Friday, August 14, 2015

Closed-Door Discussions

If I were to have the misfortune of falling into serious sin by breaking the Church teaching on remarriage outside the Church, then I would just refrain from Communion. Why do so many people want to receive Holy Communion from a Church whose laws they despise? From Mary Jo Anderson at The Catholic World Report:
There is a storm warning ahead for the Ordinary Synod on the Family, scheduled for October 2015 in Rome. Can there be “the possibility of an evolution of the ecclesiastical doctrine of marriage” in the Catholic Church without the Synod fathers “betraying their own traditions”? That evolution is the goal of some prominent theologians and canonists who met for three separate workshops earlier this year, under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for the Family. 

Tdivorziati Risposati: In Un Volume la Riflessione Piu Avansata, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV), is a guide to the three workshops. The book was reviewed in the July 25 issue of the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana; the review details the proceedings of those workshops that, while perhaps not “secret,” were not publicized by the Pontifical Council for the Family. Unlike the semi-secret, but unofficial, “Shadow Council” held at the Pontifical Gregorian University in May, no members of the press were invited to the workshops. 

The workshops were held in January, February, and March of this year. LEV’s 500-page compilation of the proceedings purports to outline the most “advanced reflection” on the relationship of the family and the Church, particularly on the hot-button issues that sparked controversy during the preliminary Synod on the Family in October 2014. 

When the mid-point relatio of that preliminary synod was released to the public last year, Catholic observers and even some synod participants learned that novel “pastoral” initiatives had been proposed, including openness to homosexual “gifts” and a “pathway” for the divorced and remarried to be permitted to receive Communion. 

The debate over Communion for the remarried caused cardinal tempers to flare. Many recoiled at the suggestion that settled Church doctrine should even be a topic of discussion when so many grave matters threaten families. Issues such as religious freedom, catechesis, persecution, and poverty drew less discussion because energy was directed toward defense of the doctrinal teaching on marriage and family. Prior to the synod, a much-circulated “Kasper Proposal,” presented by Cardinal Walter Kasper during a February 2014 consistory of cardinals, was touted as a pastoral approach that skirted the thorny problem of changes to the doctrinal teaching on marriage. 

The question that looms large in these discussions strikes at the very foundation of sacramental theology: How can those in an objectively sinful marital arrangement—the divorced and civilly remarried—be admitted to the sacrament of Communion? It was Jesus himself who taught that marriage was indissoluble (Mt. 19:3-12). Even pastorally, can we ignore the clear prescription of Christ? Are we to hold that Christ’s own words on marriage are too hard for our contemporary era? Or is the demand for new pastoral elasticity itself a sign of the secular pressures against marriage that the synod hoped to address? (Read  more.)

1 comment:

Diamantina, aka Gentillylace said...

In my opinion, this is at least partly due to inadequate catechesis and a surrender to secular culture among many baptized Catholics. I suspect that many people who have been baptized in the Catholic Church do not think that civil marriage after divorce is a sin. Informing them that it is a serious sin just leads to sardonic eye rolls. In order to reduce civil marriages after divorce among baptized Catholics, catechesis in the family and in the school/parish must improve and we must strive to reform the culture in which we live.