Posted by Oakes Spalding on 12/14/16
H/t Jane Royal.
For reasons best known to himself and perhaps Pope Francis, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has recently become one of the Pope’s chief lobbyists for Amoris Laetitia. This has led him to say some strange things.
The seven remaining Catholics in the world who haven’t yet been blocked by the cardinal managed to smuggle this out into the general twitter stream:
Note that the cardinal didn’t say that calling divorce/remariage “adultery” is merely a sometimes bad thing or even a usually bad thing, but rather that declaring it so (in any context or the sum of all contexts or whatever) has actually been more harmful to children than the grave sin of divorce/remarriage itself.
The Amoris Laetitia shocks are coming more and more frequently now. And the whole thing is not only exposing the perfidy of long-recognized hacks such as Austen Ivereigh or Antonio Spadaro but also corrupting those who may have previously seemed to be good priests or bishops.
I want to make three quick points, one obvious:
The obvious point is that the recent Catholic Catechism explicitly labels divorce and remarriage “adultery.”
2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery[.]
The catechism then adds to that declaration this quote from St. Basil:
If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.
On the logic of Napier’s argument, you should go to your Catechism right now and snip that section out, lest a child of divorced and remarried parents ever see it. Don’t worry about the online version. Spadaro already has that deletion job covered.
The second less obvious point is this: During the Second Synod on the Family, the 2015 Cardinal Napier had explicitly and precisely condemned what the 2016 Cardinal Napier would end up doing – approving the watering down or censoring of Catholic language so as not to seem mean or offend:
There’s been a lot of emphasis on using language that doesn’t offend, politically correct, if you like, language. I’m not sure that that’s the best way to be prophetic.
When we look at the problems that we’ve been studying during this three weeks, there are two possibilities: the one is to look at it from the pastoral point of view, where you’re trying to reach out to people and to administer to them. The other one which has been, I would say, has been de-emphasized at this time, even at the Synod last year, is the prophetic, where, like John the Baptist, you say you got to repent, and these are the sins and you name them as they are. I think that’s the difference.
Finally, there is the emergence of what seems to be new and original argument for Amoris Laetitia or at least the Pope’s decision not to answer the dubia: Doubts (especially and presumably unanswered doubts) are a good thing! Isn’t that what the “mystery of faith” is all about?
With stuff like this, the previously respected cardinal is becoming a laughingstock. Why is he doing it?
What did Bergoglio promise the cardinal and/or threaten him with?