Synod, Day 12, Thursday October 15, 2015 – As Seen by the Catholic Left

Synod, Day 12, Thursday October 15, 2015 – As Seen by the Catholic Left

[According to New Ways Ministry’s Frannie DeBernardo, “National Catholic Reporter‘s Joshua McElwee and Father Thomas Reese, SJ are … invaluable in interpreting the sometimes Byzantine language of the Vatican”]

Chicago’s Cupich on divorce: Pastor guides decisions, but person’s conscience inviolable

Joshua J. McElwee | Oct. 16, 2015

VATICAN CITY The Catholic church has to respect decisions divorced and remarried people make about their spiritual lives after they examine what their conscience is telling them to do, Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich said during a press briefing.

Cupich — one of nine Americans attending the ongoing Oct. 4-25 Synod of Bishops and one of four personally appointed by Pope Francis — said that when he counsels divorced and remarried persons he always tries “in some way to understand them.”

Citing the Latin root for the word reconciliation — which indicates not only forgiveness but a seeing of eye-to-eye — the archbishop said: “If that’s the case, then not only do I have to understand them but I also have to see how they understand me.”

“I try to help people along the way,” said Cupich. “And people come to a decision in good conscience.”

“Then our job with the church is to help them move forward and respect that,” he said. “The conscience is inviolable. And we have to respect that when they make decisions and I’ve always done that.”

Cupich was speaking Friday in a small briefing with journalists at the Vatican on the progress of the synod, a worldwide meeting of Catholic prelates called by Francis to focus on issues of family life.

One of the discussions known to be taking place at the gathering, being held behind closed doors, regards the church’s stance towards divorced persons who remarry without obtaining annulments of their first marriages. Such persons are currently prohibited in church teaching from receiving the Eucharist.

The Chicago archbishop was speaking about his own experience counseling such persons, and was referring to Catholic teaching on the primacy of conscience.

Asked how his experience counseling divorced and remarried persons also applies to same-sex couples, Cupich replied: “I think that gay people are human beings too, and they have a conscience.”

“My role as a pastor is to help them discern what the role of God is by looking at the objective moral teaching of the church and yet at the same time helping them through a period of discernment to understand what God is calling them to at that point,” said the archbishop.

“I think that it’s for everybody,” he said. “I think we have to make sure that we don’t pigeonhole one group as though they’re not part of the human family, so there’s a different set of rules for them. That would be, I think, a big mistake.”

Cupich’s replies about ministering to divorced and remarried persons and same-sex couples were part of a briefing that saw the archbishop touch upon many of the discussions known to be taking place at the synod.

The archbishop spoke particularly about a tension the synod prelates are facing between wanting to respond to Catholics who are looking for strong and certain moral teachings and those who want the church to recognize the messiness of everyday life.

Cupich said he knew a retired archbishop who said he wants his tombstone to read: “I tried to treat you like adults.”

“I think that what he means by that is we really do have to have an adult Catholic response to living the Christian life,” said the Chicago archbishop. “That I think is where the Holy Father is leading us.”

“We have the means by which we can help people come to important decisions about how they live their Christian life,” said Cupich. “This is a moment that I think highlights the need for that kind of catechesis all the more.”

“Catechesis cannot be just about giving people the fixed doctrines … but also helping them, accompanying them by showing them the way, the path that the church has outlined in terms of making prudent decisions,” he said.

The Chicago archbishop also quoted a 2009 document from the International Theological Commission on the role of natural law, saying it is “a very important piece for this Synod.”

That document states: “In morality pure deduction by syllogism is not adequate. The more the moralist confronts concrete situations, the more he must have recourse to the wisdom of experience, an experience that integrates the contributions of the other sciences and is nourished by contact with men and women engaged in the action.”

“We can’t just refer to doctrines as though they’re syllogisms that we deduce a conclusion to,” said Cupich. “There has to be that integration of a person’s circumstances, case by case in their life.”

The archbishop also said “the greatest contribution that the bishops can make to families is to act and speak like families act and speak.” He said he is one of nine children and told a story of his mother being asked if she loved on of the children more.

“Only if they need it,” Cupich quoted his mother.

“That’s the way families speak,” said the archbishop. “That’s the way a mother talks. We have to be able to speak that way, too.”

“Syllogisms are important,” he said. “General principles are important. But there’s a limitation on how that allows us the freedom to address real life situations that I believe is in concert with what the church teaches.”

“I would want to make sure that the full breadth of what the church teaches is brought to bear when we address these very, very delicate questions,” he said.

The archbishop also spoke about a desire to change the church’s language in order to make it more accessible and understandable to people.

“If we really do want to engage people, they have to recognize that we know their life in the way that we speak,” he said.

Giving one example, Cupich said that the use of the word indissolubility in church teaching on marriage had been discussed several times at the synod.

“What we heard is that in different cultures, especially in the East, that word says too much for people — or it’s too hard of a word to understand,” said the archbishop.
“People understand life-long fidelity, but it seems to be too much of juridical term to describe the richness and complexity of what a marriage means for people in their culture.”

“I had never heard that before, but I get it,” he said. “Because what it conveys is not the indissolubility of a wedding band but handcuffs.”

Cupich also spoke in depth about German Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal that there could be some sort of “penitential path” for divorced and remarried persons to be readmitted to the Eucharist in certain circumstances.

The archbishop said he had given the book in which Kasper makes the proposal, The Gospel of the Family, to all the priests of his archdiocese. “I wanted them to read that because I thought it was very rich theologically,” he said.

“I think that he has reasoned this proposal well, given the theology that he offers,” said Cupich. “I do think that we should look at a way in which people are not just accompanied but integrated and reconciled.”

“We have to believe in the mercy of God and the grace of God to trigger conversion, rather than having it the other way around as though you’re only going to get mercy if you have the conversion,” said the archbishop. “The economy of salvation doesn’t work that way. Christ receives people and it’s because of that mercy that the conversion happens.”

Cupich then told a story he said a priest had told him of celebrating a funeral for a young man who had committed suicide. The man’s mother, he said, was divorced and remarried and also “very angry” at God and the church over what had happened.

When she came forward for Communion at the funeral Mass, she folded her arms to indicate she wanted to receive a blessing. The priest said to her: “No, today you have to receive.”

“She went back to her pew and wept uncontrollably,” said the archbishop. “She then came back to visit with the priest and began reconciliation.”

“Her heart was changed,” said Cupich. “She did have her [first] marriage annulled; her [second] marriage is now in the church.”

“But it was because that priest looked for mercy and grace to touch her heart,” he said. “That’s something we have to keep in mind. And I think the Holy Father has talked about that. It’s not a straight line.”

Five reasons the synod is doomed to fail

Thomas Reese | Oct. 15, 2015

VATICAN CITY The synod on the family has created a lot of interest in the church and spilled a lot of ink (or electrons) in the media, but there are five reasons that it was doomed to fail before the bishops even gathered in Rome Oct. 4. Perhaps Pope Francis can perform a miracle and save it, but the odds are against him.
First, the topic of the synod, “the family,” is too broad.

The family touches everything and is touched by everything. Anything bad in the world affects families, and any problems in families affect the societies in which they live.

Social and economic factors impact families: unemployment, housing, war, terrorism, climate change, interreligious differences, consumerism, social media, education, and on and on. Every problem in the world has an impact on families, from addictions to political corruption.

Scores of moral issues surround the family, everything from the sexual act itself to fidelity, abortion, contraception, surrogate mothers, homosexuality, divorce, gender equality, child abuse, spousal violence, and so on.

Families are the place where one learns or does not learn the Christian faith, to say nothing of simple moral habits and virtues.

And we have not even gotten to the theological and canonical issues surrounding families: marriage as a sacrament, annulments, liturgical ceremonies, the family in the church, etc.

It is simply too much to deal with in a three-week meeting.

Second, the membership of the synod makes dealing with the topic of the family difficult.

The 270 synodal fathers come from many different cultures and as a result have very different priorities and concerns, not to mention different cultural conceptions about family life.

Bishops in the Middle East and Africa see their families facing the constant threat of violence and death that forces them to become refugees fleeing their homes. How can you have a family under these circumstances?

Many bishops in the developed world are concerned about how to respond to high divorce rates. But outside the wealthy, industrialized nations, the issues may be human trafficking, arranged marriages, interreligious marriages, child brides, polygamy, female genital mutilation, and cultural customs where marriage is seen as taking place over time, not in the instant when the couple says their vows.

Can so many people from such varied backgrounds have any common understanding of the problems facing families and how to deal with them?

The third problem facing the synod is the synodal process itself.

Synods are paper factories. They produce lots of speeches, recommendations and sometimes even a final document, but do they make a difference? In 1980, I covered an earlier synod on the family that faced almost every issue that this synod faces. Did it make any difference? If it did, I don’t see it.

The 1980 synod made many of the same recommendations that this synod will make: better marriage preparation, better formation of clergy so they can help families, better education programs, greater support from governments for families, less violence, more love.

New programs and ideas are not generated at synods. Bishops can only share what they bring. New programs are created by entrepreneurs who have an idea, experiment with it, and improve it through trial and error.

The fourth reason the synod is doomed to failure is that it is seriously divided on the question of what can and cannot change.

This clash is most obvious over the question of readmitting divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion.

One side sees only the law — the marriage contract is permanent and can be terminated only by death. The other side sees millions of people suffering from broken marriages that cannot be put back together.

One solution to this crisis is the annulment process, whereby the church declares that, even though there is a signed contract, the contract is not valid because of some failure at the time the wedding took place. There was much support at the 2014 synod for making the annulment process easier and faster, and Francis acted on this between synods.

The attitude of the bishops toward annulments is the greatest change since the 1980 synod on the family, when the American bishops were fiercely attacked by curial cardinals for making annulments too easy.

Francis has gone way beyond the American procedures by allowing bishops to declare a marriage annulled through an administrative process rather than a judicial process. Even canon lawyers are scratching their heads wondering how this will work.

But the fundamental problem faced by the synod is the same one faced by the Second Vatican Council: What can and cannot change in the church?

The pope and the bishops are constantly saying that the synod will not change church doctrine, but only pastoral practice. Bishops appear to even be afraid to talk about the development of doctrine, lest they be seen as wishy-washy on doctrine.

The conservatives see the readmission of divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion as violating a doctrine of the church — the indissolubility of marriage. To them, it would be an admission that the church was somehow wrong in its teaching in the past.

Any student of the Second Vatican Council recognizes that this was the same complaint of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani and his conservative colleagues who fought changes in church teaching on ecumenism, religious liberty and other matters.

So for the bishops to allow divorced and remarried Catholics — who don’t have an annulment but are civilly married — to receive Communion, they must somehow explain it as only a change in pastoral practice and not a change in doctrine.

The fifth reason the synod is doomed is the absence of theologians at the synod.

One conservative curial cardinal complained of the “schoolboy theology” being presented in episcopal speeches. There is some truth in that complaint. There is little evidence in their talks that bishops consulted theologians in order to understand contemporary thinking in Scripture, ethics or doctrine.

The bishops would have been better off spending the first week listening to theologians do an exegesis of scriptural passages on marriage, explain the concept of the development of doctrine, recount the history of the church’s treatment of marriage, and propose resolutions to controversial questions.

The reason that Vatican II was successful was because an alliance was forged between the theological periti and the council fathers that was capable of defeating the Roman Curia’s intransigence. Tragically, this alliance was broken after Humanae Vitae, when theologians were cast into the outer darkness as dissidents whom the bishops were to avoid at all costs.

The result has been disastrous for the church. It is as if the management of a major corporation is not on speaking terms with its research and development division. Would you invest in such a company?

Is there hope for the synod? Yes. Francis has begun a process; he has opened the windows closed after Vatican II. It will take more than three weeks to move the church forward, but he is moving it in the right direction.

Perhaps the synod is not doomed to fail but simply to be unfinished.

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13 comments on “Synod, Day 12, Thursday October 15, 2015 – As Seen by the Catholic Left

  1. How many of those who are in Hell today and for all eternity were following the “primacy of their conscience”? What a crock of baloney! There is only One who has primacy you idiot – Our Lord and Savior.

  2. Good Lord, please save us from these idiots. +Lefebvre was so perceptive in seeing the modernist danger lurking behind the VII language on freedom of conscience.

  3. “Asked how his experience counseling divorced and remarried persons also applies to same-sex couples, Cupich replied: “I think that gay people are human beings too, and they have a conscience.”

    I disagree with that stupidity, but it sure sounds like you are speaking as someone that has experience with “gay” people Blase!

    These heretics and fruits like Cupich should be defrocked!

    • Cupich: Synod Would Have Gained from Hearing from Lesbian and Gay Couples

      “[I]f Pope Francis continues to appoint bishops in the mold of Cupich, the next synod, or any future discussion of marriage and family, will certainly be very positive [for] gay and lesbian couples, divorced couples, people who disagree with the current teaching or whose consciences have told them something else.”

      October 17, 2015 – Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

      In an unscheduled press conference at the Synod on Friday, Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich agreed that it would have been helpful for the meeting’s process to have lesbian and gay people, as well as those divorced and remarried, address the bishops.

      In a crowded room filled with reporters, Cupich, who was appointed archbishop of Chicago by Pope Francis, and also appointed to the synod by the pontiff, spoke candidly of the synod process in an upbeat and genial tone. When I had the chance, I asked him:

      “Would it have been helpful to the bishops and synod participants to hear from gay and lesbian couples, divorced couples, people who disagree with the current teaching or whose consciences have told them something else?”

      Cupich answered quickly and matter-0f-factly:

      “Yes, it may have been. I know that myself, when I did the consultation in my diocese, I did have those voices as part of my consultation, and put that in my report, and so maybe that’s the way they were represented. But I do think that we could benefit from the actual voices of people who feel marginalized rather than having them filtered through the voices of other representatives or the bishops. There is something important about that, I have found personally.”

      Cupich, who had mentioned that the Church should accompany divorced/remarried people in conscience formation, was asked by another reporter if he thought the same principle would apply to same-sex couples in the Church, an area that is a newly public phenomenon, given the advent of marriage equality. Cupich’s answer was again simple and direct:

      “Gay people are human beings, too. They have a conscience, and my role as a pastor is to help them discern what the will of God is, by looking at the objective moral teaching of the Church, and yet, at the same time, helping them through a period of discernment to understand what God is calling them to at that point. It’s for everybody. We have to make sure that we don’t pigeonhole one group as though they’re not part of the human family–so that there’s a different set of rules for them. That would be, I think, a big mistake. “

      Another reporter asked about the rumors that the synod may revise moral language such as “indissolubility” and “disordered,” and Cupich replied:

      “We have to speak to families the way families recognize themselves. Yes, it’s important to have various principles, general principles, categories, words from our tradition, and so on. And, yet, if we really do want to engage people, they have to recognize that we know their life [through] the way that we speak.”

      Speaking about the much debated topics of mercy for people and calling them to conversion, Cupich offered this analysis:

      “We have to believe in the mercy of God and the grace of God to trigger conversion rather than having it the other way around, as though you’re only going to get mercy if you have the conversion. The economy of salvation doesn’t work that way. Christ receives people, and it’s because of that mercy that the conversion happens many, many times in the Scriptures.”

      Cupich spoke about the need for the Church to start treating adult people as adults, guiding them along the way, but allowing them to develop their consciences. The National Catholic Reporter provided his comments in this regard:

      ” ‘I try to help people along the way,’ said Cupich. ‘And people come to a decision in good conscience.’

      ” ‘Then our job with the church is to help them move forward and respect that,’ he said. ‘The conscience is inviolable. And we have to respect that when they make decisions and I’ve always done that.’ “

      He went on to expand on this idea more fully:

      ” ‘We have the means by which we can help people come to important decisions about how they live their Christian life,’ said Cupich. ‘This is a moment that I think highlights the need for that kind of catechesis all the more.’

      ” Catechesis cannot be just about giving people the fixed doctrines … but also helping them, accompanying them by showing them the way, the path that the church has outlined in terms of making prudent decisions,’ he said.

      “The Chicago archbishop also quoted a 2009 document from the International Theological Commission on the role of natural law, saying it is ‘a very important piece for this Synod.’

      “That document states: ‘In morality pure deduction by syllogism is not adequate. The more the moralist confronts concrete situations, the more he must have recourse to the wisdom of experience, an experience that integrates the contributions of the other sciences and is nourished by contact with men and women engaged in the action.’

      ” ‘We can’t just refer to doctrines as though they’re syllogisms that we deduce a conclusion to,’ said Cupich. ‘There has to be that integration of a person’s circumstances, case by case in their life.’ . . .

      ” ‘Syllogisms are important,’ he said. ‘General principles are important. But there’s a limitation on how that allows us the freedom to address real life situations that I believe is in concert with what the church teaches.’ “

      Crux captured another part of the interview where Cupich spoke about the power of personal encounters:

      “He said that it is important for Church leaders to listen to and engage with individual believers in order to understand their issues as they craft appropriate pastoral responses.

      ” ‘If we’re really going to accompany people, we have to first of all engage them,’ he said. ‘In Chicago, I visit regularly with people who feel marginalized, whether they’re the elderly, or the divorced and remarried, gay and lesbian individuals, also couples.’

      ” ‘I think we need to really get to know what their life is like if we’re going to accompany them,’ he continued.”

      After 12 days of being at the synod, Cupich’s presentation was the most refreshing pastoral contribution I have heard yet.

      While this synod may not produce our hoped-for outcomes, I had a sense today that if Pope Francis continues to appoint bishops in the mold of Cupich, the next synod, or any future discussion of marriage and family, will certainly be very positive.

      • What happened to the other Cupich post — Skojek’s article?

        • The reason it was trashed was because it contained some HTML code that was causing our sidebar (with the login, search, comments etc.) to disappear from the front page.

          I messaged the author and told him he was welcome to repost it but (for that post) to use the visual editor instead to avoid the coding issues.

      • Cupich vs. Chaput: Examining the Tensions in the Synod

        October 18, 2015 – Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

        After reading yesterday’s post about the impromptu interview with Archbishop Blase Cupich, a loyal Bondings 2.0 reader, Ryan Sattler, asked in one of the “Comments” to that post: “How are his fellow bishops receiving his fresh, non-threatening approach?”

        That’s a good question. It is hard to answer, though, because many bishops here are “playing it close to the vest,” by speaking in general terms, talking about the synod process and atmosphere rather than on the substance of the discussions.. The information that is offered to the press comes through spokespersons, mostly, and the occasional interview or release of a speech’s text that a bishop may grant. I’m learning that interpreting the statements that bishops make here is sort of like reading tea leaves–and probably just as reliable.

        The religion reporters here, though, are top-notch, And many of the more seasoned ones are excellent at ferreting out and decoding the statements of bishops. To answer Ryan Sattler’s question, it’s best to look at an article by Religion News Service’s David Gibson, one of the best Catholic Church observers in the business.

        Following the Cupich interview, Gibson wrote an article comparing the approach of the Chicago archbishop with another American prelate who is here, Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput. As Gibson points out in his article’s headline, “US archbishops Chaput and Cupich offer sharply different visions of Vatican synod.”

        Chaput has expressed worry over the synod making any changes, even if they’re not doctrinal changes. Gibson quoted Chaput’s words from a Wall Street Journal op-ed essay on Friday:

        “The more some synod fathers claim that no doctrinal change is sought on matters of divorce and remarriage — only a change in ‘discipline’ — the more other synod fathers worry.

        “And for good reason. Practice inevitably shapes belief.”

        (A side note: Chaput is right that practice shapes belief. But that it how the Church has always developed its doctrine. In an interview I did with Crux last week, I explained a theory of how doctrine develops: “Pastoral practice first has to change, then there has to be theological reflection on that pastoral practice, then eventually from that theological reflection a change in doctrine might occur. That’s the pattern that’s always happened in the Church on any issue.”)

        But, as Gibson points out, Cupich does not share Chaput’s worry. When asked in his press conference about the concern some have about change, Cupich answered:

        ” ‘I don’t share the anxiety at all,’ Cupich told reporters at a briefing.

        “Cupich then recounted how the pope called him over during a break in the proceedings to chat. ‘He just looked so refreshed, calm, at peace,’ Cupich said. ‘That, I think, is the attitude that we should all have.

        ” ‘If the Holy Father is at peace with the way things are going, I think each one of us should put aside the fears or anxieties that might be … present in our hearts and pay attention to’ Francis’ example.”

        While Cupich’s remarks during the press conference stressed the need for providing mercy to any and all people, regardless of the outcome or result of what extending that mercy might be. He explicitly mentioned divorced/remarried and LGBT people in this regard.

        Chaput, writing in a column in his archdiocesan newspaper, has a different slant on mercy. Gibson quoted from that essay:

        “Chaput wrote that while he feels compassion for gay Catholics and the divorced and remarried, ‘mercy without truth is a comfortable form of lying.’

        ” ‘The central issue is, do we and they want Jesus Christ on his terms or on ours? If we can’t in principle accept the possibility of discomfort, suffering and even martyrdom, then we’re not disciples. We can’t rewrite or overlook what Jesus requires in order to follow him.’

        There is one other area where the differences between these two American archbishops comes out, Gibson noted:

        “As for concerns expressed by Chaput and others that the synod’s working document is too slanted toward the reform agenda, Cupich said that the synod was in fact amending and editing that document.

        “He also noted that the working document was the product of a synod held last year, as well as months of consultation with bishops from around the world.

        ” ‘If the bishops don’t like it maybe we are the only ones to blame, in a sense, because it did come from us,’ he said.”

        The National Catholic Reporter editorialized this weekend on the uncertainty that seems to be hanging over synod debates and tensions which seem unresolvable, noting that at least it is better than past synods in which real debate was discouraged:

        “The synod has reached the halfway mark as this editorial is being written and we hear some synod fathers say they are confused about the direction and even the purpose of this gathering.

        “It is ironic that some have complained of a rigged synod, an outcome pre-ordained. The reality is that, unlike past synods, where the results were known before any conversation took place, the conclusions of this synod are clearly unknown.”

        Though the editors did not have a solution or prediction, they did offer an insightful and poignant response:

        “Midway through the general assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family, confusion, if not chaos, reigns, to paraphrase a synod father. And in that confusion is fear, fear of uncertainty and the unknown.

        “Well, bishops, our brothers, welcome to family life. Seemingly without knowing it, you have stumbled upon a key experience of being in and raising a family: uncertainty.

        “Don’t fear it, synod fathers. Relish it. This is how families live.”

        Nicely put. In other words, to answer “How will the synod end?” is as difficult a question to ask as “How will children grow up?” And like in most families, tension and disagreements will always be present. The trick is how to resolve them all with love.

        • I explained a theory of how doctrine develops: “Pastoral practice first has to change, then there has to be theological reflection on that pastoral practice, then eventually from that theological reflection a change in doctrine might occur. That’s the pattern that’s always happened in the Church on any issue.”

          This guy is giddy, full of himself.

          “Midway through the general assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family, confusion, if not chaos, reigns, to paraphrase a synod father. And in that confusion is fear, fear of uncertainty and the unknown.

          “Well, bishops, our brothers, welcome to family life. Seemingly without knowing it, you have stumbled upon a key experience of being in and raising a family: uncertainty.

          “Don’t fear it, synod fathers. Relish it. This is how families live.”

          Yep. That’s my family. Chaos. Fear of the outcome.

          Good grief! This poofter knows what’s going on. He’s tickled pink that the current practices at homo parishes will get Rome’s blessing, the “queering” of the Church.

      • The Script At The Synod For Gay Adulterers Comes Straight Out Of 1984

        Posted By Mike Church On 10/20/2015

        Last Friday’s headlines from Rome screamed, “Archbishop Cupich lays out pathway for gay couples to receive Communion at Vatican press scrum,” a story so ribald it reads like something out of the heretical Marquis de Sade than the valiant Quixote. Cardinal Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago lays the whopper on the tableau of reporters that he can see a day when “people come to a decision [on divorce] in good conscience then our job is to help them move forward and to respect that. The conscience is inviolable and we have to respect that when they make decisions, and I’ve always done that.”

        Really, Cardinal Cupich? Is this the inerrant word guaranteed by the Paraclete, or a Vatican version of Bill Clinton’s “that depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is”? According to Webster, inviolable means:

        inviolable: adjective in·vi·o·la·ble \(ˌ)in-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl\
        1: secure from violation or profanation

        Fr Vincent Serpa recently defined “profane” in the context of Church teaching. “Profane” as an adjective is defined:

        “‘showing irreverence toward God or sacred things.’ Certainly, there are degrees of the profane just as there are degrees of the sacred.” [emphasis mine]

        Either Bishop Cupich doesn’t know how to use proper English terminology and we are therefore left only to guess at his non-meaning, meaning, or he meant to say that the conscience is incapable of profanity. If the conscience is incapable of profanity or profane thinking, then I wonder what exactly is to blame for actual profane actions? A “bad” god, a la the Manichæan heresy? We might let the Cardinal slip if this was a one-off comment made after a prideful rally of the Adulterers for Communion Club, but Cupich repeated the statement and applied it to unrepentant adulterers and homosexuals seeking sacraments.

        Let us assert then the definition of profane and see if the “conscience” is capable of committing or allowing to be committed, profane acts, thus making it the opposite of “inviolable”. We consult thus, St Thomas:

        “For conscience is said to witness, to bind, or incite, and also to accuse, torment, or rebuke. And all these follow the application of knowledge or science to what we do: which application is made in three ways. One way in so far as we recognize that we have done or not done something; “Thy conscience knoweth that thou hast often spoken evil of others” (Ecclesiastes 7:23), and according to this, conscience is said to witness. In another way, so far as through the conscience we judge that something should be done or not done; and in this sense, conscience is said to incite or to bind. In the third way, so far as by conscience we judge that something done is well done or ill done, and in this sense conscience is said to excuse, accuse, or torment. Now, it is clear that all these things follow the actual application of knowledge to what we do.” [emphasis mine-MC]

        St Thomas cannot be misunderstood because his logic is based on the reality of human affairs not the fantasized version of affairs the Francis modernists dream of, pace Freud. Cupich’s “reasoning” is yet another sad testament to the heresy of nominalism that has infected the thinking of far too many Catholic clergy. This “puffed up” thinking, as Augustine says, comes from the vice most sin derives from: Pride. Cupich et al, rather than subject themselves to the humiliation of admitting that beyond Magisterial guidance and the advice to pursue Grace through penance, mortification and prayer, they are helpless to assist the adulterers and sodomites; thus they concoct “teachings” and “pastoral guidance” on their own.

        This is precisely what the “Catholic” pro-choice aborters did after Roe,which culminated in the disastrous series of newspaper advertisements in the New York Times placed by “Catholics For A Free Choice.” There were 84 “Catholic” signatories. And though they did not sign the ad, prominent Democrat “Catholics” including New York’s governor Mario Cuomo, Congressmen Tom Daschle, Leon Panetta and Geraldine Ferraro all signed a brief in 1982 that gave the group an official sounding imprimatur of sorts.

        Following the ad’s publication were demands from the Holy See demanding public retractions upon penalty of excommunication. What followed was a decade long battle that Pope John Paul II lost and the “pro-choice Catholics” won. That I am aware of, there has not been a pro-abort politician claiming catholicism as their “faith” who has faced excommunication since; and the laity, aided and abetted by a Magisterially anemic clergy have tragically followed suit. Today, one can be “Catholic” and also “pro-choice.”

        This is the Cupich/Kasper/Francis gambit, folks: bring the issue to the Holy See’s level, accept doctrinal defeat and then wage an all-too-easy PR war on behalf of “Catholics For a Free Marriage,” a name I admit to coining but will not be shocked to see used. If you think this is just the column-placebo of a desperate catholic media hack, consider this from über feminist “theologian” and pseudo-Catholic, Rosemary Ruether, written at the time of her aforementioned NY Times ad — Ruether was ring-leader of CFFC. Note the laughable fear that “Vatican 2” could be “put back in the toothpaste tube”:

        “The Second Vatican Council, simply by being a church council, represented a reassertion of this more pluralistic approach to teaching authority, over against the papal absolutism of Vatican I. Thus, if the Vatican conservatives intend to rescind Vatican II at the November synod, they will be endeavoring to bury the conciliar tradition itself once again, as an alternative source of teaching authority which can check and balance papal power. It is almost certain, however, that the ‘toothpaste cannot be put back into the tube,’ as one nun expressed the question of getting American nuns back into habits. The same slogan can apply to the efforts to get Catholics in America, and throughout the world, back into the habit of unquestioning obedience to authority, once they have gotten used to thinking that they too are the church.”

        Ruether’s conclusion is the precise nominalist gibberish we should expect to appear in newspapers and TV ads starring Susan Sarandon, Ellen DeGeneres (raised Catholic in NOLA) and Justin Beiber the moment the Synod concludes. From this the de facto policy of American Catholics will be asserted as “accommodating” homosexuals and serial adulterers (which an unrepentant adulterer will surely become). It will be the vocation of the church militant and her orthodox faithful to piously stand athwart this apostasy, yelling “STOP!” Here’s what she says:

        “Catholics are thrown willy-nilly into deciding for themselves which parts of the Christian tradition are meaningful and which are not, with little guidance from bishops, priests or theologians. Thus Vatican absolutism promotes the very chaos which it most fears. There is no way back to the absolutism of the past. There is only a painful way forward to a church in which people try to listen to and respect differing opinions and to work, through a combination of experience and tradition, to develop teachings that have authority because they are credible to most Christians.”

        If you are not mortified of the thought that modernists will be roaming Catholic vestibules creating “teachings” based on Americans’ “experience,” then you haven’t been to a typical Novus Ordo Mass on a Sunday during NFL or NASCAR season. We are at a time as a “Christian nation” that, to channel British essayist Gerald Warner, writing at the dawn of President Obama’s coronation:

        “This will end in tears. The Obama hysteria is not merely embarrassing to witness, it is itself contributory to the scale of the disaster that is coming. What we are experiencing, in the deepening days of a global depression, is the desperate suspension of disbelief by people of intelligence – la trahison des clercs – in a pathetic effort to hypnotise themselves into the delusion that it will be all right on the night. It will not be all right.”

        Replace Obama with Pope Francis and you have the recipe for moral disaster. Rosemary Ruether’s campaign of death to the unborn with a Catholic/Christian imprimatur, reached critical mass in 1984, barring a divine intervention, 2015 will be remembered as the Francis cabal’s “1984.”

        Article printed from The Daily Caller: dailycaller.com

        URL to article: dailycaller.com/2015/10/20/the-script-at-the-synod-for-gay-adulterers-comes-straight-out-of-1984/

  4. Vatican II was successful? What, for the enemies of Christ and His Church? Yes

  5. A truly frightening statement was made by Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan.
    When talking about the remarriage of divorcees, he compared the words of Our Lord to the practice Moses allowed, and said that the practice Moses allowed was merciful and we should adopt it!!!!
    In other words, a Cardinal of the Catholic Church publicly criticised the teaching of Our Blessed Lord and said we should no longer follow it.

    THIS IS PURE, UNADULTERATED BLASPHEMY.

    From a prince of the Church no less.

    And it barely made a ripple.
    The other Cardinals have said nothing about it.
    The Pope, has not reprimanded this frightening attack on the integrity of Our Lord.

    When these heretics are now able to stand up in the College of Cardinals and blaspheme Our Lord by saying He was not merciful enough, then the Church is in DEEP trouble.

  6. An Archbishop and the Catholic Conscience

    SAMUEL GREGG
    Crisis Magazine
    10/21/15

    Conscience is one of those subjects about which numerous Catholics today are, alas, sadly misinformed. Despite great Catholic minds such as Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, and John Henry Newman discoursing at length on the question, some Catholics speak of it in ways that have little in common with the Church’s understanding of conscience.

    The latest Catholic to be embroiled in controversy about conscience is Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago. While recently discussing the question of whether those who have (1) not repented of sin and/or (2) not resolved to go and sin no more may receive communion, Archbishop Cupich stated: “If people come to a decision in good conscience then our job is to help them move forward and to respect that. The conscience is inviolable and we have to respect that when they make decisions, and I’ve always done that.” Referring specifically to people with same-sex attraction, he noted that “my role as a pastor is to help them to discern what the will of God is by looking at the objective moral teaching of the Church and yet, at the same time, helping them through a period of discernment to understand what God is calling them to at that point.”

    This isn’t the first time that Archbishop Cupich has raised eyebrows. Many will recall what some regard as the effective equivalence he made between Planned Parenthood’s selling of body-parts and problems like homelessness and hunger.

    Then there was his more recent speech to the Chicago Federation of Labor. Alongside a defense of religious liberty, most of the Archbishop’s address simply reiterated Catholic social teaching about unions. Perhaps it wasn’t the occasion to say such things, but absent from Archbishop Cupich’s remarks was any reference to the numerous caveats stated by popes—such as those detailed by Blessed Paul VI (who no-one would describe as a gung-ho anti-union capitalist) in his 1971 apostolic letter Octogesima Adveniens (no.14) and Saint John Paul II’s 1981 encyclical Laborem Exercens (no.20)—concerning the very real limits upon what unions may do. Unfortunately, modern America is awash with examples of what happens when unions (in collusion with business executives who go along to get along) ignore those limits, as broken cities such as Detroit know all too well.

    Aspects of Archbishop Cupich’s comments about conscience, however, will remind some of arguments made by various theologians in the 1970s and ’80s as part of their effort to legitimize dissent from Catholic moral teaching. Certainly, Archbishop Cupich stressed the importance of priests conveying the Church’s objective moral teaching to people who consider themselves marginalized by that teaching (presumably because it does not and cannot affirm some of their free choices). But a significant omission in the archbishop’s statements concerned why conscience is inviolable. As Vatican II stated in Gaudium et Spes, conscience draws its inviolability from its “obedience” to the truth, or what the Council called the “law written by God” (GS 16).

    So where is this truth and law to be found? On one level, we discover it in the natural law. Saint Paul famously stated (Rm 2: 14-16) that this is knowable by everyone who possesses reason, including those who don’t know the Word of God revealed in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. For people, however, who also believe in Christ and accept that the fullest account of Christ’s life and teaching is to be found in the witness of the Catholic Church, the very same truths about morality are also expressed, confirmed, and enriched by that same Church’s moral teaching.

    These simple points lead to profound conclusions. One is that conscience doesn’t create its own truth. Nor is it above truth. The oft-used phrase “primacy of conscience” makes no sense in Catholicism unless we accept that conscience’s authority is derived from every person’s responsibility to know and live in the truth encapsulated in the divine and natural law. In Newman’s words, “Conscience has rights because it has duties.”

    It follows that conscience cannot be construed as a mandate for us to depart from the truth whenever it clashes with our desires. Catholicism has never held that conscience is somehow superior to the divine and natural law. To claim, therefore, that our conscience somehow authorizes us to act in ways that we know contradict what Christ’s Church teaches to be the truth about good and evil is, at a minimum, illogical from the Catholic standpoint.

    As noted in the Catechism, “A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith” (CCC 1794). And by faith, the Church doesn’t mean a subjective faith: one that locates the standard of belief in my feelings or personal experiences. Rather, it means faith in Christ and trust in those who witnessed Christ’s life, words, death, and resurrection and who testified to these truths: i.e., the deposit of faith that’s been transmitted and fleshed out through history by the Church led by the Apostles and their successors.

    Some Catholics today, however, believe that their sense of faith is true because they feel that it’s communicated by the Holy Spirit. But as John Finnis observed in a short 1989 essay about Thomas More, (1) we cannot know about the Holy Spirit, save from Christ’s teachings; (2) we cannot know these teachings, save from Scripture; and (3) we cannot rationally judge Scripture to be trustworthy, except by relying upon the judgment made centuries ago by the Church that the claims expressed in these texts were and are true while countless other purported testimonies about Christ were and are false or misleading. As Finnis goes on to state:

    And the same Church which made that definitive judgment on the canon of Scripture offers its equally definitive judgment on the meaning of those Scriptures and on matters (such as abortion) on which the Scriptures say nothing explicit but about which the Church’s tradition had spoken from times even before the New Testament writings were half completed.

    Here we see the contradiction underlying the position of those Catholics who implicitly accept the Church’s definitive judgment about what is Scripture and tradition while disagreeing that the Church can ever teach anything definitively on, say, moral questions, or who freely choose to set aside the whole common consensus of Christian faith when it doesn’t coincide with their own conclusions about a given matter.

    This was all well-understood by that powerful witness to conscience: Saint Thomas More. When asked by Abbott William Benson of Westminster to gauge the weight of his conscience against that of the opinion of most (intimidated and/or bribed) English clergy and (intimidated and/or bribed) Parliament concerning More’s refusal to swear the Oath of Succession, More stated that he could claim in his support “the general counsail of Christendome.”

    As More knew, the very derivation of conscience suggests “knowledge with others.” For More, “the others” were the communion of the faithful living and the faithful dead. Conscience wasn’t therefore an individual matter. More didn’t exalt conscience at the expense of the Revelation safeguarded and proclaimed by the Church. More’s appeal to conscience was itself grounded upon an appeal to the law of God consistently taught and defended by the Church, and which More’s reason and Catholic faith told him were more important than the opinions of backsliding clerics such as Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. To appeal to conscience against the Catholic Church’s constantly articulated teachings concerning the truth about marriage and papal authority was, for More, an absurdity.

    More’s position underscores another truth that no bishop can forget, no matter how far they seek to go to what Pope Francis calls the peripheries. More’s martyrdom and that of another heroic saint-scholar, Bishop John Fisher, should remind all of the Apostles’ successors that, as Cardinal George Pell stated in his 2015 Synod address, “our first episcopal task as teaching bishops is not to be theologians, but to teach, explain, and defend the apostolic tradition of faith and morals.”

    All Catholics are called to journey with those whose lives are disfigured by sin. After all, the latter includes every single one of us. But without prioritizing of the continued teaching, clear explanation, and articulate defense of the apostolic tradition on faith and morals and its implications for our consciences by those charged with that responsibility, there’s a serious risk that any accompanying will degenerate into effective affirmation of that which cannot be affirmed and an exaltation of subjectivity over truth.

    And that is of no service to anyone, especially the least among us.

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