or traditionalist liturgies and incandescent websites, firing off letters and petitions from lobbies and associations, vainly demanding, as “faithful Catholics” that the pope do this, that, or the other.”

Oh those nasty bitter clingers!  Who is this guy?!  Obama? I’ve never seen any of these gentlemen play the martyr card and at least one of them probably could.  Still, they are men who know their history and have spoken about the ills of schism.  In fact, I know of at least one who has said he will have no part in it. 

But even as they insist that there is a debate to be had, a case to answer, a matter to be settled, the train is leaving the station, and they are left on the platform, waving their arms.

Yeah, you might want to pay a little more attention to Catholic news.  They’re hardly being left behind.  They’re right in the thick of it and many are making the clarifications to their own diocese that these bishops are asking the Holy Father to give to the universal Church.

The Second Vatican Council set the Church on a path of pastoral conversion. John Paul II united the Church around an understanding of the Council based on a hermeneutic of continuity. In both cases, there was strong resistance, but most Catholics recognized the development as legitimate, as Peter acting for the good of the Church, as a doctrinally faithful response to the signs of the times.

The same is true now. Most Catholics understand the synod, and Amoris Laetitia, as an inspired response to our times, a means both of rebuilding marriage and of helping to bandage those wounded by the failure of marriage.

How are priests running around telling divorced and re-married couples to decide for themselves if they can receive communion when they are still considered married by the Church (or the complete misrepresentation of “internal forum”) a good thing for them, the teaching on the permancy of marriage, etc.?

This is why Francis can no more respond to the cardinals’ dubia than Benedict XVI could answer a petition to ordain women as deacons: because the Catholic Church has its own mechanisms of development, based on consultation and spiritual discernment.

Well, there’s apples and oranges if I ever saw it.

Put another way, whether it is a conclave or a synod, the Catholic Church likes to lobby-proof its deliberations, precisely to allow the Holy Spirit space to breathe.

Oh tell me, Amazing Carnac, how is it that you are so sure that the presentation of a dubia is not inspired by the Holy Spirit?  Hmmmm…  And as far as “lobby-proofing” deliberations goes…  Did you notice what in heaven’s name happened at the actual synod???

Francis cannot answer the cardinals directly  – although he has done indirectly countless times – without undermining that action of the Holy Spirit present in the most thorough process of ecclesial discernment since Vatican II.

I love the omniscient tone he’s taking.

As he last week told the Belgian Christian weekly Tertio, everything in Amoris Laetitia – including the controversial Chapter 8 – received a two-thirds majority in a synod that was notoriously frank, open and drawn out.

Um, no.  I knew this must be somehow Cardinal Cupich related!  Please, the 2/3 is not exactly true, as Edward Penten points out:  http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/synod-fathers-rejected-communion-for-remarried-divorcees :

Controversial passages never passed

But defenders of the Dubia argue that Cardinal Cupich’s comment that the controversial propositions in question were “voted on by two-thirds of the bishops” is especially problematic.

It is often forgotten, they point out, that despite the strenuous efforts by the Synod secretariat and others to manipulate and jostle the synod fathers into accepting the most controversial propositions (allegations detailed in my book The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?), none of the three most controversial propositions managed to obtain a two-thirds majority during the first, Extraordinary Synod on the Family, in October 2014. 

One of them was a proposition relating to the “Kasper proposal” of admitting the divorced and remarried to holy Communion after a period of penitence. That failed to pass, and only a proposition calling for “careful reflection and respectful accompaniment” of remarried divorcees made it through.

Back to Ivereigh:

Roma locuta, causa finita, as Catholics used to say. And the case is even more closed this time, because it is the universal Church which has spoken, not just the pope.

To respond to the cardinals would be tantamount to rewinding the clock, to refuting the very process of the synod, in order to rehash arguments that the synod settled, if not resolved.

And now we have to go back to the fact that dubias come about all of the time.  Are they “turning back the clock?”  No!  They’re asking questions.  Again, read the dubia!  What is so horribly awful about these questions? Do you think the Holy Spirit has a problem with clarity?

And as far as “Roma locuta, causa finita” goes…The problem is with the interpretation some are giving.  GET A CLUE!

Let’s remember what happened. At the start of the two-year synod process, there were two groups wanting to resolve the question of access to the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried one way or the other.

One group wanted to open up an Orthodox-type pathway back to the sacraments, the other wished to restate and reaffirm the teaching and discipline of Familiaris Consortio (John Paul II’s 1980 exhortation, which on that topic calls for discernment of different situations, but precludes any return to the sacraments unless the couple promises to live together as brother and sister.)

So, you think it right that a couple not lawfully married in the eyes of the Church should… what? A) Conform to the teachings of the Church regarding marriage and the Eucharist or B) not integrate into the Church and receive Communion without guilt?  When did Familiaris Consortio become a bad thing and are we saying that Amoris Laetitia is opposed to it???

Faced with that yes/no question, of precisely the sort that the cardinals have put to Francis, the synod rejected a yes/no answer.  The synod affirmed the general principles of FC but developed John Paul’s teaching on the discernment of situations while refusing to impose the same blanket ban on readmission in all cases.

What the what???  We’re changing the teachings on the permanency of marriage and the sin of adultery? 

The synod decided, by a two-thirds majority, that they wanted both to preserve the doctrine of indissolubility in the current discipline of the Eucharist while at the same time creating sufficient pastoral latitude in the application of the Church’s law to allow pastors to respond to situations where there was a subjective lack of culpability.

OK, I think we’ve already shown the 2/3 angle is a crock.

Which situations? AL doesn’t specify, which has allowed the four cardinals and their supporters to claim the document is ambiguous and confusing. But how could it spell it out, without becoming a manual of casuistry?

The whole point is that there is no new law, no new doctrine, no new norms, because the synod determined that there should not be. “There is no general norm that can cover all the particular cases,” as Cardinal Christoph Schönborn says, adding: “The general norm is very clear; and it is equally clear that it cannot cover all the cases exhaustively.”

So nothing is new but we have a whole lot of priests and Cardinal Cupich followers out there claiming there is.  I mean, they don’t even have the definition of “internal forum” correct.  This is all the cardinals want.  Clarity.  

And that’s the heart of the matter. The synod kept the law – how could it not? It’s the law of Jesus – but defended a latitude in its application, recognizing, as did Jesus, that the law is necessary but insufficient, and has to be applied in such a way that respects the particularity of each person’s story.

First, I believe he’s equating the synod with the confusion surrounding the document that came out of it.  The Church has, on many occasion, clarified when there is confusion.  Heck, even further documents have come from such confusing times, such as Humanae Vitae.

Amoris Laetitia took the synod’s settlement – forged, by all accounts, in the white heat of the German group – and asks the Church to create mechanisms of accompaniment that will allow for this discernment.

It says: Let’s hear this particular couple’s history and see where sin has created blockages and wounds, and where God’s grace is needed.

And on the way, what will happen? It might mean ending a relationship and returning to a valid marriage; it might lead to an annulment; in some cases it might lead to re-integration into a parish, but not the sacraments; in some cases it might require living as brother and sister, and a return to the sacraments.

Does Mr. Ivereigh seriously think this is what’s being put forth by Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy, half of the Germans, etc., etc., etc.?  Holy cow, man!  Where are you living?  I know you’re British but you can’t honestly think this is what’s being put forward as integration and “internal forum,” can you???  Please, walk among the liberal dioceses and publications like America or NCR and see what’s going on and why the dubia was so needed!  It has nothing to do with “correcting the Pope” and everything to do with correcting the idiots saying that people can live as man and wife in invalid marriages!  Do you think there’s a problem between the Cardinals and your three proposed outcomes???

And in some, rare cases it might lead, yes, to being admitted to Communion where the lack of subjective culpability is beyond doubt, where, for example, an annulment is impossible, where the marriage is irrecoverable, where there are children by a new union, where a conversion has taken place in a person that creates a new state, and where the notion of ‘adultery’ simply fails to capture a reality. (Father Thomas Reese has suggested the kinds of distinctions Pope John Paul II had in mind in Familiaris Consortio.)

Fr. Reese, SJ???  I really, really should have known!  If this is what the Holy Father is saying, why are we not quoting him?  I mean, he gave a pretty lengthy answer on a plane and failed to mention it: http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/fresh-start-pope-calls-for-integration-of-divorced-into-church-life.cfm

One bishop in South America whom I recently interviewed, when I asked about Chapter Eight of Amoris in an interview, kindly but firmly cut me short. “I can’t talk about that,” he said. “Every case is different.”

There speaks a pastor. There speaks the synod. There speaks the pope.

Wait!  You seem to assume that this bishop agrees with the Pope.  What if he’s actually disagreeing with him?  Again, this is why the dubia.  I guess I need to say it repeatedly.

The one message I’ve had from other bishops and cardinals I have spoken to this year in preparation for a new book is that what AL calls for can only be grasped by a pastor.

Only one who understands the complexities of the workings of sin and grace in a person’s life grasps the paradox: that to insist on the universal, equal application of the law in all circumstances is to contradict God’s supreme law of mercy, which puts the individual before – not above, but before – the law.

Bahahaha!  What?!

The four cardinals, with their heavily loaded binary questions carefully crafted to exclude precisely that paradox, reject the synod’s settlement of this question, and in so doing they reject the validity of the Holy Spirit’s action.

They are trying to return to the logic of the liberal media and the hysterical pro-family groups who descended on the first synod to defend Christian teaching on marriage. Yet the synod rejected that logic in favor of an ancient tradition of pastoral theology.

Oh brother.  Not too many mischaracterizations here. Possibly slander? Defamation? And a whole big dose of “Who the heck are you?!”

To the four cardinals, three of whom wrote a book prior to the first synod insisting that nothing could change, this of course looks like capitulation. (Cardinal Burke, it is worth remembering, was removed as head of the Vatican’s highest court because he rejected any reform to the annulment process – a reform sanctioned by the synod – on the grounds that it would undermine marriage).

And they will continue to see it that way.

He seems very insistent on putting words into peoples’ mouths.

So, too, will the lay elite intellectuals and journalists who continue to scream that the entire edifice of Catholic teaching on indissolubility will unravel as a result, and construct elaborate arguments that AL cannot possibly say what it says.

Um, first of all, no, it can’t unravel.  What it can be is ignored, twisted, and simply lied about by liberals.  Silly me.  When has that ever happened?!  I mean, it’s not like that’s happened to the Church’s teaching on birth control or anything. 

It is not easy for young converts fleeing the Anglican doctrinal muddle in search of rock-like objectivity, and who saw the synod through that prism. Nor is it easy for the culture warriors, who are all too happy to look away from the pain of people’s shattered marriages to focus on the defense of the institution of marriage faced with divorce and the hook-up culture.

Hello????  I think you misunderstand why we’ve been having mass Anglican conversions as of late.  They’ve come because their hierarchy has muddied the waters and they like clarity and tradition.

Next, who is looking away from shattered marriages?  In fact, I’d have to say this is exactly what the four Cardinals are trying to prevent.  It’s not one or the other.  You can try to defend the institution AND help those already harmed by the nightmare one or both spouses have brought to the marriage or the failure of the liberal Church to equip the couples to survive life by teaching them beauty and permanency of marriage and sexuality.  Does Ivereigh really think simply continuing the clean up after the disaster is sufficient?

And it is not easily grasped by those Pope Francis calls the “doctors of the law” in whom fear of being swamped or contaminated by a world of relativism and sin is so great that it becomes the single driving focus of their attention.

They suspect that Amoris undermines the affirmation of objective truth in Veritatis Splendor (which it doesn’t, but it certainly shifts the focus away from the defense of truth to the defense of the way Grace works in a soul.)

OK, if anyone says relativism isn’t a problem in the Church of today, I’d say they are the ones not quite in grasp of reality.  Ivereigh seems to continue to insist that he knows what’s driving the four Cardinals despite the fact they have never said anything of the like.

Many are good people, clever people, faithful Catholics, who want to defend the Church and promote the Good and the True. Some I consider friends. And as their friend, I have to tell them that in their anxiety and fear they have been tempted down the road of dissent, rejecting a Spirit-filled process of ecclesial discernment.

Wow!  Thanks, dude.  Clearly you are far more in tune with God’s wishes than any of us.  You are really in touch with the Holy Spirit and the rest of us are just completely lost! (Sarcasm alert.)

(They argue, naturally, that the synod was ‘manipulated’ or ‘steamrolled’, and therefore merely political. But these are not arguments, but stories dissenters need to tell each other.)

Thousands of people he’s never met but he know their needs.

More importantly, as their friend, I have to warn them: the train has left the station, the Church is moving on. And they will end up like the betrayed progressives of the John Paul era, locked into a kind of resentment that made them poor heralds of the Gospel.

MMMmmm… probably not because they know history and they know popes come and they know popes go.  They know the gates of hell cannot prevail but they will do as much as possible to help people through confusing times.

Just last week, the Congregation for the Clergy released a comprehensive new format for seminary formation. The priest of the future, formed by Amoris Laetitia, will learn to walk with people “with a disposition of serene openness and attentive accompaniment in all situations, even those that are most complex, showing the beauty and demands of Gospel truth without falling into legalistic or rigorist obsessions.”

I’ve been busy and honestly, I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about but I have googled the whole quote, parts of the quote and I can only find it from that article.  Feel free to shoot me a link and I’ll comment more. I’m sure it must be out there because he used quotes and all.

Long after the cardinals’ dubia are no more than a footnote in the history of this papacy, long after Ross Douthat’s predicted schism from the columns of the New York Times has failed to materialize, the next generation of priests will be applying the magnificent teaching of Amoris Laetitia, and the noisy, angry strains of dissent will have faded into a distant memory.

I  have to admit, I like this guy’s style.  He just waves a verbal wand and “Poof!” it’s a reality.  People are irrelevant and dissenters!  I mean, I half expected him to say something like “Arent’ they cute?!” or some other smarmy comment.  Somehow, however, I don’t see the four cardinals bowing to the pat on the head he’s giving them.  He might have wanted to start with someone a little closer to his league, albeit still out of his league.  But seriously, an A for effort!

I, personally, think the clergy will be much better off with clarity.

Francis expected protest, especially from this quartet of red hats, and is saddened by it.  But he is not alarmed or shocked. He sees it, as Father Antonio Spadaro told Crux, as the outworking of a Spirit-filled process.

Wait! I thought he was already punishing these guys.  Which is it?  They’re not relevant enough to think about or they’re the biggest of scoundrels?

He knows that the dissenters have dug their trench, and many will stay firmly in it, glowering while the rest of the Church develops a new pastoral strategy for marriage and family. But Francis also knows that this is their choice, which is the choice of every dissenter.

You mean this rest of the Church? https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2016/12/11/lincoln-bishop-says-no-communion-divorcedremarried/

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/msgr-pope/catholic-teaching-on-marriage-and-communion-is-unambiguous

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/us-bishops-guidelines-no-communion-sexually-active-divorced-remarri-0

http://www.sj-r.com/entertainmentlife/20160715/bishop-thomas-john-paprocki-catholics-marriage-and-holy-communion

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2016/09/22/bishop-says-amoris-doesnt-permit-communion-divorcedremarried/

https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2016/09/17/no-simple-path-communion-divorceremarried-canadians-warn/

https://www.dioceseoftyler.org/news/2015/10/final-synod-document-strongly-backs-church-teaching-beauty-of-family-life/

Oh, yeah.  I guess these guys are just a sampling of all the bitter clingers who missed the train.

And he knows that, in order to be faithful to the Holy Spirit’s action, his own choice can only be to ignore the cardinals and press on.

“Make it so Number One!”  Sigh.

OK, I’m posting the text of the dubia in its entirety since so many people are flapping their gums without bothering to quote a dang bit of it.  Prepare for debates and give it a good read.  If you’ve read it, go ahead and get to wrapping those Christmas presents!

  1. A Necessary Foreword

The sending of the letter to His Holiness Pope Francis by four cardinals derives from a deep pastoral concern.

We have noted a grave disorientation and great confusion of many faithful regarding extremely important matters for the life of the Church. We have noted that even within the episcopal college there are contrasting interpretations of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.

The great Tradition of the Church teaches us that the way out of situations like this is recourse to the Holy Father, asking the Apostolic See to resolve those doubts, which are the cause of disorientation and confusion.

Ours is, therefore, an act of justice and charity.

Of justice: With our initiative, we profess that the Petrine ministry is the ministry of unity, and that to Peter, to the Pope, belongs the service of confirming in the faith.

Of charity: We want to help the Pope to prevent divisions and conflicts in the Church, asking him to dispel all ambiguity.

We have also carried out a specific duty. According to the Code of Canon Law (349) the cardinals, even taken individually, are entrusted with the task of helping the Pope to care for the universal Church.

The Holy Father has decided not to respond. We have interpreted his sovereign decision as an invitation to continue the reflection and the discussion, calmly and with respect.

And so we are informing the entire people of God about our initiative, offering all of the documentation.

We hope that no one will choose to interpret the matter according to a “progressive/conservative” paradigm. That would be completely off the mark. We are deeply concerned about the true good of souls, the supreme law of the Church, and not about promoting any form of politics in the Church.

We hope that no one will judge us unjustly, as adversaries of the Holy Father and people devoid of mercy. What we have done and are doing derives from the deep collegial affection that unites us to the Pope, and from an impassioned concern for the good of the faithful.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

Cardinal Joachim Meisner

 

  1. The Letter of the Four Cardinals to the Pope

To His Holiness Pope Francis

and for the attention of His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller

Most Holy Father,

Following the publication of your apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, theologians and scholars have proposed interpretations that are not only divergent, but also conflicting, above all in regard to Chapter VIII. Moreover, the media have emphasized this dispute, thereby provoking uncertainty, confusion and disorientation among many of the faithful.

Because of this, we the undersigned, but also many bishops and priests, have received numerous requests from the faithful of various social strata on the correct interpretation to give to Chapter VIII of the exhortation.

Now, compelled in conscience by our pastoral responsibility and desiring to implement ever more that synodality to which Your Holiness urges us, with profound respect, we permit ourselves to ask you, Holy Father, as supreme teacher of the faith, called by the Risen One to confirm his brothers in the faith, to resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity, benevolently giving a response to the dubia that we attach the present letter.

May Your Holiness wish to bless us, as we promise constantly to remember you in prayer.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

Cardinal Joachim Meisner

 

Rome, September 19, 2016

  1. The Dubia

It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

  1. Explanatory Note of the Four Cardinals

CONTEXT

Dubia (from the Latin: “doubts”) are formal questions brought before the Pope and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking for clarifications on particular issues concerning doctrine or practice.

What is peculiar about these inquiries is that they are worded in a way that requires a “Yes” or “No” answer, without theological argumentation. This way of addressing the Apostolic See is not an invention of our own; it is an age-old practice.

Let’s get to what is concretely at stake.

 

Upon the publication of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia on love in the family, a debate has arisen particularly around its eighth chapter. Here specifically, Paragraphs 300-305 have been the object of divergent interpretations.

For many — bishops, priests, faithful — these paragraphs allude to or even explicitly teach a change in the discipline of the Church with respect to the divorced who are living in a new union, while others, admitting the lack of clarity or even the ambiguity of the passages in question, nonetheless argue that these same pages can be read in continuity with the previous magisterium and do not contain a modification in the Church’s practice and teaching.

Motivated by a pastoral concern for the faithful, four cardinals have sent a letter to the Holy Father under the form of dubia, hoping to receive clarity, given that doubt and uncertainty are always highly detrimental to pastoral care.

The fact that interpreters come to different conclusions is also due to divergent ways of understanding the Christian moral life. In this sense, what is at stake in Amoris Laetitia is not only the question of whether or not the divorced who have entered into a new union can — under certain circumstances — be readmitted to the sacraments.

Rather, the interpretation of the document also implies different, contrasting approaches to the Christian way of life.

Thus, while the first question of the dubia concerns a practical question regarding the divorced and civilly remarried, the other four questions touch on fundamental issues of the Christian life.

THE QUESTIONS

Doubt No. 1:

It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance, and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

Question 1 makes particular reference to Amoris Laetitia, 305, and to Footnote 351. While Note 351 specifically speaks of the sacraments of penance and Communion, it does not mention the divorced and civilly remarried in this context, nor does the main text.

Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 84, already contemplated the possibility of admitting the divorced and civilly remarried to the sacraments. It mentions three conditions:

The persons concerned cannot separate without committing new injustices (for instance, they may be responsible for the upbringing of their children);

They take upon themselves the commitment to live according to the truth of their situation, that is, to cease living together as if they were husband and wife (more uxorio), abstaining from those acts that are proper to spouses;

They avoid giving scandal (that is, they avoid giving the appearance of sin so as to avoid the danger of leading others into sin).

The conditions mentioned by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and by the subsequent documents recalled will immediately appear reasonable once we remember that the marital union is not just based on mutual affection and that sexual acts are not just one activity among others that couples engage in.

Sexual relations are for marital love. They are something so important, so good and so precious that they require a particular context, the context of marital love. Hence, not only the divorced living in a new union need to abstain, but also everyone who is not married. For the Church, the Sixth Commandment — “Do not commit adultery” — has always covered any exercise of human sexuality that is not marital, i.e., any kind of sexual relations other than those engaged in with one’s rightful spouse.

It would seem that admitting to Communion those of the faithful who are separated or divorced from their rightful spouse and who have entered a new union in which they live with someone else as if they were husband and wife would mean for the Church to teach by her practice one of the following affirmations about marriage, human sexuality and the nature of the sacraments:

A divorce does not dissolve the marriage bond, and the partners to the new union are not married. However, people who are not married can under certain circumstances legitimately engage in acts of sexual intimacy.

 A divorce dissolves the marriage bond. People who are not married cannot legitimately engage in sexual acts. The divorced and remarried are legitimate spouses and their sexual acts are lawful marital acts.

A divorce does not dissolve the marriage bond, and the partners to the new union are not married. People who are not married cannot legitimately engage in sexual acts, so that the divorced and civilly remarried live in a situation of habitual, public, objective and grave sin. However, admitting persons to the Eucharist does not mean for the Church to approve their public state of life; the faithful can approach the Eucharistic table even with consciousness of grave sin, and receiving absolution in the sacrament of penance does not always require the purpose of amending one’s life. The sacraments, therefore, are detached from life: Christian rites and worship are on a completely different sphere than the Christian moral life. 

Doubt No. 2:

After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

The second question regards the existence of so-called intrinsically evil acts. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, claims that one can “qualify as morally evil according to its species … the deliberate choice of certain kinds of behavior or specific acts, apart from a consideration of the intention for which the choice is made or the totality of the foreseeable consequences of that act for all persons concerned.”

 

Thus, the encyclical teaches that there are acts that are always evil, which are forbidden by moral norms that bind without exception (“moral absolutes”). These moral absolutes are always negative, that is, they tell us what we should not do. “Do not kill.” “Do not commit adultery.” Only negative norms can bind without exception.

According to Veritatis Splendor, with intrinsically evil acts no discernment of circumstances or intentions is necessary. Uniting oneself to a woman who is married to another is and remains an act of adultery, that as such is never to be done, even if by doing so an agent could possibly extract precious secrets from a villain’s wife so as to save the kingdom (what sounds like an example from a James Bond movie has already been contemplated by St. Thomas Aquinas, De Malo, q. 15, a. 1). John Paul II argues that the intention (say, “saving the kingdom”) does not change the species of the act (here: “committing adultery”), and that it is enough to know the species of the act (“adultery”) to know that one must not do it.

Doubt No. 3:

After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

In Paragraph 301, Amoris Laetitia recalls that: “The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations.” And it concludes that “hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

In its “Declaration,” of June 24, 2000, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts seeks to clarify Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that those who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy Communion.” The Pontifical Council’s “Declaration” argues that this canon is applicable also to faithful who are divorced and civilly remarried. It spells out that “grave sin” has to be understood objectively, given that the minister of the Eucharist has no means of judging another person’s subjective imputability.

Thus, for the “Declaration,” the question of the admission to the sacraments is about judging a person’s objective life situation and not about judging that this person is in a state of mortal sin. Indeed, subjectively he or she may not be fully imputable or not be imputable at all.

Along the same lines, in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 37, St. John Paul II recalls that “the judgment of one’s state of grace obviously belongs only to the person involved, since it is a question of examining one’s conscience.” Hence, the distinction referred to by Amoris Laetitia between the subjective situation of mortal sin and the objective situation of grave sin is indeed well established in the Church’s teaching.

John Paul II, however, continues by insisting that “in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved.” He then reiterates the teaching of Canon 915 mentioned above.

Question 3 of the Dubia, hence, would like to clarify whether, even after Amoris Laetitia, it is still possible to say that persons who habitually live in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, such as the commandment against adultery, theft, murder or perjury, live in objective situations of grave habitual sin, even if, for whatever reasons, it is not certain that they are subjectively imputable for their habitual transgressions.

Doubt No. 4:

After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

In Paragraph 302, Amoris Laetitia stresses that on account of mitigating circumstances “a negative judgment about an objective situation does not imply a judgment about the imputability or culpability of the person involved.” The Dubia point to the Church’s teaching as expressed in John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor, according to which circumstances or good intentions can never turn an intrinsically evil act into one that is excusable or even good.

The question arises whether Amoris Laetitia, too, is agreed that any act that transgresses against God’s commandments, such as adultery, murder, theft or perjury, can never, on account of circumstances that mitigate personal responsibility, become excusable or even good.

Do these acts, which the Church’s Tradition has called bad in themselves and grave sins, continue to be destructive and harmful for anyone committing them in whatever subjective state of moral responsibility he may be?

Or could these acts, depending on a person’s subjective state and depending on the circumstances and intentions, cease to be injurious and become commendable or at least excusable?

Doubt No. 5:

After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

Amoris Laetitia, 303, states that “conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God.” The Dubia ask for a clarification of these affirmations, given that they are susceptible to divergent interpretations.

For those proposing the creative idea of conscience, the precepts of God’s law and the norm of the individual conscience can be in tension or even in opposition, while the final word should always go to conscience that ultimately decides about good and evil. According to Veritatis Splendor, 56, “on this basis, an attempt is made to legitimize so-called ‘pastoral’ solutions contrary to the teaching of the magisterium, and to justify a ‘creative’ hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept.”

In this perspective, it will never be enough for moral conscience to know “this is adultery,” or “this is murder,” in order to know that this is something one cannot and must not do.

Rather, one would also need to look at the circumstances or the intentions to know if this act could not, after all, be excusable or even obligatory (Question 4 of the Dubia). For these theories, conscience could indeed rightfully decide that, in a given case, God’s will for me consists in an act by which I transgress one of his commandments. “Do not commit adultery” is seen as just a general norm. In the here and now, and given my good intentions, committing adultery is what God really requires of me.  Under these terms, cases of virtuous adultery, lawful murder and obligatory perjury are at least conceivable.

This would mean to conceive of conscience as a faculty for autonomously deciding about good and evil and of God’s law as a burden that is arbitrarily imposed and that could at times be opposed to our true happiness.

However, conscience does not decide about good and evil. The whole idea of a “decision of conscience” is misleading. The proper act of conscience is to judge and not to decide. It says, “This is good.” “This is bad.” This goodness or badness does not depend on it. It acknowledges and recognizes the goodness or badness of an action, and for doing so, that is, for judging, conscience needs criteria; it is inherently dependent on truth.

God’s commandments are a most welcome help for conscience to get to know the truth and hence to judge verily. God’s commandments are the expression of the truth about our good, about our very being, disclosing something crucial about how to live life well. Pope Francis, too, expresses himself in these terms, when, in Amoris Laetitia, 295: “The law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception.”

Translation provided by the cardinal signatories

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Internal Forum

Alrighty!  Thanksgiving is over and my Christmas shopping is all done. Now I can focus on doing some more penance during Advent.  Readers have been asking me to address Bishop McElroy of San Diego, and there’s no penance like trying to read McElroy’s inane statements.  Since the Diocese of San Diego (or at least those focused on eternity) is now waiting for someone to save them, I figured it would be a good topic for this time of year.

The latest faux pas by Bishop McElroy can be read in its entirety here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/san-diego-bishop-praises-pro-gay-parish-for-being-welcoming

SAN DIEGO, California, December 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The director of the young adult ministry at a parish San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy recently praised for its “welcoming” attitude toward “LGBT worshippers” is an openly gay man who works for an organization that supports same-sex “marriage” and women’s ordination.

Let me just start by saying, any Catholic interviewing Bishop McElroy should ask him two questions: 1) Do you believe that the Church will one day ordain women? 2) Do you believe that the Church should accept “gay marriage?”  Pin him down and don’t let him wriggle out of it.  You could also throw in, “Do you think “gay sex” is equal to the marital embrace?”  if he tries to divert with the usual “Who am I to judge?” tell him you’re not asking him to judge but to give an opinion.

The San Diego Union Tribune reported that McElroy cited St. John the Evangelist in Hillcrest as an example of a parish where “LGBT worshippers ‘feel particularly welcome.'”

What does “welcome” mean, Bishop McElroy?  What Catholic doesn’t want people to feel welcome?  If, however, welcome means that we don’t encourage all to live a chaste life with the end goal of everlasting life with Christ, how loving is that?

Let’s remember that we are the Church Oscar Wilde turned to at the end of his life.  We are a Church full of sinners.  Welcoming the sinner is kind of what we do.  We don’t,  however, embrace sin.  It’s not loving to do so.  I’m afraid this has been lost on some.  We are the epitome of welcoming and integration of people into the Faith.

“That’s a very good thing,” he said. McElroy was commenting on the Diocese of San Diego’s recent synod on the family, after which he encouraged priests to give Holy Communion to the divorced and “remarried” and embrace “LGBT families.”

Please, Bishop McElroy!  Can we cut the ambiguity now and actually define what in the heck you are talking about?  This touchy-feely word play is done.  I don’t know a priest out there who doesn’t welcome sinners to his parish.  What I do know are priests who welcome SIN to their parishes.  Let’s just cut to it.  Is this what you are suggesting, Bishop McElroy???  Do your flock a favor and answer the dang questions! 

While you’re at it, please, let’s look at the permanency of Catholic marriage.  I could be wrong, but last time I checked, the parish priest was not the arbiter of a valid/invalid marriage.  Honestly, heaven help us if priests with no canonical training, who are not on the marriage tribunal, and likely were poorly formed, start deciding who is or is not married.

Canon Law states http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0017/_P3U.HTM :

Can. 1060 Marriage enjoys the favour of law. Consequently, in doubt the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven.

Yet now bishops like McElroy are suggesting we simply have a pow-wow with a priest and decide for ourselves?  Think about it, people.  Why in the heck would we ever need a marriage tribunal???  Think that can’t possibly be what Bishop McElroy is saying?  Well, these three bulletins have articles about the “synod” that all follow the same talking points:

http://www.sdcathedral.org/uploads/mce/edd6bb4181065a5b9fb559ad9fddeef16a975d07/970271%20November%2013%202016.pdf

http://www.stmoside.org/pastorcolumn/Pastor2016-1113.pdf

http://sanrafaelparish.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/November_13_Bulletin.pdf
Colin Donovan, STL, (that’s a Canon Law guy) spells out their errors nicely here https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/annulment.htm:

Internal Forum. Sometimes it is suggested to individuals or couples that they can resolve marital issues concerning a first marriage in the “internal forum.” This means essentially in the confessional or in the privacy of their conscience. Someone who is divorced and remarried will be told that they do not have to seek a Decree of Nullity to validate the present marriage, rather being convinced in their own conscience that their first marriage was invalid they can return to the sacraments. This is not, however, the case. Marriage is not a private affair but a social institution, one safeguarded by the Church according to the will of Christ. The Holy See has ruled out the internal forum solution as a valid way of resolving marital validity questions. Such issues must be submitted to the Church’s canonical processes (a marriage tribunal).

In short, “internal forum” and “integration” don’t mean what YOU decide, Bishop McElroy.  For those of you wondering what it is and how it applies to the “divorced and remarried” scenario, this was a good synopsis.  https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/Article/TabId/535/ArtMID/13567/ArticleID/19679/Understanding-Francis-and-the-internal-forum.aspx

St. John the Evangelist advertises on its Twitter page: “In worship and in sacrament, our Catholic parish is called to extend God’s kingdom to young and old, gay and straight, single, married or divorced.” Its rainbow Twitter profile photo reads, “All Are Welcome.”

On November 18, the parish Facebook page advertised a “Modern Mass…where all people find a place at the table!” Its advertisement for the Mass featured a cross imposed on the rainbow flag, a universal symbol of homosexual activism.

What the heck is a “Modern Mass?!”  Last time I checked we had an Ordinary Form and an Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  Sorry, my homosexual Catholic brethren looking to push an agenda rather than fight against temptation, the Mass ain’t your personal football.  I don’t say this in hate, but you are the proverbial princess in the family.  For some reason you think the Sacraments must dance around you and pay you homage.  Get a clue and get a little humility!  There is, indeed, an eternity heading your way, so you really might want to attend Mass to worship God rather than to have everyone else worship your lifestyle choices.

St. John the Evangelist bulletins list Aaron Bianco as the young adult ministry leader.

Bianco’s LinkedIn page lists him as a “Pastoral Associate” with Call to Action, a dissenting anti-Catholic group that opposes the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, marriage, and the nature of the priesthood. In 2006, members of Call to Action were excommunicated over their dissenting advocacy.

Call to Action’s website features a “prayer for all loving marriages” that reads, in part:

We thank You for all the different types of marriages in our world:

Pause!  There is only one type of marriage: a valid one.  All others are just deformed representations of God’s plan for married love.

young couples beginning a life together,

as well as couples celebrating decades of love,

re-married couples and those who found each other later in life,

couples whose marriages are recognized by our state and our Church,

and same-sex couples who are denied that recognition

but who continue to bravely model love and commitment in the face of discrimination…”

Help us support marriage and family in all of its diversity

and guide us as we speak out against oppression in our Church.

Lead us toward the day when all loving unions will be seen as sacred

and all couples will have the support and recognition of their faith communities.

The call to the priesthood should be celebrated regardless of gender,” Call to Action’s website says on its “Women and Girls Equality” page. “We work in many different ways to restore the full participation of women in the liturgy, pastoral life and leadership of their communities…We support the ordination of women with local actions, national media advocacy and with our partners in the movement. Many of our members attend liturgies led by womenpriests.

According to Call to Action, Bianco began as a Program Outreach Associate in 2015. In one blog post for the organization, he describes attending a Dignity USA conference on behalf of Call to Action. Dignity USA is a pro-gay group that rejects the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality.”

What a load of hooey!  I’m going to just assume Bianco agrees with Call to Action.  That alone disqualifies him from any position of authority in a Catholic Church.  Ministry leaders are supposed to conform their will to the will of the Church, not the other way around. 

It appears that McElroy is well aware of Bianco’s gay advocacy. In 2015, the Wall Street Journal wrote that after he became bishop, McElroy told Bianco that he could continue running cathedral parish education programs even though he is openly gay:

Shortly after his installation as the sixth bishop of San Diego this spring, Robert McElroy was approached by a church employee in the city’s downtown cathedral.

Aaron Bianco, a 41-year-old openly gay man who had helped run Catholic education programs for seven years, said that before the bishop’s appointment, a parishioner who knew of Mr. Bianco’s sexual orientation had complained to the diocese, a traditionally conservative one that once denied the owner of a gay nightclub a Catholic funeral.

Fearful of losing his job, Mr. Bianco removed his name from the weekly parish newsletter and brought someone in to help him teach.

But the new bishop assured Mr. Bianco that he wouldn’t lose his job because he is gay. Bishop McElroy “let me know that [being gay] should not hinder me from participating fully in the life of the church,” said Mr. Bianco, who has since taken another position outside the church.

So I’m just going to directly ask Bishop McElroy, do you think that people who are actively engaging in the homosexual lifestyle (sodomy and masturbation), or advocating for the active homosexual lifestyle, should present themselves for Communion?  I mean, again, stop with the ambiguity.  Call a spade a spade and say what you mean and stop the ridiculous game.

The Wall Street Journal article also noted that in 2010, McElroy became an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, where he celebrated Mass at “a largely gay parish in the city’s Castro district.”

The Diocese of San Diego did not immediately respond to LifeSiteNews’s inquiries on whether the “welcoming” nature of St. John’s is in line with Catholic teaching on homosexual feelings and actions (not people) being intrinsically disordered, or whether the diocese finds it appropriate for St. John’s to advertise the rainbow flag on its social media pages.

The simple fact is that Bishop McElroy must continue on the ambiguous track, because he knows answering the question would be showing his cards, and he would lose the game he’s playing.  He knows it and so do we.

Yes, I am Alive!

I am still alive. Thanks for asking!   It’s just that time of year where the unpaid blogger has to get family stuff done.  I should be back next week!  

Thanks to all who have been participating in the “Churches to Drive Away From…” post.  Sorry it took me so long to approve all you with first time comments.  You’re good to go now!