The Wanderer — The Editors
June 24, 2016
The Wanderer in its issue dated June 16 published an article by John-Henry Westen of LifeSiteNews entitled, “Confusing Even the Devout…The Troubling Statements of Pope Francis.”
Just that fast, Catholics were once again faced with a series of pontifical ramblings that seemingly assaulted the unchanging and inviolable teachings of Jesus Christ on marriage and chastity.
cite reference once more a LifeSiteNews report from John-Henry Westen, dated June 17: “Pope Francis: Most Catholic marriages are null, some ‘cohabitations’ are ‘real marriage'” …
Indeed, the Pope’s remarks on cohabitation would seem to be even more damaging than his remarks on “null” marriages. Just ask any Catholic parents, striving in today’s sex-crazed, instant gratification society to educate and raise their children in the moral precepts of the Catholic Church. Of course, these parents are upset and appalled by Pope Francis’ speculations on cohabitation.
Catholic parents have powerful, secular headwinds to navigate through — they need a doctrinally clear voice from their Pope.
And let’s not forget that papal remarks like the above plague the lives of orthodox Catholic pastors.
Recall the famous October 14, 2014 Crisis essay by Fr. Dwight Longenecker titled, “Advice for the Pope in Light of the Synod.” (This was at the time of the notorious midterm relatio of the Extraordinary Synod of 2014, marked by its acceptance of the “law of graduality.”)
After noting and agreeing with Pope Francis’ call for priests to “smell like the sheep” and “to welcome all with compassion, forgiveness and mercy,” Longenecker stated:
“However, I can only do this if the timeless truths of the Catholic faith are firmly defined and defended. The dogmas, doctrines, and disciplines of the Catholic faith are the tools of my trade. They provide the rules for engagement, the playbook for the game, the map for the journey and the content for the mercy and compassion I wish to display.”
[Longenecker affirmed the principle of subsidiarity in trying to make the Church more caring and compassionate, and said:] “If you try to tinker with these matters at the global level it doesn’t help. It makes life more confusing and frustrating for us at the local level.”
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“Here is an example: twice in the last week I have had to deal with Catholics in irregular marriages. One woman married outside the church and told me that she thought it was now okay for her to come to communion because, ‘The pope has changed all those old rules.’ Another man has divorced his wife and is living with another woman. He also assured me very confidently that it was now fine for him to come to communion because, ‘Pope Francis has changed the rules’.”
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[Longenecker cited another instance:] “A young couple came for marriage preparation. They do not practice their faith and are living together already as husband and wife. I welcomed them and listened to their story. I told them it was good that they wanted to be married. I said we would help prepare them not only for a Catholic wedding, but for a Catholic marriage.
“However, when I gently began a conversation about their irregular lifestyle the girl began to pout and accuse me of being ‘unwelcoming.’ Then she said, ‘I thought with this new pope we would be welcomed.’ What she meant by this was, ‘I expected Pope Francis’ Catholic Church to condone cohabitation’.”
It is all these doctrinally distorted statements that are causing a growing sense of anger and confusion among the Catholic flock. As more and more of these “off the cuff” statements go without correction, the Shepherd is in danger of scattering and losing more of his flock and the Church will continue to suffer.
The faithful are entitled to understand what the Pope is saying and to hear it from him — not from a group of handlers and interpreters.
[Nonetheless, LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen also reported on June 21st that “ Pope [says]: All of Amoris Laetitia is ‘sound doctrine’ …” and refers to one of his “handlers and interpreters” (namely, Cardinal Schönborn) to confirm that opinion. – AQ moderator Tom]
The Wanderer will continue its efforts to question these errors and to ask for clarity and look for guidance among members of the hierarchy in the days ahead.
We recall the concluding words of Professor Emeritus Robert Spaemann, University of Munich, in a recent interview with Anian Christoph Wimmer, editor of Catholic News Agency’s German-language edition (see The Wanderer, May 12, 2016, p. 1):
“Every single cardinal, but also every bishop and priest, is called upon to preserve uprightly the Catholic discipline of the sacraments within his realm of responsibility and to confess it publicly. In case the Pope is not ready to make corrections, it remains reserved for a later Pope to officially make things right.”
The title of the Spaemann interview was “Amoris Laetitia: Chaos Was Raised to a Principle,” referring to the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation on the Synod on the Family.
From the synod to Amoris Laetitia to these most recent unfortunate papal remarks, it’s a twisted pathway with endless room for more divergence from doctrine.
These are certainly troubling times which call for much prayer for our Church and its members and especially for our leader Pope Francis.