Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio says, “divorced and remarried [read: adulterers] can take Communion if continence is ‘impossible’”. __ taken from a headline story in the Catholic Herald UK.
Isn’t that sort of like saying, “priests can take Communion if continence is ‘impossible’” or “unmarried parishioners can take Communion if continence is ‘impossible’” or “committed sodomites can take Communion if continence is ‘impossible’” or any other simile one might like to create? And who is it that deems this impossible? The priest, the bishop or perhaps the Pope himself? No, the person who is trapped in a situation where he neither has the ability to feel shame or sorrow for sin nor has any purpose at all to amend their life. Yes, that’s right. The Church is not going to get in the way of the sinner’s ‘conscience’ that plays both judge and jury; after all “who are we to judge” or to claim otherwise to the infallible conscience of a unrepentant sinner.
Thank you Cardinal Coccopalmerio who finally gave us an explanation of Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia; after all he is in the inner circle of the Holy Father. So finally we can all breathe a sigh of relief . . . that is if we conclude that this man is actually a Catholic in his beliefs.
Of course this thinking, being restricted to ‘continence’ is strictly speaking to our teachings regarding sexually immoral acts. However, by the extension of logic, one can also make similar arguments regarding “killing” for instance. What if an ‘abortionist’ is incapable, due to the stress that it will cause his lifestyle, his wife and children if he stops? Perhaps he could find no other suitable means of support for his family. If he feels that it is impossible to ‘keep from killing’ then what is to prevent him from getting absolved in the confessional and receiving the Blessed Sacrament? Does his conscience have the same esteem and the same infallible worth as those who are living in sexual sin?
Why is the 6th Commandment the only one where this will be OK? Why should this theological thought end there. What of the other 9? Are they somehow not included in this ‘mercy’ that the Church is extending toward those who find the 6th Commandment too demanding? Where is their accompaniment and mercy? I just cannot see that this is the entirety of this new definition of mercy which is being proposed.
For there is no mercy for those who use mercy as a means to continue to remain in a state of sin and presume on the mercy of God as their hope. Scripture and the saints make it clear that presuming upon God’s mercy is a grave sin and only heaps sin upon sin. It seems that the Church had it right for 2000 years and now somebody seems to think that they understand God’s mercy far better than the evidence and teachings found in the Church, the scriptures and on the mouths of renowned saints.
Finally, I will float a possible explanation for why both the Church is accompanying and consoling the sinner rather than counseling them with the hope of saving their souls. It takes into account this new idea that God’s mercy is best understood by breaking the Commandments and also the novel idea that only the perpetual sinner is capable of assessing their sin and their own circumstance by use of their conscience. So if they forgive themselves, then they are forgiven.
I think that, like in business, nothing is given away and no rule broken unless the one giving this ‘pass’ to the person they are negotiating with agrees to a quid pro quo. In other words, there is no ‘free lunch’. So what could the quid pro quo possibly be we might ask.
Well, we all know that the curia has purportedly been harboring a powerful network [like businessmen create in order to get ahead] that will back them at any cost and often there is leverage involved [secrets, if you will, that nobody wants made public]. It is, in fact, blackmail and is part and parcel to politics, business and therefore we should not be surprised that the oldest and largest bureaucracy on the planet has not developed a similar practice.
So what then is the dirt and what then is the purpose of this opening gambit in loosing people from the consequence of violating the 6th Commandment? I think it is a long range view that, in time, the idea of ‘continence’ will be viewed within and without the Church as an impossible expectation for anyone. It will break down the idea of celibate priests, open the way to married priests and eventually nullify any penalty and usher in a groundswell of compassion and understanding for all priests who violate their vows of celibacy. Whether they sleep with women, girls, men or boys, how can we fault them for violating their vow of ‘continence’ which, of course, is impossible to abide with. They are human and they are lonely, don’t you see. They are loving men who need to be loved in return and it is something that is beyond their human endurance. In this long range goal, nobody will be held responsible or be laicized or looked at as the wretches they are when and if they are found out. It will become a new normal that will be accepted both by the laity and the Church alike. It is the ultimate quid pro quo. I’ll look the other way if you look the other way.
What we are witnessing is a threefold destruction of the Church; the destruction of the Commandments, the Sacraments and the Holy Priesthood. In fact the concept of holy, virtue, and piety is being denounced already and will soon be thought of as foolishness from a bygone era. Hopefully not, but for the life of me I cannot understand any other way that all the pieces can or will fit together into a brand new puzzle that once made perfect sense. For these pieces have been tossed into the air for a new group of bishops to try to force together [though the pieces won’t fit] in hopes of reordering the Church and making it reveal a very different picture than the one we once all plainly saw and were familiar with. It won’t work in the long run but it may cause plenty of problems in the near future.
But continence is impossible, no?