Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rome has spoken, the cause is more confusing than ever

I've been told that there was once a time that when Rome spoke, the case was closed. Rome spoke with an unmistakeable and unambiguous clarity that didn't leave a shadow of a doubt in anyone's mind what the Catholic Church taught about a subject. In the present day it sometimes feels like God himself is the only one who knows for sure what the Church teaches anymore. First, we have Fr. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Vatican, apparently came out in favor of civil unions

"[I]t is a good thing for the child to know that he has a father and a mother"; [it must be] "made clear that matrimony between a man and a woman is a specific and fundamental institution in the history of mankind. This does not prevent that other forms of union between two persons may be recognized".
 Second, the head of the German bishops conference wants female deacons and the divorced and remarried to receive communion:

Germany's top Roman Catholic has called for women to be allowed to become deacons, which would enable them to perform baptisms and marriages outside of mass - a novelty for Catholic women. 

Archbishop of Freiburg Robert Zollitsch, who chairs the German Bishops' Conference, called for the change at the end of a four-day meeting to discuss possible reforms. 

The conference, the first of its kind, invited 300 Roman Catholic experts to propose reforms. Zollitsch's comments echo year-long calls from the Central Committee of German Catholics to permit women to become deacons. On Sunday, Zollitsch said that aim was no longer a 'taboo.'

Zollitsch said the Catholic Church could only regain credibility and strength by committing to reform. He described an "atmosphere of openness and freedom" at the conference. ...

Another proposal to emerge from the conference was to extend the rights of remarried divorcees to sit on church bodies such as parish councils. Conference members also discussed the possibility of granting them the right to receive Holy Communion and attend confession. ...

The position of divorcees remains highly controversial within the Church.  The conference also touched on the difficulty, particularly in eastern Germany, of recruiting people to work for Catholic institutions such as hospitals and kindergarten. At present the Church can only employ Roman Catholics. However Zollitsch called for work permits to be extended to non-Catholics and to those with "different lifestyles." This would technically apply to homosexual people too. However Church labour reforms are unlikely to be introduced in the next three years. ...
It would be an immense relief if Francis himself were to lay the smackdown upon both of these statements. What I expect will happen is that they'll both be left to hang in the ether, neither going anywhere nor ever explicitly disavowed. At best they'll suffer the death of a thousand clarifications. Some lower level functionary will say, "Of COURSE they didn't mean to suggest civil unions for homosexuals or admitting women to holy orders. What they meant was that if some swamp gas was reflected by the light of Venus, Cancer was aligned with Capricorn, and the thirteen MacGuffins were all gathered within Stone Henge then we might begin to possibly consider thinking about these things."

Keep in mind that this is the same Archbishop Robert Zollitsch who publicly denied that Christ died for our sins, and asserted that by his death he was only expressing solidarity with the people. One heretic bishop does not the Faith invalidate. But it is discouraging when priests and bishops publicly spout off the most rank heresy without so much as a murmur of protest from their superiors. It undermines our evangelization of the world. The world sees the spectacle of bishop against bishop, priest against priest and says, "See, the Church is thinking about changing those doctrines we find so offensive. Those mean old conservatives have just been dragging their feet out of bigotry, not any commitment to truth." It's things like these that make me more sympathetic to the Society of St. Pius X. Bl. John Paul II probably had the most target rich environment of any pope since the Arian heresy, and the only bishop he ever excommunicated was Marcel Lefebvre.

Some friendly fraternal correction gentlemen: this is God's Church. God himself will directly intervene to save it if he has to, but if God himself is forced to act it's going to be much more painful for all of us.

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