Show…Me…the Canons!

Fight the false history, people!  Here’s a newsflash!  People who commit mortal sins should not be receiving Communion! This applies to you.  This applies to me.  This also applies to people who find themselves in really sad and/or hard situations. This does not now, nor has it ever meant, that said sinners are necessarily excommunicated.  That’s a whole separate issue.
Lately, I’ve seen many try to confuse the situation by suggesting that people who are not free to receive Communion are excommunicated.  Seems to be the new liberal strategy of the day.  The fact is, most people who may not receive Communion are simply in a state of mortal sin that doesn’t rise to the level of excommunication.

Now, some are creating imaginary canons and applying imaginary scenarios to them.  Ed Peters clarifies that nicely.  Might be nice if the Crux folks investigated a bit, but sadly, I think this is their chosen method of operation as of late.  They seem to be running on a “Let’s just say that John Paul II did something and hope nobody actually verifies it”, adding a “He who frames the question…” flourish, concluded with a “Repeat the lie until everyone believes it” move.

https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/

Fr. James Keenan writing in Crux this week makes his own a question raised (last July, it seems) by Rocco Buttiglione in L’Osservatore Romano: “Is there any contradiction between the popes who excommunicated divorced and remarried persons and Saint John Paul II who lifted that excommunication?

That’s fake canon law. John Paul II never lifted any excommunication against divorced and remarried Catholics because, quite simply, there was no excommunication against divorced and remarried Catholics for him to lift. Shall we talk about it?

Let’s all watch Ed school those so desperate to admit all to Communion.

Buttiglione writes in the L’OR piece upon which Keenan draws: “Once upon a time, divorced and remarried persons were excommunicated and excluded from the life of the Church. That kind of excommunication disappears from the new Code of Canon Law and Familiaris Consortio, and divorced and remarried persons are now encouraged to participate in the life of the Church and to give their children a Christian upbringing. This was an extraordinarily courageous decision that broke from an age-old tradition. But Familiaris Consortio tells us that the divorced and remarried cannot receive the sacraments.

Gracious! However far back in Church history Buttiglione needs to search for an excommunication of divorced-and-remarried Catholics, he apparently thinks that the 1917 Code itself excommunicated divorced and remarried Catholics and that, only by making a “courageous decision that broke from an age-old tradition”, could John Paul II ‘disappear’ that “excommunication” from the new (1983) Code of Canon Law.

I’ve kind of learned along the way to ask for citations mainly because it’s fun to watch their heads explode when they don’t actually have one.  So much “fake Catholicism” out there nowadays, I really don’t trust much.

There is just one problem with Buttiglione’s and Keenan’s canonical narrative of a pope kicking down a penal door locked against divorced-and-remarried Catholics—and thus with their broader ‘if-John-Paul-could-then-Francis-can’ claim, namely: the 1917 Code did not excommunicate divorced and remarried Catholics.

Oops.

Oops is right, and it’s a biggie for Crux peeps!

Neither Buttiglione nor Keenan provide a citation for their claim about what canon law allegedly did up to the time of John Paul II (nor, come to think of it, did Abp. Scicluna who was, it now seems, uncritically repeating Buttiglione’s claim and extending it to embrace adulterers!), so one is left to guess at what they had in mind. But a couple of ideas occur to me, some of which I have addressed before.

Ed points out what I said earlier: the liberal spin doctors are in full swing with each repeating the error as truth and it won’t be long before they’re all parroting the same talking points.  It spreads like a wildfire.  The response we need to keep repeating in our best Jerry Maguire voice is “Show me the canons!”  Heck, let’s even slow it down a bit for dramatic effect.  “Show…me…the canons!”

Maybe Keenan and Buttiglione had in mind the Pio-Benedictine excommunication levied against Catholics who attempted marriage in violation of canonical form; problem is, this sanction was applicable to all Roman Catholics (not just to divorced-and-civilly-remarried ones) and, more importantly, it had already been abrogated by Paul VI in 1970, a dozen years before the 1983 Code went into force!

Or maybe Keenan the American (if not Buttiglione, an Italian) recalled when American Catholics who divorced and civilly remarried were indeed excommunicated for that offense; problem is, that rule was peculiar to American (not universal) canon law, it dated back only to 1884 (hardly ‘age-old’), and, most importantly, it too had already been abrogated in 1977—again by Paul VI, not John Paul II—several years before the 1983 Code was promulgated.

Cue Britney Spears, JCL: Oops, they did it again!

Or maybe by “new” Code of Canon Law, Buttiglione and Keenan meant the 1917 Code which, in its day, was certainly new; problem is, I can’t find an excommunication for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics in the main, pre-Code, penal document of the 19th century, Pius IX’s Apostolicae Sedis moderatione (1869). Do Buttiglione and Keenan know of one? Of course, even if one were found lurking somewhere, it had obviously ‘disappeared’ from codified canon law some 65 years before John Paul II arrived on the scene.

So, in short, John Paul II had zippo to do with lifting excommunications on divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics.  Is this just poor education on the part of Keenan, Buttiglione, Scicluna, and the growing number embracing this falsehood, or is it simply tactics on their part?  Regardless, thanks to Ed Peters for showing us the error of their ways.

Or maybe Buttiglione and Keenan understand by the term “excommunication” a much older usage that sometimes blurred the distinctions between “excommunication” (as a canonical penalty, c. 1331) and “denial of holy Communion” (as a sacramental disciplinary norm, c. 915); problem is, their claim about what John Paul II supposedly did demands that they use canonical terms as he and the Church understand them today—and as Buttiglione himself recognizes when he notes above that, despite the (alleged) lifting of a (non-existent) excommunication, divorced-and-remarried Catholics are still prohibited the sacraments (a statement wrong in some respects, but right enough in this regard).

So what does this mean? So much confusion exists about “excommunication.”  I often refer people to this and so I shall again: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm  Excommunication is FAR different from not being free to receive Communion.  When you are excommunicated, you are barred from ALL of the Sacraments, public worship, and the Christian community in general. When you are in mortal sin, you are to refrain from Communion and encouraged to the hilt to cease sinning and get thyself to confession to rectify the mortal sin, but you are never to cease your Mass-going obligations.  Big difference!

So much contextualizing and back-storying, just to address one more fake canon law claim. But at least such research allows one to argue better not ‘if-John-Paul-could-then-Francis-can’, but rather ‘John-Paul-didn’t-and-Francis-shouldn’t’.

Sadly, it is necessary, Ed, and we thank you for doing so.  The question is, are people going to start doing their own homework or are they simply going to go with what’s most convenient for them to buy?  Honestly, people!  We’re talking about eternal life here!  It’s worth putting in just a little effort to go beyond the comfortable.  I mean, I’d love to believe that I no longer have to deal with hard situations in life and can just get to heaven because I mean well despite my sins, but I’m not so sure I’d be happy with the everlasting outcome of that stupid move.  I’m a mom.  The reality we employ around here is that the easy way, more often than not, is the wrong way, and at some point, the wrong way will bite us in the end.

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

You Keep Using That Word!

Word of the Pontificate: Integration

means
What in the heck does it mean to the Church? To the liberal dissenter, it means to make everyone the same (like any good socialist would think). Everyone gets to do the same thing no matter what they’ve done. It seems to be their new word for moral relativism.

Integration actually means to combine or bring together. It doesn’t mean we’re all the same, but we come together and make up a whole. Or at least, this is what Pope Francis appears to mean by it. Whatever the meaning, it certainly doesn’t mean Communion for all. How do I know? The Pope said so.

Despite this, Fr. Antonio Spadaro (editor of La Civiltà Cattolica) and Archbishop Blaise Cupich continue to make such fantastical statements as “without limits on integration, as appeared in the past” or “I wouldn’t bar anyone from Communion!” By the way, I totally take Archbishop Cupich at his word, which is why he should never be a cardinal. I’m pretty sure someone could walk up to him wearing a “Gravely depraved and proud” tee-shirt and Cupich would hand Our Lord them because, you know, they need to be “fully integrated,” too.

What has been the Pope’s only direct statement on “integration” and the Eucharist? Well, people seem to have forgotten that one, so here’s a reminder for them, as well as Fr. Spadaro and Archbishop Cupich:

http://aleteia.org/2016/02/29/communion-for-divorced-and-remarried-catholics-how-might-pope-francis-handle-it/

Being integrated into the Church does not mean “taking communion.”

Yeah, liberals, that was from the Holy Father less than two months before Amoris Laetitia dropped. As usual, you oh so conveniently overlooked that one and went for your own interpretation. Also notice the example he gave of a couple in an “irregular situation” who are integrating WITHOUT receiving Communion.

My heart goes out to those who are in an “irregular situation.” The Church does need to help them and, quite frankly, leaders like Archbishop Cupich are a huge reason why many people find themselves in the situation in the first place. They failed to educate them big time, and when they do get educated, they realize that they are now in “irregular situation” and they become quite bitter. The liberal pastors spent so much time trying to instill their doctrine of moral relativism into people that they lead them into more and more “irregular situations” despite the perennial Church teachings to the contrary. They insisted from the get-go that doctrine was going to change, and the faithful paid for it, just as they did with Humanae Vitae. The consequences of the lack of authentic teaching have been devastating for the family.

I wonder if these liberal dissenting members of the clergy realize that they could quite literally have hell to pay for the destruction of the family? Their agenda is going to mean nothing on judgment day, and they’ll suddenly realize, “Hey, there is a difference between wheat and chaff and sheep and goats. We’re not all the same!”

Let’s all pray that those finding themselves in “irregular situations” can find true integration into the Church instead of what’s being peddled by Fr. Spadaro, Archbishop Cupich, most of the Jesuit order, etc., which puts them further at odds with the teachings of the Church.

 

Cupich: He’s back!

I guess Archbishop Blase Cupich wasn’t getting enough attention and wanted to make a big splash. What’s the matter, Archbishop, were the Vatican light show and Cardinal Turkson stealing your thunder? So what has he said now? In case you haven’t heard the collective groan of the faithful, try this on for size: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archbishop-cupich-again-insists-people-in-homosexual-unions-can-receive-com

When asked if the same “internal forum” could be used to secure Communion for sexually active homosexuals, he said that it could. “When people who are in good conscience working with a spiritual director come to a decision, then they need to follow that conscience. That’s the teaching of the Church. So in the case of people receiving Communion in situations that are irregular that also applies. The question then was: Does that apply to gay people? My answer was: they’re human beings too. They have a conscience. Thy have to follow their conscience.

He continued: “They have to be able to have a formed conscience, understand the teaching of the Church, and work with a spiritual director and come to those decisions. And we have to respect that.”
“It’s not up to any minister who is distributing the Eucharist to make a decision about a person’s worthiness or lack of worthiness. That’s on the conscience of those individuals,” he added.”

There are sooooooooooooooooo many things wrong with this one. First and foremost, the “internal forum” was brought up in regards to the annulment process. It was not brought up in regards to active homosexual relationships, nor even to the simple divorced and remarried case. To even imply that these are in any way comparable to each other is totally and utterly ridiculous. Cupich is pretty much trying to nullify sin in general.

So what is all this “internal forum” talk in regards to annulments? I didn’t know what the heck it was, but there was a very narrow possible scenario given to me as an example. I’m sure there are others examples, but at least it explains to me why anyone is even still using it in a sentence. I was thinking about giving the scenario, but it was conjecture at best, even though I suspect good conjecture from a knowledgeable Catholic.

Before I go on, I would like to point out that Cardinal Burke has said the Synod did not and cannot approve the internal forum for divorced/remarried to receive Communion. Marriage is indissoluble.  And, here’s the biggie, the Pope hasn’t put forth any document yet.  Cupich is speaking WAY out of turn and trying, once again, the old “put the cart before the horse” method of trying to sway the Holy Father.

The “internal forum” regarding annulment scenario presented to me was a “failure to administer justice” scenario. Sorry to be vague but I wouldn’t want to lead anyone into error by stating the scenario knowing that there is a possibility it might be incorrect, even if I think it sound.

If my friend’s scenario is correct, suffice it to say, it would be super rare (as any use of the “internal forum” would be) and it would be limited to something that COULD be a rectifiable situation IF the annulment were eventually granted. It does nothing to alter the indissolubility of marriage, though. In contrast, there is NOTHING that could ever rectify an active homosexual relationship. There is nothing that can make homosexual acts not intrinsically depraved, and, as the Catechism states (Archbishop Cupich might want to crack it open every once in a while), “Under no circumstances can they be approved.” http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2357.htm

Do you see the difference in the two scenarios? There’s a gap the size of the Grand Canyon in between them. In one scenario, a couple would be trying their best in accordance with the teachings of the Church to live in accordance to the Church teachings. The scenario with a couple continuing in an active homosexual relationship is them failing the teaching of the Church (and, really, them failing themselves).
Cupich is floating something not even close. He’s saying, if a couple doesn’t think the teachings of the Church are correct, they can just use their very poorly formed conscience to decide if they are committing a sinful act. I guess he’s also saying they need to shop around for a spiritual director like him who goes with the “I’m OK. You’re OK.” mantra. It’s just a tad bit different.

Next, the “minister” distributing Communion certainly does have the duty to protect the Eucharist from defilement. If someone walks up with an “I’m an atheist!” t-shirt, they have made a public statement and shouldn’t be given the Communion. Remember a few years back when the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence approached Archbishop Niederauer for Communion in full clown drag dress? It was a “gotcha” moment where he failed, and he admitted that. (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/archbishop_niederauer_apologizes_for_giving_communion_to_sisters_of_perpetual_indulgence_at_san_francisco_parish/) Yes, the minister can and should protect Our Lord’s Body and Blood from the sacrilege of the Eucharist. Public obstinate sinners are in a special class. So, you see, the “I’m sinning and I’m going to keep sinning no matter what the Church says” without public repentance club can be denied Communion to avoid scandal. The “minister” denying Communion to the public obstinate sinner, despite what Cupich might decree, might REALLY be where the “internal forum” comes in.

Synod: ABC…Easy as 1,2,3…

The Synod. So much swirling around it. There’s no way I’m really ever going to compete with the on-the-ground coverage and leaks coming out of it, but I’d like to offer my own very simple thoughts.

We’ve heard endless commentary of divorce, homosexuality, etc. but it really seems like something simple has been completely ignored. It would be a sacrilege for a divorced person now cohabitating with someone who is not really their spouse to receive Communion. It would be yet another sacrilege for a homosexual engaging in homosexual practices to receive Our Lord in Communion. Easy. Why this is seemingly being complicated to the hilt is beyond me. Well, I guess not so beyond me. It’s Satan.

Here’s the ABC…

A)Can.  916 A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P39.HTM

1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a3.htm

B) 2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.177 http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P87.HTM

C) 1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:

When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. . . . But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.130 http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a8.htm

So, you knew “Easy as 1, 2, 3” was coming, right?

1) People in mortal sin should not receive Communion.

2) People who “remarry” after divorce are committing adultery

3) Adultery is a mortal sin.

Inevitably somebody is going to say you have to know it’s a sin so I’ll just get that part out of the way now.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest. http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a8.htm#IV

Now, as I’ve pointed out before, there’s a new little movement that’s trying to claim “primacy of conscience” without knowing what the heck that means. Primacy of Conscience is based on a rightly formed conscience. That’s part of the deal. It doesn’t mean “Well, the Church tells me it’s a sin, but my conscience doesn’t really make me feel like it is.” Uh-uh. Nice try.

I. THE FORMATION OF CONSCIENCE

1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path,54 we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.55

III. TO CHOOSE IN ACCORD WITH CONSCIENCE

1786 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.

1787 Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult. But he must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law.

1788 To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

1789 Some rules apply in every case:

– One may never do evil so that good may result from it;

– the Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”56

– charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: “Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ.”57 Therefore “it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble.”58

(Having someone commit adultery with you might be making your brother (or sister) stumble – big time!  Then there’s the scandal…)

IV. ERRONEOUS JUDGMENT

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If – on the contrary – the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.”60

The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct.61http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a6.htm

In short, it really doesn’t matter how you feel or if you feel that the Church is wrong in her doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage. If you are divorced and remarried (and not living under a rock), you are aware of what the Church teaches about divorce, “remarriage”, and the Eucharist. You may not like it. It may make you sad, but it is adultery no matter how you spin it. I’m really not trying to ruin anyone’s day here. I love people enough to want them to stop sinning — or to feel comfortable in sinning — because, hey, I’d really like it if we could all meet up in heaven someday.

Sacrilege against the Eucharist is another mortal sin of the worst kind. “What is a sacrilege?” my former classmates may ask?

Sacrilege is in general the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object. In a less proper sense any transgression against the virtue of religion would be a sacrilege.

Theologians are substantially agreed in regarding as sacred that and that only which by a public rite and by Divine or ecclesiastical institution has been dedicated to the worship of God. The point is that the public authority must intervene; private initiative, no matter how ardent in devotion or praiseworthy in motive, does not suffice. Attributing a sacred character to a thing is a juridical act, and as such is a function of the governing power of the Church.

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Real sacrilege is the irreverent treatment of sacred things as distinguished from places and persons. This can happen first of all by the administration or reception of the sacraments (or in the case of the Holy Eucharist by celebration) in the state of mortal sin, as also by advertently doing any of those things invalidly. Indeed deliberate and notable irreverence towards the Holy Eucharist is reputed the worst of all sacrileges.  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13321a.htm

I would propose that suggesting Communion for divorced and “remarried” folks so they feel more included and will suddenly stop committing adultery is the wrong focus (sorry Cardinal Kasper). There’s zero chance of it working because then you are removing the one penalty still in place and they’ll then be COMPLETELY comfortable continuing on in adultery.

The focus should have always been on the Eucharist first. You know, the source and summit of our Catholic faith? There is no “mercy” (buzz word of the year!) in suggesting that it would be wise to allow a person to commit a sacrilege. I don’t really worry about the Church rubberstamping that. She really can’t. What she can do, however, is cause mass confusion which is abounding as of late.

I saw a petition circulating for a “Synod Walk Out.” I’m kind of torn on that one, I have to say. The prolonged scuttlebutt surrounding this Synod is really not healthy for the Church. To have it end on a sharp note of “We’re not going to lead the faithful astray with all this speculation being floated!” sounds heavenly. However, I think I would be happy if some clear, simple teaching of why Communion for the divorced and “remarried” is impossible came out of this synod. It’s already too late for confusion so a document correcting the confusion is going to have to come out fast to nip this in the bud. We’re already leaning toward what happened with Humanae Vitae. The speculation was so huge that artificial birth-control would be allowed that people were defiant when it wasn’t. Now it’s happening with adultery via “remarriage.”

Here’s hoping we’re put out of this misery as quickly as possible!

P.S. This one was a formatting nightmare so please excuse ugliness!

P.S. Again – For those not familiar with the Faith, I’ve used quotes around all version of “remarriage” because it doesn’t exist in the Catholic Church in the manner used here. It only exists after the death of a spouse.