"Oddsfish, Chuck! Let's just call it 'annulment' then..."
Early reports are in, and it looks like Pope Francis, as expected, has radically reformed the process by which Catholics may annul their marriages, streamlining steps that many liberals in the church considered too cumbersome.
The move is the latest in a series of public relations initiatives, whereby Francis hopes to make his pontificate appear more responsive to the needs of lay Catholics, especially those who have "long felt marginalized" by the hierarchy (READ: Don't like Catholic moral theology).
The three main changes announced on Tuesday are:
Laws may be unjust through being opposed to the Divine good: such are the laws of tyrants inducing to idolatry, or to anything else contrary to the Divine law: and laws of this kind must nowise be observed, because, as stated in Acts 5:29, "we ought to obey God rather than man." Summa Theologica I-II, q. 96, Art. 4
When St. Thomas Aquinas wrote these words over seven hundred years ago they were more theoretical than practical. Despite their failings, the rulers in the thirteenth century would never have dreamed of enacting laws that compelled direct violation of the divine law. We now find ourselves in a society in which increasingly law makers and judges think nothing of creating laws that require violation of the divine and natural law.
Some points on yesterday’s bombshell letter from Pope Francis validating SSPX confessions:
o First we were told the SSPX bishops were excommunicated and in schism, and their priests suspended and in schism.
o Then were told the bishops were no longer excommunicated, but still in schism—or kind of in schism—while the priests were suspended and in schism, or kind of.
o Then we were told that neither the bishops nor the priests were in schism, but only “lacking full communion,” with “no canonical mission in the Church.” The priests, however, are still suspended.
The papal nagging, the scolding and often incomprehensible admonishing would not be nearly so offensive if it had any serious, weighty moral or doctrinal content. What is going on here?
Is the world finally tiring of the Francis Show? It seems the shine is coming off the Franciscan penny, at least in the US, where “approval ratings” are a thing. The aftermath of his encyclical, Laudato si, has seen quite a bit of shouting and confusion in the US where the “settled science” on climate change is considerably less settled than it tends to be in Europe. Last month, even the mainstream American press noted a significant drop in Pope Francis’ popularity and there are rumblings even from behind the bastions – increasingly resembling barricades – of the pope’s biggest fan base in the American Catholic blogging world.
Editor’s Note: Just to be perfectly clear, Father X is not SSPX or 'independent'. He is a priest in good standing with superiors who in turn are in good standing with Rome. Though he usually offers Mass in the Traditional Rite, he also celebrates the Novus Ordo. His words indicate that Catholic priests from all walks of life in the Church today are deeply concerned about the new direction in which Pope Francis seems determined to take the Church we all love. Please pray for the Holy Father. God help us all. MJM
Dear Mr. Matt,
Following up my article in the July 31st Remnant on how Pope Francis 'demythologizes' the miracle of the loaves and fishes, I would like to recommend to readers the following practice, which I myself have recently adopted.
"What Have You Done To Our Catholic Church!"
Editor’s Note: Back in 1982, in Today Magazine’s April issue, Anne Roche penned an article called “The Way It Used to Be”. We recently discovered this article as it was reproduced in one of the late, great Hamish Fraser’s Approaches magazines from the early 1980s. Presumably this sobering article reflects the sort of thinking that eventually prompted Anne Roche Muggeridge’s masterwork, The Desolate City: Revolution in the Catholic Church. With prayers for the repose of her soul, let us read Anne’s beautiful description of the way things used to be and the way they surely will be again, in God’s good time. MJM
I must sometimes have gone to Mass in the day-light when I was young, but umy strongest memory is of coming thankfully into it out of the cold dark. At first, to keep my father company. He was a millwright and had to work every Sunday. I used to hurry through the chill Newfoundland mornings with him, shivering, fasting, to the poor little basement church, down into the warm, candlelit, holy silence. The church was always surprisingly full. Men from the mill with their lunch baskets, going on or coming off shift, sometimes black-faced from unloading coal boats all night, kneeling on the floor at the back, too filthy to venture into a pew. Nurses, and our doctor in his vast raccoon coat, with his bag, after a night call. A Mountie in full uniform. Young people still in evening dress after a party.
"This is a Machiavellian Pope. His encyclical is a very good issue for us progressives.” ~Tom Hayden, 60s radical, former environmental advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown
The echo chamber from the anarchists at Occupy Wall Street chanting ‘down with the 1%’ reverberates in the pontifical palaces at the Vatican.
Although the ‘60s radicals are greying, they are still around wreaking havoc. In 2011, they dusted off their Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, armed with Molotov cocktails, drugs, and revolutionary rage, and headed for lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. Make no mistake, the Occupy Wall Street (Occupy) movement was fomented by socialists from the 60s, and
the civil unrest was choreographed by union thugs. Like all revolutionaries, their targets were the police, the banks, the government, and violence was their means of intimidation.
A few weeks ago alarm bells went off in my head when someone forwarded me an excerpt from an English-language translation of a sermon he preached in the Pope's recent trip to South America, relating the loaves-and-fishes event to the Eucharist. Let me explain.
Around two centuries ago the liberal Protestant scholar Gottlob Paulus (1761-1851) started what was to become quite a popular trend in the heretical German circles of “higher critical” biblical scholarship. Paulus wanted to recognize some historical foundation in the Gospel accounts of our Lord’s life and ministry; but his Enlightenment rationalism meant excluding all supernatural, miraculous elements from these accounts. After all, did not every truly enlightened person now recognize that miracles are impossible, so that all accounts of them must be relegated to the category of myth or legend? Professor Paulus and his school of thought therefore opted for a “happy-medium” solution: retain the Gospel accounts as being partly historical, but demythologize them. That is, ‘re-interpret’ them – purify them! – so as to give a ‘rational’, non-supernatural explanation to the wondrous actions attributed to Jesus.