was for nearly three decades at Lancing College; where he taught Latin and Greek language and literature, was Head of Theology, and Assistant Chaplain. He has served three curacies, been a Parish Priest, and Senior Research Fellow at Pusey House in Oxford. Since 2011, he has been in full communion with the See of S Peter. The opinions expressed on this Blog are not asserted as being those of the Magisterium of the Church, but as the writer's opinions as a private individual. Nevertheless, the writer strives, hopes, and prays that the views he expresses are conformable with and supportive of the Magisterium. In this blog, the letters PF stand for Pope Francis. On this blog, 'Argumentum ad hominem' refers solely to the Lockean definition, Pressing a man with the consequences of his own concessions'.
How about the speeches of the Synod being published? Or at least will Synod Fathers be able to report what other Synod Fathers have said? (That could get messy, but I do think we need transparency on what our bishops are saying.)
And yes, the "eventual introduction" is still suspicious, but we seem to be in a very different place than this time last year, or even during the Synod last October. I would hope and pray that this is the dying breath of a defeated revolution rather than its birth pangs.
the theme of "indissolubility as a gift and a duty" looks hopeful.
Ah yes, the "penitential way" method of getting the camel's nose into the tent!
The pertinent question this method must answer is: "How many times must I diddle a woman other than my wife before it ceases to be the mortal sin of adultery and I become eligible to enter into the "penitential way", have my sinful state blessed by the Church and receive Holy Communion?" Obviously, the odd occasion of playing away from home must be adultery. But if I get serious about it, ditch my wife and kids, shack up with the other woman to do some continuous diddling, then at some point the "penitential way" is an option.
Welcome to the world of virtual non-reality as presented by Kasper the Goat.
I was alarmed by this comment from Rocco Palmo:
"On a related front, ample treatment was given to the state of marriage tribunals, with calls for a 'decentralization' of the annulment courts and the floating of the 'relevance of the personal faith' of spouses in terms of their understanding of the marital bond as a means for declaring the nullity of a marriage."
The latter bit sounds simply like warmed-over Donatism with a happy spin.
I fear the agenda is more ominous than it appears in the English summary of the Instrumentum. I looked at the other Vatican News versions of the text. The Italian and French texts are just a brief release saying the Instrumentum was issued this morning, 23rd June. The Spanish text however is far more detailed than the English - it is a quite different text, in fact. At the point in question it says:
"En lo que se refiere, en particular, a los divorciados vueltos a casar se desea una reflexión sobre la oportunidad de dejar caer las formas de exclusión, que se practican en la actualidad, en ámbito litúrgico-pastoral, educativo y caritativo, porque estos fieles no están fuera de la Iglesia. Sin embargo, se señala que los caminos de integración pastoral deben estar precedidos por un discernimiento oportuno y se deben realizar según una ley de gradualidad, en el respeto de la maduración de las conciencias."
So: the wonted subject/object confusion in references to 'forms of exclusion' that must be 'dropped/done away with in a liturgico-pastoral context'. And the equally fuzzy reference to a 'gradual discernment' process.
And here is the much more extensive Spanish version of the 'penitential way':-
"Sobre el acceder a la Eucaristía para los divorciados vueltos a casar, el Instrumentum evidencia común acuerdo sobre la hipótesis de un camino penitencial, bajo la responsabilidad de un Obispo."
ie 'About the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced who have remarried, the Instrumentum *demonstrates/shows/proves* mutual agreement on the hypothesis/idea of a penitential route, under the responsibility of a Bishop.'
It seems strange that the Instrumentum Laboris, the working schedule, 'demonstrates mutual agreement' about this 'idea'. Can a working schedule *demonstrate/show/prove* anything? The bishops certainly didn't agree on that last October. It is as if an attempt is being made to turn the controversially kasperite-partial Relatio of the previous by no means 'mutually agreed' 2014 session on the subject, into a 'generally agreed idea' that the October 2015 session can now scarcely reject.
And even more interestingly, only the readers of the Spanish will actually be aware of what is going forward. (And Portuguese readers, for that version follows the Spanish pretty closely.)
Indissolubility? Up to a point, Lord Copper. What seems rather shocking is the way the Spanish text seems to consider remarriage outside the Church as pretty much a routine sort of thing - I'm reminded that the Holy Father referred to remarriages as 'Las Replay' in his Vatican recording for the Mexican broadcast.
PS I've located the Italian version here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/documents/rc_synod_doc_20150623_instrumentum-xiv-assembly_it.html#La_via_penitenziale
123 '...an itinerary of reconciliation, under the authority of the Bishop [ie not necessarily by him]for the faithful [!unfortunate choice of word, perhaps] who are divorced and have civilly remarried, who are in an irreversible condition of cohabitation.' And then:
"In riferimento a Familiaris Consortio 84, si suggerisce un percorso di presa di coscienza del fallimento e delle ferite da esso prodotte, con pentimento, verifica dell’eventuale nullità del matrimonio, impegno alla comunione spirituale e decisione di vivere in continenza.
"Altri, per via penitenziale intendono un processo di chiarificazione e di nuovo orientamento, dopo il fallimento vissuto, accompagnato da un presbitero a ciò deputato. Questo processo dovrebbe condurre l’interessato a un giudizio onesto sulla propria condizione, in cui anche lo stesso presbitero possa maturare una sua valutazione per poter far uso della potestà di legare e di sciogliere in modo adeguato alla situazione."
So, there are two radically different understandings of what that 'via penitenziale' might be. The second looks rather vague and wishy-washy.
I find it disturbing that 'figli' appears to refer exclusively to the children of the second 'marriage'. ('quando si tratta di casi irreversibili e legati ad obblighi morali verso i figli che verrebbero a subire sofferenze ingiuste') But the moral obligations and sufferings of the children of the first or sacramental marriage should surely count for something? And are the children of second, third or fourth irregular unions really not allowed to be baptized, catechized, given their first Communion and then confirmed? What 'unjust suffering' are they forced to 'undergo', because of the exclusion of their parent(s) from the Eucharistic life of the Church?
In reading this passage - at least after putting it through Google Translate - it becomes clearer to me that the original Kasper proposal has been significantly altered. I first noticed this after the publication of the final synod report last October. Kasper's proposal seemed to have to do with remarried divorcees doing penance for their first failed (and sacramental) marriage, and then continuing along like a normal married couple in the second (and invalid) marriage - and receiving communion.
However, last October's synod relatio and the Instrumentum laboris talk about an "objective situation of sin" and "moral culpability" for people in such situations. Even the "wishy-washy" paragraph (as John Vasc puts it) - and I agree it is rather vague - seems to deal with a priest acting as a spiritual director dealing with such couples, getting to know their situation (i.e. assessing their level of culpability and, when they fall into sin, using the sacrament of penance).
Then the last paragraph goes on to say that, in assessing "the objective situation of sin and the moral imputability, some suggest taking into account the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church about the reception of Eucharistic Communion by Divorced and Remarried Faithful of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (14 September 1994) and the statement about the eligibility for holy communion of the divorced and remarried by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (24 June 2000)."
These are both very good documents issued during the time of Pope John Paul II. It's a major victory that they were included in the Instrumentum laboris.
Folks, we are no longer talking about the "quasi-Orthodox" oikonomia business. The most liberal proposal now is that a priest be appointed to assess moral culpability of such couples and use the Sacrament of Penance when they commit the sin of having adulterous relations. I am not saying that this is a good idea, only that the most liberal proposal now acknowledges that this is an objectively sinful situation and is forced to retreat to talk about "subjectively culpability" - which is a totally legitimate Catholic concept. Of course it can be abused, but that is another discussion.
I am not saying that there isn't reason for concern, only that the original Kasper proposal is getting weaker and weaker.
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