I've written this before and I'll write it again. Orthodox Catholics cannot and should not take a page from heterodox Catholics of the 1970's. They began what I consider a very heterodox, false position, loyal opposition to the Magisterium of the Church as well as papal Magisteriums. It was primarily directed toward Pope Paul VI and Humanae Vitae and His Holiness reiteration that the Church has no authority to ordain women. Pope Paul VI was despised by liberal Catholics beginning in 1968. I have to chuckle when young Catholics today denigrate Pope Paul VI who was not the darling of heterodox Catholics at all except maybe because of his reform of the Mass which they did like, but nothing else.
Now it seems that so-called orthodox Catholics want to be loyal dissenters toward Pope Francis and what he seems to represent.
I would caution any priest or lay person from criticizing the Pope in the context of loyal opposition or loyal dissent. A cardinal can do it but he will pay the consequences. He is a member of the College of Bishops. Non bishops aren't and there is no parallel magisterium such as was promoted by heterodox theologians in the 1970's.
Pope Francis is promoting a pastoral theology. There is no doctrine in the Church that I know of that codifies pastoral theology. It can never become a doctrine let alone a dogma! There has always been a certain amount of flexibility on the local, pastoral level. The Commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is quite clear and doesn't need to be dogmatized, as it can't be. We know there are exceptions, such as self-defense and the just war theory. Thus there are exceptions to what sounds pretty dogmatic. As well, one could allow an aggressor to kill you if you don't believe in killing.
One cannot morally cause a direct abortion. However, one can decide on a treatment that might indirectly kill the child, such as chemotherapy or surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. A person could decide either way to have the surgery or not. There is flexibility. Some have gone so far as to say that a pregnant woman with a cancerous uterus could have the uterus removed to treat the cancer with the indirect killing of the child, not intended. The so-called "direct/indirect" scenario is precisely pastoral, but not a doctrine--it is a theology put forward by pastoral theologians of moral theology.
What Pope Francis is doing is speaking about pastoral theology which is new territory for a papal magisterium fraught with ambiguities and confusion. But what the pope is doing now has been going on since the beginning of the Church and even within Judaism. Why did Moses allow Jews to divorce? Because of their stubbornness of heart! It was a pastoral solution but repudiated by Jesus!
Voris of the Vortex has some good advise for people who are as
well-grounded in the Catholic Faith and fidelity to the Pope as Cardinal
George. Voris may be overstating his perspective but it is a good one
for all of us to consider. As I've said before, I'm Catholic and I'm
orthodox and I'm sticking with the Pope in the areas of faith and morals
and yes canon law. I am not a bishop or a theologian and certainly
priests and laity do not form an independent Magisterium as heterodox
theologians suggested of themselves in the 1970's to oppose Popes Paul
VI and Saint John Paul II: