I'm sure you've all read the big news.
Pope Francis has personally confirmed it was his intention to direct priests to give Communion to people living in a state of perpetual sin.
So now we know. We knew before, really, but didn’t have explicit confirmation. The long, agonizing slog, however, is finally over: from Pope Francis’ invitation to Cardinal Kasper to address the bishops in Rome in February of 2014 to the pope’s letter last week to some Argentinean bishops affirming guidelines they had developed in a joint document that, in “exceptional cases,” people divorced and remarried (living in an “adulterous” relationship as we believed for 2000 years in Western Christianity), may receive Holy Communion. This whole affair is bizarre. No other word will do.
I didn't realize people were still waiting for confirmation!
Bizarre is a pretty strong description coming from Royal. Accurate but nonetheless, strong.
And when I read this, it did not go unnoticed that he recently announced he was closing comments!:
I say this in sorrow, but I’m afraid that the rest of this papacy is now going to be rent by bands of dissenters, charges of papal heresy, threats of – and perhaps outright –schism. Lord, have mercy.
We've got a problem. And it isn't a little one!
A few more worthy commentaries
Jeff Mirus is back to defending the indefensible.
He seems to get the public witness loses hundreds in a parish:
The key question is: Which is more important, the potential scandal which could weaken the commitment of others to the Church’s teaching on marriage, or the need for the (venial) sinner (caught in a no-win situation) to be spiritually nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ?
But then scurries right back to marginalizing the Holy Father's catastrophic error:
A final point worth mentioning is that the Church’s prudential judgment about this matter can legitimately change with cultural conditions. For example, in a culture which generally respects the permanence of marriage, the potential scandal might be far greater than in a culture which generally denies the permanence of marriage (in which case it may be difficult to erode that concept any further).
Ed Peters does a decent job calling the position into question.
Long story made short, Catholics who have entered marriages subsequent to mere divorce are objectively disqualified from being given holy Communion (CCC 1650, 2384), whatever might be their subjectively reduced culpability for their state. This is a crucial point: two canons (and the values behind two canons) come into play every time a minister and recipient meet over the Host. Yes, Amoris seems to miss this point and the Buenos Aires Directive clearly misses it. Still.
And finally, this post at Rorate.
In the document, which intends to provide the clergy with some criteria in relation to the eighth chapter of the exhortation, the Argentinean bishops assert that, on the basis of Amoris laetitia, the divorced and remarried, can be admitted to sacramental Communion even if they are in a common-law marriage, with no intention of practicing chastity. Pope Francis expressed his appreciation of this proposition, by writing to the prelates that “the text is very good and explains Chapter VIII of Amoris laetitia in an excellent way. There is no other interpretation. And I’m sure it will do good.” This triggered off immediate controversy and the pontifical letter mysteriously disappeared from the site, in such a way that many began to have doubts about its existence, until the Osservatore Romano confirmed its authenticity.
“There is no other interpretation”. Pope Francis’ position on the divorced and remarried - already expressed on his return flight from the Isle of Lesbos, at this point, seems definitively clear. Yet if this is his thought, why commit it to a footnote in Amoris laetitia and to a private letter not intended for publication, instead of stating it in a clear, explicit way? Perhaps in this way, the contradiction of the perennial Magisterium of the Church would be public and formal, whereas the intention is to arrive at changing the Church’s doctrine in an ambiguous and surreptitious way?
The impression is that we find ourselves faced with a manipulation of information which creates precisely those tensions and divisions inside the Church that the Pope complained about in his discourse at Santa Marta on September 12th:“[…]ideological, theological divisions that lacerate the Church. The devil sows jealousy, ambitions, ideas, but to divide! […]Divisions make you see this part, this one against the other. Always against! There is no oil of unity, the balsam of unity”.(Zenit)
Divisions however, have their source in the two-forked language of the Devil and are defeated most of all by the truth: the truth of the Faith and morality, but also the truth of language and behaviour, which means renouncing all lies, falsification and reserve, following the teaching of the Gospel “[...] let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of the evil one.” (Matthew, 5 v 37)
A lot to digest. We have certainly crossed the Rubicon.