COMMENTARY | JUN. 8, 2018
Pope Francis’ Intercommunion Reversal
COMMENTARY: Three weeks after he instructed the German bishops to find a ‘possible unanimous’ solution on their own, the Holy Father told them to abandon their proposal instead.Fr. Raymond De Sousa has an article on Pope Francis recent about faces. He attributes it to public, not private criticism of the pope. You can read the full article here.
Will we see public criticism of the subversive, stealthy Amazon Document and statements by Cardinal Baldisseri who subversively push through a heterodox first synod on the family?
Here is the excerpt from the National Catholic Reporter:
Then came a veritable thunderbolt. Cardinal Willem Eijk, the archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands, wrote a blistering commentary in the Register, published only four days after the Vatican meeting. His language was not diplomatic.
“The response of the Holy Father … that the [German bishops] should discuss the drafts again and try to achieve a unanimous result, if possible, is completely incomprehensible,” Cardinal Eijk wrote. “The
Church’s doctrine and practice regarding the administration of the sacrament of the Eucharist to Protestants is perfectly clear.”
It was not a carefully worded rebuke like Cardinal O’Malley offered in January. It was not formulated in the form of legitimate, limited questions like the dubia on Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal Eijk said baldly that Pope Francis got it massively wrong and, for good measure, pointed out it was not the first time.
“The Holy Father should have given the delegation of the German episcopal conference clear directives, based on the clear doctrine and practice of the Church,” Cardinal Eijk wrote. “He should have also responded on this basis to the Lutheran woman who asked him on Nov. 15, 2015, if she could receive Communion with her Catholic spouse, saying that this is not acceptable, instead of suggesting she could receive Communion on the basis of her being baptized and in accordance with her conscience. By failing to create clarity, great confusion is created among the faithful, and the unity of the Church is endangered.”
By mid-May, the CDF was working on a draft letter to the German bishops doing exactly what Cardinal Eijk said should be done. On May 24, Archbishop Ladaria — in the interim named by Pope Francis to become a cardinal in June — met with the Holy Father to agree upon the text of the letter, which was then addressed to Cardinal Marx the next day. Pope Francis had changed his mind. The draft proposal was dead, no matter how many German bishops were in favor of it.
There was another intervention along the lines of Cardinal Eijk, by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, writing in First Things. However, his commentary was published May 23, further amplified by an interview in Crux May 28. By that time, though, the Holy Father had already reversed course. It was Cardinal Eijk’s intervention that appears decisive.
Do the Chilean and German examples mean that that Holy Father is adopting a different style in response to rebukes from his cardinals? It remains to be seen. But it does seem clear that, while in previous pontificates, the norm was to offer criticism privately through official channels, the most effective way to effect change is by recourse to public statements.