Wednesday, 28 October 2015
The Pope and The Synod
The question of admitting divorcees who have entered a civil union was a hot-button topic at the Synod. According to the Wall Street journal (here):
“The focus now shifts to how the pope will respond, with both sides looking for him to settle the Communion issue for good. Conservatives want him to make a clear reaffirmation of traditional teaching. But raised expectations of liberals and the pope’s own preferences suggest the pontiff may opt for change.
“In the end, Pope Francis could leave the matter vague— affirming the indissolubility of marriage, but urging priests to be merciful with people in difficult marital situations—tacitly allowing bishops to act on their own. Today, many priests knowingly give Communion to divorced, remarried Catholics. [emphasis added]
The reality is that, despite Francis having apparently filled the important places in the Synod with men of his own persuasion and choosing, the liberal agenda was not sanctioned by the Synod. Vague language is all that was left to them. Such language is itself highly problematic, since it plays false to the Truth by failing to proclaim it: it fudges it; it is economical with it -and thus treacherous towards it. Make no mistake: to fudge the issue would be as treacherous as changing the doctrine or the rules.
One thing I think the WSJ has gotten wrong is that “the pontiff may opt for change”. He cannot, without abandoning his responsibility as defender of the Deposit of Faith, for the Pope is not master of the Truth but its servant (even Cardinal Marx admitted that one). If Francis goes ahead and fudges issues for ‘his own preferences’, he abandons his post and shows himself to be treacherous, for he is called by The Lord to guard the Sacred Deposit faithfully, not to compromise it; called to reform the world by the Sacred Deposit, not reform the Sacred Deposit by the contemporary world. That said, Francis must know that if he uses papal Authority to overrule 2,000 years of teaching and discipline that he can be overruled by the very next Pontiff. So expect no change from Francis unless he is supremely stupid or supremely arrogant. We don’t want to see the man go down in history as either, or both, and one or other is unavoidable if he ‘opts for change’ or fudges the issue so that the ambiguity can be misused to further an agenda pursued by liberals, who misuse the term ‘development’ of doctrine to mean the changing of doctrine, rather than the organic, consistent growth of authentic development. For Traditionalists, doctrine grows in internal consistently with its nature, as a foal grows into a horse. For liberals a foal need not grow into a horse but can mutate into a dog, so as long as it has four legs and a tail they can say it resembles the foal, and they play on the resemblance while ignoring the internal inconsistency that it is no longer what it was or was meant to be.
PS Please don’t push the analogy too far; analogies are always imperfect.