Friday, January 5, 2018
CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG!
In a previous post which I copied from The Vatican Insider, Stephen Walford writes the following:
Pope Francis was asked directly in April 2016 the question: has sacramental discipline changed for the divorced and remarried? And his answer was yes. Since then, he has given the Church a document (the Buenos Aries guidelines) which obviously represents for him the way a discernment process should work for those not only who feel their first marriage was invalid but cannot prove it, but also those who for other reasons cannot live as brother and sister but who hope to reach that point through the grace of God, and an application of the law of gradualness.
This is my problem as a priest and pastor with what is written above about Pope Francis. I have not heard His Holiness or anyone else supporting the conclusion above telling us that this is a clarification of the so-called Internal Forum. If they would say this, it would help me personally.
My understanding of the Internal Forum as I was taught it in the 1970's and I believe our late Bishop Raymond Lessard clarified in the 1980's is the following:
1. No one has recourse to the internal forum until the external forum is exhausted and no decision can be rendered because of a technicality, meaning there isn't proof or evidence for the Church's tribunal to render a decision of nullity concerning a presumed sacramental marriage. I have not heard Pope Francis or those who support the Buenos Aries Guidelines adding this codicil.
2. Once the external forum is exhausted and is a standstill because of technicalities, a priest could discern with a person in an irregular civil union that in good faith he or she has pursued the annulment procedure, believes their presumed sacramental marriage to be null and void based upon Church teaching concerning validity but can't prove it because of a lack of witnesses that the priest can give an internal solution to allow the person to receive absolution and return to Holy Communion based upon the decision of conscience the penitent has discerned with the priest.
3. If the internal forum is used, the priest may not blessed or convalidate the illicit civil union and the penitent should avoid giving scandal when he or she returns to receiving Holy Communion based upon an internal solution. This means they might have to go to another parish to receive.
So correct me if I am wrong in any of the three points above, but more importantly, correct me if I am wrong that Pope Francis has not been as explcit in promoting what he is allowing as the three points above are explicit.
But the issue of greatest concern and it is here that there is an outcry from orthodox Catholics is the following thing that Walford writes of Pope Francis: but also those who for other reasons cannot live as brother and sister but who hope to reach that point through the grace of God, and an application of the law of gradualness.
This statement implies that one knows one is committing mortal sin but that Holy Communion is some kind of magic amulet that will bring God's grace to one who refuses to give up sex in their illict civil union--no need to even bother with an annulment procedure.
Doesn't this then undermine the Church system of annulments?