TEMPUS FUGIT !!! DO WE HAVE MUCH LEFT? DON’T JUST STAND (SIT) THERE, BE PROACTIVE. IT TAKES COURAGE (WHICH SEEMS TO BE IN VERY SHORT SUPPLY) TO RESPOND TO THE QUESTION: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Settimo Cielodi Sandro Magister

Church Alarm At Full Blast. But Francis Is Letting It Sound In Vain

Wenders

 

Attention. The conflict that has exploded in Germany for and against communion for Protestant spouses should have exceeded the threshold of alarm for the unity of the whole Church, to judge by the warnings issued in recent days by several cardinals to the pope. Warnings of a severity that has no precedent, in the five years of the pontificate of Francis (in the photo, on the set with Wim Wenders).

The backstory can be found in this post from Settimo Cielo of May 2, just before the encounter between the opposing parties when they were called to Rome by the pope:

> One Cardinal, Seven Bishops, and Four New “Dubia.” This Time on Intercommunion

The meeting between the German cardinals and bishops and the Vatican authorities took place on May 3 in the offices of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. But it concluded without any sort of decision. In the evening, a laconic statement simply revealed that “Pope Francis values the ecumenical efforts of the German bishops and asks them to find, in a spirit of ecclesial communion, a unanimous result if possible.”  {Say what?}

And it is precisely this deflection – backed by the pope – to a further encounter among the German bishops, to be resolved by a vote, that has unleashed the reactions of some of the highest ranking cardinals, absolutely convinced that questions of faith cannot be resolved by vote and without the universal Church being involved.

*

The first of these is Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht.

“The response of the Holy Father is completely incomprehensible,” he wrote in no uncertain terms in a commentary published in the United States on the “National Catholic Register” and in Italy on “La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana.”

And he explained:

“The Holy Father has informed the delegation of the German episcopal conference that it must discuss again, and try to find unanimity. Unanimity about what? The practice of the Catholic Church, based on her faith, is not determined and does not change statistically when a majority of an episcopal conference votes in favor of it, not even if unanimously.”

And again:

“The Holy Father should have given the delegation of the German episcopal conference clear directives, based on the clear doctrine and practice of the Church. He should have also responded on this basis to the Lutheran woman who asked him on November 15, 2015 if she could receive Communion with her Catholic spouse, saying that this is not acceptable instead of suggesting she could receive Communion on the basis of her being baptized, and in accordance with her conscience. By failing to create clarity, great confusion is created among the faithful and the unity of the Church is endangered.”

Eijk is referring here to the tortuous response – yes, no, I don’t know, you figure it out – that Francis gave to that Protestant woman and that can be viewed in this video from Centro Televisivo Vaticano, in the original language with an English translation:

> “La domanda sul condividere la cena del Signore…”

And here is the dramatic conclusion that the Dutch cardinal reaches, citing an unsettling passage from the catechism:

“Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: ‘Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth’.”

*

Another cardinal who has given a tough reaction is Gerhard L. Müller, former prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith.

Commenting for the “National Catholic Register” on the outcome of the May 3 summit, Müller lamented the absence of a clear response on a question that is a “pillar of our faith, the Eucharist.” A response that it was right to expect from the pope, whose task is precisely to “affirm the faith” and to “give a very clear orientation,” not “through personal opinion but according to the revealed faith.”

It is not admissible – Müller continued – that an episcopal conference should vote against a doctrine that is a “basic element” of the Church. It is not possible to be “in sacramental communion without ecclesial communion,” because if this principle is destroyed then too “the Catholic Church is destroyed.”

“We must resist this,” Müller went on to say. “I hope more bishops will raise their voices and do their duty. Every cardinal has a duty to explain, defend, promote the Catholic faith, not according to personal feelings, or the swings of public opinion, but by reading the Gospel, the Bible, Holy Scripture, the Church fathers and to know them. Also the Councils, to study the great theologians of the past, and be able to explain and defend the Catholic faith, not with sophistic arguments to please all sides, to be everyone’s darling.”

Müller expressed his hope that the congregation for the doctrine of the faith may carry out its task as “guide of the magisterium of the pope”: a task from which Francis has always steered clear, both when the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith was Müller and now that the prefect is the Spanish Jesuit Luis Ladaria. “More clarity and courage must be encouraged,” the cardinal concluded.

*

Furthermore, the excellent vaticanista Edward Pentin, also on the “National Catholic Register,” collected the comments of a source close to the two German bishops who at the Vatican summit on May 3 represented those who had appealed to the Holy See against the concession of communion for Protestant spouses: cardinal archbishop of Cologne Rainer Woelki, and Regensburg bishop Rudolf Voderholzer.

“Official answer is that there is no answer,” this source lamented in commenting on the result of the May 3 summit. “The congregation for the doctrine of the faith was left to act as a postman,” meaning as a mere transmitter of the non-response from Francis. Who in his turn “had failed to fulfill his obligation as pope regarding a question of dogma which his office must decide” and “affirm the faith.”

In the coming months – the source continued – when the discussion continues in the episcopal conference of Germany, as the pope wishes, “our job now is to strengthen” and expand the ranks of the bishops who oppose communion for Protestant spouses. “It’ll be a long fight and we’ll be dedicating ourselves to it.”

What is taking shape, in fact, is an “ecclesiological revolution. The real problem is not the issue itself, but the refusal of the Pope to carry out his obligation as Peter, and this could have heavy consequences. Peter is no longer the rock he was, instead the shepherd is saying to the sheep: ‘Go and look for yourself for something to eat.’”

*

And Francis? It is easy to foresee that as usual he will not react to the warnings from these cardinals. He has not responded to the five “dubia” concerning “Amoris Laetitia” and communion for the divorced and remarried. He has not responded to the four “dubia”concerning communion for Protestant spouses. In the first case he has remained silent, in the second he has said that the discussion should continue. He has given hints of his thinking, and in both cases he is in favor of the innovation. But what matters to him is not yanking out the result right away. It is enough for him that the “process” of change be set in motion. A growing number of cardinals and bishops see in this the risk that the unity of the Church may be shattered, and on questions central to the Catholic faith. But for him, the Church must be made precisely like this: “polyhedral,” with many sides. In plainer words: in pieces.

*

Meanwhile, in Germany, the further discussion that Pope Francis wants is already underway, on positions that are still opposed to each other:

> German Bishop: Pope Francis Has Effectively Approved of the Intercommunion Handout

(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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One Response to TEMPUS FUGIT !!! DO WE HAVE MUCH LEFT? DON’T JUST STAND (SIT) THERE, BE PROACTIVE. IT TAKES COURAGE (WHICH SEEMS TO BE IN VERY SHORT SUPPLY) TO RESPOND TO THE QUESTION: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

  1. Joan B. Burns says:

    “What will Francis allow to be attacked next?” is more the question. We of the remnant better get to know each other and unite in support priests who have shown themselves to be faithful. To be silent is to either be oblivious or to condone. There are such things as sins of omission.

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