19 June 2017

Cardinals, Collegiality and Amoris Laetitia UPDATE.

This morning the Settimo cielo blog prints the text of the latest appeal by the Four Cardinals for an audience to discuss the Dubia which they raised earlier with the Sovereign Pontiff. I repeat, below, the piece I published yesterday, Monday.

Collegiality did not wait to be invented by Vatican II. In the 1950s, Papa Pacelli, Pius XII, wrote to each bishop of the Catholic Church to ask (1) whether he believed in the Corporal Assumption of the Mother of God; and (2) whether he considered it opportune for the dogma to be defined. The subsequent Solemn Definition followed upon the overwhelming consensus apparent in the replies of the world-wide episcopate.

More than a year has passed since the emergence of the divisive and poorly drafted document called Amoris laetitia. In this time, many Bishops and  episcopal conferences have issued guidelines making clear that nothing has changed since S John Paul II in Familiaris consortio, and Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis, reemphasised the Church's immemorial discipline: 'remarried' divorcees who will not repent of their adultery and undertake either to separate or at least to try, with the help of God's grace, to cohabit chastely, exclude themselves from the Sacraments during the time of their impenitence.

A few conferences and Bishops have issued statements understood as meaning that the thusly impenitent may, by virtue of Amoris laetitia, receive the Sacraments. Yet other conferences, such as that in England and Wales, have been manifestly unable to agree among themselves. It is clear that the Universal Episcopate is not united behind a 'German' interpretation of Amoris laetitia. Very far from it.

In the context of the Unity of the Una Catholica and of the collegial nature of the Universal Episcopate, cum et sub Petro, the time has surely come for this 'dialogue' to be moved to a new stage. Manifestly, if we are to persist with the embarrassing notion that we belong to one Church with one Teaching about the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, steps must be taken to move in the direction of coherence, harmony, and united witness. The idea that someone who is excluded from the Sacraments by his own impenitent rejection of the Gospel needs only to walk across the border between Poland and Germany, or from one American diocese to another, to be welcomed enthusiastically as a communicant in good standing, is obviously a profoundly unCatholic absurdity which needs speedily to be resolved. Indeed, if one of Bishop Lopes's Ordinariate parishes in America were geographically within a 'liberal', Cupichoid, diocese, the dissonance between the two in doctrine and discipline would be even more ludicrous.

The time has surely come for the Four Cardinals who intervened last year with their Dubia to revisit the question. And the time for Bishops, Successors of the Apostles according to the teaching of Leo XIII and of Vatican II and not mere vicars of the Roman Pontiff, to speak with courage, clarity and unanimity. And for clergy, laity, and academics to do the same. Remember that, at the height of the Arian Crisis, it was not among the Bishops or even in Rome that the Faith was most conspicuously preserved and defended. Remember the careful and lucid teaching of Blessed John Henry Newman, beloved Patron of our English Ordinariate, on the Suspense of the Magisterium.

Parrhesia, boldness in witnessing to the Truth, a virtue which was once (only a couple of years ago ... it seems like an eternity, doesn't it?) so very incessantly on the lips of the current occupant of the Roman See, is surely still an obligation for all faithful Catholics.

The more who speak boldly, the more difficult it will be for individuals to be put under unsympathetic pressure.


Catherina of Siena said...

Well, yes, what can a rather recent convert from Reformed Christianity say about all this, Father?

I am just baffled to hear the exact vague rhetoric which has become the new dogma of a large swath of Protestantism, some of it directly twisting the gospel words of even our Lord and St Paul et al. To witness the same resultant conflicting "pastoral" reactions, in what I thought was the one true Church of Christ, is truly sad. Actually it is quite horrific. The "denomination" in which I grew up could still be labelled Christian, gospel-followers to a large extent. It is now dying out because it has walked the same path as that what seems to be now taken by the present Bishop of Rome and the weird "theologians" around him.

One hopes sanity will prevail sooner than later.

Maria K. said...

Well, Cardinal Burke has already said that in order to take it to the next step he needs to be granted an audience from the pope. The pope will not grant him one to discuss it. So.... what would you have him do?

Fr. VF said...

Burke is wrong. The Pope's scandalous teaching is a public act. There is no duty to correct him in private--as might be the case if he were habitually getting quietly drunk, or neglecting his Breviary.

James said...

May God relieve the Church of Pope Francis in the very near future.

sfgreg said...

Do you know that Facebook is currently blocking your site. It was reported that it contains abusive content. Go figure!

austin said...

Well, this may be a fantasy, but what I would like to see is:

As many cardinals as can be mustered should meet solemnly and pronounce a fraternal correction of the pope.

They should extract a simple sentence from the universal magisterium that affirms the indissolubility of matrimony (one could hardly do better than the very words of Our Lord.

They should request that the pope publically assent to this truth before a specified date -- after which by reason of failing to uphold the function of his office, he will no longer be recognized as the rightful incumbent of the see of Peter.

This may be a schism, but we have been there before and survived it. I doubt that there are enough cardinals with gumption to pull this off, alas.

Laurel said...

Maria K., If I were the Cardinal, I'd go to Santa Marta early in the morning and greet the Pope after his daily Mass.

Michael Ortiz said...

Laurel---yes, the guards I don't think would turn away a handful of Cardinals!

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Some of your readers may be interested in reading a bit of what a few Conservative Council Fathers thought of Collegiality


As an aside, ABS wrote a letter to the book's author

"Dear Prof. I read your sociological analysis of Vat Two with interest but I did detect an error:

The Error: P. 54 Protestant observers were in attendance - the first time in history that Protestants had been invited to a Roman Catholic Council. 

ABS noted protestants were invited to Vatican 1, assured safe passage, and told they could debate any theological opinion that occurred to their dear hearts."

The Prof was having none of that and responded that she and her professor friends were correct in disagreeing she had erred.

And so it goes when one questions the academy :).

kiwiinamerica said...

That's what you call great timing, Father. Card. Cafarra releases the letter on the same day as your blog post calling for action on the dubia. Seems that things are indeed moving.

Gotta love Francis. He talks 24/7, mostly nonsense and mostly about subjects in which he has no particular competence. Yet when he's asked to discuss something which is critically important to the Church and very much part of his job description, he refuses to do so and goes silent.

Allen Thrasher said...

Protestants were invited to the Council of Trent, not of course to decide, but to present their thoughts, and were given the most elaborate safe conducts and assurances of safety and freedom of speech. You can see these guarantees near the beginning of the documents of the Council.

Liam Ronan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fr John Hunwicke said...

Liam ... I'm sorry ... I don't know what made this deletion notice appear. I had enabled your comment.

Liam Ronan said...

No apology necessary, Father. Combox comments are not much more than a verbal 'selfie'. The occasional Liam deleta est is a good opportunity for mortification.

"Jesus Desire of the Eternal Hills,
Have Mercy on us,"

God bless and keep you safe.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Should be deletus est - you are a male.

Liam Ronan said...

@Albrecht von Brandenburg,

Sometimes distinguishing between camels and gnats suffocates spontaneity...especially in respect of a pun.