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Dubia Round Two -- Formal Correction on Horizon?

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Peace

Well it does seem that this issue is causing some division and scandal in the Church, which is unfortunate.

I wonder the extent to which this issue is really causing division though. In the world of the Internet it seems as though the sky is falling, but in the real world (the world in which I live at least) this is barely an issue to anyone I know at all. Perhaps that is because I do not happen to know any Catholics who are divorced and "remarried" though.

At first I put the blame on the Cardinals. Not for asking for clarification, but for the way that they went about it. I thought that this most recent letter they wrote was a much better way of attempting to start some dialogue. It would have been great if they had started with this instead of the Dubia that they issued a while back. And perhaps it would still be good if they could just leave the matter outside of the public sphere.

On the other hand, it seems that Pope Francis is being unnecessarily stubborn and defensive about the situation. If he does not desire to answer the questions at this time, it would be good for him to simply respond by saying "I will not respond for XYZ reasons," "The practice of the Church has not changed", "The practice of the church has changed," or "I desire to wait a bit and see how things play out before deciding on my course of action". Regardless of whether the Cardinals are right or wrong, they are Cardinals and have expressed a concern. It seems that Pope Francis could do more to try to quell division than what he has done now.

So it is tough for me to say who is to blame for all of it. It seems that all of them (and perhaps us as well) share some of the blame for it, but I do not know any of their motives and what is going on behind the scenes so I think I will just wait to see how it all plays out between them. In any event, I think we can take some comfort in the fact that the Church cannot teach error, and that eventually (whether it be during this pontificate or a subsequent pontificate) these matters will be clarified and resolved.

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Era Might
19 hours ago, fides' Jack said:

They're not looking for the Pope's final answer on some controversial topic.  They're looking for the Pope to affirm what has been the constant teaching of the Church since the time of Christ.  The teaching that you can't receive Holy Communion in a state of Mortal sin.  If you do, you compound your sins and deserve everlasting hell fire.  That has always been the teaching.

I think you do understand that, but behind several statements here there is also the tone that "we shouldn't be questioning the Pope, because we aren't the Pope."  But the Pope is not above truth.  Never has been.  And every Christian (read: Catholic) has a duty to the Way, the Truth, and the Life, before their duty to the Magisterium.  And we know from the Bible that there will be a time when our moral authority (member of the Church) will be speaking falsehoods, and we are warned to watch out for

That's one interpretation. Another interpretation is that they are ideological conservatives. The conservative worldview sees everything as a structure to be defended. The doctors of the law and the pharisees were the conservatives in Israel. They argued and quibbled and defended every last law and point lest one block in the structure fail.

You say that the Cardinals aren't even accusing the Pope of anything, just asking him to reaffirm the structure. That, too, is characteristic of conservative ideology. Every potential subversive must be weeded out and ideological appearances must be enforced lest even the appearance of difference be introduced.

The Pope's document was pretty much in continuity with the church's massaging. It could have been written by Benedict or John Paul. What is really at stake for these cardinals is Pope Francis' wider challenge to the conservative worldview. The doctors of the law would look at Christ's words before the woman taken in adultery, and they would say, are you approving adultery? Who can stand, if you give even the appearance that adulterers are not objects of lawyers and judges, but of mercy and grace?

The scholastic would point to Christ's words, "go and sin no more," and use it in a legalistic way, to show that Christ upheld the law. But no, Christ told her to sin no more, he didn't tell her to appear to sin no more, or please those who want proper appearances, like conservatives who hide behind family values to keep up the fortress, the structure, and meanwhile they ignore the weightier matters of the law, mercy and justice.

That is Francis' real "crime" here, he is a scandal to the conservative worldview, not for any formal statement or action, just because he does not see the world, the church, and the Gospel as a structure to be maintained, but as a spirit to be welcomed.

Edited by Era Might

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Jack4
4 hours ago, Era Might said:

The Pope's document was pretty much in continuity with the church's massaging. It could have been written by Benedict or John Paul.

No. B16 and JP2 have written in their post-synodal apostolic exhortations on the issue of pastoral care of those in complex irregular situations; and their voice is not in the eighth chapter. 

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Peace
7 hours ago, Jack4 said:

No. B16 and JP2 have written in their post-synodal apostolic exhortations on the issue of pastoral care of those in complex irregular situations; and their voice is not in the eighth chapter. 

Well, the portions of Familiaris that are quoted in the 8th Chapter are St. John Paul II's voice.

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Jack4
1 hour ago, Peace said:

Well, the portions of Familiaris that are quoted in the 8th Chapter are St. John Paul II's voice.

Cola has water content, yet it doesn't taste like rasam. 

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Peace
1 hour ago, Jack4 said:

Cola has water content, yet it doesn't taste like rasam. 

Not sure what rasam is. Could you please explain what the point is here, young Tradawan?

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Era Might
14 hours ago, Jack4 said:

No. B16 and JP2 have written in their post-synodal apostolic exhortations on the issue of pastoral care of those in complex irregular situations; and their voice is not in the eighth chapter. 

He quotes John Paul directly in chapter 8:

295. Along these lines, Saint John Paul II proposed the so-called “law of gradualness” in the knowledge that the human being “knows, loves and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth”. This is not a “gradualness of law” but rather a gradualness in the prudential 


exercise of free acts on the part of subjects who are not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law. 
For the law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception; it can be followed with the help of grace, even though each human being “advances grad-
ually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God and the demands of God’s definitive and absolute love in his or her entire personal and 
social life”.

Another thing to note is this document was the Pope's conclusion to a synod. It wasn't like the Pope was acting apart from the bishops.

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Jack4
10 hours ago, Peace said:

Not sure what rasam is. Could you please explain what the point is here, young Tradawan?

A spicy liquid.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasam

Rasam has water content, Cola has water content, yet these taste very different. 

So too, the concept of "mercy" there in both Exhortations, yet they are different in their approach to intrinsic evil.

Edited by Jack4

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fides' Jack
On 6/24/2017 at 6:19 PM, Era Might said:

That's one interpretation. Another interpretation is that they are ideological conservatives. The conservative worldview sees everything as a structure to be defended. The doctors of the law and the pharisees were the conservatives in Israel. They argued and quibbled and defended every last law and point lest one block in the structure fail.

You say that the Cardinals aren't even accusing the Pope of anything, just asking him to reaffirm the structure. That, too, is characteristic of conservative ideology. Every potential subversive must be weeded out and ideological appearances must be enforced lest even the appearance of difference be introduced.

The Pope's document was pretty much in continuity with the church's massaging. It could have been written by Benedict or John Paul. What is really at stake for these cardinals is Pope Francis' wider challenge to the conservative worldview. The doctors of the law would look at Christ's words before the woman taken in adultery, and they would say, are you approving adultery? Who can stand, if you give even the appearance that adulterers are not objects of lawyers and judges, but of mercy and grace?

The scholastic would point to Christ's words, "go and sin no more," and use it in a legalistic way, to show that Christ upheld the law. But no, Christ told her to sin no more, he didn't tell her to appear to sin no more, or please those who want proper appearances, like conservatives who hide behind family values to keep up the fortress, the structure, and meanwhile they ignore the weightier matters of the law, mercy and justice.

That is Francis' real "crime" here, he is a scandal to the conservative worldview, not for any formal statement or action, just because he does not see the world, the church, and the Gospel as a structure to be maintained, but as a spirit to be welcomed.

Yes, I would say they are ideological conservatives.  I don't see what's wrong with that.  I don't agree that conservative ideology tries to weed out any "potential subversive".  In fact, I think we've seen that far more from the left over the last couple years - at least in the political sphere in the US.

I did not say that the Cardinals aren't even accusing the Pope.  I think there is certainly a hint of accusation in the dubia.  I think it's also right that there should be.  They're defending not just the letter of the law, but also the spirit of the law, as well as the individual souls of all Christians today.  That's the point.

I wonder if you question all law, or just law that doesn't agree with your standpoint on certain issues?  Do you think this is just a matter of a law?  If it were, the Cardinals would have nothing to point out.  This is not an issue like immigration or even whether or not priests can marry.  This is an issue of moral teaching - not law.  It's a matter that will ultimately beaver dam many souls to hell for all eternity.  It's not something the Pope or anyone else has the authority to change.

On 6/24/2017 at 4:18 PM, Peace said:

Well it does seem that this issue is causing some division and scandal in the Church, which is unfortunate.

I wonder the extent to which this issue is really causing division though. In the world of the Internet it seems as though the sky is falling, but in the real world (the world in which I live at least) this is barely an issue to anyone I know at all. Perhaps that is because I do not happen to know any Catholics who are divorced and "remarried" though.

At first I put the blame on the Cardinals. Not for asking for clarification, but for the way that they went about it. I thought that this most recent letter they wrote was a much better way of attempting to start some dialogue. It would have been great if they had started with this instead of the Dubia that they issued a while back. And perhaps it would still be good if they could just leave the matter outside of the public sphere.

I would like to live where you do, where no Catholics are seeking annulment.  That would be amesome.  Where I am, just about every non-traddy family I know has at least 1 member who has had an annulment.  In the largest parish in our diocese it's a big issue.  In the parish we just left, which is mostly upper-middle class people, it's a big issue.  I try not to judge, but when you see people "shopping" for annulments by going to certain dioceses that they think are more likely to grant them, it's hard not to.

I don't know what sort of rules and laws govern the actions of the cardinals.  I'm not one to judge whether or not they're going about things the right way.  I only know that something had to be done, and so I am thankful for what they're doing.

Edited by fides' Jack

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Peace
13 hours ago, Jack4 said:

A spicy liquid.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasam

Rasam has water content, Cola has water content, yet these taste very different. 

So too, the concept of "mercy" there in both Exhortations, yet they are different in their approach to intrinsic evil.

Thanks for the clarification. In what way would you say that their approaches are different?

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Jack4

1. Compared to Francis, St JP2 gives more emphasis to the reality of sin and the need to stop sinning. 

2. Pope Francis does not give as much importance to the fact that the Commandments are never impossible due to our weakness.

3. fwiw, St JP2 is crystal clear on the practical question of who may receive Communion. No confusion, no ambiguity. 

I would encourage you to read the exhortations yourself. 

Edited by Jack4

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Era Might
4 hours ago, fides' Jack said:

Yes, I would say they are ideological conservatives.  I don't see what's wrong with that.  I don't agree that conservative ideology tries to weed out any "potential subversive".  In fact, I think we've seen that far more from the left over the last couple years - at least in the political sphere in the US.

I did not say that the Cardinals aren't even accusing the Pope.  I think there is certainly a hint of accusation in the dubia.  I think it's also right that there should be.  They're defending not just the letter of the law, but also the spirit of the law, as well as the individual souls of all Christians today.  That's the point.

I wonder if you question all law, or just law that doesn't agree with your standpoint on certain issues?  Do you think this is just a matter of a law?  If it were, the Cardinals would have nothing to point out.  This is not an issue like immigration or even whether or not priests can marry.  This is an issue of moral teaching - not law.  It's a matter that will ultimately beaver dam many souls to hell for all eternity.  It's not something the Pope or anyone else has the authority to change.

Yes, the idea of subversives is embedded in the right/left worldview. Pope Francis knows this very well, he is from Argentina where revolution and counterrevolution (or "reaction") defined society.

I don't believe the Gospel has anything to do with Law. To have a law at all is to be broken, because the Law is like a glue that holds pieces together. No matter how much glue you have, you're still broken. That's what Israel couldn't understand, even before Christ. Even if they followed every last Law, they were still broken and needed Law to hold them together. The message of the Gospel is not the perfection of Law, but a new creation where Law not only does not but cannot exist, because nothing is broken. All is made new.

I reject the idea of marriage as an institution of Law. Or at least, I reject that this institution of marriage has anything to do with the Gospel. When Christ spoke on divorce, he was not laying down a Law but revealing an Ideal, the Ideal of the New Man who comes into being, not when he obeys the Law, but when he overcomes the Law through love. Christ's teaching on divorce is only a specific application of his teaching on love: forgive your brother 70 times 7, love your enemy, do good to those who persecute you, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, beat your breast and say only, I am an unprofitable servant, have mercy on me, God, a sinner. When Christ tells a man he cannot leave his wife, and vice versa, he is only telling them what he tells everyone: you cannot leave your brother. When did we see you hungry, Lord, and not feed you? The Other is God, is Christ, and that encompasses every Other. When Christ says a husband and wife can't separate, he is saying, if you cannot forgive each other, if you cannot love this person, then how are you going to love another? The Gospel begins here, with the person in front of you, not in an ideal or a law.

The church, unfortunately, often takes on the role of sex and morality police. How many of us walk by our brother on the street every day, by Christ on the street every day, and yet, when it comes to two people divorcing, suddenly the world collapses. On the Last Day, will Christ ask whether we obeyed the Law? No, he will ask, did you feed your brother, did you clothe your brother, did you visit your brother in prison.

The problem I have with these cardinals is they want to reduce the Gospel to points of Law, even moral law. As you put it, this is a religion of extremes, where morality and sin are two mountains we hang between, and we have to hold on for life lest we fall. No, I reject this idea of the Gospel. I don't look to bishops and theologians to really say anything real about religion, because they tend to think the way these cardinals do, they are keepers of Law and Order.

The Gospel is messy. When we think we are the keepers of the Gospel, when we think we are the obeyers of the Law, that is when the Gospel confounds us, because God has no use for our laws and sacrifices, he wants a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Georges Bernanos wrote a great novel called Diary of a Country Priest, where the main character is an alcoholic on the run from the Communists during the Mexican revolution. Another priest in the story has taken a wife to keep his life. At the end of the novel, the alcoholic priest is dying, and the only person who can hear his confession is this priest who has abandoned his priesthood and took a wife. And, he realizes suddenly, in the final words of the story, "All is grace." Not law, not ideas, but grace, and love, and mercy. So before we even get into what marriage is, I think we have to learn what it isn't, and so I don't have much regard for those who see the world through a legalistic prism of this person is validly whatever. No, the Gospel starts from love, not law.

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Peace
6 hours ago, Jack4 said:

1. Compared to Francis, St JP2 gives more emphasis to the reality of sin and the need to stop sinning. 

2. Pope Francis does not give as much importance to the fact that the Commandments are never impossible due to our weakness.

3. fwiw, St JP2 is crystal clear on the practical question of who may receive Communion. No confusion, no ambiguity. 

I would encourage you to read the exhortations yourself. 

I already read them, but thanks for the encouragement.

Agree with point 3.

Disagree with points 1 and 2. The whole point of the 8th chapter deals with the question of how to help bring people into conformity with the Church's ideal.

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BarbaraTherese
6 hours ago, Era Might said:

the Ideal of the New Man who comes into being, not when he obeys the Law, but when he overcomes the Law through love.

Thank you, Era - including for your beautiful post - much appreciated :flowers:  The above statement is exactly what St Augustine meant "Love and do what you will" - true love (agape) fulfils The Law and transcends it or goes beyond it, in Love.  One does not need to be told what The Law is because in Loving, one WILL transcend it and go beyond it. With an emphasis on The Law to be fulfilled it can  become a mentality of an end point in itself: "if I fulfil The Law, I have done what is necessary.  Full stop" and is choosing the Old Testament without realising the transcending nature of the New Testament and Love - the Love that comes from God and returns to Him.  Agape has no end point except in God who is Love - we see this in the death of Jesus, "who dies for us while we were yet sinners", fulfilling The Will of His Father even to a horrific and seemingly at the time meaningless death.  It seems to me that one might die for a good man, not necessarily for an evil (sinner) person - but how terribly difficult to the human spirit to die when to others it is completely meaninglessly seemingly to destroy one's lifetime efforts.  The apostles do well to be afraid as it was the Roman custom at times to round up friends and even family of the crucified to be crucified too.

It is in today's Gospel, Tuesday 27th June: "  ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets."

It seems to me that this Dubia is stirring in people a need to know "what must be done to inherit eternal life? I need The Law to tell me what to do - to tell me what others should be doing."  What we need to do is to expire in Love - in agape - in the footsteps of Jesus.  Then we will have fulfilled the whole Law and the Prophets; hence, we remain sinners in dire need of God's Loving Mercy freely offered in Jesus.  The Law has no power at all to save, only Love (agape) can save since it is sharing in the Life of God acting in Him outwards and returning to Him.

I am rather eagerly awaiting the final results of the Dubia addressed to Pope Francis.  He is not responding and I suspect awaiting in Hope and prayer for the cardinals to wake up to themselves.  Just as Jesus tried very hard to wake up the Pharisees to themselves .........but not by waiting in Hope:)

I cannot help but reflect on the trial of Jesus.  "What is Truth?"........Jesus does not answer.

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Era Might
31 minutes ago, BarbaraTherese said:

Thank you, Era - including for your beautiful post - much appreciated :flowers:  The above statement is exactly what St Augustine meant "Love and do what you will" - true love (agape) fulfils The Law and transcends it or goes beyond it, in Love.  One does not need to be told what The Law is because in Loving, one WILL transcend it and go beyond it. With an emphasis on The Law to be fulfilled it can  become a mentality of an end point in itself: "if I fulfil The Law, I have done what is necessary.  Full stop" and is choosing the Old Testament without realising the transcending nature of the New Testament and Love - the Love that comes from God and returns to Him.  Agape has no end point except in God who is Love - we see this in the death of Jesus, "who dies for us while we were yet sinners", fulfilling The Will of His Father even to a horrific and seemingly at the time meaningless death.  It seems to me that one might die for a good man, not necessarily for an evil (sinner) person - but how terribly difficult to the human spirit to die when to others it is completely meaninglessly seemingly to destroy one's lifetime efforts.  The apostles do well to be afraid as it was the Roman custom at times to round up friends and even family of the crucified to be crucified too.

It is in today's Gospel, Tuesday 27th June: "  ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets."

It seems to me that this Dubia is stirring in people a need to know "what must be done to inherit eternal life? I need The Law to tell me what to do - to tell me what others should be doing."  What we need to do is to expire in Love - in agape - in the footsteps of Jesus.  Then we will have fulfilled the whole Law and the Prophets; hence, we remain sinners in dire need of God's Loving Mercy freely offered in Jesus.  The Law has no power at all to save, only Love (agape) can save since it is sharing in the Life of God acting in Him outwards and returning to Him.

I am rather eagerly awaiting the final results of the Dubia addressed to Pope Francis.  He is not responding and I suspect awaiting in Hope and prayer for the cardinals to wake up to themselves.  Just as Jesus tried very hard to wake up the Pharisees to themselves .........but not by waiting in Hope:)

I cannot help but reflect on the trial of Jesus.  "What is Truth?"........Jesus does not answer.

Yes! And you remind me of one of my favorite passage, which stopped me in my tracks when I first read it, in the Psalms: I have run the way of your commandments, for you have enlarged my heart. We are all so petty in everything we do, all of us. Love is always humbling because it introduces us to a person who did not exist until loved into existence. Ultimately, we all cease to exist, for in loving perfectly we give birth to Christ, the New Man, and there is none but Christ, all becomes Christ and returns to the Father, for even Christ only exists to love another, to return everything to his father.

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