THE SERVANT GENERAL
April 16, 2016
The much-awaited document from Pope Francis arising from the
2 meetings of the Synod of Bishops has come out, in the form
of an apostolic exhortation entitled Amoris Laetitia
(The Joy of Love). Given that there were opposing sides among
the bishops in the synods -- the liberals and the conservatives
(or the progressives and the traditionalists), we can expect,
and indeed it is already starting, a flurry of analyses, and
using what the pope says to promote their own respective stands
and interests. There will be further confusion as bishops
down the line give their own interpretations. Cardinal Kasper
already says that this “changes everything,” and
we can expect him to more strongly push his liberal agenda.
I have not fully and carefully read the exhortation myself,
and so will be limited in my response. But this development
is very important for the life of our Church, and so I give
my brief inputs.
One, there is no fundamental change in Church teaching, as
indeed any such basic change is not up to just the Holy Father
to decide. But there can and will be serious ramifications
on praxis or pastoral practice, in application to the day-to-day
lives of Catholics.
Two, we and our Church must be merciful as God is merciful.
But mercy is always an invitation to repentance. We should
be welcoming to sinners but speak clearly, but lovingly, of
their sinful situation. We should be accommodating to those
who are struggling, but must never accommodate sin. We must
not conform to or acquiesce with political correctness, which
is a bane in the Church.
I reiterate all of what I have said in the many Synodos articles
I have put forth (124 previous articles).
Prelates' differing responses to Amoris
April 15, 2016
Cardinal Walter Kasper said that Amoris Laetitia
"changes everything," but other prelates stressed
that the apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis has not wrought
any major change, in comments appearing in the press a week
after the release of the papal document.
Cardinal Kasper, who had encouraged the Synod of Bishops to
approve a way by which divorced and remarried couples could
receive Communion, told The Tablet that the document
"doesn't change anything of Church doctrine or of canon
law-- but it changes everything." He said: "It seems
clear to me as to many other observers, that there can be
situations of divorced and remarried where on the way of inclusion,
absolution and communion becomes possible."
But Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, speaking at the
conclusion of the spring meeting of the bishops of England
and Wales, told reporters that the document's approach to
the problem of divorced and remarried Catholics is "not
new." He said that Pope Francis follows St. John Paul
II in saying that "there is something incompatible between
the principle of entering a second marriage" and the
Church's demand for fidelity. When asked whether Pope Francis
differed from his predecessor-- who had said that divorced-and-remarried
Catholics must abstain from marital relations if they wish
to receive the Eucharist-- Cardinal Nichols said that he did
not "see why there should be a change."
Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, who had joined with other
cardinals in protesting what they saw as efforts to manipulate
the Synod toward support of the Kasper proposal, said that
he was reassured by the Pope's document. Amoris Laetitia,
he said, shows the Pope's clear understanding of "the
profound weakness in the culture based on individualism and
ego." The fundamental message of the apostolic exhortation,
was not one of doctrinal change but of pastoral approach:
"We are a people who seek to include and not to cast
Archbishop Arthur Roche, the English-born secretary of the
Congregation for Divine Worship, said that Amoris Laetitia
is among "the best documents I have read." He told
Vatican Radio: "It's a light in a very obscure world
which really doesn't believe in the family and in marriage
as much as the Church does, so it will be of enormous significance
to people throughout the world..."
From California, Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa said that
the Pope's exhortation does not change Church teaching, and
that the Church cannot accept behavior that is "not consistent
with the moral law."
In Rhode Island, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence lamented
that the papal document is very long. "I'm convinced
that the length of a Church document is inversely proportional
to the number of people who will read it and the impact it
will have," he said. But he praised the Pope's strong
statements in opposition to gender ideology, abortion, and
a culture that takes wedding ceremonies more seriously than
Kasper says Pope’s synod document “changes everything”
(La Stampa )
Nichols: Amoris Laetitia describes ‘the same tension’
as John Paul II did (Catholic Herald)
misgivings allayed by final Synod document (Catholic
Roche: Amoris laetitia a "light in an obscure world"
Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa says pope’s proclamation does
not change church doctrine (Press Democrat)
Joy of Love” – Without a Doubt Tidbits (Providence