PopeWatch: The Core of the Question

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VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us the latest comment of the Pope on the issue of communion for divorced Catholics whose prior marriages have not been annulled:

 

With regard to communion for the divorced and remarried, Pope Francis has expressed his thinking once again in the interview that he gave to Elisabetta Piqué in the Argentine newspaper “La Nación” of December 7 (see photo):

In the case of the divorced and remarried, what do we do with them, what door can be opened? There is a pastoral concern: so are we going to give them communion? It is not a solution to give them communion. This alone is not the solution, the solution is integration. They are not excommunicated, sure. But they cannot be godparents in Baptism, they cannot read the readings at Mass, they cannot distribute communion, they cannot teach catechism, there are seven things they can’t do, I have the list here. If I were to present this, they would seem excommunicated de facto! So, to open the doors a little bit more.”

In the same interview, Francis defended the clarity of his own formulations:

“Someone told me once: ‘Yes, of course, discernment is fine, but we need things that are more clear.’ I told him: ‘Look, I have written an encyclical and an apostolic exhortation, and I continually make declarations and give homilies, and this is magisterium. What is there is what I think, not what the media say I think. Go there, you’ll find it, and it’s very clear.’”

Nonetheless the fact remains that what the pope said in this interview with regard to communion for the divorced and remarried still lends itself to interpretative doubts. One can read in it, in fact, both a rejection of the “solution” of giving them communion and an assent to this same solution, as part of a more comprehensive “integration” of these individuals.

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope’s remarks seem to indicate that communion for divorced Catholics whose prior marriages have not been annulled may be off the table, that is unclear, but the rest of his comments strike PopeWatch as strange.  The problem with communion for Catholics living in adultery is that they are not in a spiritual position to receive communion because they have no desire to amend their lives and sin no more.  This of course applies to any Catholic enmeshed in mortal sin who is unwilling to give up a cherished sin.  In short, the true issue is whether Catholics can engage in mortal sin, have no intention to amend their lives, and still eat and drink the body and blood of Christ.  No fake feel good “inclusive” initiatives can get around that hard fact.  The Church is ever merciful to poor sinful humanity, but there has to be an intention of amendment in order to be absolved of sin.  That is the core problem at the heart of the issue of communion for divorced Catholics and the problem of Christianity in modern times.  Christians have often cherished sins and separated themselves from God as a result.  However, today powerful forces within the Church seem to want to allow people to keep their sins and still be worthy to receive the sacrament of the altar.  Squaring this with the Gospel of Christ, and His constant insistence on repentance and amendment of life, is impossible.

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PopeWatch: Trolling

PopeWatch suspects the Pope is just trolling us now:   Vatican City, Feb 14, 2019 / 05:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis

18 Comments

  1. I’m not so sure that communion for the remarried is off the table. His remarks are very jesuitically phrased:

    It is not a solution to give them communion. This alone is not the solution, the solution is integration.

    It is at least plausible to interpret the Holy Father as saying, “Communion is part of the solution, but we can’t simply stop there.” Or not. Who can tell? This pope certainly has an uncanny knack for finding interviewers who won’t ask him any probing questions!

    (Such as, perhaps, “Did you really say, in reference to the Holy Eucharist, that ‘A little bread and wine does no harm’, and if so, how do you square that with the doctrine of the Real Presence?”)

    Ironic, after this latest display of ambiguity, that the Pope them proceeds to assert the perfect clarity of his words.

  2. Here is how I understand the Argentinian. Giving communion to divorced
    and remarried Catholics is not the solution alone. They, in addition to
    receiving communion, must be fully integrated into the Church, so that
    such sinful Catholics can perform all church functions, which before
    they were prohibited from performing.

    I see nothing from the Great Modernizer concerning confession.

    Further, our humble pope is declaring that Catholics no longer need to
    reform their lives due to sin, but instead that God must reform his notion of sin
    and penance.

  3. . Trent is crystal clear. And if a magisterial figure can get around it, he should be a running offensive back on the NFL. Here is the Council of Trent’s canon which requires grace previous to the Eucharist…ending the Eucharist as hospital simile…and ending the Eucharist as opportunity of grace only lingo:

    CANON XI.-lf any one saith, that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; let him be anathema. And for fear lest so great a sacrament may be received unworthily, and so unto death and condemnation, this holy Synod ordains and declares, that sacramental confession, when a confessor may be had, is of necessity to be made beforehand, by those whose conscience is burthened with mortal sin, how contrite even soever they may think themselves. But if any one shall presume to teach, preach, or obstinately to assert, or even in public disputation to defend the contrary, he shall be thereupon excommunicated.

  4. I would gladly accept a formal, until final judgement, excommunication from FRANCIS simply to leave all my money
    on a just GOD. It would be a singular honor.

  5. Don, I think you’re onto something important. It’s whether there is mortal sin that this Pope seems to doubt, at least in the context of folks who enter a second “marriage” without a declaration of nullity. He appears to be tolerating, if not fomenting, more of an attack on the Catholic doctrines on mortal sin and its consequences that he is fomenting than on marriage and divorce.

    in the seventh century, an Ecumenical Council declared Pope Honorius posthumously to have been a heretic. I’ve seen apologists write that he wasn’t really guilty of declaring heresy himself in his official position as Bishop of Rome, although perhaps he did in private letters. However, no one denies that Honorius failed to protect and defend the Faith when he should have. I’d be stronger and say he aided and abetted heresy. Either way, I don’t see much difference between Honorius and Francis in this regard.

    Jim Cole

  6. I should image the Great Modernizer will use the same argument
    for homosexuals. Gay Catholics, who seemed to be excommunicated
    de facto, are regarded as outcasts by a cold, unforgiving church.
    Therefore, church doors must be opened to unloved homosexuals,
    so that they may be fully integrated into the church, which includes
    communion. Gays must have access to all of the sacraments and
    church functions and activities. Active gays must be allowed to assist
    the priest at the altar during Mass, even though poorly treated gay Catholics
    may be dressed immodestly in bizarre clothing.

    The Argentinian will use similar arguments when he insists that the
    Church must be opened to married priests and female priests.

    The humble Argentinian intends to reform God’s notion of sin and penance.

  7. Bill Bannon,

    I’m starting to get the impression that very few Catholics care about what Familiaris Consortio said a mere 33 years ago, never mind the Council of Trent. We have the misfortune of living in an antinomian age, in which it’s widely felt that in any clash between law and the individual will, law must give way. It’s why few seem to care about politicians ignoring laws or constitutions, as long as they get their way. Pope Francis has introduced this manner of thinking into the Church at the highest level, actively campaigning for nullification of the law on behalf of those who find themselves on the wrong side of Catholic doctrine.

    In the world of secular politics, it’s pretty well-established that speeches and debates have gotten…stupider over time.

  8. … and to continue that thought (accidentally pressed the Post button):

    In classic chicken-and-egg fashion, the political dumbing-down both reflects and fosters an ever-stupider electorate, people incapable of comprehending complex ideas and utterly ignorant of history. A populace awaiting a tyrant.

    Under Benedict, Catholics may have thought themselves insulated from the idiocratic tendencies of secular society, but with Pope Francis, idiocracy has entered the Church, and is making up for lost time. And we are now learning, to our immense dismay, just how many of our Catholic brethren are swayed by the exact same kind of shallow, pandering populism that we have so long decried in the political arena.

  9. “Someone told me once: ‘Yes, of course, discernment is fine, but we need things that are more clear.’ I told him: ‘Look, I have written an encyclical and an apostolic exhortation, and I continually make declarations and give homilies, and this is magisterium. What is there is what I think, not what the media say I think. Go there, you’ll find it, and it’s very clear.’” Nonetheless the fact remains that what the pope said in this interview with regard to communion for the divorced and remarried still lends itself to interpretative doubts. One can read in it, in fact, both a rejection of the “solution” of giving them communion and an assent to this same solution, as part of a more comprehensive “integration” of these individuals.”
    .
    ‘ Magisterium, n.:
    The authority vested in the Church to teach dogmatically. ‘
    So is it a question of Then and now, pre-Pope Francis or post a current ‘declaration’ ?
    .
    ‘ Dogma, n.:
    Doctrine asserted and adopted on authority, as distinguished from that which is the result of one’s own reasoning or experience; a dictum.
    .
    A dogmatic statement is one for which the author does not trouble himself to give a reason, either because of the strength of his convictions, or because of his contempt for those whom he addresses; thus dogmatic is, in common use,
    allied with arrogant and kindred words. ‘
    (Taken from 1943 Funk & Wagnall’s Dictionary)

  10. Murray,
    I would contend though that the two Popes previous to Francis showed a similar inordinate mercy toward murderers ( via their abhorrence of the death penalty) while being unmerciful thereby to future murder victims…as Francis seems unmerciful to original deserted spouses who want their vow partner to return even if they have started another but illegitimate family. All three Popes have decoupled from individual scriptures they find escapable thanks to the subtleties of modern biblical exegesis jargon. Popes warned about the higher biblical criticism but Benedict ( who warned about it as CDF head ) gives evidence of it in section 42 of Verbum Domini where he implies that the massacres ( herem) of the Old Testament were not really from God and he wants the verses analyzed by those schooled in genre criticism. He never mentions that the worst one was not in the OT at all….but in 70 AD for which Christ gave the reason…” you have not known the hour of your visitation”.
    Watch for decoupling from scripture in all these controversies…..Rom.13:4 for the death penalty is never mentioned once in Evangelium Vitae…as though it never existed. Francis will avoid Christ with the woman at the well….” and the man you are with now is not your husband ” Jn.4:18. Raymond Brown was on the Pontifical Biblical Commission under the two previous Popes but one as CDF head and Brown disbelieved verse after verse of the Nativity details including Mary ever saying the Magnificat which Brown said Luke got from Palestinian anawim but Brown had no direct evidence.

  11. “Raymond Brown was on the Pontifical Biblical Commission under the two previous Popes but one as CDF head and Brown disbelieved verse after verse of the Nativity details including Mary ever saying the Magnificat which Brown said Luke got from Palestinian anawim but Brown had no direct evidence.”
    .
    There is more evidence that Luke got the proof of the Magnificat from Mary herself. Luke’s testimony, Luke’s Gospel, which if Brown refused to believe would make Brown a heretic. Matthew, Mark, and John do not a bible make.

  12. Jim Cole
    Ecumenical Councils (and popes) are infallible in their definitions of faith and morals. Neither are infallible in the reasons by which they are led, or on which they rely, in making their definition, nor in matters which relate to persons, nor to physical matters which have no necessary connexion with dogma.
    The Sixth Ecumenical Council was infallible in condemning the Monothelite heresy; it was no more infallible in concluding Honorius held it, than the Third Ecumenical Council was infallible, when it ascribed to Pope St Julius a letter (still extant) in fact written by Timotheus, the Apollinarian, if not by Apollinaris the heresiarch himself.
    As for the two letters of Honorius to Sergius, on the face of them they are nothing more than portions of a discussion with a view to some final decision.
    What Honorius’s (or any other pope’s) personal opinions were, is of merely historical interest. No Catholic was bound to adopt them, then or now.

  13. Michael Paterson-Seymour:
    There’s a difference between an intermediate step in reaching a conclusion about a doctrine on one hand and declaring someone to be a heretic on the other. Therefore, I don’t think the principle that a Council’s rationales are not part of its binding declarations of dogma has much to do with the judgment against Pope Honorius. To hold that we may ignore a Council’s judgment about a person seems to allow the denial of a dogmatic fact, similar to the old Jansenists’ argument that the Church cannot make binding declarations about whether particular books contain heretical doctrines. The Church refuted that idea long ago. Cardinal Ratzinger gave examples of dogmatic facts in the CDF’s “Commentary on Concluding Formula of the Profession of Faith” in regard to Ad Tuendam Fidem. Besides, the central question is whether the Sixth Council was correct or not on condemning Honorius of heresy, not whether it was infallible. I submit it was correct. For hundreds of years after the Council, the popes affirmed the condemnation as part of the long statements of faith to which they subscribed when they took their office as successor of Peter. Honorius intentionally neglected his duty to defend the Faith, and thus aided and abetted heresy, by going along with the Emperor’s decree forbidding debate on the contentious topic involved. Finally, if Honorius were condemned only for letters that should be judged private, and not for his intentional neglect of his duty to defend the Faith, then I suggest that Francis is worse than Honorius, for he is actually encouraging the consideration of heresy in respect to the teaching of the Church on mortal sin.

    Jim Cole

  14. Jim Cole

    In his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, Bl John Henry Newman, having quoted Peronne to the effect that Councils are not infallible “in matters which relate to persons, nor to physical matters which have no necessary connexion with dogma” (Præl. Theol. t. 2, p. 492), remarks, “If a Council has condemned a work of Origen or Theodoret, it did not in so condemning go beyond the work itself; it did not touch the persons of either. Since this holds of a Council, it also holds in the case of the Pope; therefore, supposing a Pope has quoted the so called works of the Areopagite as if really genuine, there is no call on us to believe him; nor again, if he condemned Galileo’s Copernicanism, unless the earth’s immobility has a “necessary connexion with some dogmatic truth,” which the present bearing of the Holy See towards that philosophy virtually denies.

    There is a world of difference between the condemnation of a book and of a person: As St Jerome says (Apolog Adv Ruff ii) “It may be that they erred in simplicity, or that they wrote in another sense, or that their writings were gradually corrupted by unskilful transcribers; or certainly before Arius, like ‘the sickness that destroyeth in the noon-day,’ was born in Alexandria, they made statements innocently and incautiously, which are open to the misinterpretation of the perverse.” Few today believe Origen held the doctines attributed to him by the Fifth Ecumenical Council

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