Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Francis and the Synod
We all know where the ‘Pastoral Modernisers’ go wrong: rather than seeking to have people’s lives conformed to The Faith, they are conforming The Faith to people’s sinful lives. It is akin to the Government saying ‘too many people are being prosecuted for breaking the speed limit; we ought to get rid of these limits so we don’t put folk into the position of being labelled law-breakers and banned from driving’. It is a position of pure nonsense. It is Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae completely overturned and Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law abrogated.
Francis has three routes he can take after the Synod:
1. Uphold doctrine but change canon law on who can be admitted to Holy Communion
2. Abandon doctrine hitherto held
3. Hold to both doctrine and to canon law while seeking to ensure some kind of place in the Church for those in irregular situations.
Lets looks at these.
On 1: If Francis leaves the doctrine alone on family and human sexuality yet re-writes Canon Law on who can be admitted to Holy Communion, he will get the Church into a state of saying one thing and doing another: a state of betrayal wherein doctrine and practice are at odds. He cannot then, choose this option. Surely he does not lack the formation and intelligence needed to realise that he cannot lead the Church into saying one thing and doing another?
On 2: If he tries to re-write doctrine to say that adultery in all its forms (pre-marital sex; serial marriage; homosexual marriage) is acceptable he will show himself to have fallen into heresy when judged against Scripture and Tradition. Surely he cannot be so arrogant as to think he can abandon Scripture and Tradition in order to accommodate today’s sexual proclivities?
On 3: This is the only option he can take if he seeks to be faithful to the Gospel and Tradition.
If he chooses Option 1 he simply becomes unable to require our obedience, since he cannot require us to follow canon law at the expense of Divine Law. If he chooses option 2 he becomes heretical.
I choose to expect that Francis will take the third option and uphold both doctrine and canon law; that he will simply require pastors to help those in irregular situations to feel valued by the Church (which can be done by affirming that these persons have a right -and duty- to attend Mass; a right and a need to take part in the social life of their parishes and a right and a need to seek Spiritual Direction).
The Synod however, has only completed one full week, so there is a long way to go before he chooses his path. Let us support him with our prayers and sacrifices.