Turning to the Pope’s recently released Apostolic Exhortation on the family, one journalist asked for clarification saying there are discussions going on between those who maintain that nothing has changed when it comes to the question of access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried whilst others argue that much has changed on this front.
In his reply, Pope Francis said a lot has changed but he urged the journalists to read the presentation made by Cardinal Schonborn, describing him as a great theologian who was also Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and whom, he said, has a thorough knowledge of the faith.
“The answer to your question, he declared, is contained in that presentation”.
(AND THIS IS WHAT CARDINAL SCHONBORN SAID AS I HAVE ALREADY POSTED A WEEK AGO):
On one point, in particular, Cardinal Schönborn offered significant clarification, explaining that, when Pope Francis discusses the possibility of admitting people in irregular marital situations “to the sacraments,” the Holy Father is speaking first and foremost of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“I think it is very clear,” said Card. Schönborn, “there are circumstances in which people in irregular situations may really need sacramental absolution, even if their general situation cannot be clarified.”
Pope Francis confessed that he was somewhat annoyed and saddened by the media’s fixation during and after the Synod on the single issue of whether the divorced and remarried would be allowed to take communion.
He said the media didn’t realise that this was not the important question and they fail to notice that the family unit, the cornerstone of our society throughout the world, is in a state of crisis.
“They don’t realise, he went on, that young people don’t want to marry, that the falling birthrate in Europe should make us weep, that there is a lack of jobs, there are fathers and mothers taking on two jobs and children are growing up on their own without having their parents around”.
Father McDonald, you were correct about the issue at hand. It took eight days for His Holiness to have quelled the controversy at hand. But as I look back, in fairness to Pope Francis, he had tapped Cardinal Schönborn to explain Amoris Laetitia to the news media.
Cardinal Schönborn said of the Exhortation..."no break"..."no change" to Church teachings. He said that the "infamous" footnoted had referred to the Holy Sacrament of Penance.
Had we listened to Father McDonald, who, in turn, held fast to that which Cardinal Schönborn had presented to the news media, then we would not have experienced the controversy that had engulfed the Exhortation.
Had I listened to Father McDonald, then I would have felt much better about the Exhortation.
Now, I am compelled to examine my conscience to seek whether I was uncharitable to His Holiness Pope Francis. I had believed that his Exhortation was the cause of the controversy that has flowed within the Church since last Friday in regard to Holy Communion for Catholics who have divorced and entered into new unions.
I fear that I sinned about the Holy Father. I have to think seriously about what I may have done in that regard.
I really like Pope Francis and think that his emphasis on pastoral care for everyone is wonderful and needed in the world today. I also feel that this about to spin out of control. It occurred to me after reading this that this exactly why the confessional has a seal.
The New York Slimes and the National Anti-Catholic Reporter will now turn on Pope Francis. Congrats, Pope Francis. This is validation that you are right because they are always wrong!
Today, the pope clarified that he had changed the practice to allow the divorced and "remarried" to receive Communion.
Question: "Some maintain that nothing has changed with respect to the discipline that governs the access to the Sacraments for the divorced and remarried, and that the law and the pastoral practice and obviously the doctrine remains the same; others maintain instead that much has changed and that there are many new openings and possibilities. The question is for one person, a Catholic, that wants to know: Are there new concrete possibilities, that did not exist before the publication of the Exhortation or not."
Pope Francis: "I can say yes. Period."
What is "sacramental absolution"? The way a read Schonborn's answer is as follows: Although in same cases irregular unions can't be annulled, there will now be a possibility to receive absolution and receive Holy Communion. Enlighten me, if I am mistaken. If I am not, stop pretending that there is nothing to see here. For goodness sake, our Lord Jesus isn't the pope's subordinate. Stop papolatry.
Dear Fr McDonald,
Some Catholic blog sites are saying that the Pope said "Yes,...period" to a direct question as to whether his Exhortation had opened new concrete possibilities that did not exist before the Exhortation (see below). Could you please confirm whether this reporting is accurate....thanks.
"Q:Some maintain that nothing has changed with respect to the discipline that governs the access to the Sacraments for the divorced and remarried, and that the law and the pastoral practice and obviously the doctrine remains the same; others maintain instead that much has changed and that there are many new openings and possibilities. The question is for one person, a Catholic, that wants to know: Are there new concrete possibilities, that did not exist before the publication of the Exhortation or not."
"A: I can say yes. Period.*"
Sorry to be dense, but I have reread Cardinal Schoenborn's intervention again and I don't see how it solves the problem. He doesn't say that AL doesn't overturn St John Paul II's bright line rule in the Catechism and Familiaris Consortio 64. He says AL is a development of doctrine. He talks about absolution for a different sin than the adultery, but he doesn't say that the penitent cannot be absolved of their ongoing adultery without purpose of announcement. Nothing but Jesuitical evasiveness and obfuscation in all around I see. What a slap in the face to St John Paul II to directly overturn his Magisterium within 40 years of its enactment. This Pope cares nothing about Tradition and the Magisterium. I hope one of you theological geniuses will tell an idiot like me where I am wrong. When I became Catholic I signed on to the teachings of the Catechism, a sure norm as St John Paul II assured us. I didn't sign on to follow a new religion with every passing Pope. Sorry, but I am still furious.
'A lot has changed' What, precisely? We really do need to know. 'There is a lack of jobs, there are fathers and mothers taking on two jobs ...' Isn't this a contradiction?
I agree about the European birthrate, but the only way to counter this is to get women to stay at home and raise families. As for marriage, it confers no financial advantage, illegitimacy carries no stigma, and to suggest that children need a mother and a father probably qualifies as 'hate speech'. Certainly anyone employed in the field of child welfare would be fired for suggesting it.
I have to say that AL is ambiguous. But let's be clear, ever since the 1960's Catholics in second marriages or married to someone with a previous marriage have been receiving Holy Communion. There was a tremendous controversy when Jacqueline Kennedy received Holy Communion at a funeral after she had married the divorced Jackie Onassis in a Greek Orthodox wedding. Yes, the Greek Orthodox allow this. We do not know what solution was provided for her in Confession or elsewhere since this is secret or if she was in a nonsexual marriage(given what Onassis looked liked compared to JFK, most of us hoped that this was the case!).
The internal forum of Confession has been used rightly or wrongly for decades now and Catholic laity have made decisions of conscience, rightly or wrongly, for decades now if not for centuries. We've had popes with paramours who celebrated Mass daily.
Marc is worried about the souls of such Catholics. I don't worry about it. If God allows them to go to hell, who the hell am I to stand in their way!
Pope Francis is saying that doctrine has changed based on the new moral and salvation theology approved by Pope Benedict and which is being taught in the pontifical universities and seminaries for a long time. So Cardinal Burke and Fr.Zuhlsdorf could probably also say that there is no change in doctrine.
Pope Francis could mean that there are known exceptions to the traditional teaching on mortal sin.Last month Pope Benedict announced via Avvenire that there are known exceptions in Vatican Council II to the 16th century interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
So the new moral theology is that the conditions for mortal sin mentioned in the Catechism edited by Cardinal Ratzinger and Schonborn, refer not to hypothetical cases, known only to God ,but to defacto, objectively known cases which can be identified by us humans. So even if someone is in objective mortal sin,we cannot say so, since there could be 'known factors' which make the case an exception.
So the two popes like Cardinal Burke and Fr.Z and the numerous religious who have had their formation at the Angelicum , Anthonianum etc in Rome will say that there is no change in doctrine.
Cardinal Kasper has already given an interview to the Tablet saying that everything has changed but there is no change in doctrine.-Lionel Andrades
Again, everything has changed as it regards a pastoral theology coming from the Vatican in general and the pope in particular.
Nothing has changed on the ground other than confirmation of "praxis" here coming from there--the Vatican.
Ultimately, a person's conscience rules even if it is a malformed conscience. That is clear Catholic teaching. The Church's pastoral ministry though, is to help a person experience conversion to the truth. For some, a properly formed conscience can happen over night, for others it takes years, for others months and for some it happens on their death bed.
By the way, I don't agree that we send ourselves either to hell or to heaven. We might pave the way, but it is God who makes the final judgement and His judgement leaves no wiggle room for mistakes in this regard! If you are in hell, you deserve it beyond a shadow of a doubt and if you are in heaven, you don't deserve it, beyond a shadow of a doubt!
The Pope hasn't answered the question. He has just once again given his view. Nothing magisterial in that either. To effect change in canon law he would have to make a dogmatic pronouncement, which is a line he will never cross. If he was going to so he would have done it with this document. Therefore, the Church will limp along while his 350-page or whatever exhortation will just gather dust. Liberal priests will continue giving communion to those in mortal sin as they have done for years. There won't be any change in that either. Catholic priests will continue to give proper counsel to the laity on such matters and will take heart in the knowledge that the priestly vocations that are coming are conservative/traditional vocations. The liberals are dying a natural death but we will have to endure it for a few years yet remembering they may have the churches and the Vatican but we have the Faith.
The only thing is I feel very sorry for those Catholic priests who are under a liberal bishop. They will be persecuted even more.
"Pope Francis confessed that he was somewhat annoyed and saddened by the media’s fixation during and after the Synod on the single issue of whether the divorced and remarried would be allowed to take communion."
If he's annoyed, then it's because he failed to use clear, succinct language that a) wouldn't have invited these questions, b) indubitably restated ancient magisterial teaching, and c) didn't raise the specter that he has actually, or attempted to, teach doctrinal error, thus calling the legitimacy of the Church into question.
How does he not get this? Is it reasonable to assume that he really doesn't?
"God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not contained in it."
Wake up and smell the heresy.
I will take His Holiness Pope Francis at his word.
Pope Francis said that "[s]omebody did say to me once, “Of course, of course. Discernment is so good for us, but we need much clearer things.”
"And I answered: Look, I wrote an encyclical—true enough, it was by four hands [with Benedict XVI]—and an apostolic exhortation. I’m constantly making statements, giving homilies. That’s magisterium. That’s what I think, not what the media say that I think. Check it out; it’s very clear."
Well, what follows is "magisterium" from Pope Francis. Here is his clear, undeniable answer to an NBC News reporter's question in regard to whether Catholics who divorced and entered into new unions may receive Holy Communion.
February 17, 2016 A.D.:
Pope Francis: "This is something... this is where it hits home. Being integrated into the Church does not mean “taking communion”. I know remarried Catholics who go to Church once or twice a year: “I want to receive communion!”, as if communion were a commendation. It is a matter of integration... the doors are all open.
"But one cannot just say: from now on “they can take communion”. This would also wound the spouses, the couple, because it won’t help them on the path to integration.
"These two were happy! They used a really lovely expression: “We do not take eucharistic communion, but we do find communion by visiting people in the hospital, in this or that service...”. Their integration is there. If there is something more, the Lord will tell them, but ... it is a journey, it is a path...."
1. Pope Francis declared clearly that divorced and "remarried" Catholics may not receive Holy Communion.
2. During his August 5, 2015 A.D. General Audience, Pope Francis made the following point:
The family - 21. Wounded families (II)
"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
"With this catechesis we return to our reflection on the family. After speaking the last time about families wounded due to misunderstandings between spouses, today I would like to focus our attention on another reality: how to take care of those who, after an irreversible failure of their matrimonial bond, have entered into a new union.
"The Church is fully aware that such a situation is contrary to the Christian Sacrament."
3. Pope Francis' February 17, 2016 A.D. statement also contains his definition of "integration" in regard to divorced and "remarried" Catholics. Four such Catholics, they receive "communion" via "this or that service" in regard to Catholic charity.
Pope Francis has made it clear that the Church's teachings in regard to marriage remain in place.
In addition to all of the above, as I posted to Father's blog a couple of days ago:
In #46 of his Encyclical Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis declared that the Catechism of the Catholic Church "is a fundamental aid for that unitary act with which the Church communicates the entire content of her faith: all that she herself is, and all that she believes".
We know that CCC's teaching on marriage and communion for divorced and "remarried" Catholics.
As Cardinal Schonborn said of Amoris Laetitia, there is "no break", "no change" to the Church's teachings on marriage.
The following from Life Site news completely contradicts Mark Thomas' conclusions.
Cardinal Schonborn is free to express his opinions but they do not change Canon Law. Therefore, Cardinal Burke has the definitive position on the subject: there is no change in Church teaching because the exhortation is only the Pope's opinion and not magisterial. The Pope's intention, however, would seem to be that he would like to see the law relaxed as Card Schonborn has been doing.
It doesn't appear as if Francis will cross the line and try to put his opinions into dogma as he says that Card Schonborn is the last word on the matter, so it seems that he is not going to take the risk.
The Life Site news article sums up Card Schonborn's views:
"April 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – On the flight returning from Greece, Pope Francis was asked if the Apostolic Exhortation contained a "change in discipline that governs access to the sacraments" for Catholics who are divorced and remarried. The Pope replied, “I can say yes, period.” The Pope then urged reading the presentation of Cardinal Schönborn for the final answer to the question, calling Schönborn a “great theologian who knows the doctrine of the Church.”
Schonborn’s presentation boiled down Pope Francis’ more than 60,000 words in the exhortation to 3000, but in that short space made sure to include the “smoking footnote” being seen as the opening of the door to Holy Communion to Catholics living in second unions where annulment from the first union was not possible. The position contradicts Pope St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Part 2 of Life Site article:
In his presentation of the Exhortation, Cardinal Schonborn said:
Naturally this poses the question: what does the Pope say in relation to access to the sacraments for people who live in “irregular” situations? Pope Benedict had already said that “easy recipes” do not exist (AL 298, note 333). Pope Francis reiterates the need to discern carefully the situation, in keeping with St. John Paul II’s Familiaris consortio (84) (AL 298). “Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits. By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God” (AL 205). He also reminds us of an important phrase from Evangelii gaudium, 44: “A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties” (AL 304). In the sense of this “via caritatis” (AL 306), the Pope affirms, in a humble and simple manner, in a note (351) that the help of the sacraments may also be given “in certain cases”. But for this purpose he does not offer us case studies or recipes, but instead simply reminds us of two of his famous phrases: “I want to remind priests that the confessional should not be a torture chamber but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (EG 44), and the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (EG 47).
Is it an excessive challenge for pastors, for spiritual guides and for communities if the “discernment of situations” is not regulated more precisely? Pope Francis acknowledges this concern: “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion” (AL 308). However, he challenges this, remarking that “We put so many conditions on mercy that we empty it of its concrete meaning and real significance. That is the worst way of watering down the Gospel” (AL 311).
In Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul wrote: “the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried.” He explained, “They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.” Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna, told Vatican journalist Edward Pentin that Amoris Laetitia adopts the approach that he has already been using within his own archdiocese, which can allow for admittance to the sacraments after a process of discernment focused on several different questions.
Schönborn, who has argued that the Church should embrace the “positive elements” of gay unions and other sexual sins and has a history of contradicting Church teaching on the subject of homosexuality, said that there are “no forbidden questions” when discussing Amoris Laetitia.
“We all know many priests,” who admit remarried divorcees to Holy Communion “without discussing or asking, and that’s a fact,” and it’s “difficult to handle for the bishop,” he said"
Jan said..."The following from Life Site news completely contradicts Mark Thomas' conclusions."
Jan, my "conclusions" are simply the statements of His Holiness Pope Francis.
Pope Francis, August 5, 2015 A.D., General Audience: In regard to divorced Catholics who have entered into new unions: "The Church is fully aware that such a situation is contrary to the Christian Sacrament."
Pope Francis, February 17, 2016 A.D: "Being integrated into the Church does not mean “taking communion”. I know remarried Catholics who go to Church once or twice a year: “I want to receive communion!”, as if communion were a commendation. It is a matter of integration... the doors are all open.
"But one cannot just say: from now on “they can take communion”. This would also wound the spouses, the couple, because it won’t help them on the path to integration."
Pope Francis, #46 of his Encyclical Lumen Fidei: The Catechism of the Catholic Church "is a fundamental aid for that unitary act with which the Church communicates the entire content of her faith: all that she herself is, and all that she believes".
Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1650: "If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists."
Finally, Cardinal Schonborn said that there is "no break" and "no change" to Catholic doctrine to be found in Amoris Laetitia.
Jan, if Amoris Laetitia says something different from all of the above, then Pope Francis and Cardinal Schonborn have contradicted themselves. But I can only repeat their words.
Therefore, based upon their respective above statements, Pope Francis and Cardinal Schonborn have insisted that the Church's ancient teachings on marriage stand.
We tend to judge possible scenarios based on our 1st world experiences. But most Catholics on earth live in the 3rd world. Most Catholics in the 20th century lived in countries under various forms of despotism, grinding poverty, and mass movements of humanity in various refugee situations.
What of the case of people who fled from WW2 across Europe, North Africa, Asia and Oceania where their families got separated by battle, chaos, confusion etc.? How long after hostilities might they consider a search for a spouse to be inconclusive enough to presume they are dead? Suppose one believes one's spouse died and so enters a second union...only to discover them still alive but behind the Iron curtain?
What if one never knows for sure if one's spouse is alive or not?
What of all the Hispanic women who marry only to find out after the fact that their immigrant husbands have another family in the home country?
In short, the circumstances where people may be in objective states of adultery while being subjectively innocent out of ignorance of their situation do abound among the 3rd world poor. It's not at all far fetched as it would be for Americans in a country that hasn't seen open warfare and chaos since 1865.
"What of all the Hispanic women who marry only to find out after the fact that their immigrant husbands have another family in the home country?"
Those marriages definitely qualify for an annulment. The women found out after the wedding that their husbands were married so a circumstance of deception existed.
As far as the other case you brought up-its not like the Church has not dealt with these type of situations before.
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