Thursday, October 5, 2023


Many people are concerned that Pope Francis is using synodality and placing everyone’s opinion on the same level as the defined faith and morals of the Church. 

When it comes to doctrine, things are pretty well set in concrete. The Most Holy Trinity’s definition is set in concrete, although how to describe this Mystery can be developed but not by rejecting what has already grown—you can’t prune this teaching and then start over again. 

The same is true about the Seven Sacraments and other defined dogmas, like the Assumption and Immaculate Conception, the only two defined dogmas declared to be so by the Pope’s extraordinary Magisterium independent of an ecumenical council defining dogma in union with the pope. 

In moral theology, though, there are exceptions to what appears to be set in stone. Think of the 10 Commandments and “Thou shalt not kill.” That is pretty clear no? But, we can kill in self defense, in a just war, or to protect someone else’s life against an aggressor. What appears to have no loopholes in the clear enunciation from Almighty God given to Moses, has loopholes. The Church’s embrace of the death penalty is another exception to the 5th Commandment. This pope seems to think there are no exceptions to that. John Paul II acknowledged that there could be reasons to justify the death penalty in some cases. 

Can suicide ever be moral? Yes, if you throw yourself on a small bomb to save the lives of others—this is applauded! 

I suspect the closest thing in moral theology that has no exception is the intentional killing of an innocent person, beginning at the moment of conception. But, there is a kind of loophole, even with that. If a mother is pregnant and discovers she has cancer that left untreated would take her life, she has two legitimate choices if the “chemo” therapy will heal the woman but kill her unborn baby. If her intention is to save the baby but sacrifice her own life, she may do so. However, if her intention is to be healed of her cancer even though the chemo will kill her baby or cause a spontaneous abortion, she may choose to save her life if there is no intention to kill her baby. 

When it comes to the 6th Commandment, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church, highly develops, speaking of development of doctrine, which covers every type of sexual experience from masturbation to fornication to sodomy and the rest of it, are there any loopholes?

One may follow their conscience, even if not properly formed, to do this, that or the other. But that doesn’t mean there will not be consequences in doing so either in this life or in eternity. If it is private and not known to the general population, the person may receive Holy Communion, but the burden of explaining to God at their particular judgement rests with them and pleading ignorance to what the Church teaches might help them, if a priest or pastoral minister gives them permission to receive, certainly that person who gives the permission is culpable not the sinner.  

If someone says to me they don’t believe their illicit sex or relationship is a sin and they give reasons why. I would tell them that I can’t give you permission to receive Holy Communion and certainly I will not bless you decision to receive Holy Communion but if you receive Holy Communion (no public scandal in this person doing so) that is between you and God and you will have to answer for it to God, don’t drag me into it, because if I tell you it is okay to receive or worse, bless your decision, then I will have to answer to God too!

Unless someone is publicly excommunicated, not a Catholic and I know it, especially by how they attempt to receive Holy Communion, I will not give them Holy Communion. Some people’s excommunication is private and known only to them. If they receive Holy Communion, who knows? The consequences of this is between them and God. 

In no way should the Church bless illicit situations, at least from the practical point of view, even if a person in an illicit union decided to receive Holy Communion.

Civil marriages that the Church does not view as marriage, should not receive a blessing because of the public nature of the sin, “blessed” if you will, in a public manner by the state. 

It is one thing for a person to receive Holy Communion because they don’t believe their sin excludes them from Holy Communion, but it is quite another thing for the Church to confirm them in their sin by blessing their sin. 

1 comment:

Jerome Merwick said...

Thanks for some common sense Father.

In his answer to the dubia Cardinal Fernandez (I am assuming he wrote it) writes:

"For this reason, pastoral prudence must adequately discern whether there are forms of blessing, requested by one or more persons, that do not transmit a mistaken conception of marriage. For when a blessing is requested, one is expressing a request for help from God, a plea for a better life, a trust in a Father who can help us to live better."

And he's right--to a point. If a bishop blesses a congregation, there are likely some people present for that blessing who are in a state of mortal sin. So, do they receive the graces of that blessing? I honestly don't know. But I 12 years of Catholic school taught me that we cannot expect God to answer our prayers if we are not cooperating with Him to some degree, or, more to the point, we cannot receive the sacraments unless we are in a state of grace. I see a lot of things that suggest we have stopped teaching that to our young people and our older Catholics who should know better have selectively chosen to ignore or forget it.

Fernandez' reply is redolent of the entire ethos that seems to color this papacy: Jesus loves and accepts everyone and we are not going to mention repentance as a necessary component of that relationship with Jesus. Catholics don't talk like Protestants about being "born again" because we have always been a Church that calls its members to continuously repent and every Act of Contrition and every visit to the Confessional is a rebirth of sorts. Except in THIS epoch of false mercy.

The sex act is the mutual giving of the opposite sexes for unitive and procreative purposes. The perverted sex act between the same sex is simply two people using each other's bodies to masturbate. HOW can that be blessed? The Bible clearly calls this perversion of the act that brings life a sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance. If most of us even remotely had any sense of this, there would be more Catholics surrounding the Vatican in protest than there were protesters surrounding the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

This papacy is leaving me and a lot of other Catholics with a dystopian attitude of just waiting for it all--or our lives--to end. This is not the future of the Church. This is the auto-destruction of the Church unfurling right before our eyes.