Posted by: frroberts | October 19, 2015

Douthat on Pope Francis’ “plot” to change Catholicism

My old comrade-in-arms in the pro-life movement at Harvard has thrown down the gauntlet as regards Pope Francis’ push (and I think we have to be honest that the Pope is almost certainly the one behind the current machinations in Rome) for communion for those divorced and remarried without an annulment.  Here are some excerpts.

THE Vatican always seems to have the secrets and intrigues of a Renaissance court — which, in a way, is what it still remains. The ostentatious humility of Pope Francis, his scoldings of high-ranking prelates, have changed this not at all; if anything, the pontiff’s ambitions have encouraged plotters and counterplotters to work with greater vigor.

And right now the chief plotter is the pope himself.

Francis’s purpose is simple: He favors the proposal, put forward by the church’s liberal cardinals, that would allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion without having their first marriage declared null.

The documents guiding the synod have been written with that goal in mind. The pope has made appointments to the synod’s ranks with that goal in mind, not hesitating to add even aged cardinals tainted by the sex abuse scandal if they are allied to the cause of change. The Vatican press office has filtered the synod’s closed-door (per the pope’s directive) debates to the media with that goal in mind. The churchmen charged with writing the final synod report have been selected with that goal in mind. And Francis himself, in his daily homilies, has consistently criticized Catholicism’s “doctors of the law,” its modern legalists and Pharisees — a not-even-thinly-veiled signal of his views.

(Though of course, in the New Testament the Pharisees allowed divorce; it was Jesus who rejected it.)

When Popes are seen by some of the most committed faithful to be leading the Church down a path that contradicts both Scripture and Tradition, the results are disastrous.   Remember the bit about indulgences and a certain German Friar named Luther?  It would be most inopportune to continue walking down this path.

Anyone familiar with the contours of the dogma of Papal Infallibility will recognize that the charism extends to that which pertains to defining the deposit of faith.  It most definitely does not cover pastoral innovations, especially when those pastoral innovations would seem to eviscerate the contents of the Catholic faith.   Check out Paul’s words to Peter in Galatians for a good example of the limits of the Petrine ministry.


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