Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Okay, I admit it! I was brought up by a father who didn't like family disagreements being aired publicly. Okay, I admit it, when we had family disagreements, my father's three half Italian children and their full Italian mother could be heard from inside the house the next block over! My poor Canadian, puritanical father. But that is another story.

As the Synod on the family begins this coming Sunday and lasts for two weeks and is only a prelude to the actual synod in 2015, there is controversy and dialogue galore and at the bottom of it all is Pope Francis.

We have cardinals disagreeing with one another and the pope. We have Cardinal Kasper trying to stir the pot by calling the five cardinals that disagree with him ideologues and fundamentalists and of course playing the card that Cardinal Kasper is the teacher's favorite when it comes to the pope.

Of course we have an inkling of what Pope Francis believes and it does seem to come down on the side of Cardinal Kasper but the Holy Father has tempered his remarks in recent days and weeks and acknowledges that not even the Pope can become a dictator (monarch for a South American pope isn't really appropriate given their political culture) and that the Pope has limits. He can't changed doctrine or dogma. Discipline he can change and I think he will.

So, is it good that we see the cardinals debating the marriage teachings publicly or is it better not to know how the sausage and hotdogs are made?

My final point might rankle a few of my readers. But I heard today that the opposite of faith isn't unbelief but rather fear.

How many conservative Catholics who once seem to be in favor with Rome since the days of Pope St. John Paul II fear that the other side, loyal to the Church but progressive, are now in favor.

Is fear a virtue now?


MR said...

But how can the discipline possibly change without changing the doctrine? Do you mean something like reforms to the anullment process?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, reforms to the annulment process and decisions of conscience under a strict penitential program (internal and external process).

I would prefer a much simplified process for Protestants desiring to become Catholic (in favor of the faith procedures) while I think Catholics married in the Church with pre-Cana instruction, etc should undergo a more rigorous process.

the biggest problems is lack of evidence due to there not being any witnesses left or who would know. Thus the testimony of the couple themselves should be given great weight in these cases.

Cameron said...

I don't trust your conscience to determine the validity of your marriage any more than I trust my conscience to determine the validity of my baptism.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

How about a person who uses his conscience to discern what is mortal sin and what isn't in terms of the confession he makes?

Or the adult who is baptized in the Name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer and of the Sanctifier and then some years later hears that his baptism might be invalid, can he discern by use of conscience if it was or wasn't?

Or lets say a married couple never has sex, never consummated the marriage and no one knows. Can a decision of conscience be reached in this regard although there are no witnesses to prove or disprove this?

Or let's say that one of the spouses intentionally chose not to be faithful to the marriage, can't get an annulment after a divorce but knows deep down that they had no intention of being faithful to a life long marriage, but no proof of it?

rcg said...

About the fear comment. Why, then should we fear the Lord?

Marriage: Baptists have valid Baptisms, I suppose some Protestants could have valid marriages. However, I can easily imaging many Catholics who even married in the Church may not have valid Marriages due to the confusion and outright false understanding of Marriage in modern society. So could a marriage be invalid for a time, and through spiritual growth of the couple become valid? What then? Should they ask for a new and valid marriage?

It would be a good idea if the Synod came forward with the recommendation that the Church no longer recognise any civil marriages and only marriages within the Church.

John said...

I am afraid that annulments are just like selling indulgences was in the 15-16th century. It will become a source of untold horror stories among those who could or could not get it. How many annulments will be permitted per person? Loose annulments, in addition to devaluing the marriage bond, it will undermine the entire sacramental structure of the Church. The Mass has already been wounded now cheap annulments are likely to be a total disaster.

rcg said...

John, it has already been done: look at Hyannis Port where the Kennedy's bribed or bullied the Church into supporting their personal whims and served as the prototype for all Public Catholics today.

John said...

rcg: the Kennedy scandals institutionalized?

George said...

The adult who is baptized in the Name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer and of the Sanctifier could be said to have "baptism of desire". Of course, if such a person were to join the Catholic Church he or she would have to be baptized with the proper form. This is not unlike a person who receives a general absolution (if the situation warrants it) which absolves one of sin but it is then required of that person at the first opportunity to make a individual confession to a priest. It is testimony to the mercy and generosity of God through His Holy Church that we have the annulment process at all. Difficult cases will always be encountered. Doesn't this go back to the beginning?-to our first parents who could have anything they wanted except to eat from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the Roman Church priests have to accept that they cannot marry. Women have to accept that they cannot become priests. And so on. Some teachings of the Church can be difficult. There are those of the faithful do accept and obey. In our civil and criminal courts, in our legal system judgements are rendered. Those on the losing side of the decision must accept and abide by it. This is how things work. In the canonical process, difficult cases are encountered and a judgement is rendered. Those seeking an annulment will not always get the resolution they desired. Those engaged in the process should pray for guidance and be willing to accept whatever the decision is no matter how difficult. Accept it and offer it up. There are those faithful Catholics who do so. One of the hallmarks of our age is the unwillingness to accept difficulties. These things are hard on parish priests who have enough other things to deal with..

JusadBellum said...

The fear is that self-styled "progressive" Catholics are not in fact "loyal to the Church".

For starters, what the heck does it mean to be "progressive"? To what end state are they advancing? Babel or the New Jerusalem?

The Kingdom comes in our hearts so it's a matter of fidelity and growth in Christ, not chiefly a matter of horizontal political ideology and organizational charts. But to hear many "progressives" speak, a Catholic life is more about humanitarian and partisan get out the vote efforts than prayer, sacraments, holiness, fidelity to God...

Thus we down play the vocation of cloistered nuns and up play 'nuns on a bus' who are partisan lobbyists for federal laws).

Or they hype anti-nuclear war protests...but ignore anti-abortion ones. To date, abortion has killed more Americans in 40 years than would die in all but total nuclear war (given known #s of nukes and their yield and population density of our cities).

So yes, the fear is that those people LEAST loyal to the doctrine, dogma, and morals of the Church will be placed in charge of the teaching, explaining and enforcement of Church teaching all in the 'name' of progress which is actually a great regress.