When I read stuff Pope Francis says, I usually read every line to give him the benefit of the doubt.
So when I started to read this piece of work, which is also covered at Rorate, I actually didn't think it was too bad until I was about half-way through it.
I wondered if it were possible that the Holy Father is trying to reach people who have closed their hearts to Church teaching.
Was he talking to people who have always slept around and used birth control?
Christians who stop at “it’s always been done that way” have hearts closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit. They are idolaters and rebels will never arrive at the fullness of the truth.
How could he possibly be talking about Catholics who use the Sacraments to resist temptation?
I find it hard to swallow he could be suggesting that the Holy Spirit has changed His mind about Adam and Eve, and Christ and Mary and the absolution of sins were not necessary to the story of salvation.
The people, after a victory in battle, wanted to offer a sacrifice of the best animals to God, because, he said, “it’s always been done that way.” But God, this time, did not want that. The prophet Samuel rebuked Saul: “Does the Lord so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord?” Jesus teaches us the same thing in the Gospel, the Pope explained. When the doctors of the law criticized Him because His disciples did not fast “as had always been done,” Jesus responded with these examples from daily life: “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
You don't take sacrilegious Communion. It is unhealthy. It ends up frying communication between the soul and the intellect. It short-wires, twists and perverts communication--ultimately leading you to your own spiritual suicide. Christ is explaining what happened to Judas.
“What does this mean? That He changes the law? No! That the law is at the service of man, who is at the service of God – and so man ought to have an open heart.
I'm with the Holy Father right up to here.
This is where he starts to lose me:
“It is the sin of so many Christians who cling to what has always been done and who do not allow others to change. And they end up with half a life, [a life that is] patched, mended, meaningless.” The sin, he said, “is a closed heart,” that “does not hear the voice of the Lord, that is not open to the newness of the Lord, to the Spirit that always surprises us.” This rebellion, says Samuel, is “the sin of divination,” and obstinacy is the sin of idolatry:
“Christians who obstinately maintain ‘it’s always been done this way,' this is the path, this is the street—they sin: the sin of divination. It’s as if they went about by guessing: ‘What has been said and what doesn’t change is what’s important; what I hear—from myself and my closed heart—more than the Word of the Lord.’ Obstinacy is also the sin of idolatry: the Christian who is obstinate sins! The sin of idolatry. ‘And what is the way, Father?’ Open the heart to the Holy Spirit, discern what is the will of God.”
Christians who obstinately maintain ‘it’s always been done this way,' this is the path, this is the street—they sin: the sin of divination.
Divination was the sin of Adam and Eve. Those who place themselves above Church teaching.
Christ was smart enough to memorialize truth in writing so that there wouldn't have to be any guessing.
So when someone comes along to tell we don't have to say no to the snake just because we've been doing it since Adam and Eve...
When someone comes along to tell us that mortal sin no longer needs the absolution of the Church...
When someone comes along to say there is beauty in adultery...
When someone comes along to say they are going to invent a liturgical dance that will replace absolution and abstinence from sin...
Comparing these invitations to Church teaching is diametrically opposed to divination.
When we surrender the authority of our own desires and intellect and look for the answers in guidance written by the Holy Spirit--this is the process of 'opening of the heart to the Word of God'.
Those who devote themselves to the path of Christ are not opposed to changes or surprises.
When St. John Paul opened up our Rosary to the Luminous Mysteries - we enthusiastically devoured it.
Each time a Saint has come along in our 2000 year history to break open a teaching, we are the people who are read to understand, enlighten and practice.
Most of us are devoted to Divine Mercy, we look for opportunities to obtain plenary indulgences and offer them for the souls in purgatory.
We live every day in the practice of offering prayer,penance, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - for ourselves, our family and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
It stands to reason that if we accept the 2000 year history of writings that break open Church teaching and are doing all the things necessary to intercede for God's mercy - that we are neither opposed to new ideas and change or wish to obstruct all avenues of mercy, even new ones. But we are not going to accept something that contradicts 2000 years of Church teaching, not to mention common sense.
The truth about the absolution of mortal sin through the Sacrament of Penance is not changeable for reasons we should not need to explain to a Pope.
There is no magical recitation of a phrase that absolves mortal sin. There is no ditty we can recite that somehow makes it acceptable to continue to commit adultery. You've got to stop committing it. You've got to have it absolved through the Sacrament of Confession.
Suggesting the use of Church teaching to make a judgment upon an invitation to live in a perpetual state of adultery is 'divination', is pretty loony. I frankly don't know of anything in our 2000 year history that is loonier.
It couldn't be where he was going with it!!
I think we can all agree that it is absolutely critical that a Pope have the skill to communicate Church teaching and what he means to say about it, very clearly. We do not have that in Pope Francis and this is an experience that should never be repeated in the history of our Church when picking a Pope.
I read something last week that indicates Pope Francis tried to clarify his statements about homosexuals in the priesthood:
“I am glad that we are talking about ‘homosexual people’ because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity,” Francis told Tornielli, according to the National Catholic Reporter. “And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: Let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love.”
The National Catholic Reporter further reports that Francis said he prefers “that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord and that we pray all together.”
“You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way and accompany them along it,” the pontiff says in Tornielli’s book,
The good news is, he finally states the purpose and mission of the Church is the epiphany that sex outside of the Sacrament of Marriage is a sin that needs to be confessed and absolved in the Sacrament of Penance.
The not so good news is, the original questioned posed was about homosexual priests. Priests that have told people they are sexually attracted to other men and the overwhelming majority of which are teaching others that homosexual sex is ok. Some of these priests have taken a lover.
He is still dancing around the elephant.
The Vicar of Christ and the bishops underneath him have an absolute duty to make a judgment upon that situation. Not doing so has demoralized, confused and scandalized generations of Catholics.Though it is good news to hear there is a purification of the 'gay lobby' underway at the Vatican, the perversions that came out of the Synod on the Family do not leave us edified. Further, that is lightyears away from the problem that needs addressing: What is being taught at our local parish and schools - is not being addressed. This is where the damage is being done.
Which brings us to the Holy Father's conclusion:
“This is the message the Church gives us today. This is what Jesus says so forcefully: ‘New wine in new wineskins.’ Habits must be renewed in the newness of the Spirit, in the surprises of God. May the Lord grant us the grace of an open heart, of a heart open to the voice of the Spirit, which knows how to discern what should not change, because it is fundamental, from what should change in order to be able to receive the newness of the Spirit.”
With all due respect, this calls for a good dose of his own medicine!
What needs to change isn't the improvision of a deceptive ritual that leaves souls in a perpetual state of mortal sin. That turkey is not going to fly. Ever.
We all would embrace reaching out to children of divorce and remarried or children of any other irregular situation. We have an opportunity to do so when they bring their children for a Sacrament. Stop making it a 'drop your children off at CCD' program and minister to and teach the family as a unit. Children in one program, parents in the other and do what it takes to help make the situation regular and draw them back to the Sacramental life of the Church. There are all kinds of fabulous catechetical programs at our disposal.
Why don't we just move on with it?
Why are we burdening this work with all kinds of foolish talk about the Holy Spirit suggesting it might be time to hoodwink a person into believing they are not in a state of perpetual mortal sin?