The Synod Is Over and All I Got Was This Lousy Shirt
The Synod on the Family is over. If you recall from my post three weeks ago in which I outlined the three possibilities that I foresaw the Synod coming to, I was somewhat right:
I see that Option Two is much more likely to happen, simply because those who want to administer Holy Communion to adulterers and actively homosexual, will be able to through a liberal reading of the documents. Meanwhile, those who will actively refuse this reading will accuse the Synod of intentionally allowing this evil to occur. Thus what we will see is those who adhere to the “traditional view” (read: Catholic) will be accused of going the way of the SSPX and causing schism, when the reality simply is that Rome has condoned the practice by not condemning it, all for appearing to be “pastoral”.
The final report from the Synod does not come out and say that adulterers can receive Holy Communion. On the other hand, the report also doesn’t come out and condemn it either. From paragraphs 84-86 of the document as translated by Rorate Caeli:
84. The baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried are to be more integrated in the Christian communities in the various possible ways, avoiding every occasion of scandal.
The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral accompaniment, so that they be aware not only that they belong to the Body of Christ, that is the Church, but that they may have a joyful and fruitful experience. They are baptized, they are brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit pours gifts and charisms in them for the good of all. Their participation can be expressed in various ecclesial services: it is therefore necessary to discern which of the different forms of exclusion currently practiced in a liturgical, educational, pastoral, and institutional role that can be overcome. They should not only not feel excommunicated, but they should live and mature as living members of the Church, feeling her as a mother that welcomes them always, takes care of them affectionately, and encourages them on the path of life and Gospel. This integration is necessary for the Christian care and education of their children, who must be considered what is most important. For the Christian community, taking care of these persons is not a weakening of their own faith and testimony regarding matrimonial indissolubility: rather, the Church expresses precisely in this care her charity.
85. Saint John Paul II offered an all-encompassing criterion, that remains the basis for valuation of these situations: “Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.” (FC, 84) It is therefore a duty of the priests to accompany the interested parties on the path of discernment according to the teaching of the Church and the orientations of the Bishop. In this process, it will be useful to make an examination of conscience, by way of moments of reflection and repentance. Remarried divorcees should ask themselves how they behaved themselves when their conjugal union entered in crisis; if there were attempts at reconciliation; what is the situation of the abandoned partner [“partner” in the original Italian]; what consequences the new relationship has on the rest of the family and in the community of the faithful; what example does it offer to young people who are to prepare themselves to matrimony. A sincere reflection may reinforce trust in the mercy of God that is not denied to anyone.
Additionally, it cannot be denied that in some circumstances, “the imputability and the responsibility for an action can be diminished or annulled (CIC, 1735) due to various conditioners. Consequently, the judgment on an objective situation should lead to the judgment on a ‘subjective imputability'” (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration of June 24, 2000, 2a). In determined circumstances, the persons find great difficulty with acting in a different way. Therefore, while holding up a general rule, it is necessary to recognize that the responsibility regarding specific actions or decisions is not the same in every case. Pastoral discernment, while taking into account the rightly formed conscience of persons, should take these situations into account. Also the consequences of the accomplished acts are not necessarily the same in every case.
86. The path of accompaniment and discernment orients these faithful to becoming conscious of their situation before God. The conversation with the priest, in internal forum, concurs to the formation of a correct judgment on what prevents the possibility of fuller participation in the life of the Church and on the steps that may favor it and make it grow. Considering that in the same law there is no graduality (cf. FC, 34), this discernment must never disregard the demands of truth and charity of the Gospel proposed by the Church. In order for this to happen, the necessary conditions of humility, reserve, love for the Church and to her teaching, in the sincere search for the will of God and for the desire to reach a more perfect answer to the latter, are to be guaranteed.
There are a few interesting things to note of these three paragraphs. Each paragraph in this document required a 2/3 majority vote in order for it to be considered in the final text of the document. This means that a total number of 177 yes votes were needed. On paragraph 84, 85, and 86, the vote tallies came up as 187, 178, and 190 respectively. These three paragraphs received the least amount of yes votes in the entire document. Even more interesting is paragraph 85, which is a direct quotation from Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, conveniently leaves out this key paragraph:
Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful, forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.
Because this document does not explicitly condemn the act of administering Holy Communion to adulterers, it easily allows for those who read this document with a non-Catholic lens to misuse and abuse the document. In short, the document is written with ambiguity in order that whoever reads it can obtain the interpretation that they want to use. Church documents require clarity when written. If you look at the pre-conciliar documents of the Church, you see that they are written in such a way that no matter what “lens” you read them through, you always arrive at a traditional and Catholic interpretation. Any other interpretation is clearly taken out of context.
This clarity follows from the example of Jesus in the Scriptures. In the entire Bread of Life Discourse in the 6th chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus says six times that unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you do not have life within you. It is clear as day that Our Lord was not speaking of the Eucharist as merely a symbol, but rather, what it actually is. His Flesh and Blood.
But what Jesus has to say in the Gospels does not seem to be taken seriously by Pope Francis. In fact, Pope Francis had some very heavy words to those who uphold the law of Christ and the Church:
It was about trying to open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints, so as to defend and spread the freedom of the children of God, and to transmit the beauty of Christian Newness, at times encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible.
Compare this with what Pope Pius XII said:
Some assert that the mysteries of faith are never expressed by truly adequate concepts but only by ever changeable notions.
It was also about laying closed hearts, which bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.
Is it not odd that Pope Francis, the Pope famous for the words “who am I to judge?” when it comes to homosexuals, is judging the hearts of those that uphold the teachings as ones who want to lord the rules of Christ and His Church in order to judge? Even more ironic, is that Jesus said specifically in the Gospel when it comes to divorce:
And there came to him the Pharisees tempting him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, Made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery. His disciples say unto him: If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry. Who said to them: All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother’ s womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it. Matthew 19:3-12
Jesus Christ makes it crystal clear with complete clarity that divorce is forbidden. There is no such thing as divorce, it is a lie. Yet, Pope Francis would make it sound as though those who adhere to the teachings of Christ are sitting in the throne of Moses (who as you just read allowed divorce) in order to cast judgment. Those who adhere to these “archaic rules” are not casting stones at those who sin, but rather, protecting the souls of those who are in a state of mortal sin from damaging their soul further by making sacrilegious communions.
St. Paul explains in his letter to the Corinthians:
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29
Allowing the divorced, remarried, and actively homosexual to receive Holy Communion without amending their lives and repenting will not bring mercy to the sinner, but rather, far more judgment that will only damn the poor soul to an eternity in Hell. But this isn’t my own opinion or my own teaching, but Our Lord’s teaching and the Holy Catholic Church’s. Real mercy would get the sinner away from that which causes their soul harm, not encourage them to live their life in that sin. But tell that to the Pope; after all, we’re in the “new Catholicism” and this is the “Church of Mercy”.