Thursday, November 17, 2016


As I have written before, when I read or listen to Pope Francis, it takes me back to my 20 somethings of the late 1970's when I was in a progressive/radical seminary. I loved it then and enjoyed the challenges.

I enjoyed and appreciated some of the pastoral theology, that we needed to know our people, understand their sufferings as well as their temptation and the messiness of their lives. Most who were in irregular situations chose between the lesser of two evils and were trying to make the best of the imperfect way of life they had chosen.

Sometimes canon law could not help couples in so-called "adulterous relationship" which civil law had given an air of respectability. When I would listen to their stories, how it was they came to be married the first time and how it ended in a divorce and a second "civil union/civil marriage" I could understand well how the Church could help them to make regular an irregular and seeming sinful lifestyle. Sometimes shot-gun weddings could not be proven especially if pregnancy was at a very young age and they were forced to marry and this was 40 years ago and the spouse seeking an annulment doesn't know where the previous spouse is any longer. No contact in 40 years!

So in these instances discernment with the one seeking to return to Holy Communion is prudential and based upon their understanding of why their first marriage wasn't valid. After exhausting the external forum or running into road blocks with it, one determines that the Church cannot say one way or another that the marriage was valid or invalid. In this case the internal forum of Confession allows the person to make a decision of conscience and if no grave scandal is given to the Faithful, they may return to Holy Communion, but the civil marriage cannot be validated by any bishop, priest or deacon.

Pope Francis has streamlined the annulment procedure and I applaud His Holiness for it. But His Holiness is ambiguous about the internal forum and when it can be used and the codicils that come with it. It is here that I agree His Holiness is sowing confusion not only in the press as it reports its, but in the minds of clergy and laity alike.

While I disagree with the public nature of the four cardinals demand of Pope Francis at clarification, I do agree with most of what their concerns are. If you say that divorced Catholics who are now in an adulterous relations can go to Holy Communion cart blanch, then anyone in a state of mortal sin can do so without any repentance whatsoever. Thus the moral law is destroyed and we eventually embrace the death dealing liberal theology of liberal Protestantism, allowing all sorts of sexual activity that goes against the moral law to include same sex marriage and all the gender ideology we experience today. It will weaken and diminish the Church, divide her and eventually neutralize her as it has done for the Episcopal Church and other liberal branches of Protestantism.

Bottom line, no matter what the outcome of the four cardinals initiative, I will never seperate from the Vicar of Christ no matter how flawed his papal magisterium is.I will simply pray for His Holiness and offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory.


Victor said...

"Pastoral theology" in the sense described here has turned the Church into a social services organisation. It has also alienated more people away from the Church than it has brought in or kept. That is because pastoral theology focuses too much on the concerns of this present world at the expense of the next. If this continues, the Church is in for even harder times.

Anonymous said...

"While I disagree with the public nature of the four cardinals demand of Pope Francis at clarification ..."

As I understand it, an opportunity for public clarification is necessary before any formal "act of correction" of the Roman pontiff is appropriate. As I understand it (again), the Amoris Laetitia "dubia" question whether certain sections of Amoris Laetitia may be formally (and publicly) heretical, and invite public explanation why they are not. In any event, public discussion can at least serve the cardinals’ pastoral purpose of correcting any heretical beliefs that may have been sewn among the faithful by Amoris Laetitia.

TJM said...

EVen if it was well meaning, it produced disatrous results which we are feeling into the present day. If you expect nothing from the faithful, you will get nothing. Kind of like esteem educational theory. I remember there was plenty of pastoral care before the Vatican Disaster II. I made my first confession to a very, kind, and humble Italian priest, Father Fanelli. I was very scared, but he told me to relax, that God was not a cop, and then when I finished he said, I was not a bad boy, but try to improve. I think the problem we have with the lefties, is they try to paint the pre-Vatican II Church as some harsh, uncaring institution. In reality, they did FAR more good, for FAR more people than the greatly diminished Catholic Church of today. We are closing institutions that aid the poor and the afflicted because the lefties governance has decimated the Church, but they insist on maintaining the failing status quo. And since Pope Francis now is prattling on about that capitalism/money is evil, he has convinced me not to send one thin dime to Peter's Pence.

Anonymous said...

TJM - Your claim, "I have a better grasp of Church history, doctrine, praxis, and liturgy than many Catholic priests" rings hollow. You are woefully, woefully ignorant of the function of Peter's Pence.

The purpose of the Peter's Pence Collection is to provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster, and disease.

So, when you selfishly keep your "dime" in your pocket, you are denying aid and assistance to the suffering.


Gene said...

TJM, It was NOT well-meaning. I was there. It was a deliberate attempt on the part of unbelief (embodied in divinity school and seminary professors) to marginalize doctrine and substitute social gospel pop theology for the preaching of the Gospel. It was Pelagian to the core, Gnostic, and non-Trinitarian. Do not give these worthless dregs from the bottom of the liberal theology barrel the benefit of the doubt by suggesting they were "well-intended."

TJM said...


Just helping Pope Francis out. I wouldn't want to sully Peter's Pence with my evil money. Send yours instead. I give plenty to charity, unlike liberals who view taxes as their charitable giving.


I am in your camp, however, I was for arguments sake allowing the possibility that it was well meaning.

Anonymous said...

TJM - You have moved beyond the borders of reality.

Your ignorance of the purpose of Peter's Pence is merely a reflection of your 1) ignorance of Church history, doctrine, praxis, and liturgy, and 2) your selfishness.


CharlesG said...

I imagine it was well meaning on the part of some, and just a way station to the blessing of liberal sexual mores to others, and as we can see from the mainstream Protestant experience, the latter folk will win out unless some thing is done by someone, hopefully including the Holy Spirit.

TJM said...


I give plenty to charity, just not left-wing loon ones. You are probably a Hillary supporter. Bad news for you today, President-elect Trump confirmed Ford is keeping operations in the US which Ford planned to move to Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Trump Didn't Do It.

From Forbes Magazine, 18 Nov 2016

President-Elect Donald Trump’s promise to keep jobs in America is already bearing fruit, or so it would appear by his announcement Thursday night — on Twitter, of course — that Ford would not be moving some vehicle production to Mexico.

“Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky – no Mexico,” the President-elect tweeted. ”I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!”

Trump got the details wrong: Ford’s plan was to move production of just one vehicle, the Lincoln MKC, from its Louisville, Kentucky plant (likely to Mexico) so it could build more Ford Escapes on the line. The factory is staying put. Nevertheless, that plan, it appears, is now off the table.

Forbes contributor David Kiley writes that Ford’s promise was likely an attempt to curry favor with Trump, because like other automakers, it would be hurt badly if Trump follows through on a plan to impose a 35% tariff on vehicles imported from Mexico.

But here’s the bigger picture: after a long stretch of growth, the U.S. auto market is maturing. Ford’s plan to shift production, hatched back in 2015 as part of a union contract, isn’t necessary any more because auto sales are slowing down. [UPDATE: The UAW confirmed this in a letter to plant workers today. "The company's plan has been to balance out the current model of the Lincoln MKC to allow for additional capacity for Escape. The company has since reevaluated that plan based on changing business conditions."]

Ford cut fourth-quarter production 12.5 percent — including a two-week shutdown at the Louisville plant — to clear out excess inventories and match production to slowing demand. Other automakers are also taking their foot off the gas. General Motors announced recently it would lay off 2,000 workers due to weaker sales of certain models.

Light vehicle sales are expected to be flat for the next three years, at about 17.4 million units, according to IHS Markit.

As Ford Chief Financial Officer Robert Shanks told investors in October, after reporting lower profits: “We don’t see a recession on the horizon but we do see a marketplace that from a cycle standpoint, it’s mature. And we’re starting to see the evidence of that and I think we’re being very proactive in looking at these pieces of data and taking I think very prudent actions and realistic actions for our company.”

TJM said...

Anonymous can't stand it that Abortion Queen(Hillary) and Abortion King (Obama) couldn't achieve this, so he is grasping at straws

Anonymous said...

TJM - No, I'm just stating the facts. Facts are what you are unable to comprehend, apparently.