Tuesday, September 13, 2016

THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING OR AT LEAST LONG STANDING GRASSROOT CHANGES ARE BEING INSTITUTIONALIZED!

 The future Pope Benedict offers Holy Communion to the Protestant Abbot of the Tazie Monastery at Pope St. John Paul II's Requiem Mass:

It seems Pope Francis wasn't kidding when in His Holiness first few months as pope he stated that the Eucharist is not a Reward for saints but a Medicine for sinners. Somehow, I think it isn't either/or, but both/and.

But Vatican Radio confirms that in some situations, Pope Francis endorses Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried even if they are engaging the what is called the "marital act."

[Pope Francis] was responding to a document by the bishops entitled ‘Basic criteria for the application of chapter 8 of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ which details ways of ‘accompanying, discerning and integrating weakness’ for Catholics living in irregular family situations. That chapter focuses on the need to support and integrate divorcees into the life of the Church, specifying that “in certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments”.

Over the years, I have repeatedly spoken of what I was taught about the "internal forum" in the seminary of the 1970's and what the late Bishop Raymond Lessard of our diocese stated.

It basically has to do with the "external forum" that of the annulment procedure having been dead ended not by a valid decision against nullity of a marriage on canonical trial, but because there are no witnesses to provide testimony to prove validity or invalidity.

In that case, the priest discerns with the couple who are engaging in the marital act whether or not they can return to Holy Communion. This is based upon listening to what they have to say about their previous marriage and what kind of civil union they now experience. If no scandal is given, permission is given to receive the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion, although the civil marriage cannot be convalidated. It is a decision of conscience. 

Let's face it, for the past 2000 years people have been receiving Holy Communion with an illicit moral issue in their lives. Ultimately, it is between them and God at the time of their personal judgement. I am quite willing to leave it to God and His justice. I despise being a policeman when it comes to those who present themselves for Holy Communion. 

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't think the Holy Father had to go to the trouble to validate sacraligeous communions and fornication. It's alive and well in the Church. But know at least we have a man who publicly said that if fornication is to hard to abstain from you can do it and go and receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord without conversion. So Francis is now responsible before God for all the sacraligeous acts that he has validated. At least we know with certainty that Francis will stand alone before his Creator and be judged. And I have no doubt Francis will get the reward he richly deserves. Silver linings.....silver linings.

TJM said...

I wonder how you depose a sitting Pope.

Anonymous said...

..I love this blog. it challenges me and makes me reflect etc. .We have the words of Jesus recorded in scripture to guide us in the area of marriage and sexuality and almost all other areas re ethics and morality in general............who once said he once reflected how many of his friends basic life problems could mostly be solved by following the basic teachings of the old green or penny catechism? .Paul.

Anonymous said...

It seems (from what I know) that both John Paul II and Benedict XVI considered "Brother Roger" to be a Catholic, whatever his precise canonical situation the rest of us were not privy to.

They certainly did not consider him to be guilty of unconfessed adultery, fornication, or sacrilege, lest we can be certain they would not have offered him Holy Communion, nor have approved of his daily reception at Catholic Mass. They were popes faithful to Catholic doctrine and the laws of God.

Gene said...

How very protestant of you, Fr.

Jusadbellum said...

Parents have to be "police" all the time when our children do something objectively wrong. We do it out of love. So a man comes to you and the presumption is that his first marriage is valid and licit, until proven otherwise, not the reverse! If the decree of nullity can't be given because it can't be proven, then he has to err on the side of caution out of love for the Lord.

After all, the WHOLE POINT OF COMMUNION IS ACTUALLY TO BE IN COMMUNION WITH JESUS CHRIST NOT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT ONE'S SELF!!!!!

all caps are necessary folks. It's beyond stupid to suggest that the point of accompaniment is to make a man in an objective state of adultery against his lawful wife is somehow OK in his current sexual arrangement. It doesn't objectively help his soul's union with Jesus Christ. It doesn't objectively restore the presumably valid marriage. All it does is MAKE THEM FEEL BETTER as though FEELING GOOD is the entire point of Christian discipleship.

The "sacraments" that an unrepentant adulterer can receive are: confession and last rites. But if he is unwilling to honor his marriage vows.... how can he genuinely receive "reconciliation" from Our Lord if he's not reconciled with his wife?

Catholicism is about DISCIPLESHIP with OUR LORD....not feeling groovy about ourselves.

Jusadbellum said...

Oh and another thing.... DOXIS that presumes itself to be superior in PRAXIS but which has no quantifiable evidence for this superiority should always be held in suspicion.

It's not entirely post hoc ergo propter hoc. Things got worse before they got better after the councils of Nicea with respect to Arianism and after Trent with respect to Protestantism. So it's possible that the faithful participation in the Mass and life of the church would have declined in the West regardless of Vatican II as indeed the Latin Mass didn't do much to preclude the two world wars and the rise of militant atheistic communism in the East and secular hedonist atheist "progressive socialism" in the west.

But in places like Argentina, if a given diocese experiences a boom in vocations, a rise in lay fervor etc.....and is generally reputed to be 'conservative' while an adjacent diocese experiences a crash in vocations and a collapse in the quantifiable participation in the life of the Church by laity and is known for being Liberal, we at least have to ask whether the competing PRAXIS is accountable.

If Pope Francis' presided over an Archdiocese of Buenos Aires that was booming with fervor and faith, counter-cultural in the teeth of Peronist socialism, standing up victoriously against the culture of death (abortion, contraception, sexual revolution etc.) and not just halting the rise of sects and Pentecostalism but positively growing the Church via reconversions.... then we'd have at least something quantifiable to hang our hats on when assessing Pope Francis' pastoral bona fides.

Instead...well, I can't find much quantifiable data to point to as signs that his pastoral insights and innovations are successful in terms of people coming BACK to the faith or living it faithfully vs. being praised by the faithless and watering down the faith across the board.

We suspend belief when there's no data. But when the data invariably shows a given innovation or "surprise" results in loss of faith and zeal we have to start asking about the premises.

Dialogue said...

We now have a pope whose magisterium openly conflicts with that of his immediate predecessors, one of whom yet lives. I guess it's time for me to stop pretending that we're in continuity with sacred tradition, or that "organic development" is taking place, unless a fig tree can grow organically into a poisonwood tree. If Jesus wants His Church to survive, then He needs to do something about this nonsense.

TJM said...

Jusadbellum,

You make a powerful case against the Pope and his worldview (shared by most bishops). They are utter and complete failures and would be canned in the business world for their ineffectiveness.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald-permitting...Part 1 of 2

In 1972 A.D., the future Pope Benedict XVI declared the following:

http://www.pathsoflove.com/texts/ratzinger-indissolubility-marriage/

Joseph Ratzinger

On the Question of the Indissolubility of Marriage

"Where a first marriage broke up a long time ago and in a mutually irreparable way, and where, conversely, a marriage consequently entered into has proven itself over a longer period as a moral reality and has been filled with the spirit of the faith, especially in the education of the children (so that the destruction of this second marriage would destroy a moral greatness and cause moral harm),

*******the possibility should be granted, in a non-judicial way, based on the testimony of the pastor and church members, for the admission to Communion of those in live in such a second marriage. Such an arrangement seems to me to be for two reasons in accord with the tradition:*******

"We must emphatically recall the room for discretion that is built into every annulment process. This discretion and the inequities that inevitably come from the educational situation of the affected parties and from their financial possibilities should warn against the idea that justice can in this way be flawlessly satisfied.

"Moreover, many things are simply not subject to legal judgment and are nonetheless real. The procedural affair must necessarily limit itself to the legally provable, but can for that very reason pass over crucial facts. Above all, formal criteria (formal errors or conscious omission of ecclesiastical form) thereby receive a preponderance that leads to injustices.

"Overall, the transferal of the question to the act establishing the marriage is indeed legally unavoidable, but still a narrowing of the problem that cannot fully do justice to the nature of human action.

"The annulment process provides a concrete set of criteria to determine that the standards of marriage among believers are not applicable to a particular marriage.

"But it does not exhaust the problem and therefore cannot claim that strict exclusivity that had to be attributed to it under the reign of a certain form of thought.

"The requirement that a second marriage have proven itself over a long time as a moral greatness and have been lived in the spirit of faith in fact corresponds to that type of forbearance that is palpable in Basil, where after a long penance Communion is granted to the “Digamus” (= the one living in a second marriage) without terminating the second marriage: in trust in in the mercy of God, who does not leave the penance unanswered."

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald-permitting...Part 2 of 2

In 1972 A.D., the future Pope Benedict XVI declared the following:

http://www.pathsoflove.com/texts/ratzinger-indissolubility-marriage/

Joseph Ratzinger

On the Question of the Indissolubility of Marriage

"If in the second marriage moral obligations to the children, to the family, and so also to the woman have arisen, and no similar commitments from the first marriage exist, and if thus for moral reasons the abandonment of the second marriage is inadmissible, and on the other hand practically speaking abstinence presents no real possibility (magnorum est, says Gregory II), the opening up of community in Communion after a period of probation appears to be no less than just and to be fully in line with the Church's tradition: The granting of communio cannot here depend on an act that is either immoral or practically speaking impossible.

The distinction attempted with the mutual relatedness of thesis 1 and 2 seems to be in accordance with the caution of Trent, although as a practical rule it goes beyond it: the anathema against a teaching that wants to make the Church's fundamental form an error or at least a custom that should be overcome, remains in full vigor.

"Marriage is a sacramentum, it stands in the irrevocable fundamental form of the decisive decision.

*******"But this does not mean that the Communion community of the church does not also encompass those people who accept this teaching and this life principle, but are in a special predicament, in which they especially need the full communion with the Body of Christ.*******

"The Church's faith will also thus remain a sign of contradiction: That is essential to it, and precisely by this fact it knows that it is following the Lord, who foretold to his disciples that they should not expect to be above the master, who was rejected by the pious and by the liberals, by Jews and by Gentiles."

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Henry said...

TMJ,

In its usual English translation:

Canon. 1404 The First See is judged by no one.

I assume this implies that no one in the Church has competence to make or enforce a canonical judgement that deposition of a pope is warranted.

Though clearly anyone with sufficient knowledge of doctrine of Catholic doctrine is free to form a personal judgment as to a particular pope’s apparent veracity. Indeed, one reading of St. Thomas Aquinas may be that a sufficiently informed person might have a moral obligation to do so, lest he allow himself to be led into sin by an errant pope.

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Father,

With all due respect, you must remember that you are a steward of the mysteries and a teacher. You need to understand the Eastern thought that Pope Benedict and Francis have articulated. Simply put, there are situations where a man and a woman have married, divorced and remarried and they may receive communion without the formality of an annulment. This is what Francis and Benedict are trying to say. It is not "situation ethics," but rather, the parish priest, hopefully in accord with his Bishop's requirements/parameters/protocols, has discerned with the couple that they are in a situation whereby they may, though married, divorced and remarried, may receive the sacred Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For whatever reason, a party in one couple, or both may not be able to receive an annulment due to factors related to the annulment process or the other parties that they were once "married" to, and so on. In a legal sense, Francis has shifted the burden, when addressing a married/divorced/remarried person, from being "if there is a doubt, then there was/is a marriage, sorry, no annulment for you" to "If there is a doubt, then there may not have been a marriage." In a practical sense, the Church is showing equity (The Church used to run the equity Courts until Henry VIII), but since Trent and the Reformation, the Western Church has become unduly rigorist, something which began to be dismantled by Pius XII.

Westerners have merrily thrown around the phrase "medicine of immortality" without understanding it in its proper context. Yes, it is a medicine to cure what Roman theology calls "venial sins," but it cannot cure one who is spiritually dead, that is, mortal sin and therefore, they cannot receive communion. If you, too, Father, like Chrysostom, must reject the Empress Eudoxia from communion, then by all means do so.

One of the prayers we say before receiving communion is "Receive me now, O Son of God, as a participant in Your Mystical Supper, for I will not betray Your Mystery to Your Enemies, nor give you a kiss like Judas . .

Saint Simon Metaphrastes prayer before communion involves the following words: "Behold, I approach my King and My God; Let me not be burnt by partaking, For you are a Fire consuming the unworthy, But rather, purify me of all of my sins."

A dead soul is unworthy, but the Scared Mysteries burn away the dross of venial sin.

If one wants to be a rigorist, they can hang out with Novatian, that most orthodox, but uncharitable man. Definitely, Father, you are no friend of Novatian, but you must, sometimes articulate your point more clearly so you do not come across as appearing to say that "Pope Francis says the divorce and remarried may receive communion." The Pope does not say that at all.

Anyway, I apologize if I have offended you, but I wanted to maek this point come across clearly.

Anonymous said...

Father, I guess everybody doesn't think this situation is a joke like you do. Once again, as always, it is the laity that upholds the Faith not the clerics. To think that any priest, let alone a pope, would excuse adultery and give approval to fornication and sacrilegious communions is disgusting. It proves that Francis is a dirty old man bent on destroying the Faith. THIS ISN'T A JOKE FATHER. I KNOW EVERYTHING IS A JOKE TO YOU. You may have a roof over your head and food on your table, which is paid for by faithful Catholics, who don't think this is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Not a comment, just a correction; The community in France is called Taizé

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jeff Mirus writes, I part, "It is not incompatible with the Church’s doctrinal teaching on either marriage or Communion to argue that, under some circumstances, persons involved in invalid marriages ought to be admitted to Communion. It is very possible to question the prudence of such a practice, as one consequence could be to weaken the Catholic understanding of and commitment to marriage in the minds of the faithful. But that remains a prudential question, which means legitimate disagreement about the best course is possible."

His article is here: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?ID=1413

Gene said...

It seems pretty clear to me that a very high percentage of lay Catholics and Priests and Bishops are strongly in favor of Communion for the unrepentant divorced, the open acceptance of LGBT as normal Catholics, married Priests and, at least, female
deacons. I don't know why we are still fighting. I think the tide is overwhelmingly against us. The media, the schools, politicians are all on board encouraging these things among the believing populace, as well. Let's just either go with SSPX or throw in the towel and become Episcopalians, Presbyterians or Methodists. The tiny remnant spoken of by Paul and the Prophets is us.

Anonymous said...

I use my air conditioner all summer. I drink out of plastic bottles. I throw out food that went bad in the refrigerator. I have been doing this for years and I really feel that I Can't stop without seriously causing stress in my life.....can I still go to Commumion. Would Pope Francis understand or do you think he would say I have to amend my life.

Anonymous said...

Gene, what is your beef with married priests? Weren't the apostles married? Aren't priests in the Eastern Rite married?

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

Priests of the apostolic and patristic ages were often married, but practiced perpetual continence after ordination. Eventually, the Latin Church followed Saint Paul's advice on this issue.

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

Since he will not be your final judge, there's no need to worry.

Dialogue said...

On the other hand, if there were no air conditioners, I have a feeling all our Yankee friends would go back up North. Bless their hearts.

Jusadbellum said...


You know, married priests MIGHT be a necessary thing to combat the lavender mafia or appearance of impropriety of men who "happen to be same sex attracted but claim celibacy". In today's day and age when a single man is presumed gay until proven otherwise, being married might not be so bad.

It won't prevent bi-sexuals of course and it comes with a huge cost in terms of both salary (a living wage for a married priest with children can easily be 3x that of current priestly salaries) and in terms of reduction in availability (since he has obligations to wife and children).

But Gene's on to something - and it's that it appears that the Church is only too happy to slow march a capitulation to the spirit of the world. They put serious money into immigration issues, social justice issues, etc. which pretty much all work out to be practically 'get out the vote' excuses for Democrats and means to subsidize liberal/progressive/socialist causes via the CCHD, CRS, and other wealth transfers while their funding for pro-life and pro-chastity ministries continue to be more about mobilizing teens to attend symbolic Marches or Youth days with almost no tie in to actual social or political change and no direct or indirect support of local, regional, state, or national pro-life and pro-marriage ministries.

johnnyc said...

"Ultimately, it is between them and God at the time of their personal judgement. I am quite willing to leave it to God and His justice. I despise being a policeman when it comes to those who present themselves for Holy Communion."

It is kind of sad to read this from a Catholic priest. Jesus Christ gave as a mission to the Catholic Church the salvation of souls. The identification and condemnation of sin is necessary in carrying out this mission.

Gene said...

Yes, johnnyc, you are right...that is the most protestant statement I have heard in a long while from a Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Gene, calling out a priest, or anyone else for that matter, for making "protestant" statements is the ultimate in the pot calling the kettle black.

It's also a false accusation, and Gene needs to be reminded that Thou shalt not bear false witness...

It's also meant to be insulting to Fr. McDonald and to Protestants, but it is a failed attempt.

TRIFECTA ! ! !

Gene said...

No, it was not an accusation, it was an observation. I am sure he did not intend the protestant flavor of his comment.

Dialogue said...

Jusadbellum,

Married clergy will not deter homosexuals from seeking ordination, but could, I suppose, dilute their influence. But now that the government legitimizes their fruitless relationships, perhaps homosexuals have less interest in the clergy anyway.

Anonymous said...



Although you cite Pope Benedict giving Communion to a non-Catholic as sort of support for your views, at the time a Vatican spokesman stated that Brother Roger's reception of Communion was not foreseen and was the result of Brother Roger being seated in a group receiving Communion from Cardinal Ratzinger. And that I understand is the standard position if someone who is not Catholic fronts up to a priest to receive Communion.

Father McDonald, I am sorry but from what you state in this post you are walking a very thin line. If you want to risk your soul that is up to you of course but should you be risking the souls of other Catholics who may take your advice through this blog, advice which is contrary to Catholic teaching which is black and white on the subject despite the fact that some may not agree with the teaching.

Jan

Anonymous said...

In 2002 Pope St John Paul II The Great, in an address to the Roman Rota, stressed that we must not give into a divorce mentality which some - including Mark Thomas - seem to be embracing through the promotion of the internal forum:

“The essential properties of marriage - unity and indissolubility (cf. CIC, can. 1056; CCEO, can. 776 3) - offer an opportunity for a fruitful reflection on marriage. Today, taking up what I treated last year in my discourse on indissolubility (cf. AAS, 92 [2000], pp. 350-355), I want to examine indissolublity as a good for spouses, for children, for the Church and for the whole of humanity.

Marriage "is" indissoluble: this property expresses a dimension of its objective being, it is not a mere subjective fact. Consequently, the good of indissolubility is the good of marriage itself; and the lack of understanding of its indissoluble character constitutes the lack of understanding of the essence of marriage. It follows that the "burden" of indissolubility and the limits it entails for human freedom are no other than the reverse side of the coin with regard to the good and the potential inherent in the marital institution as such. In this perspective, it is meaningless to speak of an "imposition" by human law, because human law should reflect and safeguard the natural and divine law, that is always a freeing truth (cf. Jn 8,32).

Pastoral care entails clarity about indissolubility and the support of marital love and communion
5. This truth about the indissolubility of marriage, like the entire Christian message, is addressed to the men and women of every time and place. In order to make that a reality, testimony to that truth must be given by the Church and, in particular, by individual families as "domestic Churches" in which husband and wife recognize that they are bound to each other forever by a bond that demands a love that is ever renewed, generous and ready for sacrifice.
One cannot give in to the divorce mentality: confidence in the natural and supernatural gifts of God to man prevents that.”

http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/speeches/2002/january/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20020128_roman-rota.html

Pope Benedict clearly addresses the matter of the internal forum and reiterates the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage:
“3. Many propose to allow exceptions to the Church’s norm on the basis of the traditional principles of epikeia and aequitas canonica.

.Epikeia and aequitas canonica exist in the sphere of human and purely ecclesiastical norms of great significance, but cannot be applied to those norms over which the Church has no discretionary authority. The indissoluble nature of marriage is one of these norms which goes back to Christ Himself …
Certainly, it is difficult to make the demands of the Gospel understandable to secularized people. But this pastoral difficulty must not lead to compromises with the truth. In his Encyclical Veritatis splendor, John Paul II clearly rejected so-called pastoral solutions which stand in opposition to the statements of the Magisterium (cf. ibid. 56)”.
Furthermore, concerning the position of the Magisterium as regards the question of divorced and remarried members of the faithful, it must be stressed that the more recent documents of the Church bring together the demands of truth with those of love in a very balanced way. If at times in the past, love shone forth too little in the explanation of the truth, so today the danger is great that in the name of love, truth is either to be silenced or compromised. Assuredly, the word of truth can be painful and uncomfortable. But it is the way to holiness, to peace, and to inner freedom. A pastoral approach which truly wants to help the people concerned must always be grounded in the truth. In the end, only the truth can be pastoral. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:32).”

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19980101_ratzinger-comm-divorced_en.html

Jan