Why Worry About Change?

When you can always interpret.

George Weigel tries to get out in front of Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on the family. But he couldn’t beat Cardinal Kasper (and, oh, by the way doesn’t a Cardinal outrank a layman in teaching authority?):

As is his wont, Cardinal Walter Kasper was first out of the starting blocks, announcing that the apostolic exhortation (whose date of publication he got wrong) would be a first step in vindicating his proposals for a “penitential path” by which the divorced and civilly remarried could be admitted to holy communion—despite the fact that his proposal had been roundly criticized and rejected at both Synods and in various scholarly articles and books in between. The Kasper spin was then picked up by some of the usual media suspects, who called on the usual Catholic talking heads on the port side of the Barque of Peter, who took matters further by speculating that the apostolic exhortation would open up even more revolutionary paths, involving the Church’s eventual acceptance of same-sex marriage and other matters on the LGBT agenda.

But not to worry, the Council that many think unsettled the church has actually settled what popes can do:

By declining Paul VI’s suggestion about a papacy “accountable to the Lord alone,” Vatican II made clear that there are limits to what popes can do. On the bottom-line matters at issue in the two recent Synods, for example, no pope can change the settled teaching of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage, or on the grave danger of receiving holy communion unworthily, because these are matters of what the Council’s Theological Commission called “revelation itself:” to be specific, Matthew 19.6 and 1 Corinthians 11.27-29. Nor has Pope Francis indicated in any public statement that he intends any deviation from what is written by revelation into the constitution of the Church.

Michael Sean Winters is even later to the pre-publication spin and offers his own prebuttal.

But what if the bishop whose job it is to interpret Scripture and tradition interprets dogma so it doesn’t change but its meaning does? This was the option favored by Protestant and Roman Catholic modernists. If modernism could happen once, why couldn’t it happen again (as if it ever went away)?

And then we have the problem of reason and what people with minds do to texts. Sam Gregg recently invoked Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address to call not his communion but the entire West to its former high esteem for reason:

One of the basic theses presented by Benedict at Regensburg was that how we understand God’s nature has implications for whether we can judge particular human choices and actions to be unreasonable. Thus, if reason is simply not part of Islam’s conception of the Divinity’s nature, then Allah can command his followers to make unreasonable choices, and all his followers can do is submit to a Divine Will that operates beyond the categories of reason.

Most commentators on the Regensburg Address did not, however, observe that the Pope declined to proceed to engage in a detailed analysis of why and how such a conception of God may have affected Islamic theology and Islamic practice. Nor did he explore the mindset of those Muslims who invoke Allah to justify jihadist violence. Instead, Benedict immediately pivoted to discussing the place of reason in Christianity and Western culture more generally. In fact, in the speech’s very last paragraph, Benedict called upon his audience “to rediscover” the “great logos”: “this breadth of reason” which, he maintained, orthodox Christianity has always regarded as a prominent feature of God’s nature. The pope’s use of the word “rediscover” indicated that something had been lost and that much of the West and the Christian world had themselves fallen into the grip of other forms of un-reason. Irrationality can, after all, manifest itself in expressions other than mindless violence.

Gregg warns rightly that “irrationality is loose and ravaging much of the West—especially in those institutions which are supposed to be temples of reason, i.e., universities.”

But if Father Dwight is any indication, irrationality also has its moments well within the confines of Roman Catholic parishes (even beautiful ones). If you wonder why the virgin Mary is the Queen of Heaven, just take a rational look at your Bible:

We simply have to read the Scriptures with Catholic eyes and understand the Jewish context of the Scriptures to see how the Catholic beliefs about Mary are all contained in the Scriptures. The problem is, they are not stated explicitly. Instead they are locked in the Scriptures to be understood and teased out. As the church came to understand more fully who Jesus really was they then began to understand more fully the role of his Mother, and as that became clear they also began to see that these truths were already there in the Scriptures. . . . The truths about Mary are subservient to the truths about Jesus because she is always subservient to her Son and always points to her Son. It is about him. It is not about her. . . .

Luke chapter 1:26-38 and Revelation 12. Consider first the passage from Luke. This is, of course, the story of the Annunciation of Jesus birth by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. . . . The angel Gabriel is called “the Angel of the Lord”. He is the main messenger direct from God. Therefore his words can be taken as a direct revelation from God. His message to Mary is therefore God’s message to the world. He declares solemnly that Mary’s Son will be the Son of the Most High, but he will also be the heir of David and the King of the Jews and furthermore his kingdom will have no end. In other words, he is king of heaven.

In the Jewish understanding of monarchy the Queen of heaven was not the king’s wife, but the king’s mother. Solomon’s mother Bathsheba played this role in the Old Testament. It follows therefore that if Jesus is to be the heir of David’s throne and be king, then his mother would be the Queen. Furthermore, if Jesus is also to reign over the kingdom of heaven, then his mother would be the Queen of Heaven.

At some level, Christians on both sides of the Tiber need to give up the idea that their convictions are rational in the sense that people with well functioning minds will recognize the point of Christianity. Aside from the noetic affects of the fall which predispose unbelievers to suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Christians also affirm truths that defy reason — like the resurrection and the Trinity.

But if what Father Dwight does with Scripture is any indication of the interpretations that attend sacred and infallible texts, no amount of bishops and cardinals bringing their conciliar foot down on papal authority will prevent interpreters from interpreting.

#interpretationhappens

Advertisements

50 thoughts on “Why Worry About Change?

  1. Darryl,

    If modernism could happen once, why couldn’t it happen again (as if it ever went away)?

    The standard response will be to beg the question: It can’t happen because Christ founded a visible church (re: one bureaucracy, one home office, one geopoltical nation) and if that one visible church changes dogma, then Christ’s promises has failed. Remember, it couldn’t possibly be that Medieval beliefs, liturgy, and practices with a healthy dose of a hope to return to pagan Rome and its glories were not intended by Christ.

    It will be interesting to see what the letter says and how CTC responds. My guess is that parishes the world over will shrug and keep on doing whatever they were doing before, like turning a blind eye to homosexual sin at best and getting all behind it at worst. Bryan will treat us with 200 pages that will amount to “You beg the question because you say Rome has changed but we all know Rome hasn’t changed because, you know, Rome.” And the average lay RC parishioner who actually cares (you know, all 5 of them), will be left muddled and confused.

    On the plus side, Francis might get on the cover of Rolling Stone again and enjoy high favorability ratings from a culture that couldn’t tell a Roman Catholic from an Anglican from the Dalai Lama if their life depended on it. It’s good for the PR machine. Maybe we’ll get a call to give peace a chance as well.

    Like

  2. I think the lay have listened. They got the message that their conscience was sacrosanct and after the past sixty years it’s a matter of finding the right bishop.

    Like

  3. DGH,

    In all fairness, I’m 100% confident Rome will not allow divorced and remarried Catholics to communion. Whether or not they will admit retroactively annulled and re-married penitents to the Eucharist is anyone’s guess. That’s two radically different things, though…right?

    Like

  4. Since this thread is about the papists shouldn’t the caption on that A.E. Newman graphic read “Quid me vexari?”
    (Hopefully I remembered enough Latin to that that more or less accurate).

    Like

  5. Robert, and I’ll respond that an infallible pope, Pius X, condemned modernism and now popes walk along side it (and Islam).

    At that point, I guess you cover your eyes.

    Like

  6. Brandon, but priests and bishops in communion with Rome already admit divorcess and remarried to full communion. What difference does it make having a pope or an encyclical?

    Sort of like being Presbyterian.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The problem for Bryan and the radical Rome-has-never-and-can-never-change-dogma conservatives (I’m not sure Jason even cares about the dogma or discipline anymore, to be honest) is that they have never learned that the camel is never content to just have his nose under the corner of the tent. He keeps pushing until he gets his whole self in there.

    Like

  8. “hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

    All of you divorcees who remarried, we denied the Eucharist to, and said you were going to hell thanks to mortal sin, our bad.

    Like

  9. AL:
    “In discussing the dignity and mission of the family, the Synod Fathers observed that, “as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”. It is unacceptable “that local Churches should be subjected to pressure in this matter and that international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex””

    “Christian marriage, as a reflection of the union between Christ and his Church, is fully realized in the union between a man and a woman who give themselves to each other in a free, faithful and exclusive love, who belong to each other until death and are open to the transmission of life, and are consecrated by the sacrament, which grants them the grace to become a domestic church and a leaven of new life for society. Some forms of union radically contradict this ideal, while others realize it in at least a partial and analogous way. The Synod Fathers stated that the Church does not disregard the constructive elements in those situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage.”

    “In order to avoid all misunderstanding, I would point out that in no way must the Church desist from proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its grandeur…. A lukewarm attitude, any kind of relativism, or an undue reticence in proposing that ideal, would be a lack of fidelity to the Gospel and also of love on the part of the Church for young people themselves.”

    “The dialogue that took place during the Synod raised the need for new pastoral methods. I will attempt to mention some of these in a very general way. Different communities will have to devise more practical and effective initiatives that respect both the Church’s teaching and local problems and needs.”

    “The Fathers also considered the specific situation of a merely civil marriage or, with due distinction, even simple cohabitation, noting that “when such unions attain a particular stability, legally recognized, are characterized by deep affection and responsibility for their offspring, and demonstrate an ability to overcome trials, they can provide occasions for pastoral care with a view to the eventual celebration of the sacrament of marriage”

    “I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that ‘the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal… They are baptized; they are brothers and sisters; the Holy Spirit pours into their hearts gifts and talents for the good of all. Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services, which necessarily requires discerning which of the various forms of exclusion currently practised in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional framework, can be surmounted. Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church and experience her as a mother who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and encourages them along the path of life and the Gospel. This integration is also needed in the care and Christian upbringing of their children, who ought to be considered most important”

    “Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others; this is a case of something which separates from the community (cf. Mt 18:17). Such a person needs to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion. Yet even for that person there can be some way of taking part in the life of community, whether in social service, prayer meetings or another way that his or her own initiative, together with the discernment of the parish priest, may suggest.”

    “A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives. This would bespeak the closed heart of one used to hiding behind the Church’s teachings, “sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality difficult cases and wounded families” … It is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end. Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits…. In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 [2013], 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (ibid., 47: 1039). By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God. Let us remember that “a small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order, but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties”

    “In considering a pastoral approach towards people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or simply living together, the Church has the responsibility of helping them understand the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and offering them assistance so they can reach the fullness of God’s plan for them, something which is always possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

    “Along these lines, Saint John Paul II proposed the so-called “law of gradualness” in the knowledge that the human being “knows, loves and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth” (Familiaris Consortio 34). This is not a “gradualness of law” but rather a gradualness in the prudential exercise of free acts on the part of subjects who are not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law.”

    “Furthermore, it cannot be denied that in some circumstances “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors” (CCC 1735) for reasons of various conditions. Consequently, the judgment of an objective situation should not lead to a judgment about the “subjective imputability” (Pontifical Council for legislative texts,Declaration of 24 June 2000, 2a). In specific circumstances people find great difficulty in acting a different way. Therefore, while upholding a general norm, it is necessary to recognize that the responsibility regarding certain actions or decisions is not the same in all cases. Pastoral discernment, while taking account of the rightly formed conscience of persons, must take responsibility for these situations.”

    “Conversation with the priest, in the internal forum, contributes to the formation of a correct judgment on what hinders the possibility of a fuller participation in the life of the Church and the steps that can foster it and make it grow. Given that for the same law there is no graduality (cf. FC, 34), this discernment can never prescind from the demands of truth and charity of the Gospel proposed by the Church. For this to happen, the necessary conditions of humility, confidence, love for the Church and her teaching, in the sincere search for God’s will and the desire to achieve a more perfect response to it, must be secured. These attitudes are essential for avoiding the grave danger of misunderstandings, such as the notion that any priest can quickly grant “exceptions”, or that some people can obtain sacramental privileges in exchange for favours. When a responsible and tactful person, who does not presume to put his or her own desires ahead of the common good of the Church, meets with a pastor capable of acknowledging the seriousness of the matter before him, there can be no risk that a specific discernment may lead people to think that the Church maintains a double standard.”

    Like

  10. Clete’s response is showing us how masterful Rome is. We got a letter that conservatives and liberals alike can both embrace. No change and everything changes. Epistemic clarity?

    The best line is about how one can objectively sin but not be subjectively guilty for it. Beautiful moral reasoning there. Yeah, cohabitation might be objectively sin, but if I don’t subjectively think it is, I’m golden, right?

    Like

  11. Robert,

    Pastoral application/emphasis is not dogmatic change. We’re not seeing SSM marriages about to be performed in RC churches or lesbian ordained priests or shrugging and indifference (or affirmation) about cohabitation, divorce, homosexuality, as we see in liberal Protestant churches. Francis’ emphasizes the importance of church teaching and dogma repeatedly above, and quite unsurprisingly matches Weigel’s prediction. Chicken little didn’t happen with the synods, nor did it happen here.

    And no, you’re not golden if you don’t subjectively think it is, just as a non-Christian is not golden just because the possibility exists he might be saved. Culpability and its degree is person-variable and dependent on a host of factors, and as Francis and the catechism points out, one has a duty to have a well-formed conscience. If they were golden, the following would make no sense:

    “A lukewarm attitude, any kind of relativism, or an undue reticence in proposing that ideal, would be a lack of fidelity to the Gospel and also of love on the part of the Church for young people themselves.”

    “they can provide occasions for pastoral care with a view to the eventual celebration of the sacrament of marriage”

    “Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services, which necessarily requires discerning which of the various forms of exclusion currently practised in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional framework, can be surmounted.”

    “Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others; this is a case of something which separates from the community (cf. Mt 18:17). Such a person needs to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion.”

    “It is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end. Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits.”

    “the Church has the responsibility of helping them understand the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and offering them assistance so they can reach the fullness of God’s plan for them”

    “Therefore, while upholding a general norm, it is necessary to recognize that the responsibility regarding certain actions or decisions is not the same in all cases. Pastoral discernment, while taking account of the rightly formed conscience of persons, must take responsibility for these situations.”

    “Conversation with the priest, in the internal forum, contributes to the formation of a correct judgment on what hinders the possibility of a fuller participation in the life of the Church and the steps that can foster it and make it grow. Given that for the same law there is no graduality (cf. FC, 34), this discernment can never prescind from the demands of truth and charity of the Gospel proposed by the Church. For this to happen, the necessary conditions of humility, confidence, love for the Church and her teaching, in the sincere search for God’s will and the desire to achieve a more perfect response to it, must be secured.”

    Like

  12. James Young, “Pastoral application/emphasis is not dogmatic change.”

    And interpretation is not dogmatic change. It’s development of doctrine.

    Like

  13. Clete,

    Pastoral application/emphasis is not dogmatic change. We’re not seeing SSM marriages about to be performed in RC churches or lesbian ordained priests or shrugging and indifference (or affirmation) about cohabitation, divorce, homosexuality, as we see in liberal Protestant churches. Francis’ emphasizes the importance of church teaching and dogma repeatedly above, and quite unsurprisingly matches Weigel’s prediction. Chicken little didn’t happen with the synods, nor did it happen here.

    You keep proving my point. Francis is giving with one hand what he is taking back with another. Little wonder, then, that Kasper thinks the document is an endorsement of his position. The nose gets under the tent a little further.

    The very fact that your priests knowingly give the Eucharist to divorced couples, gay couples, and cohabitating couples is itself a huge shrug. But why should they care if the individual’s conscience is to be their guide.

    And no, you’re not golden if you don’t subjectively think it is, just as a non-Christian is not golden just because the possibility exists he might be saved. Culpability and its degree is person-variable and dependent on a host of factors, and as Francis and the catechism points out, one has a duty to have a well-formed conscience.

    Degree yes, culpability, no. An act in a particular context is either objective right or objectively wrong. If it is objectively wrong, it’s sin. There might be mitigating factors that determine how severe a sin it is (manslaughter v. first-degree murder, for example), but ignorance of the law does not innocence make.

    Like

  14. Darryl,

    Robert, but they can’t embrace greedy selfish businessmen who pollute the environment. Where’s the mercy for capitalists?

    Ding.

    Like

  15. Robert,

    “You keep proving my point.”

    Is your point that RCism isn’t now officiating SSM marriages, ordaining married lesbian priests, no longer performing annulments because it views divorce as no big deal, and calling cohabitation virtuous or a matter of indifference, as various liberal Protestant churches do?

    “The very fact that your priests knowingly give the Eucharist to divorced couples, gay couples, and cohabitating couples is itself a huge shrug. ”

    Which is why Francis stated above:
    “I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that ‘the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal”

    “discernment can never prescind from the demands of truth and charity of the Gospel proposed by the Church. For this to happen, the necessary conditions of humility, confidence, love for the Church and her teaching, in the sincere search for God’s will and the desire to achieve a more perfect response to it, must be secured. These attitudes are essential for avoiding the grave danger of misunderstandings, such as the notion that any priest can quickly grant “exceptions”, or that some people can obtain sacramental privileges in exchange for favours. When a responsible and tactful person, who does not presume to put his or her own desires ahead of the common good of the Church, meets with a pastor capable of acknowledging the seriousness of the matter before him, there can be no risk that a specific discernment may lead people to think that the Church maintains a double standard.”

    “If it is objectively wrong, it’s sin.”

    Right. And nowhere did the Pope say divorce, cohabitation, or homosexuality is not objectively wrong:
    “Divorce is an evil and the increasing number of divorces is very troubling.”
    “divorced people who have not remarried, and often bear witness to marital fidelity, ought to be encouraged to find in the Eucharist the nourishment they need to sustain them in their present state of life.”
    “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”
    “Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others; this is a case of something which separates from the community (cf. Mt 18:17). Such a person needs to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion.”

    Nor do any of his statements regarding pastoral care entail those are not objectively wrong. If they did, his statements I already cited above regarding pastoral care of such souls wouldn’t make sense.

    Like

  16. Clete,

    .discernment can never prescind from the demands of truth and charity of the Gospel proposed by the Church.

    But the problem is that the Magisterium can’t agree on what the demands of truth are. Which is why you have Kasper jumping for joy and the conservatives are freaking out. But if your reason for being RC is a fideistic belief that the Magisterium can never fail, the evidence will escape you.

    Like

  17. “But the problem is that the Magisterium can’t agree on what the demands of truth are”

    “Divorce is an evil and the increasing number of divorces is very troubling.”
    “divorced people who have not remarried, and often bear witness to marital fidelity, ought to be encouraged to find in the Eucharist the nourishment they need to sustain them in their present state of life.”
    “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”
    “Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others; this is a case of something which separates from the community (cf. Mt 18:17). Such a person needs to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion.”

    Like

  18. Clete,

    You missed it:

    Which is why you have Kasper jumping for joy and the conservatives are freaking out.

    Like

  19. Robert,

    The principled means would be the STM-triad. Surprise. So if RCism starts officiating SSM marriages, ordaining married lesbian priests, no longer performing annulments because it views divorce as no big deal, and calling cohabitation virtuous or a matter of indifference, as various liberal Protestant churches do, then 1P5’s fears would have more merit. As it stands, nothing in their citations contradicts or undermines the citations affirming dogma and church teaching I offered. Culpability being person-variable is not a new teaching. So, for example, when it cites “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments” – just as I did above, apparently it forgot the qualifier “in certain cases” doesn’t equate to “in all cases”. And it forgot to connect the dots where it was also stated, “divorced people who have not remarried, and often bear witness to marital fidelity, ought to be encouraged to find in the Eucharist the nourishment they need to sustain them in their present state of life.” And so on. Maybe diversify your sources of RC analysis a bit, but be sure to remember, just say “No to Satanist invocations in America”.

    Like

  20. Clete,

    The website in question reads the triad differently than you do. And Kasper seems quite happy about the document from what I’ve seen. So where’s that principled means again?

    And the business of as long as there’s annulments, the teaching of the church on marriage is the same is naive. Because making divorce easier in the secular world didn’t fundamentally transform its understanding of marriage. Oh wait, changing discipline can’t ever change dogma because for Rome discipline apparently isn’t dogma incarnate, except of course when it is.

    Like

  21. James Young,

    So if RCism starts officiating SSM marriages, ordaining married lesbian priests, no longer performing annulments because it views divorce as no big deal, and calling cohabitation virtuous or a matter of indifference, as various liberal Protestant churches do, then 1P5’s fears would have more merit.

    Objections to bishops who cover up sex abuse have no merit?

    Like

  22. Robert, plus, Kasper is a cardinal and James Young is a plebe. Them’s the breaks in a hierarchical church with that STM triad. So why doesn’t James really pray, pay, and obey?

    Like

  23. Darryl,

    Because deep down I think James understands that doctrine sits above the Magisterium. If you really believe that the pope can be resisted and even vast swaths of the Magisterium based on violating what came before, then you are essentially Protestant in your epistemic approach. Although honestly if push ever came to shove, I think the default would likely be the Magisterium is always right because the Magisterium says it is always right. It’s hard to say.

    I will say that if you concede that Athanasius was right to oppsose the Arians after Nicea when the majority of the Magisterium went Arian, you’ve basically vindicated Luther.

    Like

  24. DG: where does the gospel call to conversion

    Acts 2:38 and then there’s this thought: Matt 18:3.
    Re: queen of heaven – the word of the word came to Jeremiah about her Jer 7:18; 44:17-19

    Like

  25. Nothing to see here, folks:

    The dilemmas this pontificate creates for conservative Catholicism would be absolutely fascinating were I observing them from the outside.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. How do you bring up modernism and not mention Vatican 2’s aggiornamento?

    Real or primal Modernism, the mother of all other modernisms, including the artistic movement of the same name, is better understood if we see it in the light of the heresy of modernism as condemned by St. Pius X in his 1907 encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis. In this encyclical Pius X condemned those who sought to bring the beliefs of the Catholic Church “up to date” in the light (or shadow) of recent developments in philosophy. It is this “up-to-dateness” which is the real spirit of Modernism. It is the presumption that whatever is up-to-date is better than whatever is deemed to be out-of-date.

    Like

  27. Cletus, Susan, Mermaid, et al,

    You really need to call up Ross Douthat. Apparently he doesn’t understand that Rome doesn’t offer things provisionally:

    A slippage that follows from this lack of confidence is one of the most striking aspects of the pope’s letter. What the church considers serious sin becomes mere “irregularity.” What the church considers a commandment becomes a mere “ideal.” What the church once stated authoritatively it now proffers tentatively, in tones laced with self-effacement, self-critique.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/opinion/sunday/the-new-catholic-truce.html

    Like

  28. Robert,

    You really need to realize that application of dogmatic principles is not infallible and irreformable. Discipline and prudential judgments based on contingent circumstances and knowledge is not dogma, which Francis recognizes, hence his statement in AL:
    “If we consider the immense variety of concrete situations, …it is understandable that neither the Synod nor this Exhortation could be expected to provide a new set of general rules, canonical in nature and applicable to all cases. What is needed is simply a renewed encouragement to undertake a responsible personal and pastoral discernment of particular cases, one which would recognize that, since ‘the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases’, the consequences or effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same … It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations. At the same time, it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances cannot be elevated to the level of a rule.”

    I know you don’t like that, but that’s part of Rome’s deal. Douthat seemed to understand it just fine:
    “It was how far he could go without hitting a kind of self-destruct button on his own authority, by seeming to change the church in ways that conservative Catholics deem impossible. Now we have an answer, of sorts. In his new letter on marriage and the family, the pope does not endorse a formal path to communion for the divorced and remarried, which his allies pushed against conservative opposition at two consecutive synods in Rome, and which would have thrown Catholic doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage (and sexual ethics writ large) into flagrant self-contradiction…
    There is still a formal teaching that remarriage without an annulment is adultery, that adultery is a mortal sin, that people who persist in mortal sins should not receive communion. And there is no structure or system in church life that contradicts any of this. This much conservatives still have, and it’s enough to stave off a sense of immediate theological crisis….
    Again, this is not the clear change of doctrine, the proof of concept for other changes, that many liberal bishops and cardinals sought. But it is an encouragement for innovation on the ground, for the de facto changes that more sophisticated liberal Catholics believe will eventually render certain uncomfortable doctrines as dead letters without the need for a formal repudiation from the top.”

    Once again, chicken little didn’t materialize – not at the synods, not here – but of course now the best offered by the doomsayers is that “eventually” it will happen – it just has to right?

    Burke gets it as well:
    “The only key to the correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is the constant teaching of the Church and her discipline that safeguards and fosters this teaching. Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium (No. 3). The very form of the document confirms the same. It is written as a reflection of the Holy Father on the work of the last two sessions of the Synod of Bishops. For instance, in Chapter Eight, which some wish to interpret as the proposal of a new discipline with obvious implications for the Church’s doctrine, Pope Francis, citing his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, declares:

    ‘I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, “always does what good she can, even if in the process, her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street” (No. 308).’

    In other words, the Holy Father is proposing what he personally believes is the will of Christ for His Church, but he does not intend to impose his point of view, nor to condemn those who insist on what he calls “a more rigorous pastoral care.” The personal, that is, non-magisterial, nature of the document is also evident in the fact that the references cited are principally the final report of the 2015 session of the Synod of Bishops, and the addresses and homilies of Pope Francis himself. There is no consistent effort to relate the text, in general, or these citations to the magisterium, the Fathers of the Church and other proven authors.

    What is more, as noted above, a document which is the fruit of the Synod of Bishops must always be read in the light of the purpose of the Synod itself, namely, to safeguard and foster what the Church has always taught and practiced in accord with her teaching.

    In other words, a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, by its very nature, does not propose new doctrine and discipline but applies the perennial doctrine and discipline to the situation of the world at the time.”

    As does Longenecker – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2016/04/the-popes-exhortation-a-parish-priests-perspective.html:
    “What strikes me about this document is that it is first and foremost a pastoral exhortation. While it fully affirms the traditional teaching of the church regarding marriage it also makes a valiant attempt to deal with the messiness of real life. With respect to all the dear laypeople, the armchair experts, the theoreticians, amateur theologians and experts in church law–it is we priests who actually deal with the real life situations of ordinary people. We’re the ones who have to help them match up their lives with the teachings of the church.”

    “Because deep down I think James understands that doctrine sits above the Magisterium.”

    DV: “But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.”

    “If you really believe that the pope can be resisted and even vast swaths of the Magisterium based on violating what came before, then you are essentially Protestant in your epistemic approach.”

    That doesn’t follow. Popes have been resisted by RCs in the past. Popes have been corrected in the past. RCs being humans and interpreting doesn’t make those RCs “essentially” Protestant anymore than RCism affirming that sin exists makes them “essentially” Protestant because Protestants affirm sin exists.

    “I will say that if you concede that Athanasius was right to oppsose the Arians after Nicea when the majority of the Magisterium went Arian, you’ve basically vindicated Luther.”

    Opposing a subset of bishops does not vindicate Luther. RCs have done it throughout history.

    Like

  29. James Young, lay RC’s and priests and cardinals disagree about AL. Now you get to be pope and say it’s okay?

    It’s like you guys are Protestants. Unity schmunity.

    Like

  30. So if RCism starts officiating SSM marriages, ordaining married lesbian priests, no longer performing annulments because it views divorce as no big deal, and calling cohabitation virtuous or a matter of indifference, as various liberal Protestant churches do, then 1P5’s fears would have more merit.

    I’m curious. What would it require to say that “RCism” has officiated a SSM (for example)? Is it enough for a priest to do so and his bishop shrug? Or would that not count somehow? What if many priests in a diocese were officiating such marriages and the Bishop did nothing? What if bishops as a rule looked the other way while this became common practice in parishes around the world? Is all well as long as there is no canon law document with direction on officiating SSM so that they could say it violates official policy even if it is common practice?

    Like

  31. Darryl,

    Are all papal documents infallible? Are apostolic exhortations on the same level as other types of papal documents as you noted in your other post? In a document focused on discernment and application and noting that ‘the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases’ and that “it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances cannot be elevated to the level of a rule” actually saying practical discernment in particular circumstances must be elevated to the level of a rule?

    After you mull that, now let me know what dogma AL contradicted to make it liberal that your BFF Douthat missed in his comments above and in your other post:
    “the pope does not endorse a formal path to communion for the divorced and remarried, which his allies pushed against conservative opposition at two consecutive synods in Rome, and which would have thrown Catholic doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage (and sexual ethics writ large) into flagrant self-contradiction…
    There is still a formal teaching that remarriage without an annulment is adultery, that adultery is a mortal sin, that people who persist in mortal sins should not receive communion. And there is no structure or system in church life that contradicts any of this.”

    Are divorce, cohabitation, and homosexuality no longer objectively wrong? Does mortal sin no longer exist? Is marriage no longer a sacrament and god-ordained between man and woman?
    But AL implies culpability is person-variable and lessened or compounded by many factors which must be discerned carefully and responsibly by pastor and congregant! That’s not new.
    So show me the money.

    sdb,

    Instead of hypotheticals, why don’t you offer concrete examples? I mean, obviously RCism is liberal now right? So it should be easy. It’s easy to do so for Protestant churches you judge as liberal right? Here’s an example – http://www.thelocal.no/20160411/norway-gay-marriage-church-weddings

    Like

  32. @cvd No hypotheticals…I’m just looking for the principles by which I can identify an instance of RCism officiating a ss wedding. With all the caveats carved out, it seems to me like the dogma is devoid of meaning.

    Like

  33. SDB,

    It is an interesting question. Particularly since we have a document created based in large measure on the reality that priests were giving divorced and remarried RCs the Eucharist anyway.

    Like

  34. James Young, you want examples? America. Commonweal. National Catholic Reporter. Crux. I could go on.

    You’re “nothing has changed” line has its advantages except that Ross Douthat is apparently smarter than you are. He writes for a national audience. You only hang around with Old Lifers.

    We really should take your word on this?

    Like

  35. Darryl,

    I cited Douthat in support – he agrees dogma is still in place. So let me know what dogma AL contradicted to make it liberal. Show me the money.

    Like

  36. Clete,

    Douthat said the dogma is in place but that now you essentially have the liberty to interpret and apply it however you want. And that’s consolation?

    Like

  37. Answer SDB’s question, Clete. What would Rome’s allowing SSM marriages look like? As long as they are forbidden in dogma but people look the other way, it’s okay? I guess you have the medieval church that looked the other way regarding sexual immorality in the Vatican itself, but the dogma didn’t change. Course, it took the Reformation to really get Rome to care…

    Like

  38. Robert,

    What do Protestant churches allowing SSM marriages look like? Here’s one example I already gave http://www.thelocal.no/20160411/norway-gay-marriage-church-weddings
    Another example would be PCUSA’s 2014 decision and amendment.

    Is AL advocating that and so SSM marriages are going to be performed in RC churches around the world starting next week? The fact you have to grasp for “what would it look like” and “what if this, what if that” shows that it isn’t happening now and nothing changed in that regard despite chicken little prognostications. Which is the point.

    Like

  39. Darryl,

    Good wikipedia research from where you mined your german-language links – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blessing_of_same-sex_unions_in_Christian_churches#Debate_on_the_meaning_of_.27Blessing.27

    RC has dissenters. That’s not news. In all your culling of AL articles, did you find one advocating it as a triumph for ssm advocates and heralding a new dawn for homosexual relationships in RCism? Here’s Austrian Schonborn (see – it’s not only me): “There’s another point in which (Pope Francis) is very firm: speaking about gay couples or homosexual couples, he insists very clearly that only the union between a man and woman, open to new life, by principle, can be called a marriage,” the cardinal told CNA April 8 during an interview shortly after leading the press conference presenting Amoris Laetitia at the Vatican. “And I’m very happy that he did clarify this, because the other situations can be partnerships, relationships, but it’s certainly not a marriage.”

    Try again.

    Like

  40. James Young, I don’t need to find the evidence you claim. All I see is that Rome isn’t anything near what you claim. So many Roman Catholics know that. Why can’t you admit it? Maybe because it’s more about YOU.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s