Pope Francis prepares a counter-offensive
Further to the brave statement from ALL the bishops of Kazakhstan, Vaticanista Marco Tosatti — a respected expert on inside matters in Rome — noted that a popular Italian blog was reporting that Pope Francis is preparing a counterattack against them and the two Italians.
Anonimi Della Croce ("Anonymous of the Cross"), in a post titled "The Quiet Before the Storm," posted yesterday:
My source in the Vatican told me that last night [Pope Francis] stayed in Santa Marta with several Vatican "press officers" and various "advisers" for a meeting on how to deal with this new and "unexpected" Correction from the Bishops of Astana. The source told me that [the pope] was furious. He went on a rampage — because he cannot stand any opposition. They heard him scream: "They will regret it! They will regret it bitterly!"It goes on to summarise the pope's proposals as a "campaign of denigration" against the bishops, conducted through various media friendly to the Holy Father. The pope "has given carte blanche to his official and unofficial 'press officers' to start a 'media campaign' that denigrates opponents," which will serve to "discredit" the bishops, causing them to "lose their credibility."
I think it is important to maintain perspective. Some argue that the pope's position is basically that sacramental matrimonial couples who got divorced and got civilly remarried without canonical nullity can in some circumstances if they so wish - it is not compulsory, and again if they're genuinely seeking the Lord, receive Holy Communion. It is a reality every priest knows that there are many people who are in no way responsible for their marital breakdown. They may have been abandoned or forcibly driven away from their marital homes for no cause of their own and their deranged partners taken another wife or husband - there are a million different scenarios.This confirms the low level of the signatories. I know one of them well https://t.co/CmRsScfN2k— Massimo Faggioli (@MassimoFaggioli) January 2, 2018
However, it is completely baffling whether this is what he intends, or something else. He seems to have numerous different cardinals all saying different things and he chooses to remain silent. If this is what he is trying to achieve, is this the best way of going about it? Can't he do it while keeping us all on side?
It is hard to see the direction he has chosen as anything other than contradictory to the deposit of faith and the Magisterium, especially in the context of so many other issues, comments and scandals.
Or even why he sees this as such a pivotal, important issue to cause such a fight over. It seems petty and disjointed to those watching from the outside and is only interfering with the transmission of the Gospel message. The sad reality is that perhaps 90% of Catholics would go to communion irrespective of the state of their soul, certainly in my experience, the number of those who practice and really care about issues such as this is minuscule. There are so many other issues that require attention, the preaching of the Gospel and proper addressing of societal issues that face families is foremost and these issues are being totally ignored while the Church is consumed with this internal debate.
What we do know, what can be demonstrably demonstrated and observed is that the dumbing down and relaxing of objective truths only damages the Church. What is most attractive about the Catholic faith is Christ's promise that you will know the truth and that truth will set you free, not confuse you so much you no longer have any idea what side up is!
Wacky interpretations and internal fighting does not help, even though Cardinals like Müller, somewhat controversially, seem to be doing their best to work with Pope Francis. For example, in a recent interview with La Stampa Cardinal Müller said communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics was a possibility:
It is possible that the penitent may be convinced in conscience, and with good reasons, of the invalidity of the first marriage even though they cannot offer canonical proof.However in this recent interview Cardinal Müller reaffirmed:
The Pope will not and cannot change either the doctrine or the sacraments. What he wants is to help couples in very difficult circumstances as a good shepherd, but in accord with the word of God.
What the Church needs in this serious situation is not more polarization and polemics, but more dialogue and reciprocal confidence. The Holy Father and all good shepherds are wishing the full integration of couples in irregular situations. But this must happen according to the general conditions of the worthy and valid reception of the holy sacraments. We must avoid new schisms and separations from the one Catholic Church, whose permanent principle and foundation of its unity and communion in Jesus Christ is the actual Pope Francis and all bishops in full communion with him. The Successor of St. Peter deserves full respect for his person and divine mandate, and, on the other hand, his honest critics deserve a convincing answer. A possibility of the solution could be a group of cardinals engaged by the Holy Father to begin a theological disputation with some prominent representatives of the dubia and the “corrections” about the different and sometimes controversial interpretation of some statements in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.Müller also made this very apposite observation:
The important thing is that we have to love the Church because she is the Bride of Christ. Loving her means that we sometimes have to suffer with her, because in her members she is not perfect, and so we remain loyal despite the disappointments. In the end, it is how we appear in the eyes of God that matters, rather than how we are regarded by men.As the statement of the Bishops of Kazakhstan points out, even if there is some pastoral solution to all this (which appears completely destroyed and lost in all the fighting), it is certainly not expressed in any authentic sense in the disastrous statements by, among others, the Bishops of Malta and German episcopal conference. The Pope acts as a physical point of unity for the Church. The simplest working definition of a Catholic is a Christian who is in communion with the bishop of Rome. By breeding division among his own bishops, almost irrespective of his own intentions, is it not existentially true that Pope Francis is fundamentally failing in his mandate as Pope?