Evidently Bishop Chaput beat the all the horses patoots out of the barn with guidelines: If you're not Sacramentally married to the eyecandy you share your pillow with, you've got to give up sex just like the rest of us.
Conceding that it may come off as a “hard teaching,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has decreed that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics in the archdiocese may receive Communion only if they refrain from sex, and that they cannot hold positions of responsibility in a parish or perform liturgical functions.
That latter prohibition, according to a new set of pastoral guidelines issued by Chaput, is designed to avoid “the unintended appearance of an endorsement of divorce and civil remarriage.”
Undertaking to live as brother and sister is necessary for the divorced and civilly remarried to receive reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance, which could then open the way to the Eucharist,” the guidelines state, which took effect July 1.
“This is a hard teaching for many, but anything less misleads people about the nature of the Eucharist and the Church,” the document says.
The guidelines, addressed to anyone in the Philadelphia archdiocese who works in the area of family life and human sexuality, are designed to govern implementation of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, issued in April and intended to draw conclusions from the pontiff’s two Synods of Bishops on the family in 2014 and 2015.
On other fronts, the guidelines say that couples living together outside of marriage should either be encouraged to separate, if they’re incapable or unwilling to be married, or to prepare themselves for marriage while refraining from sex in the meantime.
Get the popcorn and lemonade kids, we're off to the races.
Bye-bye "internal forum":
At the same time, the guidelines insist that annulments “cannot be granted informally or privately by individual pastors or priests,” and that the formal process set out under Church law must be followed.
Here's another surprise:
In Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis appeared to open a door for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion after a process of “discernment” with a priest or bishop. The Philadelphia guidelines, however, insist that no process of discernment can set aside the objective facts of someone’s situation.
“Catholic teaching makes clear that the subjective conscience of the individual can never be set against objective moral truth, as if conscience and truth were two competing principles for moral decision-making,” they state.
The guidance seems to cover all the bases:
The document also calls for compassion and understanding for those who fall short, saying that “especially in a culture that is already deeply confused about complex matters of marriage and sexuality, a person may not be fully culpable for acting against the truth.”
Yet the document insists that compassion does not mean ignoring the Church’s traditional discipline, but offering help to people asked to make sacrifices, such as people whose spouses abandon them and who refuse to enter into a second relationship because they regard themselves as still married.
Or single people whose relationships implode when we are forced to make a choice between the Eucharist or the relationship. May I add it's a choices that's absolutely no contest!!!
I believe the raising of our voices in the public square has been critical to this correction, but as far as I'm concerned, the Holy Father himself has to clarify or Church teaching will be marginalized as the uber conservative skunk at the Pope's lawn party.
As in Bishop Chaput is one of the annoying rigid-this-or-nothing bishops he's patiently waiting to croak.
Time to plant a journalist on the plane to drop the shoe where the air is thin at 10,000 miles high.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out with the usual suspects.