The Catholic Herald reported that Voice of the Family have called the midway document of the Synod “the worst document in Church history” (see here). Cardinal Burke’s response to it (see Rorate caeli, here) typifies many responses that can be found on the internet and heard in private conversations between Catholics, a response which says the document is “one of the saddest documents that I could imagine ever coming from the Church”: “Many of us were horrified with this idea that was presented in the report, that there could somehow be good elements in mortally sinful acts. This is impossible.” Indeed the document includes statements that cannot be squared with the official teaching of the Church in the post-Vatican II Catechism. Indeed, as Lifesite News indicates (here) Cardinal Baldisseri has suggested the Faith (as contained in the Catechism) can change:
“In its most controversial sections, the Relatio post disceptationem, or “report after the debate,” asked whether “accepting and valuing [homosexuals’] sexual orientation” could align with Catholic doctrine; proposed allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics on a “case-by-case basis”; and said pastors should emphasize the “positive aspects” of lifestyles the Church considers gravely sinful, including civil remarriage after divorce and premarital cohabitation.
Cardinal Baldisseri stated that: “It was the Pope’s decision to include [in the reflection document for the 2015 Synod] the points that did not receive the two-thirds majority”. “The Pope said: These three points received an absolute majority. They were therefore not rejected with a ‘no,’ as they received more than 50 percent approval. They are therefore issues that still need to be developed. We as a Church want a consensus. These texts can be modified, that’s clear. Once there has been further reflection, they can be modified.”
The Cardinal explicitly stated that “dogmas can evolve and that there would be no point holding a Synod if we were simply to repeat what had always been said.”
Putting aside the odd ideas that what the Church aims for is consensus and that what Christ the Unchanging Truth taught can change, the propositions of the Relatio run contrary to the teaching of Christ and to the constant teaching of the Church (see Pius XI Casti connubii; through Paul VI Humanae vitae to John Paul II Familiaris consortio). Each of these papal documents is consistent with the teaching of the Church as summed up in the Catechism:
1605: Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone." The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
2397: The covenant which spouses have freely entered into entails faithful love. It imposes on them the obligation to keep their marriage indissoluble.
2398: Fecundity is a good, a gift and an end of marriage. By giving life, spouses participate in God's fatherhood.
2399: The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).
2400: Adultery, divorce, polygamy, and free union are grave offenses against the dignity of marriage.
2357: Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law...Under no circumstances can they be approved.
[Emphasis added -GD]
(And we must not forget that the Catechism was a work of the entire episcopate and as such holds an authority over and above that of the Synod and its relatio.)
The sad thing is, we are now told the relatio is to be regarded as approved by the Pope before its publication and indeed, that he insisted the statements which did not gain the 2/3 majority should be included in the preparation document for the Synod this year. That has to be disturbing to anyone who agrees that the mid-term relatio is one of the worst documents in Church history, because it indicates the Pope, by ignoring the Synod vote and the constant teaching of the Church, is one of the worst popes in history (unavoidably so, since a pope is measured against his duty to defend, protect and hand on what he has received). Francis needs to be aware that many see him this way. Sadly, he is also being seen as supremely arrogant in indicating that all previous Popes and their bishops were wrong –and to imply that Tradition, the Scriptures and even words of the Lord Himself (who “is the same yesterday, today and forever” Heb. 13v8) can be over-ruled by His Vicar as ‘dispensable’. This is simply not possible. No one can deny that Francis is seeking to be a pope of mercy, but Francis must remember that Christ saw no contradiction between His mercy and requiring a change of life and that no Pope, Cardinal, Bishop or Priest, can imply that there is such a contradiction by attempting to extend mercy to those who do not change their way of life.
Francis needs to be aware that if the relatio (and its follow-up reflection document) is seen as the worst document in Church history and it was approved by him for publication and dissemination, then he is one step away in the minds of many from being seen as the worst pope in history.
Where does that leave the faithful Catholic? Repeating with Paul: “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he stood condemned.” (Gal.2v11). Disobedience to a pope (and public challenge of him) must always be respectful because of the human dignity which belongs to the man and because of his office as Pope, but not to oppose him is to allow evil to flourish -and if that route is taken by the faithful Catholic, the faithful Catholic himself becomes unfaithful, and will stand equally condemned.
A Filial appeal has been launched asking Pope Francis to re-affirm the Church’s teaching. (Sign it here).
"then he is one step away in the minds of many from being seen as the worst pope in history."ReplyDelete
Fr. Dickson, you must have the patience of a saint - that one step was stepped nearly two years ago as far as I'm concerned. I would offer you a friendly challenge to come up with one other Pope who has played so fast and loose with so many doctrines of the faith.
There have been Popes whose personal morality stank to high heaven, but men like Rodrigo Borgia didn't dare touch the teaching of the Church. Even those Popes who were condemned for heresy or for giving succour to heretics were only weak in one specific area of the faith.
In contrast these last 18 months have been a roller-coaster ride as one doctrine after another has been "put up for grabs". Doctrine which has been regarded as settled from Our Lord all the way down to Benedict XVI may now be disregarded when formulating the discipline of the Church - apparently!
I know "consensus" will be a buzzword from now until the Synod, but as many Anglicans found to their cost, there can never be a consensus between positions which are contradictory to the point of being mutually exclusive. The law of non-contradiction will always win in the end because it arises from the nature of God Himself.
We are being drawn to that position where every Catholic soul will have to make a conscious decision for Christ or against Him.
Could not agree more Deacon Augustine. Eternal Truth contained, expressed and proclaimed in Church doctrine comes from above, and cannot be determined by consensus from below. St. Ignatius of Antioch, on page 1 of the latest issue of Into the Deep (Issue 146 at the blog stoneswillshout.com/wp) has something to say to the Church about those Catholics who through evil corrupts the doctrine of the Faith.Delete
Deacon Augustine. You have said it all. I agree with every word you say.Delete
I wonder where this pope is leading to. A split in the Church is just what the devil wants.
Dear Deacon Augustine,Delete
I wish I did have the patience of a saint! It is excruciating to live with Francis is that he says one thing one day and another the next, which leaves us not really knowing where he truly stands, But we should stay with his uncomfortable rollercoaster ride until he officially teaches heresy or demands herteropraxy from us. As yet, he has not tried to officially and formally impose new teaching or demand we give the sacraments to those whose lives run contrary to the Truth, so as yet he remains (albeit precariously in the eyes of Traditional Catholics) in the ranks of those popes whose over-all impression may not be good but who have not fallen into manifest heresy or apostasy.
It must be obvious to Francis that if they think a document he disseminates is one of the worst in history that he is seen by many as one of the worst popes in history. Only the secular world and those who deny the Deposit of Faith are happy with him. I think he is courting the acceptance of the unfaithful rather than the faithful.
The Pope looks set to split the Church in two, but that will only happen if the faithful remain faithful and do not bend to accommodate any novelties arising from the Synod and the Exhortation. I pray the faithful will stay strong, and the rest be converted to the Truth, which is Christ: the same yesterday, today and forever.
It is sad that this pope has given in to the spirit of the age. He ridicules faithful Catholics who are true to the teachings of the Church. Calling us 'rabbits'. Bead counters.ReplyDelete
I hope he repairs the damage before things get worse.
Thank you Paul.Delete
I don't think Francis has given in to the spirit of the age in that I don't know if he has ever fought it, him having been a Jesuit over the last 50 years when their defence of the faith has been woefully lacking.
Francis is one. The cardinals and bishops are many. All it takes is for them to forget short-term ambition, be faithful to their promises and they'll know what they should - will - do.ReplyDelete
Sadly, concupiscence is powerful and short-term (earthly) ambition is very attractive to it. The world is full of lights contrary to the Light of Christ, and many are following those lights.
To paraphrase, that famous statement - Rome, we have a problem!ReplyDelete
Over the past weeks there has been a growing unease in the Catholic Church. It has centred round the Synod on the Family and the attempt to attack the doctrine of the Indissolubility of Marriage, and to introduce some acceptability of homosexual practise.
Both concepts are contrary to Old Testament teaching, to Scripture, to Revelation, to Tradition and to The Magisterium.
I have never before been aware of such widespread unease confusion, bewilderment, alarm, call it what you will amongst concerned Catholics, Lay and Clerical. Yes, we have a problem!
But there is a new factor which is the fact that the pope has not publicly opposed these ideas.
Now it may be that his intention is to ensure that at the second session they are fully discussed and dismissed once and for all. There would be a certain ”Jesuitical” logic in that. So personally, I think we must reserve judgement until the second Session of the Family.
But lets be clear about one thing. There was a definite attempt by the Bugnini, Rahner, Schillibeeckx factions after Vatican II to Relativise the Church, and this line of thought appears to be making a strong come-back at present.
The second session of the Synod on the Family will be critical. If there is any move to declare either or both of these concepts acceptable, either by changing doctrine, or by a “Gradualisation” process, by allowing the introduction by Diocese on a case by case basis of any acceptability, particularly via permission for such people to receive Holy Communion, then that pending schism, which has existed in the Church since Vatican II between Catholicism in Continuity and Relativised Catholicism, will break out into an open split in the Catholic Church as profound as the Protestant Reformation and we will all, from the Pope to the humblest member of the Laity, have to decide on which side of the line between these two interpretations of Catholicism, we stand on.
There was an appropriate plea in today's Gradual, “ O Lord, let not man prevail”.
I think a central problem is that the pope is not correcting errors. Added to which he does seem to contract himself a lot. His only consistency, if I'm honest, appears to be in slapping down those who are faithful to Tradition.
The orthodox Bishop Athanasius Schneider:ReplyDelete
"During the Synod there had been moments of obvious manipulation on the part of some clerics who held key positions in the editorial and governing structure of the Synod. The interim report (Relatio post disceptationem) was clearly a prefabricated text with no reference to the actual statements of the Synod fathers. In the sections on homosexuality, sexuality and “divorced and remarried” with their admittance to the sacraments the text represents a radical neo-pagan ideology. This is the first time in Church history that such a heterodox text was actually published as a document of an official meeting of Catholic bishops under the guidance of a pope, even though the text only had a preliminary character. "
Thank you, Lynda.Delete
Clerics who have manipulated the synod seem to me to stand among the unfaithful, and i said, "Disobedience to a pope (and public challenge of him) must always be respectful because of the human dignity which belongs to the man and because of his office as Pope, but not to oppose him is to allow evil to flourish -and if that route is taken by the faithful Catholic, the faithful Catholic himself becomes unfaithful, and will stand equally condemned".