Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Pastoral Practice To Take Precedence Over Doctrine? Rubbish.
Cardinal Kasper says we need new language because the language we use now (adultery) “is offensive” (see here). But we already have new language: we speak of ‘irregular situations’. he is right that we should try to avoid offence, but to hide truth by unclear language is to side with the deceiver, the father of lies. There is nothing offensive in the words ‘cohabitation’; ‘homosexual activity’ or ‘irregular situation’. I don't think those in such situations are offended by the language so much as they are offended by the fact that we declare their irregular situation to be wrong, which cannot change no matter what language we use. (Correction: homosexuals are offended by describing the homosexual orientation as ‘intrinsically disordered’. But how do we re-word that? Do we say it the homosexual orientation is ‘of its nature, a misdirected urge’? Will that really satisfy? I don't think so; I think homosexuals want the Church to described it as ‘normal’, and that we just cannot do.
Cardinal Kasper also states that “Doctrine will be unchanged, but practice (application) adapted”. The Doctrine will indeed remain unchanged, simply because it cannot change –and Cardinal Kasper himself has reminded us of that: “We have to be realistic, we have to stick to the Gospel, to the doctrine” yet “apply it to the concrete situation of people who are on the way“ . But can we claim to be holding to the Doctrine while accepting practices inconsistent with it? I don’t think so; it would deprive the Church of any integrity. In this ‘Age of Mercy’ we do indeed have to remember that the core of the Gospel is mercy, but also that it is mercy for the repentant: “Go and sin no more” (Jn.8v11; 5v14). We know Jesus welcomed and ate with sinners (cf.Matt.9) but He described sinners as sick people in need of healing (Mk.2v17); He did not say they were to be left in a state of sickness.
For 'Pastoral Modernisers' to ask that pastoral practice take primacy over doctrine is nonsense: practice is belief lived out. We must live according to what we believe, not formulate belief on how we live, otherwise we could justify every kind of sin: “This is how people have chosen to live; we should find a way to accommodate it”. What rubbish. It is like medics seeking a reason to declare cancer a natural state and tolerate it. That is not merciful to the cancer sufferer, and circumventing Divine Law is not merciful to the sinner.
‘Pastoral practice taking precedence over Doctrine’ is in fact a wicked misnomer for the legitimising of waywardness. It doesn't help anyone to pretend that sin is not sin. And yes, all sin can be forgiven (thank God), but sins (such as theft, detraction, murder etc) are an event; an adulterous relationship is a continuing situation; we can absolve from theft or murder after the fact but not during the act: indeed we would be obliged try and prevent the theft or murder taking place. So too with irregular relationships: we cannot absolve while the situation is ‘in act’ (continues on), only when it has ended and there is a purpose of amendment. Some seem determined to try absolving from sin those in on-going iniquity. It is nonsense. ‘Pastoral Modernisers’ who seek to do this are laughable –or would be if what they propose was not so dangerous to souls -including the souls of those who propose it.
Can we not say that anyone who seeks pastoral accommodation of sinful situations contrary to Divine Law has lost the Faith? How can we not at least say that they have disregard the Ten Commandments in order to accommodate contemporary lifestyles? Are such folk among those who have been advanced to the priestly office and its episcopate? If so, this came about only because those who preceded them had accommodated the world before them, and accepted as their co-workers and successors only those who formed in and convinced by the secular line. This does not seem far from reality given statements reported to be said by some. It is thus that we are left repeating the words of Our Lord: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find any faith on earth?” The answer to which is, “No; not if ‘Pastoral Modernisers’ have their way. There will be a vague belief in ‘God’, but in the name of ‘God’ all manner of sin will be tolerated for ‘pastoral purposes’ and ‘reasons of conscience’”.
The plain reality is that if we accommodate violations of the 6th and 9th Commandments we will have to accommodate violations of every Commandment. The Holy Eucharist will have to be given to anyone who presents for It. We are, after all, in ‘The Age of Mercy’; we have to stop calling on folk to “go and sin no more”. It seems, according to the mind of today’s Pastoral Modernisers, that it is wrong to say it. Our Lord was wrong to say it, and that we are wrong to imitate Him. To such Moderniserts, we and the Lord are merciless.
I once had a nun from an enclosed convent tell me that their previous preacher, commenting on Our Lord’s words in Mk.10 (“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if a wife divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”), said “It’s a pity Our Lord ever said that”. Why? Probably because it makes a priests life hard; he has to confront people and risk being disliked –and God forbid that!
I believe we should encourage those in irregular relationships to continue coming to Mass; to continue their life of prayer and charity; to be as involved in as much of the social life of the parish as they can. They are excluded from none of this. That I do not seek their admission to Holy Communion is not because I want them punished (woe betide anyone who would want that); it is that I don’t want to put them at odds with the mind of God as expressed in Divine Law. I hope to see them yearn for the sacraments so much that they make changes in their lifestyle (i.e., celibate living); a change which heals their soul. I want to see them make Christ the centre of their life and not their new ‘partnership’, so that they may become heroes of fidelity to Christ.
Reception of Holy Communion is a serious matter, and is not simply about communion with the Church: it is about communion with the heart and mind of God. If those who have chosen to live contrary to the mind of God are admitted to Holy Communion, they are being told a lie by the Church: “Nothing you are doing is contrary to or impedes your union with, God”. The father of lies may not be physically walking this earth, but he is the prince of this world, and it is to him that ‘pastoral Modernisers’ appear to be listening.http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/cardinal-kasper-adultery-language-is-offensive-insulting-31791/