With the pontificate of Pope Francis there has been a growing of two kinds of Chicken Little’s. One kind sees the sky is falling and the Church teaching is being corrupted and the other see things falling – their way. Often both seem to have the same level of theological understanding as most media reporting. The same headline sends some into panic and others into ecstasy with stories that cover the Vatican are as accurate in prediction as hepatomancy – the reading of entrails. The media also greatly distorts/misunderstands anything Catholic, the difference is that you have what I see as a growing number of people listening to their nonsense.
For example the lastest example of this regarded allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. To be specific allowing Communion to those who have remarried where either their spouse was still alive or did not receive a decree of nullity in a case where no marriage was actually contracted.
The amount of attention this was getting lead to Archbishop Gerhard Muller, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, writing a lengthy article in the L’Osservatore Romano putting a kibosh on the speculation. Funny I also remember how when Archbishop Gerhard Muller was selected by Pope Benedict XVI there were also cries of doom as he was suppose to be some sort of “progressive” theologian.
Part of the problem is how the term “acting pastorally” has come to mean different things to different people. Some think the term is a politically correct term for ignoring sin and doing nothing in response. Others that mercy means there is no sin or consequences and acting pastorally is about affirming people. The Pope’s repeated talking about mercy gets translated into a narrative instead of what he is actually saying and doing.
As Jimmy Akin ends his recent post on the subject:
12) So what is going to happen with the Church’s approach to the civilly remarried?
It’s a given that the Pope will continue to stress the need to be pastorally close to them and to help them draw closer to the Church.
Benedict XVI did that, and Francis is certain to continue the approach.
We’ll have to wait and see what practical forms this takes, and it will be a major point of discussion at the forthcoming Synod of Bishops, but I would be gobsmacked if the discipline regarding receiving Holy Communion were simply dropped.
That discipline is too closely based on biblical principles and infallible Catholic teaching, and Archbishop Muller’s article seems written precisely in order to communicate that the idea of dropping it is not on the table.
Moses compromised due to people’s “hardness of heart”, but that is not a solution available to us.