Thursday, February 19, 2015


My Comments First: Edward Pentin is the one who caught Cardinal Kasper in a slur toward Africans. His article is good, but I don't think that Pope Francis can be pinned down the way this story implies. I have sympathy  for Greek goddess name of Megaera Erinyes whose hermeneutic of Scripture as related to Church teaching is more in line with mine today. Pope Francis hermeneutic is what I was taught in a very liberal seminary in the 1970's. The Holy Father hangs onto this hermeneutic not realizing times have changed and we can't go backwards again. We must move forward and away from the 1970's.

However, Pope Francis hermeneutic of Scripture is more of the 1970's touch feely type especially as it concerns sin and linking it exclusively to a physical illness. It is an outdated and questionable hermeneutic. Scholarly theologians, such as Pope Benedict, would laugh at its wrongheadedness.

Certainly physical illnesses are a result of Original Sin and thus the one who experiences it is not culpable in any way. This is not true of actual sin, especially mortal sin, one is always culpable even though afflicted with the disorders of Original Sin for which they are not culpable.
Pope Francis Clarifies His Vision for Church, Synod from NewsMax

Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 02:23 PM

By Edward Pentin

Pope Francis’ set out his overall vision for the Catholic Church during a homily at Mass for 20 new cardinals on Sunday, leading some commentators and even the Vatican to describe it as one of the most decisive and important messages of his pontificate.

It also left many traditional and faithful Catholics perturbed about his obvious sympathies in the context of reform. The Pope highlighted three “key concepts” from that day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus heals the leper, linking them to “the compassion of Jesus in the face of marginalization and his desire to reinstate” lives.

In essence, he equated the leper, an outcast in Jesus’ day, with those who, because of sin, stand outside the church. Francis would like to attract them by, above all, placing an emphasis on God’s mercy rather than their sins and repentance of them.

This theme of the homily, which highlighted inclusivity, non-discrimination, and going out to the peripheries, is central not only to this pontificate but was a key aspect coming out of last October’s synod on the family. That meeting in Rome of around 250 bishops worldwide was meant to examine today’s pastoral challenges to the family, but it drew controversy for proposing new pastoral practices towards civilly remarried Catholic divorcees, homosexuals, and cohabiting couples — approaches that many felt were at odds with Catholic teaching.

With this homily, observers on all sides of the church say it’s confirmed where the Pope stands on these issues. In an article for The Remnant, a newspaper of traditional Catholicism, an author writing under the Greek goddess name of Megaera Erinyes, says Francis is “clearly signaling again” his intentions for the Synod, and the terms he uses show he is “wholly on the side” of Cardinal Walter Kasper, the flag-bearer of those pushing to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion.

The scriptural passages in which Jesus teaches that remarriage after divorce constitutes adultery couldn’t be clearer, Erinyes argues. Yet, by implicitly supporting the Kasper line in his homily (Francis’ doesn’t directly mention the issue) she believes the Pope sees obedience to Jesus’ teaching on this issue as a “lack of mercy” and “marginalization.”

Rather than a merciful approach, she argues the Kasper position actually shows disobedience to the divine law and therefore a “hardness of heart” that Jesus’ teachings aimed to remedy. That the Pope sides with this position “is a frightening thought,” she writes.

For Austen Ivereigh, author of “The Great Reformer”, possibly the most comprehensive biography of Pope Francis to date, the homily was not so clear cut. He agreed it will be seen, “as one of the most defining messages of his pontificate” and it “certainly is aimed at the synod.” But he said it also captures the way Francis “sees his mission more broadly, as opening new paths for people to find their way back to the church.”

“He’s saying: it’s not enough to preach the truth and wait for people to convert and come knocking — we have to go out and tend to the lost sheep, and let God do the rest,” Ivereigh told me. “It would be wrong to read into it an endorsement of one or other strategy under discussion at the synod, although it is a clear rebuke of those who are opposed to the whole process.”

Other aspects of the homily have also caused concern, especially its central theme of equating the outcast leper with a sinner — cast out from the church. Erinyes calls this a “false premise”, a “simple rhetorical fallacy” and a “conflation” between the affliction of illness and the consequences of sin.

“A leper is someone who suffers from a disease, who does indeed need a doctor,” she writes. “A man living with a woman to whom he is not married has entered into this situation with his will. And it is with his will he can remedy the situation. He can decide, today, to sin no more, and to change his life.”

Further questions about the homily relate to the Pope’s chastisement of “doctors of law”, and his poor perception of those who “fear to lose the saved” compared to those who want “save the lost.”

Ivereigh said the Pope is contrasting two mentalities, and sees the former as reminiscent of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time (their starting point is a sense of threat to the integrity of the faith) and the latter as “Jesus in the Gospel”, starting with the pain of those “outside the channels of salvation”. For Francis, the way of the Gospel “is always to seek reinstatement through the exercise of mercy,” Ivereigh said. “It’s wrong to see this as disregard for the law.”

But Erinyes calls this a classic “false dichotomy”, and that to offer the marginalized something meaningful while “abandoning the existing flock” is an “odd and contradictory statement.”

The Pope appears to think that someone who “holds their faith in its entirety” is, by nature, “cruel and exclusionary,” she says. “But this is logically absurd, since it is that faith, that divine law, that requires (genuine) mercy and compassion for both the sick and the sinner.”

Such contentious arguments are likely to continue and strengthen as the October synod approaches. By Francis revealing his thoughts now on these issues (he earlier hadn’t done so in the interests of a free discussion) it makes it arguably harder for those opposed to them to speak out without setting themselves against the Pope.

But given how much is at stake — Erinyes says the Kasper proposal represents a one-blow strike “against the very pillars of the faith: the Eucharist and the priesthood” – signs suggest there will be more than a little resistance come October.

Edward Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002. He has covered the Pope and the Holy See for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times.


Rood Screen said...

I think if Pope Francis had ever been just a simple parish priest, it would be easier for him to explain to other parish priests what exactly he is proposing in his pastoral plan. The parish priests I know go out to jails and nursing homes, visit migrants and immigrants, belong to civic and ecumenical organizations, and generally seem to maintain a balance between time spent on the parish property and time spent nearer the parish boundaries. Perhaps if the Holy Father would just give some concrete examples that were applicable to the typical parish in North America, we could do whatever it is he is trying to ask us to do.

As for Catholics who don't care what Christ said about divorce and remarriage, why would they care what the Church says about Holy Communion?

rcg said...

@JBS: Exactly! However, they do seem to care and have found the duty to stay within the Church and publicly undermine her teachings. For the teachings, such as Divorce, that are traceable to Divine Revelation the resistance is most puzzling. But what is easier to change, the Law, or the upholders of the Law? The Law cannot change, it is from God. So if the people assigned to uphold the Law hesitate, or even back down, then effectively, the World has no Law, exactly what the Prince of this World wants.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To me all indications are that the annulment process will be streamlined. The fact of the matter is that for a marriage to be a sacrament, both the husband and the wife must understand the Catholic meaning of marriage in terms of indissoluble, openness to children and fidelity. In the south there are plenty of mixed marriages. How can we expect a non-Catholic spouse to accept the Catholic meaning of marriage?
And today so many Catholics are malformed by the culture concerning marriage and don't believe what the Church teaches about marriage. Isn't that grounds for an annulment too if they are open to divorce to begin with and don't really want children and might be open if infidelity if they don't get caught?

Rood Screen said...

As for mixed marriages, no one has a right to them, so if we really can't "expect a non-Catholic spouse to accept the Catholic meaning of marriage", then the parish pastor should not give permission for them, especially if we know they will be invalid.

As for fully Catholic marriages, it should not take more than five minutes to explain the truth about marriage to a couple before they get married.

Rood Screen said...

If it really is so difficult for a man and woman to enter into a valid marriage, then I have to begin wondering how difficult it is for a Modern priest to say a valid Mass, or for a Modern bishop to validly ordain a man.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

JBS - The Church teaches that marriage is a natural right that cannot be impeded without serious cause or some prohibition in law.

There is no support for the notion that "As for mixed marriages, no one has a right to them,..."

Indeed, a man and woman wishing to enter into the covenant of marriage do have a right to marry, regardless of the church to which they belong.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Former PI, I think if the bishop does not give a dispensation for mixed marriage, then the marriage cannot occur in the Catholic Church, it would have to occur elsewhere and thus if a Catholic is involved it is invalid.

Anonymous said...

All Catholics including Bishops and Priests start reading the "Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition" (Dark green cover, 1997)before posting inaccurately.

Factual Church teaching on mixed marriages and marriages of disparity of cult are covered in paragraphs 1633 - 1637.

The SACRAMENT of MARRIAGE is NOT automatic; and further the Bishop MUST give express permission for a mixed marriage, and the Bishop must issue an express dispensation for a marriage of disparity of cult.

And CCC paragraphs 1649 - 1651 regarding divorce, and divorce with civil remarriage.

The CCC contains the Doctrine of the Faith.

Anonymous said...

Those Catholics who choose to continue committing adultery(sexual activity with the valid spouse of another),
or others who choose to continue living in the state of Mortal Sin - - - it is a Sacrilege against the Body and Blood or our Lord for them to receive Holy Communion.
1 Cor 11:26-30.

Those clergy who chose to cooperate, or approve, or not hinder someone from Sacrilege are participants in the sin.

CCC: "1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
- by protecting evil-doers."

It is NOT PASTORAL, nor Merciful, nor Charitable to affirm or condone someone in the state of mortal sin.

Pope Benedict stated: "we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church's teaching,
or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral.
Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral.
The neglect of the Church's position prevents ... men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve."

John said...

I do not understand. Are you saying, unless the spouses had a Catholic understanding at the time they were married, their union was not sacramental?
Seems to me, right understanding should be established before the Church agrees to witness and bless marriages.

Moreover, how do one know what people think?

The annulment process is loose enough as it is. Making it easier demeans the sacrament. Brick by brick we are deconstructing society that took nearly 2000 years to build.

I refuse to participate!

Anonymous said...

JESUS said to "Go and Sin no more", not to continue sinning.
“Thou shall not commit Adultery” – GOD’s Commandment
Ex 20:14 ; Deut 5:18.

“Thou shall not covet thy Neighbor’s wife” – GOD’s Commandment
Ex 20:17 ; Deut 5.20.

JESUS regarding divorce and remarriage – Mk 10:6-12; Mt 5:32.

JESUS about adultery, mercy, and REQUIRED REPENTANCE – “Go and Sin NO more” Jn 8:11.

About homosexual acts:
Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27;
1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:10;
Jude 1:7.

1 Cor 11:27-30 about condemnation for receiving Holy Communion unworthily.

CCC: ” 81 Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.
And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its ENTIRETY the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.
It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching. “

Misquoting Jesus by the Vatican and other clergy has got to stop.
Either Sacred Scripture is the speech of God, or it is not.
The heretics can not have it both ways.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - See that little phrase in my post about "some prohibition in law."?

Yes, a bishop must give his permission for a mixed marriage, but that does not interfere or impede the natural right to marry.

Such permission is given as a matter of course unless there is some significant reason not to do so. The difference in religion between the man/woman is not sufficient cause.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"How can we expect a non-Catholic spouse to accept the Catholic meaning of marriage?"

By explaining it to them.

If they, then, make the required promises - indissolubility, procreation, fidelity - then we can be satisfied that they understand and are willing to commit themselves to the Catholic meaning/form of marriage.

If they lie, understanding what is expected of them but making the promises with the intention of not upholding them, that's a matter of dishonesty, not a matter of dishonesty, not of misunderstanding.

Rood Screen said...

In some dioceses, the bishop gives parish pastors the authority to permit mixed marriages.

Marriage to a non-Christian is not allowed by law, but the bishop can dispense from the law.

Rood Screen said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh,

Please take a look at canon 1124, which says (in English): "Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church (or received into it after baptism) and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church".

Anonymous said...

"The Church teaches that marriage is a natural right that cannot be impeded without serious cause or some prohibition in law."


It is true that two Catholics in good standing have a right to a Catholic wedding if there is no impediment in law.

But a non-Catholic has no a priori right to a Catholic wedding.

As a non-Catholic (then) marrying a Catholic, I had to meet beforehand with her pastor several times to establish my understanding of Catholic marriage, and to affirm my obligation to adhere to the requirements of Catholic marriage.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

JBS - I am fully aware of Canon 1124. It does not impede the natural right to marry. As you know, the permission for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic Christian is granted as a matter of course, unless there is some other significant reason to do so.

Henry - I never suggested that non-Catholics have a right to marry in the Catholic Church. They do, however, have a natural right to marriage.

Rood Screen said...

Dear Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh,

You are certainly right in saying there is a natural right to marriage, and it is good of you to make this important point. It is also worth noting that no one is naturally Catholic, but becomes so by choice, thereby freely accepting Church regulations pertaining to the right to marry.

As for the practice concerning mixed marriages, the question is, does this practice adequately address the rate of invalid marriages?

Paul said...

The sacrament of Matrimony is given to each other. The sacrament must be of correct form and matter. The two cannot give what they do not have, but once given, it is given until death.

I can hear the howls of "but what about love, charity and human rights". Given the manure we soak in one could easily bring up the issues of "full knowledge" or "consent of the will". What a mess we have.

Perhaps Matrimony should be examined much more closely in Parishes and Church teaching revealed with conviction and possible consequences.

I find it interesting that, earlier (60s, 70s and 80s) those of a certain mind thought they didn't need that "piece of paper". Now, those of similar mind covet that "piece of paper" at the price of souls.

What a mess.