Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Critics of Pope Francis have a Valid Point

From the Pope's most recent media interview ...

Francis states:
In the case of divorcees who have remarried, we posed the question, what do we do with
them? What door can we allow them to open? This was a pastoral concern: will we allow them to go to Communion?
Communion alone is no solution. The solution is integration. They have not been excommunicated, true. But they cannot be godfathers to any child being baptized, mass readings are not for divorcees, they cannot give communion, they cannot teach Sunday school, there are about seven things that they cannot do, I have the list over there. Come on! If I disclose any of this it will seem that they have been excommunicated in fact!
Thus, let us open the doors a bit more. Why cant they be godfathers and godmothers? "No, no, no, what testimony will they be giving their godson?" The testimony of a man and a woman saying "my dear, I made a mistake, I was wrong here, but I believe our Lord loves me, I want to follow God, I was not defeated by sin, I want to move on."
Anything more Christian than that? And what if one of the political crooks among us, corrupt people, ate chosen to be somebody´s godfather. If they are properly wedded by the Church, would we accept them? What kind of testimony will they give to their godson? A testimony of corruption?
Things need to change, our standards need to change.

As I wrote to some friends of mine ...

Francis is showing here that, as his critics charge, he fails to take into account the sinfulness of "remarriage", nor does he even begin to address the harm that divorce and remarriage does to innocent children.  He's on Kasper's side in this argument, there's no question.
"I was not defeated by sin, I need to move on," is a wonderful component of repentance.  But to continue to live with and take to bed a person who is not your spouse (as those divorced and "remarried" Catholics do) is not "moving on" "undefeated" by sin.  
Francis fails to address this, and this shows us that his critics are actually on to something.


Whimsy said...

I would rather have a father seriously brainstorm and worry over estranged family members than see a father simply dismiss them.

I'm not saying that these are the only options. I am saying his phrasing sounds more like noodling than firm pronouncements.

Tom Leith said...

Noodling? Seriously?

what if one of the political crooks among us, corrupt people, are chosen to be somebody´s godfather. If they are properly wedded by the Church, would we accept them?

What does accept them mean? Never mind.

If his holiness would ask the Cardinal Protector of the Knights of Malta, I'm sure he'd hear that Canon 915 applies more widely than pro-abortion ones. He'd hear I am sure that it applies to "remarrieds", whether or not they're politicians.

The Church has "noodled" for centuries and has decided that public sinners should be called back to grace and the sacraments, and 1 Corinthians 11:29 should be given practical meaning.

Sigh. Gotta go now...

Anonymous said...

Tom R
Either accept the Pope as the vicar of Christ, and accept his authority, or don't, but if you don't, it seems to me you are also rejecting that the Holy Spirit guides the cardinals who select him, and, while he has not spoken ex cathedra, it is very close to heresy to say that he has been "misinspired" on matters of faith and morals. Second guessing the Pope isn't a really good idea, IMO.

Jane said...

Dear Anonymous,

What makes you certain the Cardinals were obedient to the Holy Spirit while voting in the papal conclave? Each of us and them has free will. And yes, if these Cardinals prayerfully and sincerely invoked the Holy Spirit's guidance, then we would have the assurance that the election's outcome was a good one.

I think it's time to consider St. Paul's admonition: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.

Is praxis in line with the doctrine of the Gospel? If not, it must be.

It's time to pray for this pope's conversion to authentic Catholicism.

Kevin Tierney said...

Can anyone show me where in Catholic teaching, or even informal papal statements, where the following is said:

"The Holy Spirit guides the cardinals who select him, and, while he has not spoken ex cathedra"

I can give quotes where popes have argued the exact opposite. The Holy Spirit accepts the decision of the Church, and offers his guidance, but it has to be actually grasped.

The Holy Spirit most certainly didn't guide the papal selections of most of the 9th and 10th century popes, and certainly not Boniface or Leo X, whose scandalous behavior and ineptitude, while not causing the Reformation, certainly made it a lot worse.

Kevin Tierney said...

And in regards to a corrupt politician, if that corrupt action has led to public scandal and mortal sin, yes, a priest would be right to point out to those who want him as a godparent what a mockery of the sacrament it would be.

Case closed.

John Henry said...

I wonder why remarriage after divorce is unacceptable, while marriage after fornication is not. I can sleep with my girlfriend, promise to love her forever, move in with her, have a couple of kids... and then leave her and marry some other woman. And God will bless and sanctify that marriage. Assuming I repent of my previous fornication, I'm now a Catholic in good standing, able to receive communion. How great is the mercy of God!

But if I get remarried after a short (but valid) marriage (and maybe have s couple of kids with my new wife) now I must choose between a lifetime of communion with the Church or communion with the mother of my children. In this case, God is still merciful, but penitence and temporal consequences of sin and raise your family while living as brother and sister for the rest of your life.

Something seems wrong here.

Kevin Tierney said...

Because marriage is a vocation. It's something you commit to that fundamentally alters your life, in a way that other things do not.

Yes, fornication is wrong. And you have to repent. But you also didn't make a vow before God in this instance, whereas you did with marriage.

And if one goes into it with that mentality "I'll sin while I can, and clean up later", that isn't likely to escape God's judgement, and there's always the very real possibility (and also likely) that said clean up time never comes around.

Simply because modern society rejects anything of permanence is not a reason to change Church teaching.

Noah Moerbeek said...

You did not take a vow that is binding till death in the case of the fornication.

Divorce and remarriage is breaking a vow, creating a relationship in marriage that cannot be broken according to Christ.

DP said...

Fornication isn't compared to Christ's self-sacrificial love for the Church.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, John Henry, you can't see any difference? Ay!


Athelstane said...

" seems to me you are also rejecting that the Holy Spirit guides the cardinals who select him."

So did the Holy Spirit guide the electors who elected Honorius? Stephen VI? John XII? Alexander VI? Julius II?

Papal history contains too many troubling figures to assume that the Holy Spirit's will is always at work - unless we mean its permissive will.

And even *good* men elected as popes can take imprudent and even disastrous actions - see for example Clement XII's decision, under heavy political pressure, to suppress the Jesuits.

Julie said...

Is this addressing annulment or those without annulment? Is it better for someone with small kids after violent marriage not to remarry?

Anonymous said...

This comment is in response to John Henry's post.

Is it fair or right for a man to live with his girlfriend, promise to love her, have several kids with her---then leave her and years later marry another and get married? Why does the Church bless the marriage?

I think you make a good point. But your solution seems to be, since the Church let's this guy get married with it's tacit blessing, why not let everyone get remarried with it's blessing.

Instead, why not make the rule stricter? If a man divorces his wife and tries to remarry, the Church refuses him. If a man lives with a woman and promises to love her and has kids with her, and dumps her and tries to remarry, then the Church should not really "bless" that new marriage?

Why work so hard to make it easier to marry within the Church, why not work on making it MORE difficult to marry in the Catholic Church. A man that did what you described, should not be allowed to marry in the Catholic Church. He should marry his old girlfriend.