30 October 2015

The Ordinariates and the Knockwurst theologians

I thought you might be amused by this diverting little doctrinal Speculation ...

 ... when the Ordinariates were set up, they were specifically given, as their doctrinal standard, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (I've often wondered why Benedict XVI did this; perhaps it's because he ... no; forget it: I'll just get on with my first Speculation.)

I have, in previous posts, manfully defended our present Holy Father against the unworthy accusation made by Knockwurst theologians that he supports their desire to admit to Communion those living in unrepented Adultery. But if ... per impossibile ... just take this as an amusing piece of Scifi or contrafactual fantasy ... some future pope ... Clement XXV, or even the XXVIth, let's say ... were to go down the garden path hand in hand with Cardinals Marx and Kasper, were to set aside the Magisterium of S John Paul II (see Familiaris consortio), and were to sanction this sacrilege ...

 ... would this lead to a situation of Impaired Communion with the Ordinariates? Because, of course, the CCC (paragraph 1650) specifically forbids the reception of Holy Communion by 'remarried' divorcees ( ...ad eucharisticam Communionem accedere non possunt ...). Obviously, we couldn't decently be asked to subvert the doctrinal understanding and basis upon which we entered into Full Communion. We all signed on the Dotted Line, as we were required to. As some people chose very offensively chose to put it, being misogynist was not in itself enough for admission to the Catholic Church. Nor could admission (we were equally offensively told) be on the basis of A la Carte; it had to be Table d'hote. Presumably we would be honourable enough to stick with this, even if some of the diocesan structures around us were to ... er ... I'm not quite sure how to put this ...

Perhaps, in this totally and gloriously impossible scenario, we would subsequently be joined by flocks and flocks of orthodox cradle Catholics flooding into our happy little orthodox enclaves, and learning to enjoy our splendid Liturgy.

A lovely idea. But, of course, a complete doctrinal impossibility. Pope Francis has made it totally clear that, as a Son of the Church, he is bound to the Church's teaching and would never change it, and every succeeding pope will be just as fully and satisfactorily bound as he is. After all, there would be something very odd if Clement XXV were to set aside the Post-Synodal Exhortations of his predecessors S John Paul II (Familiaris consortio) and S Benedict XVI (Sacramentum caritatis), and, mysteriously, expect people to take a Post-Synodal Exhortation of his own as anything other than a joke in distinctly poor taste. I'm sure he, and his successor Innocent XXV, will be much too attached to the Principle of Non-Contradiction to do anything remotely like that.


Tony V said...

Your mistake, Fr H, is thinking you signed on to the letter of the CCC. Actually, you signed on to its spirit.

Catherine said...

Wonderful. Absolutely brilliant!!

KaeseEs said...

That's a very easy square to circle, Father - they'll just issue revised catechisms.

Then revised editions of the Rite excised of pesky things our Lord said about the matter, as well as removing some medieval rubbish that somehow survived in the previous versions due to an oversight.

Then revised Bibles, because some Troublemakers will keep muckraking otherwise, and we can't really have any idea what the Historical Jesus said on any topic anyways. Since the Reformers love the idea of Newness, they'll call this the Newer American Bible (Newest? Truly New? New New American Bible?) - incidentally, it is at this point that other English-speaking lands will be compelled to use the NAB for their readings. Sorry about that dignified and hieratic language we all hoped you'd get to share with the rest of us.

Please forgive my lengthy jest, as I haven't had my coffee yet this morning.

Incidentally and on a totally unrelated note, it seems the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. The Holy Father did laudable work for the cause of peace in that land early in his pontificate (culminating with a dramatic worldwide simultaneous hour of adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament!), and I wonder if he could perhaps do the world another favor by making another conciliatory gesture - perhaps he could give a speech in the capital. Of course an eco-friendly mode of transportation could be provided to facilitate his travel there. Yes, if we merely get the Pope on a horse to Damascus and let God do the rest we will be set.

Murray said...

What a coincidence! I had been idly speculating about the very same (highly improbable) thought experiment, Father. We are fortunate enough to have a little Ordinariate enclave in our Western Canadian diocese, and should a future diocesan bishop decide to go along with a future directive from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to subvert the Magisterium (and the CCCB is, of course, renowned for its doctrinal solidity and scrupulous attention to correct liturgical praxis), might my little family of Catholic converts find refuge in the Ordinariate? We have no recent Anglican heritage, so cannot become members in full, but as I understand it, we can certainly join the parish.

The Ordinariate priests I have met, though lovely men, do seem to have developed a healthy level of cantankerousness, no doubt as a result of the persecutions and indignities they suffered at the hands of their fellow Anglicans. It strikes me that they would be much more likely to stand firm in such a future hypothetical scenario than our diocesan priests, who might be torn between their obedience to their bishop and obedience to God.

How fortunate we are that such a situation is unlikely to arise in our lifetimes!

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. There are such things as sly and wry speculations and thanks be to God they exist.

You are the best....

deBop said...

Well it depends on what specific means.From Familiaris Consortio, Paragraph 84:

"Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children's upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid."

So if a pastor encounters one of those who "are subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid", and if he, "for the sake of the truth", and with carefully exercised discernment, accepts the "subjectively certain" judgement offered to him, in what way would he then be contradicting the teaching of Familiaris Consortio if he admitted such a one to Holy Communion?

Anonymous said...

Fr Hunwicke, I made a comment to our leadership in the American Ordinariate last week that, if even the Church "decentralized" and became something like the Anglican Communion, the Ordinariates are all directly under the purview of the CDF. Thus, even if diocese, or even entire episcopal conferences, were to drift in a heterodox direction, we would still have a close tie to Rome, to home, in the CDF.

KaeseEs said...


They would be contradicting the part, just a few scant sentences after the section of Paragraph 84 which you quoted, which reads in English:

"However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."[180]"

This purposefully contrasts the subjective judgement of the persons in question with the objective facts of their situation, and instructs the priests of God to consider the latter rather than the former when discerning whether a parishioner should present themselves to receive the Blessed Sacrament. If one might then wonder "what then constitutes the pastoral care of persons in such a situation?", the answer which FC 84 gives is in the trio of sentences which live between the portion which you quoted and the section which I quoted:

"Together with the Synod, I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life. They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God's grace. Let the Church pray for them, encourage them and show herself a merciful mother, and thus sustain them in faith and hope."

Murray said...

Chappy B+,

That is excellent, heartening news. But I wonder what would happen if our hypothetical Clement XXV were to abolish the CDF in a misguided effort to devolve doctrinal authority to regional entities like bishops' conferences?

Anonymous said...

To Chappy B+: Unfortunately, the Holy Father could dissolve the CDF.The following question was asked in the comments section of Robert Royal's essay entitled " The Text and the Context" of the The Catholic Thing: "I have read somewhere, that the Pope might just do away with the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. ... is that possible?"

Father Peter Morello PhD replied:
'Yes. The Congregation is not part of the Depositum of the Faith or essential doctrine. It's a component of ecclesiastical structure. If a previous pontiff instituted it to meet an historical need another pontiff may dissolve it. This is the oldest congregation of the Curia established by Pope Paul III "Licet ab intio" 1542 as a countermeasure [the so-called Counter Reformation] to the Protestant Reformation and the inroads Protestant thought was having within Catholicism. It received the title of Office of the Inquisition, later simply shortened to Holy Office. The Congregation can also be rendered ineffective. What is being reported is that Pope Francis is weakening it by informing South American bishops that they can ignore admonitions to be doctrinally correct and continue with changes as it seems he has implied to Cardinal Marx. This is consistent with Francis' policy of internal maneuvering rather than direct action. My opinion is that if it were dissolved or rendered ineffective it would pose grave risk to the integrity of Catholic doctrine."

So, unfortunately Chappy B, the CDF is not a permanent structure, though I think it is most sorely needed, especially now.

Personally, I am fortunate - in the city where I live, there is both an Ordinariate as well as an an FSSP Parish. I have good choices.

Anonymous said...

Father, if I ever again visit the UK, I must visit your parish...and hopefully bring my Episcopalian Priest brother with me. I chuckle at the poster who intimated that "they" would just issue new catechisms and Bibles. Well, on this side of the pond "they" already did as per the latter...in the form of a translation that replaces "virgin" with "young woman". Appears "they" are well on their way to a try and conversion! Keep it up, Father, and "Deo gratias!!" for your holding of the "their" feet to the fire.

deBop said...

Dear KaesaEs,

Except, if the subjective judgement be discerned to be true, which is what the pastor, "in truth", is being invited to determine one way or the other, then there is no conflict with objective fact: for it would follow that objectively there was no marriage in the first place, hence there could not have been a divorce.

The text you quote from Familiaris Consortio is simply irrelevant in the light of this objectively established pastoral discernment of the subjective judgment brought before it.

There's the rub. There's the breach in the wall that the German Fathers effected in this synod.

And watch Bergoglio absolutize it.

Cherub said...

Dear Father

I think my earlier response has got lost. The catechism of the catholic Church was recommended by the the bishops of the Traditional Anglican communion in their Portsmouth Declaration. All the bishops who attended signed a copy of the CCC which was taken, together with the Declaration and hand delivered to Archbishop di Noia in Rome. The reason why the TAC did this was because I personally recommended to Archbishop Hepworth (the then Primate) and Bishop David Chislett, that this would be the best way to proceed and would kick into touch, so to speak, further "interminable discussions" on doctrine. Pope Benedict was very moved by that and it was no surprise to find it in Anglicanorum coatibus. That is the true history of it.