New chaos and confusion over "Amoris Laetitia"
#1


From Catholic World Report:




New chaos and confusion over "Amoris Laetitia"
If the Church does not uphold the teachings of Christ and the sacredness of the sacraments, what then is the purpose of the Church? It's no wonder that some journalists speculate they are witnesses to the demise of Catholicism.
September 19, 2016 12:25 EST
Mary Jo Anderson


“No other interpretation is possible.”  — Pope Francis, Letter to Mons. Sergío Alfredo Fenoy, Delegate of the Buenos Aires Pastoral Region (Sept. 5, 2016)
 
“This view is erroneous.” — Bishops of Alberta, "Guidelines for the Pastoral Accompaniment of Christ's Faithful who are Divorced and Remarried without a Decree of Nullity" (Sept. 14, 2016)


Last week the leaked letter written by Pope Francis to the Argentine bishops concerning Amoris Laetita (AL) brought new storms of controversy over the Catholic teaching on marriage. The bishops had drafted a document outlining implementation policies for the eighth chapter of AL, where it suggests that under some circumstances, divorced and civilly remarried Catholics might still receive Communion. The pope’s letter praised the Argentine bishops and noted, “There is no other interpretation.”

Once the directive was verified, members of the secular media hopped on a modernizing pontiff bandwagon. Catholic media divided into the usual orthodox and dissident lanes.

Confusion in the press prompted the the bishops of Alberta and the North West Territories to issue this statement:
Quote: It may happen that, through media, friends, or family, couples have been led to understand that there has been a change in practice by the Church, such that now the reception of Holy Communion at Mass by persons who are divorced and civilly remarried is possible if they simply have a conversation with a priest ... this view is erroneous.
  In his excellent analysis, respected Canon lawyer, Edward Peters, observed,

Edward Peters Wrote:Basically, the Argentine draft (assuming it is still a ‘draft’) directs ministers of holy Communion (chiefly parish priests) to work through concrete cases impacting access to at least three sacraments (Matrimony, Penance, and the Eucharist), guided not by the Church’s accumulated pastoral wisdom as summed up in norms like Canon 915 (which appears to not even be mentioned!), but instead by a line of endlessly malleable considerations phrased in verbiage redolent of the 1970s. If some pastors after the publication Amoris were already being told by irate parishioners that ‘Pope Francis says you have to give me Communion’, what might they expect in the wake of his sweeping approval of this Argentine interpretation of Amoris?

And if that wasn't confusion enough to suffice for an era, Ross Douthat of the New York Times penned a column last Saturday titled “Dilution of Doctrine”. Douthat noted that when Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, a self-described "devout Roman Catholic", told "same-sex marriage" supporters that he could foresee the acceptance of same-sex pairs in the Catholic Church, Kaine’s bishop, Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia, issued an unequivocal statement that the Church’s position on marriage “remains unchanged and resolute.”  Douthat, a Catholic himself, pointed to the leaked letter from Pope Francis to underscore that one cannot simply assume that Bp. DiLorenzo is correct because “this is not a normal moment in the Catholic Church.” The logic is that if the doctrinal teaching on marriage and divorce is wobbling, why not for homosexuals as well?

The column notes, “The traditional rule is inscribed in the church’s magisterium, and no mere papal note can abrogate it.” True, however, what is becoming apparent is that without a definitive change in doctrine, Pope Francis might achieve his vision of compassion by changing pastoral practice.

By the close of the week there was utter confusion over the question: May divorced and remarried Catholics in “special circumstances” receive Communion?

My own email box was jammed with inquiries regarding the unraveling of settled teaching. Catholic World Report readers may recall that I was in Rome to cover both the 2014 preparatory synod and the 2015 ordinary synod on the family. I wrote at the time of the open struggle among bishops to produce a document sympathetic to persons in difficult circumstances, yet preserve the truth of marriage in doctrine and practice. (A synod report is given to the pontiff who typically issues an apostolic exhortation on the synod shortly afterward.) Pope Francis had urged the bishops to be open and forthright in their discussions.

It was widely reported that the Pope was sympathetic to the "Kasper Proposal.” Pope Francis indicated his goal was compassion; to lift burdens from the people. Some worried that the invitation to “openness” was meant to urge moderate bishops to join the Kasper factions. Instead, the majority of the world’s bishops razored out most of the spongy language and tightened scriptural citations in their synod document. By the close of the two year synod process a plurality of bishops believed that the final synod report delivered a document to the pope affirming Christ’s clear command on marriage.

On the day of the final session of synod 2015, a cardinal explained to me that “you will find that we bishops have given the Holy Father a strong document. Now, we shall see what he wants makes of it.”

When the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia was released the week after Easter, it surprised many bishops. As the dust settled, some attempted to find equilibrium by noting that nowhere in the exhortation proper did it specifically state that divorced and remarried Catholics could return to reception of the Eucharist. Rather the "crack" was "merely" in footnote 351.

Theologians and canon lawyers pointed out that the footnote plainly permitted what has never hitherto been allowed in the Catholic Church. As a few pundits observed, "If 351 means what canonists think it means, Thomas More lost his head in vain." And, "If Amoris Laetitia permits the divorced and civilly remarried to receive Communion, the Church owes an apology to Henry VIII and the English Martyrs."

In the Vatican Press office during the synods, as I listened to the buzz, it occurred to me that most journalists fully expect the Church to flatline. They perceive, if the bishops do not, that the Church has lost its momentum—at least in the West.  And they see in Pope Francis, who thinks that “most” Catholics are not validly married, a pastor who recognizes that Catholics are culturally conditioned, deaf now to the sacredness of the sacraments. The doctrine will be retained, but practice must relax.

The message most journalists heard at the synods was that Catholicism is losing its distinctive claim to moral truth. If sacraments can be fudged, what about grace? If cohabiting couples are “truly married” in some cases, as Pope Francis told the Italian bishops in June, why marry at all?  And does the Catechism of the Catholic Church become a paperweight when CCC 2391 conflicts with pastoral practice? If the Church does not uphold the teachings of Christ and the sacredness of the sacraments, what then is the purpose of the Church? It's no wonder that some journalists speculate they are witnesses to the demise of Catholicism.

What about the laity? What ought we to do when ambiguity and confusion seem to reign? Perspective is important. History records other doctrine/discipline hiccups. Also, an exhortation does not claim the weight of an encyclical.

Pray for holy bishops—it is our bishops who have this new authority to decide the "difficult" cases. If few implement footnote 351, the teaching of Christ will be upheld in practice.  (And, with care and gentle spirit, we must teach our families, children, fellow parishioners that the indissolubility of a sacramental marriage is a direct command from Jesus. The Church has taught this truth for 2000 years and it isn't suddenly not true.) Ultimately, the question of the magisterial significance of a footnote will be studied in the months and years ahead by the pope, bishops, and theologians who read all papal documents through the lens of Scripture and Tradition.
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#2
Although Bishop Henry has had contentious dealings with the Latin Mass community in Calgary previously, he - as well as the other Alberta bishops - are doctrinally sound.  The former SSPX prior in Calgary told me personally that Bishop Henry is more problematic that any bishop they deal with in North America, but not on issues of doctrine.

You can gauge response to Bishop Henrys conservative positions by Calgary Catholics in the news commentary and talk radio feedback;  the average Alberta Catholic is ashamed and embarrassed by Bishop Henrys very vocal "Stone Age" position on not allowing the "Gay Straight Alliance" (a student run club - as if)  into schools, on coed bathrooms, and on upholding doctrine concerning same sex marriage, assisted suicide, and the Eucharist.  Those who don't outwardly disagree, simply live in contradiction. 

Concerning journalists who speculate on our witnessing the demise of Catholicism, (edit: the demise of) Catholicism as we knew it has already occurred, thanks to docile bishops, scandal, silence, contradiction, and lack of understandable direction in word and practice from the leadership.  What is the purpose or relevance of the Catholic Church if it does not adhere to doctrine and the sacredness of the sacraments that have been held as truth since its inception.  I credit all the religious now who are going after that one stray sheep to bring them back into the flock, but the sheep have forgotten what the shepards voice sounds like. 
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#3
What's actually left of real Catholicism? A few traditionalist churches here and there and a small percentage of people in the NO world trying to make it work. Other than that, we're in a great state of chaos where even those few who attend church weekly we don't know if they actually believe/agree with all of the Church's teachings. Of course the Church will never die, and we hope and pray that one day it will rise from the ashes back to glory, but boy those days seem like they're a ways away without some miraculous event or at the minimum a great pope rising up.
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#4
(09-20-2016, 10:31 AM)GangGreen Wrote: What's actually left of real Catholicism? A few traditionalist churches here and there and a small percentage of people in the NO world trying to make it work. Other than that, we're in a great state of chaos where even those few who attend church weekly we don't know if they actually believe/agree with all of the Church's teachings. Of course the Church will never die, and we hope and pray that one day it will rise from the ashes back to glory, but boy those days seem like they're a ways away without some miraculous event or at the minimum a great pope rising up.

Hardly anything is left.  Getting close to wrapping up the finality of the Great Apostasy. Whatever way one interprets what is left of the Church and Authority/potential loss of office through heresy/mangled ordination rites, it was partly foretold.  The men responsible for messing with our Faith are preternaturally cruel.  I beg God He end this chastisement soon.

St. Hippolytus (3rd century)

"And the churches too will wail with a mighty lamentation, because neither oblation nor incense is attended to, nor a service acceptable to God; but the sanctuaries of the churches will become like a garden-watcher's hut, and the Holy Body and Blood of Christ will not be shown in those days. The public service of God shall be extinguished.”

St. Nicholas von Flue (15th century)

“The Church will be punished because the majority of Her members, high and low, will become so perverted. The Church will sink deeper and deeper until She will at last seem to be extinguished, and the succession of Peter and the other Apostles to have expired. But, after this, She will be victoriously exalted in the sight of all doubters.”

Anna Katherina Emmerick

“I saw also the relationship between the two popes… I saw how baleful (evil; harmful) would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome) … Once more I saw the Church of Peter was undermined by a plan evolved by the secret sect (Masonry), while storms were damaging it.”

“I saw a secret sect relentlessly undermining the great Church… When the Church had been for the most part destroyed (by the secret sect), and when only the sanctuary and the altar were still standing, I saw the wreckers (of the secret sect) enter the Church with the Beast.”

“I saw an apparition of the Mother of God, and she said that the tribulation would be very great. She added that these people must pray fervently with outstretched arms… They must pray above all for the Church of Darkness to leave Rome.”

“The Church is in great danger… I see that in this place (Rome) the (Catholic) Church is being so cleverly undermined, that there will hardly remain a hundred or so priests who have not been deceived. They all work for destruction, even the clergy. The great devastation is now at hand.”

“When I saw the Church of St. Peter in ruins, and the manner in which so many of the clergy were themselves busy at this work of destruction – none of them wishing to do it openly in front of others – I was in such distress that I cried out to Jesus with all my might, imploring His mercy. Then, I saw before me the Heavenly Spouse… He said, among other things, that this translation of the Church from one place to another meant that She would seem to be in complete decline. But She would rise again; even if there remained but one Catholic, the Church would conquer again because She does not rest on human counsels and intelligence. It was also shown to me that there were almost no Christians left in the old acceptation of the word.”

“The Church is completely isolated and as if completely deserted. It seems that everyone is running away.”

“Among the strangest things that I saw, were long processions of bishops. Their thoughts and utterances were made known to me through images issuing from their mouths. Their faults towards religion were shown by external deformities. A few had only a body, with a dark cloud of fog instead of a head. Others had only a head, their bodies and hearts were like thick vapors. Some were lame; others were paralytics; others were asleep or staggering.”

“I saw what I believe to be nearly all the bishops of the world, but only a small number were perfectly sound…”

“Then I saw that everything that pertained to Protestantism was gradually gaining the upper hand, and the Catholic religion fell into complete decadence…

“In those days, Faith will fall very low, and it will be preserved in some places only, in a few cottages and in a few families which God has protected from disasters and wars.”

“I saw that many pastors allowed themselves to be taken up with ideas that were dangerous to the Church. They were building a great, strange, and extravagant Church.

Everyone was to be admitted in it in order to be united and have equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics, sects of every description. Such was to be the new Church…But God had other designs. ... I saw again the new and odd-looking church which they were trying to build. There was nothing holy about it . People were kneading  bread in the crypt below ... but it would not rise, nor did they receive the body of our Lord, but only bread. Those who were in error, through no fault of their own, and who piously and ardently longed for the Body of Jesus were spiritually consoled, but not by their communion. ..I saw deplorable things All sorts of abominations were perpetrated there. Priests allowed everything and said Mass with much irreverence. I saw that few of them were still godly... All these things caused me much distress."”

“I heard that Lucifer (if I am not mistaken) will be freed again for awhile fifty or sixty years before the year 2,000 AD.”

Melanie Calvat was one of the two seers of La Salette. The following extract is taken from the book “The Secret of Melanie and the Actual Crisis” by Abbot Combe, 1906:

“The Church will be eclipsed. At first, we will not know which is the true pope. Then secondly, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will cease to be offered in churches and houses; it will be such that, for a time, there will not be public services any more. But I see that the Holy Sacrifice has not really ceased: it will be offered in barns, in alcoves, in caves, and underground.” (Abbot Combe: "The Secret of Melanie and the Actual Crisis", Rome, 1906)

“The apostasy of the city of Rome from the vicar of Christ and its destruction by Antichrist may be thoughts very new to many Catholics, that I think it well to recite the text of theologians of greatest repute. First Malvenda, who writes expressly on the subject, states as the opinion of Ribera, Gaspar Melus, Biegas, Suarrez, Bellarmine and Bosius that Rome shall apostatize from the Faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to its ancient paganism. ...Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible; hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early Church.”- Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, The Present Crisis of the Holy See, 1861, London: Burns and Lambert, pp. 88-90)

“A Man, not Canonically Elected, will be raised to the Pontificate… In those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor, but a Destroyer.”
(Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis Of Assisi, [London: R. Washbourne, 1882], pp. 248-250; underlining and paragraph breaks added.)
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#5
(09-20-2016, 10:31 AM)GangGreen Wrote: What's actually left of real Catholicism? A few traditionalist churches here and there and a small percentage of people in the NO world trying to make it work. Other than that, we're in a great state of chaos where even those few who attend church weekly we don't know if they actually believe/agree with all of the Church's teachings. Of course the Church will never die, and we hope and pray that one day it will rise from the ashes back to glory, but boy those days seem like they're a ways away without some miraculous event or at the minimum a great pope rising up.

What times like these do for me (and I cannot speak for anyone else)  is to show me that we must largely walk alone. We have at our fingertips more information and more resources than any other generation. 

We are still surrounded by the Communion of the saints, which is one reason why I love to pray some version of the Office where the various saints are commemorated each day and every few hours we stop and pray.  This gives me solace even when there are times that quite frankly I find myself disgusted and disillusioned by what has become of the institutional church.

These days I cannot say that I believe anything will restore the Faith in a visible way.  We must keep it in our hearts ands live it through our lives.  What else can we do?


Find a refuge and an anchor to take your stand, and follow the evidence where it leads after asking the hard questions.  The latest article from the blog Perceptio really captures whats been going through my mind for awhile now, and I think the hard questions he's asked and the answers he's found are things that trads and trad sympathizers ought to at least consider even if they never go as far as the author.

http://arealliveone.blogspot.com/2016/09...e.html?m=0
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#6
WASHINGTON—Two USCCB committee chairmen have issued a joint statement reaffirming the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage "as exclusively the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman [and] cannot change."

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, issued the following statement:

God's Plan Doesn't Change

Joint Statement from Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Bishop Richard Malone, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

As pastors of the Church it is timely to reaffirm the Church's authoritative teaching about marriage as it comes to us from God as the author of creation and of revelation. The Catholic Church's teaching on marriage as exclusively the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman cannot change.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, hearkening back to the timeless words of the Book of Genesis: "'The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws…. God himself is the author of marriage.' The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator" (CCC, no. 1603). And despite so many various cultural changes and understandings, this "order of creation persists..." (no. 1608).

This teaching was repeated by the Holy Father in his Encyclical "On the Care for Our Common Home" (Laudato Si'), where Pope Francis encourages all of us to work together on respecting the gift of nature, the gift of God's creation. In particular, Pope Francis calls attention to "the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature…" (LS, no. 155). We cause great harm to ourselves, to each other, and to the world when we ignore the moral law given to us by God and inscribed in our very nature. The goodness and beautiful diversity of God's creation does not include those things that are consequences of our sins.

The attempt to redefine the essential meaning of marriage is acting against the Creator. It cannot be morally justified, "for he commanded and they were created; and he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds and he set a law which cannot pass away" (Ps 148:5b-6). Therefore, as a community and a nation, we cannot make progress in human development if we "think that the weakening of the family as that natural society founded on marriage will prove beneficial to society as a whole" (Amoris Laetitia, no. 52).

May all of us work together for the common good, which includes the responsibility to protect, preserve, and strengthen marriage.

http://www.usccb.org/news/2016/16-120.cfm
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#7
I'm deeply troubled by AL. What are we supposed to do with this document? What level of magisterial weight/authority does it carry?
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#8
(09-21-2016, 12:57 AM)In His Love Wrote: I'm deeply troubled by AL. What are we supposed to do with this document? What level of magisterial weight/authority does it carry?

I think we should read it and think about what it says in the light of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches.
:) :) :)
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#9
Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, has announced that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should not receive the Eucharist.




Writing in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Olmsted said that the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia does not change the Church's traditional teaching. On the contrary, he argued that the papal document is in keeping with the previous teachings of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI "which reaffirm the constant tradition of the Church."

The Arizona bishop's interpretation of Amoris Laetitia contrasts with that of bishops in Argentina, who had written that in some cases Catholics who are divorced and married may be admitted to the Eucharist. Pope Francis has written that the Argentine bishops' statement "fully captures the meaning" of his document.

Bishop Olmsted welcomed the emphasis by Pope Francis on the need to reach out to divorced and remarried couples, and "accompany" them in their effort to live in accordance with Christian principles. "Accompaniment is possible, and should be the case in our parishes," the bishop wrote. "This does not, however, include receiving Holy Communion for those who are divorced and remarried."

Archbishop Charles Chaput has also announced that the traditional teachings of the Church regarding divorce and Communion will remain in effect in his Philadelphia archdiocese.

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/head...ryid=29422

I don't wee any chaos in either Phoenix or Philadelphia.
:) :) :)
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#10
"I don't wee any chaos in either Phoenix or Philadelphia."

The problem is that both bishops have positions that are different than the Argentine bishops' statement, which is the statement the Pope supports as "fully capturing the meaning" of the document.

From Voice of the Family:

"Hence Pope Francis continues by quoting a statement from Familiaris Consortio of John Paul II which notes that that there can be situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.”

However there’s a serious problem here, because Pope Francis has chosen to quote only half of the sentence. Pope John Paul II had continued by stating, that: “they ‘take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”

Pope Francis has chosen to remove that second half of the sentence, to remove that part of the sentence that upholds the duty of complete continence for those “divorced and remarried” persons who continue to live together for the sake of their “children’s upbringing”.

But the situation is far worse than this. Amoris Laetitia has not only eliminated reference to “complete continence” from the quotation from John Paul II, but has actually inserted a footnote suggesting that “complete continence” might, in some cases, not in fact be possible or even desirable.

The footnote, no. 329, reads:

“In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers’.”

http://voiceofthefamily.com/key-doctrina...-laetitia/

This sort of thing is why I'm confused. There seems to be so much ambiguity and inconsistency.
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