19 March 2016


I quite like to live dangerously ... in the sense that I like to venture a prophecy about what will happen, so that I either have the opportunity of crowing ("I told you so!!"), or else I have to say "How wrong I got that!"

So, with my gambler's instinct, I will now tell you about the contents of the document which our Holy Father Pope Francis is to sign today, Solemnity of the great and chaste Spouse of Blessed Mary Ever Virgin, and which, on past showing, will be published in the main vernaculars some time later. (I am reconciled to the likelihood that an official normative Latin text will be delayed.)

So here goes.


The Document will be long. Never has there been a Pontiff who so predictably refuses to say something in one word if a mere 500 will do.

It will be full of flowery language about the Family and about Marriage and the will of the Lord with regard to its indissolubility.

It will be full of flowery language about the anguish of those who 'find themselves' in situations which objectively contradict that ideal.

It will not open up a regular public pathway to the admission of such people to the Sacraments without the regularisation of their matrimonial situation through the Nullity system.

But it will promote the inclusion of such people fully within the life of the Church in ways which do pragmatically contradict the objective fact that they are public adulterers (so they will be able to act as godparents ... as Church representatives and employees ... as readers ... in any conceivable public role ... but not to approach the Sacraments).

There will be much flowery language about how deeply the Church loves them, how much she values the important contribution they can make to her life and mission and finances.

Yet, very likely, there will be Something in the document, possibly with regard to "exceptional circumstances", perhaps with regard to "more work which has to be done" [I most devoutly hope we shall not have any suggestion that a new Ecumenical Council could resolve the matter], perhaps with regard to local Episcopal Conferences being accorded a degree of autonomy in this matter [the Kasper-Marxist and Anglican heresy], which will make it possible for the heterodox to say that the door is ajar.

Whatever this Something is, it will not be such as to compel the conclusion that this Roman Pontiff has actually, by this document, formally and unambiguously taught Error.


There! I've told you! But, whatever befalls, remember the logic that this post-Synodal Exhortation cannot have any greater doctrinal, Magisterial, authority than any other document at the same Magisterial level. Such as Familiaris consortio. The authority that any pope has is precisely identical to the authority that any other pope had. Not smaller, not greater, not by a nanogram. Remember, above all, that ...

"The Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of Peter so that, by His revelation, they might make known new teaching, but so that, with His assistance, they might devoutly guard and faithfully set forth the Tradition received through the Apostles, i.e. the Deposit of Faith".

Whatever teaching Pope Francis gives, remember that it is obliged to be ...

"Eodem sensu eademque sententia" with what has been taught in the past.


mark wauck said...

I certainly agree with Fr Hunwicke's reasoning here. However ...

I assume that this document will contain what has become a virtual standard disparagement of natural law morality. While such disparagement may not be the technical formal teaching of error, it does to me appear to be at least the refusal of assent to a key part of the deposit of faith handed down from the apostles (cf. Paul's letter to the church at Rome). As such, it's most disturbing.

BTW, am I the only one or have others also noticed that Benedict seems to have coined a new term in his recent interview? "Evolution of dogma." IMO, that's a dangerous concept, just because the words are so susceptible of interpretation that is unacceptable to the apostolic tradition. At the very least, it should only be used in the context of fully explicit distinctions regarding dogma v. theological development/speculation which Benedict failed to make.

Banshee said...

Well, we'll see. But I feel hopeful today about everything, because I've been reading the blog of a Presbyterian medievalist who's writing a really nice book about the Hours of the Virgin and the Song of Songs, and has another book out about reading Scripture about Mary.

If God can do such unlikely things in this modern world, He can do whatever else needs to be done. :)

Here's a link to her Marquette lecture book.

Banshee said...

Well, I just read the whole Marquette article, which was just far enough to find the obligatory stupid bit at the end. Disappointing. But maybe she has an orthodox interpretation hidden somewhere, along with this Mary Barker person. I can see where you could bring something sensible out of it, if you just leaned heavily on the Shekhinah and the like. But yeah, disappointing.

Sigh. St. Joseph, pray for us!

Theodor said...

Father, I think, that you are perfectly right in your prophecy. But still two options:

a) the "door opening" is big enough for Marx et al to immediately implement a "path"
b) they will have to do two steps: 1. start the "godfather", "reader", "head of parish assembly" stuff 2. "Look, she is head of the parish assembly, but not allowed to go to communion. How unmerciful! We HAVE to change this"

Anyway: It will end with the rumored quote from Papa Bergoglio: "in the end all of them will go to communion" ...

Melinda said...

According to Kaspar, it is over 200 pages. So your first prediction is very safe; and with that set, the others are sure to follow.

A happy feast of St. Joseph to you, Father. "Gelding" almost wins me over to admiration of Wycliffe (or the translators at Balliol, or Queens as I've also heard suggested.) Ah, the beauties of Middle English prose!

Liam Ronan said...

Dear Father,

You prognosticate that the document:

"...will not open up a regular public pathway to the admission of such people to the Sacraments without the regularisation of their matrimonial situation through the Nullity system."

My question is: Will that restriction apply to Lutherans as well, or only Catholics?

My personal guess for release date of the document is Mercy Sunday. Please God it will not be Good Friday.

mark wauck said...

I suspect that the real aim, in true Marxist fashion, is to "change the facts on the ground." IOW, to insert language that's ambiguous enough to justify bishops in doing whatever they want, changing the Church in fact if not in theory. Making it extraordinarily difficult to turn the clock back. I think I read somewhere that this was the type of tactic used in the English Reformation, to devastating effect.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Does anyone know whether it was signed on 19th March? Or is there an almighty row going on in the Vatican meaning that we will have to wait several months? My prediction. The interesting thing will be to compare it with Familiaris Consortio - a document studiously ignored and which said all that was needed to be said. Will this new document have anything useful in it that has not already been said in FC?

Fencing Bear said...


"Obligatory stupid bit"?

fr. Thomas said...

Did you receive an advance copy, Father?